John Scalzi ponders whether Heinlein would have written short fiction for the kind of money you can earn today. You should read what he says, but basically he asks can you attract writers to write short SF for a quarter what Heinlein got in 1939, does that affect the quality of fiction you get, and puts forward the proposition that the “classic” science fiction story — and the classic science fiction short story market — is dying because in 2007 it doesn’t pay well enough to keep it alive.
I’m pondering this and am a long way from sure of my own views on it. I think the overall quality of short SF published today is high, but i can see merit in his proposition. If writers are writing for something other than money – and they definitely are – then how does that affect the field? I also wonder whether short fiction is becoming more or less relevant to the SF field right now.