Fantasy & Science Fiction

ANALYSIS OF THE CONTENTS IN THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION
Index | Analysis | Story Types | Reprints & Original Fiction | Artists | Miscellany | History | Staff | Acknowledgments | Dedication | Abbreviations | Resources
 
Table ANALYSIS
F&SF: COVER ART (by date) Poems & Cartoons
These have always been filler material in F&SF, as well as to add sardonic wit & humor between stories or columns. But they have not been used equally through the decades as the chart below shows:
Poems & Cartoons 1949, 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s
Poems 94 83 33 22 3
Cartoons 15 58 127 272 442

As can be seen, poems have been steadily decline and are now rare in F&SF. Cartoons, on the other hand, have increased dramatically in F&SF, especially after Gahan Wilson's streak of one cartoon in each issue from April 1965 to October 1981 ended (for a total of 204 of his cartoons).

Book Reviews
Book reviews first began in F&SF in its 2nd issue, Winter/Spring 1950. They mostly stayed with one per issue, for the most part, until the 1990s, when it became common to have two or three per issue, and sometimes four. Early book reviews by Boucher & McComas tended to be one or two sentences per book, really a listing of books in the genre that had been published recently. Then came real reviews by a series of reviewers (Damon Knight, Alfred Bester, Avram Davidson, Judith Merril, Joanna Russ, Algis Budrys, Orson Scott Card, Charles de Lint), with the occasional guest reviewer adding their words. Often these reviews were begun with an essay on an author or publishing trend, or the perennial essay on what is the difference between fantasy and science fiction. In 1966, there began to be the occasional issue with two book reviews, one being an in-depth exploration of two or three books, the other review offering shorter briefs of more books. In the 1990s, with the explosion of published books, an in-depth review column was followed by several shorter review columns, therefore covering as many books as possible. In June 1998, a new column, "Curiosities," reviewed older books that deserved attention and that might be found in used bookstores. (It was preceded by a series of columns by Mike Resnick, "Forgotten Treasures," between February 1997 and March 1998, that served the same purpose). The following chart shows the number of book reviews per decade, along with the number of issues in that decade:
Book Reviews 1949, 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s
No. Issues 103 120 120 120 111
No. Book Reviews 98 143 116 148 242

Movie or TV Reviews
Charles Beaumont was the original movie reviewer for F&SF, doing 10 in the 1950s, as well as one TV review. The TV review, in the December 1959 issue, was for the express purpose for telling the readers about a great new show, The Twilight Zone, for which Beaumont was to eventually write many scripts. In the late 1960s there were 5 movie reviews, 4 by Samuel R. Delany, 1 by Edmund Emshwiller. Baird Searles then began a long run of 163 combined movie & TV reviews, between September 1970 & July 1984. The movie reviews were then taken over by "Harlan Ellison's Watching" columns, a column which first began in the Cosmos SF&F Magazine in September 1977. In the October/November 1991 issue, F&SF's first combined issue, Kathi Maio began reviewing movies, and continues to do so today. Ellison and Maio both write lengthy essay reviews for their movie columns. Since Baird Searles, there has always been a movie review column in F&SF, though it may be published quarterly at times.

Editorials
F&SF's first editorial was by Avram Davidson in the April 1962 issue. He would do 14 during his brief tenure as editor. After the rare editorials by editorial assistant Ted White (2) and editor/publisher Edward L. Ferman (4), the F&SF editorial began to flourish under the editorial helm of Kristine Kathryn Rusch. She wrote 60 editorials during her 70-issue editorship, between July 1991 and May Her editorials were engaging, often asking the readers to respond to them, and perhaps having their responses published as well. She wrote a series of editorials on the publishing industry, titled "A Reader's Guide to Publishing," between July & December 1996, during which she published the opinions of readers and book shop owners. She also wrote of many issues of interest to the reader, such as what the role of an editor should be, writer ethics, and censorship. During his 28 issues as F&SF's editor, at the end of its first 50 years, Gordon Van Gelder has written 8 editorials, including one for its 50th Anniversary Issue, October/November 1999. Hopefully he will write more.

Fiction & Non-Fiction
The following is a chart showing the length of the stories and the number of non-fiction pieces in F&SF through its 50 years, giving the number of issues per decade, as well as average issue size (in pages):
Fiction & Non-Fiction 1949, 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s
No. Issues 103 120 120 120 111
Issue Size 128 132 164 164 164*
Vignettes 125 127 44 28 18
Short Stories** 726 583 539 608 567
Novelettes 126 173 222 256 225
Novellas 18 26 36 32 41
Novels 5 7 13 2 1
Articles 25 56 17 5 81
Asimov Essays 14 120 120 120 26
* 244 pages for 8 combined October/November issues; 324 pages for October/November 1999.
** Facetious articles (fa), spoofs (spf), group of related stories (gp), and humorous essays (hues), are included among the short stories.

A few conclusions can be made from this table. Most are obvious. Vignettes which were popular in the first 20 years (65 by Reginald Bretnor alone in his Ferdinand Feghoot series, writing as Grendel Briarton), declined sharply after the 1960s, perhaps because the issue increased by 32 pages in late 1972, favoring the publication of longer pieces. Vignettes and short stories made up the majority of the fiction in the 1950s; the number of short stories per decade stabilized in the 1960s through the 1990s, at roughly about 575 per decade. Novelettes and novellas increased in frequency, also perhaps, as the issue size increased in late 1972. The popularity of the novel was at its most in the 1970s, then quickly died in the 1980s and 1990s.

Non-fiction articles were most popular in the 1960s; then F&SF relied heavily on Isaac Asimov's science essays in the 1970s & 1980s. After Asimov died on April 6, 1992, and his last science essay published in F&SF's February 1992 issue, articles (which were mostly science articles) were written by a series of different authors (Gregory Benford, Bruce Sterling, Janet Asimov, Pat Murphy & Paul Doherty). In fact, between September 1958 and February 1992 there was a science article published in every issue of F&SF; between November 1958 and February 1992, all the science articles were by Isaac Asimov; post-Asimov, in the 86 ssues between March 1992 and December 1999, there were only 10 issues ithout a science article (1992 Mar; 1994 Dec; 1995 Apr; 1996 Dec; 1997 Apr-Jul; 1998 May & Jul).

F&SF: COVER ART (by artist)
F&SF: INTERIOR ART (by date)
F&SF: INTERIOR ART (by artist)
F&SF: FIRST PUBLICATIONS (by date)
F&SF: FIRST PUBLICATIONS (by author)
F&SF: PSEUDONYMS (by pseudonym)
F&SF: PSEUDONYMS (by author)
F&SF: TRANSLATED WORKS (by date)
F&SF: TRANSLATED WORKS (by author)
F&SF: SERIES AND SEQUELS (by series)
F&SF: SERIES AND SEQUELS (by author)
F&SF: LETTERS (by date)
F&SF: LETTERS (by author)
F&SF: PERSONS MENTIONED IN ISAAC ASIMOV'S SCIENCE COLUMN (by date)
F&SF: SUBJECTS MENTIONED IN ISAAC ASIMOV'S SCIENCE COLUMN (by date)
F&SF: SPECIAL ISSUE, THEME OR MOTIF (by date)
F&SF: SPECIAL ISSUE, THEME OR MOTIF (by type)
F&SF: HUGO AWARDS (by date)
F&SF: HUGO AWARDS (by person)
F&SF: NEBULA AWARDS (by date)
F&SF: NEBULA AWARDS (by person)
F&SF: OTHER AWARDS (by date)
F&SF: OTHER AWARDS (by person)
F&SF: ANTHOLOGIES (by date)
F&SF: ANTHOLOGIES (by editor)
F&SF: ANTHOLOGIES (by content)
F&SF: ANTHOLOGY STORIES (by author)
F&SF: STORIES (by date)
F&SF: STORIES (by author)
 
 
Venture Science Fiction
VSF: COVER ART (by date)
VSF: COVER ART (by artist)
VSF: INTERIOR ART (by date)
VSF: INTERIOR ART (by artist)
VSF: FIRST PUBLICATIONS (by date)
VSF: FIRST PUBLICATIONS (by author)
VSF: PSEUDONYMS (by pseudonym)
VSF: PSEUDONYMS (by author)
VSF: SERIES AND SEQUELS (by series)
VSF: SERIES AND SEQUELS (by author)
VSF: ANTHOLOGIES (by date)
VSF: ANTHOLOGY STORIES (by author)
VSF: STORIES (by date)
VSF: STORIES (by author)

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