The Future of Into the Ruins

The sun is streaming in through my living room window on this chilly but sunny day–the sort of day that always seems to show up at some point each February here in the Pacific Northwest. Make no mistake, it is still winter, even as spring swiftly approaches; and make no mistake, the rain will inevitably return. But it is not uncommon to get this brief respite this time of year. It is not uncommon to be reminded of the warmth and renewal that is yet to come.

I don’t know if it feels appropriate or not to be writing this post on such a day, but it does speak to coming changes. And I have some of those to announce, with a certain reluctance. I know I’ve been quiet the last few months and the newest issue of the magazine is long overdue (and we have once again skipped right from Winter to Spring due to timing). The good news is that it has arrived. The fifteenth issue, Spring 2020, is now available for order and in the process of shipping to subscribers, and the usual full details can be found in this announcement post.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that there is an important announcement in this issue in the Editor’s Introduction, which is that I will be ceasing publication of Into the Ruins after the upcoming sixteenth issue, the Summer 2020 issue slated for publication in June of this year. I make the announcement reluctantly and with a heavy heart, knowing what this project has meant to me and to many of you readers and subscribers. I also make the announcement after much thought and consideration and doubt. Despite all that, it feels necessary for me at a personal level.

The full details of why I am doing this can be found in the Editor’s Introduction of the new issue. It is not a single reason, but more a constellation of needs and desires on my part and the challenges of publishing a quarterly magazine, particularly when it is primarily (though certainly not exclusively) a one-man operation. New pursuits in my life, the desire to provide more attention and focus on my own writing, the commitments of my day job, the need to not cut short my time with my family, and other considerations have all entered into this decision. It’s not one that I have enjoyed making, as I have loved publishing Into the Ruins these past four years, and I am consistently impressed and gratified by the incredible community that has grown around the publication. This has been a profitable venture, both in terms of money and, more importantly, in terms of my own pleasure and joy, as well as the sense that I am putting something worthy out into the world and bringing a community around the creation of something enjoyable and worthwhile.

To be clear, I am not ending publication due to a lack of support. Indeed, I think there is very much a market for a deindustrial science fiction quarterly, and I think Into the Ruins has proven that. My hope is that someone else will take up this mantle–and if anyone is interested, I would encourage them to get in touch with me for advice and feedback and guidance, as well as for publicity to this magazine’s readership for a project getting off the ground. I will do whatever I can to help a new deindustrial science fiction magazine be successful.

A big part of me would love to continue on this magazine to Issue #100 and beyond. But at this moment in my life, I feel the need to step back and reevaluate where my energy is going, to prepare for personal changes, and to reorient myself during a time of change. I hope that all of you, those of you who have been so steadfast in your support of this project, can understand that need and forgive me for stepping away.

All that said, I do not plan to disappear from your life, assuming you’ll have me. I will be launching an author’s website in short order to host my writings and a personal blog, and I hope that when I soon announce that site, many of you will be willing to follow me there and keep tabs on what I am doing. Issues of Into the Ruins will remain available for sale indefinitely, with this site staying in operation for the foreseeable future. (And remember, there is still another new issue to be released in a few months.) For those of you who have subscribed beyond the sixteenth issue, I will be in touch soon to offer you a refund or provide credit for purchase of other issues of the magazine, whichever you should choose. And I have not ruled out the possibility of more Into the Ruins publications in the future, perhaps as a one-off or series of anthologies, or in other forms. Should some kind of project along those lines eventually coalesce, I will be sure to let you all know through this website and the email list. You can also continue to follow the Figuration Press website for any announcements, as any future publication projects that take place will release under that press. (I hope as well to publish my own writing in the future; stay tuned!)

Finally, if you visit the subscription page, you will see that I am now only taking subscriptions for Issues #13-16. I have also deactivated the renewal link on the renew page. However, I will be offering partial renewals to anyone who has subscribed and whose subscription ends before the sixteenth issue. Please contact me for more information and I can get you set up with a purchase link.

Publishing Into the Ruins has been a fantastic experience thanks to the incredible community that has built itself up around it. I cannot thank all of you enough for your support, your dedication, your interactions and feedback, your contributions, your personal notes and insights and kind words. It has meant so much to me. And to all the writers–of stories, of letters, of essays and reviews–Into the Ruins would obviously be nothing without you. So thank you so much, as well. I will no doubt have plenty more to say this summer in the upcoming sixteenth and final issue of the magazine, but know that this project has been a truly great stretch of my life, and you all are responsible for that.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions, thoughts, feedback, concerns, or general commentary. My inbox is open, and as always, I would love to hear from you. And you’ll be hearing more from me, so stay tuned.

Thank you.

Joel Caris
Editor & Publisher