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Quotation for the day

“Time was, when you went to the corner newsstand looking for your favorite science-fiction magazine, you had to poke your way through a few-score girlie sheets, a barrier of Confessions, mechanical, and how-to magazines—and then, if you were lucky, you might just find a battered copy of what you wanted.  More often than not, it was upside-down and, often enough to make you gnash your teeth, it was last month’s issue, anyway.  Stares, smiles, and—you suspected—jeers followed you out the store and all the way home, unless you happened to have a convenient newspaper into which you could tuck the magazine.

“Happily, today it’s different.  Today the two dozen extant science fiction magazines—stf, in the terms of the trade—receive top priority at most newsstands, and the crowd at the corner is eager to discuss them with you.

“The science-fiction pulps and pocket-size magazines have quite suddenly become a respected form of escapist literature.

“Not long ago, you were home twirling the dials of your TV set.  Westerns.  Hackneyed murder mysteries.  Variety shows ad infinitum.  Quizzes and leering M.C.’s.

“Today, if you belong to the junior set, there’s Space Cadet and Captain Video and Flash Gordon.  If you’ve outgrown knee-britches,  there’s Eye Witness and Tales of Tomorrow as well as occasional science fiction on most of the better drama shows.

“That rapidly blossoming medium of entertainment, TV, has mated with that rapidly blossoming field of fiction, stf.

 —Milton Lesser, Looking Forward, 1953


6 Responses to “Quotation for the day”

  1. Ian Randal Strock on May 29th, 2008

    Ouch! That’s a painful look at the past, and the pendulumic nature of the entertainment industry. Thanks for sharing it.

  2. myshortname on June 3rd, 2008

    Dont give up. Newspapers almost gave up faced with the prospect of the internet threat.
    But they have reinvented themselves. Its possible for F & FS. The best fiction but at the
    moment its just for the few.

    Maybe if the website highlighted the famous stories from
    ray bradbury etc from 1949 ……. well that will bring in new readers especially those for
    whom 1949 is ancient history? (Warning fior americans – previous paragraph contains text intended to be ironic)

    Maybe if the magazine had an editorial – so the readers can see how the magazine is led?
    (I dont have a good way to argue for this but i do really feel its a weakness

  3. Gordon Van Gelder on June 5th, 2008

    Just out of curiosity, are you aware that we currently reprint one story each month on our Website?

    I know that’s not the same as what you’re asking for, but I’m just asking if you’ve found our current series of reprints interesting. We started doing online fiction reprints about a year ago and as far as I can tell, nobody has noticed.

  4. Joseph A Nagy Jr on June 6th, 2008

    No, I didn’t know. I’ll have to go and check those reprints out. I love pulp sci-fi, more so then I thought I would. I guess Isaac Asimov’s Before the Golden Age really bit me a bit deeper then I thought.

  5. Charlie Finlay on June 9th, 2008

    Gordon, can you tell if you’re getting (m)any page hits on those reprints?

  6. Gordon Van Gelder on June 12th, 2008


    I don’t have that info myself. I have to get it from our Webmeister.

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