As many writers do, Angela Yuriko Smith had been submitting her fiction and poetry works to various publications last year when she came across a notice in Space and Time, a speculative fiction magazine that had been published continuously since 1966.
The publisher and editor-in-chief would be stepping down, and Space and Time would close unless a new buyer and publisher stepped forward.
Smith, a recent transplant to Independence from the Florida Panhandle, discussed the matter with her husband, Ryan, and they decided to be the people who stepped forward. They bought the magazine from publisher Hildy Silverman, who had taken over in 2009 from founder Gordon Linzner.
“I had been in the industry a while, writing, and I had some experience as a publisher,” she said, referring to a regional periodical in Florida, “and we did this out of love.”
Angela and Ryan took over as publishers Jan. 1, laying out the publication in a little home office. Their first quarterly issue was published March 21. They plan to publish on the solstices – a nod not only to the nature of the magazine but also to give readers a regular schedule they can track.
“If something like this closed after 52 years, it would be terrible,” said Ryan, a native Australian who provides audio narrations of the magazine's content for digital consumers and like Angela is a published author. “To be around 52 years, they must've been doing something right.”
“He is the voice of Space and Time,” Angela said of her husband, who is nearing a business management degree and as such also crunches the numbers for Space and Time. “It makes for a good team.”
Both say they wouldn't have acquired the magazine if many of the editors hadn't agreed to stay on board. Chief among them are Gerard Houarner (fiction), Linda Addison (poetry) and Diane Weinstein (art). Linzner still contributes to the magazine and like Silverman is listed as “editor emeritus.”
“We couldn't do it by ourselves,” Angela said.
“I knew what I wanted to be in there, and I knew how much work it would be,” Ryan said. “We have a full squad of people helping out of love for the magazine.”
They don't have a problem finding worthy pieces to print, Angela said, as editors often have to pare down submitted works by more than half.
In addition to the audio files, the Smiths aim to build the magazine's social media presence, add more art to the editions and host some open mic nights.
In its heyday, Space and Time had about 1,200 print subscribers, Angela said. Now it has about 50 among 300 total subscribers – the rest digital subscribers.
Angela said they're not aiming to make big profits. It's a hobby of passion, and breaking even on operations would be worth it to continue giving a voice and space to aspiring writers. She calls it “literary treasure hunting.”
“We've tried to stay true to the magazine and not revamp it so much that it's unrecognizable,” she said.