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F&SF, July 1979

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 1979 art by Barclay Shaw‪#‎TBT‬ to the July 1979 F&SF. The Barclay Shaw cover illustrates “Jumping the Line” by Grania Davis.

The issue opens with “Red as Blood” by Tanith Lee. It was nominated for the 1980 BFA and Nebula Awards. Lee was already an established novelist but this Snow White variation was her first story published in F&SF.

That’s followed by “Jumping the Line” by novelist Grania Davis, also her first story in F&SF. It’s a vivid allegorical tale about waiting for rewards.

Next up is “The Mountain Fastness” by Phyllis Eisenstein, a tale of Alaric the Minstrel and the first new one to follow Born To Exile. (There’s a brand new Alaric story in the July/Aug F&SFcheck it out.)

The rest of the issue has a mix of sf and fantasy, serious work and humor. “The View from Endless Scarp,” a space colonization story, by Marta Randall is also her first appearance in F&SF. “Taming of the Shrew” by Herbie Brennan is a murder mystery with an sf solution. “The Trip of Bradley Oesterhaus” by psychologist Felix C. Gotschalk is written in his typically idiosyncratic voice and style. “A Modern Magician” by Olaf Stapledon is a posthumous first publication of an unpublished story discovered in his papers. It’s the story of a man who develops supernatural powers but lacks the maturity to use them wisely. It has echoes with the discovery of atomic power.

The issue’s fiction closes with “Prose Bowl,” a story about the New-Sport of competitive writing, by Bill Prozini and Barry N. Malzberg.

George Zebrowski reviews Soviet sf in translation (Lem, Strugatsky), and Brad Searles covers sf on tv (“Battlestar Gallatica,” “Mork and Mindy”). There’s also a Gahan Wilson cartoon and Isaac Asimov’s science column (discussing which stars are visible from which parts of Earth).

This issue ends with a letters column full of readers angry about Joanna Russ’s critique of Lord of the Rings, and Russ’s gracious reply. “I’m glad to see people who feel strongly about what they read and who write to a magazine when they disagree vehemently,” Russ wrote. Her longer reply, “In Defense of Criticism,” was published in the November 1979 issue and reprinted in Best of F&SF 23rd Series (1980).


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