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Shimmer Magazine is a quarterly magazine which publishes speculative fiction, with a focus on material that is dark, humorous or strange. Established in June 2005, Shimmer is published in digest format and Portable Document Format (PDF) and is edited by Beth Wodzinski. Shimmer has featured stories from award-winning authors Jay Lake and Ken Scholes; comic book artist Karl Kesel has also contributed artwork.

Shimmer Vol. 2, Issue 3 cover dated Art 2008
Editor-in-ChiefBeth Wodzinski
Categoriesspeculative fiction
First issueOctober 2005
CountryUnited States



In mid-April 2005, Beth Wodzinski began having "vague thoughts" about starting an on-line, downloadable zine. While worried that she wouldn't have much time to devote to such a project, she wanted to support authors who wrote the kind of stories she liked, and to reject authors who wrote "alright" instead of "all right." About a month later, Beth came up with the ideal name for her zine: "Shimmer."

Beth then recruited a few on-line friends to help develop the magazine. J.L. Radley, Jon Willesen, and Chris Hansen came on board, and Shimmer moved from its conception phase to its development and business model phase. Rather quickly, it became evident that more help would be needed, and Mary Robinette Kowal joined the Shimmery Staff as Art Director. Beth, Mary Robinette, and J.L. Radley all met on-line at Orson Scott Card's Hatrack River Writers Workshop forum.

Barely a few weeks into development, a conversation[1] on an on-line message board for writers precipitated a major discussion among the Shimmery Staff that changed how Shimmer would be delivered to its readers. Shimmer, Beth decided, would be a printed magazine. Though risky and requiring some more capital than initially planned for, Shimmer debuted as a digest-sized printed magazine with a perfect-bound glossy, color cover. Shimmer has since been well received by readers and critics; and esteemed Editor Ellen Datlow (whose interview appears in the Winter 2006 issue) wrote that Shimmer is "worthwhile" in the summary section of 2005 Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror anthology.[2]

Contributor paymentEdit

Since August 2012, Shimmer has paid US$0.05/word, considered the minimum professional rate for speculative fiction writing.[3] Contributors to earlier editions were paid lower rates (US $5/piece for the debut issue, Autumn 2005, rising to $10 for the next two issues and to $0.01/word in July 2006).


To date, no mention of Shimmer's circulation totals, either print or electronic, appear on the official website or elsewhere on the Internet. There are, however, two "news" posts on the Shimmer site which claim Shimmer has placed fifth on Clarkesworld Books Bestseller List (magazines), one in April and another in June.[4][5]


All story and artwork submissions are received electronically via e-mail. Shimmer's Submissions Wrangler removes all personally-identifiable information from a manuscript and then forwards the story to one of Shimmer's editors, who read the story "blind." This, Shimmer claims in its submission guidelines, allows for editors to judge whether a story merits acceptance based solely on the story and not which author submitted it. There are other publications which use a similar acceptance and rejection process. All stories that are not accepted receive personal rejection letters and feedback from the editor(s).

John Joseph Adams, a.k.a. "The Slush God," assistant editor of Fantasy and Science Fiction, edited Shimmer's special Pirate issue in Summer 2007.

One story from each issue is selected for an audio recording, sometimes read by the author who wrote the story.

There is (or was) another "Shimmer Magazine" published in Australia, with content geared towards women's fashion, but it is unclear if the Australian Shimmer is still in publication; this uncertainty is based on its website, which does not appear to have been updated since 2004.

The IssuesEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Night Shade Books Forum discussion on electronic versus print magazines
  2. ^ - news posting 2nd September 2006
  3. ^ Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Inc. Website Archived 2007-09-27 at the Wayback Machine SWFA Membership Requirements - Paid Sales
  4. ^ - news posting 29 April 2006
  5. ^ - news posting 28 June 2006

External linksEdit