World's Largest Science Fiction Magazine Faces Author Uprising

China's main science fiction magazine, Kehuan Shijie (Science Fiction World), is facing a revolt from its best-known authors, because circulation dropped from 150,000 to 130,000. At least it's still got some gorgeous covers, as you can see below.

Kehuan Shijie isn't alone, of course — U.S. magazines have seen steep circulation drops in recent years as well. What's unusual here is that the country's top authors are incensed enough to protest about it.

The leading SF writers in China have joined a movement to remove Li Chiang as president of the magazine's editorial board. They've joined a movement to unseat Li that includes an open letter signed by the magazine's other editors, and has the support of thousands of Chinese SF fans. Among their number is Wang Jikang, six-time winner of China's prestigious Galaxy Award for science fiction. (Wang's best-known works include Life Of Ants and Cross, the story of a devastating biological warfare attack on the United States.)

According to the Xinhua News Agency
:

Such editorial rebellions are rarely heard of in China as the publication sector is firmly controlled by the Communist Party and the president or editor-in-chief of a magazine is appointed by the superior administrative department...

SFW had a circulation of 150,000 copies a month when Li took over at the beginning of 2009, but the latest figures showed the figure has fallen to 130,000, said a senior editor of the magazine.

"The circulation had been declining in recent years. We are all anxious, but Li took no positive action and it kept declining," said the editor.

Li was appointed SFW's president and chief editor by the Sichuan Association for Science and Technology (SAST), an organization of scientists and technicians under the Sichuan Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China.

Here are some more gorgeous recent covers from Science Fiction World and its affiliated book-publishing arm:

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