I have to admit that my main feeling one of validation. I created Realms over 15 years ago with Sovereign Media, and am now happily ensconced with Warren Lapine at Tir na Nog, and over that time we've published some truly amazing stories. But for some reason Realms has been consistently overlooked for the major awards. We won one Nebula for Jane Yolen's "Lost Girls," one Bram Stoker for F. Paul Wilson's "Aftershock," and have had a few scattered nominations over the years for Nebulas and WFC. But we've never had a story (or an editor, ahem) nominated for a Hugo, and honestly, to have won only two major awards in 15 years is kind of sad. Or at least, it made me sad. It made me so sad, in fact, that I stopped attending the World Fantasy Con entirely for some six years, since it got too embarrassing for me to attend as the editor of the country's bestselling fantasy magazine without having had anything on the ballot for years on end. I was, thankfully, able to rescind my boycott in 2008 when I was nominated in the Professional category. I didn't win, but that's okay. It was never about winning, it was only about being acknowledged.
This lack of recognition became a fact of life for us at Realms. Every year when the various ballots came out and we weren't on them, we'd shake our figurative heads (and our literal ones as well) and say, well, maybe next year. Last year, however, it seemed as if "next year" wasn't going to come. I got a call in January 2009 from an industry reporter asking if the rumors that Realms had been shut down were true. I happened to be out of the country at the time, but realized that rumors like that usually had some basis in reality, and soon had it confirmed by the publisher that Realms was to cease publication. I was deeply sorrowful my creation had died such a sudden and unanticipated death, but I figured we wouldn't be much missed anyway. Wow, was I wrong about that!
As I said in my first LJ post, I've long looked at the on-line community with trepidation, and avoided most on-line interaction out of a deep-seated sense of self-preservation. I've seen how easy it is to be eviscerated for one small misstatement, or an awkward turn of phrase (Women in Fantasy issue, anyone?), and so I completely unprepared to see the superpowers of the internet used for good and not evil! The long-silent fans of Realms of Fantasy came rushing to our rescue. Fan groups were started on Facebook and LJ, letters and emails were sent to various editors and publishers, petitions were circulated and voices were heard. Realms was brought back to life within four months, and we missed only one issue. Since I didn't have a public forum on which to thank everyone at the time, I'd like to do so now. Begin caps-lock: THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!! YES, I AM SHOUTING. I WISH I COULD STAND ON MY ROOF AND SHOUT LOUD ENOUGH FOR EVERYONE WHO HELPED TO HEAR. I AM ETERNALLY GRATEFUL!!!! End caps-lock.
Without your help I wouldn't be eligible to be Editor Guest of Honor at the World Fantasy convention, and have my long-held dream of recognition for Realms of Fantasy come true. Now all you have to do is keep us in business for the next 20 months so that I'll still be eligible in 2011! Thanks again, and I hope to meet as many of you as I can at the con!