As at least some of my readers know, I began my career in science fiction by writing short stories, initially primarily for ANALOG when Ben Bova was the editor. I still have a love of short stories, but, since they don’t come anywhere close to paying the bills, for me, and I suspect for most writers, short stories are either a labor of love or to get experience, if not both, along with a little income.
One of my very personal problems with a great deal of the short fiction that I’ve read in the last decade is that, in my very prejudiced and personal opinion, too many of the stories being published are either techno-gadget stories or excessively dark. I have nothing against either a good techno-gadget story or a dark story. I’ve certainly written my share of techno-gadget stories, particularly early in my career, and I’ve written a few dark stories – not insanely dark and vicious ones, but quietly dark tales. I do have a dislike of dark and gimmick stories in great numbers, but that’s a personal preference of mine, clearly not shared by many editors and readers.
From what I’ve seen, the predominance of “dark” stories isn’t limited to F&SF, either. In fact, “dark” seems to be the predominant flavor all too much of the “mainstream.” Now… I know there’s a great deal of funny and witty chick lit being written, but as a male, for me a little of that goes a long way.
I still do write short stories, although the last one I had published appeared in print over two years ago, but to achieve what I want in a short story seems to require intense bursts of work, followed by weeks or months of unconscious contemplation, followed by revision, more contemplation, and more revision, all in the spaces between novels, or at least chapters of novels. Then, add to that the fact that most of the stories I write seem to appeal more to anthologists and book editors than to U.S. magazine editors. Beyond that… yes, there are more short stories coming, but not for a while.