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Opium's Subscribe Or I'll Kill Someone Initiative (aka Opium's Subscribe So We Can Last Forever Strategy)
by Todd Zuniga
reading time


A quick story: in 2000, I bought my favorite magazine at the time (and, in many ways, still is): Story Magazine. With that issue, I discovered that I was holding the magazine's last issue. I felt a sort of jarring disappointment, an educating depression that things don't last forever.

I want Opium to last forever. Recently--after finding that I had misplaced a zero in our bank account (actually, a few zeroes)--I found that Opium had much less money than I thought we did. It was a frightening moment for me and the life of the magazine, but an important one. I discovered how acutely important Opium was to me and the literary community--and finagled a way to financially prop up the magazine for the short term.

It's very difficult for me--not because of pride, but because of how much I care--to ask the same community that has made Opium such a vibrant and storied place for fiction, poetry, interviews, and downright daring, to help me in the cause to keep Opium going forever. But just think: $1.50 a month to assist in infinity. Not bad.

I'll admit that as a fiction writer myself, as many of you are, I've described Opium as a timesuck, a distraction, an eater of my potential novels. But I've also, far more often, described Opium as an innovative, exciting magazine both online and off that showcases that reading can be presented in an exciting manner, and can out-entertain the latest episode of Lost, an hour with Grand Theft Auto IV,  a few minutes of YouTube.

I hope you see this isn't a request for charity, but a plea for support, an invitation to invest. Consider that a one-year Opium subscription is 1/1944th of your annual income if you make $35,000/yr. Is that a selling point? We're hoping that's a selling point. (Also, if you want to aid Opium's march to infinitude, but $18 seems steep, there are other, more fiscally responsible ways to help, for $10, $6, or even $2.75--and of course Paypal donations from 11 cents to $11,000 are always welcome:

Really, seriously, Opium is a progressive effort, from our print magazine to our Literary Death Match reading series, to our evolving websites in both the United States and Europe (and the eventual launch of Opium Studio and Opium Live). Your subscription will not only support our efforts, but it'll land a copy of Opium in your mailbox every six months, a sparklingly (and taxingly) designed gift that will make you the talk of the room. Plus, you'll get an invitation to participate in our Opium Around the World Party (where you don't even have to leave your house) that we've been planing for our 10th year anniversary (only three years away!).

And because we believe in incentive, if you subscribe now, you'll get a back issue free of charge, shipped with the first issue you order. THAT'S THREE FOR THE PRICE OF TWO!  Or, if you've smartly subscribed to the two-year subscription, that's FIVE FOR THE PRICE OF FOUR!

These are issues that include stories that have been selected for Best American Non-Required Reading, two stories that are now finalists for Pushcart Prizes, cartoons by people who can--and some who sort of can't--draw!

So, please: Subscribe! Or I'll kill someone! I mean, so we can last forever! If you have any questions at all about this (you must, right?), ask them, and I'll answer right on

Thanks, as always, for your support and interest in Opium. It boggles my brain that Opium has come this far (after I had originally intended for it to last one calendar year when it launched in February 2001).

Todd Zuniga
Founding Editor

What we're doing...
...for the environment: no air-shipped issues, and printing on recycled paper!
...for literature: publishing the next great stars alongside already established ones!
...for design: creating an inventive, can't-look-away design every six months! 
...for contests: presenting fun, goofball structures like our 7-line, bookmark and 500-word memoir contests!
...for old ladies who have fallen: picking them up!
...for waffles: way less than we hoped.

Click here and subscribe, subscribe, subscribe! What a great summer gift! What a great way to romance a lady! What a great way to have another book!


Todd Zuniga is Opium's founding editor, and the president of Opium for the Arts. His fiction has appeared in print and online. He lives between Paris and couches all over the United States.
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Comments panel
Duke Stewart 4.29.2008
Thanks for requesting another story. I've just sent one called "O" as in orgasmic, opium, ocetera to the print edition. Hope you enjoy. I'm not too sure about the formatting though Duke
g 4.29.2008
already subscriber, so i was going to go buy a couple of your bags of hot air but you're no longer offering them :(
g 4.29.2008
if you do kill someone, be sure to kill someone famous or do it in a very interesting/exotic way, that will make opium magazine take off for sure! sure, you'll probably end up on death row and someone else will have to run the place and they'll probably run it into the ground, but it's these kinds of sacrifices that keeps good literature going, well until it's been run into the ground by someone else anyway. see, you just gotta look on the bright side, it's really a win/win situation here! i bet even the person you murdered, you know if they were still alive, would be hard pressed to find any fault in your actions once all the facts and reasons were presented to him. "anything for literature!" he'd probably scream excited to have even played a part in the whole scheme. yes, i am certain that is what would happen.
Todd Zuniga 4.29.2008
G, Thanks for subscribing! But I have it on good authority that you love someone, and that someone is not a subscriber. They might not even know that Opium exists. But with your influence and care, they will! Dare to inundate them with what Mark Twain is calling "the most progressive, fun literary magazine of its generation!" Todd
mo 5.2.2008
who won the bookmark contest?
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