Thursday, August 10, 2023

Top Science Fiction and Fantasy Magazines 2023

Since 2014, I've compiled an annual ranking of science fiction and fantasy magazines, based on prominent awards nominations and "best of" placements over the previous ten years. Below is my list for 2023. (For previous lists, see here.)

[A Midjourney output for "science fiction magazine". Watch out for tidal disruptions, folks!]

Method and Caveats:

(1.) Only magazines are included (online or in print), not anthologies, standalones, or series.

(2.) I gave each magazine one point for each story nominated for a Hugo, Nebula, Sturgeon, or World Fantasy Award in the past ten years; one point for each story appearance in any of the Dozois, Horton, Strahan, Clarke, Adams, or Tidhar "year's best" anthologies; and half a point for each story appearing in the short story or novelette category of the annual Locus Recommended list.

(2a.) Methodological notes for 2022: There's been some disruption among SF best of anthologies recently, with Strahan having at least temporarily ceased and the Clarke and Horton anthologies delayed. (Dozois died a few years back.) Partly for this reason, and partly to compensate for the "American" focus of the recently added Adams anthology, I've added Tidhar's World SF anthology, though Tidhar doesn't draw exclusively from the previous year's publications.

(3.) I am not attempting to include the horror / dark fantasy genre, except as it appears incidentally on the list.

(4.) Prose only, not poetry.

(5.) I'm not attempting to correct for frequency of publication or length of table of contents.

(6.) I'm also not correcting for a magazine's only having published during part of the ten-year period. Reputations of defunct magazines slowly fade, and sometimes they are restarted. Reputations of new magazines take time to build.

(7.) I take the list down to 1.5 points.

(8.) I welcome corrections.

(9.) I confess some ambivalence about rankings of this sort. They reinforce the prestige hierarchy, and they compress interesting complexity into a single scale. However, the prestige of a magazine is a socially real phenomenon that deserves to be tracked, especially for the sake of outsiders and newcomers who might not otherwise know what magazines are well regarded by insiders when considering, for example, where to submit.


1. (195.5 points) 

2. Clarkesworld (179) 

3. Asimov's (141.5) 

4. Uncanny (127.5) 

5. Lightspeed (125) 

6. Fantasy & Science Fiction (118.5) 

7. Beneath Ceaseless Skies (59) 

8. Analog (51.5) 

9. Strange Horizons (44)

10. Apex (35) 

11. Nightmare (33.5) 

12. Interzone (24) 

13. Subterranean (24) (ceased short fiction 2014) 

14. Slate / Future Tense (20.5) 

15t. Fireside (18.5) (ceased 2022)

16t. FIYAH (18.5) (started 2017) 

17. The Dark (14) 

18. Fantasy Magazine (12.5) (on and off during period, slated to close again Oct 2023) 

19. The New Yorker (9.5) 

20t. Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet (7) 

20t. McSweeney's (7) 

22t. Conjunctions (6) 

22t. Diabolical Plots (6) (started 2015)

22t. Sirenia Digest (6) 

25t. Terraform (5.5) 

25t. Tin House (5.5) (ceased short fiction 2019) 

27t. Future Science Fiction Digest (5) (started 2018) 

27t. Omni (5) (classic popular science magazine, briefly relaunched 2017-2018, 2020) 

25t. Shimmer (5) (ceased 2018) 

30t. Black Static (4) (ceased 2023)

30t. Boston Review (4) 

*30t. The Deadlands (4) (started 2021)

30t. GigaNotoSaurus (4) 

*30t. Sunday Morning Transport (4) (started 2022)

30t. Wired (4)

36t. B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog (3.5)

36t khōréō (3.5) (started 2021)

36t. Paris Review (3.5) 

39t. Anathema (3) (started 2017, paused as of 2022)

39t. Daily Science Fiction (3) (ceased 2023)

39t. Electric Velocipede (3) (ceased 2013) 

39t. Galaxy's Edge (3)

39t. Kaleidotrope (3) 

39t. Omenana (3)

45t. Beloit Fiction Journal (2.5) 

45t. Buzzfeed (2.5) 

45t. Matter (2.5) 

*48t. Augur (2) (started 2018)

48t. Mothership Zeta (2) (ran 2015-2017) 

*48t. Podcastle (2)

*48t. Science Fiction World (2)

48t. Weird Tales (2) (classic magazine, off and on throughout the period)

*53t. Flash Fiction Online (1.5)

53t. MIT Technology Review (1.5) 

53t. New York Times (1.5) 

53t. Reckoning (1.5) (started 2017)

53t. Translunar Travelers Lounge (1.5) (started 2019)

[* indicates new to the list this year]



(1.) Beloit Fiction Journal,  Boston Review, Conjunctions, Matter, McSweeney's, The New Yorker, Paris Review, Reckoning, and Tin House are literary magazines that occasionally publish science fiction or fantasy. Slate and Buzzfeed are popular magazines, and MIT Technology Review, Omni, Terraform, and Wired are popular science magazines, which publish a bit of science fiction on the side. The New York Times is a well-known newspaper that ran a series of "Op-Eds from the Future" from 2019-2020.  The remaining magazines focus on the science fiction and fantasy (SF) genre. All publish in English, except Science Fiction World, which is the leading science fiction magazine in China.

(2.) It's also interesting to consider a three-year window. Here are those results, down to six points:

1. Uncanny (54.5) 
2. (45.5) 
3. Clarkesworld (41)
4. F&SF (32)
5. Lightspeed (22)
6. Asimov's (16.5)
7. Beneath Ceaseless Skies (15)  
8. FIYAH (11)
9t. Apex (10.5) 
9t. Strange Horizons (10.5) 
11. Nightmare (9.5) 
12. Slate / Future Tense (8.5) 
13. Fantasy Magazine (8)
14. The Dark (6.5)
15. Analog (6) 

(3.) For the past several years it has been clear that the classic "big three" print magazines -- Asimov's, F&SF, and Analog -- are slowly being displaced in influence by the four leading free online magazines,, Clarkesworld, Lightspeed, and Uncanny (all founded 2006-2014). Contrast this year's ranking with the ranking from 2014, which had Asimov's and F&SF on top by a wide margin. Presumably, a large part of the explanation is that there are more readers of free online fiction than of paid subscription magazines, which is attractive to authors and probably also helps with voter attention for the Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy awards.

(4.) Minimized by these numbers are some excellent podcast venues such as the Escape Artists' podcasts (Escape Pod, Podcastle, Pseudopod, and Cast of Wonders), Drabblecast, and StarShipSofa. Of these, Podcastle has now qualified for my list by existing criteria, but original fiction on podcasts tends unfortunately to be neglected in awards and best of lists.

(5.) Other lists: The SFWA qualifying markets list is a list of "pro" science fiction and fantasy venues based on pay rates and track records of strong circulation. was a regularly updated list of markets that ceased in 2023, though snapshots are available on the Internet Archive Wayback MachineSubmission Grinder is a terrific resource for authors, with detailed information on magazine pay rates and turnaround times.


  1. Benjamin C. KinneyFri Aug 11, 05:36:00 AM PDT

    Thanks Eric! Any thought about expanding your list of awards? Dragon and Ignyte seem like two big candiates that might be worth including, though of course any cutoff/list will be subjective.

  2. Good idea — I’ll think about that for next year. I welcome more thoughts about the most prestigious awards for SF.

  3. That SF and Fantasy is Philosophy...

    Thanks for the many great reads relating "Imagination"...
    ...seems fundamental to all behaviors and functioning in life...

    My view...the look of value in the moment...

  4. I didnt see the sci-phi journal and they won an award recently. though i think theyre relatively new (2014 or 2017) but i really like the articles, stories, and editorials which are decidely prosodic. The intent of the SPJ is idea-driven content and, eminently, SPJ is continentally-coded. but they did win the European SF Society award last year. <a href="> Sci-Phi Journal </a>

  5. Hi Eric is the detail breakdown available somehow? For example I am wondering for Science Fiction World where that 2 points come from : )

  6. Thanks for the suggestions, folks!

    psyche: I have a Hugo nomination from 2015 but nothing else from my qualifying venues. (European SF Society is not a qualifying nomination.) Am I missing something? It's a neat venue, and it would be lovely to see it on the list.

    Adao: Science Fiction World got two Hugo nominations last year (or maybe three, but it looks like Future Fiction might have been the original venue of publication for that story). I'm not making the raw data public for now -- it's a giant hairball that would be hard for others to interpret and I'm not up for the task of cleaning it all up for public consumptions or the flurry of questions and misplaced objections that publicly sharing it risks generating. But if you see specific problems or have specific questions I'm happy to address them.

  7. It is your work, but my advice is to include some other awards. Non-USA awards. Science Fiction World should be in the top 5, and I will not explain why. If you watched what happened in Chengdu you know, true?