For the last five years, Wednesdays have held a special place on this blog. Every Wednesday, it was our distinct pleasure to present a new chapter of serial Pathfinder web fiction. Some stories were from authors you already knew, tied into the latest Pathfinder novels. Others were from first-time Pathfinder authors, trying out new characters in front of a live audience—the entire internet.
Of all the fun that the web fiction has brought us, far and away the part I appreciate most is the number of authors who started with web fiction, knocked it out of the park, and went on to become beloved authors in the novel line. Some, like Chris. A. Jackson and Liane Merciel, were already accomplished novelists, simply taking their first crack at shared-world writing. Yet for others, like Wendy N. Wagner, Josh Vogt, and Gary Kloster, scoring a critical hit on their web fiction led directly to the sale of their first published novels. As an editor, there's no greater joy than being the first to snag an author destined for great things, and I cackle with glee at the thought of having been the midwife to those awesome authors' first novels.
But all good things must come to an end.
Over the last half a decade, Pathfinder has grown immensely, and Paizo with it. This blog, once such a fragile creature that it could be taken out simply by removing all the keys on Wes's keyboard, is now a robust beast with more posts per week than there are days. And while the web fiction was once one of very few outlets for folks hungry for Pathfinder fiction, there are now dozens of novels, not to mention the Pathfinder's journals, comics, audio dramas, and a huge backlist of free short fiction. Where once I (and later Senior Editor Chris Carey) desperately needed the web fiction to help us find the next great Pathfinder Tales authors, in the wake of Pathfinder Tales teaming up with Tor/Macmillan, I've got amazing, established authors like Max Gladstone, Sam Sykes, and Richard A. Knaak joining a roster already packed with folks like Tim Pratt, Dave Gross, Chris Jackson, and Liane Merciel. Add in the expense, both in time and money, of buying and illustrating free web fiction stories, and it just doesn't make sense to continue the tradition.
The web fiction we've already posted will continue to be available for free in perpetuity, and I'm also hoping to complete the ePub processing of the stories very soon for folks who prefer to read them that way. We'll also continue to post free sample chapters of the novels as each one comes out to let you test-drive the books before you buy.
Many thanks to all the faithful web fiction readers, and I hope you continue to enjoy Pathfinder Tales in all its various forms!
James L. Sutter