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F&SF, July 1965

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, July 1965, cover by Jack Vaughn‪#TBT‪ to the July 1965 issue of F&SF and this Jack Vaughn illustration for Avram Davidson’s “Rogue Dragon.”‬

‪Based on the cover, you’d think “Rogue Dragon” was a fantasy story but it’s far future SF where Earth is set aside as a nature preserve. Davidson’s novella was nominated for the 1966 Nebula Award. The expanded novel version was also nominated for the Nebula… the same year! (Did that ever happen any other time?) “Rogue Dragon” takes up nearly half the issue (58 of 128 pages) and is a fun adventure story filled galactic empires, dragons, and nomad poets.

The next story in the issue is “The Expendables” by Miriam Allen DeFord. Despite the same title, it’s not the basis for Sylvester Stallone’s movie. DeFord’s story is, instead, about a risky first mission to Mars, where old astronauts (their average age is 75) have been chosen because they’re expendable. Although the story was translated into German as “Die Expedition der Alten” in 1966, it hasn’t ever been reprinted as far as I can tell.

“The Eight Billion” by Richard Wilson is about the King of New York in an hyperbolically overpopulated world where 8 billion people live underground. (World population was around 3 billion when the story was written. We’re very close to 8 billion people now but still no King of New York! #cheated)‬ “The Eight Billion” was much reprinted and nominated for the Nebula for short story but lost to ‘”Repent, Harlequin!” Said the Ticktockman.’‬

It’s followed by “Becalmed in Hell,” a Known Space story by Larry Niven, which was also nominated for the short story Nebula that year. Niven’s first F&SF story was about a man and a brainship stranded on a flight to Venus; it was a sequel to “The Coldest Place” (IF, Dec 1964). “Becalmed in Hell” was included in Wollheim’s and Carr’s World’s Best Science Fiction 1966 and has been reprinted dozens of times.

The last story in the issue is “A Murkle for Jesse,” an Irish-flavored fantasy set in Vermont, written by historical novelist Gary Jennings.‬


The issue rounds out with science columns by Theodore Thomas (computers for medical diagnosis) and Isaac Asimov (Fermat’s Last Theorem),‬ Judith Merrill’s book reviews (Vonnegutt, Ballard, Vance, and others), a cartoon by Gahan Wilson, and a sonnet (“The Pterodactyl”) by Philip Jose Farmer.‬


Farmer’s poem ends the issue with this: “…press‬
Form’s flesh around thought’s rib, and so derive‬
From the act of beauty, beauty of the act.”‬

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