"Last year, I read scores of stories that felt ... not quite dead on the page, I won’t go that far, but airless, somehow, and self-referring. These stories felt show-offy rather than entertaining, self-important rather than interesting, guarded and self-conscious rather than gloriously open, and worst of all, written for editors and teachers rather than for readers. "
Ellen Datlow disagrees and makes the very valid point that King somehow seems to have missed all the fantasy and science fiction magazines. Not even a mention of Ellery Queen.
Personally, I've read more great short fiction over the past couple of years than I ever have before. King is right about the bottom shelf - it's hard to discover short fiction, but it's not that hard. A trip to the local library to pick up one of the many year's best titles might be a good start. Or possibly the sidebar of this blog - I'll add a few magazines and sites I enjoy.
In other short fiction news: Fantasy magazine is moving online and giving it away for free. I think this is a very good thing, and brave: Strange Horizons (and many others) are doing this already, but Fantasy is pretty well established as a print magazine. I'll be watching with interest.