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F&SF, March 1966

Over the past year, we’ve been doing a #TBT (Throw Back Thursday) feature on the F&SF Twitter account and Facebook page. For the new year, we thought it might be good to add them here where they can be easily found under the “F&SF History” tag.

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Fantasy & Science Fiction, March 1966, cover by Gray Morrow‪#‎TBT‬ to the March 1966 F&SF. Gray Morrow’s cover illustrates “Angels Unawares” by Zenna Henderson.

“Angels Unawares” is a novelet in The People series by Zenna Henderson. Henderson was an elementary school teacher and science fiction writer from Arizona. F&SF published her very first story in 1951. Between 1952 and 1980, she published 16 stories about The People in F&SF, making it one of the longest running series in the magazine. Although Henderson’s The People were frequently lead stories or anchor stories in F&SF, this was the only cover story for the series. The People are humanoid alien refugees with psychic Gifts hiding on Earth in the 19th-century American west. Difference and isolation are persistent themes in Henderson’s stories. That’s the case in “Angels Unawares,” where a couple moving to the remote mining town of Margin rescue and raise a small girl whose family has been murdered for witchcraft. The People stories were collected in books, nominated for Hugos, and made into a 1971 TV movie (“The People”) starring William Shatner.

The other novelet in this issue is by Kathleen James, a pseudonym for Wilhelmina Baird, which was itself a pseudonym! James’s story “The Blind God’s Eye” is about “a young dishwasher’s tragic affair with an assassin.” How can you not read that?

The rest of the issue contains an assortment of short stories in a variety of genres. “I Remember Oblivion” by Henry Slesar is an sf story about a premise we would now call memory wiping. “Lil, Rorrity, and A Foamin’ Sea of Steam Beer” by Richard Olin is a fantasy farce about an Irishman and magic beer. “White Night” by John Tomerlin is an archeological horror story and “Grow Old Along With Me” by Julius Fast describes an encounter with Satan.

The issue also includes a new poem by Doris Pitkin Buck and a reprint poem by Rudyard Kipling, and a Gahan Wilson cartoon, plus Judith Merrill’s book reviews and Isaac Asimov’s science column. There’s also part 2 of assistant editor Ted White’s editorial essay on the slush pile. (We covered part 1 in a #TBT feature last month.)

“We receive between seventy-five and ninety ‘unsolicited submissions’ every week,” White says, to explain why the magazine uses form rejections. “If we made a personal comment on all of them, we would have little time for anything else.”

In 2016, with electronic submissions, F&SF currently receives between 225-250 submissions every week! But that just means we’ve got a better selection of stories to bring you than ever before.

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