Magazines

Stories

One of the world's most popular magazines.

Founded in 1963 as a monthly magazine for short stories and other literary snippets, Stories began publishing twice a month in 2004. Each issue covers a variety of topics; although many of the stories flirt with genre, the magazine tends stays away from anything overly-specialized. There's also a humor column, micro-fiction, and comics.

Stories are often compared to traditional vernacular fiction, and "fit for the pages of Stories" is a criticism often levelled at contemporary authors of literary fiction whose storytelling gets too simple or precious. At least among Chinese netizens who grew up reading the Stories in the 80s, there's a feeling that the magazine has gone soft and predictable. This feeling is echoed in the "editor's note" column in the August, 2008 issue:

Let me round up some common, shopworn subjects that really shouldn't make it into many more stories, in the hopes that it will be illuminating to you all:

  1. The Anti-Japanese War and the Cultural Revolution: Stories with these events as background have been written countless times over the last few decades, so it's difficult to break new ground in plot and theme. In addition, these subjects are fairly distant from the real lives of readers today, so it's hard to catch their interest or elicit their sympathy any longer.
  2. Old, familiar subjects: the lottery, online chatting, SMS scams, gifts and bribes, collecting, kidnapping, car accidents, leukemia, kidney transplants, twins, extramarital affairs, pickpockets, teacher's assistants, crime investigation, mining, treasure hunting, hauntings...stories about these subjects, or whose plots that hinge on these subjects, make up the vast majority of submissions. If there's a sudden death, if it's not a car accident accident then it's leukemia; crime investigations always start with the scene of the crime; a woman dies and returns to life, and if she's not a ghost then she's a twin....so for old subjects like these that have been written thousands of times, unless you can dream up a ground-breaking plot that stands out from tradition, it's best to use them as little as possible.
  3. Rural subjects: There are many unsophisticated rural authors in the ranks of our story writers, which means that rural subjects make up a large portion of submissions. However, our readers don't really enjoy reading stories depicting the poor, backward countryside and old customs and ideas. If a story begins: In such-and-such village, such-and-such town, so-and-so's family was very poor. His father had died, his mother was paralyzed, and his child had no money to go to school....how many readers are willing to continue reading material that starts off like this? Of course, if you can write a new story, one that reflects new ideas and the new face of new rural life, we might like it.
  4. Sensitive political subjects and material that has a negative societal influence: These subjects will cause unwanted problems, so avoid them as much as possible.

Its small size, inexpensive cover price, and mass-market content pushed monthly circulation to 4 million copies at the end of the 1990s, making Stories one of the top-five magazines worldwide in terms of circulation.

The magazine's emblem is the Han Dynasty storyteller figure discovered in Chengdu in 1957.

Publication License Number: CN31-1127/I

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