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F&SF, March 1972

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 1972, cover by Chesley BonestellIn memory of Alice Sheldon, aka James Tiptree Jr., who died on this date in 1987, ‪#‎TBT‬ to the March 1972 F&SF.

Chesley Bonestell’s cover shows “a globular cluster 500-light years distant from an airless planet.” Although it doesn’t illustrate any story inside, on p. 67 it was offered as a full color print for just $1.

Tiptree’s contribution to this issue was her human/alien exogamy sex trap story “And I Awoke and Found Me Here on the Cold Hill’s Side.” The story contains many of the key themes of Tiptree’s work, including the tension between reason and sexuality, and gender fluidity. It was published several years before Alice Sheldon’s identity was revealed and the introduction refers to her as “Mr. Tiptree.” “And I Awoke…” was a finalist for the Hugo and Nebula Awards in 1973, and has been reprinted dozens of times.

Alice Sheldon, aka James Tiptree, Jr., author photoAlso worth noting: Tiptree (author picture to the left courtesy of Wikipedia) didn’t publish her first sf story until she was 52 years old. It’s never too late to start a new career!

The rest of the issue contains the usual mix of style and tone that you expect from an issue of F&SF, while leaning toward sf stories. It leads with “Love Is A Dragonfly” by Thomas Burnett Swan, a fantasy novella in the world of his award-nominated Latium Trilogy. Swann was a professor and poet who died tragically of cancer at the age of 48, providing a counterpoint to Tiptree’s tale: start now!

“The Hippie-Dip File” by Robert Thurston is an if-this-goes-on story about drug use and drug laws in the near future. “Venus, Mars, and Baker Street” by Manly Wade Wellman and Wade Wellman is another entry in their Sherlock Holmes/War of the Worlds mash-up series. “Grasshopper Time” by Gordon Eklund is a quiet alien contact story that was included in Terry Carr’s Year’s Best Science Fiction 1973. “Pater Familias” by Barry N. Malzberg and Kris Neville is a short, sharp sf tale about memory and family and moving on.

The issue closes with “Is It the End of the World?” about a family facing doomsday, by the unjustly forgotten Wilma Shore. Shore doesn’t even rate a Wikipedia page (most of these facts about her come from the Jewish Women’s Archive), but her very second published story, “The Butcher,” was reprinted in The Best Short Stories 1941. Shore published in The New Yorker (http://www.newyorker.com/contributors/wilma-shore), Cosmopolitan, Story, The Saturday Evening Post, and almost every other prominent magazine of the 1940s and 50s. She also wrote for television and radio before being blacklisted by the House Un-American Activities Committee for her political beliefs during the McCarthy era. During the 1960s and 70s, Shore published 4 science fiction stories, 3 of them appearing in F&SF. All of them were translated or reprinted. The only collection of her short fiction – Women Should Be Allowed: A Verbatim Report on the Imbroglio Between the Sexes – appeared in 1965. Shore lived in NY and taught writing, continuing to work until her death ten years ago last week, in May 2006, at the age of 92.

Plus the issue includes book reviews by Alexei and Cory Panshin, a Searles film column, Asimov’s science column, a Gahan Wilson cartoon, and the winning results for F&SF Competition #1, “absolutely mad inventions.”

Which reminds us – Competition #92, “Updated,” is underway right now: https://www.sfsite.com/fsf/2016/competition1605.htm

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