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October/November 2009
Book Reviews
Charles de Lint
Elizabeth Hand
Michelle West
James Sallis
Chris Moriarty
Plumage from Pegasus
Off On a Tangent: F&SF Style
Kathi Maio
Lucius Shepard
Gregory Benford
Pat Murphy & Paul Doherty
Jerry Oltion
Coming Attractions
F&SF Bibliography: 1949-1999
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Editorial - October/November 2009
by Gordon Van Gelder

IN 1981, when I was fourteen, I started reading a magazine filled with wondrous stories. From my youth, I remember stories about time-viewing, werewinds, murder mysteries in space, a gunslinger's adventures across a ravaged landscape, and funny stories about a wizard whose princess wife could only make frog noises.

In 1997, I started editing the magazine that published these stories. Now the magazine's turning sixty and I realize I've been calling the shots for one fifth of F&SF's amazing history.

I've always welcomed feedback on the issues I've edited, and back in the nineties, a kid named Scott Thomas used to tell me which stories he liked. Ron Goulart's work went over well with him, I recall. These days, when he's between acting gigs, Scott's working on our staff…and he still loves to tell me which stories he likes best. The difference is that he's doing it with submissions and not our final product.

In 2024, when F&SF turns seventy-five, I hope we'll have staffers who look back on these late-oughts issues with great fondness as they too find it amazing to realize what a wonderful enterprise they're part of.

But who knows what the future holds? The one thing of which I feel certain is that in ten, fifteen, fifty, five hundred years, people will be telling each other fantastic tales and marvelous speculations. My fondest hope is that F&SF will be running stories to rival the best that we have published in our first sixty years…but after having recently assembled an anthology of our best stories, I know what a tall order that is.

Speaking of our bestest stories, the results of our poll from the March issue were not surprising: our number one most popular story remains "Flowers for Algernon." Take a bow, Mr. Keyes. Other vote-getters in the sparse balloting included Cordwainer Smith's "Alpha Ralpha Boulevard," Zenna Henderson's "Ararat," Manly Wade Wellman's "On the Hills and Everywhere," and Archibald MacLeish's poem "Epistle to Be Left in the Earth." I attribute the lack of votes to the fact that the only mention of this poll came at the end of an editorial.

Bob Silverberg has contributed some of our best stories over the years, and when he submitted his story for this issue, he sent a note marveling at the passage of time since he encountered our first issue. I realized that readers might find his comments interesting

…then I invited the other contributors to comment on their first memories of F&SF. The story header notes in this issue share lots of memories about this sixty-year-young magazine.

I'd personally like to thank everyone who has participated in F&SF over the last six decades—Tony and Mick, Bob Mills, Avram, Kris, the Fermans, JJA, Robin, Nina, Kathy, Jerry, thousands of contributors and staffers, and most of all, our many readers. Whether you've been with us since issue #1 or if you just discovered us, you make the magazine what it is and your input will help lift us to new heights in the years ahead.

*     *     *

The copyright credit for Harlan Ellison's introduction to "Snowfall" was omitted from our Aug./Sept. 2009 issue. The copyright line should read: Copyright © 2009 by The Kilimanjaro Corp. All rights reserved.


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