The body count just got a little higher this week. As noted in a blog on August 3,  quite a few fiction markets are biting the dust, or at least slowing down. Add Raygun Revival to the casualty list.

There’s no explanation on RGR’s web site, but Jordan Ellinger, who runs Everyday Fiction and took over Raygun a couple of years ago posted a notice on the publication’s public forum, that the space opera ezine was going on “hiatus.” Ellinger said the “Overlords” who actually ran the zine’s operations had cited “financial and health reasons” for wanting to take some time off. He said that hopefully they’ll be able to refocus their efforts and come back again sometime in the future. That would be the third time the ezine was revived since it began in 2006. In the meantime, the archives will be be available on line.

Raygun Revival holds a special place in my memory, as the zine where I learned to crank out publishable fiction at the rate of about a story a month, while at the same time reading most of the slush, and holding down a full time job as a journalist. It was an exciting time, and the publication became a favorite among those who like their fiction with a “sensawunda.” I wasn’t crazy about the revival under Ellinger. They printed too many reprints of Mike Resnick’s old tales and seemed to feature writers who, in my opinion, didn’t grasp what Space Opera is all about. That was always a problem—getting enough good space opera material together for an issue.

I asked the Great Overlord Johne Cook, who created the publication along with L. S. King and Paul Christian Glenn, for the inside story on RGR’s temporary demise. Here’s what he had to say:

” [T]he facts of RGR’s coming closure are both common and pedestrian for a niche genre e-zine – RGR wasn’t generating the traffic we needed to justify the semi-pro rates our host EDF was paying, and while we had some early ideas for Kindle e-issue sales to help with revenue, we never had the time nor energy to actually pull them together. In fact, we have recently all become so pounded by increases in work and RealLife complications that our skeleton crew simply couldn’t absorb all the changes coming together at once.”

He went on to add:

“[W]e simply ran out of funds and time/energy to brainstorm alternative revenue sources. Instead of limping along as a token-payment rag again, The Overlords made the unified decision to retreat for a spell to gather ourselves and plan out our hopeful resurrection. RGR 2.0 is coming to a graceful close and we anticipate a resurgent RGR 3.0 in a year or three with better payment rates, a plan to sell all our works on Amazon and other online vendors, and lots of fun and unique genre merch. For now, we’re reading the same stuff you guys are reading and plotting our eventual return and global domination, bwahahaha! (Had to get one last evil laugh in there, for old times’ sake.)”

I for one, will miss that evil laugh, and I still have bad dreams in which I see Lee King with her finger on the big red button about to annhilate my planet because of some plotting error or even just because of the misuse of the wrong word. But I’ll also miss those sensational covers that came out with every issue and the thrill of reading the kind of story that nobody writes anymore. But I’m not worried. The real world may have reared its ugly head in their lives, but the Overlords’ sensawunda won’t die. In fact, listen! Echoing down through the corridors of space. You can almost hear it? There! —-“BWAHAHAHAHA!”

They’ll be back.