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F&SF, July 1953

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 1953, cover by Emsh#TBT to the July 1953 F&SF. It was published with 2 covers, one in the old style (right) and one in the new (left). The magazine went with the logo on the left and used it for the rest of Anthony Boucher’s reign as editor, through August 1958. With slight modifications, the new banner continued in use through April 1979.

The cover art by Emsh illustrates “The Hypnoglyph” by John Anthony. John Anthony was a pseudonym for John Ciardi, poet, translator, and later long-term director of the Bread Loaf Writers Conference. He was a professor at Harvard when he sold the story to F&SF and used the different byline because “reviewers of poetry [are] shortsighted and toplofty.” “The Hypnoglyph” is an sf idea story that expresses anxiety over gender roles and power relationships. Ciardi published one more story and a poem in F&SF. He may be better known among genre readers for the two collections of limericks that he later co-edited with Isaac Asimov.

Introduction to The Star Gypsies from F&SF July 1953Overall, the issue has an emphasis on very short stories, mostly science fiction, along with several interesting poems. It opens with “The Star Gypsies” by William Lindsay Gresham, about a group of people roaming wastelands after a nuclear apocalypse. The trope seems familiar now, but Gresham, primarily known as a noir writer, invented it in this story.

Mad Max Fury Road Doof Warrior gifSo, in a way, what I’m saying is we can all thank Gresham and F&SF for the existence of this gif.

You’re welcome.

Other noteworthy stories in this issue include “Star Light, Star Bright” by Alfred Bester, about an adult pursuing children with supernatural powers. It became the title story of one of Bester’s collections and was nominated for a Retro Hugo Award in 2004. There’s also “Judgment Planet” by Idris Seabright (Margaret St. Clair), which is an sf survival story mixed with social commentary, and “Expendable” by Philip K. Dick, which introduces the human/bug war premise he’d later explore differently in The Cosmic Puppets.

After these stories, the issue also includes “The Adventure of the Snitch in Time” by August Derleth and Mack Reynolds, another in their sf Sherlock Holmesian Solar Pons series, and “The Untimely Toper,” a Gavagan’s Bar story by L. Sprague de Camp and Fletcher Pratt. “Man” is a short alien life forms story by Dave Dryfoos, “Mop-up” by Arthur Porges is a Last Man on Earth story, while “Yankee Exodus” is the first published story by Ruth M. Goldsmith, whose fiction later appeared in The Atlantic. Finally, the issue includes “The King’s Wishes” by Robert Sheckley, a story about a demon that delivers the fantasy in the magazine’s title and reprints “The Friends of the Friends,” a supernatural tale by Henry James in the vein of The Turn of the Screw.

Winona McClintic contributes two interesting and entirely different poems to the issue, “The Vampire,” and her sonnet “The Antiquary,” while Anthony Boucher offers his fanzine parody verse “The Model of a Science Fiction Editor,” which begins…

I am the very model of a modern s f editor
My publisher is happy, as is each and every creditor.

You can read it in its entirety online.

A dozen stories, eleven of them new, three poems, the Recommended Reading column, new and old logos by George Salter, and a cover and interior art by Emsh — this is the sort of early issue of F&SF (number #26 overall in the series) that helped solidify the magazine’s reputation.

Top Ten TV Programs and Films Based on Stories from F&SF

Our weekly #TBT Throwback Thursday feature usually focuses on a specific issue of the magazine, but we’re headed into a summer holiday weekend that usually includes some of the newest movie blockbusters, so this week we’re bringing you a special edition…

The Top 10 stories from F&SF that were turned into TV shows or movies.

10. “The Dark Tower” (2017)

First glimpse of Idris Elba in The Gunslinger movieWe’ll start with this one because the movie hasn’t been completed yet. Here’s a first glimpse of Idris Elba as The Gunslinger, Roland Deschain. Scheduled for release in February 2017.




Cover of F&SF, February 1981Based on: A series of stories by Stephen King that appeared in F&SF between 1978 and 1981, which were published in book form as The Gunslinger in 1982.

  • “The Gunslinger” (F&SF, October 1978)
  • “The Way Station” (F&SF, April 1980)
  • “The Oracle and the Mountains” (F&SF, February 1981)
  • “The Slow Mutants” (F&SF, July 1981)
  • “The Gunslinger and the Dark Man” (F&SF, November 1981)

Read more

F&SF, June 1958

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.

* * *

Fantasy & Science Fiction, June 1958, cover by Mel Hunter#TBT to the June 1958 issue of F&SF and this Mel Hunter cover illustrating a satellite. Sputnik, the first satellite, was launched into orbit in October 1957, so there was a lot of interest in the technology the following year.

The issue leads with “Captivity,” a long novelet by Zenna Henderson in The People series. It was nominated for a Hugo in 1959. It was Henderson’s first award nomination, and one of several she received for books, stories, and a screenplay in The People series.

The rest of the issue features an interesting mixture of authors and stories.

“The Dreistein Case,” an epistolary story about an anti-gravity research debate, by J. Lincoln Paine was reprinted from The Washington Star. Paine was a pseudonym for Arnold Kramish, who worked on the Manhattan Project and survived the uranium enrichment explosion in Philadelphia. After the war, Kramish worked at the Atomic Energy Commission (as liaison to the CIA), the Dept of State, and for the Reagan administration as the chair of the study that recommended the Strategic Defense Initiative, or Star Wars program. And after =that=, he became one of the leading historians of the Manhattan Project and the nuclear era. “The Dreistein Case” concerns a scientist who wants research funding that isn’t forthcoming until Soviet advances in the field are revealed. Thematically, it’s a good fit with the Mel Hunter cover, and the first hint of Kramish’s future writing career. A good reprint choice by F&SF.

“The Communicators” by Edward S. Aarons continues this theme with a story that takes place after a nuclear war between the US and USSR. Aarons was much more famous as a writer of mysteries and spy novels, including The Assignment series. That background shows here. He wrote one sequel to the story, “The Makers of Destiny,” that appeared in the September 1959 issue of F&SF.

“Devotion” by Kit Reed is another uniquely Reed-ian proto-slipstream allegory about a man who loves his… well: “Harry Farmer loved his teeth.” But Harry is not a kindly or compassionate lover of other people’s teeth and the story takes a dark turn.

“Services, Incorporated” is by the prolific writer and fan Rog Phillips. He received a Hugo nom in 1959 for his IF story “Rat in the Skull.” “Services, Incorporated” was translated and published in Japanese in 1960 during the first year of Hayakawa’s SF Magazine.

Miriam Allen deFord, image courtesy of FantascienzaIn “Gathi,” Miriam Allen deFord (pictured to the left, image courtesy of Fantascienza and isfdb) uses a grove of sentient trees to explore how women support (and don’t support) each other. It’s a more sophisticated development of some ideas and themes in her earlier — and only second published — story “The Daughter of the Tree” (F&SF, Aug 1951).

“Eripmav” by Damon Knight is a pithy piece of sf alien flash about cellulose vampires that ends with a pun on “steak.”

The last story in the issue is “The Questing Tycoon” by Leslie Charteris, a reprint of one of his Simon Templar adventures.

There’s also a science essay by William Morrison, a poem by Karen Anderson, and book and magazine reviews by Anthony Boucher. In other words, it’s another typical issue of F&SF, with a wide range of entertaining and remarkable stories and features.

F&SF, June 1955

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.

* * *

Fantasy & Science Fiction, June 1955, cover by George Salter#‎TBT‬ to the June 1955 F&SF and this whimsical George Salter cover.

The issue leads with “You’re Another” by Damon Knight. The story is famous for “livies,” the first depiction of reality television, although a better comparison for contemporary readers might be “The Truman Show,” since Knight’s hero doesn’t start out knowing he’s on tv. Boucher’s story introduction says “I don’t know where you’ll find a wackier (or more enjoyable) tale of future speculation than this.”

The next story is “Created He Them” by Alice Eleanor Jones, who is described in the intro as a “scholar-turned-housewife.” Jones published a handful of pulp science fiction stories, all in 1955, before moving on to writing fiction for slicks like Ladies Home Journal and Redbook. Of those five genre stories, “Created He Them” is the most reprinted, appearing most recently in Justine Larbalestier’s Daughters of Earth: Feminist Science Fiction in the Twentieth Century. It’s a beautifully crafted, wrenching post-apocalyptic story of a bad marriage that functions as both social commentary and character study.

The next new story in the issue is “The Adventure of the Ball of Nostradamus” by August Derleth and Mack Reynolds, part of a long-running science-fictional Sherlock Holmes series featuring the detective Solar Pons and his colleague Dr. Parker of Praed Street. “The Faithful Friend” by Evelyn K. Smith is both an alien invasion story and a bitter, moving meditation on the idea of freedom. After so much science fiction, the issue turns toward Appalachian fantasy with “Walk Like A Mountain,” a John the Balladeer story by Manly Wade Wellman.

Fantasy & Science Fiction, June 1955, interior illustration, artist unknownCharles Beaumont’s “The New Sound” is a wonderfully weird and offbeat story about a necroaudiophile. The story’s first paragraph begins with: “Of all the squirrels in a world full of squirrels Mr. Goodhew was by far the squirreliest.” …and ends like this: “He would listen to death at night. It made him very happy.” At the very end appears one of the magazine’s rare story illustrations (we’ll put it in the comments below). No artist is credited.

The issue ends with “Artifact” by Chad Oliver, a professor of anthropology, who delivers a smart story about archeology and human history.

Like many early issues of F&SF, this one also contains several reprints, in this case, stories by Saki, Willard Marsh, and P.G. Wodehouse. There’s also a poem by mystery writer Carlyn Coffin, Recommended Reading by Anthony Boucher, and a cartoon by New Yorker regular Corka. A pretty extraordinary issue and worth every penny of its 35 cent cover price!

F&SF, June 1954

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.

* * *

Fantasy & Science Fiction, June 1954, cover by Kirberger#TBT to the June 1954 F&SF and this Kirberger cover illustrating Heinlein’s serialization of The Star Beast.

This issue has part 2 of 3 of Heinlein’s novel about a high school boy with an extraterrestrial pet; in F&SF it was called Star Lummox. The other standout story in the issue is Andre Norton’s “Mousetrap,” a story about sand sculptures on Mars. Norton’s story has been reprinted many times, beginning with Dikty’s Best Science Fiction Stories and Novels: 1955. “Mousetrap” was also included in SFWA Grand Masters Vol. 2, The Prentice Hall Anthology of Science Fiction and Fantasy, and many Norton collections.

The rest of the issue includes a mix of famous names and newcomers, just like you expect in F&SF. Overall it leans slightly toward sf over fantasy. “Heirs Apparent” by Robert Abernathy is an atomic age end-of-the-world story about a face-off between the last Communist and last Capitalist. “Heirs Apparent” was also included in the Ditky Best SF 1955 anthology with Andre Norton’s story, and was reprinted in many other anthologies. Abernathy’s social commentary is followed by Gordon R. Dickson’s humorous “Miss Prinks,” which was included in his collection Mutants. “Time Payment” by Michael Shaara is a time travel story with a mystery: why does no one ever return from the future? Shaara is famous as the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the Civil War novel The Killer Angels, but started out writing science fiction.

The issue also features two new writers, one not really new and one who didn’t publish again. “Warrior in Darkness” is by the new writer “Levi Crow,” a pseudonym created by Manly Wade Wellman for several fantasy stories he published in F&SF. And near the end of the issue we have “Mint, in d/j” by Ruth Laura Wainwright, a mysterious author who only published one other story in Galaxy in 1953. Her work is reminiscent of other women who published only a few stories in the 1950s: smart and feminist, more promising than polished, and you have to wonder what happened to her and her writing. You’re left wondering what kind of writer she might have become if she had continued to publish.

Like many early issues of F&SF, the issue includes two reprints, “Fish Story” by Leslie Charteris and “Visitors from Venus” by T.S. Watt. Plus a book review column by the editors, Anthony Boucher and J. Francis McComas. All in all, a good weekend’s reading for early summer in 1954.

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