Science Fiction Rebels: The Story of the Science-Fiction Magazines from 1981 to 1990 9781781384404, 1781384401

Mike Ashley's acclaimed history of science-fiction magazines comes to the 1980s with Science-Fiction Rebels: The St

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Science Fiction Rebels: The Story of the Science-Fiction Magazines from 1981 to 1990
 9781781384404, 1781384401

Table of contents :
Cover
Contents
Tables
Preface
Note on Terminology
Acknowledgements
Chronology
1
Before the Revolution: Bastion of Excellence
2 The First Revolution:
Cyberpunk Days
The McCarthy Years
The Impact of Omni
Cyberpunk Daze
The Analog Dimension
Dozois in Charge
Amazing Rebirth
3 The First Interlude:
The Dark Corners
Twilight Zone
Horror Struck
4 The Second Revolution:
The British Hard-SF Renaissance
Out of the Wilderness
Interzone
Beyond Interzone
5 The Second Interlude:
Other Worlds
Éire
Canada
Australia
Far Corners
6 The Third Rebellion:
The SF Underground
SF Renegades
Dangerous Pulphouse
7 Postlude:
Back to Basics
Stuck on the Launch Pad
Shared Worlds
Small-Press Endeavours
Magazine with a Mission
A Qualified Success
A Problem Shared …
8
Epilogue
Appendix 1 Non-English-Language
Science-Fiction Magazines
Appendix 2 Checklist of English-Language
Science-Fiction Magazines
Appendix 3 Directory of Magazine Editors
and Publishers
Appendix 4 Directory of Magazine Cover Artists
Appendix 5 Schedule of Magazine
Circulation Figures
Select Bibliography
Addenda and Corrigenda
Index

Citation preview

Science Fiction Rebels

‘The information Mike Ashley has put together is really astonishing: researchers of the field, and anyone who’s interested in popular fiction of the period, are going to find this book an immense help.’ Andy Sawyer, University of Liverpool Mike Ashley has specialized in the history of science fiction and fantasy for more than 30 years. He is the author and editor of over a hundred books that in total have sold over a million copies worldwide. ISBN 978-1-78138-260-8

Science Fiction Rebels

Mike Ashley’s acclaimed history of science-fiction magazines comes to the 1980s with Science Fiction Rebels: The Story of the Science-Fiction Magazines from 1981 to 1990. This volume charts a significant revolution throughout science fiction, much of which was driven by the alternative press, and by new editors at the leading magazines. The period saw the emergence of the cyberpunk movement, and the drive for what David Hartwell called ‘The Hard SF Renaissance’, which was driven from within Britain. Ashley plots the rise of many new authors in both strands: William Gibson, John Shirley, Bruce Sterling, John Kessel, Pat Cadigan and Rudy Rucker in cyberpunk; and Stephen Baxter, Alistair Reynolds, Peter Hamilton, Neal Asher and Robert Reed in hard sf. He also shows how the alternative magazines looked to support each other through alliances, which allowed them to share and develop ideas as science fiction evolved.

THE STORY OF THE SCIENCE-FICTION MAGAZINES FROM 1981 TO 1990

THE STORY OF THE SCIENCE-FICTION MAGAZINES FROM 1981 TO 1990

Science Fiction Rebels Mike Ashley THE STORY OF THE SCIENCE-FICTION MAGAZINES FROM 1981 TO 1990

Mike Ashley

www.liverpooluniversitypress.co.uk

Cover illustration by Dreyfus, from the front cover of Back Brain Recluse #16 (Summer 1990).

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9 781781 382608

18/01/2016 4:13 pm

Liverpool Science Fiction Texts and Studies Editor David Seed, University of Liverpool Editorial Board Mark Bould, University of the West of England Veronica Hollinger, Trent University Rob Latham, University of California Roger Luckhurst, Birkbeck College, University of London Patrick Parrinder, University of Reading Andy Sawyer, University of Liverpool Recent titles in the series 30. Mike Ashley Transformations: The Story of the Science-Fiction Magazine from 1950–1970 31. Joanna Russ The Country You Have Never Seen: Essays and Reviews 32. Robert Philmus Visions and Revisions: (Re)constructing Science Fiction 33. Gene Wolfe (edited and introduced by Peter Wright) Shadows of the New Sun: Wolfe on Writing/Writers on Wolfe 34. Mike Ashley Gateways to Forever: The Story of the Science-Fiction Magazine from 1970–1980 35. Patricia Kerslake Science Fiction and Empire 36. Keith Williams H. G. Wells, Modernity and the Movies 37. Wendy Gay Pearson, Veronica Hollinger and Joan Gordon (eds.) Queer Universes: Sexualities and Science Fiction 38. John Wyndham (eds. David Ketterer and Andy Sawyer) Plan for Chaos 39. Sherryl Vint Animal Alterity: Science Fiction and the Question of the Animal 40. Paul Williams Race, Ethnicity and Nuclear War: Representations of Nuclear Weapons and Post-Apocalyptic Worlds 41. Sara Wasson and Emily Alder, Gothic Science Fiction 1980–2010 42. David Seed (ed.), Future Wars: The Anticipations and the Fears 43. Andrew M. Butler, Solar Flares: Science Fiction in the 1970s 44. Andrew Milner, Locating Science Fiction 45. Joshua Raulerson, Singularities 46. Stanislaw Lem: Selected Letters to Michael Kandel (edited, translated and with an introduction by Peter Swirski) 47. Sonja Fritzsche, The Liverpool Companion to World Science Fiction Film 48. Jack Fennel, Irish Science Fiction 49. Peter Swirski and Waclaw M. Osadnik, Lemography: Stanislaw Lem in the Eyes of the World 50. Gavin Parkinson (ed.), Surrealism, Science Fiction and Comics 51. Peter Swirski, Stanislaw Lem: Philosopher of the Future 52. J. P. Telotte and Gerald Duchovnay (eds), Science Fiction Double Feature

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Science Fiction Rebels The Story of the Science-Fiction Magazines from 1981 to 1990 The History of the Science-Fiction Magazine Volume IV

MIKE ASHLEY

LIVERPOOL UNIVERSITY PRESS

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First published 2016 by Liverpool University Press 4 Cambridge Street Liverpool L69 7ZU Copyright © 2016 Mike Ashley The author’s rights have been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher. British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication data A British Library CI P record is available ISBN 978-1-78138-260-8 cased epdf ISBN 978-1-78138-440-4

Typeset by BBR, Sheffield Printed and bound by CPI Group (UK) Ltd, Croydon CR0 4YY

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Contents

List of Tables Preface Note on Terminology Acknowledgements Chronology Chapter 1: Before the Revolution: Bastion of Excellence

vii viii xiii xiv xvi 1

Chapter 2: The First Revolution: Cyberpunk Days The McCarthy Years The Impact of Omni Cyberpunk Daze The Analog Dimension Dozois in Charge Amazing Rebirth

18 37 46 56 71 78

Chapter 3: The First Interlude: The Dark Corners Twilight Zone Horror Struck

92 105

Chapter 4: The Second Revolution: The British Hard-SF Renaissance Out of the Wilderness 115 Interzone119 Beyond Interzone 134 Chapter 5: The Second Interlude: Other Worlds Éire148 Canada151

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vi CONTENTS

Australia158 Far Corners 164 Chapter 6: The Third Rebellion: The SF Underground SF Renegades Dangerous Pulphouse

167 183

Chapter 7: Postlude: Back to Basics Stuck on the Launch Pad Shared Worlds Small-Press Endeavours Magazine with a Mission A Qualified Success A Problem Shared …

189 195 199 212 217 222

Chapter 8: Epilogue230 Appendix 1: Non-English-Language Science-Fiction Magazines Appendix 2: Checklist of English-Language Science-Fiction Magazines Appendix 3: Directory of Magazine Editors and Publishers Appendix 4: Directory of Magazine Cover Artists Appendix 5: Schedule of Magazine Circulation Figures

237 347 376 399 440

Select Bibliography Addenda and Corrigenda Index

443 446 450

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Tables

1. Magazines with most story nominations, awards or ‘Year’s Best’ selections, 1981–90. 35 2. Comparative circulation data for Amazing Stories and The Dragon, 1981/82–1989/90.86 3. Comparison of magazine totals between 1971–80 and 1981–90. 232 4. Average survival rates for new magazines first appearing between 1981 and 1989. 233

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Preface

This is the fourth volume of my history of the science-fiction magazines. It covers the years from 1981 to 1990, though the end date is flexible to allow coverage of certain relevant magazines that appeared or concluded soon after. It was a decade that saw science fiction undergo radical changes and movements, the best known of which was cyberpunk. The title of this volume, Science Fiction Rebels, is deliberately ambiguous. ‘Rebels’ works both as a noun and a verb. So it refers on the one hand to the authors and editors who, through their work, sought to rehabilitate science fiction to make it more relevant to the new age of technological revolution and, in some countries, social and political freedoms. It also refers to the form of science fiction itself which, in the hands of many, seemed to rebel against its strictures and broaden its remit to allow for a greater variety of interpretation of the impact of change upon human beliefs, potential and abilities. It was not the first time that science fiction (or ‘sf’ as I shall frequently call it hereinafter) had rebelled. By its very nature sf is subversive and radical and can be the literature of rebellion in portraying how people and cultures may need change and how they will react to it. But, like all forms of creative endeavour, it has its lowest common denominator and sf can easily fall into a formulaic rut. When that happens there will always be those creative souls who rebel against conformity and ring new changes. The previous three volumes have charted these earlier revolutions, almost all of which have been instigated in or by the sf magazines. In volume 1, The Time Machines, which covered the years 1926 to 1950, we saw that sf had all too easily settled into a rut by the early 1930s. Forward-thinking editors such as David Lasser (in Wonder Stories), F. Orlin Tremaine and, in particular, John W. Campbell, Jr (both in Astounding Stories), introduced their own criteria to jolt sf out of its formulaic complacency. It was also the period

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PREFACE ix

that saw the first amateur magazine produced with the deliberate intent of revitalizing sf, Marvel Tales, under William L. Crawford. John W. Campbell’s innovations not only developed a new generation of writers capable of reinvigorating the field—Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, Theodore Sturgeon, A. E. van Vogt and many more—they also created what many now regard as a science fiction ‘Golden Age’ where magazine sf matured from its playful infancy into a modern genre. This growth continued after the Second World War where the start of the Nuclear Age showed that science was not necessarily a global panacea but could cause global destruction. Writers and editors responded to this with sf that reflected humanity’s fears of a nuclear or cosmic catastrophe, alongside other disaster scenarios such as alien invasions (with the rise of interest in UFOs) and totalitarian societies. It was the latter, together with its counterpart, the capitalist consumer society, which Horace L. Gold encouraged his writers to explore in the pages of Galaxy SF. At the same time, Anthony Boucher and J. F. McComas sought to make sf more literary in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction (F&SF). Alongside Campbell’s Astounding (which became Analog in 1960), these were the leading sf magazines of the 1950s and 1960s and their influence upon the field was covered in volume 2, Transformations. That volume also explored the next generation of rebels, the ‘New Wave’ writers of the 1960s, encouraged by Michael Moorcock, the new editor of the British sf magazine New Worlds, but already allowed great latitude by the previous editor John Carnell. These included such writers as J. G. Ballard, Brian W. Aldiss, John Brunner and Moorcock himself, together with a new generation of American luminaries—Thomas M. Disch, Samuel R. Delany, Roger Zelazny and Norman Spinrad—who found the freedom offered by New Worlds far more liberating than the American magazines. Although the New Wave movement was seen by many as self-indulgent and self-destructive, it encouraged a similar revolution in America, which happened not so much in the magazines but in original anthologies, notably Dangerous Visions edited by Harlan Ellison and the Orbit series edited by Damon Knight. Some of these series, such as QUARK/, edited by Samuel R. Delany and Marilyn Hacker, and Infinity, from Robert Hoskins, modelled themselves as pocketbook magazines, and these encouraged the existing magazines to revitalize and look to new horizons. Much of this change was charted in the third volume, Gateways to Forever, which also showed how the pocketbook revolution of the 1950s and 1960s was making significant inroads into the sales of magazines, which were dropping. Major magazines such as Galaxy stuttered and died while new titles, such as Galileo, looked for new ways to attract readers, build markets and develop writers.

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x PREFACE

The 1970s was also the period of the feminist revolution in sf. There had always been women sf writers but few received the level of attention of their male counterparts, and feminist issues were rarely covered in sf. Authors such as Ursula K. Le Guin, James Tiptree, Jr and Joanna Russ raised the profile of women writers and brought attention to a wider range of gender issues. This happened primarily in the sf magazines. It was also a period that saw the sf magazine field split and become more diverse. While the old-style traditional sf magazines—such as Analog and F&SF—continued, they now had new rivals. There had, of course, always been rivals, usually generated from the sf magazines themselves. The original pulp sf magazines had helped inspire the hero pulps many of which, such as Doc Savage and The Spider, were built upon an sf premise. These in turn led to the birth of the superhero comics, notably Superman. While these tended to appeal to a younger readership, they nevertheless attracted readers that might otherwise have been drawn to the traditional sf magazines. The rivals continued to emerge. The pocketbook explosion of the 1950s and 1960s saw sf novels, collections and anthologies repackaging material, much of which had appeared first in the sf magazines, and presenting them to a new readership who liked the convenience of the pocketbook size over the cumbersome pulp magazine (most of which had ceased by the mid-1950s or converted to the digest format), and saw no advantage in seeking out the magazines. By the 1970s there was further fragmentation. The improvement in special effects in cinema and television and the popularity of the Star Trek and Star Wars series saw the emergence of media magazines which usually ran no fiction but appealed to the sf movie devotee. Before long these magazines, such as Starlog and Fangoria, were calling themselves sf magazines and were taking over both the display slots and the sales of the conventional sf magazine. At the same time the rapid growth of interest in role-playing games saw sales of gaming magazines such as The Space Gamer and The Dragon soar. Finally, although many of the sf comics were faltering, their adult equivalent, the graphic-story magazine, spearheaded by Heavy Metal, brought a new dimension to the visual interpretation of sf. Moreover, the 1970s saw a resurgence of interest in horror fiction, thanks to the success of Stephen King, Dean R. Koontz, James Herbert and others. Much of what was classified as ‘horror’ was based on science-fiction ideas and plots, but with a new visceral treatment. Magazines began to appear that continued to run a fair quota of science fiction but which were marketed as horror.

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PREFACE xi

All of these changes had fragmented what had once been a single market for the traditional sf magazines. While it meant that in total the readership for science fiction was huge, much of this was in the sale of pocketbook novels and collections, media and gaming magazines, adult graphic novels and magazines, and the rapidly growing horror and fantasy books and magazines. The traditional sf magazine was, in many ways, the poor sister with sales dwindling. That was the position in 1980, where this volume begins. We now explore how the magazines coped with all of the above and adapted to make science fiction relevant to a new generation of readers without losing too many of the older generation, and with a hope of regaining some lured away by the rival books and magazines. The rebellions of the 1980s took several forms. The best known were the revitalization of traditional sf with the cyberpunk movement on the one hand and the radical hard-sf renaissance on the other. The cyberpunk movement was spearheaded by William Gibson, John Shirley, Bruce Sterling and Pat Cadigan among others, all of whose formative works appeared in the magazines. The very words ‘cyberpunk’ and ‘cyberspace’ were first coined in the pages of the sf magazines. Cyberpunk took the traditional form of envisioning a high-tech, culturally and socially challenging future, and injected it with new and often frightening possibilities arising from advances in computers and personal technologies, and by a generation inversion where technology allows the young a greater control and impact on society than ever before. Cyberpunk was born in the pages of Omni, but rapidly found a home in Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine before generating its own magazines such as Science Fiction Eye and New Pathways. The radical hard-sf renaissance was, in some ways, the cousin of cyberpunk and used many of the same ideas and visions, but it operated from a wider base. Encouraged in the pages of the British magazine Interzone, and given greater space in the US magazines Asimov’s and Analog, this revolution took the traditional forms of sf, especially space travel, alien worlds and far-future civilizations, and regenerated them with the emerging concepts of nanotechnology, computerization, the technological singularity, string theory and much else. The result, in the hands of writers such as Alistair Reynolds, Stephen Baxter, Robert Reed and G. David Nordley, among many others—all of whom emerged in the sf magazines—was a new high-energy, super-tech treatment of what had become tired and predictable ideas and images. These two developments alone were enough to give sf a face-lift and make it more relevant to a 1980s readership. But they were not alone. Cyberpunk encouraged its horror equivalent, ‘splatterpunk’, and later

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xii PREFACE

the alternate-world ‘steampunk’. It also encouraged the emergence of ‘slipstream’ sf, meaning the type of fiction that somehow defied the traditional definitions of sf, fantasy or horror and yet might contain elements of all or any of them suffused with other forms of experimental writing. Slipstream sf, which by any other definition would be seen as ‘avantgarde’ or ‘alternative’ sf, was another significant influence on the sf magazines, though less so in the wider sf world. Slipstream allowed the small magazines to experiment, to rebel and to cross-fertilize. There were many such magazines that shared the same contributors, both across themselves and with the major magazines, including Last Wave, Back Brain Recluse, Journal Wired and Ice River. These became a new crucible in which authors could experiment and then take the results back into mainstream sf. Interestingly, experimental sf appealed to writers in Canada and this decade saw a significant growth in sf magazines in both the Englishspeaking world, notably Canada and Australia, and elsewhere, especially China, Japan and Eastern Europe. It became evident, though mostly in hindsight, that the sf magazines of the 1980s allowed many writers to release the shackles from conventional sf and encourage it to spread its wings far more than in any earlier decade and prepare it for the emergence of the internet in the 1990s. This volume explores in detail exactly what the magazines achieved and how they did it. Mike Ashley January 2015

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Note on Terminology

Throughout this volume I use the abbreviation ‘sf’ (or ‘SF’) for science fiction and not ‘sci-fi’, which is weighed down by far too many connotations. Other frequently used abbreviations, usually spelled out in full on first mention, are ‘prozine’ for professional magazine, ‘semi-pro’ or ‘semiprozine’ for semi-professional magazine, ‘fanzine’ for fan magazine and ‘RPG’ for role-playing game. The title of a story or article, or a magazine serial, is given in quotes, but all magazine and book titles are in italics. The source of any story or article is often given in brackets after the title, e.g. ‘(Analog, January 1983)’. If the story is serialized over more than one issue, I note the first and last issues joined by a dash, e.g. ‘January–February 1983’. When a magazine, usually a bi-monthly, has a double cover date, and I refer to the specific issue, I will note both dates joined by a slash, e.g. ‘January/February 1983’, but if I refer to a magazine’s issues generally, then I refer to the first month. Unless I mention it specifically, all dates referred to are cover dates, not publication dates which may be a month or two earlier. Magazine titles will be spelled out in full on the first mention and some later mentions, but are thereafter frequently abbreviated. For example, Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine is Asimov’s, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction is F&SF, Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone Magazine is Twilight Zone, Amazing Stories is Amazing, Back Brain Recluse is BBR and so on. Names will always be in full if there is a likelihood of confusion. For personal names in China and Japan (and elsewhere where relevant) I have followed the convention of the family name first followed by the given name, though on occasions when I am quoting someone or citing an English publication the name may be in reverse. I must thank Jonathan Clements for his help and patience in correcting me on all of these, and my apologies if any have slipped through for which I must take the blame.

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Acknowledgements

This volume and the next were researched and drafted together until the sheer scale of the book made me realize that it had to be split into two. The research and writing has been spread over eight years and I must therefore first thank my publisher, Anthony Cond, the Managing Director of Liverpool University Press, for his remarkable patience and ever-welcome support. Writing is a lonely business and a writer needs contacts, partly for moral support, but mostly for information and reassurance. This book is the result of a seemingly interminable amount of reading, researching and thinking, and in that process it is very easy to get lost. Along the way I have been most grateful for three guides who read the drafts as I first composed them and then advised, sometimes corrected and often berated me for saying too much, or not enough, or simply making a mess of things. Without their help I wonder how I could have finished. I thus thank Phil StephensenPayne, Sean Wallace and Dennis Lien for their own sacrifices in checking everything and trying to stop me making errors. It is impossible to list everyone who has helped. In almost all cases I have contacted the editors of the magazines involved and many of the contributors, and their help is often acknowledged in footnotes throughout the text where I cite email or real postal mail sources. I would especially thank John Betancourt, Ellen Datlow, Paul Di Filippo, Malcolm Edwards, Robert Killheffer, Sean McMullen, David Pringle, Darrell Schweitzer, Robert Silverberg, Gordon Van Gelder and the late George H. Scithers for going that extra step in providing further data, memories and connections at the click of a mouse. Appendix 1 covers the non-English-language magazines and it would have been impossible for me to complete this without the help of many individuals in all of the countries. Their help is acknowledged on each entry in the appendix, but I must also thank, first and foremost, Jaroslav Olša, jr who, in addition to considerable help with his own country, the

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS xv

former Czechoslovakia, read the entire appendix and advised me on the majority of the entries, sometimes contributing extra text. His know­ledge and experience cannot be underestimated. Also thanks to John-Henri Holmberg, whose multilingual abilities and know­ ledge of all matters Scandinavian (and beyond), and Jonathan Clements whose similar multilingual talents for China and Japan, proved both invaluable and reassuring. Also thanks to René Beaulieu for helping me through French language sf on both sides of the Atlantic. Then there are those ever-reliable people who are a lifeline at the other end of an email who patiently respond to my never-ending requests for fact-checking or delving into the obscure. Once again I must thank Dennis Lien, who in addition to reading and advising upon the whole text continued to respond to a variety of queries and always came up trumps. Likewise Ned Brooks, James Doig, Stephen Holland, George Morgan and Andy Sawyer, fact-finders and life-savers all. Also, my thanks to William G. Contento, whose formidable book and magazine database enabled me to check sources quickly and produce several of the tables and appendices. Although my research has relied first and foremost on my own collection, Bill’s database and indices have often saved my sanity on helping me find something quickly. I must also thank Chris Reed of BBR both for his assiduousness in vetting the text and for raising and advising on a variety of queries and possible anomalies. His help has been invaluable. Finally I must thank my wife, Sue. How she puts up with me writing and fulminating endlessly I do not know, but she does, and every day I am so grateful for her support and patience. To all of these, and many more, my sincere thanks.

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Chronology

The following timeline lists the first and last issues of magazines during the period 1981 to 1990 together with any significant editorial or other changes. It also lists debuts of major authors and stories of particular significance. Unless specifically noted, all dates relate to the cover date of the magazine, which, in most cases is the off-sale date meaning the issue would have appeared a month or two earlier. Some magazines mentioned below are covered in volume 5, The Rise of the Cyber Chronicles, rather than in this volume.

1981 January

Analog and Asimov’s become four-weekly. David R. Palmer debuts in Analog. First issue of Omega in Australia. First issue of Antarès in France. February First issue of Zhihui Shu in China. April First issues of The Leading Edge and Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone Magazine. Scott Baker debuts in Univers 1981 in France. First issue of Kehuan Haiyang in China. May ‘Johnny Mnemonic’ by William Gibson published in Omni. Revival of El péndulo in Argentina. June Final issue of SF Hoseki in Japan. July First issue of Rigel. August First issue of Deutsches SF Magazin in Germany. September First issue of Science Fiction Digest. Richard Paul Russo debuts in Amazing Stories. First issue of Nye Verdener in Denmark. First issue of Heyne SF Magazin in West Germany.

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CHRONOLOGY xvii

October

First issue of Fantasy Book. Final issue of Questar. Sheila Finch debuts in Fantasy Book. First issue of Aikakone in Finland. November Ian McDowell debuts in Ares. December Jack McDevitt debuts in Twilight Zone. First issue of Emitor in Yugoslavia.

1982 January February

First issues of Portti and Time and Space in Finland. First issue of Extro in Northern Ireland. First issue of Orbites in France. March Kathleen Moloney replaces George Scithers as editor of Asimov’s. First issue of Interzone. First issue of Nova in Sweden. April Dan Simmons debuts in Twilight Zone. Ian McDonald debuts in Extro. May Terry Dowling’s professional debut in Omega. Advance issue of Solaris in West Germany. June The films E.T. and Bladerunner released. July ‘Burning Chrome’ by William Gibson published in Omni. Final issue of Extro. September TSR becomes publisher of Amazing Stories. Final issue of Science Fiction Digest. October First issue of Fantastyka in Poland. November George Scithers becomes editor of Amazing Stories. Jerry Oltion debuts in Analog. First issue of The Horror Show. ‘The Postman’ by David Brin appears in Asimov’s. December First issue of Starship in West Germany. Final issue of NW-SF in Japan. Final issue of Orbites in France.

1983 January February April June

July

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Shawna McCarthy becomes editor of Asimov’s. ‘Hardfought’ by Greg Bear appears in Asimov’s. Sole issue of Modern Stories. Minotauro revived in Argentina. Final issue of Rigel. Lucius Shepard debuts in Universe. ‘Blood Music’ by Greg Bear published in Analog. Final issue of Solaris in West Germany. Nina Kiriki Hoffman debuts in Asimov’s.

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xviii CHRONOLOGY

August

Greg Egan debuts in Dreamworks. Final issue of Cosmonaut in West Germany. October First issue of Last Wave. November ‘Cyberpunk’ by Bruce Bethke published in Amazing Stories. Final issue of Nye Verdener in Denmark. Final issue of Star in West Germany. Final issue of Nueva Dimensión in Spain. December ‘Her Furry Face’ by Leigh Kennedy and ‘Speech Sounds’ by Octavia Butler published in Asimov’s. First issue of Sinergía in Argentina.

1984 January

First issue of Cuásar in Argentina. First issue of Science Fiction in France. February Michael Flynn debuts in Analog. March Final issue of Something Else. Bradley Denton debuts in F&SF. Michael Blumlein debuts in Interzone. ‘The Unconquered Country’ by Geoff Ryman published in Interzone. May First issue of Magazine of Speculative Poetry. June ‘Blood Child’ by Octavia Butler published in Asimov’s. Paul J. McAuley debuts in same issue. First issue of Back Brain Recluse. Kim Newman debuts in Interzone. First issue of Parsec in Argentina. August Final issue of Fantasia 2000 in Israel. September Weird Tales revived for third time. October First issue of Night Cry. First issue of Robur in Hungary. November First issue of Stardate. Final issue of Parsec in Argentina. December FSFnet starts as a networked e-zine. Geoffrey A. Landis debuts in Analog.

1985 January February March

May

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First volume of Far Frontiers. Stephen Burns debuts in Analog. Final issue of Deutsches SF Magazin in West Germany. Final issue of Heyne SF Magazin in West Germany. First volume of Writers of the Future in which Karen Joy Fowler debuts. Lois McMaster Bujold debuts in Twilight Zone. First issue of Far Out in Australia. Revival of Nova SF in Italy. First issue of Epómeni̱ Méra in Greece.

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CHRONOLOGY xix

June

Tom Maddox debuts in Omni. Walter Jon Williams debuts in F&SF. September First issue of Dream Magazine. Mercedes Lackey debuts in Fantasy Book. First volume of Tesseracts in Canada. First issue of Gigamesh (first series) in Spain. October Ted White becomes editor-in-chief of Stardate. First issue of Novum in Denmark. November Final issue of Shayol. December First issue of Aphelion in which Sean McMullen debuts. ‘Lord Kelvin’s Machine’ by James P. Blaylock is first recognizable steampunk story in a magazine, Asimov’s.

1986 January

Gardner Dozois becomes editor of Asimov’s. First issue of Dreams & Nightmares. Final issue of Last Wave. March First issue of New Pathways. Final issue of Stardate under Ted White. Robert Reed debuts in Writers of the Future. Stephen Dedman debuts in Aphelion. Final issue of Minotauro in Argentina. July Final issue of Epómeni̱ Méra in Greece. August Elizabeth Moon debuts in Analog. Carolyn Ives Gilman debuts in first issue of Tales of the Unanticipated. September Worlds of If revived for sole issue. Patrick L. Price becomes editor of Amazing Stories. El péndulo revived again in Argentina. October First issue of Aboriginal SF. First issue of Ikarie XB fanzine in Czechoslovakia. November Final issue of Science Fiction in France. December Final volume of Far Frontiers. Final issue of Robur in Greece.

1987 January

First issue of SF International in which Kathe Koja debuts. Final issue of Omega. February Patricia Anthony and Kristine Kathryn Rusch debut in Aboriginal SF. March First issues of New Destinies and Visions. Stephen Baxter debuts in Interzone. Final issue of Sinergía in Argentina. First issue of Apagorevmenos Planitis in Greece.

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xx CHRONOLOGY

April May

First issue of Nova Express. Linda Nagata debuts in Analog. R. Garcia y Robertson debuts in Amazing Stories. First issue of Enhörningen in Finland. June First issues of Ice River, Midnight Graffiti and New Moon Quarterly. July Final issue of Orbit in the Netherlands. August First issue of Alef in Yugoslavia. September Eric Brown debuts in Interzone. First issue of Centauri Express audiozine. October Final issues of Night Cry and Whispers. December First issue of Science Fiction Eye. Charles Stross’s professional debut in Interzone. Revival of Kisô tengai in Japan. Final issue of Nova (first series) in Sweden.

1988 January March April June July

First issue of Argos. First issue of FEP in Bulgaria. Weird Tales revived for fourth time. First issue of Works. Final issues of Argos and New Moon Quarterly. First issues of Edge Detector and Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Fantasy Magazine. August Maureen McHugh debuts in Twilight Zone. September First volume of Pulphouse: The Hardback Magazine. David Pringle now sole editor of Interzone. October Fantasy Tales becomes professional. First issue of Megalon in Brazil. December First issue of Cemetery Dance. Allen Steele debuts in Asimov’s. Keith Brooke debuts in Dream.

1989 January March May June July

Jonathan Lethem debuts in Aboriginal SF. First issues of FTL, On Spec and The Sterling Web. First issue of The Gate. Final issue of Twilight Zone. First issue of Strange Plasma. Ian MacLeod debuts in Interzone. Jeff VanderMeer debuts in After Hours. September First Russian edition of Visions is first Russian sf magazine. Neal Asher debuts in Back Brain Recluse. First issue of digital

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magazine Athene and first trial issue of digital magazine Axxón in Argentina. First issue of Temps Tôt in Quebec. October ‘Lost Boys’ by Orson Scott Card published in F&SF. First issue of digital magazine Quanta. November Berlin Wall comes down. December First issue of Journal Wired. Final issue of Sirius in Yugoslavia.

1990 January

First issue of Xizquil. First issue of Huanxiang in Taiwan. First issue of Kexue Yu Kehuan Congkan in Hong Kong. February Final issues of Ice River and of Fiction in France. First and only issue of Orphia in Bulgaria. March Final issue of The Horror Show. April First issue of Eidolon in Australia. First issue of Tesseract in Singapore. May Return of Anticipaţ ia in Romania. June First issue of Starshore. Terry Bisson story debut in Omni. Alistair Reynolds debuts in Interzone. First issue of revived Ikarie in Czechoslovakia. July First issue of Alien Contact in East Germany. August First issue of B.E.M. in Spain. September Final volume of New Destinies. Peter F. Hamilton debuts in Dream. October Karl Schroeder, Scott MacKay and Peter Watts debut in Tesseracts3. November Ted Chiang debuts in Omni. December Final issue of The Gate. Cory Doctorow debuts in On Spec.

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1 Before the Revolution: Bastion of Excellence

At the start of the 1980s only two of the pioneer US science-fiction magazines still survived, Amazing Stories and Analog, which had started in 1926 and 19291 respectively. Analog was under the editorship of Stanley Schmidt who, although less restrictive than the magazine’s legendary editor, John W. Campbell, Jr, nevertheless kept Analog firmly on a straight track, remaining true to the magazine’s reputation for hard sf. Another comparative old-timer was The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction (F&SF), which had begun in 1949. Galaxy, the other giant of the 1950s and 1960s had apparently breathed its last in 1980 but had already been replaced as one of the ‘Big Three’ by Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine (hereinafter Asimov’s), a mere infant at only four years old, but an equal in terms of sales and impact. These four were the core traditional professional sf magazines to which we should add Omni. This was not a traditional sf magazine, but rather a popular-science magazine with the emphasis on the fringe sciences and new technology, but it did run two or three sf stories per issue. Although it had only appeared as recently as October 1978, its mixture of pop technology and alternate sciences had proved an instant hit. It had a circulation greater than the other four magazines combined, and a budget to match. Between these five magazines was a significant range, with Analog at one end of the spectrum, representing the traditional form of hard science fiction, and F&SF at the other extreme as the more literary and occasionally eccentric magazine running an individualistic type of sf and fantasy. In the middle were the new kids on the block, Asimov’s and Omni. These were the two that were going to initiate change and shift science fiction on to

1  The first issue of Analog, then called Astounding Stories of Super Science, was dated January 1930 but released in December 1929.

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the next stage. Because, what soon became evident in the science-fiction scene in the 1980s was that it was again time for change. But whereas the New Wave of the period 1965–75 had been for a change in literary style and presentation, often a case of style over substance, the revolution of the 1980s was in utilizing the possibilities arising from the new technologies and developing a new literary style to promote those possibilities to a new generation. One might have expected this revolution to emerge in Analog, as the primary high-tech magazine, but that was not to be. It was in Omni and Asimov’s where that change took place and, in order to understand how that happened, we need to see first where some of the authors of that more distinctive form of science fiction and fantasy had their home, and that was most often in the pages of F&SF.  At the start of the 1980s, F&SF was the only magazine that had not recently experienced a change in editor or publisher. It had a remarkable record of consistency and, during the 1980s, was the one stable rock in a sea of change. In appearance it had hardly changed in its 30-year history. It was still a standard-size digest magazine, with a pleasing regularity in format, presentation and cover artists. Some, such as Chesley Bonestell, Ed Emshwiller and Alex Schomburg, had been with the magazine since the early 1950s. It had become, to a large extent, a family business. Its original publisher had been Fantasy House, an imprint of American Mercury. This became Mercury Press in 1958, owned by Joseph Ferman, who had been the magazine’s general manager from the start and continued as the publisher from 1954 until his death in 1974. His son, Edward Ferman, had been editorially involved with the magazine since 1958, but took over as primary editor in 1965 and would remain at the helm until 1991, continuing as publisher until 2001. This gave Ferman total control over what he published, limited only by his own standards and principles. F&SF was renowned for the high standard and originality of its fiction. It had won the Hugo Award for best professional magazine eight times from 1958 until 1972, when the category changed to best professional editor. This was dominated by Ben Bova at Analog during the 1970s, but Edward Ferman picked it up again in 1981 (for 1980) and would win it again in 1982 and 1983. Writing in 1984, Gardner Dozois said: The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction was the most consistently excellent of all the SF magazines once again this year. People have come to take

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BEFORE THE REVOLUTION: BASTION OF EXCELLENCE 3

this for granted and perhaps don’t fully realize how astonishing it is that Ed Ferman—operating out of his living room on a shoestring budget— somehow continues to maintain the same standards of excellence at F&SF year after year, while other magazines rise and fall and fluctuate around him. F&SF has probably done more to help ensure the survival of quality short fiction in SF over the last couple of decades than any other publication.2

 In the year in which we begin this study, 1981, five stories published in F&SF would win major awards or top reader polls, mostly prominently ‘Mythago Wood’ (September 1981) by Robert Holdstock, ‘The Pusher’ (October 1981) by John Varley, and ‘The Fire When it Comes’ (May 1981) by Parke Godwin.3 These stories show the range of F&SF, running from mythological fantasy to science fiction to ghost story, each powerful in its own right and each ideally suited to F&SF. ‘Mythago Wood’ was the original novella that launched Holdstock’s highly respected series about an ancient woodland, far greater within than it appears from outside and which is home to a realm of mythagos, the ancient creatures of faery that have otherwise vanished from our world. ‘The Pusher’ is the tale of an astronaut, one of many in the far future, who on each return to Earth has moved on another generation. To ensure a continuity of familiarity on each visit he befriends a young child whom he fixes in such a way that they will still be there for him on his return. It’s a touching story yet one that at the start gives the impression it is about a paedophile seeking out his next victim. Varley’s skill is in converting an apparently disturbing story to a poignant one. Finally, ‘The Fire When it Comes’ is a powerful ghost story recounted from the viewpoint of a suicide only gradually becoming aware of her circumstances. It is difficult to see what other magazine in 1981 would have published all three of these stories. Perhaps Amazing Stories, whose editor Elinor Mavor was open to most kinds of fiction, but it had the smallest budget of any of the professional magazines, and its bi-monthly schedule meant a longer waiting time for publication. Certainly one could not imagine these stories in the pages of Analog or, at that time, Asimov’s. This was the foundation of 2  Gardner Dozois, ‘Summation: 1983’, in Gardner Dozois (ed.), The Year’s Best Science Fiction: First Annual Collection (New York: Bluejay Books, 1984), p. 15. 3  ‘Mythago Wood’ won the British Science Fiction Award; ‘The Pusher’ won the Hugo and Locus awards; ‘The Fire When it Comes’ won the World Fantasy Award. In addition ‘The Bone Flute’ (May 1981) by Lisa Tuttle won the Nebula Award although the author declined it and ‘In the Western Tradition’ (March 1981) by Phyllis Eisenstein topped the Science Fiction Chronicle reader poll. One could also add ‘Souls’ by Joanna Russ, in the January 1982 issue, on sale in December 1981, which won both the Hugo and Locus Awards.

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F&SF’s strength which kept it not only as one of the field’s most popular magazines (as attested by the number of awards for which its stories were nominated) but one held in high regard by the critics and editors in the field. F&SF’s secret formula—though it was a very open secret—was that it published a wide variety of fiction, from hard sf to pure supernatural, and from eccentric and surreal to traditional and historical, and had these revolve around a consistent core of regular contributors and a reliable format. Its most regular contributor, Isaac Asimov, had written a monthly science column for over 20 years, since November 1958. F&SF also had a formidable depth of talent writing its cogent and influential book reviews. Past reviewers had included Alfred Bester, Damon Knight and Judith Merril. The current incumbent was Algis Budrys, who used each month’s selection of books as a pedestal from which to hold forth on such topics that interested, or more often aggravated him. Other occasional reviewers included John Clute, George Zebrowski and Thomas M. Disch. Baird Searles had run an occasional film review feature but from August 1984 Harlan Ellison began his own unmatchable ‘Watching’. Never one to mince his words, Ellison frequently railed against the film and TV industries for their inadequacies. The column was always popular and the first four years’ worth was assembled as Harlan Ellison’s Watching in 1989. These columns not only attracted a core readership, they were part of F&SF’s persona. On the one hand Asimov’s solid, reliable and instructive essays, sometimes mischievous and often mercurial, saw him moving effortlessly between a wide range of subject matters. On the other hand there was Ellison’s commentary—rebellious, angry but above all scrupulous: Ellison had a firm belief in the standards the film industry should attain and, when it fell short, he let them know. These features told you that F&SF gave its contributors great latitude so that each issue might publish any kind of material without warning. Edward Ferman rarely wrote editorials, allowing his columnists to hold the floor. His only presence was his brief introductions to each story. These allowed little of his personality to seep through, so there was a slight feeling of mystery, perhaps aloofness about him—someone in the dark pulling the strings. But now and again he would set an F&SF competition, and these were frequently mischievous. He had set the first in November 1971, and there were usually two or three per year. He might ask readers to submit famous sf book titles with one word changed, or ingenious sequels to books, or link authors to other books or fabricated titles. This, of course, encouraged reader involvement but almost always light-heartedly. The

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BEFORE THE REVOLUTION: BASTION OF EXCELLENCE 5

message was simple: the columnists might take themselves very seriously, but the reader did not have to. This was the magazine’s core attraction. A combination of familiarity and reliability mixed with humour and occasional daring—but daring that was safe, daring that was almost anticipated. The reader looked for all that was regular and expected, and then hoped for the unexpected. The one department missing was a regular letter column. Once in a while Ferman toyed with it, but it was so rare that its appearance felt out of place. It was another factor in the magazine’s character and, by not allowing that reader fraternity that often evolved in magazines with active letter columns, it further cemented a feeling of individuality. And this was just the editorial and columnist personae. Somehow Ferman managed to forge the same mixed identity through the stories he selected. He did this on the one hand by running stories by a regular stable of writers, some of whom had been with the magazine from the early years, such as Reginald Bretnor, Ron Goulart, Vance Aandahl and Hilbert Schenck, writers who were almost synonymous with the magazine. Bretnor had first appeared in F&SF as far back as its second issue (Winter/Spring 1950) with ‘The Gnurrs Come from the Voodvork Out’, which introduced the character Papa Schimmelhorn, a wily old clockmaker and inventor who gets caught up in various improbable adventures and uses his ingenuity to win the day, often to comic effect. The Schimmelhorn stories continued to appear on an irregular basis, the last being ‘Nobelist Schimmelhorn’ (May 1987). Bretnor appeared in nine other issues of F&SF during the 1980s. They were not all light-hearted stories: ‘Cryogenesis’ (January 1983) looked at a possible problem arising from cryogenics, while ‘Gilpin’s Space’ (February 1983), later expanded into a novel under the same name, concerns inventor Saul Gilpin who discovers a way of accessing hyperspace and allows mankind’s expansion into space, an aspect that had been explored in the earlier story ‘My Object All Sublime’ (October 1981). Ron Goulart was more prolific than Bretnor, and appeared in most of the leading magazines, though F&SF remained his primary market and was where he had debuted in 1952. Goulart’s stories were epitomized by sharp, often witty dialogue and settings which tended to drive a shallow but nonetheless clever plot. He was noted for a number of regular series which continued to appear in F&SF, though with less frequency, such as his quasi-scientific investigator Max Kearny in ‘The Return of Max Kearny’ (December 1981) and ‘Hello from Hollywood’ (December 1983), and his former intergalactic investigator, once of the shape-changing Chameleon Corps, Ben Jolson, who returned in ‘Ex-Chameleon’ (May 1986). Goulart

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would remain an F&SF regular, always with familiar, light-hearted stories that added more spice than substance to the contents. The name of Hilbert Schenck, Jr is less well known and, although he had sold his first story to F&SF in 1953, he did not really become a regular contributor until 1977. He was a mechanical engineer and oceanographer and the majority of his stories had maritime settings and frequently involved the weather, as in ‘Hurricane Claude’ (April 1983), which recounts how scientists try to tackle a major storm system. His writings are even more pertinent today with the threat of climate change. His last appearance was in the October 1990 issue with ‘A Down East Storm’, typical of his many stories with a New England maritime setting. Schenck was one of the few to have a story serialized in F&SF at this time, though ‘Steam Bird’ (April–May 1984), with its background of rivalry with the Soviet Union and attempts to colonize the Antarctic, reads rather dated. Vance Aandahl was another F&SF reliable who concentrated solely on short fiction. An English professor, he first appeared in the magazine in 1960, when he was 18, and then reappeared with sudden bursts of activity before vanishing again. The 1980s saw him unusually active with eight stories, a productivity which continued into the early 1990s. Most of his work took a satirical look at the standard imagery of science fiction, such as the humorous alien invasion story ‘Midnight Snack’ (April 1986), or ‘Deathmatch in Disneyland’ (July 1987) about a female wrestler who is frozen into the future. His most popular story of the period was ‘Born from the Beast’ (August 1986), which allowed for a wonderful Kiplingesque cover illustration by Bryn Barnard. It’s a Robinsonade, unusually long for Aandahl, set on an alien Earth-like world with an unlikely set of adventurers. Aandahl, Schenck, Goulart, Bretnor and others were the soft underlay that provided the cushion of familiarity in F&SF. There was more. From the start, F&SF had always been seen as having a more literary dimension. Aandahl and Bretnor, for example, also appeared in the slick and literary magazines. Although their work treated the medium light-heartedly and frequently lampooned the field, it was always respectful and not detrimental. Nevertheless, it allowed those readers not always au fait with the full spectrum of science fiction a safe introduction to the field and helped bridge that gap with the literary establishment, which could familiarize itself with the field, while keeping the other sf magazines at a safe distance. This feeling of being one step removed from the main line of science fiction was apparent in other contributors who, while appearing in other magazines, turned to F&SF for their less definable fiction. These were

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BEFORE THE REVOLUTION: BASTION OF EXCELLENCE 7

writers who, though strongly identified with science fiction as a whole, were nevertheless classed as the genre’s outsiders. One such was Thomas M. Disch. He had not been a typical F&SF contributor and appeared there only occasionally, but such appearances were almost always sui generis. He began the decade with an eccentric children’s fable, ‘The Brave Little Toaster’ (August 1980), about a group of kitchen appliances who go in search of their master. Disch had been unable to sell this as a children’s book but it felt right at home in F&SF, with its mixture of quirkiness and absurdity without being cute or moralistic. It went on to become a film and spawned two sequels. In the same vein Disch ended the decade with ‘The Happy Turnip’ (October 1989), about a nonconformist vegetable. In-between, Disch contributed three more conventional stories of which ‘Understanding Human Behavior’ (February 1982) was perhaps the most profound. In the future people can opt to have their past erased and start all over again. One such man meets a woman who claims to have known him before and who fabricates his past life, and although he soon learns it is not real, it nevertheless makes him feel complete. In Disch’s outlook our dreams are our lives, regardless of reality, a concept that would become all the more potent with the increased interest in virtual reality. Disch was the kind of unconventional writer who seemed right at home in F&SF. Another was Joanna Russ. She had been an F&SF discovery with ‘Nor Custom Stale’ in September 1959 and, with only a few exceptions, F&SF remained her most regular sf magazine market. She had also been an occasional book reviewer for the magazine from 1967 to 1980. Like Disch, her fiction output decreased over time and her last appearances in F&SF were in 1982. The stand-out story was ‘Souls’ (January 1982), which won the Hugo Award and topped the Locus poll for best novella. It’s a strange story to win either, because for most of its telling it reads as a straight historical story with only a hint of fantasy. It is set in the Middle Ages when the abbess of a nunnery is faced by a horde of Vikings intent on plunder. As events unfold, even after the monastery is pillaged, the abbess continues to seek power over the Viking leader. Only gradually is it revealed that she is an alien, on Earth to study humankind. As she is rescued by her compatriots she curses the Viking leader with the ability to see as she does, into the souls of others. What greater curse could a Viking barbarian have, and how might this change the course of history? It is the twist in the tail that gives the story its bite and leaves the reader pondering: the alien was more human than the humans; mankind could only be saved by the gift of empathy from a woman; what is it like to feel truly human? Both ‘Souls’ and Disch’s ‘Understanding Human Behavior’ deal with the human condition via the

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action of outsiders, which is what they also have in common with F&SF. It was the ‘outsider’ magazine. F&SF had once revelled in ‘outsiders’—not just the Bretnors or Aandahls of the world, but those who might be closer to the centre of science fiction, yet who remained in their own eccentric orbits. F&SF was once edited by such a writer: Avram Davidson. By the 1980s his health had declined and his stories were increasingly written with his wife Grania Davis. Some of the old flair was there, such as in ‘Dr. Bhumbo Singh’ (October 1982), a variant on the ‘magic shop’ theme, about a store that sold smells, but Davidson was no longer a major presence in F&SF, having been lured away to other magazines as we shall see. Davidson’s compatriot in the eccentric and bizarre had been R. A. Lafferty, another F&SF regular, but he too was in poor health and his contributions faded. Aside from one poem, Lafferty’s last contribution to F&SF was ‘Square and Above Board’, a tall tale about a haunted Irish castle, in the same issue as Davidson’s ‘Dr. Bhumbo Singh’. One of the more recent ‘outsiders’, in much the same vein, was Harvey Jacobs, who had been a TV and radio scriptwriter as well as a novelist and had sold fiction to a wide range of slick magazines, including Esquire, Cosmopolitan, Mademoiselle and the Transatlantic Review. He had first appeared in the sf field in 1968 with almost simultaneous sales to F&SF (‘The Egg of the Glak’, March 1968) and the British New Worlds (‘In Seclusion’, February 1968).4 Writing in the St James Guide to Science Fiction Writers, Don D’Ammassa noted: ‘Most of Jacobs’s fiction is skilfully written and sufficiently oddball that it appears as frequently in slick mainstream magazines as in purely science fiction publications, and his bizarre vision of the modern world has been compared to Magic Realism, fantasy, and surrealist fiction.’5 This places Jacobs in the same category as Bretnor, Aandahl and Lafferty, though his satires on society could be even more cutting and bizarre. Jacobs had six stories in F&SF in the 1980s. By way of example was ‘Busby’ (December 1983)—the title of which must have unsettled writer F. M. Busby, because the magazine had to publish an apology in a later issue. It concerns the planet Busby which has amazingly lush vegetation due to the excrement of the natives. The Galactic Council encourages the natives to be even more productive by setting up a special advertising campaign. One other ‘outsider’ who gravitated towards F&SF in the 1980s before he stopped writing was Felix C. Gotschalk. He had several abilities that shaped 4  New Worlds had been even more of an outsider than F&SF in the years after 1964, under Michael Moorcock and his successors, as recounted in Transformations and Gateways to Forever. 5  Don D’Ammassa, ‘Harvey Jacobs’, in Jay Pedersen (ed.), St James Guide to Science Fiction Writers, 4th edn (Detroit: St James Press, 1996), pp. 475–76.

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BEFORE THE REVOLUTION: BASTION OF EXCELLENCE 9

his fiction. He was a practising psychologist, which gave him a deep insight into human motives, a musician, which gave him a feel for the rhythm and pace of words, and he had a fascination for the evolution of language. These resulted in stories which could be hard work for the reader trying to follow their complex expressions and images related to human actions, and yet they had a form of rhythmic propulsion. Edward Ferman summarized Gotschalk’s work as being ‘a step ahead of most SF writers (or perhaps he’s marching in a different direction)’.6 A typical example is the following from ‘Vestibular Man’ (March 1985), about a bionic warrior in a much-changed America in the year 2800: The human body was a marvel of osteal keels, spars, ribs, gussets, fillets, and bulkheads. There were fulcrum-pivots of great power in the coccygeal nest, the lifting lever of the spinal cord, the tibial-demoral extensor, and the flexor patterns of the elbow and wrist joints. To utilize the osteal and muscular kinestesias of the body in combat was the ultimate paradigm of personal power to overcome an opponent in unarmed combat, to dominate, to control, to conquer, to triumph.7

It was one of the strengths, or perhaps idiosyncrasies, of F&SF that it managed to balance the work of these eccentric writers so that they never distorted the contents yet kept the magazine on the edge. This old guard of writers, however, was gradually passing away. Bretnor last appeared in F&SF in December 1989 and died in 1992. Hilbert Schenck last appeared in October 1990 and died in 2013. Avram Davidson died in 1993, though a backlog of stories meant a few more trickled through. Joanna Russ contributed nothing after November 1982. Felix Gotschalk ceased writing in the mid-1980s and last appeared in the June 1988 issue; he died in 2002. Disch, Goulart and Jacobs continued to contribute on rare occasions. Even Harlan Ellison, perhaps the most renegade of all of F&SF’s authors, contributed less fiction than usual during the 1980s, though his presence was never far away because of his film column. The magazine needed new blood. Ferman’s skill was in discovering and encouraging new writers who produced work close to the edge and, though they might contribute to other magazines, it was their work in F&SF that established their reputations. The list for the 1980s is considerable and includes Michael Conner, Patricia Cunningham, Bradley Denton, Paul Di Filippo, Russell Griffin, James Morrow, Michael Shea, Bruce Sterling and 6  Edward L. Ferman, introduction to ‘Conspicuous Consumption’, F&SF, 64:3 (March 1983), p. 111. 7  Felix C. Gotschalk, ‘Vestibular Man’, Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, 68:3 (March 1985), pp. 26–27.

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Lucius Shepard. To this we can add those who appeared either in F&SF or other magazines in the 1970s, but whose reputations only became established in the 1980s, such as John Kessel, Bob Leman, John Morressy, Rudy Rucker, Lewis Shiner, John Shirley, Larry Tritten and Wayne Wightman. Then there is another group of ‘outsiders’, literally, in the geographical sense, because F&SF ran more stories by British writers than any other US sf magazine in the 1980s. These included Brian W. Aldiss, J. G. Ballard, John Brunner, Richard Cowper, Stephen Gallagher, Robert Holdstock, Garry Kilworth, Keith Roberts and Ian Watson—writers whose works continued to reflect a British attitude and approach and whose contributions were a contrast to American fare. Finally there were those writers of long-established reputations whose work in F&SF continued to reflect their individualistic flair: Damon Knight, Barry Malzberg, Gene Wolfe and James Tiptree, Jr. Tiptree’s last two posthumously published works appeared in F&SF. Among these were several writers who became clustered together under the anomalous ‘cyberpunk’ banner, notably Bruce Sterling who chose F&SF as the market to develop his stories in what became the Shaper/Mechanist series. This concerns the distant evolution of humankind which in the far future has developed into two forms, the Shapers who use natural genetic modification to adapt and develop the human form, and the Mechanists who use computer-generated modification to develop what are effectively cyborgs. The series began in F&SF with ‘Swarm’ (April 1982) and continued with ‘Spider Rose’ (August 1982) before shifting to other markets, culminating (prior to the final novel Schismatrix) in ‘Sunken Gardens’ in Omni (June 1984) which, as we shall see, became the natural fertile field for cyberpunk. There’s also a distinctive group whose work would be classified predominantly as horror fiction. It was noticeable in F&SF that the proportion of horror fiction and dark fantasy increased significantly during the 1980s in line with the growing popularity of the medium at the bookstalls. F&SF had the good fortune to be the first of the sf/fantasy genre magazines to which Stephen King contributed after his rise to fame. His Dark Tower series had started in the magazine in October 1978 and the first series reached its climax with ‘The Gunslinger and the Dark Man’ (November 1981). King also contributed ‘The Ballad of the Flexible Bullet’, about the growing and interrelated insanities of a magazine editor and one of its contributors, to the June 1984 issue. The story was of the type that used to grace the pages of John Campbell’s Unknown in the 1940s and proved very popular. The most regular contributors of horror and weird fiction, though, were Michael Shea and Bob Leman. While much horror fiction relies on the

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BEFORE THE REVOLUTION: BASTION OF EXCELLENCE 11

supernatural, in Shea’s case his stories drew upon key images of science fiction. He first appeared in F&SF with ‘The Angel of Death’ (August 1979), where an alien shapeshifter visits Earth to study humans and becomes fascinated by a serial killer. Shea had previously published one novel, The Quest for Simbilis (1974), and one short story, but ‘The Angel of Death’ read like the product of a more experienced writer, as would all the stories he produced during the 1980s, predominantly for F&SF. ‘The Autopsy’ (December 1980) rapidly became a classic, scholar Arthur J. Cox calling it ‘possibly the grimmest story ever offered to the public as entertainment’.8 It is certainly among the most powerful stories F&SF published. It concerns a small-town doctor who is called out to conduct autopsies on several bodies killed in a mining accident, but as he undertakes his work he discovers something completely unworldly. Both of these stories were science fiction, but of an extreme kind, and both were shortlisted for the Nebula Award. Shea’s next story was slightly more conventional, though the emphasis was still on horror. In ‘Polyphemus’ (August 1981), explorers on an alien world find themselves trapped on an island by a giant creature that lives in the lake, and they need to understand the creature in order to overcome it. As with ‘The Autopsy’, the crescendo of horror is relentless. Shea’s reputation was already assured with these three stories, but it was amplified by the versatility shown in further stories during the 1980s, notably ‘Uncle Tuggs’ (May 1986), where he combines horror with humour and a catalogue of mayhem on a backwoods farm. Alas, after ‘Delivery’ (December 1987) it would be over a decade before Shea reappeared in F&SF and one of the magazine’s most exciting new talents was lost. Bob Leman was a well-known science fiction and fantasy fan before he began to sell to F&SF. He had one earlier story, ‘Bait’, in the January 1967 issue, but the regular flow of stories began with ‘Industrial Complex’ (May 1977), in which a man who believes he has become paranoid is really a witness to the impending end of life on Earth. ‘Window’ (May 1980) tells of an experiment by parapsychologists that opens up a window to another time or parallel world which rapidly turns from idyllic to horrific. Leman had 13 stories in F&SF in total, ending with ‘The Time of the Worm’ (March 1988) and including the unusual vampire story, ‘The Pilgrimage of Clifford M.’ (May 1984) and the forbidding ‘Instructions’ (September 1984), where you, the reader, suddenly discover that you are a pawn in an intergalactic

8  Arthur J. Cox, ‘The Grim Imperative of Michael Shea’, in Darrell Schweitzer (ed.), Discovering Modern Horror Fiction II (Mercer Island: Starmont House, 1988), p. 117.

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game. Leman, like Shea and King, used the basic building blocks of science fiction and reshaped them into something frightening. In much the same vein was Michael Reaves, who sold several stories to F&SF and elsewhere during the 1970s and 1980s before moving on to novels and television. He was a loss to the magazines as his stories were original and atmospheric. His horrors are tangible, most notably in ‘The Tearing of Greymare House’ (March 1983), where an old haunted house thwarts a contractor’s attempts to demolish it. That same March 1983 issue featured ‘Black Air’ by Kim Stanley Robinson, the moving story of a young boy press-ganged onto the Armada who has an affinity with the sailors and can see their souls departing from their bodies like flame when they die. The story won the World Fantasy Award as that year’s best novella. It was only Robinson’s second sale to F&SF, but he had already established a reputation in the field for his science fiction. His first F&SF story, ‘To Leave a Mark’ (November 1982), was about a mutiny in space and its consequences and was later incorporated into Icehenge (1984). Perhaps the most noted writer of unusual horror and fantasy in F&SF, otherwise best known for his sf, was Ian Watson. Watson can never be described as a typical science-fiction writer and few of his works fit into any standard category. He had first appeared in the sf magazines as far back as 1969, and for the next ten years concentrated chiefly on novels. His output of short fiction was relatively small, appearing mostly in the British magazines New Worlds and Science Fiction Monthly and occasional anthologies. His F&SF debut was with an odd vignette, ‘My Soul Swims in a Goldfish Bowl’ (April 1978), about a man who coughs up his soul. Somewhat similar was ‘Nightmares’ (April 1981), in which the sun and stars are blotted out by humanity’s nightmares which now surround the Earth. The story suggests that humanity has become stifled by its own fears and anxieties. Watson’s stories are full of bizarre imagery. In ‘Slow Birds’ (June 1983), guided missiles in a future war are fired via a parallel world to escape detection, but in that parallel Earth they hang in the sky like slow birds. F&SF serialized, as a series of connected episodes, the first book in Watson’s Black Current trilogy, The Book of the River, starting with ‘The Black Current’ (November 1983). It is set on a world divided by a long, sentient river, where the heroine experiences a series of transcendent adventures as she follows and tries to understand the nature of the river. Watson continued to have fun with allegory and imagery. In ‘Queenmagic, Pawnmagic’ (September 1986), later expanded into a novel, we’re in a fantasy world where a chess game is being played out between white and black magic. We follow the adventures of an individual who becomes

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BEFORE THE REVOLUTION: BASTION OF EXCELLENCE 13

a white pawn in the game, anxious to ensure that the game doesn’t end because—what then? Watson’s surreal fantasies are, like all the work I have discussed, ideally suited to F&SF. Although the magazine’s title suggests a balance between fantasy and science fiction, ‘sf’ is second in the name and it is only right to recognize that the magazine’s first allegiance is to fantasy. But what Ferman succeeded in acquiring, time after time, was a magnificent blend of fantasy, science fiction and weird fiction from contributors who defied categorization. One of the more renegade new contributors was Ray Aldridge, another example of the magazine’s more idiosyncratic and inventive authors. Almost all of Aldridge’s stories are set either explicitly or implicitly in a PanGalactic Universe where aeons ago planets were cultivated by SeedCorp so that they are now inhabited by various strains of humans or humanoid species. Starting with ‘The Touch of the Hook’ (April 1988), Aldridge explored these worlds, in particular Dilvermoon, and the interaction between them. Aldridge wrote somewhat in the style of Cordwainer Smith with the imagination (and often the vocabulary) of Jack Vance. The stories were dark, exotic and intense, and were long remembered. Arguably the most controversial story F&SF published, certainly during the 1980s and perhaps in its entire run, was ‘Lost Boys’ (October 1989), an intensely painful personal story by Orson Scott Card in which, in the first person, he tells a ghost story about the death of his own (still living) son. The story brought considerable response with readers and reviewers arguing that Card should never have couched the story in such potentially damaging terms, but this did not detract from the power of the story or from Ferman’s daring in publishing it. F&SF only occasionally ran high fantasy, that is fantasy set in an imaginary or magical world. The chief contributors in the 1980s were John Morressy, Marion Zimmer Bradley and, to some extent, Phyllis Eisenstein. Eisenstein had created the character of Alaric the Minstrel in 1971 in ‘Born to Exile’ and the stories follow his quest to understand who he is. He only appeared once in the 1980s, but it was in a three-part serial, ‘Beyond the Red Lord’s Reach’ (July–September 1988), which was issued in paperback the following year. With ‘A Hedge Against Alchemy’ (April 1981), John Morressy began a long series of light-hearted fantasies featuring Kedrigern the Magician. Although on the surface these stories appear traditional their humour gives them an added depth, particularly through the insight of Kedrigern into the problems he’s trying to solve. Bradley’s stories feature Lythande, a Pilgrim Adept who wanders the world gaining know­ledge until she will be called upon in the last days. The series grew out of the Thieves’

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World anthologies but had a short independent life in F&SF, starting with ‘Somebody Else’s Magic’ (October 1984). It’s a more traditional fantasy series and feels almost out of place in F&SF. Far more common were the more subtle fantasies, set in this world or one very similar, but where the unusual intrudes, and these tended to be from writers who kept their science fiction fluid. James Tiptree, Jr is a good example. Tiptree had placed some of her best stories with F&SF, not least ‘The Women Men Don’t See’ in the December 1973 issue.9 F&SF remained her primary market until her death in 1987, and she continued to produce stories that were science fiction, fantasy and somewhere in-between. The sf included ‘The Only Neat Thing to Do’ (October 1985), a reworking of Tom Godwin’s classic ‘The Cold Equations’ from Astounding (August 1954). In that story a girl has stowed away on a ship sent on a mercy mission to a colony, but her presence meant the ship would run out of fuel and she had to be sacrificed so that the colony could be saved. In Tiptree’s version, it is the girl who makes the choice. She finds she has a parasite that will endanger her destination and so chooses to head off into deep space. This was the first in her Starry Rift sequence of novellas and the second, ‘Goodnight, Sweethearts’ (March 1986), set at an earlier time, is another excellent space opera highlighting personal challenges to be faced by those in deep space. However, the third in the sequence, ‘Collision’, did not appear in F&SF but in Asimov’s (May 1986), an expedient to get advance magazine publication for the stories before the book, The Starry Rift, appeared in July 1986, but it meant that F&SF missed out on the full sequence, a problem that would become increasingly noticeable as the 1980s progressed. The fantasy included two of her stories of the Quintana Roo. In the early 1980s, haunted by the magical atmosphere of the Quintana Roo province in Yucatán, Tiptree wrote three stories to capture that other-worldliness. The first, ‘Lirios’, was sold to George Scithers at Asimov’s, but the other two came to Ferman. ‘The Boy Who Waterskied to Forever’ (October 1982) tells of a boy who vanishes while attempting a waterskiing record and how this might relate to an ancient Mayan carving. ‘Beyond the Dead Reef’ (January 1983) reveals how the sea might fight back against all the pollution it has suffered. The stories have a wistfulness which is not typical of Tiptree but which magically captures the spirit of place. ‘Beyond the Dead Reef’ proved the most popular short story of the year among Locus readers and, when the collection was published in 1986, it won the World Fantasy Award. The settings of Central and South America and other corners of the world also inspired one of science fiction’s great new talents and arguably F&SF’s

9 See Gateways to Forever, p. 98.

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BEFORE THE REVOLUTION: BASTION OF EXCELLENCE 15

hottest property in the 1980s, Lucius Shepard. Shepard had travelled much in his youth, was very well read and had been pushed by his father to become a writer. Although he had written some children’s stories before he was a teenager, doubtless helped by his father, he did not seriously turn to writing until he was nearly 40 and then the stories poured forth. Shepard developed into a superior storyteller rather than simply a writer. The credit for discovering Shepard goes not to Edward Ferman but to Terry Carr. Shepard had attended the Clarion Writers’ Workshop in 1980 and had submitted a story, ‘Black Coral’, to Carr for consideration in his Universe series of anthologies. Carr liked the story but felt the language was too extreme so suggested Shepard send it to Marta Randall for New Dimensions. Randall was prepared to buy the story but New Dimensions ceased after the twelfth volume in 1981. Shepard revised the story and returned it to Carr who bought it, but it now had to wait its turn and appeared in Universe 14 in July 1984. By then Carr had run another of Shepard’s stories, a rather more straightforward account of investigations into ESP, ‘The Taylorsville Reconstruction’, in Universe 13 in June 1983. Carr also bought Shepard’s first novel, Green Eyes, which was published as an Ace Special in May 1984. Before then F&SF ran two of Shepard’s stories, ‘Solitario’s Eyes’ (September 1983) and ‘Salvador’ (April 1984), and it was these that created an instant impact and made Shepard a name to watch. Both stories have Latin American settings, both have persuasive undertones of magic realism and both, like the jungles in which they are set, hide as much as they reveal. ‘Solitario’s Eyes’ concerns the child of a vicious army officer who retains an empathic psychic link with the healer whom the officer had brought in to help with the child’s birth and who was subsequently murdered. The story has a natural rhythm and pace which enhances its believability. ‘Salvador’ is even darker. It concerns soldiers fighting in El Salvador in some near-future conflict. They are reliant on special drugs to control and calm them, or ‘open them up to their inner nature’ as the protagonist believes in the story, but the drugs confuse their sense of reality and the soldiers find themselves somewhere strange. In Shepard’s hands the story is totally believable. It had simply poured out of him. ‘“Salvador” was a surprise,’ he later recalled. ‘I just sat down and wrote it.’10 ‘Solitario’s Eyes’ was nominated for a World Fantasy Award and ‘Salvador’ was nominated for both the Hugo and Nebula awards and won the Locus Award as that year’s best short story. In fact in 1985, Shepard was nominated for two Hugos and three Nebulas, and Green Eyes was a finalist

10  Lucius Shepard, interview by Rafael Sa’adah, Science Fiction Eye, 1:2 (August 1987), p. 16.

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for the Philip K. Dick Award. Little wonder that he also won the Campbell award as that year’s best new writer. Becoming a full-time writer, Shepard sought to crack all the markets, so it was difficult for Ferman to hold on to him. Yet Shepard found that trying to tailor to the markets didn’t always work. He sold ‘The Storming of Annie Kinsale’ and ‘Reaper’ to Asimov’s but he wasn’t satisfied with those, and stories he tried to sell to Omni he realized afterwards weren’t Omni stories, and it took him a while to crack that market. But the stories for F&SF came naturally and included some of the best of the decade, notably ‘The Man Who Painted the Dragon Griaule’ (December 1984). It’s set in a nineteenthcentury South America that is not quite of this Earth, chiefly because it’s a world inhabited by dragons. One of them, Griaule, who is massive, had been immobilized long ago but still lives, sleeping, and dominating the town. A visiting artist suggests that the dragon can be painted out of existence, and so the events leading to the climax are set in train. Again it reads like a tale being told, not a story being written. It is a seamless blend of folklore, fairytale, absurdist fantasy and magic realism, which Shepard makes work. Like many of the writers covered here, Shepard also met the criteria as an ‘outsider’. Elizabeth Hand observed, ‘More than any other living genre writer, he has created a myth of his own mercurial personae—drug user, adventurer, foreign journalist, rock and roll star, artistic recluse—and subsequently tapped into this myth for his fictions.’11 Shepard’s work was the very essence of F&SF—showing a reader the world in another light, or slightly out of kilter, and then taking the reader into that world to see its absurdities or its darkest secrets or its reflections of other realities. F&SF’s stories were not fantasy adventures or sf adventures, they were experiences of perception. Despite the challenge from Omni and Asimov’s, to which I shall turn next, F&SF finished the decade as it had begun, setting out its stall in its own exotic territory. ‘Buffalo Gals, Won’t You Come Out Tonight’ (November 1987) by Ursula K. Le Guin, about a girl who stumbles into the world of south-western animal folklore and shamanism, was ideal F&SF material. ‘Kirinyaga’ (November 1988), the Hugo-winning story by Mike Resnick, was the start of his long series set on a terraformed asteroid which translates the traditional culture of the African Kikuyu tribe into space in the hope of establishing a fundamental tribal utopia. The stories are a blend of fantasy,

11  Elizabeth Hand, ‘Lucius Shepard’, in Richard Bleiler (ed.), Science Fiction Writers, 2nd edn (New York: Scribner’s, 1999), pp. 689–90.

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BEFORE THE REVOLUTION: BASTION OF EXCELLENCE 17

folklore and science, again ideal for F&SF.12 However, once the series was established, it migrated to Asimov’s. When Dean Wesley Smith came to review the magazine, selecting the February 1990 issue, he remarked that it contained ‘more strong stories than are usually found in three issues of any major magazine’.13 It was that depth of quality alongside the breadth of originality and individuality that sustained F&SF’s status, despite the ever-encroaching impact of Omni and Asimov’s. It was F&SF, more than any other regular magazine, that allowed writers to experiment and innovate and thereby gave sf a firm bedrock from which to grow and regenerate during the 1980s. That development, however, was mostly in other magazines.

12  This first story was originally written for a projected shared-world anthology, Eutopia, edited by Orson Scott Card. 13  Dean Wesley Smith, ‘Short Fiction Review’, Science Fiction Review, 1:1 (Spring 1990), p. 87.

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2 The First Revolution: Cyberpunk Days

The McCarthy Years Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine (hereinafter Asimov’s) had been launched in January 1977 (issue dated Spring) and met with considerable success in the capable editorial hands of George Scithers. Admittedly it also had the selling power of Asimov’s name and the commercial acumen of Joel Davis. In its first year, Asimov’s outsold Analog as the top-selling sf magazine. Scithers’s role in this should not be underestimated, as he tapped into a lost vein of younger readers. The major sf magazines of the previous 20 years, especially Analog, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction (F&SF) and Galaxy, had targeted an ‘older’ readership. A survey undertaken by Analog at the end of 1980 revealed that ‘the median age is now closer to thirty-five, with relatively more older readers and fewer younger ones’.1 A year later F&SF conducted a similar survey which revealed, if anything, an even older readership. Edward Ferman wrote, comparing to an earlier survey, ‘We still have a young, primarily under 45 audience, but we wonder what has happened to the large percentage of teen-age readers.’2 These results were upheld by Sherry Gottlieb, owner of the bookshop A Change of Hobbit in Santa Monica, California, who responded to the poll results by saying, in part: it confirms an observation I’ve been making for the last few years at A Change of Hobbit. I regret to inform you that the Youth is not reading elsewhere … unfortunately, they are not reading at all. When A Change

1  Analog, 101:5 (27 April 1981), p. 13. 2  F&SF, 62:6 (June 1982), p. 5.

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of Hobbit first opened ten years ago, the clientele was 75% under-25, but that has shifted completely to less than 20% under-20.3

As I explored in Gateways to Forever, many younger readers had been siphoned away from the traditional sf magazines to other media, primarily role-playing games and science-fiction movies and their associational media magazines. It was into this lucrative younger market that Scithers was able to pitch Asimov’s. It was not a conscious decision at the outset, but arose from the nature of some of the early contributors and the approachable tone set by Asimov himself. His relaxed, informative writing style made his work accessible to all age groups. Martin Gardner, who provided a puzzle column, likewise appealed to all ages. A strong influence was Asimov’s delight in puns and limericks which Scithers built upon. In little over a year the magazine had become renowned for its light-hearted and often quite shallow stories. That’s not true of all its content, but it was a mood that pervaded the magazine. It became all the more obvious by the number of new, young writers (the youngest being 15) whom Scithers encouraged to contribute to the magazine, and the many younger readers whose letters were published. This meant that Asimov’s became a magazine parents felt was ‘safe’ for their children to read, and so developed a readership in areas beyond those reached by Analog and F&SF. It also meant that Scithers had to tread carefully. Stephen Fabian’s cover for the August 1980 issue, illustrating Somtow Sucharitkul’s ‘Light on the Sound’, featured a man and a woman, with the rather voluptuous woman depicted almost naked, although their backs were to the reader. This irated at least one reader who found it ‘offensive’ and declared they would not be renewing their subscription. They further remarked: ‘We found your magazine leaning towards undesirable sexual incidents entwined in the science fiction.’4 Yet, by making Asimov’s commercially successful, Scithers was also charged with having toned the magazine down to a less demanding readership, and as a consequence the science fiction it was publishing was banal. John Shirley, for instance, believed that Asimov’s was generating a poor image of science fiction, fearing it was having a ‘major neutralizing influence’.5 Richard E. Geis, in his usual pithy summary of the magazines, referred to ‘the action-adventure quasi-juvenile of Asimov’s’.6 It filled a

3  4  5  6 

F&SF, 63:3 (September 1982), p. 158. Mrs Roger Lewis, letter, Asimov’s, 5:5 (11 May 1981), p. 171. John Shirley, ‘A Final Paranoid Critical Statement’, Thrust, #16 (Fall 1980), p. 23. Richard E. Geis, Science Fiction Review, #38 (Spring 1981), p. 47.

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market niche, and was proving profitable, but it was frowned upon by the sf community. His assistant editors had endeavoured to develop the type of story Scithers was acquiring, but to little avail. Gardner Dozois, who had been a first reader during the first year, had resigned because Scithers was rejecting most of the stories Dozois was recommending.7 Shawna McCarthy had a similar view: ‘I did not come out of a fandom background and thus found much of the fannish material George was using to be rather puzzling and limiting to what I saw as the really boundless playing field that science fiction could offer talented and ambitious writers.’8 Despite Scithers’s success, the cracks had been appearing for some while. In the summer of 1980, Joel Davis appointed Carole Gross as executive director in charge of marketing and production. She had previously worked at Doubleday, but had no experience in magazine publishing. She instigated several changes. Hitherto, the control of story illustrations had been handled by the editors, but Gross switched this to the art department and undertook a major redesign of both Asimov’s and Analog, with effect from the April 1981 issues. She also tried to introduce new contracts which would result in contributors selling all rights to their work, rather than first serial rights. All this annoyed Scithers who let his views be known to Joel Davis, but his ability to have any effect was limited because he lived in Philadelphia, working with a team of first readers (known colloquially as ‘the Zoo’) and only visited Asimov’s offices once or twice a week. The latter provided the opportunity for a parting of the ways. Davis wanted a full-time in-house editor but Scithers refused to move from Philadelphia. As a result he was given notice with effect from 31 December 1981.9 The cracks may have shown even earlier. Davis was looking for further expansion. He was already the publisher of Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine. In February 1980 he took over Analog from Condé Nast and, soon after, he shifted all four magazines from a monthly to a four-weekly schedule. Despite the failed experiment of Asimov’s SF Adventure,10 Davis now launched two more titles, Crime Digest and Science Fiction Digest. Both were planned as bi-monthlies and their first issues were released at the end of August 1981, dated October/November.

7 See Gateways to Forever, pp. 335–36. 8  Shawna McCarthy, email, 7 September 2006. 9  It is usually reported that Scithers resigned (Locus, #252 [January 1982], p. 1; Science Fiction Chronicle, 3:4 [January 1982], p. 1; Science Fiction Review, #42 [Spring 1982], p. 64) but he was, in fact, given notice. 10  This letter-size magazine saw just four issues from September 1978 to Fall 1979 (Gateways to Forever, pp. 337–40).

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The idea behind Science Fiction Digest was to help readers penetrate the vast jungle of over 2,000 science-fiction hardcovers and paperbacks that smothered the stalls each year. The magazine would provide self-contained excerpts or condensations of books, including non-fiction, along with news of what was happening along publisher’s row. Not surprisingly the first issue had a photograph of Isaac Asimov on the cover and led with an excerpt from his new book, Asimov on Science Fiction. There were also excerpts from books by Gregory Benford, C. J. Cherryh and Sydney van Scyoc. Science Fiction Digest was a part reprint, part promotional magazine. The reprint part was because some extracts had already appeared in print, either because the book was already published at the time the issue appeared or because the extract was a self-contained article which had seen prior publication. The Asimov extract, for instance, ‘How Easy to See the Future’, had previously appeared as a separate article in Natural History (April 1975). Future issues of the Digest ran extracts from Stephen King’s Cujo, F. Paul Wilson’s The Keep, Samuel Delany’s Nevèrÿóna, Vincent Price’s Monsters, Michael Bishop’s No Enemy But Time and Robert Stallman’s The Book of the Beast. The magazine was thus a mixture of science fiction, fantasy and horror, a point that McCarthy excused in her editorials. The basis of the magazine, though, was questionable. It was debatable how many would buy the magazine in order to read an extract (not even a full serial) just a few weeks before (or, indeed, after) the book appeared, especially ones such as King’s Cujo. Sales were poor. The third issue (dated May/June 1982) was delayed until the end of April, six months after the second issue, and the final fourth and fifth issues were combined as a special ‘double’ issue in August, dated September/October 1982. Thereafter the magazine was put on hold, but was soon overtaken by other events. At the time Science Fiction Digest was announced in February 1981, George Scithers was cited as editor11 but Shawna McCarthy had been undertaking all the work, and by the time the magazine appeared she was listed as full editor, with Elizabeth (‘Betsy’) Mitchell as associate editor. McCarthy was of the view that Scithers had never intended to edit it: I believe its inception was one of the reasons I was brought on (that, and Davis wanted a ‘warm’ body in the office all week). I know it was brought up either during my interview or very shortly thereafter, and I spent a fair amount of my time the first year acquiring material for it.12

11  See news stories in Locus, #241 (February 1981), p. 3, and #242 (March 1981), p. 5. 12  Shawna McCarthy, email, 31 August 2006.

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In other words, the need for a full-time in-house editor was already a concern a year before Scithers departed. When Isaac Asimov wrote his editorial ‘Farewell to George’, he only stated that with Davis’s expansion George felt he was spreading himself too thinly and, with plenty of other work he wanted to do, decided it was time to go.13 But in his autobiography, I, Asimov, he was more open: ‘Unfortunately, George somehow never quite got along with Joel. The chemistry was wrong.’14 Relationships and work practices aside, Scithers had achieved much in his five years with Asimov’s. He had won two Hugo awards as best editor and stories from his issues had won three Hugos and two Nebulas, plus two Rhyslings for poetry. The award-winning stories were ‘Enemy Mine’ by Barry Longyear (September 1979), ‘Unicorn Variation’ by Roger Zelazny (13 April 1981) and ‘Fire Watch’ by Connie Willis (15 February 1982). It is perhaps pertinent that the last two were both in his final year as editor, and there is no doubt that in that final year Scithers was acquiring a wider range of material. ‘Unicorn Variation’ is an interesting hybrid, because it’s a fun story but with deeply serious undertones giving an understanding of what humans can achieve in extreme circumstances. Some of the change in Asimov’s was almost certainly due to the influence of Shawna McCarthy, but it was also a recognition by Scithers that the light-hearted days of Asimov’s had run their course and it was time for the magazine to grow. He had published top-quality material by Gene Wolfe, Robert Silverberg, James Tiptree, Jr and Kate Wilhelm in addition to his regulars. On balance, the Scithers period of editorship should be seen as the right man doing the right job at the right time. He made Asimov’s a successful magazine and attracted a new and much-needed younger readership to the field, but it was time to move on. With his departure went his team of first readers based in Philadelphia, so even more work fell on the shoulders of Shawna McCarthy and Elizabeth Mitchell. Meanwhile, Davis and Gross looked for a new editor. Their choice was Kathleen Moloney, former executive editor at Bantam Books, who took up her role with effect from the 15 March 1982 issue. Asimov had been surprised that Moloney had been appointed over McCarthy. His tone was evident in that same ‘Farewell to George’ editorial where he commented, ‘Stick With Us, Shawna’ and that she would provide ‘continuity and experience during the transition’. 13  See Isaac Asimov, ‘Farewell to George’, Asimov’s, 6:5 (May 1982), p. 8. 14  Isaac Asimov, I, Asimov: A Memoir (New York: Doubleday, 1994), p. 426. Rather pointedly, when Gardner Dozois became editor three years later he chose to work from his home in Philadelphia, as Scithers had. That only served to emphasize how office politics had manipulated Scithers’s departure.

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It seems Moloney was also surprised: ‘Frankly, I’m not quite sure how I got the job. I’d had several publishing gigs but no science fiction or fantasy background unless you count reading Animal Farm in junior high. Despite my lack of experience I was hired by Carole Dolph Gross and Joel Davis.’15 Moloney’s book-editing background was at odds with magazine editing. She began to heavily edit manuscripts with no consultation with the authors. McCarthy recalled: Rather than write editorial letters to writers to ask them to revise their stories, she would heavily edit the actual manuscript, rearranging paragraphs, crossing out lines, moving scenes around, etc., things that George and I had strongly felt should remain strictly in the purview of the author. The final products were sent to the authors in galley form for proofreading, and the shit really hit the fan when they saw what had been done to their stories. I talked with Kathleen and told her that this really wasn’t the way things worked around IA, and as I recall, after that point she left the editing/rewriting phase to me.16

Moloney also admitted that she ‘relied heavily on senior editor Shawna McCarthy’.17 McCarthy was promoted to senior editor from the June 1982 issue. At the same time, Betsy Mitchell was confirmed as managing editor of Analog and Sheila Williams became Asimov’s new assistant editor, moving from the subsidiary rights department to help on the workload. In effect, McCarthy selected the stories and compiled the issues with Moloney’s approval. Moloney concentrated on becoming acquainted with the magazine. After reading the incoming letters she deduced that for any strong view there was almost always an equally strong opposing view, and the only thing everyone agreed on was that Isaac Asimov ought to write more fiction for the magazine.18 In this she had some success. Asimov had recently started a series of light fantasy stories, selling the first to Gallery and the second to F&SF. They featured a shiftless individual called George and a small demon (or extraterrestrial), Azazel, whose powers are as limited as his height. It was McCarthy, though, rather than Moloney, who convinced Asimov to switch the series to Asimov’s, starting with ‘To the Victor’ (July 1982), and it continued to appear until Asimov’s death ten years later.19

15  Kathleen Moloney, Asimov’s, 31:4–5 (April/May 2007), pp. 10–11. 16  Shawna McCarthy, email, 7 September 2006. 17  Kathleen Moloney, Asimov’s, 31:4–5 (April/May 2007), pp. 10–11. 18  Kathleen Moloney, ‘Up Front’, Asimov’s, 6:7 (July 1982), p. 6. 19 Asimov, I, Asimov, p. 490.

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Of more significance was the appearance of Asimov’s ‘Foundation’s Edge’ in the December 1982 issue. This marked Asimov’s return to the Foundation Saga after over 30 years, but this had nothing to do with Moloney. Asimov had been encouraged—some might say brow-beaten—into writing a fourth Foundation book by the senior editor at Doubleday. Only the first two chapters appeared in Asimov’s, and only then because Asimov gave in to ‘strong pressure from the editorial staff’.20 In fact the extract had already formed part of negotiations for what would have been the November/ December issue of Science Fiction Digest, had that magazine continued, and was thus entirely the work of McCarthy. However, its impact was reduced because the book had been published on 8 October, two weeks before the December Asimov’s appeared on the stands, by which time the hardcover edition was on the New York Times bestseller list. What’s more, Omni had already run an extract in its October 1982 issue, ahead of the book’s publication and a whole month ahead of Asimov’s. So, although it was an ‘event’ upon which the magazine could capitalize, it was not the coup the publisher would have liked. What gave the issue an added attraction was an essay by Asimov on how he came to write the new book, plus invited comments from such major names as Arthur C. Clarke, Alvin Toffler, Jack Williamson and Larry Niven, celebrating the book’s appearance. With her ability to influence the fiction in Asimov’s limited, Moloney spent her time developing other areas of the magazine. Starting with the July 1982 issue, she changed the cover design so that the artwork filled the whole cover rather than being boxed in. She introduced a ‘Profile’ column on leading writers and intellectuals of the day. This was, for the most part, a series of interviews by Charles Platt which subsequently formed the second volume of Dream Makers (1983). Subjects included Alvin Toffler, Harry Harrison, William Burroughs and James Tiptree, Jr. This feature sometimes alternated with ‘Viewpoint’, started in the October 1982 issue, which allowed contributors space to vent their opinions on a wide range of subjects. This column introduced some lively ideas. One such was ‘In the Tradition of: an Immodest Proposal’ (May 1983) where Pamela Sargent suggested that new writers should make arrangements with established writers that they could adopt that writer’s name. This was an extension of the long-standing idea of ghost writers, and though Sargent’s proposal 20  Isaac Asimov, ‘Best-Seller’, Asimov’s, 7:5 (May 1983), p. 6. Asimov was uncomfortable about running his fiction in the magazine for fear that readers might feel he was taking advantage of his position and that he was using space that could benefit another writer. He devoted his editorial in the February 1983 issue to the matter, asking readers’ views, and the responses, published in later issues, were overwhelmingly positive.

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was clearly tongue-in-cheek, it was an idea that would soon develop as part of the shared-world concept with new writers continuing established or existing series. Moloney also commissioned the series ‘Mooney’s Module’, a cartoon created by commercial artist Gerard Mooney. A science-fiction fan, Mooney worked in advertising and had submitted a spoof poster about the Law of Gravity which led to a series being commissioned. It ran in most issues until January 1986. Finally, Moloney instigated a regular crossword puzzle, compiled by Merl H. Reagle, starting in the September 1982 issue. Needless to say there were a range of reactions to these changes. ‘They are both refreshing and stimulating,’ wrote one reader,21 while another complained, ‘I am extremely disturbed by your recent efforts to “grow up”.’22 Overall most correspondents liked the crossword and cartoon but were less certain about the ‘Profile’ and ‘Viewpoint’ if they took up space better used by fiction. Clearly these changes needed time to establish themselves, but for Moloney there was no more time. After eight months she was lured away by an offer as a senior editor at Times Books. Her last issue was dated mid-December 1982. When Moloney moved on, Asimov stepped in and threatened, so McCarthy was told, that he would withdraw his name from the magazine if McCarthy was not appointed editor. Moloney’s impact upon the magazine was minimal. She manipulated around the edges, but the heart of the magazine, the fiction, was down to McCarthy. These issues included several important stories, two of which, bizarrely, considered the importance of the mail service among survivors in a post-nuclear society. The first was ‘A Letter from the Clearys’ (July 1982) by Connie Willis, a deeply unsettling story because you do not know at first that this is set after a nuclear war, nor do you understand the full significance of the actions of the main protagonist, a young girl. It’s a story that takes root in the mind and grows. The other was ‘The Postman’ (November 1982) by David Brin, a more uplifting story about a loner travelling across a post-holocaust America, who, after encountering a dead postman together with his mail, decides to deliver the letters. His actions bring hope back to the beleaguered outposts. The story brought in a wealth of reader reaction, so much so that Asimov commented, ‘It seems to me that “The Postman” is receiving more enthusiastic comments than any item we’ve published since “Enemy Mine”.’23

21  Susan Hope Hochman, letter, Asimov’s, 7:3 (March 1983), p. 168. 22  Ronald D. Sands, letter, Asimov’s, 7:3 (March 1983), p. 168. 23  Isaac Asimov, Asimov’s, 7:5 (May 1983), p. 14.

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This positive response caused Brin to write a sequel, ‘Cyclops’ (March 1984) and to develop the stories into the full novel, published in November 1985 and subsequently filmed. One reader, who found the original story provided ‘a wave of intellectual satisfaction’, added, ‘As for the magazine in general, John W. Campbell Jr. would have been proud to be associated with a magazine of this caliber.’24 High praise indeed, and certainly ‘The Postman’ is a Campbellian story. Whether Campbell would have approved of the full contents of the magazine is another matter. But it was clear that Asimov’s was emerging from its Scithers period as a strong companion to Analog. McCarthy became the full editor of the magazine in name as well as in deed from the January 1983 issue, with Sheila Williams as her assistant. McCarthy’s issues ran through to mid-December 1985, so she compiled exactly three years’ worth, or 39 issues. Those issues would feature ten stories that went on to win major awards, and McCarthy would herself win the Hugo Award as best professional editor in 1984. Gardner Dozois observed, ‘If there was an award for the most dramatically improved magazine of the year, it would have to go to Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, and the credit for that sea change seems to belong almost entirely to new editor Shawna McCarthy.’25 This sea change was never more evident than with ‘Hardfought’ by Greg Bear in the February 1983 issue. The novella filled a third of the issue, 60 pages, and was introduced by an editorial warning—the first of many in the magazine: the story you are about to read is like nothing else you’ve ever seen in these pages. It’s a difficult story—not one you can skim before going to bed at night. But it is also, we think, a very rewarding story. Give it your time and attention, and we don’t think you’ll regret it.

The story is an episode during a generations-long war between humankind and an alien species. In this far distant future, humans have been genetically mutated and are in some ways almost as alien. The story revolves around how one nonconformist alien is given the task of trying to communicate with a human. Bear tries to take the reader with him in seeking to understand two very different species and how they might relate to each other.

24  Peter Klopsis, Asimov’s, 7:5 (May 1983), p. 14. 25  Gardner Dozois, ‘Summation: 1983’, in Gardner Dozois (ed.), The Year’s Best Science Fiction: First Annual Collection (New York: Bluejay Books, 1984), p. 14.

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Little reader reaction appeared because the letter column was full of feedback on Asimov’s contributions, but perhaps the one letter published summed it up for many: I just finished reading Greg Bear’s ‘Hardfought’ in the February issue for the second time. I think it is one of the best science-fiction stories that I have ever read. Its depiction of the far future was believable and mentally exhilarating. There are very few novels with that kind of imaginative power and complete vision. To find a short story with all of that plus something to say and a succinctly stated, compelling point of view is remarkable.26

Clearly sufficient others felt the same, as the story was nominated for the Hugo Award and won the Nebula Award for best novella. Bear was aware, when writing the story, that he had to keep the reader with him and that they had to invest something of themselves in the story. Thinking back on it three years later, he commented: its publication signalled a change in Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine policies, which we discussed for a while. ‘Hardfought’ is a difficult story in almost any sense. It has a new language: the main characters, whether human or extra terrestrial, are alien to us. The physics are difficult, and so are the several levels of plotting … and three characters having the same name! What I find interesting and rewarding is that people read it anyway, and were impressed by it.27

It was clear that Shawna McCarthy was prepared to work with writers to help develop challenging and original stories. In the March 1983 issue she asked readers, ‘Tell me what you like and don’t like to read. Tell me what offends you and what doesn’t. Let me know how far you’re willing to go for the sake of a wonderful story.’28 McCarthy admitted that hitherto she had rejected perfectly good stories on the basis that they contained too much sex or violence that might offend readers. The response, according to published letters, was generally favourable, most readers arguing that they were adult enough to treat these matters within the context of the story. McCarthy was, though, working within the restrictions of the publisher’s in-house policies, which generally did not seek to promote sexual issues as it might limit sales to the younger readers which Asimov’s had hitherto encouraged. Such was the problem she

26  Michael T. Folie, letter, Asimov’s, 7:9 (September 1983), p. 20. 27  Greg Bear, interview by Pascal J. Thomas, Thrust, #27 (Summer 1987), p. 10. 28  Shawna McCarthy, ‘In Back’, Asimov’s, 7:3 (March 1983), p. 172.

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encountered when considering a story submitted by Connie Willis, ‘All My Darling Daughters’. Willis recounted: Editors weren’t interested in a nice little story about lesbianism and bestiality and incest. … I was planning to publish it in Asimov’s magazine and we were in negotiations on how I could change the language so I could meet Asimov’s rules and not get in trouble with the story. They have rules at the magazine about what kinds of swearing can be in the story and I was working on changing some of the forbidden words.29

Willis did not really want to change a word and, in the end, rather than revise it, she included it complete in her collection Fire Watch (1985). The story is an uncomfortable read because it centres on abuse, both to children and animals. It is set on an abandoned space station which now serves as a boarding school and where the girls are at the mercy of the boys. In fact, beyond the setting and the inclusion of a new breed of animal used for sexual gratification, the story is not really science fiction, but a serious study of child abuse. It probably was too extreme for Asimov’s at that time, scarcely a year on from Scithers’s tenure, but the fact that McCarthy was prepared to consider it showed how open she was to such fiction and how she wanted to broaden Asimov’s content. Eventually McCarthy tested the waters, taking the reader response as an approval to move on, but the reaction was, perhaps, predictable. The mid-December 1983 issue ran ‘Her Furry Face’ by Leigh Kennedy. It’s the story of a man’s growing love towards a female orang-utan which he has trained and educated and which has developed a superior intelligence and an ability to write. Unfortunately the man goes too far and, in trying to make love to the animal, effectively rapes her with sad consequences. Its publication caused an ‘uproar’, according to McCarthy, with hundreds of complaints and many subscription cancellations. Few of these letters were published, but the publication of more sexually explicit stories was noticed by several correspondents: In the last few months there has been a definite trend toward more sex but it was not adversely affecting the overall quality of the stories until the last two issues (Dec. and Mid-Dec.). Sex became the center of the stories instead of scientific creativity or imagination. ‘Remembering Siri’, ‘Her Furry Face’, ‘The Castrati of Womensa’ and ‘Reasonable Doubt’ would have been improved by creative plotting and more scientific detail. Until

29  Connie Willis, interview by Takayuki Tatsumi, Science Fiction Eye, #7 (August 1990), p. 58.

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these issues I had believed that the writers for IAsfm had too much wit and intelligence to be caught dumping sex into a story for shock value.30

The other stories cited are really irrelevant to the argument. ‘Remembering Siri’ (December 1983) is an early story by Dan Simmons which later formed part of the back history of his Hyperion sequence of books. It’s the touching tale of a far-future astronaut whose trips to the stars, with the consequent time dilation, means that his returns to his home planet find the girl he loves growing considerably older than he is until, at length, he visits her tomb. Such sexual moments that are described in the story are integral to his memories and pertinent to the story. One correspondent called it, ‘one of the most imaginative, touching and excellently written stories I’ve had the pleasure of reading in many moons’.31 ‘Reasonable Doubt’ (mid-December 1983), the debut story by Fred Singer, considers the violent attitude of certain humans towards aliens who are trying to foster relationships with Earth. ‘The Castrati of Womensa’, also in that mid-December 1983 issue, was one of Martin Gardner’s puzzle stories and contains no overt sex at all, other than some innocuous references in order to establish the puzzle. Nevertheless, that mid-December 1983 issue came in for considerable comment, one correspondent saying, ‘It seemed to me to be very hard-edged, pessimistic, sexually explicit and violent.’32 It is true that the issue does contain stories featuring a high level of violence, noticeably ‘Street Meat’ by Norman Spinrad. This depicts a relatively near-future New York that has descended into urban warfare between street gangs fighting for survival while the rich live in secluded isolation and employ streetwise security guards. The central plot arises when a dog belonging to a rich lady is stolen and a female security guard has to venture into the streets to recover it. McCarthy thought the story needed a reader warning and she prefaced it with, ‘What follows is not for the faint of heart.’ The story is disturbing, but nothing too extreme, being no more than a natural development of Spinrad’s writing since his ‘new wave’ work of the 1960s, such as Bug Jack Barron. The story did not seem to cause as much negative feedback as ‘Her Furry Face’. One letter writer, who saw no need for the warning note, went so far as to say, ‘This is the best thing to hit science fiction since A Clockwork Orange to which it owes a great debt.’ He continued, ‘No one can now accuse science fiction of lacking a sense of importance. I’ll be going back to this

30  Marcia Backos, letter, Asimov’s, 8:8 (August 1984), p. 13. 31  ‘An SF Fan’, letter, Asimov’s, 8:7 (July 1984), p. 21. 32  Brenda Sinclair Craven, letter, Asimov’s, 8:12 (December 1984), p. 14.

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story time and time again as a turning point and seminal influence. “Street Meat” is science fiction growing up, joining the big boys.’33 Another story in that issue also involved street violence, though with a more positive outcome. This was ‘Speech Sounds’ by Octavia Butler. By this time Butler was an established science-fiction novelist, starting with her first book, Patternmaster (1976), and the success of Kindred (1979). She had published only a few short stories, chiefly because she became disheartened when so many were rejected, but she had sold her first arising out of the Clarion Workshop in 1971.34 She also sold one to Harlan Ellison’s The Last Dangerous Visions, which remained unpublished until 2014,35 and to Roy Torgeson’s Chrysalis series of anthologies, but had so far been unsuccessful with magazines where ‘Speech Sounds’ was thus her potent debut. We witness beleaguered survivors of a plague that has rendered people mute and unable to read. The subsequent collapse in communication has resulted in the breakdown of society. The woman narrator who is a victim of the violence gives shelter to two young children and discovers they can talk, although they had hidden this from adults. That fact triggers an ability in the woman to read again, so that the story ends on a note of hope. Butler had started the story in a state of despair having witnessed a fight erupt on a crowded bus. She wondered ‘whether the human species would ever grow up enough to learn to communicate without using fists of one kind or another’.36 The violence is thus integral to the story, which should be seen as a positive message for the future. Writing the story gave Butler some hope for humanity. As such the story was an ideal antidote to Spinrad’s ‘Street Meat’ where there was no hope. ‘Speech Sounds’ won the Hugo Award as that year’s best short story and Kennedy’s ‘Her Furry Face’ was nominated for the Nebula Award. Despite the feedback that the issue as a whole received, the individual stories were generally praised. The issue may be seen as key in the maturing of Asimov’s, yet McCarthy was still called to order by the publisher to exercise caution. She recalled: A lot of the problem as I saw it then, and still do now, was that that particular story marked a glaring red line of demarcation between George’s pun-filled fan-friendly easy-reading Asimov’s (one which, in fairness, was far closer to Isaac’s persona than mine was) and my edgier,

33  Walter R. Schillinger, letter, Asimov’s, 8:7 (July 1984), p. 24. 34 See Gateways to Forever, pp. 161–62. 35  ‘Childfinder’ in Unexpected Stories (New York: Open Road Media, 2014). 36  Octavia Butler, afterword to ‘Speech Sounds’, in Bloodchild and Other Stories, 2nd edn (New York: Seven Stories Press, 2005), p. 110.

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more serious taste in SF. The long-time Asimov fans were shocked and we hadn’t gotten enough new readers yet.37

Despite this, Asimov leapt to her defence in his editorial in the September 1984 issue. In that gifted way in which Asimov was able to use one subject in order to introduce another, he talked about some of his own difficulties in describing sex in his new book, The Robots of Dawn, and then moved on to Leigh Kennedy’s story: ‘It was not a pleasant story, and it received flack from a number of readers, but it was our editorial opinion that it was an honest story and an important one, dealing with a legitimate science fictional problem.’38 He concluded by saying that it was doing what every good science fiction story should do, which is to make us think.39 So, despite the word of caution, McCarthy was given a vote of confidence and she continued to fill Asimov’s with excellent stories, though she now added a warning note to any story that might shock a reader. McCarthy had, of course, been acquiring many excellent stories long before the controversial December issues. Others in her first year had included ‘The Sidon in the Mirror’ (April 1983), an unusually hard-sf piece by Connie Willis; ‘Cryptic’ (April 1983) and other stories of alien discovery by Jack McDevitt; ‘The Peacemaker’ (August 1983), an apocalyptic tale of a drowning Earth by Gardner Dozois which won the Nebula Award for best short story; ‘Night Win’ (September 1983) by Nancy Kress, about the perils of telepathic healing; and ‘The Gospel According to Gamaliel Crucis’ (November 1983) by Michael Bishop. This last, surprisingly overlooked, story is a most unusual treatment of the idea of alien saviours, in this instance Christ (a manifestation of God) in the form of a praying mantis. The publishers were expecting a strong reaction to the story, which Asimov considered a ‘tour-de-force’. He even wrote a special editorial on the subject, ‘Religion and Science Fiction’ (June 1984), but he reported that there was only one really strong objection.

37  Shawna McCarthy, email, 1 July 2010. 38  Isaac Asimov, ‘Opinion’, Asimov’s, 8:9 (September 1984), p. 10. 39  It was not the only controversial item that Asimov defended. Tom Rainbow was a regular contributor to the ‘Viewpoint’ column. His article ‘Sentience and the Single Extraterrestrial’ (February 1984) noted the comparative size of men’s and women’s brains. Rainbow remarked that some may be surprised to find women are self-aware. This brought a considerable angry response. Asimov went to Rainbow’s defence in his editorial ‘Irony’ (October 1984) showing how Rainbow had used irony to ridicule those who held that belief. Tragically, just two weeks after this supportive editorial, Rainbow was killed in an accident while trying to board a train. He was only 30 and was regarded as one of the outstanding young neurobiologists in the country.

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At the end of her first year, McCarthy reported that subscriptions to the magazine were up by 25%.40 In fact, according to the annual statement of ownership (see Appendix 5) the subscriptions were up by 33%, but newsstand sales were down, so it was the net circulation that had risen closer to 25%. Alas it was a peak that dropped thereafter. Asimov’s first year under McCarthy saw the magazine’s sales at their highest since the first year under Scithers, and sales would never be as high again. This had no bearing on the quality of the magazine’s contents, which continued to be high. McCarthy’s second year, 1984, saw such stories as Connie Willis’s amusing tale of coincidence and bad luck, ‘Blued Moon’ (January 1984), which continued to garner positive letters all through the year; John Kessel’s reworking of the Chandleresque hard-boiled detective story seen as a world within a dream in ‘The Big Dream’ (April 1984); ‘Twilight Time’ (April 1984) by Lewis Shiner, where brief visits to the past are still enough to rewrite history;41 ‘Press Enter ■’ (May 1984), John Varley’s double Hugo/Nebula-winning story of something haunting a computer network; Lucius Shepard’s ‘A Traveler’s Tale’ (July 1984), based on his experiences in Honduras, which he regarded as the best of his early stories; and ‘Trinity’ (October 1984), Nancy Kress’s powerful study of an individual’s attempt to find God. But if one story stands out, it is ‘Bloodchild’ by Octavia Butler (June 1984), arguably the single most important story published during McCarthy’s editorship. It develops the central idea of the relationships between two alien species, already present in Bear’s ‘Hardfought’ and Kennedy’s ‘Her Furry Face’, but takes it to an ultimate conclusion. It is set on an alien world dominated by the insect-like Tlic who reproduce by laying their eggs in a mammal-like host, but these native creatures have developed a defence which can destroy the eggs. Human settlers on the planet, including the men, turn out to be ideal hosts. The story follows the relationship between one young human male and his adopted Tlic partner, T’Gatoi, and how he prepares himself to bear T’Gatoi’s children. It’s both a disturbingly challenging and an emotionally joyous story. The reader response was remarkable. Librarian and archivist Rinehart S. Potts, who had been a reader of science fiction for over 40 years, commented, ‘As the story went on, I could not believe the author was going where she was going. She was. And without copping out. Few stories hit me in the gut.’42 40  Shawna McCarthy, ‘Up Front’, Asimov’s, 8:1 (January 1984), p. 6. 41  Shiner’s story had, apparently, been rejected by every magazine editor until he resubmitted it to Asimov’s when McCarthy took over. 42  Rinehart S. Potts, letter, Asimov’s, 8:13 (mid-December 1984), p. 16.

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The writer Rand B. Lee wrote a long letter devoted solely to this story saying, in part: Students of science fiction writing should take a long, hard gander at this piece. Ms. Butler takes a bunch of very deeply rooted human fears— among them fear of insects, fear of parasites, and fear of confinement— plus an old SF theme—aliens using humans as hosts for their young—and completely rejuggles all these elements to tell a fresh story. Her aliens were real people, as individually variable as the story’s humans. In fact, the humans are the aliens, and the aliens conservationists as well as parasites (or, rather, symbiotes). And as in all good stories, the main characters change along the way. A real gem, this one.43

‘Bloodchild’ won both the Hugo and Nebula awards and was selected by all the editors compiling their selections of the year’s best science fiction. Its reprint appearances sparked off further reviews. ‘If you read one piece of short fiction this year, choose this one,’ wrote Debbie Notkin in Locus.44 And by the time it was included as the title story in Butler’s one slim volume of short fiction, in 1995, Lawrence Person was able to call it ‘one of the genre’s undisputed classics’.45 In just two years Asimov’s had acquired such a reputation and status that it was the first market of choice for writers who, hitherto, had shown little interest in Scithers’s edition. As a consequence 1985 brought more classics, almost too many to mention. Top of the podium were the award-winners: ‘Fermi and Frost’ (January 1985), Frederik Pohl’s chilling account of a nuclear winter; ‘Sailing to Byzantium’ (February 1985), Robert Silverberg’s depiction of a far distant future where a decadent mankind journeys between parties held at simulated rebuildings of classic cities but where all of life has become false; ‘24 Views of Mount Fuji, by Hokusai’ (July 1985), another of Roger Zelazny’s endlessly inventive quasi-sf/fantasies, and ‘Portraits of his Children’ (November 1985) by George R. R. Martin, about a writer’s relationship with his characters. McCarthy can also lay some claim to have helped pioneer ‘steampunk’, although that word had yet to be coined. There had already been several novels that were later classified as steampunk such as Michael Moorcock’s The Warlord of the Air (1971), the first of his Oswald Bastable series, and, more recently, Morlock Night (1979) by K. W. Jeter. It was trying to classify the nature of his work and those of his colleagues Tim Powers and James

43  Rand B. Lee, letter, Asimov’s, 9:1 (January 1985), p. 18. 44  Debbie Notkin, ‘Locus Looks at More Books’, Locus, #294 (July 1985), p. 15. 45  Lawrence Person, review of Bloodchild and Other Stories, Nova Express, #14 (Fall/Winter 1996), p. 19.

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P. Blaylock that caused Jeter to create the word ‘steampunk’ in 1987 as a form of retro-cyberpunk, in other words the idea that new technologies had similarly transformed some kind of alternate Victorian or Edwardian age when steam rather than electricity was still the primary power source. Steampunk would not really emerge in force until 1990, and then significantly in the pages of the British Interzone, but Asimov’s ran an early example in ‘Lord Kelvin’s Machine’ (mid-December 1985) by James P. Blaylock. This enjoyable romp, as our heroes seek to save the Earth from the dastardly inventions of Ignacio Narbondo, did not create much of a stir at the time but it has since become regarded as one of the key starting points of the genre. McCarthy gave a significant profile to new writers, publishing the first professional short fiction by Mary Gentle (February 1983), Nina Kiriki Hoffman (July 1983), Paul J. McAuley (June 1984), James Morrow (July 1984) and Karen Joy Fowler (March 1985). Both Gentle and Morrow had previously published novels, Hoffman had appeared in several amateur magazines and McAuley had sold a story to If in 1975, only for the magazine to fold before it was published. Fowler debuted on the scene in several markets at once but, as with the other writers, it was her stories in Asimov’s that attracted most attention, in particular ‘The Lake Was Full of Artificial Things’ (October 1985), about whether virtual reality may help with unresolved problems. Quality is, of course, subjective, but if judged in sufficient numbers the results must provide some measure of achievement. There were many letters from readers commenting upon the improved quality of the magazine. Writer Steve Perry remarked, in a letter addressed to McCarthy, ‘Since you took over as editor … the quality of the material has risen dramatically. I’m gratified to see somebody in the field willing to take chances on something other than run-of-the-mill space adventure and thirties formula-pulp stories.’46 Mike Carr, who had been reading the sf magazines since the 1950s, wrote, ‘I haven’t so thoroughly enjoyed a science fiction magazine since I was a kid and savored every Gold-en Galaxy. IAsfm gets better and better every year: more mature, more polished, more attractive.’47 John Shirley, who had been highly critical of Scithers’s editorship, and who was always cautious with his praise, nevertheless regarded McCarthy as ‘a fairly progressive editor’.48

46  Steve Perry, letter, Asimov’s, 8:12 (December 1984), p. 16. 47  Mike Carr, letter, Asimov’s, 9:1 (January 1985), p. 21. 48  John Shirley, ‘Beyond Cyberpunk’, Science Fiction Eye, 1:5 (July 1989), p. 32.

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THE FIRST REVOLUTION: CYBERPUNK DAYS 35 Table 1. Magazines with most story nominations, awards or ‘Year’s Best’ selections, 1981–90. Other magazines

Anthologies/ collections

Year

Amazing

Analog

F&SF

Asimov’s

1981



12

27

15

8

5

25

1982

5

9

30

12

9

5

16

1983

12

22

24

29

9

1

11

1984

3

17

31

35

10

5

24

1985

3

7

20

40

25

4

13

1986

1

5

23

51

16

11

8

1987

3

5

13

58

14

6

16

1988

3

6

16

46

9

9

25

1989

2

4

21

50

6

9

21

1990

4

6

4

42

7

13

14

Total

36

93

209

378

113

68

173

% 1983–85

3.4 18

8.7 46

19.5 75

35.3 104

Omni

10.6 44

6.3 10

16.2 48

Note: For the above data I have allocated one point for every story nominated for either a Hugo or Nebula award, or features in the top ten of the Locus Award, or included in a ‘Year’s Best’ anthology. I have not added extra points for award-winners.

Another, more quantitative way of checking Asimov’s popularity is to compare it to the other magazines and see how many stories won or were nominated for awards, or were included in the annual ‘best of’ anthologies. I included a similar table in Gateways to Forever which covered the years 1970 to 1980, and which showed that F&SF was the undisputed leader. Table 1 covers the years 1981 to 1990. McCarthy’s editorship ran for all issues from 1983 to 1985 and the subtotal for her years is shown in the bottom line. It shows it was under her editorship that Asimov’s became the premier magazine for the most popular fiction. It was not a gradual change but a sudden, rapid and persistent rise. It was also evident from the fiction she published and her editorial requests that the reason for this change was her preparedness to seek out challenging and daring fiction. What’s more, despite the ‘uproar’ caused by ‘Her Furry Face’, McCarthy continued to take risks and push limits, and she was supported in this by Asimov himself, who openly defended her decisions to the readers. Nevertheless, McCarthy had presented Asimov’s with a problem. By incorporating more challenging fiction she was at risk of alienating those

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readers who had discovered and enjoyed the magazine under Scithers and now found the inclusion of more violent or sexual elements offensive. More to the point, under Scithers the magazine had been enjoyed by younger readers and Asimov’s name on the magazine was likely to sustain that connection. Asimov more or less admitted it himself: ‘If the magazine were left entirely in my hands, it would probably be a bit adolescent (because of my irrepressible youth). That’s why I leave it in the capable hands of the beauteous Shawna.’49 But Asimov also recognized the magazine was not primarily intended for juveniles. Two separate editorial comments made this plain: … consider our position. Can we possibly produce a magazine intended to please an adult audience and yet screen each story to make sure it meets the needs and standards of ten-year-olds? And do you let your ten-yearold read things like ‘Hansel and Gretel’, with its child abandonment and cannibalism?50

and: Suppose we say that good science fiction is enjoyed by intelligent people of all ages. If so, that means we must keep an intelligent audience in mind and not worry about the age. The youngsters will keep up with us, and by the time the streets have finished educating them, there’s nothing much we can tell them about sex and violence.51

The lines were drawn and Asimov’s was at last allowed to grow up. But would the young ‘keep up with us’? This was the big question. Asimov’s had recognized a growing age and market split because of the interest in roleplaying games, and from its January 1983 issue had introduced a column, ‘Gaming’, initially run by game designer and researcher Dana Lombardy. There were several objections to the column, to which Asimov responded, ‘I can’t help but feel that the games are attracting many youngsters who might be (or become) SF readers and I would hate to lose them for lack of a wink in their direction.’52 Asimov’s had to wait and see.

49  50  51  52 

Isaac Asimov, comment in ‘Letters’, Asimov’s, 8:8 (August 1984), p. 14. Isaac Asimov, comment in ‘Letters’, Asimov’s, 8:6 (June 1984), p. 18. Isaac Asimov, comment in ‘Letters’, Asimov’s, 8:11 (November 1984), p. 20. Isaac Asimov, response in ‘Letters’, Asimov’s, 7:11 (November 1983), p. 12.

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The Impact of Omni While Shawna McCarthy was shaking Asimov’s into shape, Ellen Datlow was concentrating on the fiction at Omni. Omni was in a different league from all the other sf magazines. For a start it was a ‘slick’ magazine, meaning it was glossy, letter-size and supported heavily by advertising, with full colour throughout. Its coated stock meant that the magazine’s 148 or so pages looked thick, suggesting it offered so much more than the small, almost insignificant digests. Along with its high production standards Omni was instantly eye-catching, with strong display potential on the newsstands. The digest format had been the staple of the genre-fiction magazines since the mid-1950s, but it was restrictive, limiting the reproduction of highquality photographic material, especially colour, and other non-textual features. There had been earlier attempts at slick sf magazines, going back as far as Hugo Gernsback’s Science Fiction Plus in 1953 and including, more recently, Vision of Tomorrow, Cosmos and the semi-prozine Shayol. The latter, one of the most attractive sf magazines ever produced, survived for as long as its publisher, Arnie Fenner, was prepared to finance it. Both Vision of Tomorrow and Cosmos found it impossible to reach a sufficient market to support production costs by sales alone. They needed high initial investment and strong advertising revenue, something that the fiction magazines had never been able to attract. One other magazine that came along in April 1981 in the letter-size semi-slick format was Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone Magazine (hereinafter simply Twilight Zone), which I shall discuss in more detail later. What set both Omni and Twilight Zone apart were two factors. Both came from publishers who had other successful slick magazines and thus sufficient capital and infrastructure to invest in a new publication. By chance the companion titles both happened to be men’s magazines. Omni was published by Bob Guccione who also published Penthouse, while Twilight Zone came from Montcalm Publishing, the publishers of Gallery. This factor alone not only allowed both magazines the benefit of a reliable financial backing, but also a significant distribution network. This is evidenced by the considerably better sales of both magazines. By 1981/82, Omni’s sales were averaging over 750,000, compared with around 100,000 for Analog. In its first year Twilight Zone could not match that, its sales averaging just over 50,000 copies, but this would build to 125,000 within two years. These sales allowed for better payment rates. In 1981, F&SF paid between three and four cents per word. Twilight Zone paid a basic five cents per word, but would often pay up to $800 per story. Omni paid up

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to $1,250 per story, three times more than the 5.75 cents a word that Analog and Asimov’s paid for an equivalent story up to 7,500 words.53 The other factor is that neither magazine promoted itself primarily as a fiction magazine: certainly not Omni, which was, first and foremost, a popular-science magazine. Its science-fiction content, while of importance to the sf world, was never the magazine’s major selling point. Charles N. Brown, the publisher of Locus, commented rather acerbically upon this in his 1987 ‘Magazine Summary’, remarking upon there being only one or two stories per issue, adding, ‘I don’t think they would be more successful if they did more fiction, and suspect the fiction is the last thing read—if it’s read at all.’54 Even though Omni was both a hard-science and speculative-science magazine, its content ran the full spectrum to include parapsychology and UFOs. This was primarily because the magazine was the brainchild of Bob Guccione’s partner, Kathy Keeton, who had a special interest in alternative sciences. From the outset, therefore, the magazine’s fiction sought to reflect that broader coverage. Its first fiction editor, elevated to executive editor in October 1979, was Ben Bova, who was not only a premier science-fiction writer in his own right, but had succeeded the legendary John W. Campbell, Jr as editor of Analog in 1970, in which role he had won a succession of Hugo awards. He had been succeeded as fiction editor at Omni by Robert Sheckley, one of the most respected writers of science fiction, and these factors meant that, even though Omni was far from being a traditional sf magazine, it had enough in common to be welcomed as family. Sheckley was supported by associate editor Ellen Datlow. In June 1981 Sheckley took a three-week vacation to work on his novel Dramocles, but when he requested a further two-month sabbatical to complete the book Bova would not approve it and Sheckley resigned on 15 July 1981.55 He was replaced by Datlow, the change taking effect from the October 1981 issue, and she would stay with the magazine for the remainder of its existence. Datlow had worked as associate editor under Sheckley since September 1979 (January 1980 issue), and became the acting fiction editor when

53  Datlow told me, ‘We had no word rates. We started paying $800 to $1,250 a story and ended up paying $1,250; I think $3,000 for a few stories. The longer someone wrote for us, the more money they’d get. Or a long story would get more than a much shorter story. But we never paid by the word’ (email, 27 March 2009). 54  Charles N. Brown, ‘1987 Magazine Summary’, Locus, #325 (February 1988), p. 37. 55  See the news story ‘Sheckley Quits Omni’, Science Fiction Chronicle, 2:12 (September 1981), p. 1.

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Sheckley took sabbatical leave in June 1981. She had been the first reader for almost all story submissions, including those from professional writers, meaning Sheckley didn’t buy any stories that Datlow hadn’t also recommended. Looking back on this Datlow reflected, ‘I was more influential than I possibly should have been.’56 In fact Datlow and Sheckley had a similar outlook. When interviewed in 1981 he commented, ‘I would love to find experimental work, but work which could still give our readers something. There are “mainstream” science fiction and fantasy stories out there which, if I had been offered them, I would have bought.’57 This is similar to comments that Datlow made when interviewed in 1988: In my opinion, I don’t think science fiction should be viewed differently from other genres. It certainly should not be evaluated by different standards. … If the science fiction field wants to be taken seriously by the outside world, then it has to be willing to be judged by that world.58

However, Ben Bova, who was now the executive editor, did not like all that Sheckley was acquiring. He refused to publish two stories that had already been purchased, and in the weeks before Sheckley’s sabbatical he insisted on vetting all stories before acquisition, a practice that continued when Datlow stood in during Sheckley’s absence. Datlow was forced to reject several stories she was keen to acquire, among them ‘Down Among the Dead Men’ by Gardner Dozois and Jack Dann and ‘The Monkey Treatment’ by George R. R. Martin. Bova’s choice to reject these stories is interesting. Both are what is now called dark fantasy. The first is set in a Nazi concentration camp where a vampire preys on the prisoners. The second is almost an allegory, playing on the ‘monkey on his back’ concept, and concerns the fate of an obese man who takes drastic measures to lose weight. Neither are representative of the type of story Bova had acquired for Omni, but do represent the type of story Datlow would include in her future inventory. It is therefore of interest that both these stories subsequently sold to F&SF.59 ‘Down Among the Dead Men’ had, in the meantime, sold to Oui magazine, but Ed Ferman reprinted it, commenting, ‘we felt it was such a

56  This and other direct quotes in this section are from Ellen Datlow, email, 27 March 2009. 57  Robert Sheckley, interview by Darrell Schweitzer, Science Fiction Review, 10:3 (August 1981), p. 9. 58  Ellen Datlow, interview by Jeffrey M. Elliot in ‘Meet the Editor’, SFWA Bulletin, Winter 1988, p. 9. 59  ‘Down Among the Dead Men’ first sold to Oui (July 1982) and was reprinted in F&SF (June 1983). ‘The Monkey Treatment’ appeared in F&SF (July 1983).

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strong and important piece that we wanted to bring it to the SF audience’.60 Furthermore ‘The Monkey Treatment’ went on to win the Locus Award for that year’s best novelette. These two stories alone demonstrate that from the start Datlow’s selection criteria were in tune with popular standards and that there was an affinity with Ed Ferman’s tastes at F&SF. Bova also wanted Datlow to reject ‘Petra’ by Greg Bear and ‘Eyes I Dare Not Meet in Dreams’ by Dan Simmons, but this time Datlow persevered, worked with the authors to revise the stories and then persuaded Bova to accept them. Once again it is easy to see how these stories would not fit into Bova’s vision of an Omni story. ‘Petra’, eventually published in the February 1982 issue and subsequently nominated for both the Nebula and World Fantasy awards, is another dark fantasy depicting the fall of humankind and the rise of demons in the form of gargoyles. ‘Eyes I Dare Not Meet in Dreams’ (September 1982) is a powerful story of autistic telepathic control of the minds of the mentally unstable. Datlow continued to work with Simmons and bought his next story, the novella ‘Carrion Comfort’, which because of its length had to be run over two issues, September and October 1983. It’s the story of a small group of elite psychic vampires who are able to control their victims telepathically and use them to commit atrocities. The science fiction element is tenuous—in its treatment and atmosphere the story is undeniably classified as horror fiction. Datlow had yet to earn her reputation as the pre-eminent editor of horror fiction of her day, and it was in Omni that this began to emerge. What soon became evident was that Datlow did not distinguish between horror, fantasy and science fiction in the same way as Bova. She did not necessarily see them as separate entities but encouraged cross-fertilization and a merging of ideas and treatment. Bova’s high standards are evident from his significant track record at Analog and in Omni’s early years, but Datlow rapidly developed a stronger sense of what appealed more to Omni’s broader non-genre readership. The question soon resolved itself. Datlow told me: After becoming increasingly frustrated at having to go through Ben I finally approached Dick Teresi, a senior editor I respected and asked him what to do. He told me to ‘take the power.’ I said ‘what do you mean’ and he just repeated it, telling me to just put through the contracts on my own. So I started to do that and there were no repercussions.61

60  Ed Ferman, introduction to ‘Down Among the Dead Men’, F&SF, 64:6 (June 1983), p. 44. 61  Ellen Datlow, email, 27 March 2009.

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Soon afterwards there was a reshuffling of posts at Omni. Bova was elevated to vice president and editorial director, a job which had little to do with the magazine but which focused on public relations and promotion. Dick Teresi was promoted to executive editor. From the October 1981 issue, Ellen Datlow became the fiction editor in her own right and from then on no one interfered with her judgement or selection. The material that Datlow ran in Omni generally fell into three groups: supernatural horror, surreal fantasy or low-tech science fiction, but often there was a smorgasbord of all three elements. Many stories carried some mix of the fantastic or bizarre and were often designed to amuse, shock or puzzle. It was a rare story that one could define as basic science fiction. Not even ‘The Gods of Mars’ (March 1985) by Gardner Dozois, Jack Dann and Michael Swanwick, which begins as a seemingly traditional sf story of the first manned expedition to Mars but ends in a highly mystical way with the planet protecting itself by creating illusions among the crew. ‘Vox Olympica’ by Michael Bishop (December 1981) may also be set on Mars but the basic concept, that Mars’s giant extinct volcano is used to amplify music, is certainly out of the ordinary. Perhaps the closest to basic science fiction were the few stories by Ben Bova, ‘Out of Time’ (November 1984) and ‘Einstein’s Law’ (July 1990), both dealing with future crime. Otherwise, the most traditional stories were those written for another market but foisted upon Datlow for promotional purposes. Omni ran many extracts from such forthcoming books as Frank Herbert’s novels The White Plague (July–August 1982) and Heretics of Dune (March 1984), Isaac Asimov’s Foundation’s Edge (October 1982) and The Robots of Dawn (October 1983), and Anthony Burgess’s novel The End of the World News (March–April 1983). There were also a few reprints used for commemorative purposes, such as John Updike’s ‘During the Jurassic’ (October 1983) and Arthur C. Clarke’s ‘Transit of Earth’ (May 1984). None of these was typical of Omni’s short fiction and not really what Datlow wanted. The only such stories that Datlow chose herself and was proud to have run were examples from Clive Barker’s Books of Blood series, providing the first general US publication of ‘The Book of Blood’ (May 1986) and ‘Babel’s Children’ (March 1987). Both of these were, of course, horror fiction, which was never far away under Datlow’s editorship. What was typical about Omni’s science fiction was that it was unpredictable. It pushed boundaries, some of which readers had not even known were there. Omni became the pre-eminent market for those writers who were not traditional. One such was Michael Swanwick who had seven stories in Omni during the 1980s, starting with ‘The Man Who Met Picasso’ (September

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1982), a subtle study of a lost life. Datlow was particularly pleased to publish ‘Trojan Horse’ (December 1984), one of the earliest stories to explore ‘wetware’, the idea of supplanting a human personality with a new computerized one. Datlow’s predilection for the unusual and bizarre resulted in a highly idiosyncratic set of contents. Perhaps the most bizarre was ‘The Lurking Duck’ (December 1983) by Scott Baker, concerning a child who is a fledgling psychopath and whose murderous passion is stimulated by a robot killerduck. The story had been doing the round of editors for some years until David Hartwell recommended it to Datlow. She recalls that ‘it was very long (I cut it), unwieldy and totally weird,’ adding, ‘I was delighted to finally be able to buy and publish it.’62 The story was nominated for a World Fantasy Award. Hitherto Baker, who lived in France, had only published short fiction in French sf magazines and anthologies (see Appendix 1), but after the exposure from this story he sold his next, ‘Still Life with Scorpion’ to Shawna McCarthy at Asimov’s (May 1984) and it went on to win the World Fantasy Award. ‘The Lurking Duck’ was the kind of eccentric story one could have seen hitherto in F&SF, most likely written by Harvey Jacobs, though the story wouldn’t have been quite so pessimistic. Jacobs himself appeared twice in Omni, ‘My Rose and My Glove’ (May 1984) and ‘Stardust’ (August 1987), both subtle, understated fantasies infused with Jewish humour, that are at their heart powerful love stories. Omni had a good line in writers of unpredictable, often eccentric stories— Michael Blumlein, T. Coraghessan Boyle, Scott Bradfield, Edward Bryant, John Crowley, Thomas M. Disch, Carol Emshwiller, William Kotzwinkle, Nancy Kress, Tom Maddox, Barry Malzberg and Bruce McAllister—though most appeared either with one-off stories or a handful of shorter works. William S. Burroughs, for example, appeared in Omni with ‘The Ghost Lemurs of Madagascar’ (April 1987), an ecological historical fantasy written to spread awareness of the fate of the lemur. There were also occasional stories by non-English writers including Julio Cortázar and Gérard Klein. The one consistent contributor of the absurd and unusual throughout Datlow’s tenure was Howard Waldrop. He became renowned for his ability to rob the world of its Sunday best and present it in the raw. In Omni several of these stories took the form of alternate worlds where history follows a rather more fabulous route, as in his Omni debut, ‘Ike at the Mike’ (June 1982), which reverses the roles of Elvis Presley and Dwight Eisenhower, or ‘Night of the Cooters’ (April 1987), nominated for both the Hugo and

62  Ellen Datlow, email, 31 March 2009.

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Nebula awards and which reveals another perspective on Wells’s War of the Worlds. Pop culture features in ‘Flying Saucer Rock ’n’ Roll’ (January 1985), while in ‘Man-Mountain Gentian’ (September 1983) Waldrop considers the ultimate in Zen sumo. Because of his regular appearances, Waldrop’s contributions came to represent that impudent side of Omni, which mischievously enjoyed unveiling the surreal backside of the world. The good payment rates at Omni and the latitude granted by Datlow encouraged both new and seasoned writers. Robert Sheckley had lured Robert Silverberg back from his retirement with ‘Our Lady of the Sauropods’ (September 1980)—something of a forerunner to Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park (1990)—and he became the most regular contributor of fiction to the magazine, while still appearing frequently elsewhere. Silverberg told me, ‘During the period when Omni was going strong I was in a particularly fertile time for short stories, one of the best of my career, and my main problem was in not overloading my markets.’63 Although Silverberg did not tailor his stories for individual markets, length restrictions at Omni meant that the longer stories went to the genre magazines, primarily Asimov’s. Curiously ‘The Soulpainter and the Shapeshifter’ (November 1981), one of a series of stories set in Majipoor, which Silverberg was writing for The Majipoor Chronicles (1982) and which had hitherto appeared in both F&SF and Asimov’s, did appear in Omni, and is untypical of Silverberg’s other contributions. Most of those in Omni are shorter, often more reflective with a more personal feel, especially when they relate to Silverberg’s adopted home in California, such as ‘Multiples’ (October 1983), set in a future San Francisco where an accepted society has developed of people with multiple personality disorders. A very different California is the setting for ‘The Palace at Midnight’ (July 1981) and the related story ‘The Last Surviving Veteran of the War of San Francisco’ (March 1991), which postulate a fractured United States including the Empire of San Francisco. In ‘Against Babylon’ (May 1986), one of Silverberg’s worst fears, that of a major fire (of which he had personally been a direct victim), arises as a result of an alien invasion. All of Silverberg’s Omni stories, except perhaps the humorous alien invasion yarn ‘Hannibal’s Elephants’ (October 1988), carry a deep personal conviction about humanity and its potential. Of particular interest is ‘To the Promised Land’ (May 1989), which was the first completed story in what became the Roma Eterna sequence, though the events conclude the book version. It depicts a planned Jewish Exodus, this time to the stars, in an alternate world where the Roman Empire never fell. It carries that conviction and passion present in Silverberg’s

63  Robert Silverberg, email, 12 January 2012.

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other stories, about people trying to retain their identity in an increasingly oppressive world. Omni’s fiction had won several awards during Bova’s editorship, but there was a fallow period during Sheckley’s tenure and the early years of Datlow’s, chiefly because of the domination of Asimov’s under McCarthy. However, from the mid-1980s the number of stories from Omni that were nominated for or won awards increased, a fact that is all the more significant because throughout Datlow’s tenure Omni ran an average of only two stories per issue. The figure would not have been that high had Datlow not instigated the concept of occasional groups of short-short stories around a theme such as the ‘Latter-Day Martian Chronicles’ in the July 1990 issue, which was dedicated to Mars. At the outset it was intended that the fiction would take up about one-third of each issue, the non-fiction another third and the advertising the rest. But, as Datlow told me, ‘the execs over the years kept upping the advertising percentages so the content kept going down. I wasn’t given “wordage” but number of stories I could run per issue and that might change at the last minute, depending on the ads coming in.’64 ‘Morning Child’ (January 1984) by Gardner Dozois, which won the Nebula Award, is a short, poignant, post-apocalypse story of a father–son relationship. Its tenderness contrasts with the anger of Harlan Ellison’s ‘With Virgil Oddum at the East Pole’ (January 1985), which topped the Locus poll. It was one of several stories by various authors set on the planet Medea, a few of which had appeared in Omni but, as may be expected, Ellison’s was utterly different from any of the others and caught the readers’ imagination. Despite its ostensible sf setting, the story is more a parable of how an individual who has become a law unto himself copes with a rival. As so often with Ellison’s work, the story is full of passion and bitterness. In the 1970s, Ellison’s most creative work had appeared in F&SF. Although his short-story output reduced in the 1980s and 1990s, its power remained undiminished and was probably seen at its best in Omni. Roger Zelazny’s ‘Permafrost’ (April 1986), which won the Hugo Award, is, like Ellison’s story, a complex tale of confrontation, although in this case between a computerized human and a planetary sentience. Kate Wilhelm’s tender ‘Forever Yours, Anna’ (July 1987) is a simple but haunting romance of present and future. By contrast, Connie Willis’s ‘At the Rialto’ (October 1989) is a screwball comedy about a physicist who discovers her life is about as unpredictable and chaotic as the quantum theory she is studying.

64  Ellen Datlow, email, 27 March 2009.

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Omni had two multi-award-winners, ‘Tangents’ (January 1986) by Greg Bear, which won the Hugo and Nebula awards, and ‘Schrödinger’s Kitten’ (September 1988) by George Alec Effinger, which won the Hugo, Nebula and Sturgeon awards. ‘Tangents’ tells of a young boy who becomes aware of the inhabitants of a fourth dimension. ‘Schrödinger’s Kitten’ is a breathtakingly complex story of a girl who has visions of her various alternate lives and finds herself compelled to act upon them. If there is one factor that is common throughout these stories it is human relationships—the father–son of Dozois’s story, the boy and foster-father in Bear’s, the graphologist and the young girl he has yet to meet in Wilhelm’s story. While these all have science-fiction trappings at their heart, they are stories about how humans cope with bizarre circumstances and, most importantly, how they cope with each other. It’s an interesting contrast with the remaining contents of the magazine. It should not be forgotten that the majority of Omni focused on developments in science and technology. The speculative element was therefore as much, if not more, in the features as it was in the fiction. To this extent Omni was the 1980s equivalent of Hugo Gernsback’s Science and Invention in the 1920s, except that whereas Gernsback sought to educate and inspire his readers via the fiction, it was the features that achieved this in Omni. The fiction served to remind readers that it was humans who had to cope with the technological change. In his contribution to the regular short column, ‘First Word’, in the January 1983 issue, mathematician and sf writer Vernor Vinge considered this relationship and coined the term ‘singularity’ to mean the point in the near future at which science has created intelligences far greater than our own and thereafter scientific development will pass beyond our understanding. It was a concept he would return to in his science fiction in Analog rather than Omni. There was much coverage of space exploration and astronomical discoveries. The October 1983 issue featured ‘The Conquest of Space’ by Gerard K. O’Neill alongside an update by Frank Drake on the future of SETI, an article by Ben Bova on a zero-gravity laboratory and James E. Oberg on space arks of the twenty-first century. Edward Regis, Jr wrote about riding comets to the stars in ‘Comet Odyssey’ (June 1984) and about communicating with aliens in ‘Alien Speak’ (March 1986). The February 1985 issue included an interview with Dr J. Allen Hynek on UFO technology. James Oberg considered the Martian space race in the March 1985 Mars special issue, with a cover by Chesley Bonestell. The May 1986 issue was both a celebration of 25 years of American manned space flight and a tribute to the astronauts on the ill-fated Challenger space shuttle which had exploded soon after launch on 28 January that year. The issue included a timeline

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charting events in spaceflight from 1961 through to 2012. Further consideration of developments in space technology and exploration featured in the July 1988 issue. There was a particular interest in microtechnology and robotics. The January 1982 issue, for example, ran an article ‘The Robots of Japan’ by R. Bruce McColm, followed soon by a pictorial essay ‘French Robots’ (March 1982) by the British art curator and technophile Jasia Reichardt, with further essays, ‘Alice’s Factory’ (August 1982) by Omni’s ever-reliable staff writer Kathleen Stein on the mass production of robots, and ‘Roboclone’ (July 1983) by Robert A. Freitas, Jr, about self-replicating robots. The April 1983 issue was a robot special, with articles on artificial intelligence, robot psychology and robot fantasies among much else. There were several features on microsization and the November 1986 issue was almost certainly the first use by a popular magazine of the word ‘nanotechnology’, which was spread across the front cover to announce the article ‘Tinytech’ by Fred Hapgood. Omni thus delivered the first widespread popular coverage and expression of cyberspace and nanotechnology, two of the primary technological developments that would influence the content of science fiction over the next two decades. It is perhaps not surprising, therefore, that it was in the pages of Omni that the technological sf revolution began, with the birth of cyberpunk.

Cyberpunk Daze Although there were many earlier stories that could be classified retrospectively as cyberpunk, such as James Tiptree, Jr’s ‘The Girl Who Was Plugged In’ (New Dimensions 3, 1973) or Harlan Ellison’s ‘I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream’ (If, March 1967),65 the contemporary starting point is usually regarded as ‘Johnny Mnemonic’ by William Gibson, which appeared in Omni for May 1981 and was subsequently reworked as part of his novel Neuromancer, published in July 1984. Gibson was virtually unknown prior to this story. His first short fiction, ‘Fragments of a Hologram Rose’, had appeared in the excellent semiprofessional magazine Unearth for Summer 1977, but he had not sought subsequent sales. In fact he stopped writing and, even when he tried, found it difficult. He recalled: 65  When Pat Cadigan compiled the anthology The Ultimate Cyberpunk (ibooks, 2002) she included such precursors as ‘Fondly Fahrenheit’ (1954) by Alfred Bester, ‘The Game of Rat and Dragon’ (1955) by Cordwainer Smith and ‘We Can Remember it for You Wholesale’ (1966) by Philip K. Dick.

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When I started doing it, I actually tried to write stuff that I thought would fit into magazines. I looked at F&SF and thought, I should write one of those stories. I’d sit down and try to write something like that, and I never could do it. Finally, out of frustration and bitterness, I started writing the kind of stuff that would get me off.66

In the event, Gibson did not submit these stories anywhere. It was not until John Shirley suggested that Gibson send them to Omni that the seeds of change were sown. Ellen Datlow read ‘Johnny Mnemonic’, recommended it to Sheckley, and then worked with Gibson on suggested revisions to clarify the story. It concerns a human whose brain is used to store sensitive computer data so that it can be downloaded independently of computer networks. Mnemonic may be seen as the prototype ‘cyber punk’, though he’s not called that and the word itself was not coined for another two years, with the story ‘Cyberpunk’ by Bruce Bethke. That appeared, perhaps surprisingly, in Amazing Stories for November 1983 and shows that by then the spirit of the new force in sf was pervading the field. It was his first story sale, though he had written it, and coined the word, three years earlier. The story had been in the inventory for over a year as Bob Walters’s illustration of the young computer hacker Mike Harris is dated 1982. Today the story scarcely reads like science fiction as its plot is all too familiar from the news. A group of teenagers who are aware of the potential of computers and the ‘Net’ find ways to hack into banks and other systems. The story’s title refers to the chief protagonist, Mike Harris, meaning he was a ‘cyberpunk’ as an individual. The word was not used to describe the ‘cyberpunk’ movement for at least another year. Gibson’s ‘Johnny Mnemonic’ created sufficient interest to be nominated for a Nebula Award and was voted into twentieth place in the annual Locus poll, but as a story on its own it did not make a huge impact. It was the cumulative effect of Gibson’s next few stories, culminating in his novel Neuromancer, published in July 1984, that created the interest. ‘Hinterlands’ (October 1981), a more traditional story concerning space travellers who return psychologically damaged, was nonetheless presented in the same high-tech, hard-edged, full-on style that immersed the reader completely in the situation. The story that had the most impact was ‘Burning Chrome’ (July 1982), which gave the world the word ‘cyberspace’. It is the archetypal computer-hacking story undertaken by street-cred individuals with a

66  William Gibson, interview by Tom Maddox (25 May 1986) in ‘Eye to Eye’, Science Fiction Eye, 1:1 (Winter 1987), p. 20.

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superior understanding of computer networks which they can invade for their own pleasure or profit. When Gibson wrote these stories he did not own a personal computer. He discovered the potential for hacking and computer viruses when he overheard a discussion at a science-fiction convention between two computer programmers who had worked at the Pentagon. Hacking was still in its infancy in 1983, and at that time referred mostly to phone hacking. Few people were aware of it, and indeed the phrase wasn’t coined until that year, probably in the Newsweek article ‘Beware: Hackers at Play’ published on 5 September 1983. By having his stories published in Omni, Gibson brought the concept of high-tech computer networks and cyberspace to a readership of over a million.67 The stories were ideally suited to Omni with its focus on cutting-edge technology and would thus prove highly influential. It’s very likely that, had Gibson tried, he could have sold these stories to F&SF or Asimov’s but, thanks to John Shirley, he sold them to exactly the right market. Bruce Sterling later commented, ‘The appearance of these stories in Omni magazine showed a level of imaginative concentration that effectively upped the ante for the entire genre.’68 Gibson’s writing style was not new. It was hard-boiled, streetwise and fast-paced, which dates back to Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler, but was ideally suited to his bleak future cityscapes which would be christened ‘gothic-noir’ by some commentators. Gibson was also influenced by William S. Burroughs and Thomas Pynchon, but he was no latter-day proponent of the New Wave, though there is something of the ‘intellectual daring’,69 as Bruce Sterling would call it, of the more innovative New Wave authors, notably J. G. Ballard and Michael Moorcock. There is some of the style of Harlan Ellison in Gibson’s work, but Gibson was able to fuse the imagery of Burroughs, Pynchon and Ellison with the potential of the computer age providing a gutsy, believable concept of what might happen to the very readership that could make it happen. At the same time the movie Bladerunner, released in June 1982, visualized a dystopian Los Angeles in 2019 that became symptomatic of cyberpunk. Thanks to Ridley Scott and his set designer Laurence G. Paull, writers of cyberpunk barely needed to describe their environment as it was imprinted on everybody’s minds of what a cyberpunk future would be.

67  During 1982, Omni’s total paid circulation was just over 750,000 and advertisers usually allow two or three readers per issue, suggesting that ‘Burning Chrome’ was seen and potentially read by almost two million people. 68  Bruce Sterling, ‘Preface’, in William Gibson, Burning Chrome (New York: Arbor House, 1986), p. 10. 69  Bruce Sterling, ‘Preface’, Mirrorshades (New York: Arbor House, 1986), p. x.

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Pat Cadigan, Omni’s most regular contributor to be closely allied to the field, produced a diverse selection of material showing her talent for creating near-future worlds in which technology and virtual reality intrude by varying degrees. Her first story in Omni, ‘Vengeance is Yours’ (May 1983), is a clever near-future tale of revenge; ‘Variation on a Man’ (January 1984) is one of her mind-player stories dealing with personality regeneration; while the disturbingly powerful ‘Patterns’ (August 1987) shows how television already blurs the edges between reality and fantasy. Although Cadigan continued to sell regularly to F&SF and Asimov’s during this period, she had a particular appreciation of Ellen Datlow: Ellen taught me almost everything I know about how to write well, and it’s because she is a tough editor. She has that eye. She has the eye for needless flab in a story, for words you don’t need; and she doesn’t write it for you. She’ll tell you; she can articulate the problem and it’s up to you to fix it or to convince her why she’s wrong. I trust her without any reservations at all, and she’s very seldom wrong. Like I say, she has the eye.70

Appropriately, though perhaps unexpectedly, the fiction in Omni under Datlow’s control dealt with the human interface with the new technology that featured in the rest of the magazine but, to her credit, Omni did not become devoted to cyberpunk. Nevertheless Datlow found herself called ‘the Queen of Punk SF’, and if Datlow was the Queen, then the King, or more appropriately, Crown Prince, was undoubtedly Gardner Dozois.  Gardner Dozois became editor of Asimov’s at the end of May 1985. His first issue, dated January 1986, was the magazine’s one hundredth and its ninth anniversary. Robert A. Collins, editor of Fantasy Review, felt, rather perceptively, that ‘the issue may mark a real turning point in the magazine’s history’.71 Dozois commented that he did not think there would be any ‘drastic changes’, as he liked the direction the magazine had taken under McCarthy. It was McCarthy who had approached Dozois to see if he might succeed her. Asimov, aware of the megaripples that McCarthy’s editorship had initially caused, remarked that he did not ‘suppose there will be any hairpin turns this time’.72 Few could have realized, though, that Dozois was about to embark on one of the greatest of all editorial careers.

70  Pat Cadigan, interview by David Mathew (2000) in ‘Step Outside’, SF Site, http://www. sfsite.com/06a/pc82.htm. 71  Introduction to ‘Interview: Gardner Dozois’, Fantasy Review, 8:11 (#85, November 1985), p. 7. 72  Isaac Asimov, ‘Old Hundredth’, Asimov’s, 10:1 (January 1986), p. 8.

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It was Dozois who had used the word ‘cyberpunk’ to relate to that style of fiction in an essay he had written for The Washington Post (30 December 1984) on the state of science fiction. Dozois may have subconsciously adopted the title of Bruce Bethke’s story, which had appeared a year earlier, but the shorter phrase ‘punk sf’ had already been going the rounds from at least as early as 1982.73 In the introduction to his second annual Year’s Best Science Fiction, published in April 1985, just two months before he became editor, Dozois had referred to ‘that group of writers, purveyors of bizarre hard-edged high-tech stuff, who have on occasion been referred to as “cyberpunks”’.74 Dozois had been compiling his annual selection of the best short sf since 1977 (with just a two-year gap) as well as other anthologies, and had contributed essays on the science-fiction short story to Locus on several occasions, so was in an ideal position to monitor trends. His keen analytical understanding of the state of science fiction meant that he could shepherd the field to maintain its health and present that continual development in Asimov’s. Some may have been forgiven for thinking that cyberpunk would play a part. Because Dozois became so closely associated with the term, it was no surprise that it featured in Asimov’s. Soon after he took over the role, Dozois commented, ‘Whatever it’s called, I like it quite a bit, and I expect to use a lot of it in the magazine.’75 For sure, his first issue had a strong flavour of cyberpunk. The lead story, ‘Pretty Boy Crossover’ by Pat Cadigan, explored the consequences of the main character’s musical hero having been converted into sentient information as a datafile, capable of cyber-immortality. Dozois was keen to run serials and the January 1986 cover boasted ‘our first ever serialization’.76 It was significant that this was ‘Count Zero’,77 William Gibson’s sequel to Neuromancer and one of the most eagerly awaited novels of the period. Although ‘Jeff Beck’ by Lewis Shiner is not cyberpunk, the mirrorshades illustration to it by Terry Lee gave it an associational image while the story

73  At ArmadilloCon in Austin, Texas, in October 1982, a panel with William Gibson, Bruce Sterling and John Shirley was called ‘Behind the Mirrorshades: A Look at Punk SF’. 74  Gardner Dozois, ‘Summation: 1984’, in Gardner Dozois (ed.), The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Second Annual Collection (New York: Bluejay Books, 1985), p. 11. 75  Gardner Dozois, interview by Tim Sullivan, Fantasy Review, 8:11 (#85, November 1985), p. 40. 76  Readers soon pointed out that Asimov’s had serialized Frederik Pohl’s ‘Like Unto the Locust’ in 1979, but that was only part of The Cool War, not the entire novel. 77  It ran in three episodes from January to March 1986, that final issue going on sale on 11 February, just when the book became available in the USA (it had already been available in the UK for several weeks).

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itself, about a man who takes a wish-fulfilment drug that allows him to play guitar like Jeff Beck, had a punk affinity. Cyberpunk continued to pervade the magazine during Dozois’s first year, but not as much as some might have anticipated. There was James Patrick Kelly’s ‘The Prisoner of Chillon’ (June 1986) and, by stretching the definition, two by Walter Jon Williams, ‘Panzerboy’ (April 1986) and ‘Video Star’ (July 1986). Kelly’s fast-paced, highly literate story, taking its title from a poem by Lord Byron (which is quoted in the story), was cyberpunk by content, but read as if it could easily be reshaped into a computer wargame. It was a sequel of sorts to ‘Solstice’, which had been published the previous June, and thus owes part of its provenance to Shawna McCarthy.78 It was voted by readers as their favourite novelette published in Asimov’s in 1986. However, trying to understand the true nature of cyberpunk was discussed extensively in the magazine. Michael Swanwick contributed an illuminating essay, ‘A User’s Guide to the Postmoderns’ (August 1986), which set out to explore the new generation of writers active in the 1980s and gain an understanding as to where cyberpunk fitted. He saw the development of these new writers in the form of a battle between the cyberpunk brigade and the humanists, and felt that no sooner had cyberpunk emerged than it had mutated and melded with the other forms of fiction. So that while at one extreme a cyberpunk story was self-evident, the writers most closely associated with it—notably William Gibson, John Shirley, Bruce Sterling, John Kessel, James Patrick Kelly and Pat Cadigan—all of whom were or would become regular contributors to Asimov’s, were too able as writers to be stereotyped and were themselves moving on. Norman Spinrad reached much the same conclusion in his essay ‘The Neuromantics’ (May 1986), published just before Swanwick’s piece. Having sought to define cyberpunk by example and explore whether it was a distinct literary movement (which he called the Neuromantics) like the counter-cultural New Wave, Spinrad decided it was not a literary revolution in the same sense as the New Wave but a coming-of-age of literary talents with the new technological revolution. He decided: Nevertheless, the Neuromantics are writing hard science fiction by every positive definition of the term, just as they are also writing stories of character. For what they share in common is a general subject of discourse intrinsic to both hard science fiction and characterological science fiction

78  The story had actually been purchased by Sheila Williams who had served briefly as acting editor while McCarthy took leave of absence due to a family emergency. It marked the second appearance by Kelly with a story in a June issue, which developed into a tradition for the next 25 years.

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and therefore arguably the core subject of all really ambitious science fiction, period.79

Elsewhere, Gregory Benford agreed that cyberpunk was ‘marginally’ an offshoot of hard sf, but in his essay ‘Hard? Science? Fiction?’ (Amazing, July 1987) he also saw its allegiance to hard-boiled crime fiction and to other unlimited non-generic forms of fiction. One could easily interpret cyberpunk as ‘future-noir’. Benford could see no commonality of vision between the various writers to whom the cyberpunk label had been attached beyond the fact that their fiction was ‘bedazzled by technoglitz’.80 The main lesson here is that although one style of fiction could easily be defined as cyberpunk, it was simply part of the continual growth in science fiction that by the 1980s was being influenced by the new age of computers, personalized technology (such as the mobile phone) and social/literary freedoms. This growth was building upon what had happened in the last 20 years or more, notably the liberation of science fiction through the New Wave (almost as indefinable as cyberpunk) followed by the manifold deconstruction of the genre in the 1970s. What was now classified as science fiction had expanded way beyond its original confines and was sufficiently flexible to absorb all new forms of treatment. The immediate architect of cyberpunk and its most ardent advocate was not William Gibson but John Shirley, some of whose early stories of counter-cultural conflict, such as ‘What He Wanted’ (Amazing, November 1975), show nascent hints of the cyberpunk to come. By 1986, Shirley was proclaiming that ‘cyberpunk is probably the most important movement in science fiction at the moment’.81 Shirley’s view of cyberpunk is important because he identified an entire subculture, which he called the ‘Science Fiction Underground’, that came to develop its own magazines. According to Shirley: I think it’s characterized by writers who have a global worldview. They write with an attitude informed by information arising from the so-called underground, who write with a certain intensity of tone that’s sometimes taken for punk, who are influenced by writers outside the science-fiction genre, by certain aspects of the rock culture … who realize that anti-heroes are not really antiheroic, who search for real honesty in characterization,

79  Norman Spinrad, ‘The Neuromantics’, Asimov’s, 10:5 (May 1986), p. 186. 80  Gregory Benford, ‘Hard? Science? Fiction?’, Amazing, 62:2 (July 1987), p. 56. 81  John Shirley on the Science Fiction Research Association panel, ‘Cyberpunk or Cyberjunk? Some Perspectives on Recent Trends in SF’ (28 June 1986), transcribed for Science Fiction Eye, 1:1 (Winter 1987), p. 49.

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and who write with the perspective of a new, constantly transforming global flux of worldwide media.82

I shall explore these underground magazines and their contributors later, as they provide a counterpoint to the major professional magazines and were arguably as revolutionary as Omni and Asimov’s in the latitude and freedom they gave to writers. But there was one title that is worth considering here: Science Fiction Eye. Science Fiction Eye was not a fiction magazine but a magazine of criticism and review. It ran for 15 issues from Winter (January) 1987 to Fall 1997, published by Stephen Brown and Dan Steffan in Washington DC. Although they served as co-editors, Steffan’s main interest was the production side, experimenting with layout and design. All but one issue was letter size, but it rapidly grew from 68 pages to 112 and even 120 pages, causing one reviewer to claim that Science Fiction Eye had too much content for its money—in excess of 100,000 words per issue. The magazine continued to grow in both production values and content even after Steffan opted out after #5 (July 1989). Brown was dissatisfied with much current science fiction, feeling it had become moribund. He wanted to rattle a few cages, and achieved this resoundingly with the first issue which provided a thorough exploration— or ‘autopsy’ as he called it—of the cyberpunk movement. There were interviews with William Gibson and Bruce Sterling, plus a transcription of a volatile panel discussion, ‘Cyberpunk or Cyberjunk?’, held at the Science Fiction Research Association meeting in June 1986, with contributions from Gregory Benford, John Shirley, Bruce Sterling and Norman Spinrad. The general view was that the cyberpunk movement had been misunderstood and mislabelled but its main adherents had already broadened their scope into new visions and ideas. It was a view that had its polarized camps and led to a rousing discussion in the magazine’s letter column over several issues. It was this initial concentration on cyberpunk that caused Science Fiction Eye to be labelled the ‘flagship of the cyberpunk movement’, which tended to overshadow its wider purpose. Science Fiction Eye was really a magazine for science-fiction radicals, and since these included Bruce Sterling, John Shirley and John Kessel—all of whom were regular contributors—it was easy to label it a cyberpunk magazine. One further factor is that several of the contributors, especially Sterling in his ‘Catscan’ column, and Charles Platt in his occasional contributions, looked at the implications to society of the rapid changes in technology. Science Fiction Eye became a focus for considering those changes. 82  Shirley, ‘Cyberpunk or Cyberjunk?’, p. 45.

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Though its coverage went beyond cyberpunk it was closely allied to the more rebellious side of sf of which cyberpunk was clearly a part. Philip K. Dick was the subject of a special section in #2 (August 1987), which also ran an extensive interview with Lucius Shepard. There were features on J. G. Ballard, Ian McEwan, Connie Willis, Samuel Delany, Richard Calder, David Wingrove, Thomas M. Disch, Iain Banks, Christopher Priest and Jack Womack—all authors who might be regarded as the renegades of the field. Paul Di Filippo provided a regular column looking at the borderlands and more obscure avenues of science fiction. Among the critical columns and letters, a few subjects came in for a vitriolic assassination, most notably Scientology, Craig Strete and Orson Scott Card, the latter primarily because of his story ‘Lost Boys’. It was not Science Fiction Eye’s intention to publish fiction, but because it received submissions, it devoted its third issue to a selection, with challenging work by Richard A. Lupoff, John Shirley, Ian Watson, Charles Sheffield and Paul Di Filippo, plus an early story by Kathe Koja. The issue was exceptional not only for its content but for its format. Dan Steffan decided that it should be in large tabloid size, measuring almost 14 x 11 inches. The experiment was not repeated. Elsewhere, Science Fiction Eye showed its greater understanding of the ramifications of science fiction’s exploration of society with the space it gave to such subjects as drugs, music and other cultures, especially the Soviet Union (as it still was) and Japan. From the start Science Fiction Eye had incorporated a Japanese perspective on science fiction, with contributions by Tatsumi Takayuki. At least 10% of its print run was sold in Japan and from the first issue it included a Japanese cover price (600 Yen). Tatsumi even produced his own edition of SF Eye Japan, starting in 1989, and which he strongly believed was instrumental in promoting both cyberpunk and avant-pop literature and culture in Japan, and in giving the professional editors a greater awareness of works to be translated into Japanese. In both Japan and the Western world, Science Fiction Eye helped fuel a debate about the generic boundary between science fiction and postmodernist literature and thus aided the growth and expansion of science fiction beyond traditional borders. What was most evident from Science Fiction Eye was that cyberpunk should not be seen as a separate subgenre within the field. It was a progressive treatment and attitude towards fiction and the as yet unrealized potential of science fiction to highlight the perils of the new computer age. As such it rapidly influenced and just as quickly blended into the natural evolution of the field.

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It was inevitable that the sudden popularity of cyberpunk led to countless imitations which both suffocated and diluted its strengths. Both Omni and Asimov’s were deluged with ‘cybersludge’,83 which had the consequence that both editors tired of the form. It was not long before parodies appeared in both magazines. In the September 1985 Omni, Bruce Sterling and Lewis Shiner appeared with ‘Mozart in Mirrorshades’, an anarchic timetravel story which turns the late eighteenth century into a patchwork of anachronisms and has Mozart yearning for future technologies. Two years later Marc Laidlaw mercilessly lampooned the entire cyberpunk field in ‘Nutrimancer’ (Asimov’s, August 1987). Just as with the New Wave 20 years earlier, cyberpunk saw its opponents. Rudy Rucker recalled the antagonism towards him and the others on a panel at the North American SF Convention held in Austin, Texas, in late August/ early September 1985. ‘To my eyes, the audience began taking on the look of a lynch mob,’ he remembered.84 In the end the panel fell foul of namecalling within its ranks and John Shirley, Lewis Shiner and Bruce Sterling gave up and walked out. Rucker recorded that after the panel Shiner said to him, ‘So I guess cyberpunk is dead now?’ The same vitriol was evident at the Science Fiction Research Association panel a year later when none of the panellists could agree among themselves as to what constituted cyberpunk. Science Fiction Eye treated its first issue at the start of 1987 as a ‘requiem’ for cyberpunk. Within the sf field, cyberpunk had exploded and its ashes continued to settle for years to come, but the volcano itself gradually became quiescent, having drawn attention to itself and its message. Bruce Bethke eventually contributed a sequel to his seminal ‘Cyberpunk’ with ‘Elimination Round’ (Amazing, July 1989), which continues the adventures of the protagonist of the original story who is now called a ‘former cyberpunk’. By then cyberpunk had long run its course, and it felt like Bethke and Amazing were closing the lid on the movement and moving on. Beyond the sf field, cyberpunk continued to grow. Other magazines were picking up on the trends from which the movement had been spawned. High Frontiers, which called itself ‘the Space Age Newspaper of Psychedelics, Science, Human Potential, Irreverance & Modern Art’, appeared in Autumn 1983, produced by Ken Goffman under the alias R. U. Sirius. When it retitled itself Mondo 2000 in 1989, it did so with a special cyberpunk-themed issue. At the same time bOING bOING appeared in 1988, created by Mark Fauenfelder

83  See ‘Requiem for the Cyberpunks’, Science Fiction Eye, 1:1 (Winter 1987), p. 5. 84  Rudy Rucker, Nested Scrolls (Harrogate: PS Publishing, 2011), p. 207.

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and Carla Sinclair, and these two magazines spread the cyberpunk counterculture concept beyond literature into the wider worlds of music, art and architecture. But within the sf magazines, the world had long moved on.

The Analog Dimension Before he took over editing Asimov’s, Dozois had commented upon the current state of Analog in his summation of the magazine field in 1983. He said, ‘Why, for instance, have state-of-the-art high-tech hard-science stories by people like Bruce Sterling, William Gibson, Michael Swanwick, Pat Cadigan, Kim Stanley Robinson, Greg Bear and others been appearing in places like Omni, F&SF, IASFM and Universe instead of in Analog, which would logically seem to be their natural home?’85 Bruce Sterling was even more challenging. Writing pseudonymously as Vincent Omniaveritas in his newsletter Cheap Truth, he regaled: Analog suffers from advanced hardening of the arteries; it has become old, dull, and drivelling. In an era of unparalleled socio-technical ferment, Analog exudes the stale, mummy-like odor of attitudes preserved too long. Analog’s brain and heart are in canopic jars somewhere, while its contributors’ word-processors spit out copy on automatic pilot. It is a situation screaming for reform. Analog no longer permits itself to be read.86

Analog, both under that name and in its previous guise as Astounding, had been the field leader during the late 1930s and 1940s, when John W. Campbell, Jr revolutionized magazine science fiction. It had remained one of the ‘Big Three’ during the 1950s, alongside Galaxy and F&SF, but had perhaps lost some of its edge during the 1960s, despite that being the decade in which it serialized Frank Herbert’s ‘Dune’ and began Anne McCaffrey’s Pern series. Ben Bova gave the magazine a much-needed stimulus during the 1970s before he handed over to Stanley Schmidt in 1978. Schmidt had been a regular contributor to the magazine since his first fiction sale, ‘A Flash of Darkness’ in September 1968. While his fiction was of the traditional hard-science type, Schmidt also enjoyed stories with a dash of humour. Until he took over as editor he had been assistant professor of physics at Heidelberg College in Ohio, and taught courses in astronomy, science fiction and biology. But he had a wide range of interests including linguistics, cooking, flying, backpacking and music, of which he 85  Dozois, ‘Summation: 1983’, p. 14. 86  Bruce Sterling, Cheap Truth, #7 [1984], on Internet Archives at www.csdl.tamu. edu/~erich/cheaptruth/cheaptru.7.

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was an occasional composer. These, in addition to his scientific interests, gave him an abundance of material for his forthcoming monthly editorials, which he continued in the same vein as Campbell’s and Bova’s. These would invariably take a topic of the day, not necessarily with a scientific element but often with a sociological or futurist theme, and explore it from new angles, raising challenging issues. Recent editorials had ranged from discussing the draft, or more precisely how to ensure equality in the draft; the energy crisis, and in particular the need to explore new forms of energy; crackpots, or rather what distinguishes a complete lunatic from a dismissed genius; and an intriguing one on scientific rapport, or the extent to which any event is influenced by the onlooker. Even with just these four examples we can see the diversity of Schmidt’s subjects and the fact that he liked to consider the norm from a new perspective, or ‘think outside the box’ as the jargon became. But, like Campbell, Schmidt often enjoyed disguising the box so that the reader had to think harder. As a consequence, while his editorials were rarely about science fiction, and frequently not about science, they were always about diversifying interpretations which is, of course, the very basis of science fiction, and thus served to stimulate contributors. In response to a letter from veteran editor Charles D. Hornig, who queried why Schmidt did not discuss science fiction in his editorials, Schmidt remarked that readers had shown that they did not want to read about fiction but did want to read about the ideas explored in those stories. Schmidt explained that he liked to explore ‘the entire range of questions concerning how our species got to be the way it is and what it might become in the future’.87 In taking over the cruise liner of sf magazines, Schmidt knew that he did not want to do anything to rock the boat but needed to keep it on a steady course. Any changes he wanted could be introduced gradually over time. These happened, steadily. He introduced more non-fiction features, most notably ‘The Alternate View’ column, alternating between Jerry Pournelle and G. Harry Stine, which often raised controversial subjects and almost always generated reader response, judging by the letter column. He also injected a level of humour into the magazine, something that had been noticeably absent during Bova’s tenure. Schmidt specifically stated, ‘Ideally, in fact, I’d like to include at least one genuinely funny piece in every issue.’88 Campbell had enjoyed light-hearted stories, especially those that turned science on its head and challenged accepted views. He had started a

87  Stanley Schmidt, editorial comment, Analog, 105:10 (October 1985), p. 187. 88  Stanley Schmidt, letter, Asimov’s, 4:11 (November 1980), p. 169.

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‘Probability Zero’ feature of tall tales in 1942 that flicked a feather along the sole of science. The series ran for only two years, though Isaac Asimov’s classic spoof ‘The Endochronic Properties of Resublimated Thiotimoline’ in March 1948 was in the same vein. Schmidt reintroduced ‘Probability Zero’ from the August 1979 issue and it has remained a regular, if occasional, feature ever since. He also resurrected the anarchic character of Kelvin Throop, who had been created by R. A. J. Phillips in 1964 (much to Campbell’s delight) as someone to whom bureaucracy is anathema and whose conflict with top-heavy organizations tends to lead to their demise. There was even a special Kelvin Throop spoof issue in mid-December 1984. Generally the tone of the magazine softened from Bova’s issues. There was no longer the feeling that it was trying to re-establish itself. Rather there was a degree of self-assurance that it had nothing to prove, but had the wherewithal to deliver what the reader wanted. But it also felt that the magazine had lost its cutting edge, and was no longer stretching itself. It was similar to how the magazine felt in the 1950s. Not everyone was dissatisfied with this. Occasional contributor and renegade scientist Richard C. Hoagland liked the shift and wrote, ‘It actually seems to be getting back some of the flavour it had under Campbell, God rest his soul! Could it be the difference between having a “hard science type” running the show … and an English major?’89 Hardly had Schmidt settled himself in the editorial chair, however, than Analog’s publisher, Condé Nast, sold the magazine to Davis Publications. This shouldn’t have come as a surprise because Analog had been an anomaly among the publisher’s glossy lifestyle consumer magazines ever since Condé Nast acquired all of Street and Smith’s magazines in 1959. That acquisition had allowed Campbell to change Astounding’s name to Analog and also saw the magazine briefly upgraded to a semi-slick in 1963, though that lasted only two years. That Condé Nast had sustained the magazine for 20 years says much for the magazine’s stature and for the respect accorded to both Campbell and Bova. But the departure of Bova allowed Nast an opportunity and when approached by Joel Davis, the publisher of Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine (as well as Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine), a deal was rapidly concluded in February 1980. The change took effect from the September 1980 issue, which went on sale on 7 August. In his editorial in the September 1980 issue, Schmidt reassured readers that the change would not affect the content or direction of the magazine, but that the benefits would be ‘in the business area’, primarily seeking

89  Richard C. Hoagland, letter, Analog, 101:1 (5 January 1981), p. 171.

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to maximize Analog’s readership. Since 1972/73, when Analog’s total paid circulation peaked at just over 116,000, there had been a steady, though not drastic, decline. Unfortunately the figures for the last two years before the changeover were not reported but the figure for the year when the changeover took place was 92,394 (see Appendix 5), which was a fall of 20% over eight years. Within two years, though, by 1982/83, average sales had bounced back to 109,809 and the detail shows this was entirely due to an increase in subscriptions. Analog’s newsstand sales had continued to decrease and it was evident that Davis’s strength lay in securing new subscribers. Whether that could be sustained was another question, but initially the move to Davis Publications boded well. Within four months of the move another change was introduced. In July 1980, Davis announced that the four magazines would be shifting to a four-weekly schedule from the end of the year. The first Analog affected was that dated 5 January 1981 which went on sale on 2 December 1980. This allowed a regular weekly production schedule for each magazine, with better streamlining and organization. It also meant that there would now be 13 issues a year, rather than 12, which in theory meant more income and allowed costs to be spread over more issues. Other benefits were reported in Science Fiction Chronicle: By not publishing at the beginning of the month, magazines receive more attention from wholesalers because publication dates don’t come when the vast majority of other magazines are all competing for first-of-themonth on sale dates. Printers are also happier with magazines that don’t come out the first of the month, a notoriously crowded publication date.90

This approach did not reap the intended benefits. It was later reported that the issues bearing the full date gave the appearance of a weekly magazine and so stayed on the newsstand for less time than those bearing the monthly date.91 As a consequence the cover date reverted to a month from the May 1982 Analog (and April 1982 Asimov’s), though the schedule remained four-weekly. Minds were exercised on what date to give to the extra issue and it has always struck me as odd that it wasn’t simply called the Christmas or Summer extra, depending on when it fell. Instead Analog had two mid-September issues and then, in line with Asimov’s, switched to mid-December, a practice that would remain until 1995. The switch to four-weekly caused some initial short-term problems. Locus, the newspaper of the science-fiction field, reported that production became

90  Science Fiction Chronicle, 2:1 (October 1980), p. 4. 91  Science Fiction Chronicle, 3:6 (March 1982), p. 4.

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hectic to fit Analog into the new schedule.92 Two issues of the magazine were compiled almost simultaneously. This in turn led to a streamlining of office staff. Marc Kaplan, who had come with Schmidt as associate editor of Analog, left to take up an editorial role at Omni. In his place Shawna McCarthy, who was then the associate editor to George Scithers on Asimov’s, became managing editor of both magazines. This meant she had the overall responsibility of compiling the issues and seeing them through production, but although she had a further editorial role at Asimov’s, her role at Analog was ‘just handling the traffic’.93 She was supported by Elizabeth (‘Betsy’) Mitchell, who joined as an editorial assistant in the summer of 1980, but was soon promoted to associate editor working primarily for Analog. Mitchell is better known today as the vice president and editor-in-chief at Del Rey Books, but she learned her craft as assistant to Stanley Schmidt at Analog. Throughout this period it felt as if the spirit of John W. Campbell, Jr was peering over Schmidt’s shoulder. The image of the magazine, despite some changes initiated by Ben Bova in the 1970s, felt weighed down by the past. Schmidt’s editorials were in the same vein as Campbell’s. The stories carried no author or plot introduction but instead a cryptic blurb which only made sense after reading the story. Kelly Freas was still providing some of the covers and interior artwork just as he had since 1953. Many of the older contributors remained, such as Poul Anderson, Gordon R. Dickson, Charles L. Harness, Mack Reynolds and George O. Smith, which, though this may have made the magazine feel mummified in the eyes of Bruce Sterling, must also have felt reassuring to its many long-term readers. Analog’s circulation remained the highest of all the sf magazines showing that Schmidt clearly knew his readership which he understood to be, on average, older than those of the other magazines, consisting of a high degree of well-educated scientists and professionally qualified practitioners, including those in the military, who wanted the type of story that had become recognized as the Analog-style story: strong on scientific, political and social issues where a problem arising is resolved by strong, positive technical or scientific means rather than an emotional, human response. Schmidt said as much in an interview in 1985: ‘I reserve Analog for the kind of science fiction I’ve described here: good stories about people with problems in which some piece of plausible (or at least not demonstrably implausible) speculative science plays an indispensable role.’94 92  Locus, #235 (July 1980), p. 1. 93  Shawna McCarthy, email, 31 August 2006. 94  Stanley Schmidt, interview by Jeffrey M. Elliot in ‘Meet the Editor’, SFWA Bulletin, Spring 1985, p. 54.

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The regular Analog contributors had become masters of this type of story and it retained a strong traditional, if conservative, appeal. Analog had never courted the ‘new wave’ revolution, and it had weathered that storm without any loss in its status or significance. An interesting example of the distinction between Analog and Asimov’s was ‘Brainchild’ (June 1982) by Joseph H. Delaney. This was a story about a chimpanzee with genetically enhanced intelligence. Whereas in Asimov’s we have seen that with ‘Her Furry Face’ Leigh Kennedy explored the emotional relationship between the scientist and the ape, in Analog, Delaney, who was by training a lawyer, explored the legal issue of defining a human when the scientist is charged with keeping the ape as a slave. In simple terms, Asimov’s explored the emotions, Analog explored the logic. Schmidt recognized the static nature of his readership. A survey conducted by the magazine in 1980 confirmed Schmidt’s own understanding. ‘I couldn’t have predicted the exact numbers, but virtually all of the major trends are quite close to my expectations,’ he noted.95 While appreciating the loyalty of his readers he also noted that ‘we have not been working hard enough to call Analog to the attention of young people and students (who I know include far more potential readers than we’ve been reaching).’96 Yet the point that Dozois made was relevant. The rapid technological revolution that had brought with it a new generation of writers who recognized that the new computer technology belonged as much if not more to the youth who were building the future. Analog was certainly not home to ‘punk sf’ but it should be home to the ‘cyber-’ element. Perhaps Schmidt had already started to attend to this. Usually treated as one of the cyberpunk brigade, though he himself preferred the term ‘transrealist’, Rudy Rucker had debuted in 1978 in that all-too-underrated champion of the new writer, Unearth, with his novel, Spacetime Donuts, though the magazine had folded before the serial finished. He had completed a second novel, White Light (1980), but also experimented with some short fiction. He sold his first, ‘Faraway Eyes’, to Analog, choosing that magazine because it was the one he had known since childhood, and it appeared in the September 1980 issue, followed a few months later by ‘Schrödinger’s Cat’ (30 March 1981). Neither story is cyberpunk by any definition. Both are rather light-hearted invention tales told in the first person, in fact typical Analog stories, but they are related at a fast pace, the narrator spewing out scientific terms and theories without explanation or

95  Stanley Schmidt, ‘Portrait of You’, Analog, 101:5 (27 April 1981), p. 5. 96  Schmidt, ‘Portrait of You’, p. 14.

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detail, assuming a significant understanding by the reader. They would certainly be appreciated by the younger readership even though Rucker himself was already 34 when he sold the first of them, close to the average age of the Analog readership. The stories feel cutting edge in scientific terms but not in their narration, which is simple and basic. Yet Rucker regarded among his influences Jack Kerouac, Kurt Vonnegut and William Burroughs, and felt he ‘always wanted to be an avant-garde writer and science fiction is a place where you can write whatever you want to’.97 This sounds like a writer who would have been more at home in F&SF, and he did later sell to that magazine, but his scientific understanding, particularly in quantum theory, also made him suited to Analog. One swallow does not, of course, make a summer. Fortunately for Schmidt, hot on Rucker’s tail came Greg Bear, already a contributor to Analog, and whose thoughts were along the same lines as Rucker’s. Bear intended ‘Schrödinger’s Plague’ (29 March 1982) as a parody on scientific rationale, using the uncertainty of quantum physics as the basis for an in-joke, just as Rucker had in his two stories. Initially known only to the instigator, an experiment is conducted to test the theory of Schrödinger’s cat on the whole of humanity. Bear then took this idea of a potentially unstoppable plague to the next logical step producing, as a consequence, one of the most important sf stories of the period, ‘Blood Music’ (June 1983). Bear was one of the first sf writers to consider the consequences of nanotechnology, a word coined in 197498 by Norio Taniguchi, but which had yet to enter the public consciousness and would not until the publication of Engines of Creation (1986) by K. Eric Drexler. Bear has a scientist inject himself with nano-size computers created with his own white blood cells developed to enhance the body’s ability to repair itself. These cells, which he calls noocytes, replicate and evolve at an alarming rate, becoming self-aware, and rapidly take over the scientist’s body and his environment with the potential that they will soon overrun the Earth. ‘Blood Music’ went on to win the Hugo and Nebula awards in 1984 and, in both its original form and its expansion as the 1985 novel Blood Music, became the seminal story on nanotechnology. Although he did not use the term, the noocytes were Bear’s equivalent of the wetware concept being promoted in the cyberpunk worlds of Bruce Sterling, Michael Swanwick and later Rudy Rucker. Despite his condemnation of Analog, 97  Rudy Rucker, interview by William D. Vernon in ‘On the Edge’, Foundation, #27 (February 1983), p. 25. 98  Norio Taniguchi, ‘On the Basic Concept of “Nano-Technology”’, in Proceedings of International Conference on Product Engineering, Tokyo (Tokyo: Japan Society of Precision Engineering), part 2, pp. 18–23.

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Bruce Sterling was prepared to admit that ‘in a triumph of the human spirit that makes one glow, Bear has shattered the limits of formula and is delivering truly superior fiction. Blood Music in its award-winning short form was a fine, visionary piece; as a novel, it’s staggering.’99 So it is evident that Analog was mapping some of the same territory as Asimov’s and Omni, and attracting some of the same writers, but it was developing stories that reflected its own methodical personality. It didn’t want the streetwise jargon or action of the cyberpunk vernacular, but did want serious scientific treatment of cutting-edge technology. One example is ‘On the Net’ by Bill Johnson in the mid-December 1986 issue. It concerns an intelligent computer virus called Creeper which escapes from its environment before it is perfected and soon infects not only the Russian defence system (for which it was intended) but also the American one, causing a stalemate. To combat Creeper the virus itself is mutated into Reaper. The story in fact replicates a sequence of events that began a decade earlier when the first computer virus, called Creeper, was created in 1971. The idea of setting a thief to catch a thief was developed into the gaming scenario Core War in 1984, where the computer worm devised to attack Creeper is called Reaper. Johnson’s story thus developed a computer games concept into a story scenario. The 1980s seemed to be a period for rediscovering Ernst Schrödinger’s thought experiment because it also proved the basis of Frederik Pohl’s novel ‘The Coming of the Quantum Cats’, serialized in Analog from January to April 1986. The novel explored multiple alternate personalities across competing alternate strands of American history. In an extremely complex novel, Pohl considered not only trigger points that create certain historical timelines but, more significantly, how people develop within those different scenarios, suggesting that individuals respond more to their social environment than they do to any genetic inheritance. The other buzz-word of the 1980s, alongside quantum theory and nanotechnology, was the singularity, or more properly the technological singularity, a concept first discussed by Vernor Vinge in the January 1983 Omni. Vinge used the idea as a key element of his novel ‘Marooned in Real Time’, which was serialized in Analog from May to August 1986. It was itself a sequel to an earlier novel, ‘The Peace War’, also serialized in Analog (May–August 1984), which had proposed the idea of the bobble, an impenetrable time-stasis field which can be of any size and allows the occupants to survive while the bobble moves on through time for any number of given

99  Bruce Sterling, Cheap Truth, #12 [1985], http://www.csdl.tamu.edu/~erich/cheaptruth/ cheaptru.12.

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periods. In ‘Marooned in Real Time’, the occupants of one of the bobbles who emerge in the year 2295 discover that the entire human race has disappeared. This was the kind of cosmic, even transcendent science fiction in which Analog had excelled for over 50 years. It was reminiscent of the thoughtvariant stories of the 1930s, now cloaked in a more rationalized scientific shell. Asimov’s may have been publishing science fiction that seemed more human and streetwise but Analog was doing what it did best, pushing the technological barriers and seeing how people responded. During the 1980s it carried many such stories, mostly in either serial form or as lead novelettes. Of these, David Brin’s ‘The Crystal Spheres’ (January 1984) won the Hugo Award. Set in the far future and deep space it proposes that all solar systems where planets have intelligent life have been encased in transparent crystal spheres by some unknown intelligence to stop any one race dominating the galaxy. Equally dramatic was ‘Rocheworld’ by Robert L. Forward, serialized from December 1982 to February 1983,100 set on two tidally locked planets where gravity has stretched them into an oblate shape with the nearest points close enough that they share an atmosphere. The story was reminiscent of the work of Hal Clement. Analog regularly delivered this type of story with work by such seasoned writers as Poul Anderson, Larry Niven, Charles Sheffield and newcomers J. Brian Clarke and Thomas R. Dulski. The full potential of nanotechnology was explored in a fact article, ‘Nanotechnology’ by K. Eric Drexler with Chris Peterson in the mid-December 1987 issue. The authors concluded by saying that if we succeed in seizing our opportunities then our future, as a race, ‘will be rich and broad beyond past dreams’.101 This optimism was adopted by Marc Stiegler, who combined the themes of nanotechnology and the singularity in ‘The Gentle Seduction’ (April 1989). More of a vision than a story, it traces the future history of a present-day girl who lives long enough to enjoy the benefits of the growth in nanotechnology and becomes not only immortal but as one with the joys and pleasures of universal sentience. Reviewer Scott Winnett called it ‘one of the most positive, optimistic paeans to the glory, peace and beauty of a technological future I’ve ever read’.102

100  The serial was less than half of Forward’s original novel, which was not published complete until it appeared as The Flight of the Dragonfly (New York: Baen Books, 1990), although there were two earlier abridged book editions also under that title. 101  K. Eric Drexler and Chris Petersen, ‘Nanotechnology’, Analog, 107:12 (mid-December 1987), p. 60. 102  Scott Winnett, ‘Short Reviews’, Locus, #355 (August 1990), p. 52.

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Marc Stiegler was one of those talents that blossomed in Analog in the 1980s before his work as a researcher into computer security limited his writing time. He had been a student of Schmidt’s at Heidelberg College, selling him his first story, ‘The Bully and the Crazy Boy’ (November 1980). That, and most of his other output, concerned the future development of computers, including the Valentina series about a sentient computer which he wrote with Joseph H. Delaney, starting with ‘Valentina’ (May 1984). His most popular story, though, was almost certainly ‘Petals of Rose’ (9 November 1981), one of those striking concept stories about how we communicate with an alien species whose adult lifespan is only 36 terrestrial hours, and how such a species passes on what each generation has learned. These works of superscientific vision might typify Analog but the magazine did have a more sensitive side. Analog was always prepared to tackle significant issues, even though these weren’t necessarily obvious from the magazine’s cover. A striking example is the May 1983 issue. Alongside Schmidt’s editorial, ‘The Right to What?’, which considered when a foetus may be reckoned as human and thereby acquires a right to life, was a story by Timothy Zahn, ‘The Final Report on the Lifeline Experiment’, which tackled exactly the same question. In Zahn’s story the world’s only proven telepath conducts a controlled experiment to see if he could determine whether, in a random selection of pregnant women, the foetuses had a human individuality. It was a brave story, especially the ending where Zahn introduced a twist based on how much the experimenter may have influenced the experiment—Zahn managed to bring quantum theory into what otherwise was arguably the most human of all stories. In fact the story wasn’t that emotional: in true Analog style it was an experimenter story, but it nevertheless explored the fundamental issue of when an unborn baby may be seen as human. It garnered a lot of response. ‘It cannot be said you don’t have guts,’ wrote one reader, while another said, ‘I’m impressed with your courage in dealing with the abortion controversy’, adding that Zahn’s story was ‘plain good science fiction’.103 Yet you would have had no idea of the significance of the editorial and story from the cover alone, which featured a rather outmoded illustration of a flying saucer and a building on fire. This was typical of Analog throughout the decade. Its covers gave the impression that Analog’s image, at least so far as the art department was concerned, had to focus on the science and shouldn’t be influenced unduly by any daring innovation in the magazine’s content.

103  See ‘Brass Tacks’ letter column, Analog, 103:13 (December 1983), pp. 167–68.

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Timothy Zahn was a good example of a new contributor prepared to bring new ideas to the magazine. His earliest interest had been in computer games and war games, with his first sale to The Space Gamer in 1980, and many of his early stories hinge on tactical warfare. This helped the success of his Cobra series of books that started in Analog with ‘When Jonny Comes Marching Home’ (4 January 1982), where a soldier has an arsenal of weapons surgically implanted in his body. These were standard Analog fare but others were less formulaic. ‘Cascade Point’ (December 1983) and its sequel ‘Evidence of Things Not Seen’ (June 1986) were particularly impressive, with the central idea that at the point when light-ships shift into hyperspace anyone still awake on the ship will be able to witness all of their alternate selves like a sequence of mirrors; Zahn explores how individuals cope with that. In ‘I Pray the Lord My Soul to Keep’ (January 1989) and its sequel ‘The Hand That Rocks the Casket’ (November 1989) he looks first at the research that goes into establishing whether a human soul exists and then considers the medical and other implications. Another of Schmidt’s major discoveries in the 1980s was Michael F. Flynn. Although a statistician by training, Flynn brought a fair degree of empathy to his stories, many of which explore aspects of time. His first, ‘Slan Libh’ (November 1984), which is Gaelic for ‘goodbye’, concerns the sacrifice of a man who returns back in time to help his Irish ancestors during the great famine. ‘Eifelheim’ (November 1986) is also set in a remote community beset by problems, and is a superior story because of the way Flynn uses various modern scientific analyses, notably the study of cliology, to rediscover what happened to a medieval German town which seemed to have vanished. It attracted much reader appreciation (voted the most popular novella in the magazine that year) and made Flynn’s name one to watch. That promise was immediately fulfilled with several stories that developed characters with whom the reader could be sympathetic. ‘The Forests of Time’ (June 1987) has a time traveller who finds himself lost in the infinite branches of time, unable to find his original history. ‘Remember’d Kisses’ (December 1988) has a scientist use nanotechnology to recreate his dead wife from a vagrant bag lady. ‘Soul of the City’ (February 1989) has a street artist defy the city’s attempts to use nanotechnology to clear the city of graffiti, by using that technology against its inventor to create a form of ever-changing art. These and other stories showed that Flynn was a writer capable of using the typical technocentric sf of Analog as a soil in which to grow the human dimension. The astute critic, Gary K. Wolfe, suspected that the strict regime of Analog’s fiction might have initially restrained Flynn, but that in his later fiction Flynn was able to use it as a launch pad for his flights of empathic

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fancy. He concluded that ‘Flynn is easily the most interesting new writer in years to claim Analog as his principal short fiction venue’.104 Zahn and Flynn were two of Analog’s most rewarding discoveries, but they were not alone and many of the new writers were bringing a new look to old ideas. One such who showed early promise was David R. Palmer. His first story, ‘Emergence’ (5 January 1981), features an 11-year-old girl, Candy, one of a rare mutant strain that is immune to most viruses and who thus survives an apocalyptic biological war. Written in a clipped narrative style, the story infuriated some but delighted many, and was voted the most popular novella in the magazine that year. A sequel, ‘Seeking’ (February 1983), followed, but then the author hit a 20-year writer’s block. Readers had to wait until 2008 with the serialization of ‘Tracking’ (July/August– October 2008) to continue Candy’s post-holocaust adventures. Others who brought original ideas to human plots included Tom Ligon and Elizabeth Moon. Ligon put passion into ‘The Devil and the Deep Black Void’ (January 1986), where he explored what would happen on a planet colonized by the pacifist followers of the Baha’i faith when it is threatened by an external force. The result needed a sequel, ‘The Gardener’ (November 1993), to restore the balance. In ‘ABCs in Zero-G’ (August 1986), Elizabeth Moon considered the advantages of the disabled in space. Considering Analog’s prime territory of hard technology, the debut stories of Geoffrey A. Landis, now regarded as a major writer of hard sf, were somewhat surprising. ‘Elemental’ (December 1984) posits the idea that a fully functional system of magic could operate without conflict alongside a rational system of science. Landis cleverly juxtaposed quantum mechanics and the occult with occasional outbursts of Lovecraftian gibberish to create just the kind of novella that John W. Campbell would have enjoyed for Unknown. There was a touch of magic in his second story, ‘Dinosaurs’ (June 1985), where a trio of psychic talents are used to divert a nuclear attack against the United States. His next, ‘Stroboscope’ (June 1986), featured no hard science either since it was a satire on bureaucracy when a man attempts to sleep in suspended animation to the year 10,000 but keeps being reawakened at an increasingly rapid pace because of some statutory requirement. Somewhat of an anomaly, Landis’s reputation did not flourish until he switched to Asimov’s when ‘Ripples in the Dirac Sea’ (Asimov’s, October 1988) won the Nebula Award. Although Landis continued to contribute to Analog, his more popular stories appeared elsewhere.

104  Gary K. Wolfe, review of The Forest of Time and Other Stories, Locus, #434 (March 1997), p. 56.

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The new author most closely associated with Analog during Schmidt’s editorship was Jerry Oltion, who would go on to became the magazine’s most prolific contributor.105 His early material placed a strong emphasis on a gimmick or surprise ending. His first, ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ (November 1982), hinged on the idea that visiting aliens might not know about autumn and therefore think Earth was a dying planet. ‘Oltion’s Complete, Unabridged History of the Universe’ (June 1983) was the shortest story ever to appear in Analog, consisting of just two words. ‘Frame of Reference’ (January 1984) reveals only at the end that the individuals you believe might be in a space station are actually elsewhere. ‘The Getaway Special’ (April 1985) has an inventor on the space shuttle successfully demonstrate a hyperdrive, except that the crew have no idea where it takes them. ‘The BASIC Universe’ (August 1985) is no more than a thought experiment considering whether the computer language of the universe could be rewritten to speed things up. He started to produce more mature humanistic stories with ‘The Love Song of Laura Morrison’ (August 1987). A lunar scientist, helping in the construction of a starship, meets an old lady whose long-dead husband had already designed such a ship. Despite her age, she becomes enamoured with the prospect of joining the crew on its maiden voyage to Alpha Centauri. Many of Oltion’s stories revolve around some scientific idiosyncrasy or, in the case of his collaborations with Stephen L. Gillett (writing as Lee Goodloe), a significant scientific problem. The stories all show ingenuity and are frequently uplifting and positive, in the true Analog tradition, but because of their sheer volume few stand out for their originality or power. Ironically his best work, usually blending fantasy with science fiction, would appear outside of Analog, almost as if the demands of Analog caused him to produce rather too much formulaic fiction. Having said that, Analog did provide a considerable range of material within its primary criteria. It remained at its best when producing mindblowing fiction of cosmic proportions, often sophisticated space opera with a political and military dimension. Most contributors to Analog became seduced by this potential, including the new writers, some of whom showed the influence of Star Trek and Star Wars. Timothy Zahn produced his ‘Spinneret’ serial (July–August 1985) dealing with a complex range of alien races and their rivalry for a remote planet with a remarkable resource. George R. R. Martin contributed his series featuring the enigmatic space trader Haviland Tuf, which included the serial ‘The Plague Star’ (January– February 1985). Tuf travels through the galaxy advising planets on their

105  Oltion passed Christopher Anvil’s total of 83 stories in the November 2011 issue.

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ecological problems. The series, inspired somewhat by the works of Jack Vance, was not typical Martin, but was ideally suited to Analog. With ‘The Expediter’ (February 1984), J. Brian Clarke began a series where humans discover an alien race which in turn leads to the discovery of an alien technology that allows for the creation of a stargate that leads to the discovery of further aliens. In ‘Bearings’ (December 1986), Robert R. Chase has a spaceship totally lost trying to find its way back to Earth. This genre of fiction would lead to the most popular contributor to Analog for her thoughtful and usually ingenious adaptation of the space federation story, and that was Lois McMaster Bujold. Bujold had been a fan of Star Trek and had contributed to the Trekkie fan magazines in the late 1960s,106 but she had also been a long-time fan of Analog, which her father, Robert C. McMaster, read. He had been a university professor and lecturer of distinction with Ph.D.s in physics and electrical engineering. In 1951, he had developed the process of xeroradiography. ‘If you know any woman whose life has been saved by early detection of breast cancer, that technology was originally developed by my father. This was a little bit formidable to live with,’ Bujold commented in 1992.107 He treated her to a subscription to Analog when she was 13, in 1962, and she particularly enjoyed the works of Poul Anderson. His Nicholas Van Rijn and Dominic Flandry series imprinted on her imagination the idea of a vast galactic trading league. When she decided to sell stories professionally the first she wrote, ‘Dreamweaver’s Dilemma’, is set in the early days of Earth’s colonization of space and provides some of the backcloth against which her future Vorkosigan Saga would take place. That story did not sell, so she turned to novels and sold three to James Baen in the mid-1980s. Her first short-story sale was not to Analog, but Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone Magazine. However, her next novel, Falling Free, was specifically written with Analog in mind: ‘I deliberately set out to write an Analog-type story with as much engineering and real science as I could get into it. And indeed, succeeded in selling it to Analog, afterwards. Proved to myself that, yes, I can do this thing.’108 It was serialized in the issues from December 1987 to February 1988 and proved instantly popular, being nominated for the Hugo Award and winning the Nebula. It tells the story of the quaddies, genetically modified humans who have arms instead of legs and are thus ideally suited to work 106  Starting with ‘The Free Enterprise’ as by Lois McMaster in Spockanalia, April 1968. 107  Lois McMaster Bujold, interview by Bart Kemper in ‘Touching the Reader’, Quantum, #43/44, Spring/Summer 1993, p. 17. 108  Lois McMaster Bujold, ‘Answers’, in Dreamweaver’s Dilemma (Birmingham, MA: NESFA Press, 1995), p. 218.

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in space. They are, though, not treated as humans but as slaves and have no lives of their own until they are able to escape and subsequently establish a colony of their own. Their saviour is the hero of the book, Leo Graf, a character based on her father. The relationship between Bujold and her father, who had died in 1986, also stimulated the relationship between Bujold’s main characters in her later stories, Miles Vorkosigan and his father Aral. Human relationships are key to her work which is why she has become regarded as a leading writer of character-driven adventure sf. She did far more scientific research for ‘Falling Free’ than on her other novels in order to get the bio-engineering facts clear on the quaddies, and she felt this is what made it an Analog story. In one sense she was correct, but it was the character development and her ability to raise and consider moral and ethical issues that were equally important and explained why she rapidly became one of Analog’s most popular contributors. Her next appearance was with ‘The Mountains of Mourning’ (May 1989), which brought the character of Miles Vorkosigan to Analog. Miles has brittlebone disease resulting in both legs being broken in his youth. He is also short, but despite his shortcomings he is not an invalid: his disabilities just add to the challenges he has to overcome. In ‘The Mountains of Mourning’ he is sent by his father to look into a case of infanticide in a remote part of his home planet. The story won both the Hugo and Nebula awards. Miles’s missions to other planets also featured in ‘Labyrinth’ (August 1989), voted by readers the most popular novella in Analog that year, and ‘Weatherman’ (February 1990), again voted the most popular novella in Analog for that year. It formed part of The Vor Game (1990), which won the Hugo Award. Then came the serial ‘Barrayar’, serialized in Analog from July to October 1991 and which is central to the Vorkosigan Saga because it deals with the birth of Miles and the circumstances behind his deformities. Barrayar also won the Hugo Award, meaning that Bujold had won three Hugos in successive years for stories or novels that had appeared in part or whole in Analog. Bujold might have challenged herself to see whether she could write an Analog story, but she was a natural. Her work was reminiscent of Poul Anderson, Gordon R. Dickson and Harry Harrison, among others, in their approach to the consequences of our outward expansion into space, but she ensured this was layered with a deep understanding of this impact upon humankind and, more importantly, how anyone could remain an individual as technology and the singularity advanced. Her work was a powerful reminder that Analog might have delighted in stories of cosmic wonder and superscience, but the human element was

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not forgotten. Some authors could integrate them better than others, as Timothy Zahn, Michael Flynn and Elizabeth Moon demonstrated. Yet, perhaps due to its history and its cover images, the magazine remained fixed in the minds of many as publishing idea-driven rather than characterdriven stories, a problem Schmidt constantly faced: ‘one thing I always struggle against is excessively narrow misconceptions about what constitutes “an Analog story.” If in doubt, let me decide. Please!’109

Dozois in Charge If there was a difference between the issues of Asimov’s edited by Shawna McCarthy and the early ones under Gardner Dozois, it was that McCarthy had to work against the grain established by Scithers, which had presented sf in a rather simplistic form to appeal to a younger readership and which therefore meant she had to struggle to rebuild the magazine’s reputation with more mature, challenging sf, whereas Dozois could now work with the grain and use his considerable understanding of the state of the field to nurture it. Writers had already responded to McCarthy, but as Connie Willis and Leigh Kennedy among others had discovered, it had been an uphill struggle, but now they had a champion who evened out the plain and thus eased and encouraged progress. Dozois’s one concern was how he was regarded by those at Davis Publications. He knew he had the support of Asimov himself, but he was less sure about the others, because he was not a ‘corporate kind of guy. … I got the impression that they were regarding me rather leerily’.110 As a consequence Dozois, suspecting he might not last too long, threw caution to the winds and took risks he might not otherwise have taken. Dozois benefited not only from the hard work undertaken by McCarthy, but also the further liberalization of the field achieved by Ellen Datlow at Omni, and the considerable freedom long established by Ed Ferman at F&SF. And this is not to minimize the contributions made to the field’s evolution by the original anthologies of the 1970s and 1980s, notably Damon Knight’s Orbit, Terry Carr’s Universe and Robert Silverberg’s New Dimensions. All of these had stimulated the development of science fiction and Dozois became the focus for the natural culmination of this development. Dozois told me:

109  Stanley Schmidt, ‘Meet the Editor’, p. 55. 110  Gardner Dozois, interview (1997), in Jayme Lynn Blaschke, Voices of Vision: Creators of Science Fiction and Fantasy Speak (Lincoln, NE: Bison Books, 2005), p. 4.

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I worked very hard to make authors feel that Asimov’s was a competitive market with the others, and I spent a great deal of time badgering authors whose work I liked, to submit something to me, both by mail (this was before email) and in person at conventions and parties and social gatherings. I probably made a great pest of myself. I also worked consciously to create a buzz about how Asimov’s was where the ‘Cutting Edge’ work in the field was appearing, so that authors would be eager to appear there. I’m proud of the fact that I managed to get a lot of authors to submit stories to me before Omni, even though Omni was paying a great deal more money than I could pay.111

In other words Dozois knew how to make Asimov’s benefit from all that had gone before and to take it forward into a new age. This rapidly became evident because over the next few years Dozois made Asimov’s a market for all types of speculative fiction, stories that reflected not only the best of the new, but those that reshaped the old. The magazine did not become the organ of the cyberpunk movement at all. Rather it became the quintessential magazine of speculative fiction, publishing state-of-the-art high-tech sf alongside innovative fantasies and more traditional but wellcrafted fiction. Two letters show this rapid development within the first year. Bruce Sterling wrote, ‘I’ve been admiring the progress of IAsfm under your aegis. Each issue has been remarkable. A couple of them have been truly splendid. IAsfm today is the finest sf periodical I’ve seen during my professional career.’112 Almost simultaneously Allan Salvador, who had been reading the sf magazines since he was 13 in the early 1960s, wrote to say that the magazine had revived his love for science fiction, which had faded because the field had changed into the literature of ‘doom and despair’. Salvador remarked: ‘Your magazine comes as close to my fond memories of the “old” science fiction as anything that I have seen in years.’113 Evidence for this diversity and continuity can be seen from the stories which garnered awards from Dozois’s first year. ‘R&R’ (April 1986) by Lucius Shepard, which won the Nebula, is set in the same intense world of jungle warfare which had made ‘Salvador’ in F&SF such a powerful story. However, ‘R&R’ brought the nightmare of this near-future Vietnam-style war in South America to such a palpable intensity as to leave the reader

111  Gardner Dozois, email, 7 December 2012. 112  Bruce Sterling, letter, Asimov’s, 11:1 (January 1987), p. 12. 113  Allan Salvador, letter, Asimov’s, 11:6 (June 1987), p. 12.

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drained. Dozois would later say that it was ‘quite likely the single best story to appear in the genre this year’.114 ‘Gilgamesh in the Outback’ (July 1986) by Robert Silverberg can’t really be seen as a Dozois-encouraged story because it was written for the sharedworld anthology Rebels in Hell edited by Janet Morris, which was published in paperback around the same time. Silverberg had previously written a novel based on the Gilgamesh legend, Gilgamesh the King (1984), and now used that same character in an afterlife much in the same way Philip José Farmer had developed in his Riverworld series. The novella was sufficiently popular to win the Hugo Award and generate two sequels, both in Asimov’s, that were the basis of the novel To the Land of the Living (1989). ‘Hatrack River’ (August 1986), which won the World Fantasy Award, marked the start of Orson Scott Card’s Alvin Maker saga, two further episodes of which would appear in Asimov’s. Written in a charming homespun style, this is Card’s evocation of the early settlers and pioneers in an alternative American Midwest, where folk legend, magic and mystery still abound. Something of that same mood pervades Kate Wilhelm’s ‘The Girl Who Fell from the Sky’ (October 1986), a subtle blend of ghost story and timeslip also set in the American Midwest, which went on to win the Nebula Award. A nostalgic delight to all readers was ‘Robot Dreams’, Isaac Asimov’s first new robot story for ten years, which readers voted their most popular short story in the magazine that year. As for the year’s most popular novella, readers voted for ‘Spice Pogrom’ (October 1986) by Connie Willis. This was another of her ‘screwball’ comedies, as she liked to think of them, which had started in Asimov’s with ‘Blued Moon’ (January 1984) and would soon become a regular annual feature, often in the Christmas issue. Willis has become one of the most awarded writers of science fiction, and 11 of her stories in Asimov’s subsequently received one or more of the major awards. Two other writers who continued to make a significant presence in Asimov’s were Kim Stanley Robinson and Pat Murphy. Robinson’s early sales had been primarily to the original anthology market (Orbit and Universe) and briefly to F&SF but, starting with ‘Green Mars’115 (September 1985), he made Asimov’s his primary market. His stories in the magazine were of considerable diversity, ranging from unsettling visions to perceptive satires. His first sale to Dozois was a dark portrayal of a depressing near future, 114  Gardner Dozois, ‘Summation: 1986’, in Gardner Dozois (ed.), The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Fourth Annual Collection (New York: St Martin’s Press, 1987), p. 1. 115  This novella should not be confused with the subsequent novel Green Mars (1993), to which it is not related. This story considers the ethics of terraforming Mars, but is primarily about an attempt to climb the Martian volcano Olympus Mons.

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‘Down and Out in the Year 2000’ (April 1986), followed by the slapstick humour of ‘Escape from Kathmandu’ (September 1986) where two expat travellers find themselves rescuing a yeti in Nepal. The popularity of this story led to two sequels, both in Asimov’s, and the collection Escape from Kathmandu (1989). His next appearance was as different again. ‘The Blind Geometer’ (August 1987) had originally been published a year before in a limited small-press edition, so it had not been written specially for Asimov’s, but its appearance there was the first to bring it to national attention, from which it went on to win the Nebula Award. Set in the mid-twenty-first century, it is related by a blind mathematician whose know­ledge is required by those trying to create a weapon using cross-dimensional energies. Pat Murphy, who had been selling the occasional story to magazines and anthologies since she first appeared in Galaxy in 1975, was also producing some of her best material for Asimov’s. Her first sale to the magazine had been under Scithers’s tenure, ‘Touch of the Bear’ (October 1980), later expanded into her novel The Shadow Hunter (1982). By an odd coincidence she had also been to Nepal and, like Kim Stanley Robinson, had written her own yeti story, ‘In the Abode of the Snows’ (mid-December 1986). Many of Murphy’s stories are at their heart about how humans cope with displacement or detachment, the normal trying to face the abnormal. Two of her stories in particular in Asimov’s developed this to a high degree. In ‘Rachel in Love’ (April 1987), the persona that had been the little girl Rachel has been transferred into the brain of a chimpanzee, and the story explores how the dual personality within the creature copes. The story is at once disturbing and heart-rending and a remarkable treatment of a difficult and delicate subject. It was only a little over three years since Asimov’s had published Leigh Kennedy’s ‘Her Furry Face’, and though that story differs in scope it has at its heart a similar problem as to how humanized apes might cope with society and other humans. Leigh Kennedy’s story had caused an uproar among certain readers, but Pat Murphy’s story was generally praised, and went on to win a Nebula and a Locus Award. It is some measure of how far Asimov’s readership had progressed in a relatively short time. Murphy’s ‘Good-bye, Cynthia’ (April 1988), another poignant story, is barely science fiction at all. A young woman recalls her childhood and her sister, Cynthia, who went missing and who just may have gone to the stars. Evocative and forlorn, Murphy’s fiction weaves stories from the heart. They are poles apart from the high-tech cyber-age fiction sometimes appearing in the same issue, and this says much for the range of material Dozois was prepared to print. At the start of his editorship Dozois had championed the idea of the serial. The second to run in Asimov’s was ‘Vacuum Flowers’ by Michael

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Swanwick, from the mid-December 1986 to February 1987 issues. It was only the second novel after Bruce Sterling’s Schismatrix to promote the concept of wetware, the computer adaptation of the body’s natural genetic code. Although cyberpunk technology and terminology in part drive the story, what Swanwick had really produced was the modern-day high-tech version of the ‘around the solar system’ space opera, which would appeal to young and old. Not everyone was happy with the inclusion of a serial, since the novel was usually available as a book soon afterwards. The one exception was ‘I, Robot: The Movie’, Harlan Ellison’s aborted screenplay for the film based on Asimov’s robot stories. It was serialized in three parts from November to mid-December 1987 and did not appear in book form until 1994. Dozois ran just one further serial, ‘Stations of the Tide’, again by Michael Swanwick, in two parts (mid-December 1990–January 1991) and thereafter the magazine dropped them. Instead, the real strength of Asimov’s was its regular publication of a long novella in almost every issue. Robert Silverberg made considerable use of this spot, for although he still saw Omni as his primary market for short fiction, in Asimov’s he could explore ideas in far greater detail. This was most evident in ‘The Secret Sharer’ (September 1987), a homage to Joseph Conrad’s story of the same name. Set on a light-ship in deep space, where normally the concept of compassion would be outlawed, the story explored the relationship between the ship’s captain and a stowaway. Silverberg drew upon other classic works as a basis for re-evaluating old ideas in a modern idiom. ‘We Are for the Dark’ (October 1988), set in a distant future on a much-polluted and overpopulated Earth where an elite priesthood controls the colonization of space, has echoes of Fritz Leiber’s ‘Gather, Darkness!’ (Astounding, May–July 1943), while ‘In Another Country’ (March 1989), written at the request of Martin H. Greenberg rather than Gardner Dozois, complements C. L. Moore’s ‘Vintage Season’ (Astounding, September 1946) in exploring further the consequences of her story of alien visitors. There were many others who took advantage of this novella slot, among them John Barnes, Pat Cadigan, Orson Scott Card, Megan Lindholm, Jack McDevitt, Judith Moffett, Stephen Popkes, Mike Resnick, Charles Sheffield, Lucius Shepard, Harry Turtledove, Ian Watson and Walter Jon Williams. Card’s ‘Eye for Eye’ (April 1987), a powerful story of a young man with a psi power that, if not controlled, can kill, won Card his third Hugo Award. Walter Jon Williams’s ‘Surfacing’ (April 1988), which he regards as one

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of his best stories,116 explores how to communicate with alien species. Williams also wrote a shorter story, ‘Dinosaurs’ (June 1987), which caused much reader feedback over its study of how human expansion through the galaxy might endanger other species. Ian Watson’s ‘The Flies of Memory’ (September 1988), later expanded into the novel of the same name, is also about trying to understand and communicate with aliens, but a species whose memories have an odd effect on Earth. Both Stephen Popkes’s ‘The Egg’ (January 1989) and Megan Lindholm’s ‘A Touch of Lavender’ (November 1989) are about the relationship between young humans and aliens. Lindholm’s highly moving story was voted the most popular novella of that year by the magazine’s readers. ‘The Hemingway Hoax’ (April 1990) by Joe Haldeman is, by contrast, just sheer fun following the results of an attempt to forge a lost Hemingway manuscript and its effect upon the various alternate timelines. Alongside the novellas was an assortment of short fiction which, while not having the space to explore vast cosmic issues in depth, could nevertheless pack a punch. One of the most emotionally supercharged stories was ‘Elephant’ (November 1986) by Susan Palwick which, in its study of a woman’s need for healing through rebirth, is a hymn to the human spirit. Although ‘Boobs’ (August 1989) by Suzy McKee Charnas won the Hugo science-fiction award, it too is closer to a parable or fairy-tale about a young girl whose early maturation brings with it the discovery that she isn’t entirely human. ‘Vacuum States’ (July 1988) by Geoffrey A. Landis is ingeniously crafted to place you, the reader, in the position of deciding which way to turn a switch for either ultimate power or oblivion. Although Dozois did work with and encourage new writers, most of the contents of Asimov’s, certainly in the first five years under his editorship, had a much lower record of authors’ first sales than under either Scithers or McCarthy. This may be due partly to the fact that as Asimov’s stature grew it was increasingly swamped in submissions, several hundred a week, and Dozois’s time to work with new authors was limited. ‘You’ve got to convince whoever first sets eyes on your manuscript that it’s worth paying any unusual degree of attention to,’ he commented in 1991. ‘Many stories are essentially colourless and fail in that regard.’117 It meant, though, that when Dozois did discover a new writer they were often someone significant. Among his early discoveries were Allen Steele and Mary Rosenblum. Steele had already sold a novel, Orbital Decay, though it had yet to appear, 116  See Walter Jon Williams, interview by Chris Moriarty, Lightspeed, March 2011, http:// www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/feature-interview-walter-jon-williams/. 117  Gardner Dozois, interview by Stan Nicholls, ‘The Leading American SF Editor’, Interzone, #53 (November 1991), p. 52.

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so ‘Live at the Mars Hotel’ (mid-December 1988), where early astronauts on Mars become rock stars on Earth, was his first appearance in print. Though this story was relatively slight, it set the scene for ‘Red Planet Blues’ (September 1989), not so much a sequel as the main course about the search for extraterrestrial life on Mars. Steele would rapidly become a mainstay of Asimov’s, winning three Hugo Awards, all for his stories in the magazine. Mary Rosenblum had submitted her first story to Analog but it had been rejected because of a weak ending. She attended the Clarion Workshop in 1988 where Dozois was one of the lecturers. Based on his critique, she subsequently sold ‘For a Price’ (June 1990) to him, a tale in the tradition of America’s love affair with the magic of the circus. Mary commented: Gardner was a huge influence on my career in sf and I owe him a lot of gratitude. I consider him one of the real landmark editors in the sf field for his understanding of ‘good story’ and how to achieve it. He had, I suspect, a lot of influence on many writers as he nudged, commented, and encouraged. Story mattered to him as an editor and he wanted writers to produce the best story they were capable of.118

It soon became apparent through her stories in Asimov’s that her focus was on relationships. Her next sale, ‘Floodtide’ (December 1990), is a moving story of a father’s thoughts for his son planning to undertake an interstellar voyage. At the outset Dozois held on to several of Rosenblum’s stories so that he could publish them in quick succession and draw attention to her name. ‘Water Bringer’ (March 1991), set in the drylands of the American West, began a series which confirmed her reputation. Dozois missed out to Terry Carr for the Hugo Award for best professional editor after his first full year at Asimov’s, but he won it the next year, 1988, relating to 1987, and thereafter won it almost every year until 2004, the exceptions being 1994, when it went to Kristine Kathryn Rusch at F&SF, and 2002, when it went to Ellen Datlow. This shows his domination of the field for nearly two decades. One of the most delightful stories in Dozois’s first few years was ‘To Hell with the Stars’ (December 1987) by Jack McDevitt, a homage to the visions of all the old-time science-fiction writers. One reader, who had lost interest in sf in recent years, just happened across this issue and wrote in to Asimov’s saying, ‘Thanks for reawakening that love of science fiction within me.’119 This is what Dozois was achieving. For those for whom sf had lost its appeal during the 1960s and 1970s, Dozois was bringing back the excitement and 118  Mary Rosenblum, email, 6 December 2012. 119  Tom Martin, letter, Asimov’s, 12:12 (December 1988), p. 9.

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verve alongside the emotion and vision. Among the letters of congratulation was one from no less than Ben Bova saying, ‘You’re doing a damned good job with the magazine.’120 Considering Bova’s past experience with both Analog and Omni, this was praise indeed.  We have seen how Asimov’s, Omni, F&SF and even Analog had responded positively and individually to the demands of the 1980s, helping to reshape the science fiction of the decade. But what of the oldest magazine of them all—Amazing Stories, the magazine that gave the world the word ‘cyberpunk’? How did it rise to the challenge?

Amazing Rebirth Amazing had always had a chequered career. As the first science-fiction magazine, it had blazed a trail from 1926 to 1929 under Hugo Gernsback, but it then sank into premature senescence under ageing editor T. O’Conor Sloane. It bounced back in 1938 under youthful editor Raymond A. Palmer and new publisher Ziff-Davis, and for the next decade was the very essence of pulp sf, with gloriously colourful covers illustrating brash adventure fiction and, rather more notoriously, the Lemurian Mythos of Richard S. Shaver. In terms of sales the late 1940s was Amazing’s high spot, though the quality of its content was increasingly questionable. In 1950 new editor Howard Browne threw out most of Palmer’s inventory, tried to interest Ziff-Davis in publishing a slick edition and, when that failed, converted Amazing into a quality digest magazine. Through 1953 and 1954 Amazing had a resurgence, but then the money ran out along with Browne’s interest and the magazine sank back into oblivion. New editor Paul Fairman took the easy way out, buying science fiction by the yard from a core stable of talented wordsmiths, among them Robert Silverberg, Randall Garrett, Harlan Ellison and Milton Lesser (Stephen Marlowe). Fairman was succeeded as editor by his secretary Cele Goldsmith, and if ever Amazing had a Golden Age, it was under her regime. From 1959 to 1965 she raised the standard of fiction and allowed writers a free rein. At a time when the sf magazines were generally at a low ebb, Amazing served as a guiding light. But its trials continued. In 1965, Ziff-Davis sold Amazing to Sol Cohen who converted it primarily to a reprint magazine, leading to conflict with the newly formed Science Fiction Writers of America over reprint rights.

120  Ben Bova, letter, Asimov’s, 12:2 (February 1988), p. 16.

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A succession of editors—Joseph Wrzos, Harry Harrison, Barry Malzberg and Ted White—did their best to rid the magazine of its reprints and use quality new material. Only White succeeded, eventually, but his minuscule budget meant that he had to content himself with either other magazines’ cast-offs or stories written by his small coterie of writers. In the circumstances he did a remarkable job but it was a constant uphill struggle. That hill got steeper in 1978 when Cohen retired and his business partner, Arthur Bernhard, took over. Bernhard was even tighter with the purse-strings and White, finding the position intolerable, resigned. Elinor Mavor became the new editor and, like Cele Goldsmith, achieved wonders despite Bernhard’s almost total opposition to anything she tried to achieve. Fantastic merged with Amazing in 1980 in a hope to save money and boost sales, but the circulation continued to fall. Mavor tried to encourage Bernhard to push for more subscriptions, but he refused and by early 1982 newsstand sales were down to 10,600 with only 900 subscribers. Compare this with Analog’s average newsstand sales of 34,700 and 65,171 subscribers. Amazing, which paid only one cent per word to contributors, was on the verge of becoming a semi-professional magazine. Bernhard, now 70 years old, decided to sell. In February 1982, he approached George Scithers, recently retired from Asimov’s and running his own Owlswick Press, including a small, occasional magazine called Amra, dedicated to the study of sword-and-sorcery fiction, particularly the works of Robert E. Howard and his imitators. Scithers did not feel he had the wherewithal to publish Amazing, but it so happened that a few weeks earlier Scithers had been approached by Gary Gygax, co-creator of the highly successful role-playing game (RPG), Dungeons and Dragons (D&D), with its accompanying magazine The Dragon. Gygax was a long-time subscriber to Amra and wanted to know whether Scithers had anything he could contribute to The Dragon. Scithers put Bernhard in touch with Gygax and a deal was struck on 20 March. Gygax’s company, TSR, Inc., would take over publication of Amazing from the September 1982 issue. That was the last that Elinor Mavor edited. She had known nothing of the behind-the-scenes arrangements. Gygax had offered Scithers the editorship of Amazing, and he took over from November 1982. I discussed the emergence and growth of RPGs and their associated magazines in Gateways to Forever. The influence of RPGs, and in particular those related to fantasy and science fiction, was such that in 1982 both the Hugo and Nebula awards went to ‘The Saturn Game’ by Poul Anderson published, perhaps surprisingly, in Analog (2 February 1981). In this story an RPG is played mentally by the crew of a spaceship heading for Saturn. So saturated have they become by the game that it directs their thinking

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sufficiently to endanger their mission and they have to use the skills learned in the game in order to survive. There was growing evidence to suggest that RPGs were attracting a new generation of writers and readers who might otherwise have been drawn to the science-fiction magazines. John M. Ford, writing in Asimov’s in 1979, observed, ‘Gaming SF offers many of the pleasures of creation—you plot the story, you make the decisions.’121 One route this had taken was in the development of shared-world anthologies, which had started with the world of Sanctuary, depicted in the Thieves’ World series created by Robert Asprin and Lynn Abbey, which began in October 1979. It also resulted in the appearance of the first ever fantasy e-zine, FSFnet, which started in December 1984. When the RPG magazines first appeared, the two most significant titles were The Space Gamer from Metagaming in Austin, Texas, and The Strategic Review from TSR, Inc. in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. Both had first appeared in March 1975 though, at that time, The Strategic Review was a simple newsletter. The Space Gamer was a slim amateur-looking booklet, but it grew into a semi-professional magazine in February 1978 and fully professional by October 1982. Although the emphasis was on games it ran some fiction, including early work by Lawrence Watt-Evans and Timothy Zahn. The Strategic Review underwent a significant overhaul in 1976 and relaunched itself as The Dragon in June. It also carried fiction, mostly gamerelated, but branched out into buying new fantasy and science fiction, including work by Harry Harrison, Jayge Carr and Poul Anderson. Its parent company, TSR, went from strength to strength. According to Fortune Magazine, in 1981 TSR was ‘one of the top 10 fastest growing companies in the USA, with revenues increasing at an almost geometric rate’.122 According to Wired magazine, ‘In 1982, the company saw its annual D&D sales shoot up to $16 million.’123 The long history of Amazing shows how a high had always been followed by a low, and that for much of the previous 20 years the magazine had been the lowest rated of the professional markets and thus always last in the queue when it came to quality submissions. There was now a hope that, with the backing of a successful publisher, Amazing would at last get the financial support and promotion it needed. The first sign of this was a significant increase in wordage rates to six cents for shorter fiction, putting it on a par with Asimov’s, Analog and 121  John M. Ford, ‘On Tabletop Universes’, Asimov’s, 3:4 (April 1979), p. 109. 122 See Science Fiction Chronicle, 3:8 (May 1982), p. 5. 123  David Kushner, ‘Dungeon Master: The Life and Legacy of Gary Gygax’, Wired, October 2008, on Internet Archives at www.wired.com/gaming/virtualworlds/news/2008/03/ff_gygax.

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F&SF. The magazine was placed on a bi-monthly schedule with hopes of either becoming monthly or a possible revival of Fantastic. The page count increased from 128 to 160 but there were no plans to increase the dimensions of the magazine to the letter-size format of The Dragon. Neither were there plans to initiate a subscription campaign. According to Scithers, ‘a “bigger budget” will lead to “improved distribution”. There are plans to move into the bookstore and hobby store markets as well, areas where TSR has had phenomenal success with their game line.’124 Besides the increased wordage rates, Scithers was allowed to spend up to $1,000 on cover art for his first issue, by way of promotion, which he used on a dragon painting by Michael Whelan. ‘I’m particularly proud of the cover of that issue—cost more than any other Amazing cover, but it was worth it.’125 Scithers did not recall whether that cover increased Amazing’s sales, and in fact during its first year Amazing’s newsstand sales continued to fall, though subscriptions increased. Scithers had already given a presentation showing what he believed Amazing could achieve given the right funding and editorial freedom. Essentially he reworked the model he had used at Asimov’s, but with the added advantage that Amazing could also use fantasy and was not dictated to by publishing protocols. ‘Almost anything is fit subject for Amazing,’ he remarked to a reader.126 Because Bernhard had not told Mavor he was selling Amazing, Scithers had to compile his first issue in advance of the sale, without access to the inventory. He continued to operate from Philadelphia, and his collective of assistants, ‘the Zoo’, were brought back into harness. TSR used the same printer as Asimov’s, and an identical format, even to the full-page text rather than two columns. Scithers’s first issue included two of Asimov’s regular writers, John M. Ford and Sharon Webb, as well as the artists Kelly Freas and George Barr. These were joined in the January 1983 issue by Somtow Sucharitkul with a new story in his Aquila series, which had started in Asimov’s, plus Avram Davidson with his Unhistory series and the return of the Feghoot series of excruciating puns. Successive months saw F. Gwynplaine MacIntyre with his ‘Improbable Bestiary’ series from Asimov’s and stories by Rand B. Lee, Pat Murphy, Tanith Lee and Jack Haldeman, all closely associated with Asimov’s at that time. It didn’t take long for readers to spot the similarities. ‘[B]ut it’s just like Asimov’s,’ one reader wrote, adding, ‘I don’t think we need another 124  See the news report by Elton T. Elliott, ‘The Human Hotline’, Science Fiction Review, #43 (Summer 1982), p. 59. 125  George Scithers, email, 18 April 2009. 126 See Amazing, 58:3 (September 1984), p. 29.

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Asimov’s.’127 There were many other comments, although one reader did observe, ‘You seem to have managed to maintain the best of the Amazing heritage, infused with the lessons learned by IA’sfm.’128 It was difficult to determine how much of the old Amazing remained, so much had the magazine come to replicate Asimov’s. Scithers had resurrected some of the old features in Amazing, although simply calling the letter column ‘Discussions’ and the occasional editorial ‘The Observatory’ (as it had been in Palmer’s day), did not, of themselves, invoke any ghosts of the old magazine. If there was a difference it was a greater sense of freedom. Scithers admitted as much in a later editorial comment129 and confirmed it in later correspondence with me. ‘With Amazing I felt freer to use outright fantasy and to go with longer stories when some showed up.’ He also had more control over the magazine, remarking it was ‘an extension of what I had been doing with Asimov’s—but without the office politics generated by the Davis art department’.130 Scithers was clearly still smarting from his altercations with Carole Gross, whereas TSR let him do whatever he wanted. He worked closely with Patrick L. Price who handled the production side. Scithers selected the stories, assigned the artwork and generally indicated which art was to go where. Price arranged the typesetting, final layout and production. It worked well, and that sense of freedom pervaded the magazine. There was a sense of fun and enjoyment, mostly in the letter column and editorial, but also a feeling that the stories could be more challenging, more unusual. It was as if, for the first time in 20 years, Amazing was allowed to breathe again. It began to present some memorable stories. William F. Wu, whom Scithers had encouraged at Asimov’s, produced ‘Wong’s Lost and Found Emporium’ (May 1983), a beautiful twist on the ‘magic shop’ idea about a place where you can find second chances and regain lost opportunities. There is also something of the quest for identity in ‘Knight of Shallows’ (July 1983) by Rand B. Lee, where an individual pursues an avatar through a sequence of alternate worlds. Lee was the son of Manfred Lee, one half of the writing team of Ellery Queen. He had been another whom Scithers had first published in Asimov’s, but ‘Knight of Shallows’ remains perhaps his most powerful and memorable story. A surprise contributor was Andrew M. Greeley. The noted Catholic priest was already established as a renowned writer, educator and sociologist 127  128  129  130 

Chris DeVito, letter, Amazing, 57:2 (July 1983), p. 22. Michael J. White, letter, Amazing, 57:2 (July 1983), p. 19. See comment to letter in Amazing, 58:3 (September 1984), p. 29. Quotations from George Scithers, email, 18 April 2009.

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and had produced a stream of non-fiction books about Catholicism before he turned to fiction with a novel based on the Grail legend, The Magic Cup (1975). He entered bestseller status with a non-fantasy, The Cardinal Sins (1981), but at that same time began to produce some short fiction for the magazines. He had already sold one short article to Asimov’s, ‘On Star Trek as Liturgy’ (August 1980), but his first piece of short fiction, ‘The Great Secret’, appeared in the September 1983 Amazing. Despite its setting the story was barely fantasy, but rather about one man’s quest for the great secret of the universe which he finds is deep within him all the time. Greeley had one other story in Amazing, ‘Gaby’ (January 1985), about an encounter with an angel, which was later reworked as the basis for his novel Angel Fire (1988). Despite its bi-monthly schedule, Amazing risked running one serial (really three linked extracts) from January to May 1984. This was the third Gateway novel by Frederik Pohl, published in book form as Heechee Rendezvous. In many ways the most interesting of the series, it at last brought humanity into direct contact with the mysterious Heechee, but it also lacked some of the mystery of the first two novels, Gateway (serialized in Galaxy in 1976–77) and Beyond the Blue Event Horizon (1980). It was inevitable that Scithers’s delight in fannish pursuits would infiltrate Amazing, just as it had Asimov’s. The letter column was always lively and became livelier with a series of letters from Carol Deppe describing her efforts at trying to sell her stories. The letters grew more fantastical and eventually, to many readers’ relief, she at last made the ranks with the first of three story sales to Amazing, ‘Everybody Draws Lines’ (January 1986), about how an alien entity tests the inhabitants of Earth. Deppe was a biologist and zoologist who went on to write a book for gardeners, Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties (1993). Another fan who achieved greater fame was J. Michael Straczynski, the creator of the TV series Babylon 5. He had already sold several scripts for the animated TV series He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, as well as a story to Charles L. Grant’s anthology series Shadows, but his first magazine sale was greeted with ‘unprofessional delight’, according to Scithers. ‘Your Move’ (November 1985) brings together the fascination for old magazines with fantasy gaming. A boy finds an advert in a magazine for a company that allows him to create a superhero and take part in his adventures by mail. The company creates the predicament and the boy has to get the hero out of it. Before long, however, the boy discovers that his own fate is tied up with that of his hero. It would be 14 years before Straczynski appeared again in Amazing, and then it would be with a series of stories based on Babylon 5. 

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George Scithers remained as editor of Amazing Stories for four years, almost to the day. His last issue was for July 1986, though he had handed over the reins to Patrick Price at the end of February. His farewell editorial commented that, although he felt he had turned Amazing into the best science-fiction magazine, he was disappointed that he had not been able to raise its circulation. In fact he must have had a feeling of déjà vu, because he wrote, ‘it is clear that the editor must be at Lake Geneva, WI, working closely with the rest of our parent company, TSR, Inc., to make Amazing first in circulation as well as in age and excellence among SF magazines’.131 It seems that, as at Asimov’s, he had to stand down because he chose not to move to the editorial offices. However, behind this statement is a more complicated story. When TSR acquired Amazing in 1982 it had been a highly profitable company but, for a period during 1983 and 1984, while Gygax was in Hollywood to develop the Dungeons & Dragons animated television series, TSR was poorly managed and accumulated a debt of $1.5 million. Gygax brought in Lorraine Williams, whom he had met while in Hollywood, to help manage the company.132 Unbeknown to Gygax, his partners, Kevin and Brian Blume, sold their controlling interest in the company to Williams with the result that she became the majority shareholder. Gygax subsequently sold his remaining stock to Williams and from October 1985 was no longer involved with TSR. Williams instigated a series of cost-cutting exercises throughout TSR. Patrick Lucien Price was already the assistant editor of The Dragon and managing editor of Amazing. He was perfectly capable of taking over as full editor of Amazing and this would save the cost of Scithers. Once again Scithers became the victim of new management and the consequent reorganization. But a further question hangs in the air. In 1985 Amazing Stories became a TV series under the executive production of Stephen Spielberg, yet the magazine seemed to receive no direct benefits from this. The story goes133 that in December 1983 Spielberg, or his representative, was at a party and fell into discussion with Susan Allison, then

131  George H. Scithers, ‘The Observatory’, Amazing, 61:2 (July 1986), p. 162. 132  Williams was the granddaughter of John F. Dille who, as president of the National Newspaper Syndicate, had arranged with writer Philip Francis Nowlan to script the Buck Rogers comic strip derived from his original stories in Amazing in 1928. See The Time Machines, pp. 62–63. 133  See George H. Scithers, ‘The Observatory’, Amazing, 58:5 (January 1985), p. 115, further amplified in George Scithers, email, 20 April 2009. See also New York Times, 31 July 1984, p. 21, and Locus, #284 (September 1984), p. 4.

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the science-fiction editor at Berkley Publishing. He enquired whether Amazing Stories was still being published and who owned the rights. Allison contacted TSR and put them in touch with Spielberg’s representatives in Hollywood. Scithers’s recollection is that it was not until much later that they discovered it was Spielberg who had expressed interest. Well into the negotiations I met the Universal Studios lawyer out in California. He told me he had been the studio’s negotiator for Robert Bloch’s Psycho, again not disclosing the principal—in that case Alfred Hitchcock—to the story author, just as the negotiator didn’t tell us (TSR) that Spielberg was behind this project until everything was signed.134

TSR had been very diligent when it took over the rights to Amazing Stories. Until then neither Amazing nor Fantastic had been trademarked, but the moment TSR acquired the magazine they applied for registration at the US Patent Office. As a consequence the symbol ™ appeared after the magazine’s title from the first TSR issue. Once the full registration process was completed the symbol ® appeared from the November 1984 issue. This gave TSR sole control over the title. The result of the negotiations, according to Scithers, was that TSR received over $100,000 for the licence to rent the title for a period of two years. Beyond that there was no connection between the magazine and the TV series, though Scithers did not rule out that Spielberg might use material previously published in the magazine. Scithers took great pains to emphasize that neither he nor TSR were acting as agents on behalf of Universal Studios.135 Nevertheless, Scithers hoped that indirectly the TV series would help raise the magazine’s profile and ‘positively affect the magazine’s newsstand sales’.136 However, according to Scithers, the money went directly into TSR’s accounts and was not reinvested in the magazine. This was at the time of TSR’s mounting debts and the money, small though it was by comparison, at least went some way towards ameliorating the problem. Since Amazing was almost certainly losing money at that point, it must have helped stay the axe and keep the magazine alive. TSR did attempt to promote the Amazing Stories ‘product’ in other ways. With the help of anthologist and packager, Martin H. Greenberg, they began a series of anthologies delving into the magazine’s archives. The first was Amazing Stories: 60 Years of the Best Science Fiction, co-edited with Isaac Asimov and published by TSR in August 1985. The subsequent volumes took a decade at a time. They also began a series of interactive books for 134  George Scithers, email, 20 April 2009. 135  George H. Scithers, ‘The Observatory’, Amazing, 58:6 (March 1985), p. 162. 136  News report, Science Fiction Chronicle, 5:12 (September 1984), p. 28.

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SCIENCE FICTION REBELS Table 2. Comparative circulation data for Amazing Stories and The Dragon, 1981/82–1989/90. Amazing Stories Year

Newsstand

Subscribers

The Dragon Newsstand

Subscribers

1981/82

10,600

900

55,475

15,736 25,769

1982/83

10,050

1,236

76,643

1983/84

9,069

1,861

80,103

34,231

1984/85

10,071

2,252

75,911

36,383

1985/86

10,767

2,416

64,022

29,654

1986/87

11,074

2,603

53,782

28,326

1987/88

11,992

2,903

71,404

24,464

1988/89

9,195

3,443

74,068

25,701

1989/90

11,819

3,883

72,325

26,630

juvenile readers, starting with The 4-D Funhouse by Clayton Emery and Earl Wajenberg, and produced a 1986 Amazing Science Fiction Stories Calendar, with 12 original pieces of art linked to a story-writing contest based on each of the illustrations with the winners to be published in future issues of Amazing. So, did the magazine benefit from any of these ideas, or the TV series? And did it also benefit from the connection to TSR’s gaming outlets and the sales of TSR’s leading magazine, The Dragon? Apparently not. Table 2 shows the average newsstand and subscription sales per year for Amazing Stories and The Dragon for the period from the takeover by TSR through the change in management in 1986 to the end of the decade. This shows that although newsstand sales increased during the decade by about 11%, this was small compared with the increase in sales of The Dragon which, even though dropping again by the end of the decade, still showed an increase of 30%. The basic figures are that only an additional 1,200 people were buying Amazing from the stands compared with an additional 16,850 buying The Dragon. The subscription data is equally potent. Although Amazing had seen a dramatic increase in percentage terms (331%) it amounted to fewer than 3,000 additional subscribers compared with over 10,000 at The Dragon. For every 1,000 new people buying Amazing, there were 6,600 new people buying The Dragon, even though the magazines were often displayed together and even though Amazing should have benefited from association with the TV series. There were several factors at play here. It is possible that readers were not attracted by Amazing’s digest format. Compared with the flat letter

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size of The Dragon, which was also full of colour, Amazing looked drab and unattractive. For sure there was some excellent cover artwork by Alex Schomburg, Jeff Easley, Hank Jankus and others and some of it, such as Larry Elmore’s illustration for ‘Hellflower’ on the March 1985 issue, looked like something straight out of The Dragon, but once the magazine was opened it was solid pages of text with minimal illustration. There was little overlap of artists between The Dragon and Amazing, despite the potential. It did nothing to command the reader’s attention. Two other factors may be more significant. In Gateways to Forever I explored how the science-fiction field had split and that an increasing number of younger readers were being drawn away from the traditional science-fiction magazines by both media magazines and role-playing games. In other words we were now talking about entirely different markets, not subdivisions of one market. It was no longer automatic that devotees of the D&D RPG would have any interest in an old-style fiction magazine and the same would apply to those attracted to science fiction on the TV and in movies. Some further explanation might be found in the results of a survey that Scithers conducted in December 1983. It was not a big survey, but they mailed out a questionnaire to 10% of the subscribers (which would be fewer than 200 people) and apparently half responded, so these are the results of only 100 subscribers. It showed that the average (mean) age was 40.3 and that 16% of subscribers had been with the magazine since the first issue!137 Scithers bound a copy of the survey form into the July 1984 issue in the hope of securing more detailed responses from newsstand buyers but unfortunately no results for this survey were published and enquiries suggest that the data are now lost. The Locus survey of its readers taken at that time bears comparison to Amazing’s responses. Based on a return of 993 ballots,138 the survey revealed that the average age of its readers was 33. Only 21% read Amazing regularly (compared with 48% that read F&SF and 37% Asimov’s) and only 17% were interested in RPG. The figures had scarcely changed by the end of decade, although the average age of Locus readers was by then 38 and only 11% were interested in RPG. This tends to support the problem Amazing had. It was not benefiting from the association with TSR, or from joint exposure with TSR’s gaming products. The one positive sign, that Amazing’s subscription base had trebled, may have had some link to the TV series, but it had nothing to do with TSR. Scithers told me, ‘The essential problem was that neither I, nor my

137  George H. Scithers, ‘The Observatory’, Amazing, 58:3 (September 1984), pp. 107–08. 138  See ‘1983 Locus Survey Results’, Locus, #271 (August 1983), pp. 20–21.

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successor, nor HIS successor, were able to persuade that TSR management, nor its successor, nor ITS successor, to do anything to promote subscription circulation.’139 In fact Scithers believed his constant demands contributed to his departure: ‘Williams wanted to reduce expenses and she wanted me to stop urging her to allot some resources to getting the subscription base up. What saved—well, extended the life of the magazine—was the $100,000+ that TSR got for licensing the name Amazing Stories to Stephen Spielberg.’140 The TV series ended in April 1987, by which time Scithers had been gone for over a year and moved on to yet another magazine. When Patrick Price took over as editor from February 1986 (with the September issue), Amazing’s apparent salvation was starting to feel more like a sentence on death row, with decreasing hope of reprieve. Price continued as editor under an increasing budget handicap. Amazing looked the poor sister to The Dragon, which had high production values, colour illustrations and a presentable professional image on the stalls. By contrast Amazing, with its limiting digest format, and lack of any colour interior, looked drab and unexciting. Price did his best to improve the presentation. He included new art features, and gave full double-page spreads to story illustrations. The magazine regularly featured the work of Stephen Fabian, Hank Jankus, Val Lakey Lindahn and Janet Aulisio, and their work certainly gave a lift to the magazine’s interior. Writer Phil Jennings commented that, among the leading sf magazines, ‘it would be hard to compete with Amazing Stories in the attractiveness category’.141 Price worked hard to offer something different at Amazing from the other magazines. He introduced many new or expanded features, including art portfolios, author profiles, poetry, essays and commentary. Gregory Benford provided an occasional column on the state of science fiction, usually developed from recent books. ‘Hard? Science? Fiction?’ (July 1987) was a particularly illuminating analysis of the nature of cyberpunk, and generated much reader feedback. The letter column continued as it had under Scithers, with lively comment and interesting responses by Price. He did not suffer fools gladly and took several readers to task for what he felt were inappropriate comments. Price knew he could not compete with Asimov’s or F&SF for new stories because, despite the improved wordage rates, the magazine still lagged behind in reputation and, of course, circulation. So Price sought to provide

139  George Scithers, email, 20 April 2009. 140  George Scithers, email, 18 April 2009. 141  Phil Jennings, letter, Amazing, 63:5 (January 1989), p. 159.

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a market for more unusual stories that did not have a ready home and as a result the magazine arguably had a wider range of fiction. Richard A. Lupoff, always renowned for his non-formulaic fiction, offered a view of a strange octopoid race in ‘Etchings of Her Memories’ (March 1987). Paul Di Filippo, who was re-emerging as a mercurial talent in just about every market, contributed ‘Kid Charlemagne’ (September 1987), a Ballardian tale looking at the playgrounds of the rich in an otherwise depressing near future. John Brunner’s ‘An Entry That Did Not Appear in Domesday Book’ (March 1988) is an Arthurian tale that slightly revises history. Geoffrey A. Landis revisited the Greek legend of Icarus in ‘The River of Air, the Ocean of Sky’ (July 1988). Price did not miss out on hard sf that might otherwise go to Analog. At the outset, in his first editorial, Price had hoped that he could publish less fantasy and make Amazing a market for the purer forms of technological sf. The September 1988 issue was a good example, featuring a striking cover by Bob Eggleton illustrating ‘Golden Fleece’ by Robert J. Sawyer, set on a colony ship run by a megalomaniac computer called Jason. This was Sawyer’s first professional sale outside of Canada and was also the basis of his first novel, Golden Fleece (1990). Also in that issue was another strong space story by Kevin J. Anderson and Doug Beason, an alternateworlds thriller by Lawrence Watt-Evans and a story of reproducing robots by Andrew Weiner. Price actively encouraged new writers. During his tenure he published, in addition to Sawyer, the first or relatively early stories by Tanya Huff, R. Garcia y Robertson and Kristine Kathryn Rusch. In Rusch’s case Price not only bought an early story, ‘Skin Deep’ (January 1988)—a highly charged account of the relationship between natives and colonists—but also ran an article by her on the Clarion SF Writers’ Workshop, ‘Clarion and Speculative Fiction’ (November 1987). An example of how Price would seek out work by talented writers is the case of Sheila Finch. She had previously sold the occasional story to Fantasy Book and to George Scithers at Asimov’s, and had followed Scithers to Amazing. By training, Finch was a linguist, and she was developing her thoughts about this in both an article and a story. Finch told me: I met the new editor, Patrick Lucien Price, at a Nebula Conference banquet back in the mid ’80s and he invited me to send him something. I sent ‘Hitchhiker’, which he bought. Then I sent him ‘Babel Interface’, which as it turned out, was the beginning of the Lingster series but I didn’t know it at the time. Little did I know that Patrick was very interested in linguistics! He called me to talk about the story and I happened to mention that I’d submitted a non-fiction piece about the problem of

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dealing with alien languages to Gardner Dozois at Asimov’s. Gardner had been sitting on the article ‘Berlitz in Outer Space’ for several months in spite of repeated queries. ‘Let me look at it,’ Patrick said, because of his interest. Next thing I knew, he called to offer to buy it, wanting to print it in the same issue with ‘Babel’ and they both appeared in the May 1988 issue.142

Finch added: ‘I highly respected Patrick as an editor; he was very hands-on and had many useful things to say about my writing, all of which encouraged me to continue and develop.’143 Price also looked for opportunities to mark an event. The November 1987 issue celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of Frederik Pohl’s first appearance in print (a poem in the October 1937 Amazing Stories) with a new story, ‘Too Much Loosestrife’, a memoir by Pohl and a reprint of the poem. The November 1988 issue marked the sixtieth anniversary of Jack Williamson’s career with a new story, ‘The Mental Man’, a poem by Williamson, and a tribute by Robert Silverberg. Ron Goulart celebrated the sixtieth anniversary of the first Buck Rogers story in his essay ‘Buck Rogers in the 25th Century’ (September 1988). During Price’s tenure Amazing’s circulation had risen slightly, but in 1989 it fell again. Sales had never been enough to cover production and its future seemed bleak. There were various reported plans on how to take the magazine forward. One was to turn it into a mixed-media magazine, aimed at a younger audience, and in the same letter-size format as The Dragon. Another was to turn it into a graphic-story magazine.144 Price had enough material for the November 1990 issue, which was published in August. He then stepped down as editor and left TSR to undertake freelance work. Still undecided, TSR asked Price to compile two more issues on a freelance basis. These were the issues for January and March 1991 for which Price took the gamble of running a serial, a strong hard-sf story, ‘Stranger Suns’ by George Zebrowski, which was one-third of the full novel published later that year. By now, though, Price had lost patience with TSR and its management. He told me, ‘[In] the first few days of 1991 I marched into Lorraine Williams’s office and asked if she had any desire whatsoever to promote the magazine. Of course, she did not, and I left the editorial field altogether to start my own desktop publishing and graphic-design business.’145

142  143  144  145 

Sheila Finch, email, 27 April 2010. Sheila Finch, email, 27 April 2010. See the news story in Locus, #349 (February 1990), p. 7. Patrick L. Price, email, 20 January 2013.

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Price handed the editorial reins over to Kim Mohan, who would take the magazine into the 1990s with a considerable face-lift. Price’s issues are a triumph of determination over resources. Under his tenure, two artists won Chesley awards for their illustrations in the magazine, two stories were nominated for Nebula Awards and one, ‘And Who is Joah?’ (November 1987) by Tanya Huff, won the Aurora Award presented to Canadian authors. He produced a very readable and enjoyable magazine that ran a wide variety of material, none of which suffered from having been published by a relatively minor market, but rather showed the full range of science fiction and fantasy. It was a solid achievement, with always the promise of more.  Among the major magazines it became apparent throughout the 1980s that the soul of science fiction was being rediscovered alongside its realignment to the new technologies that were advancing at a formidable rate. Much of this was due to Omni, which was spreading an awareness of scientific achievement and potential and where its fiction writers charted the impact of this growth on society through the medium of cyberpunk. This was taken up by Asimov’s under McCarthy and Dozois, who reinvigorated the magazine with stories of considerable depth and not a little daring, publishing material that was exciting and challenging, reminding writers that once again there was a market for whatever they felt science fiction could achieve. Meanwhile Analog kept the sense of wonder alive, concentrating on fiction that expanded the mind and building its own interpretation of the impact of new technology, rapidly moving beyond cyberpunk to the bigger consequences of nanotechnology and the singularity. F&SF, with some of its star writers plundered by Omni and Asimov’s, developed its idiosyncrasies to publish the more way-out fiction that defied genre limitations. What F&SF never lost was its status. Asimov’s might have been at the cutting edge, Omni might have been the highest-paying market, Analog might have kept the standard for traditional sf, but F&SF still represented quality, maturity and reliability. Amazing Stories struggled to survive despite a determined effort by each of its editors to reshape the magazine and give it strength and purpose. It is perhaps the ultimate irony that it was in Amazing that the name was born to give to the cyberpunk movement, and yet the magazine itself never benefited from it nor from other opportunities that came its way. These five primary magazines, though, were not the only ones helping to reshape and redefine the genre during the 1980s. There were other revolutions happening alongside cyberpunk and the technological challenge of the 1980s, and first we need a short interlude to consider the relevance of horror fiction in the new decade.

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3 The First Interlude: The Dark Corners

The late 1970s and early 1980s had seen a huge upsurge in interest in horror fiction, thanks primarily to the success of Stephen King and those who soon followed, notably Dean R. Koontz, James Herbert, Robert R. McCammon, Peter Straub and Clive Barker. Quite often the basis of their horror fiction was some aspect of scientific extrapolation or alternative science (as in psi powers, the basis of King’s first successful novel Carrie), and even traditional stories of werewolves and vampires might receive a scientific rationale. So while these works were marketed as horror fiction, they were often science fiction. Science fiction that was written to evoke horror came to be called, by some, ‘dark sf’ or ‘dark fantasy’. Stories of mutants, postapocalyptic horrors and alien abduction, just to cite three examples, would all be science fiction, but in the 1980s their marketing label shifted to horror fiction because it sold more books. The same happened with magazines, and a number that are generally grouped with horror fiction in fact ran quite a high proportion of science fiction.

Twilight Zone The Twilight Zone had been one of the most popular and best-remembered TV series of the late 1950s/early 1960s dealing with science fiction and the unexplained, with Rod Serling’s presentation becoming iconic. Long after the series had finished, its imagery lived on, particularly in the concept of ‘the twilight zone’ being something close to but just beyond our awareness, where the unexpected or inexplicable can happen. In the early 1970s, with Serling’s agreement, literary agent Kirby McCauley had put together a proposal for a magazine that would be a market for stories in the Weird Tales tradition which he had endeavoured to sell to various

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publishers. After Serling died in 1975, McCauley persevered, with a new agreement with Serling’s widow, Carol. In 1980, McCauley secured a deal with Montcalm Publishing, the publisher of the men’s magazine Gallery, to which McCauley had already agented several stories. The magazine became Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone Magazine (hereinafter Twilight Zone). Eric Protter, the editorial director of Gallery, had a liking for strange tales and had compiled a couple of anthologies in that vein, most recently A Harvest of Horrors (1980). Gallery had appeared monthly since November 1972 and had occasionally run stories by Robert Bloch, Ray Bradbury, William F. Nolan and, in particular, Stephen King. It had also run a feature by Isaac Asimov, ‘The Asimov Theory of Life on Other Worlds’ (October 1978). That same issue saw the start of a regular adult-orientated sf comic strip, ‘Tetra’, written and drawn by Malcolm McNeill. Initially Twilight Zone, which was published in the letter-size format with some interior slick pages for photographs, was presented more as a magazine of weird and strange stories than science fiction. Carol Serling’s introduction to the first issue, dated April 1981, seemed to confirm this when she said that ‘the ordinary laws of the universe do not apply here’.1 A few issues later, though, she broadened the scope saying, ‘Here, then, we present stories of the future world as writers of today envision it—a What If, What Might Be, or What Could Be—and ask you to think about it.’2 Clearly she was now seeing the magazine as a forum for science fiction. In practice, although listed as associate publisher, she had little influence over the magazine’s content. She lived in California and Twilight Zone was published and edited in New York, and she visited the offices only every few months. The editor was T. E. D. (Ted) Klein, while the overall policy was set by the publisher, Nils Shapiro, and editorial director, Eric Protter. They gave Klein free rein as to what he bought for the magazine, which completely reflected his own tastes. Nevertheless Carol Serling’s comments did suggest that Twilight Zone was open for science fiction, as would later develop, but the majority of its early content was either straight supernatural or that borderline of the unexplained, the true ‘twilight zone’ of our imagination. From the start the magazine ran material by authors closely associated with the sf field. The first issue carried fiction by Harlan Ellison, George R. R. Martin, Ron Goulart and Robert Sheckley, with Theodore Sturgeon as book reviewer. Also present were Ramsey Campbell and Joyce Carol Oates, while Charles L. Grant interviewed Stephen King. It was a first-class line-up which would be the envy of any magazine. It sustained this in subsequent

1  Carol Serling, ‘A Personal Message’, Twilight Zone, 1:1 (April 1981), p. 3. 2  Carol Serling, ‘A Note from the Publisher’, Twilight Zone, 1:9 (December 1981), p. 5.

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issues. Robert Silverberg, Roger Zelazny, Joe Haldeman, Lewis Shiner, Tanith Lee and Spider Robinson contributed to the second issue, while the third (June 1981) ran a story by Stephen King. Moreover, that story, ‘The Jaunt’, was pure science fiction, set 300 years in the future and exploring the perils of matter transmission. Commenting on the story’s origins, King remarked that he had wanted to write a story about teleportation ever since as a child he had read William F. Temple’s ‘The Four-Sided Triangle’, revealing that here was a story with an honourable sf pedigree. Most early issues contained at least one story that was definable as science fiction. John Sladek contributed one of his humorous stories featuring a young robot, ‘Roderick Goes to School’ (September 1981). ‘Out of Place’ (October 1981) by Pamela Sargent featured a super-intelligent cat. The same issue ran ‘Paintjob’ by Jay Rothbell (Robert Sheckley’s wife), about a four-dimensional mural. Stanley Schmidt’s ‘Tweedlioop’ (November 1981) described a squirrel-like alien stranded on Earth; Connie Willis’s ‘Lost and Found’ (January 1982) had a post-apocalyptic setting; Larry Tritten’s ‘Three Bananas’ (March 1982) was a humorous future detective story. These stories were, though, dressed up as weird tales, camouflaged amid the overall tapestry of the strange. Right from the opening story of the first issue Harlan Ellison had set a high standard with ‘Grail’ (April 1981), a powerful evocation of the quest for True Love. Roger Zelazny’s ‘And I Only Am Escaped to Tell Thee’ (May 1981), in the second issue, is a memorable account of the fate of the ship the Mary Celeste. Robert Silverberg’s ‘How They Pass the Time in PelPel’, also in the second issue, is a disturbing tale of local practices, enough to deter any tourist. These were all stories that would have worked in a modern-day Weird Tales, and were the kind that hitherto only F&SF had been publishing or, in the small-press world, Whispers. Klein was himself best known as a writer of Lovecraftian fiction, notably ‘The Events of Poroth Farm’ (in From Beyond the Dark Gateway #2, 1972) and ‘Children of the Kingdom’ in Kirby McCauley’s blockbuster anthology Dark Forces (1980). But he was also a devotee of classic horror fiction, and Twilight Zone also catered for fans of Algernon Blackwood, M. R. James, Arthur Machen and H. P. Lovecraft, and there were features about these writers and occasional reprints of their work. This was balanced against memories of the Twilight Zone television series. Each issue featured an episode guide and the printing of a teleplay, usually by Serling, but sometimes by other contributors to the series such as George Clayton Johnson, Charles Beaumont and Richard Matheson. They were closely associated with what was regarded as the Ray Bradbury/Robert Bloch school of writing, which included William F. Nolan and Matheson’s son, Richard Christian Matheson.

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The younger Matheson became a regular contributor, seen as one of a new generation who were developing their own style of horror fiction. Matheson’s tended to be dark, psychological horror, but alongside him were others who developed a strain of more physical, visceral horror, soon to be dubbed ‘splatterpunk’ as horror’s equivalent of ‘cyberpunk’. These included John Skipp, whose first sale was ‘The Long Ride’ (September 1982), a grisly ghost story about a murdered cab driver who continues to collect his fares. Chet Williamson made his first sale to the magazine with ‘Offices’ (October 1981), about a haunted office block. David J. Schow had made his first sale to Galileo in 1978, but with ‘Pulpmeister’ (December 1982), a surreal story of a comic-book writer menaced by his own characters, he became a regular contributor to Twilight Zone. So did Joe R. Lansdale, who had started by selling a series of grim stories to Mike Shayne’s Mystery Magazine but soon switched to Twilight Zone. These five writers in particular—Skipp, Schow, Williamson, Lansdale and the younger Matheson—gave the magazine a hard streetwise edge, similar to how cyberpunk was reinvigorating sf in Omni. This was alongside more senior writers for whom Twilight Zone became an acceptable genre market. In addition to Stephen King and Joyce Carol Oates were Peter Straub, whose first short story, ‘The General’s Wife’, appeared in the May 1982 issue; Robertson Davies, who had established a major literary reputation in his native Canada, with ‘Offer of Immortality’ (July 1982); Jonathan Carroll, whose work you might expect to see in F&SF but who had hitherto contributed only to literary magazines, with ‘The Jane Fonda Room’ (September 1982); and François Camoin, who had previously sold to Omni, but who otherwise limited his sales to literary reviews, with ‘Centaur’ (November/December 1983). Isidore Haiblum contributed several essays plus a feature on Isaac Bashevis Singer (January/February 1984). Klein had an eye for talent and a number of writers, who would become better known subsequently for their science fiction, first appeared in Twilight Zone. These include Melissa Mia Hall (‘Wishing Will Make It So’, November 1981), Jack McDevitt (‘The Emerson Effect’, December 1981) and Lois McMaster Bujold (‘Barter’, April 1985). In addition, the magazine started an annual story contest for new writers with a $1,000 first prize. The judges for the first year were Robert Bloch, Harlan Ellison, Richard Matheson and Peter Straub, and the winner of the first contest, the results of which appeared in the April 1982 issue, was Dan

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Simmons.3 His story, ‘The River Styx Runs Upstream’, had been written at a writers’ workshop at Colorado Mountain College in the summer of 1981. His tutor, Harlan Ellison, subsequently urged him to submit it in the contest. The story is technically science fiction as it considers the future possibility that the dead can be revived, but they exist as zombies with the spirit and personality gone. One of the criteria for the contest was that the authors had not previously been published. Simmons had, in fact, already made three prior sales, but none had yet appeared in print. His first sale had been to Galileo in 1979 but the magazine ceased before it could appear. He then sold a novella to Galaxy but that also folded. He had also sold ‘Eyes I Dare Not Meet in Dreams’ to Omni. Ellen Datlow had requested some revisions and by the time she bought the final version she learned he had entered the Twilight Zone contest, so held on to the story until after his winning entry had been published and then ran it in the September 1982 Omni. He thus had an auspicious start with stories just a few months apart in Twilight Zone and Omni, and he soon sold to Asimov’s as well. Several stories in Twilight Zone won awards, though in two cases these were somewhat irregular. George Clayton Johnson’s ‘All Of Us Are Dying’ (May 1982) won the Balrog Award as that year’s best short fiction, but it had originally appeared in the October 1961 issue of Rogue. Harlan Ellison’s ‘Paladin of the Lost Hour’ (December 1985) won both the Hugo and Locus awards but its appearance in Twilight Zone came after its publication five months earlier in Terry Carr’s Universe 15. Ellison’s ‘Djinn, No Chaser’ (April 1982), which won the Locus Award for best novelette, was, though, a genuine Twilight Zone original. Twilight Zone’s newsstand sales were good, suggesting that the letter-size format and a link to the iconic TV series helped. In fact Twilight Zone sold better at the newsstands than any of the other sf magazines, averaging around 46,000 copies compared with Analog’s 34,000, Asimov’s 19,000 and F&SF’s 17,000. Throughout its life, Twilight Zone’s newsstand sales always exceeded those of the other major sf magazines, demonstrating the significance of its format and distribution. But its subscription level was low, so that its overall sales were less than Analog’s or Asimov’s. At the start of 1982 Montcalm had changed its distributor to Select Magazines, which also handled McCall’s and Reader’s Digest,4 and a year later it embarked on a massive nationwide subscription drive through Publishers Clearing House. The plan was to gain 80,000 new 3  There was actually a tie for first place in the original contest. The other winner was W. G. Norris who had no further stories published. His winning entry, ‘I’ll Be Seeing You’, was science fiction with a time-travel theme. 4  See the news story in Locus, #250 (November 1981), p. 14.

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subscribers, but the catch was that in that first year all income, usually cut-price,5 went to the subscription agency. It’s only in the second year, provided subscriptions were renewed, that Montcalm saw any profit. Klein commented that they were hoping that at least 25% of the new subscribers renewed.6 In the event, based on the magazine’s yearly average sales (see Appendix 5), subscriptions rose from around 25,000 in 1982/83 to over 94,000 in 1983/84, an increase of 69,000, and just over 48,000 of those renewed in 1984/85, a conversion rate of almost 70%. Klein also remarked during the subscription drive that, ‘in order to minimize costs and maintain the quality of the magazine we’ve had to revamp our 1983 schedule’.7 The magazine went bi-monthly from the start of 1983 and remained so thereafter. Eric Protter, who became the publisher from that January/February 1983 issue, further remarked that ‘since it is a reading book primarily, the feeling has been that we’ll do much better as a bi-monthly than as a monthly’.8 The gamble paid off and Twilight Zone started to become profitable by the start of 1984 and continued to prosper for the next few years.9 It may also have benefited from the film Twilight Zone: The Movie released in June 1983. Klein stepped down as editor in April 1985 so he could concentrate on his writing, his last complete issue being that for July/August 1985. Montcalm advertised for a new editor and the successful candidate was Michael Blaine. He came from a literary background having sold stories to Redbook and The Village Voice before becoming Professor of Journalism at LaGuardia College. He had sold two fantasies to Klein, ‘Kush’ (November/ December 1984) and ‘The Screening’ (May/June 1985), but was otherwise unknown in the sf/fantasy world. Blaine had convinced the new publisher at Montcalm, Milton J. Cuevas, who had taken over the previous year, that Twilight Zone needed a more eclectic image. He did not want it to be seen as a genre magazine but wanted to broaden its market to reflect a wider understanding of fantasy. He had a particular passion for the magic realists and ran stories by Dino Buzzati and Julio Cortázar. He secured reprint rights to a little-known story by Stephen King and built a special King issue (February 5  The standard 12-issue subscription was $22, but the flyers sent out by the agency had renewals at $18 with even more reductions for a 24-month subscription. 6  See the news story ‘Twilight Zone Cuts Frequency’, Science Fiction Chronicle, 4:3 (December 1982), pp. 1, 4. 7  T. E. D. Klein, ‘An Important Announcement …’, Twilight Zone, 2:11 (February 1983), p. 7. 8  ‘Twilight Zone Cuts Frequency’. 9  In a personal letter to Ashley, 20 December 1983, Robert Sabat said: ‘The reports of TZ’s growing health are accurate and although we’re not out of the woods yet, we should be around for some time to come.’

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1986) around that. He secured serial rights to extracts from Anne Rice’s The Vampire Lestat which were run in two issues (October and December 1985). Although he planned to keep the amount of fiction the same as in Klein’s issues it began to feel less, because the issues became loaded with a large number of essays, reviews and columns. He wanted to emulate some of the parapsychology items in Omni and brought in Peter Rondinone, who had written for Omni, to run the ‘Illuminations’ column on alternative sciences. The magazine also had a face-lift using more photography and collages, seeking to give Twilight Zone a postmodern rather than antiquarian feel. Blaine remarked: One of the things I’m going to try to do to make it live is diversify a little bit, make it something that people can pick up and flip through the way people flip through magazines. So you’ll have these little shorts and you’ll have much slicker layouts. People will be able to read items about frogs that live forever and funny little things, and at the same time we’ll maintain the solid fiction base.10

Blaine cited the type of story that he found particularly apt, ‘He and My Shadow’ (October 1985) by T. M. Swain, a writer who had only one other story published in the magazine and nowhere else, and about whom Blaine could find nothing. The story is equally enigmatic, dealing with a man who visits a friend who barely survived a car crash and is kept alive on a lifesupport machine. As the story unravels the point of view shifts so that it becomes uncertain who is the victim and who the visitor. Blaine felt: ‘I think it’s quite a brilliant story.’11 Another of the stories that Blaine acquired was David Schow’s World Fantasy Award-winning ‘Red Light’ (December 1986), a deeply disturbing psychological drama about a model who believes her photographs are deconstructing her life. It is a good example of the shift in the magazine’s content under Blaine from the traditional to the modern, and the potency of material that he preferred, bringing the individual’s perception of the world centre stage rather than a physical ghost or alien horror. There is no doubt that the changes Blaine initiated shifted the magazine into another gear. It felt confident, more aware and cutting edge. The magazine included more movie coverage, with full-colour inserts, and direct feedback from writers, but it was at the sacrifice of the magazine’s roots. Klein had created a magazine that allowed readers to experience the heart of supernatural fiction. Under Blaine this shifted to literary, existential and experimental fiction which worked fine for each individual story but en 10  Michael Blaine, interview by Darrell Schweitzer, Fantasy Review, #81 (July 1985), p. 33. 11  Michael Blaine, interview by Darrell Schweitzer, Fantasy Review, #81 (July 1985), p. 12.

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masse lost their impact. Most stories were short and sharp like splinters, but not long enough for the reader to enter the experience. As a result the magazine became an uneven and unsettling series of thrills rather like being peppered by glass. The greater emphasis on movies probably split the readership because, as we have already seen, the market for the media magazines was distinct from those of the fiction magazines and barely overlapped. So although Blaine and the publishers hoped the magazine would benefit from the new TV series of The Twilight Zone, which began its run in September 1985, the circulation dropped. There may have been another unwitting factor. In October 1982 Montcalm had issued an ‘Annual Collector’s Edition’, Great Stories from Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone Magazine, labelled the ‘1983 Annual’. It was in the same letter-size format as the parent magazine, though perfect bound, and consisted entirely of reprints from the first 18 months. This sold well and a second annual was planned to form part of a series of Twilight Zone ‘specials’, starting with Night Cry released in September 1984. Again this ran all reprints from the original magazine, but Montcalm decided to try it in a digest-size format, primarily because it was an all-fiction magazine with no movie or TV features. The success of Night Cry rather took Montcalm by surprise. It had been planned as a one-off, with a second ‘special’, A Walk on the Light Side, concentrating on humorous fantasy, intended for release in early 1985. In the end this was dropped and a second Night Cry released in February 1985, dated Summer. This also ran mostly reprints but with four new stories, including A. R. Morlan’s fiction debut.12 Sales topped 30,000, outselling the parent magazine on the newsstand, so Night Cry was given the green light as a regular quarterly and editorship was given to Alan Rodgers. The contents shifted to predominantly new material with only the occasional reprint, and the stories were almost all supernatural horror or psychological terror. There was the occasional sf story, although S. P. Somtow’s ‘ResurrecTech™’ (Spring 1987), about new computer technology that revives the dead as zombies, was decidedly tongue-in-cheek. There was even a piece of cyberpunk, ‘Dancers’ (Summer 1987) by Lewis Shiner, about robotic performers and artists. ‘Ask Not’ (Fall 1987) by Rudy Matic is a time-travel tale reconsidering the assassination of President Kennedy. The magazine attracted contributions by many leading writers including Robert Bloch, Ramsey Campbell, Orson Scott Card, Avram Davidson, Thomas M. Disch, Dean R. Koontz, William F. Nolan, Ray Russell, Robert Sheckley, J. N.

12  Morlan had earlier sold a quiz to Klein which appeared in the November/December 1983 issue.

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Williamson and F. Paul Wilson, as well as by the new brigade of writers including Marc Laidlaw, David J. Schow and Richard Christian Matheson. It brought ringing endorsements. Robert R. McCammon called it ‘an exciting forum for the works of new talents as well as more established writers in the field of horror. Night Cry is a winner, a showcase of horror’s future.’13 Night Cry sold by newsstand only, with no subscriptions, so its level of sales was remarkable and against the grain. At a time when many were saying that the day of the digest magazine was over, Night Cry was selling almost three times as many issues over the counter than any of the other genre magazines. It’s not difficult to understand why. It was the only professionally published and distributed magazine of horror fiction and presented itself as such. Twilight Zone on the other hand presented itself more as a movie magazine and, although there is no direct evidence, it is possible that Twilight Zone was losing some of its readership to Night Cry. At the same time that Night Cry was selling about 30,000 copies, Twilight Zone was selling around 26,000 at newsstands and subscriptions dropped from nearly 74,000 to just over 68,000 and continued to fall. In the eyes of the powers that be at Montcalm it was evident that the horror fiction of Night Cry had a strong readership whereas the literary fantasies that Blaine preferred for Twilight Zone did not. I’m not totally convinced that was true, because not only was Blaine using some of the same authors, his associate editor was Alan Rodgers, who edited Night Cry and shared thoughts on manuscripts. It is more likely that Twilight Zone had split its readership because of the greater emphasis on films. Since Twilight Zone was far more costly to produce than Night Cry there needed to be some financial restraint. The publisher Milton Cuevas was fired in March 1986 followed by Michael Blaine at the start of May after only a year in post. His last issue was dated October 1986, which happened to be the first issue filled solely with material purchased by Blaine and not any residue of Klein’s inventory. Ironically, though, Blaine had already left his desk by that time and the issue was assembled by managing editor Robin Bromley with the help of Alan Rodgers. Blaine believed he had achieved what he set out to do: ‘to make the magazine more adult, more commercial, and with a broader spectrum’.14 He had certainly given the magazine a broader spectrum, and by ‘more adult’ he meant that he had tried to change the popular image of horror fiction as being written primarily for young adults. But whether he had made it more commercial was an entirely different matter since the bottom line seemed

13  Robert R. McCammon on the back cover of the Spring 1987 Night Cry. 14  Michael Blaine in the news item, ‘TZ Fires Blaine’, Locus, #305 (June 1986), p. 4.

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to be that his literary fantasies did not sell. Blaine also said, ‘Editing Twilight Zone was a tremendous experience, particularly the excitement of discovering new writers and presenting “literary” fabulists to a mass audience. Judging from the letters I received, many readers enjoyed the experiment.’15 The last word, ‘experiment’, may be symptomatic of his downfall. ‘Commercial’ and ‘experimental’ rarely go hand in hand. What Blaine sought to do was fine for a literary magazine or review and we will encounter the same approach by others in later, much applauded smallpress magazines. What Twilight Zone needed was someone a little less eclectic. The chairman of Montcalm, S. Edward Orenstein, who now also acted as publisher, chose as Blaine’s successor, Tappan King. Rather than promote Alan Rodgers who had been doing such a good job with Night Cry, Orenstein wanted someone who had commercial experience in the actual marketing of books and magazines. King had recently been the marketing consultant for Bantam Books and had created their Spectra science-fiction imprint. King was instantly aware of Twilight Zone’s image problem: There was a period of time when people considered that the best way to reach a larger audience with the magazine and support the fiction would be to, essentially, turn it into a media magazine like Starlog or Fangoria or Cinefantastique. Generally speaking it was a hybrid and it didn’t work.16

King also recognized that Night Cry was performing an excellent role in presenting horror fiction, and he saw no point in duplicating that. Instead he wanted to return to the roots of The Twilight Zone, presenting fiction that unsettled or disquieted or somehow disorientated the reader into a greater awareness of the impact of the unknown. But this had to be rooted in the familiar. Twilight Zone would take the reader from the known world into the Beyond. The changes under King were immediately self-evident. There was a return to cover artwork rather than movie stills. The big-name authors were emphasized on the cover over and above the media-related items. Most of all, issues were given either a theme or related to the time of year. King’s first issue, December 1986, which went on sale in October, had a Halloween theme. The next (February 1987) had winter- and Christmas-related stories and essays. The April issue had a feature on voodoo, that for June featured witchcraft while the August issue covered American Indian magic. 15  Michael Blaine quoted in ‘In the Twilight Zone’ editorial, Twilight Zone, 6:4 (October 1986), p. 7. 16  Tappan King, interview by Darrell Schweitzer, Fantasy Review, #96 (November 1986), p. 16.

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Although in most of these issues King used some highly literary fantasies, he was able to associate them with a theme to which readers could relate and thus anchored the work in their consciousness. Of particular interest to this study is the October 1987 issue, which was a ‘science fact and fiction special’. Introducing it, King commented, ‘We’ve done it as a sort of stretching exercise, to open up the magazine to a broader range of fiction, more like the range of the original Twilight Zone television program.’17 King drew upon data by Marc Scott Zicree in his article in the issue, ‘Science Fiction in the Twilight Zone’, that at least a third of the episodes in the original TV series were science fiction. King therefore planned to include more sf in future issues but sf ‘of a very special sort, the kind that deals with those internal landscapes’,18 and he cited the work of J. G. Ballard as an example. But he also considered the impact of nanotechnology, the potential of which was influencing a lot of science fiction. Frederik Pohl took a look at the future of genetic engineering and biotechnology in ‘Biofutures: The Next Turn of the Corkscrew’. Several stories dealt with the first contact with alien cultures including ‘Mad City Beneath the Sands’ by Richard Paul Russo, where a survey crew discover an ancient evil buried on an alien world, ‘The Cuttlefish’ by A. R. Morlan, dedicated to the memory of Theodore Sturgeon, and an extract from Greg Bear’s new novel, The Forge of God. King managed to secure an interview with Ballard conducted by James Verniere for the June 1988 issue, which also boasted a strong alien-city cover and a portfolio by Kelly Freas. Frederik Pohl contributed a story of the search for alien intelligence, ‘At the Summit’, in the February 1989 issue, which also contained a powerful story by Richard Paul Russo, ‘Telescope, Saxophone and the Pilot’s Death’, about how space pilots of the future cope when they can no longer work. In ‘Just Another Perfect Day’ (June 1989), John Varley suggested that aliens have occasionally visited us and each time they’ve reworked history so that we don’t remember them. King had instigated a letter column which showed that readers enjoyed science fiction and fantasy as much as, perhaps even more, than horror fiction. King had been right in his assessments at the start and had now reconfigured Twilight Zone to reflect readers’ wishes. The magazine undertook a second reader survey (one had been conducted in 1985 but only limited data was published). This showed that over half the readers were women, with a higher proportion of single women, most of whom

17  Tappan King, ‘In the Twilight Zone’, Twilight Zone, 7:4 (October 1987), p. 6. 18  King, ‘In the Twilight Zone’, p. 6.

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were subscribers. Their favourite magazine after Twilight Zone was Omni, which had a significantly higher rating than F&SF or Asimov’s. Under Ellen Datlow, Omni had also been publishing fiction with a high percentage of horror and transcendental science which showed that, while you might imagine the two magazines were poles apart, they were closely allied. There were several stories that appeared in Twilight Zone that would probably have also been at home in Omni. One such example, perhaps the most extreme, was ‘Halley’s Passing’ by Michael McDowell in the June 1987 issue. The story catalogues a succession of violent and gruesome murders by an individual who takes on the identity of each victim. Only gradually do you realize that the murderer is perhaps immortal or at least has lived longer than he can remember, primarily due to this bloodlust. From the February 1988 issue each number featured at least one story by a new author, a ‘TZ First’, much like the old ‘If First’ that Frederik Pohl operated. As so often in these cases not all of the debut authors went on to further fame, but a significant handful did. Elizabeth Hand’s first sale, ‘Prince of Flowers’, a haunting story of Malaysian magic, appeared in the February 1988 issue. In the same issue was a story by J. Noyes Scher who became better known as the animator and film-maker, Jeff Scher. Nancy Baker, later to make her reputation as an author of vampire novels, debuted in the June 1988 issue with the atmospheric ‘The Party Over There’. Maureen F. McHugh, hiding behind the alias Michael Galloglach, pitched a witch against demons in ‘All in a Day’s Work’ (August 1988). Nancy Baker’s recollection of that first sale provides an interesting insight to how King worked with new writers: She had entered their annual story contest and though the story was returned it was accompanied by an encouraging letter. Baker relates: The next year I wrote a story called ‘The Party Over There’, which I entered and heard nothing. Finally the magazine showed up and I opened it and found that I got an honourable mention. Whoa, this is pretty cool. Next I got a letter from the editor, Tappan King, saying here’s the things we liked and didn’t like. He suggested I might want to change the title and the ending. I don’t think so. I’m sorry, but the title and the ending is what this story is about. So, I did nothing. And then, two months later I got a call from Tappan King who asked why I hadn’t sent my story back. I didn’t want to change it and he said maybe you don’t have to change it, maybe it just needs to be a little deeper. He added that I could also just send it back and tell him he was full of shit. I thought about that for a while, so I changed a couple of things, but I didn’t change the title or the

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ending—and I sent it back and they ended up buying it for the ‘TZ Firsts’ program. I didn’t tell Tappan he was full of shit, though.19

Yet despite King’s hard work, circulation continued to fall. By the summer of 1988 it was clear that subscribers were not renewing. Whereas the average subscription level for the preceding year had been 44,423, the level for the latest issue (probably August 1988) was only 30,975, giving a total circulation, with newsstand sales, of 57,441. This would have been sufficient for a digest magazine with lower production costs but not for Twilight Zone. Night Cry had ceased publication after its Fall 1987 issue when newsstand sales fell to around 12,000. Twilight Zone was just about sustaining its newsstand sales, but the all-important subscriptions were plummeting. The axe fell on 25 January 1989,20 just after completion of the June 1989 issue which went on sale in March. Producing a slick magazine which attracted minimal advertising meant that circulation needed to be significantly higher, so although sales had been on a par with the other genre magazines, they were not enough. When sales had been over 100,000 it just about broke even, but once it fell below 60,000 it was clearly unprofitable. It may be that any lingering film devotees had deserted the magazine when King switched the emphasis back to fiction, and this may have been enough to tip the balance. Tappan King may well have regretted his words in his editorial in the penultimate issue when, responding to the fact that some people had wondered how the magazine had managed to survive for eight years, he had said, ‘We’re just a little bit crazy.’21 ‘Crazy’ was no longer good enough. The treasurer and vice president, Chris Grossman, reported that Twilight Zone was suspending publication, pending either a sale of the title or a refinancing. The same comment had been made when Night Cry was suspended, but that had not been sold, and neither was Twilight Zone. Despite the quality of its material it was yet another reminder that slick media magazines and fiction do not mix. It was a lesson that had to be learned time and again.

19  Nancy Baker, interview, in Edo van Belkom, Northern Dreamers: Interviews with Famous Canadian Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Writers (Kingston, Ontario: Quarry Press, 1998), pp. 12–13, revised slightly by Baker by email, 23 December 2012. 20  See the news story ‘Twilight Zone to cease publication’, Science Fiction Chronicle, 10:6 (March 1989), p. 4. 21  Tappan King, ‘Editor’s Notes’, Twilight Zone, 9:1 (April 1989), p. 8.

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Horror Struck Alongside Twilight Zone and Night Cry, a significant number of smallpress magazines emerged devoted to the horror-fiction field. While they are predominantly beyond the parameters of this book, it is important to mention them not only because most ran the occasional sf horror story but because there was a relationship between them and the sf magazines which continues to this day, significantly in online magazines. There had already been the small-press magazines Weirdbook and Whispers. Weirdbook had been started in 1968 by W. Paul Ganley as an offset-printed amateur magazine chiefly as a tribute to Weird Tales. It appeared just once or twice a year and continued throughout the 1980s until 1997. Whispers, founded by Stuart Schiff in 1973, had a semi-professional status from the start and attempted to continue what August Derleth had achieved with The Arkham Collector. The demands of Schiff’s work meant that the magazine appeared irregularly, which he made up for by compiling double issues. When it finally ceased in 198722 the issue number was 23/24 but there had been only 16 physical issues. Whispers was always a quality product and was, like Weirdbook, in the Weird Tales tradition. Twilight Zone helped cater for a new generation of writers and their work became evident in the next generation of magazines. Paramount among these was The Horror Show produced by David B. Silva. Joe R. Lansdale called it ‘the Whispers and Weirdbook of the eighties’.23 It had started as a hobby, with the first issue in November 1982, and almost stopped after its second issue, dated Winter 1983, but a notice in Writer’s Digest brought in a wealth of manuscripts and Silva suddenly realized the magazine had more potential. It never reached a fully professional status but sales increased dramatically. It became a paying market and achieved newsstand distribution, switching to high-quality printing and colour covers with its special Dean R. Koontz issue in Summer 1986. In addition to Koontz, it gained the support of Dennis Etchison, William F. Nolan and Robert R. McCammon. Silva managed to keep it on a quarterly schedule, with just the occasional hiccup, from Summer 1983 to Summer 1989, ending on a double issue in Spring 1990. It shared many of the same authors with Night Cry and gave first publication honours to Poppy Z. Brite, Brian Hodge, Bentley Little and Elizabeth Massie, running a ‘Rising Stars’ special issue (Fall 1987) to showcase their talents. The Horror Show received the Balrog Award in 1985

22  There was one later issue released in combination with Weirdbook in 1997. 23  Joe R. Lansdale, interview by William J. Grabowski, The Horror Show, 5:1 (January 1987), p. 18.

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as the best ‘amateur achievement’ and a special World Fantasy Award in 1988 in the non-professional category. Silva eventually stopped because of his rising career as an author. When writers look back on the re-emergence of short horror fiction in the 1980s, it is usually with a nod of respect to both Night Cry and The Horror Show. Many more horror-fiction small-press magazines appeared in the 1980s, far too many to list here and few of much relevance to the science-fiction scene.24 Two are worth noting in passing as successors to The Horror Show. These were Deathrealm (Spring 1987–Summer 1997) from Mark Rainey, which began as a small octavo booklet for its first 14 quarterly issues but then blossomed into a letter-size magazine from Fall 1991, looking just like The Horror Show and running many of the same authors. Equally, if not more important, and in some ways as much a successor to Twilight Zone as The Horror Show, bringing the two sides of horror together, was Cemetery Dance from Richard Chizmar, which began in December 1988. Also in this vein was Pulphouse: The Hardback Magazine, published by Dean Wesley Smith and edited by Kristine Kathryn Rusch, but this formed part of a parallel rebellion to which I shall return later. There are four other titles of closer relevance to the sf/fantasy worlds with lessons to consider regarding publishing and marketing. Fantasy Book, which began in October 1981, was the first new all-fantasy magazine to feature predominantly new fiction since Worlds of Fantasy ten years before. There was the British Fantasy Tales, which modelled itself on Weird Tales, and to which I shall return later. Fantasy Book took as its models Unknown and Beyond and did its best to live up to the standards set by those classic magazines. Fantasy Book bore no relation to the earlier magazine of that title issued by William L. Crawford in the late 1940s, despite appearing in the same letter-size format and emanating from California. It was published by Dennis Mallonee in Pasadena and edited by Nick Smith. Their wish was to publish as wide a range of fantasy as possible, the first editorial listing ‘high fantasy, light fantasy, heroic fantasy, horror stories, mystery stories, fairy stories, legends, fables, poems’.25 There was no mention of science fiction and the front cover, depicting a dragon in a sweatshirt at some kind of car display, certainly emphasized light fantasy. It did publish some science fiction, such as ‘Milk Into Brandy’ (February 1982) by Lil and Kris Neville, a poignant tale of longevity, but it was always in the minority, and tended to get lost amid the wide range of fantasy.

24  All, except the most extreme, are listed in Appendix 2. 25  Dennis Mallonee, ‘Editorial’, Fantasy Book, 1:1 (October 1981), p. 3.

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Indeed, the sheer range of fantasy was a problem for the magazine. Although its first issue sold well, some 4,175 copies out of a print run of 10,200, mostly through specialist dealers, it was still a struggle to find its audience. Nick Smith admitted that fantasy magazines had never sold as well as sf magazines because the appeal was fragmented: ‘A fantasy magazine that devotes itself to sword-and-sorcery generally doesn’t sell to Tolkien fans or Lovecraft fans. A magazine of horror fantasy doesn’t sit well with the classicists. Thus, many fantasy readers tend to pick up and buy only magazines that present only their own favourite sub-genres of fantasy.’26 Fantasy Book believed that by publishing a wide range of fantasy there would always be something that appealed to someone. One way it could do this was through its covers, but with few exceptions all front cover art depicted either light fantasy or myth-related images. The May 1983 issue had an attractive cover by Alan Gutierrez which suggested science fiction—a dinosaur being lassoed by cowboys—but it did not relate to any story in the issue. Although the covers continued to display fantasy images, from March 1984 it sought to feature more traditional horror fiction, including its first serial, ‘The Return of the Deep Ones’, a Cthulhu Mythos story by Brian Lumley. Fantasy Book was shifting from an Unknown-style magazine to a Weird Tales one, but its image remained light or high fantasy. The cover of the June 1985 issue by David Fietze was a rare science-fiction one, illustrating one of Jefferson Swycaffer’s Space Pirate tales, though the image of a brigantine alongside a spaceship in outer space would now be regarded as steampunk. From its first issue, Fantasy Book had always run an occasional reprint, usually from the vaults of Forrest Ackerman, though also helped by Horace L. Gold. Subsequent issues featured the results of researches by Jessica Amanda Salmonson and Darrell Schweitzer. These were all invariably interesting, but offered nothing cutting edge. Amid the welter of horror-fantasy titles and ‘splatterpunk’, Fantasy Book seemed in isolation, an oddity. That should have worked in its favour. There was a significant market for fantasy fiction, although some of this was siphoned away by the fantasygaming magazines, and much of the demand was met by endless fantasy series. By selling almost exclusively through the specialist shops, Fantasy Book was only able to tap into a fraction of that market. This had nothing to do with the quality of the magazine. Its fiction was, for the most part, highly readable if sometimes a little formulaic, and its covers and interior

26  Nick Smith, ‘Editorial’, Fantasy Book, 1:3 (February 1982), p. 10.

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art were excellent. Production costs were undoubtedly high, and could not have been recouped from sales alone, while advertising revenue was minimal. It is unlikely that Fantasy Book ever appealed to horror-fiction devotees or to most science-fiction fans. Circulation after the first year dropped to around 3,000, with only 200 of those being subscribers. With its twentythird issue, dated March 1987, Dennis Mallonee declared that the magazine was going into hiatus while he and Nick Smith had a rethink. He said that the magazine would return during 1988, and though hopes remained for some years, it never did. Its place was usurped, in Summer 1988, by Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Fantasy Magazine, which had exactly the same format and very similar content, but had the added bonus of Bradley’s name for promotion. It would not be until 1994 that the first really successful fantasy magazine appeared—Realms of Fantasy. American Fantasy began as a review magazine with no fiction, published by Robert Garcia in Chicago, a continuation of his news magazine, Chicago Newsletter. In this guise it saw just two slick issues, February and May 1982, featuring interviews and movie coverage. Garcia then revamped it as a magazine of ‘contemporary fantasy and horror’, which saw a further five issues, roughly quarterly, from Fall 1986 to Winter 1988. These issues remained predominantly non-fiction, with reviews, interviews and essays, but also ran usually one or two stories per issue. Contributors included Tanith Lee, Mercedes Lackey, Lois McMaster Bujold and Andrew M. Greeley. The first new issue ran a symposium conducted by Douglas E. Winter where he interviewed writers on the theme ‘Horror and the Limits of Violence’. The general consensus was that there should be no censorship and that the marketplace would control itself. Such violence as is portrayed should be appropriate to the theme and do no more than reflect society as it is. One might question, therefore, whether the sudden upsurge in horror fiction was reflecting an increasingly violent society. Yet, generally, the fiction in American Fantasy was not violent, the most disturbing being ‘The Last One of the Season’ (Winter 1987) by Mercedes Lackey, about child abduction. The magazine’s interviews showed a satisfying breadth of interest, featuring Gene Wolfe, Andre Norton, Anne Rice and R. A. Lafferty. American Fantasy was the most attractive small-press magazine to appear since Shayol. Like Shayol it relied heavily on visual presentation, showcasing the artwork of Randy Broecker, Thomas Canty and Michael Whelan. It won the World Fantasy Award in 1988 in the non-professional category, tying, rather appropriately, with The Horror Show. Then there was Argos. This 136-page digest magazine saw just three issues, Winter to Summer 1988. It was published by Ross Emry through

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his Penrhyn Publishing imprint in Renton, Washington. Diane Mapes later came on board as editor. Though it was labelled as a ‘fantasy & science fiction magazine’, the emphasis was on fantasy. The first issue had an enlightening editorial where Emry spoke about the problems of launching a new magazine. One of the problems was in acquiring material of sufficient quality and it soon became apparent that, while prospective contributors were keen to submit stories of fantasy and horror (although Emry did not want horror), it was harder to acquire good science fiction because there were already existing markets. As a consequence Argos shifted to fantasy. It did manage to acquire some quality material, the first issue featuring work by Janet Morris, Mike Resnick, Ru Emerson and Larry Niven. Niven’s ‘The Tale of the Jinni and the Sisters’ had been written for Susan Shwartz’s anthology Arabesques, but that did not appear until August 1988, so its appearance in Argos was eight months earlier. Other contributors to the three issues included John Brunner, Nancy Springer, Dean R. Lambe, Keith Taylor, Thomas A. Easton and Jack Lovejoy, while Keith Laumer contributed a personalized column, ‘The Most Interesting Things About’, from the second issue. So there was no shortage of quality names, yet very few of the stories have been reprinted, other than in authors’ collections or in later small-press magazines. Brunner’s ‘The Mark and the Card’ (Spring 1988) is one of the few sf stories, and might even be classified as post-cyberpunk as it follows the consequences of using a new form of Japanese-created purchase card. After three issues Emry took stock and informed readers that they were taking a brief hiatus ‘to consolidate and redefine the magazine’. He had been advised by his distributors that the magazine should be in the larger format with colour interiors, but he knew this would prove costly. The magazine was mothballed and the hiatus has remained ever since. The final magazine in this category was not inspired by contemporary horror or high fantasy. It was the revival, yet again, of Weird Tales. Weird Tales had run from 1923 to 1954, for most of that period as a pulp magazine. It had first been revived in 1973 by publisher Leo Margulies, in the pulp-size format but not as a pulp magazine, as it was on better quality newsprint. It was edited by Sam Moskowitz, who used the magazine as an opportunity to reprint primarily old but little-known stories from long-dead magazines, but with a focus on the work of William Hope Hodgson. After four issues it folded and Margulies died soon after. Robert Weinberg acquired the rights to the title and licensed them in 1980 to Lin Carter who edited four further issues, this time in pocketbook format. This series ran various items by Carter himself and focused on the original Weird Tales authors, including Robert E. Howard and Clark Ashton Smith, and lacked

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a contemporary feel. Carter failed to pay Weinberg for the licence so he withdrew it in 1982, although a long-delayed fourth volume appeared in 1983. Weinberg was approached by Sheldon Jaffrey and Roy Torgeson at the World Fantasy Convention in October 1982 with an offer to take over the magazine, but Weinberg felt their plans were too tentative. Weinberg was then contacted in early 1983 by Brian Forbes who, operating as the Bellerophon Network (an imprint of an importing and merchandising company called The Wizard, in Los Angeles) had big plans for the magazine. Weinberg found it difficult to deal with him because he could only be contacted intermittently by telephone. The full terms of the licence had still to be resolved when suddenly a new issue appeared, in the letter-size format on slick paper, dated Fall 1984. Superficially the issue looked good. It sported a posed cover portraying model and actress Brinke Stevens, who was also listed as production executive. She was a friend of Forrest J. Ackerman, which was just one piece of evidence of Ackerman’s role in the magazine’s development. The issue’s highlights were new stories by Harlan Ellison and Stephen King. Ellison’s ‘Laugh Track’, a delight for all fans of early television shows, is not only a wonderful evocation of period but a chilling idea that a laugh heard on all the background laughter tracks to old comedy shows belongs to someone whose soul is trapped in a spiritual hinterland. Like any Ellison story it is original, potent and memorable. King’s ‘Beachworld’ is pure science fiction with a growing sense of horror, dealing with explorers trapped on a planet of sentient sand. Despite these two stories the rest of the issue is disappointing both in content and looks—it was badly typeset and printed and, with its old-style adverts, looked cheap. Several of the stories, although presented as new, were reprints, including one by Ray Bradbury from a 1944 issue of Weird Tales. Arch Oboler’s ‘Come to the Bank’ was an adaptation of an episode from the 1940s radio series Lights Out. And although it was interesting to see a story by David Schow, ‘Visitation’, where an occult investigator tries to defuse powerful manifestations from another dimension, it was also a reprint, from the Fall 1983 issue of the gaming magazine Ares, where it related to that issue’s game, ‘Nightmare House’. The new material also felt misplaced. Although any story by R. A. Lafferty is a pleasure, ‘The Ninety-Ninth Cubicle’, while containing Lafferty’s usual quirks and eccentricities, lacked that ingenious vision that gave his work its individuality. The oddity of the issue, though, was ‘The Pandora Principle’, a collaboration between A. E. van Vogt and Brinke Stevens. This pulp-style adventure about an invention that increased brain capacity and of a femme fatale and her robot spiders was not only painful to read but only half

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of it was published. The final episode was not in the next issue when it eventually appeared. From the start it seemed that Brian Forbes had taken on more than he could handle. Although he had commissioned Gil Lamont as fiction editor, the uncredited, behind-the-scenes operator was Forrest J. Ackerman. In his introduction to the first issue Forbes acknowledged Ackerman’s help, saying ‘for without his generosity and expertise this magazine would not exist’.27 In practice, this meant that Ackerman secured some of the reprints and, as van Vogt’s one-time agent, arranged for ‘The Pandora Principle’ and the collaboration with Stevens. As often happened when Ackerman assisted on magazines, the result was the inclusion of inferior, dated material that had failed to sell elsewhere. Gil Lamont, on the other hand, had worked for a year as Harlan Ellison’s writer-in-residence and was experienced as a copyeditor and typographer with other small-press publishers. The relationship between Forbes, Lamont, Ackerman and the man listed as editorial director, Gordon Garb, was fraught with problems. Locus reported: ‘Ackerman says he has had no contact with publisher Brian Forbes, does not know what will happen to the material he put together, and is as much in the dark as everybody else. Lamont says that he is still renegotiating his contract and is not sure where he stands.’28 The first issue of Forbes’s Weird Tales had been scheduled to appear in August 1984, with a cover date of July/August, but instead the contents were changed and the entire issue reset. It did not surface until December. It transpired that most of the 12,500 copies printed were sent to two distributors, both of whom went into bankruptcy. Few if any copies were dispatched or paid for. Forbes’s consequent financial struggle was aggravated by his efforts to publish a limited hardcover first US edition of van Vogt’s novel Null-3, which had already appeared in France. The book eventually appeared a year late, in July 1985, by which time the novel had already appeared in British and American paperback editions. Forbes persevered and his second Weird Tales, dated Winter 1985, eventually went on sale in June 1986. He printed only 2,300 copies, though some reports stated that the print run had been only 1,500 copies, most of which went to subscribers.29 Gil Lamont was no longer involved. The

27 See Weird Tales, Fall 1984, p. 3. Ackerman had been active in advertising for story submissions, his notice saying, ‘You’ll be in competition with Merritt, Moore, Kuttner, Howard, HPL, CAS, et al.’ (SPWAO Newsletter, 6:3 [May/June 1984], p. 24). Ackerman later insisted that he was the editor and had not heard of Gil Lamont: see SPWAO Newsletter, 6:4 (July/August 1984), p. 25, and Locus, #283 (August 1984), p. 49. 28  See the news report ‘Weird Tales in Limbo’, Locus, #285 (October 1984), p. 4. 29  See the news report ‘Weird Lingerie Tales’, Locus, #308 (September 1986), pp. 4, 62.

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new fiction editor was Mark Monsolo, but the input of Forrest Ackerman, although no longer acknowledged, was still evident with stories by Stanton A. Coblentz, Walt Liebscher, William F. Temple (a reprint) and A. E. van Vogt. There were other reprints by John Wyndham and Robert Bloch and, although there were a few new stories, mostly first-time sales, the only author of any note was J. N. Williamson, though ‘The Bus People’ was little more than a mood story. The two Forbes issues of Weird Tales were a calamity of inadequacies. Despite his determination and best intentions there was a lack of funds and any clear editorial direction or acumen. Yet, because of their rarity they remain among the most sought-after issues of the magazine’s entire run, rarer than almost any others except those from the first year. It was thus a relief when, at the World Fantasy Convention at the end of October 1987, a further revival of Weird Tales showed both more business sense and a sympathetic understanding of the original magazine. This issue, the 290th, dated Spring 1988, was published by Terminus Publishing in Philadelphia, an imprint established by none other than George Scithers, along with Darrell Schweitzer and John Betancourt. This meant that in less than a decade, Scithers had edited three entirely different magazines from three publishers. After Scithers left Amazing, he had stated he would like to continue to work with Schweitzer and Betancourt, who had been part of his ‘Zoo’ on both Asimov’s and Amazing. The team set up the Owlswick Literary Agency at the end of 1986, but this did not meet Scithers’s pleasure for editing. The three discussed ideas of reviving a magazine which had an established following. Scithers’s preference was for Planet Stories, but Betancourt proposed Weird Tales, believing it had more commercial promise and remained highly collectable. Betancourt contacted Robert Weinberg and secured the licence, and the three created the Terminus Publishing Company. They floated shares which raised over $17,000, sufficient to get the magazine up and running. The first new issue was published in a mock pulp style on decent-quality paper. It had a stunning cover by George Barr in the style of J. Allen St John and internally the magazine made every effort to generate the mood of the original, right down to reproducing the format of the contents page with a similar typeface and masthead, and having George Barr imitate other Weird Tales artists such as Virgil Finlay and Lee Brown Coye. It contained a mixture of stories by new and older writers, ranging from Ted Klein, Chet Williamson and Felix Gotschalk to Tanith Lee, Ramsey Campbell and—as a link to the original magazine—Lloyd Arthur Eshbach. Central, though, was the focus of a featured author. For the first number, Scithers chose Gene

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Wolfe. It ran six of his stories, one of which was new but the other five all came from rare sources, plus an interview with Wolfe and a profile of the writer by David Hartwell. Darrell Schweitzer spelled out the magazine’s policy in the first issue: The magazine will publish fantasy and horror, yes; but it will include an occasional story which doesn’t fit any classification, as well as the odd science-fiction tale which seems to be a Weird Tales™ story first and secondarily a science-fiction one, such as Gene Wolfe’s ‘The Other Dead Man’, which appears for the first time anywhere in this issue.30

‘The Other Dead Man’ features a haunted spaceship, with a scientific rationale, which seems a perfect blend of sf and horror. The initial print run for this issue was 10,000, which sold out resulting in reprinting a further 2,500 copies, an unusual event in genre magazines and one that boded well for the future. These sales were good because they were able to distribute some 8,000 copies through the comic-book system, a network that subsequently became limited. They also sought to boost income from the collectors’ market by binding a small number of issues in hardcover. The magazine’s primary appeal was one of nostalgia, treading a fine line between resurrecting as much of the original Weird Tales as was possible but recognizing the need for contemporary horror—in other words seeking to publish what the original Weird Tales would have done had it continued to appear regularly since 1954. Over the next few issues the featured author slot celebrated the works of Tanith Lee (Summer 1988), Keith Taylor (Fall 1988), Avram Davidson (Winter 1988), Karl Edward Wagner (Fall 1989),31 Brian Lumley (Winter 1989) and David J. Schow (Spring 1990). The presence of Schow at one level marked Weird Tales’s recognition of contemporary horror but likewise showed how, by the end of the 1980s, the markets for traditional and contemporary horror were merging and their future, for the moment, seemed safe in the arms of the small press.  At the same time as Weird Tales was breathing fresh air there was an interesting parallel where, 20 years in the future, the lines would converge.

30  ‘The Eyrie’, Weird Tales, 50:1 (Spring 1988), p. 4. 31  The gap between the Winter 1988 and Fall 1989 issues was because of a change in distributor. The magazine actually retained its quarterly schedule but the new distributor wanted the magazine to be dated in advance of the on-sale date rather than almost contemporary.

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The Sterling Web was founded in late 1988 by Amy Mann and Ann Kennedy, who called themselves Arachnid Publishing in Tallahassee, Florida. The first issue was dated Spring 1989, letter-size, pasted up from typed sheets and selling for $4.75. Both Mann and Kennedy were devotees of weird fiction, so such little science fiction as the magazine carried was on the weird side, though never as extreme as the splatterpunk magazines. For instance, ‘Penney’ by Ian Randal Strock, in the third issue (Winter 1989), is set in a far future where humans have evolved and a revived travelling circus takes interest in such throwbacks as those who have hair. The fifth issue (Summer 1990) was the first to be fully typeset and it also saw the first story in the magazine by Jeff VanderMeer, ‘Requiem for the Machine’, with the nuclear destruction of all life on Earth written with sardonic black humour. When, after the sixth issue, Amy Mann quit the magazine, Kennedy continued alone, but Jeff VanderMeer became the editorial assistant. Kennedy set up her own BuzzCity Press and renamed the magazine The Silver Web from #7 (Fall/Winter 1991). Alan Clark provided the cover and he interested Kennedy in surrealism, both in art and literature, so from #9 (Winter/Spring 1993) it bore the strapline, ‘A Magazine of the Surreal’. Each issue had a featured artist, including Harry O. Morris in #9 and Jill Bauman in #10. The magazine moved further away from science fiction towards the surreal and the strange. Kennedy developed a taste for publishing and in 1996 experimented with her first book, the novella Dradin in Love, by Jeff VanderMeer. The Silver Web became an annual and seemed to have ceased with #14, released in the summer of 1997, but five years later the final issue appeared in January 2002. Later that year she and Jeff married and it is as Ann VanderMeer that she has become better known as co-editor of many bestselling anthologies and as editor of Weird Tales from 2007 to 2012. The connections between magazines and editors in the small-press world is closer than may at first be apparent, and it is the very existence of this informal web that would later work so well when the World Wide Web emerged.

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4 The Second Revolution: The British Hard-SF Renaissance

The cyberpunk revolution had been fiercely fought in public. Not only had its proponents declared their intent in the leading magazines and at conventions, its detractors had likewise been highly vocal to the extent of questioning whether there had been a cyberpunk movement at all. What was clear, though, was that the magazines promoting cyberpunk, especially Omni and Asimov’s, had done so as part of an opportunity to revitalize science fiction and present it as a medium suited for the new generation of readers and writers—the cyberpunk generation, one might say. But at the same time there was another revolution happening, rather more subversive and subtle and far from obvious until it was well under way. This revolution began in the amateur and semi-professional magazines, and its roots can be traced as equally to the British magazines, notably Interzone, and to those in other English-speaking countries as well as the USA. It was therefore, arguably, an international revolution and the best place to start is in Great Britain which had, until the start of the 1980s, been experiencing something of a science-fiction wilderness.

Out of the Wilderness The situation for science-fiction magazines in Britain at the start of the 1980s was grim but ever hopeful. Of the magazines that had flourished in the 1950s, New Worlds had been the only one to survive into the 1970s and then only as a paperback anthology series. Even that had ceased and editor Michael Moorcock had kept it alive for a few more occasional issues as an A4-size fanzine, until it breathed what seemed to be its last in September 1979 with #216. It would return again, but not until 1991. The original anthology series, New Writings in SF, that John Carnell had started when he

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believed the day of the digest magazine was over in 1964, had ceased after 30 volumes in 1978. Kenneth Bulmer, who edited the final few editions, had two further volumes compiled but they never appeared. There was Ad Astra, which was really a magazine of speculative science and strange phenomena which ran one or two sf stories per issue. Edited by James Manning, its circulation of 18,000, though good by comparison with other magazines, was not enough to finance the high cost of production without significant advertising revenue. Its appearance, compared to that of Omni, on which it was distantly modelled, was drab and uninteresting. It ran for 16 bi-monthly issues before closing in September 1981. There was also Something Else, a title which suitably described a magazine that was not quite a literary magazine, nor quite an art magazine, but something in-between. It was slim, A4 size, printed on high-quality glossy paper, the whole package designed, edited, printed and published by Charles Partington who ran a printing company in Manchester, Pan Visuals, with his colleague Harry Nadler. The two had attempted a semi-professional magazine before when they converted their fanzine, Alien, into Alien Worlds in 1966, but the cost of producing that full-colour booklet proved too much. Something Else was in the same vein that New Worlds had been in the late 1960s, though Partington infused it with his own fascination for art and the cinema. The colour covers of the first two issues, dated Spring and Winter 1980, reminded Brian W. Aldiss, who contributed a sequence of his enigma stories to the first issue and a longer contemporary tale to the second, of the Pre-Raphaelites and he reckoned William Morris would have been delighted with both issues.1 That was, perhaps, a bit tongue-in-cheek, but they were both attractive issues, the first including a full double-spread colour illustration of Elric of Melniboné by Jim Cawthorn, with accompanying text by Michael Moorcock. The selection of fiction was similar to New Worlds with many of the same contributors, including an advance excerpt from Moorcock’s novel The Russian Intelligence. The highlight of the first issue, though, was Partington’s own ‘Nosferatu’s Ape’, concerning research into the darker side of the making of the original 1922 film Nosferatu. The second issue had material by John Brunner and Hilary Bailey, the latter a Una Persson story based on another of Moorcock’s literary milieux. Partington wanted the magazine to continue as a quarterly, but although the first two issues sold out a print run of just under 1,500 copies, there was a general lack of interest.2 Moreover, Partington and Nadler soon found

1  Brian W. Aldiss, ‘Something Else’, in Marshall B. Tymn and Mike Ashley (eds), Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Weird Fiction Magazines (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1985), p. 580. 2  Details from Charles Partington, letter, 24 June 2011.

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their time taken up by the development of a computer-games company which, with other commitments, meant Something Else had to wait. A third issue did appear in Spring 1984 and was arguably the most interesting of the three, with experimental fiction by Yamano Kôichi and Peter Inch, plus Brian Aldiss’s metaphysical ‘Journey to the Goat Star’ and Moorcock’s ‘Discourse With a Beast Who Mourns the Golden Age’, set in his Count von Bek universe. This shows that 1981 was at a crossroads. New Worlds and Ad Astra had ceased and, to all appearances, so had Something Else. Apart from the small fantasy magazine Fantasy Tales, which rarely ran science fiction, Britain was bereft of any regular sf periodical. Yet at that very moment, in the summer of 1981, three different individuals, in Belfast, London and Leeds, were considering starting new magazines: Robert Allen, Malcolm Edwards and David Pringle. Robert Allen was a journalist with an interest in both popular music and sf. While working in Manchester in 1979 he produced Popular Music and Science Fiction Journal, an amateur magazine which ran chiefly music and book news and articles plus an sf serial, ‘Starweb’ by the pseudonymous Jared Challanoc. After three issues (April, July and September 1979) Allen renamed it Extro from October 1979 and attempted to publish it monthly, though it appeared irregularly, with just three issues in 1980. As Extro its emphasis shifted to running bibliographies of authors’ works plus interviews. Alongside it he began a science-fiction newspaper, SF News, issued in A4 format with a print run of 20,000. This was a bold move. Allen reported, ‘I will be aiming the newspaper at the casual SF reader, not the fan, the person who buys maybe only one SF book per month and who may only pick up SFN once a month or even less frequent than that.’3 Allen expected to reach an audience of over 30,000 in the UK alone. This was overambitious to put it mildly and SF News, which in itself was not especially inspiring, failed to catch on and soon ceased.4

3  Robert Allen quoted in ‘The British Scene’, Fantasy Newsletter, #20 (January 1980), p. 13. 4  There was a flurry of magazines in the UK and USA devoted to news and developments in the expanding sf and fantasy fields. In the USA, where there had long been the premier sf news magazine, Locus, Paul Allen of Loveland, Colorado, started Fantasy Newsletter in June 1978, providing a monthly update on books and magazines plus interviews and articles. It proved expensive and Allen planned to stop in October 1981, but the magazine was taken over by Robert A. Collins of Florida Atlantic University who, with academic backing, converted it into a more extensive magazine, renaming it Fantasy Review in 1984. It ran until #103 (July/ August 1987). Andrew Porter in New York began Science Fiction Chronicle in 1978, first as an insert in his magazine Algol, and then as a separate news magazine from October 1979. In Britain, Fantasy Media started in March 1979 run by a consortium including Stephen Jones, David A. Sutton, Gordon Larkin and Jon M. Harvey. It ran a variety of news and features but

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In 1981 Allen relocated to his native Belfast and tried to find the financial backing to convert Extro into a professional magazine. He eventually secured a distribution deal with Seymour Press, which had now dropped Ad Astra, but had a disagreement with his colleague and main financial backer, school teacher and fellow Belfast sf fan, Paul Campbell. In the end Campbell took over the magazine and Allen withdrew, taking many of the initial story submissions, and attempted to start another magazine, Edges, without success. Extro, edited by Campbell, appeared in February 1982, its first issue dated February/March, though it had been languishing since at least the previous November, which is why the first issue has a different appearance from the later ones. Both forms were in A4 format, though the first issue was slightly smaller. All were issued on glossy paper, so were arguably ‘slick’ magazines, and were heavily illustrated in black and white throughout, frequently with book covers. The first issue, which was typeset and printed by the same firm that had printed Allen’s fanzine Extro, looked cramped, with four columns of text only slightly relieved by occasional artwork. It also, rather jarringly, had the word ‘Speculative’ on the cover overriding the phrase ‘science fiction’ in the title, as if there was some disagreement over the content or, perhaps, its potential readership. Its choice of fiction was good, with stories by Christopher Priest (a reprint), Garry Kilworth and Ian Watson, as well as one by Campbell himself. David Langford, who was later credited as non-fiction editor, provided an article and a revealing interview with Ian Watson. The second and third issues looked much better. They were slightly larger in dimensions, used a more readable font with just three columns per page, so were less cramped, and there was use of monochrome colour illustrations. The covers, which were far more attractive, were by veteran Irish artist Gerard Quinn, who had been the stable cover artist for John Carnell’s New Worlds in the 1950s. The fiction in both issues was also of above-average quality with contributions by Bob Shaw, James White (a revision of a much earlier story), Richard Cowper, Edward Mackin (another Carnell stalwart), Garry Kilworth, Brian Aldiss (a reprint), John Sladek, David Garnett and the first story sale by Ian McDonald, ‘The Islands of the Dead’ (April/May 1982). The stories, generally, were not cutting edge but were good examples

proved expensive and time-consuming and folded in September 1980. Critical Wave, run by Steve Green and Martin Tudor, started in October 1987 and ran for 46 issues before ceasing in July 1996. It strove to be the British equivalent of Locus but never quite succeeded. Running through all of this is the irrepressible Ansible, produced regularly by David Langford since August 1979, except for a gap between 1987 and 1991, and which takes a rather more lighthearted look at events in the sf world.

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of the current state of British (and Irish) sf. They demonstrated that the magazine had potential and was on the right road. However, the cost of production was high and by the third issue, dated July/August 1982, Campbell hit cash-flow problems as he awaited the money for sales from the distributor and from specialist bookshops. With delays in payment and a debt of £7,000,5 Campbell’s bank foreclosed on the overdraft and he was forced to stop publication, even though at least two more issues had been compiled. Extro had all the makings of a good magazine but was yet another stifled in its crib.

Interzone At the same time that Robert Allen and Paul Campbell were trying to launch Extro there was a different meeting of minds in England. Both David Pringle and Malcolm Edwards had independently been planning a new magazine.6 Pringle had been co-chairman of the British Science Fiction Convention at Leeds over the Easter weekend in 1981. The convention had made a profit of £1,300 and the committee had agreed, at the suggestion of Graham James, that this could be used to help launch a new professional sf magazine. Pringle and James teamed with Simon Ounsley and Alan Dorey, all of whom were active in the British Science Fiction Association (BSFA), and put together a proposal for a traditional 112-page digest-size magazine. Pringle was further encouraged by a comment made by J. G. Ballard when he interviewed him in July 1981. Ballard felt that Britain needed a new sf magazine to allow writers and commentators to explore the powerful social, political and economic currents then flowing. He said, ‘I think these are fascinating times, and just the times that demand a good sf magazine to comment on them.’7 Also in July 1981, Pringle was contacted by Malcolm Edwards, at the time a freelance writer and sf adviser to the publishing firm Victor Gollancz. Edwards had also been working on a proposal for a magazine, though his version was A4 size, 32 pages and had been costed to pay a higher word rate. Edwards had recruited fellow Londoners John Clute (at that time best

5  See the news item in Ansible, #29 (October 1982), http://news.ansible.uk/a29.html. 6  Much of the background to this section comes from an unpublished essay by David Pringle, ‘How Interzone Began’, which he has allowed me to paraphrase or quote from. An earlier version appeared as ‘Interzone: How It All Began’ in Vector, #152 (October/November 1989), while another version was used as the introduction to David Pringle (ed.), The Best of Interzone (London: HarperCollins, 1997). 7  J. G. Ballard, interview by David Pringle, Foundation, #24 (February 1982), pp. 22–23.

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known as a book reviewer and critic), Colin Greenland (soon to become well known as a novelist but then better known as a critic and essayist), and Roz Kaveney (also active within the BSFA as a reviewer and critic) and had put his proposal to the BSFA, hoping they might publish the magazine. They declined but Alan Dorey, then the chairman of the BSFA, put Edwards in touch with Pringle. Edwards had planned for it to be financed by advance subscriptions and the prospect of combining this with the additional funds available from the Easter convention provided a firmer footing. There was some difference in ideology between the two proposals. Pringle had preferred a magazine that published a wider range of science fiction, including non-fiction, while Edwards had excluded any non-fiction and wanted material that reflected a more ‘literary’ taste. Pringle was not entirely happy with that but was prepared to go along with it in order to get the magazine off the ground. When the two teams combined the problem arose of choosing an editor. The obvious choice was Pringle and Edwards as co-editors but not all of the team were in agreement. In the end they chose to operate as a collective, resulting in eight co-editors—‘possibly my fault,’ Edwards recalled, ‘as I started out with a full set of collectivist ideals’.8 Operating as a collective would prove cumbersome and restrictive since just about every decision had to be agreed with everyone, including reading and approving all story submissions. Since all of the collective were unpaid and had their own independent working lives it was difficult for everyone to get together, especially as four were in Leeds and, in those pre-internet days, much had to be done by mail or telephone. Edwards described the process: We devised a simple marking system—two ticks, one tick, neutral, one cross, two crosses—and hoped that a clear consensus would emerge once all of us had read a story. (Though we also told ourselves—or I did—that the most suitable stories might get two ticks from half of us and two crosses from the other half—i.e. stories which aroused strong feelings pro and con.) Typescripts had to be posted between London and Leeds, but otherwise were passed around by hand. To begin with, submissions other than what we’d solicited were few and far between.9

The choice of title, though, seemed to be agreed quickly. David Pringle suggested Interzone, the name William S. Burroughs gave to an imaginary city in his novel The Naked Lunch (1959). He described it as a composite city ‘where all human potentials are spread out in a vast silent market’,

8  Malcolm Edwards, email, 4 January 2013. 9  Malcolm Edwards, email, 4 January 2013.

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which seemed an apt metaphor for a magazine, something that both Colin Greenland and Malcolm Edwards built upon in later editorials. The collective set about the many tasks required to establish a new magazine—seeking subscriptions, contributions, design and printing facilities, publicity and distribution. They were assisted by Charles Platt who acted initially as the magazine’s American agent. Thanks primarily to the coordinating activity of Malcolm Edwards, the first issue appeared in March 1982, dated Spring. It looked attractive, on quality coated stock, though it was only 32 pages, with no interior artwork. Its cover sported a bold white cursive title logo against a black background which displayed a silhouetted total eclipse of the sun. The cover and design were by Philippa Bramson who was the only member of the team to receive any recompense for their work. Interzone was certainly a labour of love and dedication. As an inducement to attract charter subscribers the first issue came with an additional booklet of J. G. Ballard’s story News from the Sun, which had previously appeared in Ambit (Autumn 1981). The issue itself contained four stories plus an extract from Michael Moorcock’s forthcoming novel, The Brothel in Rosenstrasse. Of the stories, the most popular proved to be ‘Kitemaster’ by Keith Roberts, which later won the British Science Fiction Award. It was the first of Roberts’s Kiteworld series, which is reminiscent of his Pavane stories though set in a post-holocaust future Britain rather than an alternate past. It was also the most traditional story, for Roberts was a natural storyteller. ‘The New Rays’ by M. John Harrison invokes the horrors and uncertainties of experimenting with new and not necessarily proven treatments. The literary establishment was represented by Angela Carter, whose ‘The Cabinet of Edgar Allan Poe’ captures a similar mood of grotesquerie to Harrison’s story in reimagining Poe’s early life and what may have influenced his fiction. A much-needed breath of humour comes from John Sladek with ‘Guesting’, an account by an alien who is probed and tested and becomes part of Earth’s celebrity culture. It was a reasonably balanced if outwardly pretentious first issue, able to generate the desired literary image while including some material that would have satisfied most sf readers. Surprisingly Charles Platt, although representing the magazine in America, was rather hostile. While appreciating the financial caution, he denigrated the cover as suggesting that the sun was already setting on Interzone, complained about the lack of any internal artwork or graphics, and lambasted the magazine’s lack of character, arguing that it was attempting, anachronistically, to recreate the spirit of New Worlds without its soul: ‘At this point I think the exact direction of Interzone is less important than that it should have a direction, rather than

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remain a bland, cautious committee product assembled by consensus.’10 Conversely, Hilary Bailey, writing in the New Scientist, was supportive of both Extro and Interzone, stating that the ‘seemingly better financed Interzone is stronger by far in the fiction department’.11 Pringle later reported that the issue had brought a mixed response, with praise for most of the stories but the feeling that it was too thin, lacked artwork and would benefit from some non-fiction. Thankfully, with the advance subscriptions and surplus money from the convention, the first issue broke even, but since the subscriptions were for four issues, there was a need to seek further funding and wider distribution. The collective charged Edwards and Greenland to approach the Arts Council for a grant. The Council was receptive, chiefly because the application noted that the money would be used to pay the contributors and not be spent on the editors or offices. The initial grant was only a stop-gap, but thankfully Interzone met the Council’s criteria and thereafter they agreed an annual sum to support the magazine. During the shaky first few years when subscriptions and distribution wavered considerably, it was this grant that sustained the magazine, boosted by generous donations from Sir Clive Sinclair and later Arthur C. Clarke. Their donations prompted the idea of a lifetime subscription set at £50, which at the time was equal to ten years as a quarterly, or 40 issues. The first year’s four issues were all similar with, perhaps, a slight growth in confidence. They still felt a distant echo of New Worlds, with material by several associated with that magazine, notably J. G. Ballard, Rachel Pollack, John Sladek and Barry Bayley, but also with the presence of others—Garry Kilworth, David Redd and Josephine Saxton. The stories were less experimental, though the majority were downbeat, perhaps reflecting some of the economic gloom of the aftermath of the ‘Winter of Discontent’ in Britain in 1978/79 and the subsequent period of strikes. Indicative of this mood was ‘After-Images’ (Spring 1983), Malcolm Edwards’s only published story. It depicts part of London trapped in a time stasis created by the detonation of several nuclear bombs. The inhabitants still prepare for the inevitable conflagration but, for a while, life tries to continue as usual. The major economic and social changes that arose from Margaret Thatcher’s government did not really start to flourish until the late 1980s, but they would lead to a more optimistic mood in British sf, as we shall see. In his editorial for the fourth issue (Spring 1983), Simon Ounsley urged contributors to take account

10  Charles Platt, letter, Interzone, 1:3 (Autumn 1982), p. 34. 11  Hilary Bailey, ‘Wave of Fantasy’, New Scientist, 94:1307 (27 May 1982), p. 597.

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of trends, particularly scientific trends, and to write stories looking to the future rather than dwelling on the gloom of the present. These first four issues also introduced some book reviews, readers’ letters and, to the delight of many, interior artwork. Although the magazine referred to its contents as science fiction and fantasy it tried to keep its remit broad, and from the fifth issue labelled itself ‘Imaginative Fiction’, a fairly meaningless phrase that was never explained and which remained for only the next four issues. In 1982 David Pringle moved from Leeds to Brighton, making contact with Ian Miller who became the art editor from the fourth issue. Pringle’s move meant that the editorial collective was now geographically split three ways. The pressure on the collective resulted in some stepping aside. The first to go was Graham James, frustrated that he had been unable to gain sufficient promotion for the magazine. Malcolm Edwards left after the fourth issue as his publishing career at Gollancz progressed. With his departure, the London focus shifted to Colin Greenland, and he and Pringle now began to imprint themselves on the magazine. The fifth issue (Autumn 1983), which appeared after a slight delay, saw more input from American writers with Scott Bradfield, John Shirley and John Crowley. Bradfield’s ‘The Flash! Kid’ became the magazine’s first controversial story. It was not really science fiction, though used some of the imagery of the genre—in this case an ancient, seemingly impregnable object that a child discovers in a termite’s nest which, once touched, implants new hormonal mechanisms within the body—to explain why a new generation of children are becoming so violent, antisocial and obese. Its grotesque imagery and ‘Mr Creosote’ style ending (from Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life) made a lasting impression. Bradfield had sold two earlier stories to American anthologies, but his sale to Interzone became the first of a more regular output and Interzone claimed Bradfield as its first significant discovery. Almost as controversial was ‘Tissue Ablation and Variant Regeneration: A Case Report’ (#7, Spring 1984), a first story sale by physician Michael Blumlein. The story relates in graphic detail the dissection of ‘Mr Reagan’ (presumably the US president) while still alive and unanaesthetized, in order that his organs can be put to good use in needy countries. The fact that drugs and other technologies allow Reagan to survive the operation makes the story science fiction, but otherwise it is a satirical exercise in vengeful horror. Blumlein did not believe that any major American fantasy or sf magazine would take it, which says much for the American view of the still infant Interzone, but it’s possible that had Ellen Datlow seen it she would have acquired it for Omni. Blumlein did later sell to Datlow with ‘The

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Domino Master’ (Omni, June 1988) and, to square the circle, he also sold to Twilight Zone (‘The Promise of Warmth’, August 1988), a further factor in showing the affinity between those magazines to which Interzone could now be added. More significant was the work of Geoff Ryman. Canadian by birth and raised in the USA, Ryman had moved to England where he found a greater sense of community and freedom. He had sold a story to the last of the anthology series of New Worlds, ‘The Diary of the Translator’ (#10, 1976), but had completed little else besides working on his first novel, The Warrior Who Carried Life (1985). Interzone #7 (Spring 1984) featured his novella, ‘The Unconquered Country’, the longest item yet run by the magazine. The story may be read as an allegory of the recent war-ravaged history of Cambodia, the apparent Unconquered Country of the title, under constant attack by the Neighbours helped in the supply of weapons by the Big Country. What shines through, despite the horrors and desolation of the increasing destruction of the land, is the strength of spirit of the story’s heroine, Third Child, who survives against all the odds until, on her own terms, she gives up her life in order to be with her friends and family, all of whom have died. Only then do we realize that the Unconquered Country is Third Child herself. While it has the trappings of both science fiction—the houses of this alternate Cambodia are themselves alive, and the girl is used by industry to give birth to new living machinery—and fantasy—its visualization of the spirits of birds and humans—at its heart it is pure story, regardless of genre. It had an immediate impact. Simon Ings, who would soon be selling to Interzone but who had started to grow disillusioned with recent issues, was overwhelmed by Ryman’s story, recognizing that ‘there was a vivid and disorientating imaginative power at work’.12 Andrew J. Wilson, also soon to become a contributor to various British magazines, called it ‘a tour de force’,13 while Brian Stableford remarked that Ryman ‘is the most promising new writer to have appeared in Britain in the last couple of years’.14 Not surprisingly the story was voted by readers as their favourite in Interzone that year. It also won both the British SF Award and the World Fantasy Award. Feedback about the magazine from major names in the field was positive. As early as #6 (Winter 1983), J. G. Ballard had commented that it was a ‘first-class issue, really a radical leap forward. The general

12  Simon D. Ings, letter, Interzone, #9 (Autumn 1984), p. 48. 13  Andrew J. Wilson, letter, Interzone, #9 (Autumn 1984), p. 48. 14  Brian Stableford, review of The Unconquered Country, Fantasy Review, #94 (September 1986), p. 31.

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feel and appearance are those of a true professional magazine.’15 Terry Carr commented, ‘It’s been far too long since writers on your side of the pond have had a quality publication in which to present their new works unhindered by the too often myopic demands of sf magazines in the US.’16 Carr’s comment is significant. It was made before the expansion of science fiction in Asimov’s under McCarthy and Dozois and thus reflected the status quo in the USA when only Omni and F&SF were publishing new material of ground-breaking importance. The fact that so many US writers appeared in Interzone in its early years emphasized its liberal nature. The growth of Interzone during the 1980s thus paralleled that of Asimov’s rather than followed it. The progress of Interzone was encouraging. From a reasonably solid base, established with the collective’s hard work, it developed rapidly. The magazine itself grew physically, adding a few pages now and then until it hit 52 pages with #9 (Autumn 1984), 60 with #18 (Winter 1986), and 76 pages with #28 (March/April 1989). From #25 (September/October 1988) it switched from quarterly to bi-monthly and gained wider newsstand distribution. There was more original and creative artwork, thanks primarily to Ian Miller and Iain Byers. It ran its first colour cover on #14 (Winter 1985), the work of Pete Lyon, an image that was pure sf rather than literary or surreal. Moreover, the label ‘SF & Fantasy Stories’ had become the new slogan on the cover from #12 (Summer 1985). The breadth of fiction grew, so that it was no longer a clone of New Worlds but had its own identity. And, everything else aside, it provided an outlet for new writers, which was its most important achievement. Moreover the magazine gave further exposure to its writers in the occasional anthologies derived from the magazine which began with Interzone: The 1st Anthology, published by the much-respected firm of J. M. Dent in March 1985. The issue in which ‘The Unconquered Country’ appeared had contained an important editorial by Pringle and Greenland where they stated, ‘Interzone is a magazine of radical science fiction and fantasy’.17 They left the term ‘radical’ open to interpretation, but added that ‘Interzone is securing its identity and attracting the talent (both established and new) to reinvigorate imaginative writing’. Ryman’s story was seen as radical by many readers and his work became one of the milestones in measuring the magazine’s progress.

15  J. G. Ballard, letter, Interzone, #7 (Spring 1984), p. 37. 16  Terry Carr, letter, Interzone, #7 (Spring 1984), p. 37. 17  David Pringle and Colin Greenland, ‘Editorial’, Interzone, #7 (Spring 1984), p. 2.

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In the next editorial they focused on one particular type of story of which they wanted to see more, the ‘radical, hard SF story’, adding, ‘in order to be radical, hard sf, it should explore in some fashion the perspectives opened up by contemporary science and technology’.18 David Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer would later point to that editorial as the start of what they dubbed the ‘Hard SF Renaissance’. They observed, ‘It was among the British writers in particular that a new space opera (which was the most obvious UK response to the call for Radical Hard SF) conspicuously flowered in the late 1980s and during the 1990s.’19 With its drive for more radical sf, we can see that Interzone was now starting to lead the way in terms of a new direction, much like Charles Platt had challenged. All this growth happened with an ever-dwindling editorial collective, which was to the magazine’s advantage. After #9 (Autumn 1984), John Clute, Alan Dorey and Roz Kaveney switched to advisory editors but essentially had no further direct impact. Colin Greenland stepped down after #12 (Summer 1985) leaving David Pringle and Simon Ounsley as the sole remaining co-editors. Pringle was assisted in Brighton by Andy Robertson, while Paul Annis assisted Ounsley in Leeds and various other assistant editors were recruited as the magazine grew. When Roz Kaveney stepped down as the primary reader of the slush pile, Lee Montgomerie came in and was soon elevated to associate editor. The addresses of Ounsley, Montgomerie and Pringle were all listed for manuscript submissions, but the primary editorial address was Pringle’s and #13 (Autumn 1985) saw him in overall charge, and the one who could now shape the magazine. He later reflected: When it first started in 1982 our main delusion was that we could create a sort of hybrid, respected by the literary scene and full of writers like Martin Amis and Salman Rushdie together with the best of the sciencefiction authors, people like Aldiss, Ballard and Moorcock. Well, we didn’t get Amis or Rushdie, but we did get Angela Carter. We soon found we weren’t reaching a literary audience and we were alienating our potential science-fiction audience by not being outright science fiction and proud of it. I always thought we should be. As the others flaked away, Simon and I were able to impose our will and make it into more of a science-fiction magazine.20

18  David Pringle and Colin Greenland, ‘Editorial’, Interzone, #8 (Summer 1984), p. 2. 19  David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer, ‘New People, New Places, New Politics’ (introduction), in David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer (eds), The Hard SF Renaissance (New York: Tor Books, 2002), p. 16. 20  David Pringle, interview by Mary O’Keefe, Scheherazade, #2 (Autumn 1991), p. 14.

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Ounsley remained co-editor until his failing health forced him to step aside after #24 (Summer 1988). From then on Pringle was sole editor and publisher. With the next issue the magazine turned bi-monthly, gained newsstand distribution and continued to grow. The impact of Interzone in the 1980s may be measured in two ways, which are interrelated: first, the development of new writers thus establishing a new generation of British authors in depth not seen since the 1950s, and secondly in setting a challenge for writers to radically reinvigorate science fiction through the extrapolation of the potential of new technologies and scientific thinking. Writers (not just British) who either debuted in Interzone or established their name there in its first decade include the following, with their first appearance: Neil Ferguson, ‘The Monroe Doctrine’ (#6, Winter 1983); Kim Newman, ‘Dreamers’ (#8, Summer 1984); Richard Kadrey, ‘The Fire Catcher’ and Paul J. McAuley, ‘Little Ilya and Spider and Box’ (both #12, Summer 1985); Don Webb, ‘Rhinestone Manifesto’ (#13, Autumn 1985); Greg Egan, ‘Mind Vampires’ (#18, Winter 1986); Stephen Baxter, ‘The Xeelee Flower’ (#19, Spring 1987); Eric Brown, ‘Krash-Bangg Joe and the Pineal-Zen Equation’ (#21, Autumn 1987); Charles Stross, ‘The Boys’ (#22, Winter 1987); Nicola Griffith, ‘Mirrors and Burnstone’ (#25, September/ October 1988), Ian R. MacLeod, ‘Through’ (#30, July/August 1989) and Alastair Reynolds, ‘Nunivak Snowflakes’ (#36, June 1990). Richard Calder first appeared in the magazine with ‘Mosquito’ (#32, November/December 1989) but also had ‘Toxine’ as an original in Interzone: The 4th Anthology, three months earlier. In addition there were writers, such as Brian Stableford and Garry Kilworth, who had sold short fiction earlier in their careers and were drawn back to shorter works thanks to Interzone. Other regular contributors included Brian Aldiss, J. G. Ballard, Thomas M. Disch, David Langford, Bruce Sterling, Lisa Tuttle and Ian Watson. These, plus less frequent contributions by Iain M. Banks, Gregory Benford, David Brin, John Christopher, Karen Joy Fowler, William Gibson, Elizabeth Hand, Robert Holdstock, Gwyneth Jones, Geoffrey A. Landis, Ian McDonald, Pat Murphy, Josef Nesvadba, Terry Pratchett, Christopher Priest, Kim Stanley Robinson, Bob Shaw, John Shirley, Cherry Wilder and Pamela Zoline, show what a depth and diversity of talent the magazine presented. Issue #19 (Spring 1987), in which Stephen Baxter debuted, was a special ‘All New Star’ issue, with stories by Neil Ferguson, Paul J. McAuley, Kim Newman, Christina Lake (her first sale) and Richard Kadrey. Another ‘New Star’ issue was assembled with #34 (March/April 1990).

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In his editorial to #19, Simon Ounsley commented that it might be time for some optimism in fiction, remarking that writing stories that simply reminded people of all of the problems in the world without proposing some kind of solution ‘has really become a pointless exercise’. He proposed contributors should try to avoid copying the cyberpunk approach but consider what life might be like in the future if we ‘get lucky’. He concluded: We at Interzone are interested in well planned, well crafted short stories and in ideas and visions so extra­ordinary that the grey landscape around us will seem to dissolve into the chaos from which it came. This can be more than mere escapism. Searching deep into the human imagination, far beyond the here and now, perhaps new insights into our present terrible problems will emerge, just when we least expect them.21

This was a further development of the radical, hard-sf manifesto, to which writers were already responding. One of those for whom Interzone had a ‘huge impact’ (his words) was Charles Stross. He responded to the editorial plea for ‘radical hard sf’. He told me: Thereupon I pestered them, both prematurely and fruitlessly, with my early output. Four years later I sent Dave Pringle something he could actually publish (‘The Boys’) which was my first pro sale. The (cautious) encouragement I received from those early handwritten rejection letters was one of two or three huge influences that kept me writing.22

All those years of writing, though, had clearly honed Stross’s skills because ‘The Boys’ is an evocatively envisioned story set in a distant cybernetic future when cyborgs (‘the boys’) hunt down any post-revolutionary renegades. The story is presented as if written in that future and gives no quarter to the reader, who has to work to understand what’s happening. At one point the response to a character’s query is, ‘That is something I expected you to know already.’ We are moving into post-cyberpunk far-future territory where everything is alien. From then on Stross’s stories are told in the language of another age. Whereas Stross’s style looked forward, Stephen Baxter’s curiously looked backwards, despite the high-tech content of his stories. His early tales were traditional problem stories of survival, high on science but low on characterization. In ‘The Xeelee Flower’, a space explorer has to find a way to survive in outer space when a nearby sun goes nova. In ‘Something for Nothing’ (#23, Spring 1988), three men discover an alien spaceship and argue about how to treat it. In ‘The Jonah Man’ (#28, March/April 1989), a spaceship 21  Simon Ounsley, ‘Editorial’, Interzone, #19 (Spring 1987), p. 3. 22  Charles Stross, email, 4 January 2013.

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explodes and three men struggle to survive on an escape pod meant for two. Through science, the men (or some of them) triumph, making Baxter’s stories decidedly upbeat: ‘stories like mine are still the exception rather than the rule in places like Interzone,’ he later reflected. ‘But there’s a big audience out there for upbeat sf. It’s a kind of nostalgia for the future.’23 That was the nature of Baxter’s fiction. It represented a vision of the future that had been typical of sf in the 1940s and 1950s, updated to allow for new scientific thinking. Baxter had been trying to sell short stories to the sf market since 1975, when he was 17, but there were not sufficient stable markets for him to gain a consistency of feedback. He was too daunted to submit to the American market and so it was not until 1986, after 11 years and upwards of a hundred rejection slips24 that he eventually sold to Interzone. Baxter had found Interzone an encouraging magazine. He recalled: I once sent a short story called ‘Khorta’s Experiment’ to Interzone. I quite liked the tale and was therefore a bit surprised when it was rejected until I read the reason why. The story was set in an alternate universe based on the premise that the larger an object was, the faster it fell. Unfortunately, the magazine pointed out to me that if one followed the laws of this universe to their logical conclusions, planetary systems would be incapable of retaining their atmosphere, effectively killing off my characters! Now that is an example of fairly constructive criticism, but in the American market in particular they can be rather niggling with their comments.25

Eric Brown, who debuted around the same time, also found Interzone’s feedback useful: Lots of encouragement and feedback, especially from Simon Ounsley. I recall that he suggested a big cut in my first story, ‘Krash-Bangg Joe and the Pineal-Zen Equation’, which helped me look at my other tales and see what might be redundant. There was some good editing on subsequent stories, too.26

23  Stephen Baxter, interview by Matthew Dickens, New Moon, #2 (January 1992), supplement, p. 1. 24  When his first story was published, Baxter joked that had it been rejected it would have been his 482nd unpublished story (see note in Interzone, #19 [Spring 1987], p. 50). In fact, as he later recalled, ‘I had about 50 stories, all with one or two rejection slips’: see interview between Stephen Baxter and Keith Brooke, Vector, #162 (August/September 1991), p. 6. 25  Stephen Baxter, interview by Colin Munro, Interzone, #50 (August 1991), pp. 40–41. 26  Eric Brown, email, 5 January 2013.

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Contributors found this encouragement inspirational. Greg Egan, who would become Interzone’s most popular contributor in the 1990s, recalled, ‘They boosted my confidence, they helped me focus on my strengths, and they led directly to my first UK publishing contract for Quarantine, after Deborah Beale read my stories in Interzone.’27 Both Stephen Baxter and Alastair Reynolds had the same recollection. Baxter remarked: It was also a shop window for the publishers; by 1989 my work in Interzone had brought me to the attention of Malcolm Edwards, so when I approached him with a novel proposal he was receptive. So, pretty essential for my own career, I’d say. It was part of a mesh of contacts and opportunities: once I was in Interzone more doors opened up.28

Reynolds recalled, ‘Once I became one of its semi-regular contributors, Interzone also helped establish the professional connections which eventually helped me get a novel deal.’29 Reynolds had submitted several stories to Interzone before his first was accepted in 1988 and published as ‘Nunivak Snowflakes’ in 1990, so it was a long process. More significant was his second sale, ‘Dilation Sleep’ (#39, September 1990), which presented, almost fully made, an episode in what would become his blockbuster Revelation Space series. Interzone thus provided the platform upon which both Stephen Baxter and Alastair Reynolds could initiate and explore the two major series which established their respective reputations. Reynolds recalled that his initial perception of Interzone, which he gained through the first anthology drawn from the first four issues, was that it did not publish the type of material he wanted to write. Nevertheless, he was prepared to subscribe to the magazine and was encouraged when he received the Winter 1985/86 issue and read Ian Watson’s ‘When the Timegate Failed’, which was the type of story he wanted to write. It dealt with a starship commander assigned to seduce an alien passenger through a form of ecstatic time dance. Watson was the type of renegade writer whose distinctive offbeat work helped set a mood for a magazine. His earlier tale, ‘The People on the Precipice’ (#13, Autumn 1985), which depicted a tribe whose whole universe is a massive cliff face, was voted by readers the most popular story that year. His next, ‘Jingling Geordie’s Hole’ (#17, Autumn 1986), proved the most controversial, where a young boy is raped by a primeval entity deep 27  Greg Egan, email, 5 January 2013. 28  Stephen Baxter, email, 6 January 2013. 29  Alastair Reynolds, email, 4 January 2013.

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in a cave. Equally challenging was ‘When Jesus Came Down the Chimney’ (#18, Winter 1986), which portrayed Father Christmas as the real Christ figure and Jesus as a revolutionary. Like Watson, Brian Stableford found Interzone a good market with which to explore new ideas, several of which were collected in Sexual Chemistry (1991). These stories trace attempts by individuals or corporations to manipulate life. ‘And He Not Busy Being Born …’ (#16, Summer 1986), the first new piece of fiction he had written in five years, looked into cryogenics and immortality. ‘Sexual Chemistry’ (#20, Summer 1987) considered the ultimate aphrodisiac. ‘The Growth of the House of Usher’ (#24, Summer 1988) has an individual build a monument to himself through the ingenious use of genetically modified larvae. Perhaps his best at this time, certainly the readers’ favourite, was ‘The Magic Bullet’ (#29, May/June 1989), a tense story of a scientist trying to uncover what breakthrough had been made by another scientist whose secret has been stolen. David Langford, usually known for his humour, developed a frightening idea in ‘Blit’ (#25, September/October 1988), where surreal images can be transmitted which fuse the human mind so that it crashes like a computer. These are just some of the radical, hard-sf stories by both new and seasoned British writers in Interzone. A few other examples include ‘Karl and the Ogre’ (#23, Spring 1988) by Paul J. McAuley, where genetically manipulated children become superior to their parents and establish a new world based on fairy-tales; ‘The Time-Lapsed Man’ (#24, Summer 1988), one of Eric Brown’s most popular early stories about an astronaut who, on returning to Earth, finds that his awareness of time is out of synch; and ‘Adrenotropic Man’ (#30, July/August 1989), Keith Brooke’s chilling debut story about a threat from eco-terrorists who have developed a drug that kills when people become alarmed. The stories by Kim Newman were seldom hard sf but were always radical and often chilling, such as ‘The Next-But-One Man’ (#19, Spring 1987), about a nasty individual who draws into himself because he hates society and loathes queues and then finds that, when Death comes for him, he still has to wait his turn. His most popular story was ‘The Original Dr. Shade’ (#36, June 1990), where a comic-strip artist finds himself under the influence of the comic-book character. American writers also responded to the demand for radical sf, despite their home markets. In ‘The Giving Plague’ (#23, Spring 1988), David Brin explores not one, but two plagues, one of which encourages humanity to gradually destroy itself. ‘Before I Wake’ (#27 January/February 1989) by Kim Stanley Robinson blurs the worlds between the dream-state and wakefulness to create an uncertain reality.

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One factor stands out from the above survey and that is the paucity of work by women. Interzone had conducted a reader survey in 1985 of which there were just 133 responses, not an especially high quota, but only 13 were from women. Did this mean that only 10% of readers were women or that women were less likely to respond? Either way, it suggested that far fewer women were engaged with Interzone. This was reflected in the number of contributions (excluding artwork). Of the 148 authors appearing in Interzone in its first 50 issues only 31 (21%) were women, and they were usually represented by only one or two stories each, whereas the men had multiple contributions. That figure was actually the same for the three primary American sf magazines. Individually, 20% of the stories in F&SF between 1981 and 1990 were by women, 27% in Asimov’s and, not too surprisingly, only 11% in Analog. Interzone was concerned about this and sought to encourage more women contributors. In #15 (Spring 1986), Judith Hanna, then the associate editor (though working full-time for the CND and later to work for the Campaign for Racial Equality) wrote an editorial providing her thoughts on what ‘radical sf’ was. She put forward the idea that ‘women are an alien race who have been colonized (or perhaps domesticated as pets) for so long that we’ve never known what it might be to live in other than a Man’s World’.30 She challenged that if men and women living in proximity are unable to understand each other’s needs and circumstances, what hope would we have of understanding a real alien. The subsequent issue (#16, Summer 1986) took up the challenge as the first ‘sex wars’ number, where several stories explored gender conflict. Most potent among these was Pat Murphy’s ‘His Vegetable Wife’, a particularly disturbing story about a man who acquires seeds that allow him to grow a wife whom he then subjects to severe abuse until she takes her revenge. As a counter to this was the deliberately provocative ‘The Brains of Rats’ by Michael Blumlein, which posits the idea of a virus that can enter the foetus and create either an all-male or all-female species. A second ‘sex wars’ issue followed with #29 (May/June 1989). There had been more opportunity to plan this issue but there were still only two women contributors, Karen Joy Fowler and Marianne Puxley. Surprisingly there were no letters published commenting on either issue. Interzone #42 (December 1990) became an ‘All-Female’ issue, though more out of ‘embarrassment than pride’ as editor Lee Montgomerie remarked in her editorial. Apart from readers’ letters and an interview with Mary Gentle conducted by Colin Greenland, the entire contents were by

30  Judith Hanna, ‘Editorial’, Interzone, #15 (Spring 1986), p. 2.

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women, including all artwork by Judith Clute. The response to the issue was mostly from men, some complaining that the male characters were treated patronizingly, but most complaining that the need to assemble an ‘all female issue’ was itself patronizing. Gordon Van Gelder remarked, ‘I don’t believe women and men are yet equal, but I do believe that pigeonholing members of either group will do nothing to further the cause for equality.’31 This was much the same criticism that Ben Bova had received when he assembled an all-female issue of Analog in 1977.32 It seemed a case of ‘damned-if-you-do and damned-if-you-don’t’, and the experiment at Interzone (or for that matter at Analog) was not repeated. It remained one of the challenges for Interzone to encourage a wider involvement from women. The other feature that Interzone developed as the 1980s progressed was to establish a healthy and lively review section. A few small reviews had been crammed in at the end of each issue from #2 onwards, but with #8 (Summer 1984) Mary Gentle began a formal review column which remained until #15. John Clute then stepped into the role of primary reviewer but many of the editorial collective or assistant/associate editors contributed reviews, making the section substantial. Nick Lowe began his film column, ‘Mutant Popcorn’, from #13 (Autumn 1985). Other non-fiction features or series were added, including regular author interviews, an ever-controversial opinion column by Charles Platt began in #24 (Summer 1988), while from #30 (July/August 1989) various contributors ran a series on ‘Big Sellers’, looking at the top-selling authors. This started with Brian Stableford on Douglas Adams, and later issues included Terry Pratchett, Anne McCaffrey, L. Ron Hubbard and Marion Zimmer Bradley. In short, Interzone had become a well-rounded magazine, fully professional in appearance, content and attitude, indeed in all aspects except circulation. This had remained around the 3,000 mark until 1988, when it finally achieved national newsstand distribution with sales approaching 10,000.33 What Interzone had shown was that with dedication and determination, plus common sense and caution, it was possible to launch a new magazine and one that contributed significantly to the culture of science fiction in Britain. Interzone was sufficiently established that it influenced the type of science fiction being written, ushering in a new radical, hard sf. In achieving that, it also developed a growing number of writers and served as 31  Gordon Van Gelder, letter, Interzone, #45 (March 1991), p. 5. 32 See Gateways to Forever, p. 30. 33  Locus reported that Interzone could now be classified as a professional magazine because sales had exceeded 10,000 copies. However, David Pringle confirmed that the average ‘print run’ (not ‘sales’) during 1989 was 9,991 copies: see Critical Wave, #14 (December 1989), p. 4.

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a conduit for them to gain a book publishing deal. By the end of the 1980s Interzone could be considered, in terms of quality and influence, at least the equal of its American counterparts Asimov’s, F&SF and Analog. Although its sales in the USA were minimal, the authors it established were making their name as contributors to US magazines and with books in their own right. Interzone was the real success story of the 1980s.

Beyond Interzone The rise of Interzone and the steady improvement in the economic situation in Britain allowed others to experiment. There was a flurry of amateur magazines, two of which achieved semi-professional status and made their impact upon the British sf scene—Back Brain Recluse and Dream Magazine. No two magazines could have better represented the two sides of British sf, the two poles that Interzone was itself endeavouring to unite. The two titles appeared just over a year apart, Back Brain Recluse (hereinafter BBR) in June 1984 and Dream in September 1985. Both were reproduced offset from typescript and printed as neat A5 booklets, but there the similarity ended. Labelled ‘A Magazine of Fiction and Art’, BBR was liberally illustrated, and clearly followed in the footsteps of New Worlds and the ‘new wave’. It was produced by Chris Reed, then living in Surrey, though he relocated to Derbyshire in 1987 and Sheffield in 1990. Dream was initially unillustrated, besides a standard cover, and made every effort to look neat and uniform, about as tidy as BBR was anarchic. It was produced by Trevor Jones in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire. Jones charged more for the magazine (£0.50 compared to BBR’s £0.30) but made it clear from the outset that he would pay for contributions, only £2 per thousand words (rising to £2.50 with the second issue and £5.00 from #5, May 1986), compared with Interzone’s £30 per thousand. The first issue of BBR, with its bold Beardsleyesque cover by Reed, proclaimed ‘poetry by Michael Moorcock’. This was ‘The Curse of Man’, lyrics composed by Moorcock for the band Hawkwind for a song performed on their 1984 tour. It was a fascination with Moorcock and Hawkwind that had inspired the magazine. Chris Reed had assisted Terry Hopkins on a special Moorcock issue of Orbit (#6, April 1984), the Hawkwind fanzine that had started in May 1982. BBR’s title came from another of Hawkwind’s

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songs on which Moorcock performs, ‘Running Through the Back Brain’. Moorcock appeared in three later issues with his lyrics.34 Reed targeted the first couple of issues at readers of other music fanzines rather than the sf network, but this led him to make contact with the American fan Chuck Connor and through him Steve Sneyd and Andrew Darlington. These issues have the look and mood of what New Worlds might have been in the late 1960s had it not struggled against the odds, but they lacked any major writers. Apart from Moorcock’s occasional lyrics most contributions were by Darlington, Sneyd, t. Winter-Damon and Reed himself, as well as early material by Simon Clark. Clark’s gruesome story of a living cancer, ‘… Beside the Seaside, Beside the Sea …’ (#4, July 1985) was selected by Karl Edward Wagner for his Year’s Best Horror Stories XIV (1986). As the magazine’s reputation grew, so did the quality of its production and artwork, particularly the atmospheric work of Simon Short (who preferred to be known as SMS) and Dallas Goffin, both of whose covers reflected the nature and period feel of individual issues. The few betterknown names it attracted were with some obscure items. For example, Ian Watson’s ‘La Fin de Bon-Bon’, a short tale about a twenty-first-century France run by a computer which seeks to remove all English words from the French language, had hitherto only appeared in the French sf magazine Science-Fiction (March 1986), so had its first English outing in BBR #11 (September 1988). Instead, BBR was chiefly a home for those avant-garde writers who usually gravitated to the small-press magazines for their more unusual material, such as Lyle Hopwood, Don Webb, David Memmott and the overwhelmingly prolific D. F. Lewis. Lyle Hopwood, British born but then a California resident, contributed several good stories just at the same time as she started to sell to Interzone. Two in particular that readers appreciated were her treatment of the cyberpunk style in ‘The Technophobe’ (#10, Spring 1988) and ‘Sensonomicon’ (#11, September 1988), the latter describing a new videogame that mixes up the senses. There were some surprises. The British Fortean and researcher into unexplained phenomena, Benson Herbert, who had once sold sf to Gernsback’s Wonder Stories, appeared here with his last story, ‘Checkmate’ (#10). Although easily readable, this story of first contact with aliens who are proficient in chess seemed out of place in BBR. Likewise were several crossover stories from John Light, a regular contributor to Dream, whose stories here also feel misplaced, such as ‘Professor Mif and the Ancient

34  These were later collected in Brian Tawn (ed.), Dude’s Dreams: The Music Of Michael Moorcock (Wisbech: Hawkfan Publications, 1997).

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Burial Urns’ (#5, Spring 1986), little more than an extended joke about future scientists mistaking ancient dustbins as burial urns. There was a surprise appearance from Stephen Baxter whose ‘The Space Butterflies’ (#13, Summer 1989) is another of his early efforts though sufficiently unusual to fit into the BBR mode. BBR was at its best when presenting the quirky, the bizarre and at times the almost incomprehensible. Reed strove to make each issue individualistic and not repeat the mood or feel of earlier issues. Someone once told Reed that it was harder to be published in BBR a second time than the first.35 This may explain the only appearance here by Neal Asher, with his first story ‘Another England’ (#14, Autumn 1989). It is told from the viewpoint of a genetically produced giant killing machine, rather like Frankenstein’s monster, and is very effective. Though Asher didn’t appear again in BBR, his output over the next decade was almost entirely short fiction, all of which appeared in British small-press magazines such as Nova SF, Premonitions, Threads and The Third Alternative. In June 1989 Chris Reed, along with Dave Hughes of Works, decided to provide a more positive outlet for small-press magazines through the creation of the New Science Fiction Alliance (NSFA), dedicated to the promotion of excellence in the British sf and fantasy small press. In theory this was little more than a better method of distribution, providing the market with a greater awareness of the small press via a catalogue, but in practice it established a healthy network of contacts both between UK small-press publishers and those in the USA. For some years Reed was extremely active. Besides BBR and Works, the other participating magazines at the outset were Auguries, Dream, New Visions, The Scanner and The Edge, but others soon came on board including several American and Canadian titles, Edge Detector, Ellipsis, Ice River, Jabberwocky, New Pathways and Space & Time. At the same time Reed expanded BBR into the semi-professional market. This began with #15 (Spring 1990), now in A4 size, neatly printed using the latest computer technology, and on a planned quarterly schedule. It became a paying market from #16 (though only £5 per thousand words) and, from #18 (Spring 1991), Reed secured national distribution with the same company that handled Interzone. These large-size issues not only looked more professional and were beautifully designed and illustrated, they carried more work by professional writers, established and new. Garry Kilworth, Paul Di Filippo, Nicholas Royle, Richard Kadrey and, after a long gap, the return of Michael Moorcock, with a full-length story, ‘The Romanian Question’ (#18, Spring 1991).

35  Chris Reed, email, 23 February 2013.

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As BBR sought to expand in 1990, Chris Reed chose to criticize Interzone for its own success, arguing that it had sold out to the establishment and had chosen to play it safe. ‘Whereas once it was Interzone’s intention to promote new writers because “established writers—by definition—have established markets”, that role now seems to have taken more of a back seat’.36 Needless to say David Pringle responded, countering Reed’s assumptions and noting: Any professional SF magazine, however well founded, publishes a mix of established and new authors. To do otherwise is crazy. If you don’t publish well-known authors you’ll reach only a minuscule readership; and if you don’t continue to publish new authors at the same time you’ll rapidly become stale and old-fashioned.37

BBR’s views had found some support from within the small-press fraternity but Chris Reed would soon find how difficult it was to succeed like Interzone. There was much hope when he secured newsstand distribution but the anticipated sales never came. ‘[I]t seems the general browsing public simply isn’t interested in a magazine like BBR,’ he wrote. ‘Life’s too grim to have a magazine such as BBR keep challenging like an over-enthusiastic cattle-prod, when all you want to do is escape and forget.’38 Consequently he pulled BBR out of the newsagent deal after only two issues and reassimilated, but the damage was done. BBR would continue for a further four issues spread out over the next ten years. They were all excellent issues, but it was no longer the challenging and expectant magazine of the 1980s.  Although it appeared later than Back Brain Recluse, Dream had a much earlier history. Trevor Jones had been producing his own fanzines since True SF in 1966. These were generally typed and hand illustrated. An earlier incarnation of Dream appeared in November 1967 as a companion to Speculation, which had started a month earlier. Both were described as ‘one copy per issue’ magazines. Speculation was Jones’s magazine and Dream was edited by his friend George P. Townsend, though the two effectively worked together and continued to do so for almost 30 years. Speculation ran for 13 issues until February 1970, while Dream achieved 26 occasional issues, ceasing in December 1978. One of its contributors, Charles Luther, called Dream ‘a

36  Chris Reed, ‘A Free Market for SF?’, BBR, #15 (Spring 1990), p. 6. 37  David Pringle, letter, BBR, #16 (Summer 1990), p. 4. 38  Chris Reed, ‘Not drowning but waving’, BBR, #20 (Spring 1992), p. 3.

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sort of New Wave Underground Hippie mag’.39 Between them, Jones and Townsend produced a few other scattered magazines, few copies of which survive. During these years Jones’s health deteriorated due to kidney failure and he was forced to retire from work, but the drive to produce a magazine remained. Dream was revived in 1985, with Townsend’s help, this time on a firmer footing and a regular bi-monthly schedule. Dream was really a continuation of the type of sf that John Carnell had published in New Worlds and Science Fantasy in the 1950s. Jones wanted his sf to be ‘fun’, not pretentious, but he also included the occasional ghost story and fantasy. Many of the same circle of friends who had contributed to the earlier incarnation continued to appear, notably Gerry Connelly, who was in almost every issue, but Jones also attracted Carnell’s former contributors, Sydney J. Bounds and E. R. James, while among new writers were Peter T. Garratt, Duncan Lunan, Ian G. Whates and, perhaps surprisingly, Andrew Darlington and Steve Sneyd, the latter two more closely associated with BBR. Of particular interest were the contributions from Stephen M. Baxter. Baxter recalled that once he’d made the breakthrough and sold ‘The Xeelee Flower’ to Interzone it gave him the incentive to try some of the leading small-press magazines, including Dream. With the small press he felt he got more reader reaction and ‘a bit more encouragement’.40 ‘The Bark Spaceship’ (which was reprinted in Vacuum Diagrams as ‘Shell’) had been rejected by Interzone, but appeared in Dream #14 (November 1987) and garnered a range of responses from ‘altogether more substantial’ to ‘inconclusive’. This story is also set in the Xeelee universe. Baxter told me: my next story [‘The Bark Spaceship’] was a far-future story about the last humans contained in a four-dimensional-box pocket universe by more offstage aliens. At some point it occurred to me that I could make said aliens the Xeelee, and I’d have a kind of beginning and end of a future history. It all grew organically from that, for a long time just depending on the story ideas I was coming up with.41

The encouragement Baxter received from Jones and Dream’s readers prompted him to write a deliberate sequel to the story, which appeared as ‘The Eighth Room’ in #20 (Summer 1989) and which brought more encouraging feedback. Baxter would have four stories in Dream, three of which

39  Charles Luther, interview by Emmanuel Escanco, Dream Quarterly, #15 (Spring 1988), p. 36. 40  See interview between Stephen Baxter and Keith Brooke, Vector, #162 (August/ September 1991), p. 5. 41  Stephen Baxter, email, 6 January 2013.

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developed his Xeelee universe, so that while Interzone gave him the initial impetus it was Dream that gave him the room to experiment and develop. Dream was itself developing. A companion, New Moon Quarterly, had started in June 1987, in the same format, edited by Townsend. It was intended to run stories outside the Dream mode, such as fantasies or more light-hearted or eccentric science fiction. Some of its fiction would have worked just as well in Dream, such as ‘Take Two’ (#2, September 1987) by Ian G. Whates, which introduces the Phildickian suspicion that the Earth may be populated entirely by androids, or ‘Puppets’ by Elliot Smith, in the final issue (#5, Summer 1988), which explored the consequences of psycho-engineering or mind manipulation. With #15 (Spring 1988) Dream switched to computer typesetting, allowing more wordage per issue, and at the same time became quarterly. Although it officially called itself Dream Quarterly it always remained Dream Science Fiction on the cover, which now featured a new standard illustration of a robot sitting in deep contemplation on a crescent moon. Peter Garratt ensured the new quarterly was off to a good start with ‘Voices of Other Times’ (Spring 1988), which drew upon his own strengths as a clinical psychologist and explored the idea of hypnotic regression as a form of time travel. It was regarded as one of the best stories the magazine published. Dream added interior artwork, reviews plus an astronomy column by Duncan Lunan. Jones’s continuing poor health meant that from #18 (Winter 1988) Dream was merged with New Moon Quarterly, still under the Dream name, and George Townsend became editor, though the two worked closely together. These later issues include some of Dream’s best fiction. Among the most popular contributors were Peter T. Garratt, Gerry Connelly, Keith Brooke, Charles Luther, Lyle Hopwood and, of course, Stephen Baxter— Trevor Jones tipped Baxter to be a major writer of the 1990s. Baxter’s future fellow author of blockbusters, Peter F. Hamilton, made his first appearance in Dream with ‘Bodywork’ (September 1990), revealing a future where economic status depended on a trade in body parts and cyber-parts. Dream had considerable support from within the sf fraternity and although it never made a profit, neither did it make much of a loss. Jones became sufficiently emboldened to risk turning it into a professional magazine, called New Moon, on a par with Interzone and two other professional magazines that had also just appeared, The Gate and R.E.M. Although they were not related, these three magazines seem fatally linked because they appeared and disappeared around the same time. The Gate had appeared in April 1989, though few noticed it. Richard Newcombe, a printer in Peterborough, had long wanted to produce a

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magazine. He turned to the BSFA for help and secured Maureen Porter as editor. She was supported by the Peterborough Science Fiction Club and other notables within the sf fraternity, including specialist bookdealers Ken Slater and Rog Peyton. Newcombe was advised to print The Gate in the pocketbook format. Although he secured a distribution deal with Diamond Europress, which also distributed Interzone, when he had printed and bound the run of 8,000 copies, Diamond advised him that they could only distribute it to dealers if it was in A4 format. As a result most copies remained undistributed with its few sales through specialist bookshops and the rare subscription. To compound the problem, the first issue was not very good. Its cover with dragons, dwarves and swordsmen suggested a fantasy magazine rather that sf, and the spaceship also on the cover simply looked incongruous. It was badly printed and formatted, and the poor-quality paper did not help the reproduction of film stills. It looked more like a throwback to the early issues of Authentic. Neither was it helped by the contents which were unexceptional. Not even Brian Stableford’s ‘Cinderella’s Sisters’, another of his ‘Sexual Chemistry’ genetic engineering stories, made the issue worthwhile, and the only item that alleviated the overall gloom was James White’s ‘Type “Genie” and Run’, in which a computer grants its owner three wishes with major global consequences. David Mace’s story, ‘The Purpose of the Experiment’, might seem almost self-fulfilling as it suggests that the Earth, as an experiment, had failed. Despite this setback, Newcombe persevered. Although Porter stepped down as editor, she had acquired sufficient material for two more issues, so Newcombe undertook the work himself, assisted by local poet Cardinal Cox. It was not until August 1990 that the second issue was released, now in A4 format, and it looked considerably better. The fiction was also an improvement, with good debut stories by Christopher Amies and Andy Sawyer and a powerful lead story by Dean Whitlock, ‘The Smell of Cloves’, about the struggle and determination by a small team to keep an experimental other-world colony alive. The increased size allowed for better reproduction of the artwork. Most of the design work was by a team of German artists in Hanover looking for wider recognition and, good though it was, none of the art related to the stories. Again they gave the impression of a fantasy rather than sf magazine. The second issue received some local distribution, but was still undersubscribed and seen by only a few. Apart from Garry Kilworth’s ‘Surfing Spanish Style’, none of the stories has been reprinted and it remains little known. A third issue, dated December 1990 but not distributed until February 1991, showed further improvement with a striking cover by Eddie Jones and an excellent lead story by Storm Constantine, who had hitherto

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had stories in anthologies and small-press publications, but this was her first magazine appearance. This issue was the first to receive full newsstand distribution, but it was too little, too late. Newcombe had expended far more than he could afford on the magazine, and though the fourth issue was compiled and typeset, he could no longer afford to print or distribute it. The newsletter Ansible reported its fate over two years later: Past contributors are still being paid in small slow instalments, getting slower. In his [Newcombe’s] dusty storage boxes are various MSS accepted but not paid for, not scheduled, not yet returned. Subscribers are in for a long wait … He started The Gate trying to publish the kind of sf he’d like to read, but was poorly advised on marketing and ended with unsold thousands of the dated-looking first issue. (Still in his attic. Any offers?) As printers, his people can print the mag but have no expertise in distribution. Newsstand sales earned him only 45% of an already low cover price. He tried selling to fan groups, but each bought just one copy and passed it around.42

The second issue of The Gate had contained a letter by Arthur Straker noting that he was planning to launch his magazine, R.E.M., in five months’ time (or early 1990), also in paperback form. Delay followed delay, aggravated by problems over trying to merge R.E.M. with Psychocandy, a magazine planned by Andrew Coates for June 1990 release. Critical Wave reported: As the financial implications of running a paying magazine hit home, Coates attempted to merge his project, first with The Gate (a title not without its own difficulties), then with Arthur Straker’s R.E.M. Straker agreed to combine efforts, with the new magazine retaining his own title, and Coates moved into his London home to use Straker’s typesetting facilities. But the partnership lasted just twelve days, Coates finally abandoning the publishing completely and leaving Straker to go it alone with R.E.M., now rescheduled for August.43

R.E.M. did not appear until the start of April 1991 (dated Spring/ Summer). Lessons had been learned from The Gate, and R.E.M. was in A4 format, with a striking cover and good-quality paper. In his editorial to the first issue, Straker made reference to a ‘new and exciting generation of writers’ encouraged by the small-press magazines of the New SF Alliance and by Interzone. Straker felt that Interzone now formed the sf establishment in Britain and that there was still a market for a magazine to focus on new

42  David Redd, news item, Ansible, #73 (August 1993), http://news.ansible.uk/a73.html. 43  Critical Wave, #17 (July 1990), p. 4.

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and upcoming authors and to risk rather more unconventional fiction. In this, R.E.M. delivered, but it was seriously let down by presentation. The first issue had stories crammed into three columns of tiny type, with text and notices in unreadable white-on-grey printing, plus a high quota of errors. Such artwork as was used was good, especially the ever-reliable work by SMS. Contributions were entirely by the current crop of small-press writers who were making a professional mark: Eric Brown, Keith Brooke, Matthew Dickens, Michael Cobley and Simon D. Ings. Ings’s story, ‘Hothead’, stood out and established his name. It was an abridged version of his first novel, Hot Head, which he had recently sold but which did not appear until May 1992. The story has a violent post-cyberpunk mood—inevitably christened ‘Europunk’—about a cyborg struggling against the odds to determine the nature of an alien weapon on the Moon which has been attacking Earth. The story suffered slightly from being abridged, but was still an exhilarating read. Before long, Ings was selling to Omni. He had already sold several stories to the small press and had run the Cassandra Writers’ Workshop since 1983 from which had been drawn a series of Cassandra anthologies, through to 1987, and then absorbed into Ings’s own fanzine, Fisheye, for one further issue (December 1987). Ings’s own first stories had appeared in Cassandra, as had Charles Stross’s.44 Straker had found the cost of producing R.E.M. excessive and distribution was limited. He persevered but it was 18 months before a second issue appeared in November 1992. ‘Reports of its demise were slightly, but only slightly, exaggerated,’ he told me at the time.45 Straker also commented: ‘Andrew Coates bowed-out as co-publisher of R.E.M. in July 1991. Two of the stories herein were originally scheduled to appear in Andrew’s now defunct magazine Psychocandy. Without his selfless contributions, issue one would probably never have come out at all and his contributions to this issue are much appreciated.’46 Just as with the first issue, though, this was spoiled by overzealous experimentation with the printing and the small and varied typeface. This reduced the enjoyment of the fiction which overall was good, with material by Storm Constantine, Colin Greenland, Simon Ings, Garry Kilworth and David Wingrove. Straker had selected his material so that R.E.M. positioned itself poles apart from Interzone, and close to but not clashing with BBR. Straker claimed he would continue, but nothing more appeared. 44  Ings’s first appearance was ‘The Withdrawal’ (Cassandra #3, 1983), and Stross’s was ‘Terrorists’ (#6, 1985). 45  Arthur Straker, letter, 15 November 1992. 46  Arthur Straker, ‘Editorial’, R.E.M., #2 (November 1992), p. 2.

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Yet still the hopefuls tried. Another magazine that attempted to make a go of it was Far Point, which appeared in October 1991 (cover date November/ December). It came out of the blue and surprised many. It was published by Victoria Publications in Grantham, Lincolnshire and edited by J. C. H. (‘Charlie’) Rigby. It was another A4 full-size glossy magazine, heaped with many interior illustrations, some in colour including a centre spread, and plenty of adverts, mostly for science-fiction games or comics, which was the magazine’s primary distribution network. In his editorial Rigby played the same pitch as Trevor Jones had in New Moon, namely to eschew the more considered or experimental sf and go for pure entertainment. If it was able to address important issues as well, so much the better, but that wasn’t essential. It labelled itself both a science fiction and fantasy magazine and the first issue ran mostly fantasy or, in the case of Brian Stableford’s ‘Justice’, macabre fiction. Such science fiction as it did run was relatively minor and, even though the second issue featured work by Piers Anthony and Larry Niven with Steven Barnes, this was still angled towards the fantastic. The second issue had further problems when it was soon discovered that the front cover by Tony Todd was a mirror version of David A. Hardy’s cover to Interzone #39. Hardy was duly recompensed and made art editor from #5—except that Far Point never made it that far. The last two issues saw a considerable improvement in the fiction with work by Charles Stross, John Duffield, Peter Hamilton, John Brunner and Andy Sawyer, though there was still too much immature material. Far Point looked superficially good but only delivered a fraction of what it offered. Soon after the fourth issue, distributed in April 1992 (dated May/June), an undated note was circulated to all subscribers saying that the fifth issue, which would have contained Andy Cox’s first published story, would be delayed until 10 December. The reason given was that ‘the Editor’s employers have sent him overseas for several months and this has made it impossible to continue with the magazine in the way that we would like’. Once Rigby was out of the country, Victoria Publications returned all new manuscripts unread to their authors. All of these short-lived magazines had considerable potential but lacked sufficient groundwork and investment. As a consequence they hindered the magazine scene rather than helped, by reinforcing the message that an sf magazine could not sell. Interzone continued, shifting to a monthly schedule from May 1990 and establishing itself as the backbone of science fiction in Britain, but, after the failure of the other magazines, the small press itself retrenched, and only Dave Hughes’s Works took the plunge to expand into the large-size format for its last two issues in 1994–95. Yet the last three

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issues of Works had been spread over five years, so it was no longer a serious contender, despite labelling itself ‘Britain’s leading SF magazine for mood orientated fiction & prose’. Works had started in Summer 1988 as another neat A5-size magazine, bound in glossy white card covers, calling itself ‘A Magazine of Imaginative and Speculative Fiction’. It was produced by Dave W. Hughes and Andy Stewart in Huddersfield, Yorkshire, though Stewart stepped down after the fifth issue and Hughes continued alone. Works was something of a hybrid, giving the appearance of being more radical than it was. It ran material by Andy Darlington, Chris Reed, D. F. Lewis and Steve Sneyd, all of the BBR school, but also by John Light and Kevin Cullen, who were more of the Dream school. The production qualities of the early issues were erratic, perhaps believing that the anarchic appearance gave it that radical edge, but it simply made it difficult to read. It improved dramatically from #6, released at the end of 1989, when it became fully typeset and laser printed. Even before then, though, it had attracted minor items by Brian Aldiss and Ian Watson, and had run special issues for new writers and new poets. It began to make great strides with its seventh issue (undated but released in mid-1990), with improved production values and a greater sense of purpose. It had seemed that in the early issues Hughes had published whatever came his way, but now the magazine developed a focus, ‘specialising in mood and surreal fiction’, as Hughes described it. It was at this point that Hughes expanded the magazine to A4 size and decided to produce it on his own, including the printing. Perhaps this was too much, which was a shame, because the issues now stretched out over the years. The tenth and final issue, which appeared in 1995, was the best of them all, with excellent short fiction by Neal Asher, Andy Cox and Jeff VanderMeer, and a reprint of John Brunner’s ‘Three Nightmares in Brown’ from Something Else. The artwork by Kevin Cullen, Jay Hurst and Liam Kemp was also impressive and gave the impression that Works had at last mastered all its problems and had its vision set on becoming established. Alas, nothing else appeared. It was against this uncertain climate that Dream converted into New Moon, the first issue dated September 1991. It had now forsaken its familiar and friendly A5 format and gone the way of all the other new magazines, A4 size, glossy and heavily illustrated but with more readable type. Yet despite the title change and reversion to issue #1, it ran a letter column of commentary on the previous issues of Dream. Trevor Jones was editor-in-chief assisted, as always, by George Townsend. In his first editorial, Jones remained upbeat, contending that New Moon was going to be the purveyor of ‘nineties’ sf. He argued that in Britain ‘seventies’ sf had been doom and gloom, disaster and decay, and he wanted none

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of that; ‘eighties’ sf had been cyberpunk and splatterpunk and technological nightmares, and he felt we’d moved on beyond that. But he chose not to define ‘nineties’ sf, other than preferring optimistic sf, hoping that the contributors would pave the way. The now familiar set of new names adorned the issue, Stephen Baxter emerging from behind the previous by-line of S. M. Baxter, with ‘Before Sebastopol’ set in an alternate Crimean War verging on steampunk, and Peter Hamilton, hiding behind the P. F. Hamilton by-line, with ‘Sonnie’s Edge’, set post-global warming in an age where genetic engineering has allowed the creation of artificial monsters which can be pitted against each other. Matthew Dickens, John Duffield and Philip Sidney Jennings each provided competent but not exceptional fiction and Duncan Lunan continued his astronomy column. Issue #2, released in January 1992, continued what looked like a positive trend with work by Peter Hamilton, Eric Brown, Keith Brooke, E. R. James and a long piece by Andy Darlington, all fine adventure stories with strong characters and plot. New Moon was closing in on Interzone, and certainly matching BBR for quality. Unfortunately before #3 could be published, Trevor Jones’s fragile health collapsed. Despite his valiant efforts, he died on 26 February 1993. Dream and New Moon remain a wonderful legacy to a determined champion of science fiction and a man who helped many British writers start their careers. As Peter Hamilton told me: ‘It was very encouraging for a complete novice to make any sale and the editor was always supportive, and of course I went on to sell to New Moon, which was a big step up as far as the perceived ladder was in those days.’47  In the space of only three years a mini-boom in British small-press magazines had come and gone, and the message was clear. A new magazine needed considerable initial planning, investment and time and could not be rushed. Interzone had followed what seemed to be the one successful route, allowing itself to set down its roots and grow thanks to the investment of time by the editorial collective and establishing a solid subscriber base before expanding. There were other casualties, not just in the sf world. Fear had been a magazine primarily of horror fiction and media coverage, although editor John Gilbert planned to run some science fiction. It had appeared in July 1988 as a bi-monthly and went monthly in July 1989, by then claiming a circulation of 25,000 and promising a word rate of £50 per thousand for new writers and more for established names. It was a glossy, slick magazine

47  Peter F. Hamilton, email, 8 January 2013.

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with high production costs and, according to its publisher, Newsfield, never made a profit. It ceased when the publisher went bankrupt in 1991. Fantasy Tales fared slightly better. This attractive little magazine, published and edited by Stephen Jones and David Sutton in emulation of Weird Tales, had survived remarkably well under its own steam from 1977 to 1988. As a consequence Nick Robinson, the publisher of Robinson Books, thought it worth taking on as a regular paperback series. The first of the new series appeared in September 1988 and sold out, so much so that it was reprinted, with further copies printed for the American market. From May 1990 it had a separate American edition. However, the publisher soon discovered that the lower cover price granted to a serial publication was not enough to cover the production costs, especially as the initial sales of 20,000 started to fall. The magazine continued for seven issues until November 1991 and was then mothballed while a new approach was considered, but nothing further happened. Steve Jones’s summary of why it failed is a lesson for all the small-press endeavours: I think what I learned is that you need to remain true to your vision. We allowed ourselves to believe what we were told by the ‘professionals’ and, to be honest, they had even less idea about what they were doing than we did! When we started Fantasy Tales back in 1977, Dave and I had a very clear idea about what we wanted to do. And we stuck to that vision, building upon it when technology and money enabled us to. That’s what made it a success.48

Remaining true to your vision was a similar reflection that Chris Reed made with Back Brain Recluse. When considering the low point of publishing BBR, Reed related The low spots are where we strayed from what our instincts were telling us. For a small-press magazine to progress the accepted wisdom was that it had to pay pro rates for its stories; for an A5 magazine to progress, it had to move up to A4; for an A4 magazine to progress, it had to get a distribution deal. Just when [we] could least afford it, we ploughed money into the magazine. However, that deal was riddled with naivety and poor communication and as soon as we realized we’d made a significant error of judgement we bought our way out of the contract.49

What was evident was that the small press had learned the harsh lesson by experience that it should not overstretch itself but instead concentrate

48  Stephen Jones in a private note assembled by David A. Sutton, 13 April 2010. 49  Chris Reed, email, 23 February 2013.

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on an essential service in its own right. Dream, Back Brain Recluse and others had, in their heyday in the mid-to-late 1980s, been a valuable stepping stone for new writers who could move on to Interzone, and from there to books. Trevor Jones had remarked on this when Interzone published their new writers issue in June 1990, noting that all of the writers in that issue had previously contributed to the small-press magazines. He added: ‘The plain truth is that the true breeding ground for the best new authors has, in the last few years, been the small presses.’50 By trying to be more than they were the small press overreached itself and removed that much-needed stepping stone, leaving the short-fiction market in Britain much depleted at the start of the 1990s. Yet the strength of Interzone was able to give that market sufficient resilience to continue its growth and development. The future for radical hard sf was still bright.

50  Trevor Jones, ‘Editorial’, Dream, #25 (September 1990), p. 3.

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5 The Second Interlude: Other Worlds

Whereas the changes and rebellions happening in the science-fiction magazines in the United States and Great Britain are part of a natural evolution, there are different trends, influences and intentions elsewhere in the world, including elsewhere in the English-speaking world. I explore the international magazines in more detail in Appendix 1, but it is more pertinent to consider here those from Éire, Canada, Australia, South Africa and even Singapore, all of which were in English.

Éire It is all too easy for the writers in the Irish Republic (Éire) to be categorized with the Irish in Northern Ireland, which forms part of the United Kingdom. The Northern Irish writers, notably James White, Bob Shaw and Ian McDonald, have always been regarded as part of the British writing scene, though the only significant magazine to be published in Northern Ireland at this time had been Extro, which I discussed in the previous chapter. Éire’s claim to fame is Albedo One, which began in Summer 1993 but its roots go back 17 years. The Irish Science Fiction Association (ISFA) had been founded in Dublin by Richard Gallagher, with its inaugural meeting held on 30 May 1976. Its patrons were Harry Harrison and Anne McCaffrey, both of whom had recently settled in Éire. It was from these gatherings that Harrison promulgated the idea of the First World Science Fiction Writers Conference which was held in Dublin in September 1976, and from out of which came the World SF organization. As its host, the ISFA issued a magazine called Stargate. The first issue, dated October 1976 and released to coincide with the World SF meeting, was a basic typed and duplicated

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fanzine running to 52 A4 pages. It was full mostly of notes, reviews and commentary, two poems and one story, ‘Discard’ by Kerry Brady. Stargate would survive for eight years and 15 irregular and at times rather ragged issues, though it did improve its appearance from #3 (February 1978) when it became an A5 chapbook with card covers. It was a typical club-based magazine, and not one in which to develop a career, yet a few names did emerge. The second issue, which did not appear until October 1977, ran to 72 pages, but again carried only one story, ‘Shonnhet and Finstad’ by a writer who had just made his debut elsewhere. Nicholas Emmett had sold the light-hearted ‘Mirror, Mirror on the Wall’ to New Worlds where it appeared in volume 10 of the anthology series in August 1976. Emmett sold a few other stories to small-press magazines, including FTL, the successor to Stargate, as well as a mainstream novel The Cave (1986) and a story collection Red Mist (1990). The seventh issue, undated but appearing in late 1980, featured Graham Andrews’s story, ‘The Para-Present’, about psi talents, which had won the Aisling Gheal [Bright Vision] story contest run by the ISFA. Andrews was from Northern Ireland and became an associate editor on Extro. He had just started to place stories with other small-press magazines, including Nova SF and Dream, before he completed his first book, Darkness Audible (1991), a sequence of stories related by a writer who is undergoing psychoanalysis. Andrews’s stories feature individuals torn apart by their anguish, loyalties and desires and, as in ‘… Hell is a City’ (Nova SF #1, Spring 1990), having to face their other self. Gerry McCarthy, who would later place a story in the Gollancz/Sunday Times science-fiction competition in 1986 (‘Entrepanto’, about the control of contamination) debuted in the eighth issue of Stargate in 1980 with ‘Harp Uppermost’, a complicated alternate-reality story. Paul Campbell, who became the editor of Extro, also debuted in Stargate. His first story, ‘Slow Harry’, which was reprinted in the first issue of Extro (February/March 1982), first appeared in Stargate in the undated and unnumbered ninth issue in late 1981. A story of anguish and turmoil across time, ‘Slow Harry’ also won the Aisling Gheal contest. For a small, rather inconsistent and haphazard magazine, Stargate encouraged fiction from a surprising number of people. In its last three issues it was decided to run the stories anonymously, which was no help to the contributors and the magazine eventually ceased in 1984 at the same time that the ISFA imploded after a committee member absconded with the proceeds of a convention.

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It was five years before a reformed ISFA attempted another fiction magazine, but this time it was more organized and focused. This was FTL, which ran for 11 issues from March 1989 to Winter 1991. Most of the stories were by a small team who also took turns editing. Editor for the first two issues (and the last) was John Kenny, who had stories in three issues. The most powerful was ‘Malachi’s Return’ (#5, Summer 1990), portraying a far-future global tyranny modelled on the Catholic Church in Ireland in the 1950s. ‘The Good Life’ (#6, Autumn 1990) considered the increasing demands on families of keeping the terminally ill alive almost indefinitely. ‘When Evening Falls’ (#7, Winter 1990), another emotional story, was about clones falling in love. Kenny was succeeded as editor on #3 and #4 by David Egan, who also edited #7 and #8. He had stories in the first three issues, each different from the other. ‘Puppet’ (#1, March 1989) was a traditional space opera, ‘Opium of the People’ (#2, June 1989) portrayed a cult with access to strange technology, while ‘Protection’ (#3, Winter 1989) was the most Irish of them, where a traveller in a pub meets the little people. Michael Carroll edited #5 and #6 and also had three stories of which the most powerful was ‘Sight Out of Mind’ (#8, Spring 1991), where a teenager from the 1970s finds himself in his own body in the 1990s. Carroll is perhaps the most popular writer to emerge from FTL. He attended a writing class given by author Michael Scott and soon published his first novel for young adults, Moonlight (1994), but he has become best known for his series about the New Heroes, young adults who find they are developing superpowers, which began with The Quantum Prophecy in 2006. Finally Robert Elliott edited #9 and #10. He had four stories in the first issue, all humorous, including ‘Of Meat and Two Veg’, where the present day is visited by a time-travelling carrot. Thereafter Elliott concentrated on non-fiction, which included interviews with David Brin (#6, Autumn 1990) and Robert Rankin (#10, Autumn 1991). Other contributors included Bobby MacLaughlin, David Murphy and Michael Cullen. MacLaughlin used local culture in ‘Illegal Alien’ (#1) and ‘Illegal Alien Goes Out’ (#9), both of which explored the Irish social scene from the viewpoint of a stranded alien. David Murphy had four stories, all very different, ranging from the horrors of a fallout shelter after a nuclear attack in ‘Shelter’ (#6, Autumn 1990) to the surprisingly simple but deeply significant ‘Undertow’ (#3, Winter 1989), which considers the impact on intellectual evolution when a Stone Age tribe encounters the sea for the first time. Cullen was the most prolific contributor with five stories, but the one stand-out by far was ‘The Hospital of Saint Alsace’ (#9, Summer 1991), where a man undergoes a form of psychic time travel into the minds

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of those in a Victorian asylum. Only one contributor from Stargate also appeared in FTL and that was Nicholas Emmett with ‘A Brass Chair’ (#4, Spring 1990), a tense story of mounting evil. FTL’s fiction, though variable in quality, was certainly high for an amateur magazine. Its authors were revelling in the opportunity to express themselves in their own market and it’s evident that FTL liberated some of that Irish renown for storytelling. There was much humour but there were also expressions of violence and control which may reflect the political problems in Éire and Northern Ireland at the time. Two such examples are ‘The Impact of the Video’ (#3, Winter 1989) by Sacha Mahon, where a video nasty hypnotizes youngsters to commit murder, and ‘Headhunting’ (#7, Winter 1990) by Robert Neilson, which portrays a future Ballymun, an area of north Dublin once notorious for its social deprivation, where police and villains wage battle with new firepower. Another by Neilson, ‘Without Honour’ (#11, Winter 1991), is perhaps the bleakest, when a man finds himself in a soulless future trapped in a world of concrete. Here were stories that reflected the dark side of Ireland without hope. But these were balanced by such uplifting stories as the delightful ‘Gligots’ by Brendan Farrell in the final issue, presented as a fairy-tale and where hope for the future is placed in the imagination of children who alone had the power to believe. Over its 11 issues FTL grew from an A5 booklet to a professionally printed A4 magazine on coated stock, fully illustrated and with a range of features and reviews. It was a quality magazine and the eleventh issue spoke about further plans for development. However, there was disagreement within the ISFA over the magazine’s future, with a majority favouring a return to a more fan-based and much cheaper option. Attempts to finalize #12 eventually faded away and FTL ceased. The ISFA now had its way and issued a much cheaper successor magazine called Phase, which lasted only a few issues. The team that had produced FTL went on to produce Albedo One.

Canada Canada had long struggled in the shadow of the United States. It had over the years seen a variety of reprint editions of American magazines, some of which had allowed for original work by Canadian artists, but no new fiction. There were two French magazines for the one-fifth of Canadians for whom French was their first language, primarily in Quebec. Requiem had started in September 1974 and was retitled Solaris from September 1979. imagine… (lower case deliberate) had started in Fall 1979, and both are discussed in

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detail in Appendix 1. But the only indigenous English-language sf magazine at the start of the decade was the short-lived, underfinanced Stardust which had appeared irregularly from 1975 to 1981 and relied too heavily, at least at the outset, in emulating Star Trek. It improved a little for its last few issues once the editor, Forrest Fusco, became aware of the wider sf world, but he was unable to sustain it. There was a short-lived semi-professional magazine, Moonscape, produced by Mogens Brondum in Swan River, Manitoba in early 1983, but while this one and only issue was a decent-looking product, it ran predominantly weird fiction from various American and Australian writers with no real attention to Canadian work. The same may be said of Borderland, produced by Robert Hadji in Markham, Ontario, which also concentrated almost wholly on supernatural fiction in the English tradition and ran little material by Canadians. It saw four formal issues between 1984 and 1986, plus one convention special in 1987. There were, of course, plenty of Canadian writers. Those born in Canada who established themselves outside of Canada prior to 1990 included A. E. van Vogt, Gordon R. Dickson, Phyllis Gotlieb, John Clute, Eileen Kernaghan, Candas Jane Dorsey and Charles de Lint, while outside the magazines were, of course, Margaret Atwood and Robertson Davies. There were many others who had moved to Canada, some prior to becoming writers such as Monica Hughes, Donald Kingsbury, William Gibson and David Duncan,1 or who did the majority of their writing there, such as Michael G. Coney2 and Spider Robinson. Yet, because they sold to US magazines the full scale of Canadian sf is seldom recognized. There had been some attempts to remedy this. The scholar and researcher John Robert Colombo produced a bibliography of Canadian sf and fantasy, CDN SF & F, in 1979, with the assistance of Michael Richardson, John Bell and Alexandre L. Amprimoz, and in the same year he published the first anthology of Canadian sf, Other Canadas, which gave perspective and context to the country’s sf heritage. The first attempt at a new professional sf market was an anthology, Tesseracts, compiled by Judith Merril and published in Canada in September 1985. Merril had emigrated to Canada in 1968 and had been instrumental in establishing what became the Spaced Out Library in Toronto in 1970. Not being nationalistic in outlook (indeed she regarded herself as ‘antinationalist’), Merril saw the Library as promoting the whole world of sf

1  In fact David Duncan was Scottish, having emigrated to Canada in 1955 and become naturalized in 1960. 2  Michael Coney was English and settled in Canada in 1973.

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rather than Canadian sf as a distinct form, but she was also aware that although there were a lot of good Canadian writers, most of them had to try to be American in order to sell. So when in 1985 Ellen Godfrey of Press Porcépic in Vancouver asked Merril if she would compile an anthology of Canadian sf, she could see its value. She explained: I suppose there was a bit of nationalist motivation, or at least something similar to it in the sense that I was eager to see more stuff being done here. I felt that the anthology Tesseracts would encourage that. I expected that we were going to have to look backwards to move forward and involve established writers like Margaret Laurence and Marian Engel to help sell it. It turned out, much to my surprise, that we didn’t need them as far as content went, and we didn’t even need them to help sell the collection.3

It was a substantial volume of over 300 pages with 32 items, 13 of which were poems. Of the stories it was evenly split between originals and reprints, but three of the reprints were translations from the French, appearing in English for the first time. As one came to expect from Merril, when she compiled her Year’s Best SF series, the selection was eclectic with a wide range of speculative and fantastic fiction. One of the most impressive was a first-time translation by Jane Brierley of ‘Home by the Sea’ by Élisabeth Vonarburg, originally published in a French-Canadian anthology in 1983. It is a narration by a mother to her child of a ruined humanity in a post-apocalyptic world with the only salvation being special androids called ‘artifacts’ or ‘artorganics’ which are capable of reproduction. The child gradually becomes aware of the disturbing reality about her. It is a profound story of alienation and hope in a world of despair. David Ketterer commented how the story ‘sounds the note of alienation that dominates the Tesseracts anthologies and Canadian SF generally’.4 There is a similar mood in Terence Green’s ‘The Woman Who is the Midnight Wind’, where we follow a woman coping with the new environment of another planet. Most of the better-known writers in Tesseracts were represented by reprints—William Gibson’s ‘Hinterlands’ and Spider Robinson’s ‘God is an Iron’, both from Omni, Phyllis Gotlieb’s ‘Tauf Aleph’ and Michael Coney’s ‘The Byrds’, both from US anthologies—but these did at least give some backbone to a volume showcasing Canadian talent. The new stories ranged from the experimental to the relatively conventional but with an undoubted Canadian subtext. ‘The Effect of Terminal Cancer on Potential Astronauts’ by David Kirkpatrick is set in a claustrophobic future Toronto. As a couple of 3  Judith Merril, Better To Have Loved (Toronto: Between the Lines, 2002), p. 209. 4  David Ketterer, Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1992), p. 155.

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critics observed: ‘Who but a Canadian, steeped in the ideology of “multiculturalism”, the theories of Marshall McLuhan, and a distrust of (but nevertheless reliance on) bureaucratic intervention could have come up with [this story].’5 One of the more conventional stories in the anthology, at least in terms of plot, was ‘Johnny Appleseed in the New World’ by Candas Jane Dorsey, about an advance group of colonists preparing a planet for future settlers but fearing that in their own adaptation they may not be seen as entirely human when the next wave arrives. The ‘New World’ of the title relates as much to North America as it does to a new planet and again highlights that Canadian mood of estrangement. Dorsey later remarked, ‘Canadians often feel like aliens, like observers, in North American culture,’ adding, ‘The more of an outsider you are, the better an observer you are. And that’s better for a writer. We’re generically outsiders as Canadians, because we’re not full-fledged Americans but we live like the Imperium, next door to it. That also applies to genre writing.’6 Tesseracts received a mixed reception among critics and reviewers but, as John Bell remarked, ‘While this important anthology, Merril’s twentieth, might not appeal to those who prefer a formulaic approach to writing, anyone interested in a literate, unpredictable introduction to one nation’s science fiction will find it a rewarding read.’7 In 1986, Merril organized a writers’ workshop, Canada Ink, based on the Milford model,8 drawing upon her contacts from Tesseracts, and it became an annual event. A second anthology, Tesseracts2, appeared in November 1987, edited by Phyllis Gotlieb and Douglas Barbour, and a third followed in October 1990, edited by Candas Jane Dorsey and Gerry Truscott. Truscott had been the publisher at Press Porcépic which published the first three volumes, but thereafter the series was continued by the newly created Tesseract Books, a collective organized by Dorsey. The series has not followed a regular schedule with several years between some volumes, but the fact that it continues at all underlines its importance. Dorsey later remarked: You have to remember that from the Tesseracts series as a whole, as well as other small-press single titles in fantasy and science fiction, grew a good chunk of the US interest in Canadian writers, which culminated in

5  Robert Runté and Christine L. Kulyk, ‘The Northern Cosmos: Distinctive Themes in Canadian SF’, in Andrea Paradis (ed.), Out of This World: Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Literature (Kingston, Ontario: Quarry Press, 1995), p. 48. 6  Candas Jane Dorsey, ‘Saving the World’, Locus, #475 (August 2000), p. 8. 7  John Bell, ‘Northern Visions’, Fantasy Review, #87 (January 1986), p. 23. 8  See discussion in Gateways to Forever, p. 160.

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the Northern Stars anthology, much of which was drawn from the Tesseracts anthology series and Lesley Choice’s great Ark of Ice anthology.9

Among those who owe their first sales to Tesseracts were Scott MacKay, Karl Schroeder and Peter Watts, all in Tesseracts3 (October 1990), and Derryl Murphy in Tesseracts4 (1992). In Peter Watts’s case, the sale of his first story caused a career change. The story, ‘A Niche’, had already been rejected by Analog and had been held by Tesseracts for a year. Watts recalled he had said to a friend: ‘I’m obviously not going to make it as a writer. I’m never going to write SF again in my life. From now on I’m going to concentrate on science.’10 The next day he received the acceptance from Tesseracts and from that point on regarded himself as a published author. The story won the Canadian Prix Aurora in 1992 and formed the basis for his first novel, Starfish (1998). Karl Schroeder sold to several more volumes of Tesseracts before branching out into other sf magazines and anthologies. His story, ‘The Toy Mill’ in Tesseracts4 in collaboration with David Nickle, also won the Prix Aurora and formed the basis of their first novel, The Claus Effect (1997), depicting a somewhat overzealous Santa Claus. Schroeder has become better known as a writer of hard sf, though he is not in favour of the term. His later novels, several of which have been serialized in Analog, have created bizarre environments that almost defy science and show a highly unconventional talent. Derryl Murphy has kept a lower profile though in time sold sufficient stories to assemble a solid collection, Wasps at the Speed of Sound (2005). In addition, shortly after the sale of his first story to Tesseracts4, Murphy launched his own magazine in September 1992 in collaboration with Wayne Malkin. Based in Edmonton, Alberta, Senary called itself ‘The Journal of Fantastic Literature’ and was intended to publish a broad spectrum of fantastic and speculative fiction. In his editorial, Murphy proclaimed that hard sf had reached its limitations and was unable to grow—something that was soon proved wrong in Asimov’s and Interzone—though he was not against publishing it.

9  Candas Jane Dorsey, interview, in Edo van Belkom, Northern Dreamers: Interviews with Famous Canadian Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Writers (Kingston, Ontario: Quarry Press, 1998), p. 59. Northern Stars was edited by Glenn Grant and David G. Hartwell and published by Tor Books in September 1994. It contained 27 stories, 16 of which had either first appeared in Tesseracts or been reprinted/translated there. Only one came from the Ark of Ice anthology which was published in 1992 and carried 22 stories, 12 of them original. 10  Peter Watts, interview by James Schellenberg and David M. Switzer, Challenging Destiny, #19 (December 2004), http://www.challengingdestiny.com/interviews/watts.htm.

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Senary was aimed at the more fantastic end of the speculative fiction scale. The editors drew their inspiration from anthologies such as the Black Water volumes edited by Alberto Manguel and they scored something of a coup by securing a special introduction by Manguel who, at the time, was a lecturer at York University, Toronto and had become a Canadian citizen. In his introduction Manguel considered the difference between ‘the fantastic’ and ‘fantasy’ and how both were perceived in Canada. It was the fantastic, the surreal, the bizarre, the unusual, that Senary favoured. Among its contents were indefinable stories by Gerry Truscott, Beth Goobie and Ursula Pflug, plus a further story by David Kirkpatrick, ‘The Eye of Hurricane Zeppo’, a sequel of sorts to his first story in Tesseracts. They were intended as the opening chapters of a free-form holographic novel, but we were to see no more of this project as these were Kirkpatrick’s only two contributions to the sf markets. Although a second issue of Senary was planned, it never appeared. Murphy acknowledged the role of Tesseracts, which he believed ‘had proven a reliable barometer of the current state of speculative fiction in Canada’.11 The existence of Tesseracts saw others take the challenge, of which by far the most important was On Spec. Whereas Tesseracts was just one volume every two or three years, On Spec was twice yearly at the start and soon became quarterly. It was started for the same reasons as Tesseracts. Not only was there not a market for English-language Canadian sf writers, but there was no market for Canadian science fiction, per se. When material was submitted to American magazines it was often rejected on such grounds as ‘situation too alien to American readers’ or ‘locale too exotic’,12 though both seem rather lame excuses. Nevertheless there clearly was a difference between Canadian and American sf, something which Tesseracts had already highlighted if not explicitly defined. It was not derivative of a pulp heritage but had a more expansive, often surreal outlook. On Spec was started by a group of adult students who had attended a writing class at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. When the class finished, this group continued to meet, to workshop and discuss their stories. They were predominantly women: Marianne O. Nielsen, Hazel Sangster, Karen Grant, Phyllis Schuell and Diane Walton, with the only man at the outset, Lyle Weis. They called themselves the Copper Pigs’ Writing Society. Finding no suitable market for their fiction and receiving rejects from the US magazines they decided to start their own, aided and abetted by a new recruit, Jena Snyder, who had newspaper experience

11  Derryl Murphy, ‘Bitching and Worshipping’, Senary, #1 (September 1992), p. xiii. 12  Barry Hammond, ‘ON SPEC: History’, On Spec, 6:3 (Fall 1994), p. 82.

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and a capability with desk-top publishing. Tim Hammell, who had been one of the mainstay artists on the Canadian amateur fantasy magazines Copper Toadstool and Dark Fantasy in the 1970s, came on board as art director. Marianne Nielsen was voted general editor and the collective established an editorial board to screen selected stories. The board initially consisted of Douglas Barbour, J. Brian Clarke, Candas Jane Dorsey, Pauline Gedge and Monica Hughes. The editorial collective also agreed that all published contributors would be paid but not the collective itself. Preference was to be given to Canadian writers and artists though consideration would be given to external submissions. Funds came from a variety of sources including the Alberta Foundation for the Literary Arts. This was a similar basis to how Interzone began, though On Spec had looked more to Solaris for its inspiration. The first issue, dated Spring 1989, was attractively printed as an A5 spinestapled booklet,13 running to 84 pages and selling for $5. Its cover, by Tim Hammell, depicted a series of masks, with one face unmasked, suggestive again of how Canadian writers had previously had to hide behind an American persona to market their work. There were contributions by Dave Duncan, Lyle Weis, Robert Runté and Jena Snyder, and two poems by Eileen Kernaghan. ‘“Fore”-Eight-Sixteen’ was a light-hearted story of jet-propelled golf by H. A. Hargreaves, a Professor of English Literature at the University of Alberta, who had been an occasional sf writer since selling to John Carnell’s New Worlds in 1963. His writing had lapsed and On Spec regenerated his career. The start was encouraging. Its initial print run of 500 copies sold out within three weeks, leading to a second printing in July. The second issue, dated Fall 1989, was more ambitious, with an article by Spider Robinson on his travels in Australia, a short fantasy by Norwegian writer Tor Å ́ ge Bringsvæld, and a new story by Eileen Kernaghan, ‘Carpe Diem’, which looked at the future of medical care. That story clearly caught the Canadian imagination as it won the Aurora Award and was reprinted in Tesseracts3—a double whammy. At that same awards ceremony held in Calgary in July 1990, On Spec received its first Aurora Award for the best ‘other work’ in English. It would win four more Aurora Awards and material in the magazine, including art, would win three more Auroras over the next three years. On Spec increased to three issues per year in 1990 and four in 1993. It promoted a series of special issues starting with its ‘Youth’ number, dated Winter 1990. This was notable for publishing the first story by Cory Doctorow, ‘2,000 Year Check-up’. Doctorow had sold the story to On Spec

13  It became perfect bound from #7 (Fall 1991).

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when he was 18 and a student at the S.E.E.D. Alternative School in Toronto, which gave incredible freedom to its pupils. Doctorow continued to make sales to a variety of magazines, including On Spec, until his breakthrough story ‘Craphound’ in Science Fiction Age in 1998. Marianne Nielson stepped down as general editor after the Spring 1992 issue and the magazine was thereafter managed by an editorial cooperative, though Jena Snyder wrote the editorials and was generally the editorial face of the magazine. With that same issue, Tim Hammell stepped down as art director and was succeeded by Lynne Taylor Fahnestalk, whose work had already dominated the magazine, including winning an Aurora Award for the cover of the Fall 1990 issue. Also that issue Gerry Truscott of Tesseracts joined the editorial board, bringing the two projects closer together. It would be fair to say that one can scarcely separate On Spec and Tesseracts for their importance in the influence and resurgence of sf in Canada.

Australia The situation in Australia differed from that in Canada as the country’s sf was more anglified. Its leading writers prior to the 1980s had either been expatriate British, notably A. Bertram Chandler, Jack Wodhams or David Rome, or Australians who sold regularly to Carnell’s New Worlds, Science Fiction Adventures or New Writings, such as Wynne Whitford, Lee Harding, John Baxter and Damien Broderick. There were a few writers who sold science fiction to Australian men’s magazines, some of which was reprinted in Britain or the USA—indeed Damien Broderick came to edit Man for six months during 1971—but generally most writers sold straight to UK or US markets and could almost be regarded as an outpost of the UK. Terry Dowling commented upon this: I wasn’t really aware of a home-grown sf product. We got mostly British editions of American titles. Growing up in the ’50s and ’60s, we were aware of that, more than of anything local. A couple of our local magazines would have stories now and then, but they were very garish, pulpish stories. … We took all these things into an empty area, into a vacuum almost. When you see it that way, we were at the end of the universe. And that develops a certain kind of ‘we’re grateful for anything we can get’ mentality.14

Even Vision of Tomorrow, the joint UK/Australian magazine in 1969/70 (financed in Australia and edited and published in Britain), although 14  Terry Dowling, interview, Locus, #401 (June 1994), p. 4.

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obliged to publish a minimum quota of work by Australians, still looked like tokenism to English readers. Paul Collins, who published Void in the mid-1970s, was himself an expat Briton, but although Void was produced in Australia it was only a little magazine which appeared irregularly and was an unstable market. Ironically the magazine that really generated modern Australian sf was itself a local edition of an American magazine edited by an expat Scot. This was Omega, published on a bi-monthly basis by Sungravure, a subsidiary of Fairfax Magazines in Sydney, the publisher of the Sydney Morning Herald. It was the Australian edition of Science Digest (and from the second issue was titled Omega Science Digest) and had the same glossy look and confidence. The editor, Philip Gore, had moved to Australia in 1976, having previously worked as an editor at the venerable Scottish publisher of story-papers and comics, D. C. Thomson, and settled with Sungravure in 1980. Just at that time the Hearst Corporation in New York revamped its long-running digest magazine Science Digest into a full-size glossy in imitation of Omni. Sungravure already published an Australian edition of Cosmopolitan under licence from Hearst and sought to do the same with Science Digest. Sungravure’s general manager, Fred Brenchley, gave Gore a free hand. Gore told me: We named the magazine Omega (oddly similar to Omni) and simply picked at random from the US content of Science Digest and blended it with locally generated stories and pictures. Only when the first edition was done and published did the Hearst people in New York raise any objection to our rather freebooting approach. The result was that all subsequent issues carried the strapline ‘Science Digest’ at Hearst’s request, but otherwise they pretty much left us to our own devices.15

A long-time fan of science fiction, Gore wanted to expand the content of Omega to include home-grown Australian ‘speculative fiction’ (his preferred term), just one or two stories per issue, like Omni, and for which it paid higher-than-average word rates. In fact the Science Fiction Writers of America organization recognized Omega, with its circulation of around 40,000, as a fully professional magazine which qualified its contributors to membership of the SFWA. It remains the only Australian magazine to have achieved this. Gore knew nothing about the sf scene in Australia and sought the help of Paul Collins, who became the magazine’s fiction consultant for the first year. As a consequence, the first issue, dated January/February 1981, included a

15  Philip Gore, email, 19 January 2014.

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reprint from Void. There were occasional reprints throughout the run, but by far the majority of fiction was original. The second issue ran a suitably nationalistic story by A. Bertram Chandler, ‘The Way It Was’, depicting a world where Ned Kelly won independence for Australia. The magazine was rapidly discovered by leading Australian writers. Damien Broderick sold six stories to Omega, mostly reprints from anthologies but including two new ones (or, at least, revised from earlier versions in Man). Of these, ‘Resurrection’ (November/December 1981), dealing with cryogenics, was later reprinted in Asimov’s (August 1984). Broderick also sold three speculative articles including ‘UFOs: What If …?’ (November/ December 1981), which speculated that time travel might account for UFO sightings. Jack Wodhams, Philippa Maddern and David King also became regular contributors. Of most significance, though, were the new writers that Gore encouraged, notably Terry Dowling and Sean McMullen. Dowling had placed stories with Van Ikin’s little magazine Enigma in the 1970s, but ‘The Man Who Walks Away Behind the Eyes’ in the May/June 1982 Omega was Dowling’s first professional sale and the first of his Wormwood stories, set on an Earth dominated by aliens. The story was an instant success and won Dowling his first Ditmar Award for Australian short fiction.16 He won his second fiction award with ‘The Terrarium’, also in Omega (May/June 1984). This tale of a man who serves as a custodian for Earth artefacts left on the moon was a strange, almost metaphysical story, unusual for a hard-science magazine, but demonstrating the latitude Gore was allowing. Dowling also began his Rynosseros series in Omega with ‘Shatterwrack at Breaklight’ (July/August 1985).17 Set in a far distant future they relate episodes in the life of Tom Tyson, captain of the sand-ship Rynosseros, which sails across Australia’s vast deserts by permission of the Aborigines who have become autonomous. Dowling had absorbed and adapted the influences of Jack Vance, Cordwainer Smith and J. G. Ballard’s Vermilion Sands stories, on which he was nurtured, to create his own highly idiosyncratic future Australia. As Damien Broderick observed, Dowling is ‘a writer who stubbornly hews

16  Dowling also won the Atheling Award that same year for criticism for his article ‘Kirth Gersen: The Other Demon Prince’ (Science Fiction #11, June 1982), which showed his know­ledge of the works of Jack Vance. 17  ‘Shatterwrack at Breaklight’ marked Dowling’s first story appearance in the USA when it was reprinted in the March 1990 F&SF. Prior to this, Dowling had worked with Richard Delap and Gil Lamont on the compilation of The Essential Ellison (Omaha, NE: Nemo Press, 1987) to which he also contributed several essays.

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his own path’.18 Jonathan Strahan also recognized this new talent. He later wrote: I deliberately do not read Australian science fiction, principally because the only Australian Science Fiction I have read has been pretty bloody terrible. … My attitude towards Australian SF began to change when I encountered the works of Terry Dowling. Dowling’s Tom Rynosseros cycle of stories were markedly different from anything I’d encountered in Australian SF—they were good.19

Gore’s editorial acumen was also evident in buying the first fiction by Sean McMullen. ‘The Pharaoh’s Airship’ (July/August 1986) is an inspiring throwback story about a backyard inventor who builds his own spacecraft capable of reaching the Moon. Its backyard allegory may subconsciously be remembering the days of the Woomera Test Range facilities for long-range missiles and rockets which had wound down by the 1970s. McMullen’s only other story in Omega, ‘The Deciad’, appeared in the penultimate issue (November/December 1986) and had won a story competition at the 1985 World SF Convention held in Melbourne. It later formed the basis of his novel The Centurion’s Empire (1998), his first book to be published in America. McMullen’s first appearance in the USA was with ‘The Colours of the Masters’ (F&SF, March 1988) about two early inventions, one of which was the first sound-recording machine but which could not play back until rescued by modern equipment. Simon Brown, who established himself as a writer of some significance in Australia, owed Omega for his first sale, ‘The Return of Idomeneus’ (November/December 1981). This began his otherwise unconnected series utilizing characters from The Iliad in a contemporary or future setting.20 Perhaps the best of his early stories was ‘Skyriders’ (May/June 1982), a Haldemanesque tale of how future fighter pilots take drugs prior to combat. Omega came to an abrupt end with its issue for January/February 1987. The US parent magazine, Science Digest, had ceased publication in September 1986 due to falling advertising income and, because of the contractual arrangement, the Australian edition ceased. It would, in any case, have been impossible for Omega to continue on its own because it could not afford the cost of the material, particularly the photographs, which were provided free by Hearst. Omega’s circulation had dropped and it had not

18  Damien Broderick, ‘Introduction’, in David G. Hartwell and Damien Broderick (eds), Centaurus: The Best of Australian Science Fiction (New York: Tor, 1999), p. 15. 19  Jonathan Strahan, ‘Fresh Ink’, Eidolon, #1 (Autumn 1990), p. 78. 20  This series, which developed more strongly in the 1990s, was eventually published as Troy (2006).

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secured sufficient advertising revenue. The final issue ran only one story, ‘Marmodesse’, another of Dowling’s Tom Tyson episodes. Planned for the unpublished March 1987 issue was a 12-page feature on Tyson’s future Australia, illustrated by Nick Stathopoulos. Between them Dowling and McMullen provided two distinct strands of sf—Dowling with his fascination for landscape, which makes his stories distinctly Australian, and McMullen with his delight in inventions and devices and particularly early prototypes, which would later lead him down the road to steampunk. While Omega was providing a small but rewarding market for science fiction, there was one minor magazine of passing interest. Far Out! was published during 1985 in Port Hedland, north-west Australia, printed in East Fremantle, near Perth, and distributed by Gordon & Gotch in Melbourne. Its market report stated it paid $20 per thousand words. It was anonymously edited by Pamela Klacar, a Brit who had worked in administration for Hammer Films before emigrating to Australia in 1970. The magazine was intended as a market for new writers, which is why no established names appeared there. Klacar is also believed to have included some of her own stories under pen names. Among the recognizable names were Pamela Vincent (who had appeared in several of the Fontana Horror series in the UK) and Pamela Townley. Far Out! also ran some of the earliest fiction by Catherine Jinks. Most of the fiction was juvenile in content and lacked originality. The lead story in the first issue, ‘The Taft Factor’ by J. G. Guthrie, was a reworking of Tom Godwin’s ‘The Cold Equations’ with a revised and much weaker ending. Far Out! lasted for three undated issues, adding nothing to Australia’s growing sf market. In Omega’s final year Aphelion appeared. It was born out of a discussion held at the 1985 Australian World SF Convention between Peter McNamara, an engineering surveyor from Stirling, near Adelaide, and the American writer and small-press enthusiast Jack Chalker, about the moribund state of Australian book publishing. Local fan Diane DeBellis challenged McNamara to do something about it and the result was Aphelion. Its first issue appeared in early 1986, dated Summer 1985/86 (i.e. the Australian summer). It was published in A4 format on glossy paper stock, pasted up from typed sheets rather than typeset, well illustrated throughout and with striking covers. At three cents per word it was a professional market, and though it only appeared quarterly it complemented Omega because McNamara preferred longer stories. McNamara was an sf traditionalist, a fan of the Golden Age and a devotee of hard sf. He took the risk of running a serial for the first four issues, ‘Oasis’, about the colonization of the Antarctic, which he wrote under the

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alias Patrick Urth. Each issue also ran three or four stories, a review column and a speculative science article. In its full run of only five issues, Aphelion ran 27 stories, a total boosted by the final issue, with ten stories. Terry Dowling appeared in every issue, and two of those stories won the Ditmar Award: ‘The Man Who Lost Red’ (#2, Autumn 1986), a long novella of alien punishment, and his Wormwood story ‘For as Long as You Burn’ (#5, Summer 1986/87). Sean McMullen appeared in the second issue with ‘Time! Sang Fate’, a collaboration with Paul Collins, which tells of the last full-blooded Aborigine as he experiences ‘all-time’ at the moment of the apocalypse. The final issue featured a new story by Greg Egan, ‘Neighbourhood Watch’, narrated by a demon that a small town has harnessed to provide protection, though the demon has other plans. Egan had debuted with a novel, An Unusual Angle, in 1983 but he soon turned to short fiction, initially in Australian anthologies, starting with ‘Artifact’ in Dave King’s Dreamworks, also in 1983. He established international sales before his compatriots with ‘Mind Vampires’ in Interzone (Winter 1986) and preferred to focus on selling abroad, making his appearances in Australian magazines a rarity. Other contributors included George Turner, Chris Simmons (with two stories of which his first, ‘For the Man Who Has Everything’ in #1, an existential story of Dreamtime, was nominated for a Ditmar) and Stephen Dedman (with two surprisingly frivolous stories). After five issues McNamara discontinued the magazine with its Summer 1986/87 issue, though he later admitted that had he known Omega was also about to breathe its last he might have persevered. A sixth issue was planned, its intended contents including another Terry Dowling story, ‘A Deadly Edge Their Red Beaks Pass Along’, which later appeared in his Wormwood collection, and a Greg Egan story, ‘Running on Empty’, which has never been published. McNamara was able to use some of the stories in the fiction supplement to his fanzine Thyme and his 1994 anthology Alien Shores. Aphelion had not been financially viable as it was expensive to produce and had a paid circulation of only a few hundred. In 1990 McNamara began Aphelion Books which proved far more successful. His first two titles were A Pursuit of Miracles by George Turner and the first volume of Terry Dowling’s Tom Tyson stories, Rynosseros. Omega and Aphelion spurred a previously somnolent Australian sf scene back into life and generated the talent that would blossom in the 1990s, the decade that Peter McNamara later called ‘The Wonder Years’, a real Golden Age for Australian sf with the emergence in 1990 of two new magazines, Eidolon and Aurealis, which will be covered in The Rise of the Cyber Chronicles.

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Far Corners21 The history of sf in Singapore starts in the late 1970s when the Rotary Club of Jurong Town announced an sf short-story competition, the winners of which were published in an anthology titled Singapore Science Fiction (1980). It was compiled by R. S. Bhathal, Dudley de Souza and Kirpal Singh, with a foreword by Brian Aldiss. A few more local sf titles appeared in subsequent years, but the rise of Singaporean sf is closely connected with the establishment of the Science Fiction Association (Singapore) (SFAS) in 1989, followed by its magazine Tesseract in 1990. SFAS founding members explained their aims: • To establish science fiction as a legitimate genre in the disciplines of Literature and Art. • To increase awareness of and arouse interest in science fiction and all its aspects. • To encourage members’ creativity through the medium of science fiction.22 Tesseract was an A4-size, black-and-white, fully illustrated semi-prozine, edited by writer Glen Low. It started with three quarterly issues in 1990, which were followed by four issues in 1991 and three issues (the last one a double) in 1992, when it ceased publication. Tesseract was quite an ambitious project, featuring a lot of non-fiction about sf, including original articles and reviews of contemporary US and UK sf. It ran interviews with local writers, but also original interviews with Brian W. Aldiss and Doris Lessing. Of special interest is its Star Trek special (Second Quarter, 1992). Tesseract helped nurture a few sf writers who became a mainstay of Singaporean sf, starting with Terence Chua, whose varied stories of fantasy and speculation from Tesseract (and elsewhere) were collected under the title The Nightmare Factory (1991). Chua assisted on the magazine as features editor and recalls on his website: Like a lot of fan produced magazines, we had problems with getting material for Tesseract. The odd part was, we had no dearth of art submissions, but articles and stories were difficult to come by. In the end, only Alistair Chew and I were the regular contributors to the fiction sections of

21  My thanks to Jaroslav Olša, jr for his help with this section and to Gavin Kreuiter and Gail Jamieson for their help with South Africa. 22  Tesseract, April Quarter 1991, p. 5.

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the magazine. I wrote numerous articles and about four short stories that saw print in Tesseract.23

In the end, though, the society had to recognize that the time was not right. They wrote, ‘There was never a time when Tesseract wasn’t struggling financially. The sales and ad revenue was just not coming in in sufficient quantity to cover the costs. Worse, most of its readers weren’t actually reading much of the magazine, and non-readers didn’t intend to start, finding it “too deep”.’ What was most important, though, was that they had tried.  There has been a small but active fandom in South Africa since June 1969 when the Science Fiction Club of South Africa (SFSA) was established in Johannesburg, consisting initially of just nine members but growing steadily to around 50. Later that year the club issued a newsletter which became the fanzine Probe with the eighth issue (June/July 1970). It has continued on a fairly regular basis, three or four times per year, ever since, reaching its fortieth anniversary issue (#141) in June 2009. Published in A5 format with occasional illustrations, it is a combination of short articles, reviews, information about sf fandom and mainly original sf stories by South African (predominantly white) writers. The club ran its first short-story contest in 1969, sponsored by the American fan organization the National Fantasy Fan Federation. The winner—‘For Your Penance …’ by Tex Cooper—was the first fiction the magazine published, while it was still the newsletter, in #5 (January/ February 1970). The club organized its own story contest from 1971 onwards—which became known as the Nova from 1987 onwards when someone donated a trophy. The top three entries each received a small financial prize. The first winner was ‘Man Proposes’ by W. G. Lipsett. This wasn’t published in Probe, but Lipsett became a regular contributor winning the Nova twice more with ‘A Piece of Rope’ (#49, August 1981) and ‘Reception Committee’ (#50, February 1982). South Africa already had at least one published sf writer, Claude Nunes, who had sold stories to John Carnell’s magazines starting with ‘The Problem’ in Science Fantasy (April 1962). He only occasionally attended the club but he did contribute to the magazine, one story of which came third in the Nova contest, ‘Wakey! Wakey!’ (#65, June 1986). Tex Cooper was the most prolific contributor during the magazine’s first decade. His stories were often humorous, lampooning one or other noted 23  Terence Chua, ‘My Secret Life’, http://www.khaosworks.org/writing/intro.html.

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story. Writing under the pen name of E. C. Butt, he produced a series spoofing E. C. Tubb’s Dumarest novels, featuring the anti-hero Neverest, starting with ‘The Winds of Gosh’ (August 1982). Elaine Mommsen (later Elaine Coetzee) spoke Afrikaans, and two of her stories were published in that language: ‘Skuldig’ (#44, May 1980) and ‘Onheil Buite’ (#45, August 1980). The magazine did occasionally encompass other cultures. Issue #52 (August 1982) included an article by Polish writer Richard Jasinski on Japanese SF and the samurai and included his own translation of a story by Hoshi Shinichi, ‘When It’s Springtime’. The more significant winners of the Nova contest, such as Dave Freer, did not appear until the 1990s and will be discussed in The Rise of the Cyber Chronicles, but it is clear that because Probe appears regularly, no matter how small it is, it provides a forum for writers to experiment and develop, which is the importance of all magazines. The club has assembled three anthologies drawn from the magazine, The Best of South African Science Fiction, volumes 1–3 (1981, 1985, 2008).  It is self-evident that unless each country has its own regular market for short science fiction it is impossible for it to develop its own identity. Irish sf was all too easily conflated with Northern Ireland until Stargate and FTL gave it room to express itself. Canadian writers had to don the mask of the United States before Tesseracts and On Spec gave them freedom. And Australia had been content to remain in the shadow of British sf until Omega and Aphelion pushed it out into the open. The contribution by these countries to international sf is now considerable, adding to the diversity of interpretation of science fiction and infusing it with its own culture. This is emphasized even more in Appendix 1 in covering non-English-language magazines and it brings home an important message. There is a need for each nation to develop its own identity within science fiction, so that it can contribute to the genre on an international stage. This has started to develop with the onset of the internet and is an issue that will be explored in more detail in The Rise of the Cyber Chronicles.

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6 The Third Rebellion: The SF Underground

SF Renegades Although we have seen that Omni, Asimov’s and Interzone were breaking new territory, it was not enough for some. There was a rebellious underground that strove to ring the changes and provide a greater scope for artistic freedom and a wider interpretation of science fiction or, as many preferred, speculative fiction. Among the first to rebel was Scott Edelman with Last Wave, started in October 1983. He called it ‘The Last Best Hope of Speculative Fiction’. It was well titled because it was intended to be the last hurrah for the New Wave of the 1960s and early 1970s. Edelman had enjoyed the science fiction being produced at that time because, as he wrote, ‘Writers were pushing the science fiction short story to its limits, and were embroiled in a constant debate over the content of their fiction, over what science fiction was and could become.’1 He felt that since then writers had retrenched. He questioned where such challenging work could now appear. New Worlds had ceased, as had the anthology series Orbit and QUARK/, and the remaining magazines were resorting to traditional science fiction. Though Edelman was writing this before the revolution in Asimov’s under Shawna McCarthy and Gardner Dozois, even that would not have fully satisfied the extremes to which Edelman wanted to go. He did recognize that Interzone was seeking to keep the revolution alive, but argued that one quarterly magazine was not enough. There was, of course, Something Else, of which Edelman may not

1  Scott Edelman, ‘First …’, Last Wave, 1:1 (October 1983), p. 2.

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have been aware, but by the same token these were magazines of limited circulation and appearance. It was also interesting that Edelman used the term ‘speculative fiction’ in his motto but only used it once in his editorial, whereas he used ‘science fiction’ several times. The phrase ‘speculative fiction’ has never been consistently defined but in its original usage, by Robert A. Heinlein, it was to identify an extrapolative aspect of science fiction as distinct from adventurous ‘pulp’ fiction. In other words speculative fiction was a more serious, rigorous and, hopefully, acceptable form of science fiction. However, during the 1960s and 1970s, Michael Moorcock, Judith Merril and Samuel Delany broadened the phrase to mean any form of fiction that ‘speculated’ about what might exist beyond present-day normality. This shift made science fiction one field within the umbrella of speculative fiction, which by the 1980s had grown to incorporate horror and fantasy fiction. Last Wave seems to be using it in this broader sense because none of the contents was conventional science fiction by any standard definition. In its publicity, Last Wave declared itself as ‘undoubtedly … the most controversial science fiction magazine of all time’. It was never that, but neither was it tame. The first issue ran a range of literate and unconventional fiction that would not easily have appeared elsewhere. It ranged from the surreal to the absurd: Steve Rasnic Tem’s ‘The Enormous Lover’ is about a giant woman who suddenly appears and continues to grow until she encircles the Earth; Avram Davidson’s ‘Full Chicken Richness’ enters R. A. Lafferty territory in describing how chicken soup might benefit from a time machine. There were similar avant-garde and sui generis stories by Jessica Amanda Salmonson, Thomas M. Disch and John Sladek, plus a scoop, a poem by the late Philip K. Dick, ‘My Life in Stillness: White as Day’. Subsequent issues maintained the standards of the bizarre. Almost half of the second issue (Winter 1984) was taken up with the libretto for Thomas Disch’s ‘Frankenstein: The Opera’. In the same issue Ian Watson, no stranger to the unconventional, has a chimpanzee communicate via a computer in ‘Letters from the Monkey Alphabet’. In the third issue (Summer 1984), Steve Rasnic Tem continued his exploration of bizarre humans in ‘The Day It Rained Vaginas’. ‘Even Malzberg Gets the Blues’ was an exchange of correspondence between Barry Malzberg and Scott Edelman over Malzberg’s efforts to place a story in the magazine. ‘This was indeed a real exchange, one that should have remained private, but which appeared in print because I was young and foolish, though not quite as young as the extent of the foolishness would have you believe,’2 Edelman told me,

2  Scott Edelman, email, 27 August 2011.

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and Malzberg remarked, ‘It’s absolutely genuine. Scott and I are very good friends and have been for more than a quarter of a century. This marked an inauspicious start to that friendship.’3 These days, with Twitter, emails and social networking, access to others’ correspondence is easy and common, but in 1984 it was strange to see a private exchange aired so publicly. Last Wave continued to chart the unreal. ‘Time-Slit Through a Rice Paper Window’ (#3) by Jessica Amanda Salmonson is one of the more conventional stories, but Salmonson’s know­ ledge of ancient Japanese culture makes this oblique time-travel story seem both alien and intensely human. Edelman revealed that this story had been rejected by a dozen major markets. Ian Watson took on Tem’s grotesque humans in ‘Universe on the Turn’ (#4, Autumn 1984). Richard Wilson, today a sadly neglected writer, produced a charming piece of hokum in ‘The Nineteenth Century Spaceship’ (#4). Michael Bishop’s ‘000–00–000’ (#5, Winter 1986) is an abstract piece on the influence of mathematics on humanity. Every issue of Last Wave contained something that was out of the ordinary, but neither too extreme nor experimental to alienate most readers. Edelman may have failed to make the magazine the most controversial, but he did produce an enjoyable one that showed that original material was available if only the market was prepared. Much of what he published could have appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction (F&SF) or Interzone, all of which ran the unconventional, but there were just not enough markets at that time to accommodate the authors. Edelman ranted about this in his final issue: ‘I shouldn’t have to publish Last Wave. You shouldn’t have to purchase it. All of the stories and poems I’ve published so far should have appeared in more important magazines, should have garnered the authors more money, should have won themselves a larger audience.’4 Unfortunately Edelman was unable to continue the magazine. The fifth issue was delayed by over a year because the printer went out of business and it took time to find another, by which time Edelman had lost his day job and finances were tight. The fifth issue was reduced to the digest format, and the print run, which had hitherto been around 2,500 copies (with sales seldom more than a thousand), dropped to a thousand. A sixth issue was prepared but Edelman could no longer fund the magazine, though he did still pay the contributors.5 In retrospect Edelman believed he should have issued the magazine without linking it so closely to the New Wave. ‘Raising the banner of 3  Barry Malzberg, email, 15 August 2011. 4  Scott Edelman, ‘What Kills Science Fiction’, Last Wave, #5 (Winter 1986), p. 3. 5  Only one of the stories planned for that sixth issue has subsequently appeared in print, ‘Distances’ by Paul Di Filippo, though this was not until 1997 in Pirate Writings #13.

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the New Wave by using that title meant that the potential customer was polarized and some who might have liked it never got the chance to find out whether they did or not.’6 Yet magazines that want to be revolutionary like to declare their intent and those that followed Last Wave all did the same. Last Wave wasn’t really the last stand of the New Wave; not the way that Edelman assembled it. It was a vehicle for the unconventional, and these were steadily appearing in the sf world but almost always a product of the small press. The mechanism that would best serve the small press, the internet, was still some years away. For the foreseeable future the small press had to operate the conventional way in order to promote the unconventional.  A few months before Last Wave appeared, Lewis Shiner experimented with a little magazine, Modern Stories, which was a more controversial magazine than any issue of Last Wave. Shiner had first appeared in Galileo in 1977, itself a small-press magazine that had been determined to publish original material. He was earning a reputation for his off-the-wall stories but he had, in those intervening years, grown a little tired of science fiction until he read William Gibson’s ‘Burning Chrome’. This regenerated his interest and he soon appeared in Omni with ‘Deserted Cities of the Heart’ (February 1984), where magic mushrooms reveal the apocalyptic end-time of the Mayan calendar. That story sold to Omni in November 1982 and he used the money to produce Modern Stories, released in April 1983. The urge to publish Modern Stories, which was labelled ‘Fiction for the Eighties’, arose from Shiner reading the manuscript of ‘A String of Dead Babies’ by Walton Simons at a writers’ workshop in Austin, Texas. The story deals with the soul’s psychic control over the process of rebirth and ends with a glimpse of a violent future. Shiner had been sure no commercial magazine would run the story and so started Modern Stories as a vehicle for this and other unconventional stories. This was what Edelman had planned for Last Wave, but his passion for the surreal had resulted in a magazine of bizarre but not necessarily challenging stories. Modern Stories, though, was intended to shock, even offend. As Shiner put it, the magazine was ‘dedicated to biting the hand that feeds it’. This was firmly in the tradition of Harlan Ellison’s Dangerous Visions and Michael Moorcock’s New Worlds. Indeed, Modern Stories, photocopied from text typed on an IBM Selectric typewriter on folded sheets in letter-size format, looked just like the final few issues of New Worlds that Moorcock had self-published. Modern Stories

6  Scott Edelman, email, 3 February 2013.

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was a mixture of text alongside cut-and-paste images. Shiner’s then wife Edith served as the art director and co-editor. Perhaps the most grotesque image was that by Larry Schroeder accompanying ‘A String of Dead Babies’. Shiner had been told that Schroeder had stolen a foetus from a dumpster behind a medical supply company, and xeroxed it for the illustration. Bruce Sterling, hiding behind the Vincent Omniaveritas pseudonym that he used for his review and newsletter Cheap Truth, created a story, ‘Life During Wartime’, from a series of old black-and-white pictures and etchings. Howard Waldrop contributed a facetious extended epigram, ‘Apprenticeship’, about an entity who returns periodically to Earth as some kind of saviour but who is still learning his trade. Joe R. Lansdale’s ‘I Tell You It’s Love’ is a particularly nasty story from the mind of a vicious killer. The most memorable story, chiefly because of its author, is ‘Hippie Hat Brain Parasite’ by William Gibson. Loosely related to ‘The Gernsback Continuum’, it builds on the paranoia of conspiracy theorists to consider the idea of a new form of alien parasite.7 Shiner intended the issue as a one-off, and so the rebels languished for three years. In March 1986, fellow Texan Mike Adkisson launched New Pathways with almost exactly the same purpose as Modern Stories and Last Wave, but this time it spread its wings. It was another letter-size magazine printed using the latest desk-top publishing facilities. It was a true semiprofessional magazine as Adkisson endeavoured to pay contributors, albeit a nominal fee. The print run was initially under a thousand, but after the first six issues it rose to over 2,000. The magazine’s full title was New Pathways Into Science Fiction and Fantasy and Adkisson dubbed it ‘The Magazine of Experimental Science Fiction’. He defined that term as ‘all about creating a non-hostile atmosphere wherein writers are free to stretch their imagination to the limits, to search out and seek new worlds’.8 Leaving aside the mock Star Trek tag, Adkisson was simply redefining what all astute magazine editors had been seeking since David Lasser launched his and Gernsback’s ‘new policy’ in Wonder Stories in 1932 and William Crawford launched Marvel Tales in 1934. A firm pattern had long emerged that whatever the status quo was in the standard sf magazines, someone would rebel and launch a magazine of challenging, unconventional or experimental sf. Having nailed his colours to the mast,

7  Shiner had taken a couple of items from the unpublished second issue of Ground Zero, a little magazine produced by fellow Austin resident, Richard Dorsett, which had appeared in 1979 and was notable for, among an odd assortment of items, a complete bibliography of the works of R. A. Lafferty and an advance excerpt from his novel Half a Sky. 8  Mike Adkisson, ‘What is Experimental Science Fiction?’, New Pathways, #2 (May 1986), p. 2.

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Adkisson soon dropped the ‘experimental’ tag and, after briefly calling it ‘the magazine of Visionary Science Fiction’, he let the magazine speak for itself. In fact the contents of the magazine were rarely experimental, certainly not the first two issues where the majority of the stories and artwork were relatively traditional and were written by Adkisson himself. He brought in Misha Nogha as associate editor, masquerading under the alias Michelle Chocholak. It was Misha who tracked down the potentially more radical contributors while Adkisson did the production work, including much of the artwork. Misha recalled: I had the idea to make the magazine into a more daring sf magazine because there are a lot of writers out there, still are, who are/were writing things that are breaking boundaries and then, as now, those writers’ more adventurous work is mostly ignored by the publishing companies even though people love to read it. So with Mike’s approval, I contacted those writers and asked for the bottom drawer favoured-and-not-published pieces that the writers enjoyed.9

One such example was ‘Anselmo Marino’ (#5, November/December 1986) by Paul Di Filippo. This was one of his early unsold stories and he recalls that once he started to sell fiction regularly he went back to his early stuff and felt this story had merit.10 It’s an sf version of Herman Melville’s novella ‘Benito Cerino’, about an encounter between two sailing ships in a remote part of the ocean, in this case transferred to another planet. Di Filippo was one of the regular contributors to New Pathways. None of his stories was especially experimental or daring, but they did view the world through new technological eyes. Di Filippo was of the cyberpunk generation, and he was able to rework old plots and create new ones from an entirely new perspective. His stories live and breathe new sciences, placing the reader instantly into the future without the need to explain. This was genuine ‘visionary science fiction’. Another of the New Pathways regulars was Don Webb. He was a more radical, highly prolific writer, often of very short stories, who fitted neatly into the Davidson/Lafferty absurdist school. He had already appeared in a number of little magazines, though his first story sale had been ‘Rhinestone Manifesto’ to Interzone (#13, Autumn 1985). He debuted in New Pathways with ‘Magnum Philodendrum’ (#3, July 1986), a brief manic account of what happens when different aliens, who are observing humans incognito,

9  Misha Nogha, email, 24 August 2011. 10  See the note by Di Filippo in The Emperor of Gondwanaland and Other Stories (New York: Thunder’s Mouth Press, 2005), p. 3.

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encounter each other. Webb’s work added a frisson of anarchy to the magazine. Adkisson was especially pleased when he acquired material from Brian W. Aldiss. The magazine ran one of his ‘Enigma’ series, ‘Year by Year the Evil Gains’. This had first appeared in New Writings in SF 27 in 1975 and was collected, along with other Enigmas, in Last Orders which, at that time, had not been published in the United States so this was its first US appearance. Each story is woven into a sequence of three and the enigma is the connection between them. Aldiss commented that when he first wrote the Enigma stories he did not consider them experimental, rather that he had undergone a period of ‘mental reorientation’ and these enigmas proved to be the best way he could express himself. Adkisson felt this ideally suited New Pathways, remarking that ‘our intention is to drive the SF field into “an unusual period of mental reorientation.” God knows it is needed.’11 In addition to Aldiss, Adkisson acquired material relevant to Philip K. Dick. Dick’s cult status was rapidly growing following his early death and the posthumous success of the film Bladerunner (1982).12 Issue #7 (April/ May 1987) ran Dick’s ‘Thoughts on VALIS’, extracted from a letter he had written in 1979. Further letter extracts were presented in ‘Dick on Dick’ in #12 (October 1988), and there was an interview with rock journalist Paul Williams in #6 which was predominantly about Dick. Adkisson felt that both Aldiss’s and Dick’s presence helped promote the magazine’s profile and certainly from #7 it grew rapidly in stature, becoming the renegade magazine of the time. Adkisson was able to push the print run up to 2,000 copies and sales would prove sufficient to sustain the magazine for five years. It ran material by many of the writers associated with an alternative approach to sf, including Michael Bishop, Scott Edelman, Robert Frazier, David Memmott, Rudy Rucker, Jessica Amanda Salmonson, Lewis Shiner, John Shirley, Carter Scholz and Steve Rasnic Tem. The same applied to the artwork which was used liberally in New Pathways, both for story illustrations and comic strips. Much of this was the work of Matt Howarth who was just establishing himself with his graphic art series Those Annoying Post Bros. and in illustrating some of the books by K. W. Jeter and John Shirley. Howarth’s comic strip ‘Sonar Curiosity’, somewhat in the style of Vaughn Bodé, which had previously run in Stardate (as ‘Sonic Curiosity’), ran from #6 to #9 during 1987. The other key artist was Tim MacNamara, who masqueraded both as the mysterious Ferret and Mink 11  See the letter by Brian Aldiss and response by Adkisson in New Pathways, #7 (April/May 1987), p. 4. 12  Philip K. Dick died on 2 March 1982, at the age of 53. Bladerunner was released on 25 June 1982.

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Mole. His work, closely associated with K. W. Jeter, established a certain notoriety in the mid-1980s and added to the subculture mystique of New Pathways. Besides the fiction and art, each issue of New Pathways ran a regular review feature, commentary by correspondents and contributors, interviews and any additional editorial comments that Adkisson or Misha felt necessary. When Paul Di Filippo chose to stop his fanzine Astral Avenue after 12 issues it was incorporated as a column. Misha’s husband composed electronic music and New Pathways gave space to features on music, especially with any literary crossover. Paul Di Filippo used the story from The Kinks’ record Waterloo Sunset for his own story of that name in #11 (July 1988). Misha stepped down as fiction editor after #10 (March 1988) and her role was continued by Luke McGuff, though there was a considerable inventory of her material remaining. McGuff moved on after three issues and Chris Kelly became fiction editor from #14 (May 1989). That issue marked a new phase in the life of New Pathways with more pages, greater media coverage and more artwork and comic strips. It also became more ecologically aware with articles and commentary on the need to consider the state of the world. Under Kelly the fiction was more cutting edge and anarchic. The magazine ran extracts from John Shirley’s novel Eclipse Corona, the third of his ‘Song Called Youth’ trilogy and promoted as a ‘cyberpunk’ saga, though really this was the culmination of evaluating the technological revolution which had encouraged cyberpunk in the first place. The magazine also ran its first fullcolour cover on #16 (July 1990), with artwork by David Patrick Menehan emphasizing the cyberpunk image. These final few issues, though, lost some of that pioneer appeal of the early issues when Adkisson and Misha were building something special. They appear brash and almost overconfident. After #19 in January 1991 it was a whole year before the final issue appeared, dated Winter 1992. Adkisson hinted there would be more, but the cost in time and finance had become too much. He told me, ‘It was heart-breaking to see NP end after #20, but I literally gave it everything I had, down to the last penny. That is a tribute not to me, but to all the fine people, great artists and writers who contributed their efforts.’13 It may also be a tribute, though a rather back-handed one, that throughout its six-year run no item in the magazine was nominated for a single award. That is not so much a measure of the appeal of the magazine but of its challenging content. New Pathways was at one level a catalyst, serving to stimulate writers and artists into a wider awareness of the potential of imaginative fiction, and at another level a conduit, channelling

13  Mike Adkisson, email, 31 August 2011.

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thoughts and ideas through the small-press field. John Shirley, in his penetrating essay ‘Beyond Cyberpunk’, which considered the magazines that contributed to what he called the ‘Science Fiction Underground’ (SFU), regarded New Pathways as the ‘classic SFU mag … the original and still the best’.14 Adkisson had joined the New SF Alliance launched by Chris Reed and Dave Hughes in Britain and there was an interchange of ideas, artists and writers between New Pathways, Back Brain Recluse and other magazines. One link in this chain was David Memmott. He has since earned a reputation as a poet, winning the Rhysling Award in 1991 for ‘The Aging Cryonicist in the Arms of His Mistress Contemplates the Survival of the Species While the Phoenix Is Consumed by Fire’ (The Magazine of Speculative Poetry, October/ November 1990). But he was equally adept at fiction. He had appeared first in New Pathways with ‘Where the Buffalo Roam’ (#3, July 1986), depicting a future project to restore the long-ruined North American Plains to their condition in the nineteenth century and people them primarily with clones. He followed this with the three-part ‘The AKA Fragments’ (#7–9), a purported translation of part of some archives recovered from deep in a Guatemalan pyramid which reveals the possible origins of life on Earth. It came dangerously close to being an ‘Adam and Eve’ story, but Memmott knew his territory and gave the story a thought-provoking conclusion. While that serial was running, Memmott began his own small-press magazine, Ice River, which grew out of a literary newsletter he had run for a few years after graduating from college. Memmott had run some poetry and fiction in the newsletter and became attracted to what he considered ‘literary science fiction’, inspired to a large degree by the New Wave. Ice River began as an octavo booklet of around 50 pages, with a print run of about 300 copies, sparsely illustrated, and running a number of poems and prose poems, plus four or five stories, frequently surreal or examples of the emerging byway called slipstream. The term ‘slipstream’ had been coined by Bruce Sterling and Richard Dorsett in Sterling’s ‘Catscan’ column in Science Fiction Eye (#5, July 1989) in order to recognize that form of postmodern speculative fiction that did not conform to genre classification and yet was evidently not part of the mainstream. Sterling believed that ‘the heart of slipstream is an attitude of peculiar aggression against “reality”. These are fantasies of a kind, but not fantasies which are “futuristic” or “beyond the fields we know’. These books tend to sarcastically tear at the structure of “everyday life”.’15

14  John Shirley, ‘Beyond Cyberpunk’, Science Fiction Eye, 1:5 (July 1989), p. 39. 15  Bruce Sterling, ‘Slipstream’, Science Fiction Eye, 1:5 (July 1989), p. 78.

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This was similar territory to that which John Shirley described as being produced by the magazines in the ‘Science Fiction Underground’. Slipstream may have been a less-than-defining term but, by recognizing something that was separated from the mainstream and not quite genre, Sterling was effectively stating the manifesto of the alternative magazines. They were born of the turbulence of the genre and, like a waterfall takes a stream down to the next level, giving it added strength and vitality, so the alternative press gave resilience to the borderlands of genre sf. Ice River was part of that development. Its stories were mostly short but one in the first issue (Summer 1987) was of significant length. ‘Down By the Sea Wreck’ by Frederick Hohing (the recently appointed editor of the Hawaii Pacific Review) is set in an undefined post-catastrophe future where life has reverted to the pre-industrial style of the pioneer settlers. It had previously been shortlisted for an award in the Writers of the Future contest. After the first issue, Memmott set up Ice River, Inc., in Union, Oregon, a non-profit literary organization to recognize emerging and neglected artists in speculative writing, electronic music, fantastic and surreal poetry, art and fiction. Ice River was supported by a grant from the Coordinating Council of Literary Magazines, which had been running since 1967 and supported such periodicals as The Paris Review and The Kenyon Review but had previously had little input into genre magazines. By the third issue, Ice River was also supported by a grant from the Oregon Arts Commission. Misha Nogha was a contributing editor from the first issue, with reviews and fiction, thus establishing a link to New Pathways. Other contributors already known in the alternative press included Scott Edelman, Richard Kadrey, Rob Hollis Miller and Don Webb. Memmott also joined the New SF Alliance and thereby helped distribute Back Brain Recluse in the USA while Chris Reed distributed Ice River, New Pathways and others in the UK. Memmott also contributed to Back Brain Recluse. ‘Instrument of the Dominant Gene’ (#14, Autumn 1989) explores, somewhat surreally, the primitive instinct in us all. Ice River was thus part of a growing number of magazines that used speculative fiction as the core around which to explore the form in all its multimedia manifestations. After three half-yearly issues, Memmott issued a quarterly supplement, still called Ice River but not part of the numbered sequence, as an eight-page tabloid. It was intended primarily for market reports, listings of books received, and other commentary, such as Misha’s ‘Points of Impact’ review column, but it also ran poetry and very short stories. This saw four issues dated between Spring and Winter 1988, each with a thousand-copy print run. Memmott then combined the original octavo magazine and the tabloid supplement and in June 1989 relaunched Ice River as a letter-size

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magazine, with all of the features from both magazines. Memmott invited guest editors for both #4 (Andrew Joron and Robert Frazier) and #5 (Nico Vassilakis and Noemie Maxwell). The plan was to issue the newly merged Ice River thrice yearly, and three such issues did appear, the others dated October 1989 and February 1990, with print runs of just 500 copies (300 copies for the final issue). Contributors included Jack Dann, Scott Edelman, Carol Emshwiller, Robert Frazier, Lucius Shepard, Brian Stableford, Don Webb and Thomas Wiloch. Ursula Le Guin contributed a brief poem, ‘Powell’s Book Store’ (#4, June 1989). By the final issue, Memmott was finding it harder to sustain the magazine and find time to focus on his own writing and develop his parallel Wordcraft of Oregon book-publishing enterprise, so the magazine folded. If any magazine could be seen as a successor to Ice River it was Xizquil, which ran for 16 issues from January 1990 to Summer 1996. It was a neatly typed octavo-size booklet, of around 60 pages, mostly unillustrated, edited by Uncle River, the persona adopted by author and former psychoanalyst Stephen Kaufman, who lived in New Mexico. Xizquil called itself ‘A Place Where Social Consciousness and Creative Speculation Meet’, River’s intentions being to publish material which looked at the current state of society and explored cultural alternatives. River stated that ‘Xizquil is a place for daring ideas about things that matter’,16 and it took the spirit of the Science Fiction Underground into the next decade. Most stories were short but occasional longer ones appeared, several in a series by Albert J. Manachino. ‘Alley of the Dolls’, in the second issue (June 1990), was a police detective story set in a curiously alternate France at some uncertain historical period, similar to Avram Davidson’s Dr Esterhazy stories. Its sequel, ‘The Infernal House’, a collaboration with his granddaughter Jennifer, took up over half of the fifth issue (September 1991) and a further sequel, ‘Nightmare at Galesbury’, took up the whole of #14 (November 1995). Uncle River used the magazine to explore ideas both surreal and spiritual and most of the contributors were those you’d expect to find in the alternative little magazines, including Steve Sneyd, Don Webb, Scott C. Virtes and t. Winter-Damon. Xizquil was a magazine with a conscience, plus an added spirituality. Ice River and Xizquil were part of a growing number of titles that demonstrated the increased liberation of the sf/fantasy field that desk-top publishing allowed (and which, before long, the internet would also

16 ‘Guidelines’, Xizquil, #1 (January 1990), p. 58.

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encourage) and which showed the underlying interest in more nonconformist forms of speculative fiction. John Shirley saw this as a rebellion against an overcommercialization of formulaic science fiction at the book publishing level and an overly common standard established by so many writers passing through the writers’ workshops, notably Clarion and Milford. While this might be too sweeping a generalization it is certainly true that the reduced number of professional sf magazines provided only a limited opportunity for more radical forms of sf. In recognizing the new small-press publishers Shirley commented, ‘They aspire toward a grown-up fiction, or in some cases simply freewheeling fiction, and they are insisting on finding venues for it—even if they have to publish those venues themselves.’17 Uncle River looked deeper into this. He believed that the world about us was becoming increasingly incomprehensible and uncontrollable to mere individuals, to which their only response was to express their views in fiction, often of a fantastic form. He wrote: In a time when our world is quite probably in the process of plunging into spiritual and ecological chaos, it is more than ever the job of people in the arts to discover the place in the Spirit world that life comes from and to invent means to articulate that experience.18

The truth was that there was far more exciting and rewarding fiction being written than could ever be published and, no matter how good the quality, they had no guaranteed market. Not only were the commercial markets limited, they were dictated to by publishing pressures. Carter Scholz, interviewed by Misha for New Pathways, remarked, ‘Why do they reject good work? Because they are at the mercy of entrenched financial interests, entrenched critical interests, entrenched attitudes and assumptions, and a fundamental conservatism and incompetence unparalleled by any other industry.’19 Scholz added that ‘writing which is really good is subversive’ and while that is far too sweeping a statement, at its core it is true that anyone pushing the boundaries, especially in a field such as science fiction, which by its very nature is already exploring the unknown, will consider ideas that challenge the establishment. For decades science fiction was ignored by the establishment which was why John W. Campbell, Jr could get away with so much in Astounding during the Second World War and why Horace 17  See Shirley, ‘Beyond Cyberpunk’, p. 32. For a study of the emergence of the writers’ workshops see Gateways to Forever, pp. 160–66. 18  Uncle River, ‘Spirit and the Arts in These Times’, Xizquil, #1 (January 1990), p. 6. 19  Carter Scholz, interview by Misha, New Pathways, #11 (July 1988), p. 25.

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Gold at Galaxy could publish so much anti-McCarthy material during the investigation into Un-American Activities in the early 1950s. But by the 1980s science fiction had poked its head above the battlements and, while much of it was still ignored by the establishment, it couldn’t hide entirely. So some editors, especially at publishing houses, played it safe. One could not accuse Gardner Dozois, Shawna McCarthy or Edward L. Ferman of playing it safe, but McCarthy had had her knuckles rapped over some of the material she published and a degree of caution always had to be exercised. Ferman’s F&SF had perhaps the most liberal parameters, but this was just one magazine in a hugely expanding sf world. The alternative press, small though it was, was an essential part of keeping sf alive, fresh and aware. Twenty years after Michael Moorcock’s New Wave revolution, the small press were once again manning the ramparts. Other magazines which were part of this rebellion, in order of their appearance, were Nova Express, Edge Detector, Strange Plasma and Journal Wired. Edge Detector (Summer 1988–Summer 1991; three issues), edited by Glenn Grant, was the Canadian entrée into the cyberpunk field, encouraging experimental fiction from Paul Di Filippo, Rudy Rucker, Peter Lamborn Wilson and Lyle Hopwood. Its very title showed that here was a magazine determined to explore the outer limits of fiction. Although let down to some degree by its poor production standards, the magazine’s content was refreshingly daring. Strange Plasma (Summer 1989–Winter 1994; eight issues), produced by Steve Pasechnik of Edgewood Press, was slightly less radical. It also emphasized the borderlands of science fiction and fantasy, labelling itself ‘speculative + imaginative fiction’, and favoured the fantastic, but with an international angle. In addition to work by Gene Wolfe, Tim Powers, Kathleen Ann Goonan, Garry Kilworth and A. A. Attanasio, there was a significant Antipodean presence with Greg Egan, Terry Dowling, Cherry Wilder and others, plus further interplay with Back Brain Recluse, reprinting Charles Stross’s ‘Approaching Xanadu’ (#2, 1990), which had been issued by Chris Reed as a booklet the previous year. The first issue published the first short fiction by novelist Paul Park. Journal Wired was the only one of these magazines in trade paperback format rather than letter-size. It was produced by Andy Watson and Mark Ziesing, edited in California but published in Colorado. It looked the most professional because of the quality of its printing and production, and had a solid line-up of names, all familiar from the other renegade magazines— John Shirley, Lucius Shepard, Rudy Rucker, A. A. Attanasio, Lewis Shiner, Paul Di Filippo and Pat Cadigan. Its purpose was just the same: ‘to publish

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fiction that defies categorization, blurring the distinction between popular genres and the so-called “mainstream”’.20 Like all of the other magazines, Journal Wired was as much a review as a fiction magazine, with commentary on the state of the art in fiction, music and the media, though it did not restrict itself by any self-imposed barriers. For instance, it featured an interview with the youth activist Abbie Hoffman conducted just a fortnight before his apparent suicide. There were articles on political issues, notably in Lucius Shepard’s ‘Stark Raving’ column. The magazine ventured into more ‘literary’ areas with interviews with Iain M. Banks, William S. Burroughs and Patrick McGrath, among others, and fiction from Jonathan Lethem. Its artwork and design were also more extreme than the other magazines. It only saw three issues, Winter 1989 to Summer/Fall 1990, the final running to a substantial 364 pages. The cost of production became prohibitive but it remains a fine example of what the alternative field could achieve. Journal Wired won the Readercon convention’s small-press award in 1991 in two separate categories, for its design and its content. Although Journal Wired was the most brashly all-embracing of the alternative magazines, its intent was no different from that of Ice River, New Pathways, Back Brain Recluse or any of the other titles. But many of these magazines were short-lived, their mayfly existence being sufficient evidence for the demand to produce alternative fiction, but their individual impact being minimal. It was their cumulative affect that mattered. The thread that Modern Stories and Last Wave had begun and which New Pathways continued was taken over by Nova Express. Nova Express appeared in April 1987, produced by Michael Sumbera of White Car Publications, in Houston, Texas. It called itself ‘the ’Zine of the Avant Garde’ and in its first issue Sumbera proclaimed that the majority of authors it would publish would be unknowns. By way of example he ran ‘The Park’ by L. Tye Emerson who, though listed as contributing editor has not, to my know­ledge, published anything else, and ‘The Inferno’ by Robert Deike, which was translated (‘very badly’ it admitted) from the Albanian. The second issue (Summer 1987), as slim as the first and boldly labelled as ‘Free’, was much the same, but from the third issue (Fall/Winter 1987) the magazine shook off the obscure pretentiousness and began to focus not on unknown writers but on the nonconformists. This issue consisted almost entirely of a long interview with Howard Waldrop and reviews of his works. The next issue (Spring 1988), which benefited from a good layout and quality desk-top publishing, dropped the ‘avant garde’ slogan and featured

20  The Editors, ‘Introduction’, Journal Wired, #1 (Winter 1989), p. iv.

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an interview with George R. R. Martin, an analysis of the works of Walter Jon Williams and just one story, ‘Terminals’ by Jill Engels. Nova Express had taken four issues to find its feet but thereafter it became a magazine of review and criticism, like Science Fiction Eye, running little fiction, and with each issue focusing either on a theme or a key author. The fifth issue (Summer 1988) considered the ‘splatterpunk’ movement, #6 (Winter 1988) the ‘steampunk’ movement. Thereafter key authors for the rest of the run were Kim Stanley Robinson (#7, Spring 1989), John Kessel (#8, Summer 1989), Pat Cadigan (#9, Fall 1989), Pat Murphy (#10, Summer 1990), Pamela Sargent (#11, Winter 1991) and Joe R. Lansdale (#12, Summer 1992). After that issue Nova Express went into hibernation. Its editorial staff had all now graduated through college, obtained work or started to sell stories professionally, and priorities clashed. The magazine would re-emerge with Lawrence Person as editor in 1995 and continue along much the same lines, and although the generative mood of the late 1980s had passed, there were other battles to fight. Of particular interest was a reader survey that Nova Express undertook during 1991, which was rare among the small-press magazines. It showed that 75% of the readership (or at least those who responded—the number wasn’t given) were men and this might reflect their tastes because a high percentage were interested not only in science fiction (92%) but also weird fantasy (100%) and horror (75%). The readers were particularly interested in cyberpunk and more humanist-oriented fiction and this reflects in the other magazines they acquired. Asimov’s and New Pathways were bought by 73%; Science Fiction Eye and F&SF also featured high (both 64%) but only 9% bought Analog.21 The divide in the field could not have been more defined. The small-press movement, which had embraced the alternative literatures of cyberpunk and splatterpunk, were open to the progressive expansion of the field under Gardner Dozois at Asimov’s, and were clearly interested in the effect of the new technologies upon society rather than the impact of the hard sciences being explored in Analog. Some of this may be a direct by-product of the shift by Asimov’s, and to some extent Omni, in providing more experimental and ground-breaking fiction by the mid-1980s. This encouraged more people to be experimental but there was only so much space in these two magazines, and this fuelled a demand among the alternative press. The number of these titles grew substantially so that by 1987 the combined issues of New Pathways,

21  See ‘First Dune, Then Lolita … or, the Nova Express Reader Survey’ compiled by Lawrence Person, Nova Express, 3:4 (#12, Summer 1992), pp. 22–25.

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Ice River, Science Fiction Eye, Nova Express and the British Back Brain Recluse that year totalled 14, the equivalent of another full-time regular magazine. Despite the irregular appearances of these and later titles, they still notched up 13–14 issues per year for the rest of the decade, at the same time that Asimov’s was rising to the demand. There were other factors at play. The appearance of the alternative magazines is also due to the greater facility to produce magazines with the growth in computer technology, desk-top publishing and laser printing. Fans could produce high-quality, professional-looking magazines over which they had total control in terms of content, and they could satisfy their need for alternative, often extreme, fiction in both sf and horror. Yet their impact, at first glance, would seem limited. Whereas in 1987 Asimov’s could claim a circulation of over 80,000 it is doubtful if the combined circulations of the alternative magazines reached 5,000, and there would be considerable overlap between readers so that the total readership was probably little more than 2,000. And few of these magazines paid their contributors. So one must ask why these alternative magazines could attract writers such as Paul Di Filippo, John Kessel, Bruce Sterling, John Shirley, Rudy Rucker and Howard Waldrop when all of them were already selling to F&SF, Asimov’s and Omni. But therein also lies part of the answer. F&SF and Asimov’s did not allow for the wider discussion and evaluation of science/speculative fiction in all its forms. New Pathways, Science Fiction Eye and others provided considerable space for authors to explore and challenge the evolving field and consider its wider potential. It also provided a market for the more unusual material that would never have sold to a commercial market. It is unlikely, for example, that Jonathan Lethem’s surreal ‘Using It and Losing It’ from Journal Wired (Summer/Fall 1990), which tells of a man who tries to rid himself of language, would have featured in any of the commercial genre magazines, though it could have appeared in a literary magazine. Likewise New Pathways provided a forum for the writings of Misha and David Memmott and made the sf field aware of the art of Tim MacNamara. The small-press magazines allowed considerable crossover between the various fields and between literary and genre markets. Writers such as Don Webb, whose bizarre creations had a limited professional market at that time, could nevertheless contribute regularly to a variety of small-press magazines, including others I have not discussed here, and some of these stood a chance of being selected for one or more of the annual ‘Year’s Best’ compilations. Gardner Dozois selected Robert Sampson’s ‘Relationships’ from the first issue of Strange Plasma for his Year’s Best Science Fiction: Seventh Annual Collection (1990), while Terri Windling, writing in the second volume

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of Year’s Best Fantasy, said, ‘There is a great deal of energy and excitement evident in the fantasy small-press magazines … providing a forum for new writers and works with less commercial potential.’22 The small press thus provided a stepping stone to a wider market as well as a forum for experimentation (the ‘slipstream’ and avant-garde) and a vehicle for criticism and analysis. There had always been amateur magazines, but never with such maturity, authority and impact as selfpublishing allowed during the 1980s. Between them they acted like a series of satellites orbiting the bodies of the primary magazines and exerting a gravitational force upon them. The alternative literature, of which cyberpunk was but a part, was, at the same time, trying to distance itself from the primary magazines and one can imagine certain of the magazines, such as New Pathways or Journal Wired, orbiting at a greater distance but the strength of their voice nevertheless still exerting a considerable influence. Yet, although one can argue that New Pathways or Journal Wired were challenging, alternative and certainly different from the commercial magazines, just how extreme were they, and how far were they prepared to be dangerous? Enter Pulphouse.

Dangerous Pulphouse The route from being a professional golfer to magazine publisher is not an obvious one, especially when that route is via being a professional architect and a near-qualified lawyer,23 but that was the route followed by Dean Wesley Smith. He had flirted briefly with fiction, selling two short horror stories to The Diversifier in 1976 and 1977, but spent more time writing poetry, quite successfully, before turning his attention back to fiction. He attended the Clarion Writers’ Workshop in 1982 resulting in his first professional sale, the brief ‘Flawless Execution’, to Damon Knight’s The Clarion Awards (1984). He entered the Writers of the Future contest leading to the publication of ‘One Last Dance’, a moving story of an old man and woman’s final dreams, in the first of the Writers of the Future anthologies in 1985. At that time Smith ran a bookstore in Idaho and the name ‘Pulphouse’ arose because, in addition to nine rooms of stock, the store housed three private collections, one of which belonged to Nina Kiriki Hoffman who, checking the store over one day, remarked that ‘this place is a real

22  Terri Windling, ‘Introduction’, in Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling (eds), The Year’s Best Fantasy: Second Annual Collection (New York: St Martin’s Press, 1989), p. xx. 23  Smith quit just three days before qualifying as a lawyer.

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pulphouse’,24 and the name stuck. In 1986 Smith relocated to Eugene, Oregon, with his future wife Kristine Kathryn Rusch, who had recently made her first story sales, and together they set up Pulphouse Publishing in the autumn of 1987. Duties were split down the middle with Smith as publisher and Rusch as editor. The business was founded on publishing short fiction in a variety of forms. Their flagship item was an ambitious hardback magazine, Pulphouse, which was indistinguishable from a regular hardcover anthology apart from the label ‘The Hardback Magazine’ on the cover. They even bought anthology rights rather than serial rights.25 To market test it, Smith produced 300 copies of a sample edition composed entirely of blank pages, numbered #0, which he showed to dealers and writers. It was a handsome volume, bound in black cloth with gold lettering and marbled edges, just the lure to attract contributors and collectors. The plan was to produce a thousand-copy trade edition and a 250-copy leather-bound edition. This was at a time when the specialist small press and dealers were at their height and Smith had no trouble in securing sales. He also determined, from the start, that the magazine would run for 12 volumes, on a quarterly basis, with each volume rotating genres within each year, covering horror, sf, fantasy and speculative fiction. It paid professional rates, six cents or more per word on acceptance. The first volume, covering horror, was released at the World Fantasy Convention held over the Halloween weekend in October 1988. It was a quality product including material by Michael Bishop, Ed Bryant, Harlan Ellison, Ron Goulart, Don Webb and Kate Wilhelm. The stories were all at the cutting edge of horror as developed in The Horror Show, Night Cry and similar magazines—one of the stories was a reprint from Night Cry. They reflected the dangerous aspects of society and humanity which anyone might face when they step out of their front door. Only a few were overtly supernatural—in fact Rusch remarked that many might regard the contents as ‘mainstream fiction mixed with traditional horror’.26 Kate Wilhelm’s story had appeared in Redbook, emphasizing a close link to the mainstream. This volume proved a success and was almost certainly a main factor in Pulphouse Publishing receiving a special World Fantasy Award the next

24  Dean Wesley Smith, interview by Bob Morrish in ‘Spotlight on Publishing’, Cemetery Dance, 3:3 (Summer 1991), p. 67. 25  See the news story ‘Original Anthology Series to Come from Small Press’, Science Fiction Chronicle, #102 (March 1988), p. 6. 26  Kristine Kathryn Rusch, ‘Introduction’, Pulphouse, The Hardback Magazine, #1 (Fall 1988), pp. 6–7.

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year in the ‘non-professional’ category, though in practice it was a highly professional organization. Over the next two issues—the Winter 1988 one devoted to speculative fiction and the Spring 1989 to fantasy—Pulphouse acquired a reputation of venturing where few other magazines dared to tread. Ed Bryant saw the magazine as a ‘brave experiment’ and the contents as ‘something brash, something new’, and Mark Kelly saw it as ‘becoming a refuge for stories too offbeat … for more traditional publications’.27 Many of the stories used sexual themes such as Nina Kiriki Hoffman’s ‘Savage Breasts’ (Winter 1988) where, through special enhancement, women’s breasts become fighting machines, or Jonathan Lethem’s ‘A Wish’ (Spring 1989), where a man’s semen becomes a genie from a lamp. Rusch went so far as to call Lethem’s story ‘nearly unpublishable’. Elizabeth A. Lynn provided an essay for the fantasy volume, ‘The Risks of Fantasy’, which considered the challenges and potential of the field that makes writing fantasy so rewarding. The fourth volume, Summer 1989, covering science fiction, was perhaps the most revealing. In her introduction, Rusch confessed that her early appreciation of science fiction was limited since it excluded those stories high in ideas, technology and characterization. She preferred human stories, which is how her own writing was developing, and she enjoyed challenging stories such as those in Damon Knight’s Orbit series or Harlan Ellison’s Dangerous Visions. She almost apologized for the limited number of ‘techie’ stories, but she seemed to overlook that her judgement was, in fact, perfectly valid. The stories were, for the most part, strong studies of humans in or threatened by alien environments, and were not as extreme as those in the fantasy, horror or speculative fiction volumes. Rusch enjoyed the word ‘dangerous’, which described the more challenging forms of fiction, and applied it here to the opening story, ‘The Canyon Trees’ by Nancy Etchemendy. Yet this story of an alien world where the native flora seduces the fauna for their symbiotic benefit is no more dangerous than anything Philip José Farmer might once have written. The stories by Ray Aldridge, Kim Antieau and Ernest Hogan are equally powerful evocations of otherness. The volume had its inevitable share of cyberpunk (‘Beat Till Stiff’ by Deborah Wessell) and post-cyberpunk (‘Headed for Prime Time’ by Bruce Boston) and its share of the irrational (‘An Hour to Kill’ by Arlan Andrews, which is literally about killing time), but the pervasive mood of the volume is one of solid science fiction exploring the human condition. It was the most balanced of the volumes to date.

27  Edward R. Bryant, ‘Reviews’, and Mark R. Kelly, ‘Distillations’, both in Locus, #342 (July 1989), pp. 29, 52.

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In her introduction, Rusch challenged contributors to send her material which proved you could blend idea-based fiction with strong characters, and the results appeared in the next sf volume, #8 (Summer 1990). Among the first to respond was Greg Egan with one of his earliest American appearances, ‘The Moral Virologist’. Rusch called it ‘the quintessential Pulphouse story’ and again labelled it ‘dangerous’. It was certainly a bold story, about a fundamentalist scientist who saw Aids as a failed plague from Heaven and set about creating a more potent virus that would attack all those who were not God-fearing heterosexuals. Equally as powerful on a totally different level was the politically charged ‘The Forbidden Words of Margaret A.’ by L. Timmel Duchamp, which is presented as a report, complete with footnotes, by a journalist who has a photo-op with a prisoner who is seen as so subversive that she is not allowed to communicate with others. This volume is full of concentrated atmosphere. ‘Cruise Eternity’ by S. P. Somtow considers the effects on a party of tourists with a one-way ticket into the future, visiting different centuries before realizing what they’ve left behind. There is a similar sense of loss in Jack McDevitt’s ‘It’s a Long Way to Alpha Centauri’ and Thomas F. Monteleone’s ‘The Way of the Cross’. That same intensity imbues the other theme issues and critics praised each successive volume. Ed Bryant not only called Pulphouse ‘a model for the anthology of the ’90s’ but stated that it had ‘evolved into a tank of compressed fresh air for this declining century’.28 ‘Fresh’ might be an appropriate adjective in relation to the magazine’s originality in treatment and content but is less appropriate when considering the accumulative mood of the series. Each volume is saturated with the writers’ desire to produce something different. It didn’t work on every occasion, but it worked enough to make the whole series a creatively charged package. It lost some of this towards the end when Rusch took over as editor of F&SF (from the July 1991 issue) which diverted her energies. Issue #11, dated Spring 1991 (planned for February but not appearing until late August), was a general ‘speculative fiction’ miscellany, and the final issue, #12, planned for April 1991 but which did not appear until September 1993, had no theme at all. But the theme had been little more than a node around which to explore every which way of ‘dangerous’ fiction. However you viewed it, Pulphouse stood as one of the most intense of anthology series—for despite the ‘magazine’ label it was to all intents an anthology—on a par with such predecessors as Damon Knight’s Orbit, shaped entirely by the same desire for challenging and intoxicating fiction.

28  Edward Bryant, ‘Review’, Locus, #355 (August 1990), p. 20.

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The reception accorded Pulphouse, however, begs the question: if Pulphouse was so highly regarded, why was not a single story from it nominated for an award? It may simply be that because of its limited press run, 1,250 copies per issue, it never received a sufficiently wide audience to garner enough votes, but stories from other small-press titles with similar print runs had previously been nominated.29 Could it be that because of the limited edition many copies were bought by collectors and never actually read? Pulphouse was a clear critical success, but did it have popular appeal? Although Pulphouse had no letter column, Smith did publish three issues of a separate Letters to Pulphouse as a paper-covered chapbook, assembled by Debra Gray Cook. For the first issue the one word that was said by almost every reader was ‘impressive’. Ernest Hogan reacted to the shallow praise which he found ‘boring’ and challenged readers to send in extensive letters, because if Pulphouse really was ‘dangerous’ then what hackles was it raising among the offended. His conclusion was that most of the stories were not dangerous, or if they were then it was sad that the subjects covered—the existence of God, the fall of America, life in a whorehouse—were still considered dangerous. His conclusion was that although Pulphouse was treading the right path it still had a way to go to be genuinely dangerous. ‘I do look forward to seeing you publish something that will offend my twisted sensibilities in future issues,’ he declared.30 Gerard Houarner also analysed the first three issues and questioned exactly what ‘dangerous’ meant. He concluded that it was difficult to write because the writer had to be open and honest with themselves and also have the skill to make the scenes work and ‘drive issues like homelessness, child abuse, rampant consumerism … through armor constructed of “indifference” or “fear”’.31 Both Gardner Dozois and Ellen Datlow praised Pulphouse in their respective Year’s Best compilations for science fiction and horror respectively, yet neither reprinted a single story from the magazine. In fact, apart from authors’ own collections, very few stories from the magazine have been reprinted. It’s a paradox that suggests Pulphouse’s fiction was highly individualistic and instantly provocative but not of enduring quality. Several readers said that they liked the magazine because it ‘made me think’, but for the same reason they did not ‘entertain’. As a result the series has become 29  For instance ‘Beyond Any Measure’ by Karl Edward Wagner and ‘The Bones Wizard’ by Alan Ryan, both of which had appeared in Whispers, had both won the World Fantasy Award in 1983 and 1984 respectively. 30  Ernest Hogan, letter, Letters to Pulphouse, #2 (May 1989), [pp. 14–15]. 31  Gerard Houarner, letter, Letters to Pulphouse, #3 (September 1989), p. 10.

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entombed as a museum of experimentation rather than entertainment, which is unfortunate because there was much in Pulphouse that should be remembered and lauded. Although Pulphouse the hardback magazine ceased, Pulphouse the publisher continued with many more magazines and experiments that will be covered in The Rise of the Cyber Chronicles.  This group of small-press magazines had a significant overall presence. Despite their small circulation and their limited number of issues, there is no doubt that their cumulative impact had an influence on writers and the inner sanctum of sf readers. There was a symbiotic relationship between them, particularly in the pages of New Pathways and Nova Express, which allowed writers to experiment and explore with their audience. The magazines provided an alternative arena to consider the changes that were affecting science fiction in the 1980s, but where there was too limited room to do this in the pages of Asimov’s or Omni or Analog alone. While the most vocal movers and shakers of the decade were undoubtedly the cyberpunk brigade, in particular John Shirley and Bruce Sterling, their activities stirred the thoughts of others both for and against, including Gregory Benford, David Brin, John Kessel, Rudy Rucker and Lewis Shiner to name but a few, and the ripples of their debates and arguments spread outwards to many others, influencing their contributions to the magazines. Neither should we forget that it was John Shirley who first encouraged William Gibson to submit his fiction to Omni and so set the whole cyberpunk avalanche into motion. The very presence of these alternative magazines was, of course, noticed by the editors of the professional magazines, notably Gardner Dozois of Asimov’s, who was aware of their material when compiling his Year’s Best Science Fiction selections and occasionally reprinted stories from them. It was important to see how many new writers were contributing to and emerging from the radical small-press magazines, such as Paul Di Filippo, L. Timmel Duchamp, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Jonathan Lethem, Jeff VanderMeer, Don Webb and so on, many of whom had as much if not greater presence there than in the professional magazines and anthologies. The radical Science Fiction Underground was thus a vital part of the lifeblood of the genre during the 1980s and would continue to be so into the 1990s and the dawn of the internet.

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7 Postlude: Back to Basics Although the 1980s might be seen as the decade of three literary revolutions, there were, of course, other magazines striving to make a difference, but not seeking to be revolutionary. One might almost classify Analog among those but, as we have seen, Stanley Schmidt had deftly steered that magazine so that it kept its traditional values while still experimenting with new fictions that explored the same areas the more revolutionary magazines were generating—certainly the radical hard-sf renaissance, and a form of Analog/cyberpunk hybrid, if perhaps not slipstream. Other publications, though, strove for a greater sense of normality, to publish more conventional science fiction. Sometimes this might have been at the risk of taking a backward step, such as with the shared-world publications, while other times it was simply publishing such material as was available. Yet curiously, even these back-to-basics magazines were revolutionary in their own way, either in how they provided a market for new writers unable to crack the major magazines, or in the way they tried to influence readers into taking a new look at the world about them. Among these magazines were as many failures as there were successes, because as we have seen, unless a publisher had sufficient financial backing, adequate resources and a firm understanding of the market, the chances of survival were limited. It is worth considering, therefore, the ones that did not make it, or barely made it at all, to see what lessons may be learned.

Stuck on the Launch Pad There were several attempts to launch new magazines in the 1980s which floundered before any issue was published. For instance, Imago was planned as a fantasy magazine, to be published by Chelsea House as a companion

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to its new movie magazine Coming Attractions. It was to be a highly illustrated slick magazine in letter format, and to include comic strips and artist portfolios, as well as a new fantasy role-playing game (RPG), suggesting the magazine was inspired by the success of both Heavy Metal and the gaming magazines. The editor was Richard Monaco assisted by his wife Adele Leone. The first issue was planned for release in July 1983 (dated October), with work by Alan Dean Foster, Tanith Lee, Gene Wolfe, Piers Anthony and a centrefold by Tim Hildebrandt. Although a dummy first issue was prepared the magazine was dropped when Coming Attractions failed due to its inability to attract sufficient advertising. A similar case, and rather more high profile, was L. Ron Hubbard’s To the Stars Magazine. This had a chequered history. The title, as simply To the Stars, taken from a short novel by Hubbard serialized in Astounding SF in 1950, was initially used for a magazine of information and commentary about science fiction, particularly fandom, and space exploration. It ran no fiction. This early version was edited by John and Bjo Trimble. It had been launched with a trial issue, numbered #0, in letter-size format, at the Los Angeles SF Convention in August 1983. It included an article by Edd Cartier on illustrating the stories of L. Ron Hubbard, and a symposium, ‘What Will It Be Like in the Year 3000?’, with contributions from A. E. van Vogt, Greg Bear, William Rotsler and Jerry Pournelle, which was really a veiled attempt to promote Hubbard’s new book Battlefield Earth. The next two numbered issues were professionally printed, published by Methuselah Press, Los Angeles, an imprint of Author’s Services, which represented the literary interests of L. Ron Hubbard. Of most value were the interviews with Theodore Sturgeon in the first numbered issue (October/November 1983) and Hal Clement in the final undated (Spring 1984) issue. After three issues it was decided to revamp the magazine into a fully professional publication, featuring fiction, under the overall editorship of Craig Miller, with Terry Carr as fiction editor and William Rotsler as art director. It had the added bonus that it would be promoted alongside the weekly television series, To the Stars, directed by David Schaeffer and hosted by Fred Harris, which started in 1985 and looked at the potential of space travel. The TV series proved popular, winning a Laurel Award as the best syndicated cable TV show in 1985, but the magazine failed to appear. It had been announced as early as August 1984 but it was not until November 1985 that a dummy ‘promotional issue’ was completed, announcing various stories and including extracts from ‘At Winter’s End’ by Robert Silverberg and ‘Mencken Stuff’ by Joel Richards, plus an art portfolio by Frank

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Frazetta. In January 1986 Hubbard died and in the aftermath the magazine was cancelled. Terry Carr returned the material.1 Although the magazine never appeared, an associated initiative from Bridge Publications, the publishing arm of Hubbard’s Church of Scientology, was successful. This was the Writers of the Future contest, which had been launched in October 1983. Hubbard’s idea was to encourage new writers and his contest was open to all who had published no more than three stories or one novelette. The first prize was $1,000, with two runner-up prizes, awarded quarterly, so for each year there were four winners and four second- and third-placed stories. The initial judges were Gregory Benford, C. L. Moore, Robert Silverberg, Theodore Sturgeon, Jack Williamson and Roger Zelazny, the work coordinated by Algis Budrys. Stories were judged anonymously, the authors’ names being removed so that there could be no bias. Budrys had at first been sceptical: … when I first heard about it my eyes rolled. There have been writers’ contests in SF before, and they have been bombs, every one, not to say that at least one wasn’t an outright fraud. For my sins as a sometime communications consultant, I even had the idea discussed with me by Hubbard’s representatives, and I strongly recommended against it. Which is how I got to be one of the contest judges.2

The first year’s results were announced at a ceremony in Beverly Hills, California in February 1985 and the winners were published in an anthology L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future, edited by Budrys. There were the inevitable grumblings that the contest was an opportunity for the Church of Scientology to muscle in on science fiction, but the contest, which became an annual event, did not seek to do this. Its benefit to the Church was that it helped keep L. Ron Hubbard’s name in the forefront of the science-fiction field, which he so enjoyed, and gave young hopefuls a chance. Generally reviews of the anthology and its annual successors were favourable, albeit sometimes begrudgingly. Orson Scott Card wrote:

1  All of the planned stories for the first issue appeared elsewhere. Terry Carr used three in his anthology Universe 17 (New York: Doubleday, 1987): ‘Mencken Stuff’ by Joel Richards, ‘In the Tower’ by Jack McDevitt and ‘The Man Who Watched the Glaciers Run’ by Cherie Wilkerson. Robert Silverberg’s ‘At Winter’s End’ appeared in Asimov’s (January 1988). ‘Out of the Cradle’ by Mary Caraker appeared in F&SF (July 1987) and ‘La Différence’ by Harry Turtledove appeared in Esther Friesner (ed.), Did You Say Chicks? (Riverdale, NY: Baen Books, 1998). 2  Algis Budrys, ‘Books’, F&SF, 68:4 (April 1985), p. 29.

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I have a low opinion of those who, for their own profit or power, promote other people’s faith in a lie. … So the appearance of the name ‘L. Ron Hubbard’ on a book is generally reason enough for me not to buy it. But Hubbard did an end run around religious bigots like me, who prefer churches led by people who believe in their own doctrine. Returning to science fiction after a few decades of cynical exploitation of other people’s religious dedication, he not only published an SF book, he also decided to become a benefactor to young writers. … How could I continue to boycott Hubbard when the only people I was harming were young writers whose first or second sale appeared in Hubbard’s book?3

Card would become one of the story judges in 1994. The status of the various judges associated with the contest and the anthology, to which many contributed essays, gave the enterprise both a vote of confidence and a level of respectability that Hubbard’s name alone would not assure, and was a shrewd move on the part of Bridge Publications. In terms of establishing new writers the series has been a reasonable success, with some of the contributors going on to become significant names in the field. The first volume contained early sales by Leonard Carpenter, Karen Joy Fowler, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Dean Wesley Smith and David Zindell. When introducing Fowler’s story, Budrys revealed that it had been rewritten from an earlier draft submitted to Asimov’s, incorporating revisions suggested by Shawna McCarthy. Other contestants and winners included in the annual anthology over the next few years who soon made their presence known in the sf magazines included Ray Aldridge, Stephen M. Baxter, M. Shayne Bell, Laura E. Campbell, Carolyn Ives Gilman, Howard V. Hendrix, Bridget McKenna, Robert Reed (as Robert Touzalin), R. Garcia y Robertson, Martha Soukup, Mary A. Turzillo, K. D. Wentworth and Dave Wolverton, just to select the more prominent names. The comparative value and success of Writers of the Future as both a contest and an anthology series set against the fact that neither Imago nor To the Stars were able to appear in magazine format raises questions about the viability of the magazine in its own right. One can add to this the sad tale of Spectrum Stories. Walter Gammons of Louisville, Kentucky had run his own fanzine Spectrum Stories in the 1960s and in 1982 he decided to resurrect it alongside a batch of anthologies, covering hard sf, folklore and fable, and horror. Overarching all of these was the magazine Spectrum Stories. Plans became increasingly ambitious. In February 1983 the art and fiction editor, Marshall Bonfire, told me:

3  Orson Scott Card, ‘You Got No Friends in This World’, Science Fiction Review, #55 (Summer 1985), p. 19.

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Our Premiere Issue will be slick format (like Omni) and later bi-monthly issues will be tabloid (like the American Spectator or Rolling Stone) and we will try to go monthly within the first year or so, and hopefully change back to the expensive, color format again on a regular basis, after we build up our circulation and advertisers to pay bills.4

The print run for the first issue was to be 10,000–15,000, intending to rise to 100,000 in the first few years. Payment was to be between one and five cents per word. But despite these great plans nothing appeared for another two years. Marshall Bonfire withdrew from the project as did his replacement, Melissa Mia Hall. Little money was forthcoming but Gammons was determined to complete both Spectrum Stories and a projected companion, Wonder Stories.5 He was still promising to pay between one and five cents per word as late as July 1984. Eventually, in January 1985, Gammons put out a 96-page spiral-bound ‘fanzine’, printed on a dot-matrix printer which looked less than amateur. The grand plans had come to nothing and no contributor was paid. Although Spectrum still called itself bi-monthly, and sought a year’s subscription, no further issues appeared.  One magazine did at least make it to its first issue, or more appropriately, first revised issue. If (also called Worlds of If), reappeared with a new issue dated Fall 1986. In its heyday in the mid-1960s, under the editorship of Frederik Pohl, If had been the most popular sf magazine, winning a series of Hugo Awards and publishing much progressive new sf as well as championing the best of the old. It was not as restricted as its companion Galaxy and this ability to experiment, surprise and entertain had remained through subsequent editions under Ejler Jakobsson and, briefly, James Baen. The magazine had been merged with Galaxy in 1974 in a futile endeavour to save costs and increase circulation. Ten years later, in 1985, a consortium organized and chiefly financed by Clifford R. Hong in Hicksville, New York as the STF Corporation, managed to acquire the rights in the title from the publisher, Arnold Abramson, and set about trying to revive the magazine. The planned publication date of May 1986 came and went. It was originally intended to be bi-monthly, but when the magazine was finally launched at the World SF Convention in Atlanta, Georgia at the end of August 1986, a more realistic quarterly schedule had been decided. It was a valiant effort. Hong and his printer had worked hard at making the magazine look like the original If, with the same cover logo and design,

4  Marshall Bonfire, letter, 27 February 1983. 5 See SPWAO Newsletter, 6:4 (July/August 1984), p. 18.

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same format for the contents page and the same digest size, printed on good-quality white acid-free book paper. It had an effective space art cover by Bob Eggleton with interior art by Vincent Di Fate, Tim Kirk, Michael Gilbert and Paul Lehr. It was evident that much work and thought had gone into its appearance. The content was also respectable. There were several headline names, notably Orson Scott Card who undertook the book reviews, and Roger Zelazny whose ‘Night Kings’ is a slight but amusing spoof of a shop that provides all the necessary implements for vampire killers and zombie hunters. A. E. van Vogt was also present and provided an introduction to his story, ‘Prologue to Freedom’, which depicts a California split in two, half communist and half capitalist. The best stories were by the lesser-known writers including an If-first—a tradition that Hong was keen to revive— Kerry Schaefer, whose ‘Cloudscape’ portrays a dying alien cloud creature. Unfortunately Schaefer did not pursue a writing career in the magazines, being sufficiently content operating within Jacqueline Lichtenberg’s Sime-Gen fandom. Yet her potential was evident when her later novel, Walls of Ancient Stone, published as an ebook in 2001, was nominated for the Spectrum Award. Robert Thurston’s ‘Marchplateau’ deals with alien abduction, Hilbert Schenck’s ‘Ring Shot’ with nuclear war, and Jessica Amanda Salmonson’s ‘Samurai Fugue’ deals with a student’s samurai obsession. Overall it was a pleasing issue, sufficient to look forward to the next. Unfortunately, as we have so often seen, the cost of development and production was so high that there was almost no money to mail out copies to subscribers or pay the printer. The next issue, delayed but planned for a February release, was printed, bound and ready to distribute, but the printer refused to release it until he was paid. And so it remained. The issue promised material by Hal Clement, Alan Dean Foster, Gene Wolfe and more, showing that If might have made a renewed success had it not been undercapitalized. The failure of these magazines shows how difficult it was to launch a new publication, both in terms of raising the initial capital and in securing a revenue stream. It also serves to emphasize how remarkable it was how many new magazines did appear. Even then a failure to understand the market would lead to the inevitable.

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Shared Worlds Amazing Stories under TSR had demonstrated that the worlds of the RPG magazine had long moved away from the traditional sf magazine, but for further proof one needs only to consider the fate of Stardate. Stardate was a letter-size magazine on quality coated stock, heavily illustrated, published by the FASA Corporation based in Chicago. FASA had been founded in 1980 as a publisher of various role-playing games, initially Traveller, under licence from the Games Design Workshop, but more significantly, from 1982, as developers of the Star Trek RPG under licence from Paramount Pictures. As part of marketing this franchise they released Stardate in November 1984, labelled ‘A Magazine of Science Fiction and Gaming’. The editor-in-chief was Dale L. Kemper, who had designed the new Star Trek game, Termination: 1456. Stardate was intended to cover science fiction in all its forms, but primarily role-playing games and the media. Kemper explained the challenge ahead: Not only do we have to make our gaming audience pleased with our RPG adventures, equipment, ship plans, planetary and character descriptions, but we must entertain the mainstream science fiction fans with reviews, short fiction (most from professional writers, though we will never ignore well-written fan fiction), convention news, star interviews and so on. We hope it will develop into a hybrid magazine, able to please a wider audience than other magazines devoted to other popular role-playing games.6

This was indeed a challenge, since the experience of the other roleplaying games was that ‘mainstream science fiction fans’ were drifting away and hybrid magazines did not work. Kemper’s trump card was the Star Trek gaming franchise. The magazine appeared just after the third of the Star Trek feature films, The Search for Spock, and Kemper used an episode set just prior to that film as the basis for the first issue’s game scenario. It was clearly Kemper’s hope, and that of the publisher, Michael Bledsoe, that the fan base for Star Trek would be sufficient to support the magazine. The second issue (December 1984) featured a new game devised by Kemper plus a short story, ‘Force of Law’, also by Kemper, set in a Klingon Court of Discipline. Jefferson Swycaffer, who had sold a few short stories and his first novel, provided advice to would-be writers in ‘Writing Science Fiction’. Would-be writers might have noted Algis Budrys’s review of Swycaffer’s novel in the December 1985 Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction (F&SF),

6  Dale L. Kemper, ‘From the Command Chair’, Stardate, 1:1 (November 1984), p. 2.

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where he likened Swycaffer’s work to painting by numbers. That is, of course, what RPG fan fiction is and which, so far, was all that Stardate had aspired to. Planned as a monthly, Stardate missed months and combined issues for #3/4 (January/February 1985) and #5/6 (March/April 1985). Issue #5/6 ran the first non-Star Trek story, ‘Carrier’ by Kevin J. Anderson, though it could as easily have been set in the Star Trek universe. More surprisingly, it ran an article by James Van Hise on Clark Ashton Smith which seemed completely out of place. That issue also had staff changes, with a new publisher, L. Ross Babcock III, and a new editor-in-chief, William John Wheeler, with Kemper demoted to editor. It was soon evident that the magazine had not been selling as well as hoped or developed as intended. Just one more issue appeared under FASA’s direct ownership, dated July/August 1985 and numbered #7, though really only the fifth issue. This added the Dr Who RPG franchise to Star Trek with a new Dr Who game, ‘The Time Pirates’. There were two short stories by Jefferson Swycaffer, ‘Coronation Presumptuous’ and ‘Boarding Party’, both set in the Star Trek universe, and a comic strip by Dan Steffan, ‘Ming for a Day’. The issue, which was clearly a stop-gap edition, was something of a mess. The five issues showed that while FASA might be competent at developing games, they did not know how to create an sf magazine. It was announced that from the next issue the magazine would be under entirely new management, although Kemper crossed over as the games editor. The new owner was Associates International, a company based in Wilmington, Delaware which had been set up in 1973 to provide typesetting and printing services. The publisher was Dana Lombardy, a classic wargame enthusiast with a long-time interest in historical wargames. He was part of the team that set up Simulations Design Corporation in 1972 for which he edited the magazine Conflict. He had contributed a gaming column to both Analog and Asimov’s since 1983 and, for Associates International, he had started a monthly gaming magazine, Game News, in March 1985. While Lombardy was negotiating with FASA to take over Stardate, he approached Ted White to see if he would serve as the new editor. White saw little merit in the March/April 1985 issue—‘semi-professional at best’, he thought—and the fact that under Lombardy Stardate would take over the Star Trek and Dr Who RPG licences held no interest for him.7 Lombardy persevered and White agreed to act as a consultant, advising on the magazine’s overall design and content and supervising an editor of his choice. That editor was David Bischoff who was also initially reluctant

7  See Ted White, ‘Stardazed’, Quantum, #43/44 (Spring/Summer 1993), pp. 28–29.

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because he was no fan of Star Trek, but was won over because of the allure of becoming a magazine editor. The first issue under their direction was dated October 1985. It immediately looked superior. There was a striking cover illustration by Vincent Di Fate rather than the previous film stills, and the magazine now called itself ‘The Multi-Media Science Fiction Magazine’ boasting ‘A New Concept in Science Fiction Entertainment’. In fact it wasn’t that new a concept. Questar, which had come and gone between 1978 and 1981, had tried something similar but without the RPG, and had been moderately successful before overreaching itself. The Space Gamer had also tried to meld together a mixture of games, films and fiction. The difference with Stardate was that it was firing at the top level, paying up to ten cents per word for fiction from major writers, running sophisticated comic strips, particularly the work of Steve Stiles and Matt Howarth, alongside space devoted to RPG, coverage of new films (by Ed Naha and Charles Platt) and such other features as could be incorporated. It sought to be a complete package and the question was whether it would appeal to all the disparate science fiction factions that had been moving apart over the preceding decade. Bischoff took a while to acquire good fiction. His first issue suffered from the stories being too short and flippant, two of them by Damon Knight and Jack C. Haldeman II being little more than extended jokes. His second issue (November/December 1985) was a marked improvement with a particularly powerful story, ‘Cycles’, by James Stevens, beautifully illustrated by Duncan Eagleson. It told of aeons passing on Earth with empires growing and falling and the desire to return to the Moon eventually being fulfilled to discover the unchanged footprints of the first astronauts. Bischoff secured work by John Shirley, science fiction’s renegade and champion of cyberpunk. ‘What It’s Like to Kill a Man’ in the February 1986 issue is uncharacteristically traditional and considers future controls introduced to reduce violent crime. In the same issue was a grimmer story by Bruce McAllister, ‘Killing the Lambs of God’, which considered a possible explanation for the rising nuclear threat. This was counterbalanced by Robert Sheckley’s ‘Sarkanger’, featuring the exploits of the Interplanetary Decontamination Corporation, which had first featured in stories in Galaxy in the mid-1950s. The fiction content increased in the April 1986 issue with material by Rudy Rucker, Somtow Sucharitkul and William Gibson, among others. The Gibson story, ‘The Winter Market’, another of his explorations of the computerization of the human psyche, looked like a real scoop, but it had first appeared in the November 1985 issue of The Vancouver Magazine, which had commissioned it, and also in the Spring 1986 Interzone.

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Nevertheless the fiction run in Stardate was generally good and was adorned with fine artwork by Carl Lundgren, George Barr and Ron Lindahn, among others. The one drawback was an innovation Ted White had insisted on. Although the contents page showed the fiction, features, RPGs and comics as separate sections, within the magazine they were fully integrated. As the magazine had three columns, White felt that features could be run on the inner two columns while longer stories or essays could run in the outer columns. In practice this meant that not only did the inner feature become a distraction, it dominated the page giving the impression that the story was an afterthought. It was a practice that had been used by the slick magazines for decades, but that was usually to integrate the advertisements. Here the adverts were minimal. White’s idea, clever though it was, was distracting. It was difficult to gauge the reaction as there was no letter column until the April 1986 issue and that only contained one letter (besides a spoof letter from John W. Campbell, Jr). The science-fiction press generally ignored it, but Locus reported in its annual survey that it was selling around 5,500 copies through games stores.8 If that was its total sales it would be a disaster as the cost of producing this slick, heavily illustrated, highpaying magazine would have been considerable. David Bischoff, though, was positive. Feedback from distributors seemed to be good and they were ‘gearing up for quite an upsurge in circulation’.9 They were also planning to go monthly from May 1986. Unfortunately it turned out they were building castles out of sand. While the magazine’s financial backer, a member of the DuPont family, was a multimillionaire, his fortune was tied up in trust funds which did not help a magazine’s demand for regular cash flow. In January, cheques sent to contributors bounced. When Lombardy travelled to the head office in Wilmington, he was told to close everything down. All staff were dismissed on 4 February, except for Lombardy and an assistant who remained until 31 March trying to gain what money they could from selling the assets. The dreams of Lombardy, White and Bischoff were dashed. Whether such a multimedia magazine could have succeeded remains to be seen, as their track record has not been good. Stardate was so far the best of them. The magazine and rights were sold to Reluctant Publishing in Utica, Michigan under the editorship of Peter Rogan. None of the previous staff continued with the magazine and it returned to a straight RPG magazine, with no fiction besides game scenarios. It saw six more issues from

8  See ‘Magazine Report’, Locus, #301 (February 1986), p. 24. 9  David Bischoff, ‘Stardate: The Magazine’, Thrust, #26 (Spring 1987), p. 22.

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February to Winter 1987 before the company ran into financial difficulties. It tried one further issue, retitled Stardrive, in February 1988 before it ceased completely.

Small-Press Endeavours We have seen how the experimental and avant-garde magazines succeeded to some degree, their passion and determination often sustaining the magazine beyond what might be normal expectations. But what of those who weren’t avant-garde, but tried hard to produce a fairly simple, basic magazine? There were in practice many of these, too many to cover here since in almost all cases the story is the same of a hopeful fan who publishes an issue or two before time, money and enthusiasm flag. But there are others certainly worth covering because lessons can be learned from their perseverance. As the 1980s started, the semi-professional scene among the sf and fantasy magazines in the USA was mixed. The oldest continuously published semi-professional fiction magazine was Space & Time, produced regularly by Gordon Linzner since Spring 1966. By the start of 1981 it had reached its fifty-eighth issue. It had started as a hand-drawn, mimeographed magazine produced by a group of school friends, but as the friends drifted away Linzner remained and the magazine grew. From #23 (March 1974) he paid contributors, so it had almost entered the semi-professional ranks although the circulation remained small, around 500 copies. During the 1970s it had appeared six times a year but increased postage and printing costs caused him to cut back to twice a year from #61, dated Winter 1981/82. Issues became a more substantial 120 octavo pages, allowing room for longer stories. Linzner had been helped on the magazine by his wife, Jani Anderson, whom he married in October 1976, but her assistance was not formally recorded until #64 (Summer 1983). Working together they also launched Space & Time Books, starting with The Steel Eye by Chet Gottfried in June 1984. The idea was to publish two magazine issues and two books each year, but although the magazine remained consistent, the book schedule often slipped. It did, though, publish the first novels by Joe R. Lansdale, Dead in the West (1986),10 and Jeffrey Ford, Vanitas, in February 1988. Ford later remarked, ‘I am eternally grateful for [them] having given it a chance.

10  The novel had also been serialized in Eldritch Tales, but as issues appeared sporadically it dragged on from December 1984 to April 1987.

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It meant the world to me when it came out.’11 The magazine also ran Ford’s first short fiction, ‘The Alchemist becalmed at sea, Weeps’ in #76 (Summer 1989). Kevin J. Anderson had been similarly grateful when Space & Time ran the first story for which he was paid, ‘Luck of the Draw’, about a dragon-killer, in #63 (Winter 1982/83). Anderson told me: ‘I’m definitely a child of the small presses. I sold my very first story to Gordon Linzner at Space and Time magazine, for a whopping $12.50—but it was a real check for my writing, and a real boost for my confidence, after having received 80 prior rejection slips.’12 Throughout the 1980s Space & Time grew in competence and confidence so that by the end of the decade it was presenting a diverse range of decent material, not all top grade, but almost all worthy of publication, allowing new writers to develop. At the start of the 1990s, with #77, it had become formally printed, thanks to the help of Chet Gottfried, but it was also increasingly time-consuming for Linzner. Apart from starting a family, he was also trying to further his writing career. He announced that #80 (Summer 1992) would be the last, though it would live to fight another day. Also of interest were Shadows Of…, The Argonaut, Pandora and Amazing Adventures. Shadows Of… had started life simply as Shadows in June 1979, edited by Dawn Atkins, then still only 17, living in Norman, Oklahoma where she was a member of a local science-fiction club. The more unusual and memorable title came with the third issue in August 1980 derived from the magazine’s motto: ‘to the shadows of what was, what will be, and what can never be’. The first issue ran to 116 pages, photocopied for 130 copies and side-stapled. Almost half of the issue had been taken up by a Star Trek story, ‘Limbo Status’ by Victoria Schoolcraft, where the crew of the Enterprise rescue a stranded time traveller. Clearly ambitious, Shadows grew in confidence and size. The second issue, October 1979, was 216 pages, barely capable of containing the staples, with the spine taped to help secure it. This was one of the largest issues of any fiction fanzine and saw the start of a four-part fantasy serial, ‘Thrak’ by Jeff Morgan. The third issue was the first to be perfect bound and was a more manageable 144 pages—issues reduced in size steadily thereafter. The magazine finally ceased with #6, Spring 1982, the first to boast a full-colour cover. The later issues did attract some better-known names as the subject of interviews: Kelly Freas, Alan Dean Foster and Richard Pini all in #4 (February 1981), Robert Lynn Asprin

11  Jeffrey Ford, interview by Nick Gevers (June 2002), SF Site, http://www.sfsite.com/06b/ jf130.htm. 12  Kevin J. Anderson, email, 20 March 2006.

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in #5 (Fall 1981) and Joe and Jack Haldeman in the final issue. John Maddox Roberts contributed an amusing story about an ancient Westerner who seems to be able to predict the fashion in hats in China in ‘The Man Who Could Sell Hats to Chinamen’ in #5. Otherwise most fiction was by lesser-known writers. Shadows Of… left little mark on the field other than its size and determination. However, while producing Shadows Of…, Atkins had studied journalism at the University of Oklahoma and worked on two local newspapers, and brought her skills and talents to the sf newspaper Locus. She moved to California as an assistant editor from the September 1984 issue, becoming managing editor from January 1985. Her abilities helped Locus to expand and develop. The Argonaut had started in May 1972 under the title Macabre, produced by Michael Ambrose of Austin, Texas. The first two issues were amateur items in carbon-copy format which, like Space & Time, had been created at high school. Ambrose resurrected the magazine in 1976 and with the fourth issue (Spring/Summer 1977) retitled it The Argonaut. From the fifth issue (Winter/Spring 1979) he converted it into a neat, typeset, octavo-size booklet. It was from this issue that it became a magazine of some interest, though it rarely appeared more than once a year, running until #20 in Summer 1995, by which time both finances and enthusiasm had run out. Although it later labelled itself a ‘Magazine of Science Fiction’ it frequently ran a lot of light fantasy. Its best-remembered stories were those by Albert J. Manachino, which were of such a quality that it’s surprising he didn’t sell to markets like F&SF or Twilight Zone. Manachino’s best-known series explored a planet with two identities. ‘Night on Madonna/Moloch’ (#11, Fall 1984) introduced readers to this planet which is Madonna in daytime, when nothing really lives but is in hiding, and Moloch at night, when both the living and dead emerge—although nothing ever really dies. The stories, collected as Noctet (1997), relate the bizarre investigations of Virgil Hood on this Bradburyesque/Dunsanian world. Pandora had been started by Lois Wickstrom in October 1978 as a ‘femzine’, seeking to promote women’s interests in sf and fantasy. It attracted almost as many contributions by men as women but for its first nine issues it served as a showcase of many talented but underappreciated writers. It published the first story by Lisa Goldstein as well as work by Margaret Barnes, Jayge Carr, Connie Kidwell, Madeline E. Robins and Tom Disch. Wickstrom stepped down as editor after #9 (September 1982) and Jean Lorrah took over. The magazine was now under the imprint of Empire Books, a bookselling and small-press operation run by Jacqueline Lichtenberg and Fran Hitchcock. It continued to pay one cent per word for

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contributions even though it never made a profit, as its losses were offset against profits made by Empire Books. In her first editorial Lorrah said, ‘Pandora has not been a primarily feminist magazine since the first couple of issues—we just want stories with fresh ideas and no limitations imposed by sex, race, age, etc.’13 Lorrah published some good fiction by Sheila Finch, Jacqueline Lichtenberg, Paul Dellinger, Stephanie Hoppe and Juleen Brantingham, but there was an increasing amount of poetry—Lorrah’s final issue (#17, 1987) was almost entirely poetry. Thereafter, Meg MacDonald, who had assisted Lorrah on the previous two issues, assumed the editorship. At this stage, in late 1987, the magazine was bought by Reluctant Publishing, in Michigan, which had also just taken over Stardate, but the firm soon encountered financial problems and Pandora was dropped. MacDonald continued the magazine on her own, with Ruth Berman as poetry editor. The magazine reverted to the octavo booklet format and was beautifully illustrated, with a generally pleasing blend of fantasy and sf, and an increasing religious element. MacDonald acquired a new story by Piers Anthony, ‘Kylo’ (#19, Spring 1988), and published material by Douglas W. Clark, Ted Reynolds and Thomas Wiloch. Issues became less regular after the first quarterly schedule, and eventually MacDonald no longer had the time, money or energy to continue it, and it ceased with an extra-large #29 in early 1993. Throughout its existence Pandora was always readable and enjoyable, presenting good-quality fiction, but its small circulation (counted in the hundreds) meant it has become forgotten. Amazing Adventures began in February 1981, produced by John S. Postovit while still at high school in Fargo, North Dakota. It was typical of many fanzines at the time, filled with amateur fiction by the editor and his friends, and mimeographed in letter-size format. He published it on a fairly regular basis, roughly quarterly, and it wasn’t long before news of this market spread. Kevin J. Anderson, who was still some years away from his first professional sale, but who was just starting to place fiction with amateur magazines, made his first appearance here with ‘Deja Vu’ (December 1981). Subsequently revised and expanded, it formed the basis for his first novel, Resurrection, Inc. (1988). After five issues Postovit received a ‘cease and desist’ letter from the lawyers acting for Amazing Stories on the grounds that the magazine’s title was too similar, even though, at the time, Amazing Adventures was selling only 125 copies per issue. Rather than argue, Postovit renamed it Alpha Adventures from #6 (May 1982), which contained the first appearance

13  Jean Lorrah, ‘Editorial’, Pandora, #10 ([June] 1983), p. 2.

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in print of John Betancourt. Issue #7 (August 1982) ran the first story by Gordon Van Gelder, ‘The Agitator’. The magazine was gaining a small but positive reputation. From #9 (September 1984) it switched to octavo format. The printing and artwork improved—the issues for January and May 1985 featuring handmade lithographic prints for the covers. Issue #11 (May 1985) included fiction by J. N. Williamson, Ruth Berman and Janet Fox. It ran for 14 issues under Postovit’s control, until May 1986, when the editor wanted to concentrate on his work as a pastel artist. By then the magazine had sufficient reputation that it was taken over by Scott Virtes, in Manchester, New Hampshire, who relaunched it in February 1987. Virtes, who also published the fanzine Sycophant, kept the two titles running for two years but folded them both after four issues each, the last Alpha Adventures being July 1988. Virtes published work by Doug Beason, Uncle River, Don Webb and one of the last stories by Charles V. de Vet who had been active in the sf magazines in the 1950s. The magazine’s last issue carried an extract from Kevin Anderson’s novel Resurrection, Inc., bringing the magazine almost full circle from its early issues. That wasn’t quite the end of Alpha Adventures as it would appear in a totally different guise a decade later.  The first significant new small-press sf magazine of the 1980s was Rigel. This was the creation of Eric Vinicoff, a California-resident practising attorney who had been selling science fiction to Analog, mostly in collaboration with Marcia Martin, since 1975. Some years before, when still at college, Vinicoff had produced a fanzine called Mjolnir, and was keen to do something similar, only bigger and better. In partnership with his friend Jim Ware, who was interested in investing in an sf publishing venture, Vinicoff set up Aesir Press which initially published one of his and Martin’s longer stories, Spacing Dutchman, a grand space adventure. That same imprint was used to release the quarterly magazine Rigel in July 1981 (dated Summer). Vinicoff tells us it was a culmination of ten years dreaming and a year of gestation. The end result was a neat early exercise in desk-top publishing. Rigel was letter size, laser printed and attractively typeset and illustrated throughout, a model example which many later magazines would have done well to imitate. It was produced on a top-range IBM typewriter with proportional spacing, but to achieve that result Vinicoff had to type everything twice. The production of the second issue (Fall 1981) was poorer, but it improved thereafter, with colour covers from #5 (Fall 1982).

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Although Rigel was a small-press publication, Vinicoff paid three cents per word which at that time was accepted as a professional rate by the Science Fiction Writers of America and so Rigel should be regarded as a professional magazine. Vinicoff called himself a ‘science fiction purist’. As might be expected from his Analog affiliation, his choice of fiction was biased towards technological sf, with a strain of humour. Rigel even published two stories in the Howie Wyman series by Thomas Easton which had started in Analog, while the artwork of Alan Gutierrez (from #3) strongly resembled that of Kelly Freas, and he would go on to be an Analog regular. Other contributors to the first issue included Greg Bear, Richard A. Lupoff, David Bischoff, Marcia Martin and Karl T. Pflock. There was an interview with Ben Bova, a media column by Alan Dean Foster and book reviews by Debbie Notkin, so it was a good roster of names. The interview feature, which continued throughout the magazine’s existence, included Poul Anderson, Anne McCaffrey, Michael Moorcock and Jack Williamson. Vinicoff’s choice, at least for the first issue, seemed to be primarily stories with extravagant ideas that could be read purely for their enjoyment value. The lead story was Bear’s ‘Strength of Stones, Flesh of Brass’, one of three novellas that were assembled as Strength of Stones (1981), one of Bear’s lesssuccessful but still wildly imaginative works. The story is set on the planet God-Does-Battle which had been colonized by separate religious sects who have subsequently been ejected by their cities which now wander the world while the colonists try to regain their homes. Equally unusual was Lupoff’s ‘Lux was Dead Right’, the first of three enjoyable stories he contributed to Rigel set on the artificial world of Starrett which roamed the galaxy trading between the planets and facing all manner of bizarre aliens and other perils. The most traditional contribution—which turned out to be most popular— was Marcia Martin’s story of intelligent porpoises, ‘Time of Sea Change’. Contributors to later issues included Michael Bishop, Gregory Benford, Joseph Green, Charles Sheffield and Timothy Zahn. From the second issue Dean R. Lambe contributed a well-received column about the science in science fiction. The letters published were generally approving but underlined a point that kept recurring, namely that some stories were selfindulgent, sometimes predictable and rarely exceptional. In other words: acceptable, but generally second-tier. This is always a problem for smallpress magazines seeking to publish traditional stories. Authors generally submit first to the top markets, and even though Rigel was paying decent rates it was almost always going to get the lesser stories. The quality of the authors meant they were usually good stories, but ones already filtered by

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the leading magazines. Moreover Vinicoff had not sought out significant new writers, but had instead played safe. He did come unstuck in one case with ‘Pet’ (Winter 1982) by Jack Wodhams. The story dealt with how a soldier of the future, who has been mentally reshaped so as to have no emotion, would regard a woman. The cover by Gutierrez depicted a woman kept in a cage and running in a hamster wheel. The scene doesn’t appear in the story, and it incensed many readers. ‘The moment I saw the cover of Rigel #6, I knew you were in big trouble,’ wrote one reader. ‘You’ve got a lot of guts,’ wrote another. ‘“Pet” is the last straw,’ wrote another who said he would not renew his subscription. ‘Sexist. That doesn’t even come close.’14 Though this apparently barely affected sales, #8, delayed to August 1983 but still dated Summer, proved to be the last. Vinicoff claimed that rising costs and cash flow were the main reason. Sales had been steadily diminishing. The magazine needed to sell 10,000 copies (80% of that by subscription) in order to make a profit, but by the eighth issue sales were only 5,000 copies, of which only 1,000 were by subscription.15 Moreover, as Vinicoff and Ware were considering their options news came of the impending bankruptcy of their largest distributor, Pacific Comics. The planned ninth issue never surfaced.  The few small-press magazines covered above show the various problems the publishers faced. Most semi-professional magazines are produced by devotees for pleasure and there is no significant commercial element. Provided the individual can meet the costs and has the time then there is no reason why the magazine can not continue for a long period, as happened with Space & Time. It is only when other pressures battle for that individual’s time or when costs rise (or the individual’s income falls) that the magazine comes at risk. It is almost always these factors that curtail the publication of a semi-professional magazine, particularly if it seeks to pay a decent wordage rate and have good production values. This increases costs and if they cannot be met by increased income the magazine will fail. What is needed in these circumstances is a backup plan which minimizes the risk. Interzone achieved this admirably with an editorial collective which provided sufficient support to overcome the many initial problems in establishing a magazine so that, once it became economically viable, it could then be run by a single editor, supported by a small (often voluntary) team. 14  Quotations from letters by Betty Hoy, Doug Frey and Ben Clarke in Rigel, #8 (Summer 1983), pp. 6–7. 15  Data provided by Eric Vinicoff via email, 21 February 2013.

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A different approach is via an educational or academic establishment. There were already several academic journals publishing critical articles on all aspects of science fiction and speculative fiction. Extrapolation had been founded in 1959 by Thomas D. Clareson and, from 1979, was published by Kent State University, Ohio. Foundation had been established in 1972 as the journal of the Science Fiction Foundation then at the North-East London Polytechnic. It had a succession of editors which included David Pringle from #20 (October 1980) to #36 (Summer 1986). Science Fiction Studies had been founded in 1973 by Richard Dale Mullen and Darko Suvin and, from 1978, was published by McGill University in Montreal, Canada. There were other academic journals though these have always remained the big three, but they did not publish fiction. This made The Leading Edge rather more unusual. The Leading Edge has been published twice (briefly three times and occasionally once) a year since 1981 by the students, faculty and alumni of Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah. The university had an active sciencefiction writing club which had been set up mostly through the energies of David Doering and M. Shayne Bell. In 1980, the English Department agreed to run a course on writing science fiction with Orson Scott Card, probably the best-known Mormon sf writer, as guest lecturer but, in the end, commitments clashed and Card could not fulfil the assignment. An English professor, Marion Smith, stepped in and proved to be ideal. The course went so well that at the end of the year the students wanted to see their efforts published. At that time the university’s student association had a grant programme for student projects and the writing group assembled a proposal, drafted chiefly by Michael W. Reed, and were awarded a $200 grant, which financed the production of the first issue. A basic typewritten and photocopied issue was put together and distributed in April 1981. There were little more than a hundred copies but they managed to sell most via the university bookstore, raising sufficient income to finance a second issue. That first issue effectively launched the career of M. Shayne Bell. He was a regular contributor to the magazine over the next six years. His story ‘Jacob’s Ladder’ (#10, Fall 1985) was entered for and won the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future contest the following year. Although Michael W. Reed was the named executive editor for the first three issues, the magazine was always a team effort relying heavily on a host of volunteers whose work ranged from being first readers on manuscripts to the physical process of assembling and typing the magazine. It wasn’t until #6 (Fall 1983) that it became machine typeset and since then it has remained consistently in a neat perfect-bound digest-size format.

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The magazine received a boost from Ben Bova who visited Brigham Young University in 1982 as part of a ‘Life, the Universe and Everything’ symposium, and he inspired and encouraged the team producing the magazine. He was interviewed by David Doering, who became part of the core production team, serving as executive editor for #5–8. Bova’s interview appeared in #3 (Winter 1982) and became the first of a regular series of interviews with visiting authors and artists which were published in each issue. Of others who had significant parts to play in the early issues perhaps the most important was Jonathan D. Langford. He had become involved from #6, helping with the typesetting, and became the executive editor for #9–11 (Winter 1985–Winter 1986) after the original core team of M. Shayne Bell and David Doering moved on. With much of that team having dwindled, Langford persevered on his own and made #10 (Fall 1985) a make-or-break issue in an endeavour to give the magazine a strong semi-professional edge. For the first time there was a small payment per contribution, at a quarter of a cent per word. His editorial emphasized that the magazine was not simply being produced for the benefit of the staff and contributors, or even solely readers at the university, but for the wider world. He encouraged greater involvement among staff, and brought in some external contributions. Previously #4 (Fall 1982) had reprinted a story by Fritz Leiber to accompany an interview with the author, but #10 contained the first original story by an outside contributor, ‘Scattered Souls’ by David Silva of The Horror Show, a moving tale of the meaning of freedom. In addition to Shayne Bell’s awardwinning story, this issue ran the first story by Dave Wolverton, ‘The Sky is an Open Highway’, which was reprinted in Asimov’s (July 1988). Wolverton also submitted a new story to the Writers of the Future contest which won first prize. Wolverton was not a frequent contributor to The Leading Edge, but he did much work behind the scenes as ‘editing director’. One of his assistants was no less than the future author of the bestselling Twilight series, Stephenie Meyer. Although the magazine appeared roughly every six months, at the start it published a serial, ‘A Hearth on Terra’ by Barbara R. Hume, from #2 (Fall 1981) to #5 (Winter 1983). Works of such length were not used again, although Shayne Bell’s novella, ‘And the Stars are Old’ (#12–13, Fall 1986– Winter 1987), which beautifully brings to life some of the basic problems of establishing a colony on a distant planet, was split over two quarterly issues.

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Langford regarded his work on The Leading Edge as ‘the most influential— and positive—experience of my college career’.16 Thanks to Langford, The Leading Edge had acquired a new generation of staff and volunteers which gave the magazine added momentum. It also became financially more viable with a significant increase in subscriptions. An annual contest was established for sf and fantasy artwork. One artist who was particularly helpful was James Christensen, then an art instructor at the university. An interview with him appeared in #6 (Fall 1983) and he made some of his art available for the magazine. A painting later used on #41 (April 2001) won the Chesley Award for artistic achievement. Above all, new manuscripts flooded in. It required a significant team of volunteers to keep on top of and comment upon the submissions, so much so that this became regarded as one of the most important parts of the workload for students. Dr Alan Manning, who subsequently took on responsibility for the magazine within the Department of Linguistics and English at the university, was supportive of the process of magazine production, and the ‘slush pile’ of manuscripts in particular. He commented: the heart and soul of a fiction editing operation is the slush read, meaning that people have to learn to pore over fiction which by and large isn’t very well written and find the gems amidst a lot of wayward novels. Every fiction editing house requires that experience, and that’s the main thing that anyone who comes to work on Leading Edge gets that they couldn’t get anywhere else. If this were merely a publication that published stories from BYU students, we’d be a journal having to shape up everything we got from scratch, rather than sifting through what people’ve written, for good stories mixed in with all of the boring. That operation Leading Edge established over a long period of years, to build a national reputation. And so in order to get that kind of training for our editing students, we need this kind of an organization with its history and its operating system.17

The significance of the production process of a magazine serves to emphasize its role over and beyond publishing stories and helping authors. Several editors cut their teeth on The Leading Edge. In addition to establishing himself as a writer, Dave Wolverton also assisted Algis Budrys on compiling each annual Writers of the Future anthology. ‘If you want to prepare yourself to be a publisher,’ Wolverton said recently, ‘Leading Edge is a great place to

16  Jonathan Langford, ‘Thoughts and Memories’, Leading Edge, http://leadingedge magazine.com/pdf/Jonathan%20Langford.pdf. 17  Dr Alan Manning, ‘Hands off the Slushpile’, Leading Edge, http://leadingedgemagazine. com/pdf/Alan%20Manning.pdf.

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go … It’s a real life experience.’18 Others who benefited from this initiation included Anne Sowards, who worked on the magazine in the early 1990s and later became an executive editor at the Penguin Group editing sf and fantasy for the Ace and Roc imprints; Stacy Whitman, who in 2010 set up the small-press imprint Tu Publishing; and authors Brandon Sanderson and Dan Wells. The Leading Edge was able to survive because of a host of volunteers and by sponsorship. It not only had the backing of Brigham Young University but secured grants, at least during the 1980s, from the Utah Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts in Washington, DC. It was further evidence, as with Interzone, that to sustain a magazine and allow it to grow there needed to be both a collective sense of responsibility and a considerable investment of time and money. The students’ own ethics meant that they would not edit works that included overt sex, homosexual content, graphic violence, heavy drug use, excessive profanity or anything that belittled family values or religion. Within those constraints, which might be seen as strict censorship by many, the students produced an uplifting magazine that has served as a proving ground for many writers and editors. The Leading Edge has remained a unique magazine, the only continuously published sf magazine run by students and alumni of a university. There was a flurry of other college-based sf magazines, but none had the resilience or tenacity of The Leading Edge. The best of the rivals was Visions, which had been started as a student sf magazine at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York in 1986 and then expanded into an intercollegiate publication.19 Visions was the brain child of Tamiko Toland and Greg Manning when they enrolled at Cornell in the fall of 1986. Toland was the daughter of Pulitzer Prize-winning author John Toland who, at the start of his career in 1954, had sold four short sf and fantasy stories to Howard Browne for Amazing Stories and Fantastic. As the existing science-fiction club had no magazine, Toland and Manning decided to start their own but, as the club had no funding and the university restricted the use of the Cornell logo, they funded it themselves with some contributions from others, though the budget was still minuscule. The first issue, with a print run of 500 copies, appeared early in 1987, dated Spring, letter-size and running to 40 pages. The Professor of Astronomy at Cornell at the time was Carl Sagan and, to their good fortune, 18  Dave Wolverton quoted in Joe Vasicek, ‘The Class That Wouldn’t Die’, Mormon Artist, #13 (December 2010/January 2011), http://mormonartist.net/issue-13/the-class-that-wouldnt-die/. 19 This Visions should not be confused with Visions, the magazine of the Iowa State University Alumni Association which began in Spring 1988 and continues to this day.

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Sagan agreed to be a creative consultant and allowed them to run an extract from his novel Contact, which had been published in September 1985. Also at Cornell, on a visiting fellowship, was Samuel R. Delany, and they secured an interview, conducted by Kenneth James, another of the sf club who served as editor from the next issue. So although the majority of the content was written by students, none of whom went on to establish a career in science fiction, the names of Sagan and Delany were enough to make that first issue significant. A second issue, dated Fall 1987, was compiled along similar lines, this one featuring a series of discussions with Joe Haldeman and a new poem, ‘Computer, Terminal’. While that issue was being compiled, Toland and Manning were conducting research into both the market for their magazine and how to finance it, which led to a much-increased print run of 2,500 copies and sales of the magazine through a number of colleges. Toland and Manning formed the Intercollegiate Representative Network, an independent corporation owned by college students not just from Cornell but, initially, from Brown, Columbia, Harvard and Yale universities, the University of California at Berkeley, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Payment rates were low: $15 per story, $5 per poem and $8 for artwork, but the primary purpose was to provide students with a market whereby to experience the creative-writing and publishing process. The magazine continued to grow, but keeping two issues per year (Spring and Fall) despite plans for a third. Major authors were featured with interviews each issue including Robert Silverberg (Spring 1988), Spider Robinson (Fall 1988) and Isaac Asimov (Spring 1989). Carl Sagan contributed an essay ‘Science Fiction: A Personal View’ (Spring 1989). Although the names of most of the contributors remain unknown beyond Visions, there were at least two who later became better known. Neal Tringham, then studying at Manchester University, came on board as the magazine’s European editor and contributed a couple of essays. He has since gone on to be a major videogame developer and designer. Jeff VanderMeer had self-published his own collection, The Book of Frog, in January 1989 and a story from that, ‘A Cracked Ferry Tail’, was reprinted in the Fall 1989 issue. Of more significance was his second story, ‘The Sea, Mendeho, and Moonlight’ (Spring 1990), which started his Veniss sequence of stories. VanderMeer was attracted to Visions because it published material from the Soviet Union, starting with ‘Ways of Scientific Thinking’ (Spring 1989) by Igor Tolokonnikov. Toland was at that time a senior in Soviet Studies and visited Leningrad in 1989 where, unplanned, she was introduced to Sovmarket, a commercial organization which had only just been established to work on developing projects for young Russians. They had

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been considering starting a youth-oriented magazine and soon reached an agreement with Toland whereby a joint edition of Visions would be published in the Soviet Union and the USA. Toland recalled, ‘My ability to speak Russian was essential to the process. By speaking directly to the people at Sovmarket, rather than through an interpreter, we developed a close relationship.’20 Toland returned from Leningrad with three Russian manuscripts which she translated for the Fall 1989 issue, which also included an interview she had conducted with Boris Strugatsky. This was the first of the joint Soviet issues, translated into Russian, though the Russian title remained Visions, and with a print run there of about 20,000 compared with the parent magazine’s 3,500. There were four such issues, the last two, Fall 1990 and Fall 1991, also carrying some Russian artwork, with covers by Alexander Koshkin, whom Toland also interviewed in the Fall 1990 issue. Sovmarket was supposed to send copies of the Russian edition back to Cornell, but none was ever received, so Toland had no idea whether the issues were exact translations of the US originals or contained any variants. Each of these four issues contained a story by Jeff VanderMeer, making it his first translations, and there were interviews with Marion Zimmer Bradley, Piers Anthony, Ray Bradbury, Neil Gaiman and Clive Barker. Most Russian stories were very short fantasies with little substance to allow a fair comparison with the American contributions. Nevertheless, even though it was compiled in the United States, this was the first Russian-language all-sf magazine, rather than a scientific magazine which ran some science fiction. It appeared just at the time when the Soviet Union was about to collapse, which allowed science-fiction magazines to emerge in Russia and the former Soviet republics. And Visions, a simple college magazine, was there at the start. Once Toland and Manning graduated the impetus ran out of the magazine, and though they tried to sustain it for a year on a not-for-profit basis it soon folded. Little remembered today, it nevertheless holds a significant place in sf magazine history.  Perhaps really getting back to basics was Tales of the Unanticipated. Published by the Minnesota SF Society, ToTU (as it is affectionately known) started in Fall 1986 and for many years appeared roughly twice a year, with one issue coinciding with the annual Minicon, the Minnesota SF Convention held

20  Tamiko Toland reported in ‘Visions Gets Soviet Edition’, Locus, #346 (November 1989), p. 4.

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each Easter. It was never a club magazine but rather one issued to promote sf and fantasy literature and the arts in Minnesota. For all its life, and it still appears, albeit with greater gaps between issues, it has been edited by Eric M. Heideman, who took the magazine over directly in July 2003. Each issue up until 1998 was letter size running to around 48–56 pages, crammed full of articles, stories and interviews. With the first issue it published the first genre fiction by Carolyn Ives Gilman, ‘The Trial of Victor Genovese’ (Fall 1986), about an impostor who takes over other people’s minds, and which the editor proclaimed ‘simply, one of the best stories I have ever read’. The issue also carried an interview with Eleanor Arnason, who would become a regular contributor, an essay by Kate Wilhelm, ‘On Responsibility’, and other stories and poems of which ‘A Dream of Heredity’ by John Calvin Rezmerski went on to be co-winner of the Rhysling Award for best short poem of that year. This was an auspicious start from a small magazine and one it has lived up to consistently for a quarter of a century. Other writers whom it has either discovered or encouraged early in their career include Kij Johnson, Peg Kerr and Jason Sanford. By pacing itself, Tales of the Unanticipated has outlived many of its contemporaries and has earned a reputation for its thoroughness, sensibility and quality.

Magazine with a Mission Amid all of these many attempts to run a magazine there was one fully professional publication produced as much at the whim of the publisher as for any commercial reason, and its success or failure lay in the way the magazine presented itself. This was Far Frontiers, under Jerry Pournelle and James Baen, and it was a magazine that sought to influence not the writer but the reader. Far Frontiers was, to some degree, a continuation of Destinies that James Baen had edited for Ace Books between 1978 and 1981. Both were paperbound volumes, almost indistinguishable from an original anthology, except that Far Frontiers ran a book review column. Destinies had run a science column by Jerry Pournelle, ‘A Step Farther Out’, which had previously run in Galaxy, and when Baen set up his own company, Baen Books, in 1983, Pournelle asked whether Baen might consider publishing a new magazine for which he could write further columns. Baen had limited time to edit a magazine and asked Pournelle if he would. Pournelle also had limited time, and as he was based in California and Baen in New York, they would need assistance to make it work. Pournelle had already been working on a series

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of reprint anthologies, There Will be War, with the editorial assistance of John F. Carr, so Carr became the managing editor for Far Frontiers while Baen’s senior editor, Elizabeth (‘Betsy’) Mitchell, who had previously worked as an associate editor at Analog, became the senior editor for the anthology. The first volume, a 316-page standard-size mass-market paperback, was published in January 1985, with a planned quarterly schedule. The proposal, which had been sent to potential contributors a year earlier, had asked for ‘stories that John W. Campbell would be buying today were he alive and editing Astounding’.21 Pournelle had been one of the leading contributors to Analog in Campbell’s final years and was seen as a fitting successor to Robert A. Heinlein in his right-wing political and militaristic views. This was clearly the direction Far Frontiers was to take. When Baen had briefly edited Galaxy in the mid-1970s, he had encouraged stories of hope and achievement, where humankind succeeds against a variety of odds. This was Campbell’s ideology, and though Baen was neither as chauvinistic nor right wing, he was interested in positive stories of human ingenuity and expansion. While one might argue that this was what Stanley Schmidt was also providing at Analog, there is no doubt that Schmidt had taken a softer, less politically charged outlook. Baen and Pournelle wanted a return to the nuts, bolts, rivets and military hardware of Campbellian sf driven by human ingenuity. This attitude was made clear in Pournelle’s opening essay, which served as an editorial and retained the ‘A Step Farther Out’ title. Pournelle considered how increasing socialist views, particularly in the expanding area of communications, restricted human achievement and that it needed strong, visionary leadership for humanity to attain new technological goals. The volume’s opening story by David Brin could almost have been written to order. ‘The Warm Space’ depicts a future where space exploration has been taken over entirely by robots because humans could not, apparently, cope with the stresses of faster-than-light travel. No one understood why the few humans who had undertaken such journeys had died and the missions been a failure. Sent as a scapegoat, one clear-thinking human resolves the problem. Both Pournelle and Baen wanted to emphasize technological and scientific progress. Far Frontiers thus featured several articles of ‘speculative fact’ in addition to the fiction. The contributors would have been easily at home in Analog, and included G. Harry Stine, Ben Bova, Charles Sheffield and John Gribbin. An example of the magazine’s stance can be seen with regard to Ronald Reagan’s Strategic Defence Initiative (SDI) which

21  See the news report ‘Far Frontiers out of Destinies’, Locus, #276 (January 1984), p. 4.

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had been proposed in 1983 and had generated much cynical, even hostile reaction from politicians and scientists. Pournelle was in favour of SDI and was keen for a sensible discussion of the subject. He mentioned it as part of a wider discussion in his column in volume 3 (Fall 1985) and in the next volume he ran ‘Star Wars is Not Mad’ (Winter 1985) by James Benford, which reported both arguments for and against and came out clearly in favour. The next volume ran Gregory Benford’s thoughts in ‘Dancing with the Straw Man’ (Spring 1986). The idea also influenced the fiction, most evident in the second volume (Summer 1985) where both ‘Talion’ by John Brunner (whose own ideologies were poles apart from Pournelle’s) and Ben Bova’s ‘Nuclear Autumn’ considered the likelihood of nuclear war. The majority of other articles looked at the potential for development in the space programme or charted the progression of humankind in technological development. Most articles were panegyrics to stimulate the reader’s interest in continued progress. The fiction was much along the same lines, exploring human ingenuity and how we need to use our freedom to explore and develop. In the first volume, ‘Pride’ by Poul Anderson considers the discovery that the Sun has a dark companion and the kind of people needed for an expedition there. ‘The Ungoverned’ (Fall 1985) by Vernor Vinge, set some time after his novel The Peace War, portrays convincingly how a capitalist anarchy can function— it’s a story tailor-made for Pournelle. S. M. Stirling’s ‘Cops and Robbers’ (Winter 1985) explores freedom, or lack of it, in a dark alternate British Empire. ‘There is a Tide’ (Spring 1986) was a new Retief story by Keith Laumer, though it lacked the humorous ingenuity of the original stories, replaced by a rather more cynical self-satire. ‘The Tank Lords’ (Fall 1986) is one of David Drake’s military sf stories in his Pournellesque series of future mercenaries, Hammer’s Slammers. Other stories also portrayed human resilience and ingenuity. In ‘A Cure for Croup’ (Summer 1985), Edward P. Hughes depicts how a village continues life as usual despite the fact that the world has collapsed after a series of disasters. In Thomas Wylde’s ‘Space Shuttle Crashes!’ (Fall 1985), the intention to deliberately crash a space shuttle for the entertainment of a TV audience continues despite the discovery of a stowaway on board. In the same issue ‘A Wink in the Eye of the Wolf’ by Alexander Jablokov, though ostensibly the type of fantasy that Campbell would almost certainly have bought for Unknown, is still science fiction at its core because it explores how the very idea of magic is defeated by logic. For the first three volumes the speculative articles were identified separately on the contents page, but thereafter were integrated with the other contents so that fact and fiction were no longer immediately obvious.

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Other changes began to show the commitment gradually leaching out of the magazine. Richard Geis was unable to continue the book review column after just two instalments and it was taken over by Roland Green. Pournelle stopped contributing his essays and story introductions—Baen took over the latter. The contents looked less like they had been written for the magazine but were extracts from or advance publication of material already in the pipeline at Baen Books. Lois McMaster Bujold’s ‘Aftermaths’ (Spring 1986, actually May), for instance, was the final section of her novel Shards of Honor, published by Baen Books the following month. The anthology’s quarterly schedule slipped so that some of the material was not so much in advance as contemporary. Finally there was less content for, although the magazine still ran to over 300 pages, the final 30 pages or more were filled with a catalogue of Baen Books. By the seventh and last volume, dated Winter 1986 and published in December, it felt as if much of the original drive had dissipated. Pournelle’s name remained on the cover but his presence was noticeably absent. Far Frontiers had been a magazine with a mission: to promote a political and social message. Although Baen argued that Far Frontiers was not a reactionary or revolutionary magazine but was at heart a liberal magazine, it was a magazine seeking to influence its readers into becoming pro-science, pro-technology and thereby influence the government in continuing to finance and encourage further research and development. However, Far Frontiers had been Pournelle’s idea and, with his time now committed to other projects, the heart of the magazine shifted away from the barnstorming manifesto towards a more general coverage of the potential of science. With Baen now sole editor (assisted still by Betsy Mitchell and a new associate editor, Michael Banks—later replaced by Toni Weisskopf), the Spring 1987 issue saw Far Frontiers revert to Baen’s original pocketbook magazine, Destinies, retitled New Destinies, starting again from volume I. Several items carried over from Far Frontiers to show that New Destinies was a child of the former. Roland Green’s ‘The Leading Edge’ book review column remained for the first two volumes. Also, the final volume of Far Frontiers had started a serialization of Poul Anderson’s novella ‘Iron’ and this concluded in the first New Destinies. ‘Iron’ was a sign of things to come. It was set within the world of Larry Niven’s Known Space series and, more particularly, formed part of the Man-Kzin Wars shared world that Niven developed for a series of anthologies. The first volume, called The Man-Kzin Wars, was set to be published by Baen Books in June 1988 and consisted of an early story by Niven, Anderson’s ‘Iron’ and another novella, ‘Cathouse’ by Dean Ing, which also saw advanced publication in volume

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III (Spring 1988) of New Destinies. That same volume featured ‘Brenda’ by Niven, though this was not a Man-Kzin story but one set in another shared world, that which prefigured Niven and Pournelle’s novel The Mote in God’s Eye and which became the anthology series Warworld. Poul Anderson’s ‘The Deserter’ (IV, Summer 1988) is also part of that universe. Besides shared-world scenarios, New Destinies maintained the high quota of speculative science essays, though not all were especially speculative. Gregory Benford’s ‘Was Frankenstein Simply Einstein Being Frank?’ (II, Fall 1987) was a study of how scientists have been portrayed in science fiction. Algis Budrys considered the basics facing a would-be writer in ‘Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy’ (VII, Spring 1989), and Lois McMaster Bujold looked at the new biotech ideas she incorporated into her fiction in ‘Allegories of Change’ (VIII, Fall 1989). The original essence of Far Frontiers resurfaced in a series of articles by Charles Sheffield. In ‘Running Out’ (II, Fall 1987) he considered the demand for energy; ‘Across the Great Divide’ (III, Spring 1988) bemoaned the lack of a positive direction by NASA; and ‘Unclear Winter’ (IV, Summer 1988) considered the chances of nuclear war. More positive essays included ‘In Praise of Sociobiology’ (I, Spring 1987) by John and Mary Gribbin, which sought to reappraise readers of the benefits of this form of study. ‘The Phobos Race’ (II, Fall 1987) and ‘Which Road to Mars?’ (IV, Summer 1988) by Donald Frederick Robertson both looked at the public support for a mission to Mars and how it might develop. Of particular interest, because of how the concept was being utilized by many writers, was ‘The Potentials of Nanotechnology’ (IX, Fall 1990) by Keith Henson. Woven between these essays and the shared-world material was a variety of fiction, generally more individualistic than that in Far Frontiers because it was less beholden to dictat. ‘Popper Was a Catcher’ (II, Fall 1987) by Steven Gould is a clever mystery story involving a poisoning and theft in zero gravity. ‘Mondo Bizarro’ by Phillip C. Jennings, in the same volume, begins as a quasi-cyberpunk story but develops into a neat study of a man whose memory and soul have been digitized, surviving for 500 years as a datafile before being revived. Timothy Zahn’s ‘Time Bomb’ (IV, Summer 1988) is a deft assessment of the likely impact on the quantum field of using a time machine. ‘The Blabber’ (VI, Winter 1988) is another of Vernor Vinge’s complex stories set in the world he later developed for A Fire Upon the Deep, where different zones in the galaxy operate at different relative speeds. The eponymous Blabber is a strange being made up of several creatures with a gestalt intelligence. Volume V (Winter 1988), though published six months after the death of Robert A. Heinlein, was the first opportunity Baen had to publish a major

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tribute to his favourite author and it became a memorial issue, publishing six pieces by Heinlein plus various tributes by Pournelle, Sheffield and others. There was a further Heinlein item in volume VII (Spring 1989). There is no doubt that Heinlein had been the godfather of both Far Frontiers and New Destinies as his influence pervades most issues. Most of the stories in New Destinies are long, including the shared-world ones, with the result that they tend to be more absorbing for the reader and provide a better chance of exploring original ideas. Yet no stories were nominated for major awards. This may be because so many were set in either a shared-world or one developing within an author’s own existing background. New Destinies often felt like it was serving as a platform for bigger things, even more so than Far Frontiers, which had sometimes seemed like a whip wielded to thrash readers into a reaction. New Destinies survived for eight volumes, ceasing in September 1990. There was no volume V, which should have appeared in October 1988 and reached proof stage but was never published. Far Frontiers and New Destinies were interesting because of their emphasis on speculative science being used to promote a particular viewpoint or campaign. It was this aspect that made this magazine/anthology series different even though in the end it achieved little in its desire for change. The individual volumes, especially with New Destinies, appeared at increasingly irregular periods reducing any cumulative impact the material might muster. And as so much of the fiction soon appeared in separate volumes from Baen Books, both series were dangerously close to being promotional volumes. It is unlikely that either series made a significant profit. Sales figures were not published although Locus reported that Far Frontiers had a print run of 50,000 and therefore likely sales of 25,000.22 These were not James Baen’s final attempts at producing a magazine. He would return with considerable vigour just over a decade later with the online publications Grantville Gazette and Jim Baen’s Universe.

A Qualified Success On the same day that the ill-fated If was launched at the World SF Convention, so too was another magazine that would have rather more success and influence, going by the bizarre name of Aboriginal Science Fiction. Everything about this magazine was different.

22  ‘Magazine Report’, Locus, #301 (February 1986), p. 24.

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The advance advertisements for the magazine had called it ‘Big, bold and beautiful’, and it lived up to that. It was in the large tabloid format, 17x11¼ inches, just like a newspaper, it had a full-colour cover and several colour interior illustrations, including a massive centre spread, and it claimed it was published by an alien! The man behind it all was Charles C. Ryan, who had previously edited Galileo. The demise of Galileo had been nothing to do with the quality of the magazine, which was often excellent, but down to the publisher overstretching himself by trying to turn Galileo fully professional and expand into nationwide newsstand distribution. Prior to that, based almost entirely on subscriptions and specialist sales, Galileo had been profitable. Charles Ryan had been an exemplary editor, especially in the discovery of new writers, including M. Lucie Chin, Cynthia Felice, John Kessel, David Schow, Lewis Shiner and Connie Willis. This same desire to help new writers was one of the main factors behind Aboriginal. The name arose because Ryan reckoned that most of the leading sf magazines had names beginning with ‘A’ (Amazing, Astounding, Analog, Asimov’s) and thought it would be good to precede them all. He decided Aardvark wasn’t suitable so opted for Aboriginal, which gave rise to the idea that each issue was a regular report by an alien, stranded on Earth 24 years before, seeking to contact his home planet: hence the magazine’s subtitle, ‘Tales of the Humankind’ and the inclusion of a ‘Report from Our Alien Publisher’ each issue rather than an editorial. Published anonymously, these were usually written by Ryan’s colleague Floyd Kemske, who had assisted on Galileo and was an assistant again on Aboriginal. Ryan also secured the help of Hal Clement in designing a solar system to represent the alien’s ‘home system’ and to provide a setting which contributors could use for their stories—another ‘shared world’. The first issue included a story set in that system, ‘The Phoenix Riddle’ by John Alfred Taylor. Such stories, though, were few and far between, the most notable being ‘Circus Story’ (February/March 1987) by Connie Willis. As a newspaper reporter and a previous magazine editor, Ryan knew the ropes and paced himself carefully. He set up Absolute Entertainment Inc., in Woburn, Massachusetts to run the magazine. Support came from his own newspaper, the Daily Times Chronicle, and from the Science Fiction Writers of America, and he steadily built around him a team to cover the work of reading manuscripts, arranging advertising and organizing the printing and distributing. The tabloid size was chosen because it was the least expensive printing method on a web press and allowed for a full display of art in colour. It was printed on 50-pound offset stock, which allowed for a better

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reproduction of the artwork and also made for a more substantial product, not flimsy as standard newsprint would have produced. Among the regular contributors were Darrell Schweitzer, who undertook the book reviews, and Jessie Horsting, who filed movie reviews for the first five issues and was succeeded by Susan Ellison. From July 1989 Robert Metzger contributed a regular science column. The magazine made good use of the space in providing both illustrations and photographs. Each issue had an ‘Aborigines’ feature with profiles and photographs of contributors. This, along with the alien report, a regular letter column and other features gave the magazine a friendly, comfortable atmosphere which helped welcome new writers. Aboriginal would publish the first stories by several authors, notably Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Patricia Anthony, Emily Devenport, Jonathan Lethem and Robert A. Metzger, plus some of the earliest work by Howard V. Hendrix and Robert Reed. In the case of Kristine Kathryn Rusch, she had sent ‘Sing’ to all of the paying markets but each had rejected it, some with rather unpleasant responses saying that Rusch didn’t know how to write.23 This may be because the story is related by an alien who naturally doesn’t understand English or the nature of the explorer who has come to their world to study and record humans. Clearly those first readers hadn’t looked beyond the words because ‘Sing’ is a haunting story with a potency that feels it was by a writer of more mature years. When Rusch sent ‘Sing’ to Aboriginal, Ryan not only bought it but, when he published it in the February/March 1987 issue, he assigned it a striking cover by Bob Eggleton. Rusch told me that ‘Sing’ has since turned out to be one of her more popular stories. Rusch went from strength to strength. ‘Story Child’ (September/October 1990), another haunting tale set in the days after most people on Earth have unaccountably vanished, was the first story from Aboriginal to be nominated for a Nebula Award. Rusch herself won the Campbell Award as Best New Writer in 1990. As we have seen, in addition to a growing number of short stories, Rusch and her future husband Dean Wesley Smith set up Pulphouse Publishing and started several magazines of their own, including the hardcover Pulphouse. Within four years of her debut she became the editor of F&SF. Patricia Anthony also debuted in the February/March 1987 issue with ‘Blood Brothers’, which gradually unravels the realization that humans hadn’t been the first to reach Mars from Earth. It was the first of 16 stories she would have in the magazine, more than any other contributor. Most were later included in her collection Eating Memories (1997) and

23  Kristine Kathryn Rusch, email, 14 December 2012.

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when assembled together they demonstrate her strong empathic writing, exploring the transition of normal people into abnormal circumstances. Her stories have a strong individual character and a mood not unlike a blending of Ray Bradbury with Clifford Simak. Between them, Rusch and Anthony gave Aboriginal a strong humanist dimension. Jonathan Lethem’s debut was a different dimension again. ‘The Cave Beneath the Falls’ (January/February 1989) was a short but ingenious twist on the tragic consequences of someone with psi powers taking over the mind of another. It was the type of story that would have worked well in F&SF. In addition to encouraging new writers, Ryan was able to attract many well-known names. Brian Aldiss, Ben Bova, David Brin, Orson Scott Card, Harlan Ellison, Charles L. Grant, Larry Niven, Frederik Pohl, Michael Swanwick and George Zebrowski all appeared within the magazine’s first four years, usually with just one or two stories or essays. Pohl, however, contributed his new Heechee miscellany, ‘The Gateway Concordance’, a mixture of vignettes and background stories, which was serialized from January/February to May/June 1990, just before book publication as The Gateway Trip (1990). The work by these writers, though, was seldom as ground-breaking as their material in Asimov’s or elsewhere. Most stories were not written with Aboriginal as the first market and often had been commissioned elsewhere. Ben Bova’s ‘Impact’ (March/April 1988) was a self-contained excerpt from his novel Peacemakers, which appeared a month later. Larry Niven’s ‘The Wishing Game’ (May/June 1989), one of his stories set in a world where magic works by scientific rules, had been written for Susan Shwartz’s anthology Arabesques 2, which appeared the following month. Michael Swanwick’s ‘U F O’ (September/October 1990), which uses the plot device of alien abduction to explore teenage angst, was, by his own admission, ‘the least popular story of my entire career’,24 though it was nominated for a Nebula Award. One reason established authors would not consider Aboriginal a first-time market was the simple fact of payment. Aboriginal paid a fixed sum for a story, regardless of length, originally $200 per story but rising to $250 in 1988. This encouraged new writers, especially as a story of only 2,000 words would be paid at the equivalent of ten cents per word. But Omni was paying around $1,250 per story and Asimov’s paid five cents per word at this time, so that stories over 4,000 words received more than Aboriginal

24  Michael Swanwick, interview by David Slusher, Reality Break (radio talk show), January 1994. A transcript is available at http://www.michaelswanwick.com/auth/reality.html.

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could pay. The result was that Aboriginal became a good training ground for developing writers and a secondary market for established writers. It attracted little experimental or avant-garde work, simply because Ryan was looking for straightforward stories, preferably hard sf, but also distinctive social sf. Jessica Amanda Salmonson felt the magazine was ‘too much a throwback to 1950s sf’,25 attributing much of this to the number of stories by new writers. Though meant as a criticism, it in fact highlighted one of the magazine’s strengths. Aboriginal was effectively a safe magazine, a softer version of Analog and Asimov’s, and one that would appeal to both new writers and readers. Ryan occasionally took risks. He labelled the November/December 1989 issue a ‘Special Blasphemy’ number, though it was not especially irreverent. It led with ‘The Covenant’, one of the ‘Bible Stories for Adults’ series by James Morrow which has helped build his reputation for challenging religious orthodoxy. ‘A Measure of Faith’ by Ralph E. Vaughan considers the sacredness of life and whether it is a sin to be immortal. Lois Tilton’s ‘To Dust’ is set in a future when to have a religious belief is seen as a form of madness. ‘Variations on a Theme’ by Graham P. Collins deals with a computer that has become self-aware and questions death. They were all thought-provoking stories but not especially challenging. Aboriginal’s major attribute in comparison to the digest magazines was that it was considerably better illustrated. In its large tabloid format it was an ideal forum for artists, boldly displaying coloured artwork. Carl Lundgren’s cover for the second issue, December 1986, had already caught the eyes of fans when the original painting was displayed at the World SF Convention where it was voted the best sf illustration in the art show. It illustrated George Zebrowski’s ‘Bridge of Silence’ (December 1986), about a psychological encounter between human and alien. Aboriginal’s cover art was sold separately reproduced on quality coated stock. After three issues Ryan decided to switch to the letter-size format— effectively the tabloid size folded in half and spine-stapled. This allowed for a better display on newsstands where Aboriginal was receiving more promotion. Sales were rising as were subscriptions. The first issue had sold around 4,000 copies but within a year this had increased to 12,000 and by 1990 to over 20,000. Ryan made the change with the January/February 1988 issue to print the magazine entirely on glossy paper. He took great delight in announcing that Aboriginal was now ‘this country’s first successful full-color, full-slick science fiction magazine’.26 Ironically, the one other

25  Jessica Amanda Salmonson, letter, Aboriginal SF, #17 (September/October 1989), p. 32. 26  Charles C. Ryan, ‘Editor’s Notes’, Aboriginal SF, #8 (January/February 1988), p. 13.

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fully slick sf magazine, Vertex, had, in its final days, switched unsuccessfully to the tabloid format. In its slick format Aboriginal gave its artwork excellent reproduction. Artists included Larry Blamire, David Cherry, Bob Eggleton, Kelly Freas, Pat Morrissey, Cortney Skinner and Lucy Synk. They helped make Aboriginal the most attractive sf magazine on the stalls, so it is perhaps not surprising that the one major award that contributors to the magazine received was for art. Bob Eggleton’s cover for the January/February 1990 issue, depicting Neptune as seen from its moon Triton, won the Chesley Award as that year’s best cover art. Unfortunately the slick format did not sufficiently increase sales and proved too expensive. In his editorial for the January/February 1989 issue Ryan revealed that printing each issue cost $46,000, plus another $33,000 for the colour separations, distribution, fees to contributors, staff salaries and other overheads, equalling $79,000 per issue. Based on its cover price of $3.00 of which the publisher received only $1.20, a projected sale of 40,000 copies would generate an income of $48,000, making a loss of $31,000 per issue. It would need a cover price of $5.00 per issue to break even, but at that price the magazine would lose readers. Moreover, Aboriginal’s sales were barely 20,000, not 40,000. Unless more advertising revenue could be generated, Aboriginal was running at a significant loss. After 15 issues, Ryan phased Aboriginal back onto cheaper stock at the end of 1990, and the coloured internal art was phased out. Although few of Aboriginal’s contents were nominated for awards, Ryan’s own efforts were recognized. Aboriginal was nominated for a Hugo Award in the semi-prozine category in 1988 and Ryan was nominated as best professional editor in 1989 and 1990. Aboriginal had managed to create and fill another niche, in fact two niches, that of the friendly, companionable magazine appealing to the newcomers, and one that was strongly art-oriented. It would continue into the 1990s though with increasing problems and various survival tactics. Although the following does trespass into the next decade, the events are worth covering here because of their relevance to magazine survival.

A Problem Shared … Throughout the 1990s there were various experiments and developments to either share costs, or reduce postage and taxation by finding opportunities within the law. Charles Ryan tried more than one tactic to keep Aboriginal profitable.

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First, there was an exchange of issues between Aboriginal and the British Interzone. It was an idea developed by Ryan and David Pringle when they met at the World Science Fiction Convention in The Hague, Netherlands, in August 1990. They hoped that such exposure in the other’s country might help boost subscriptions and give a higher profile to some of the contributors. The result was that most of the contents of the May/June 1991 Aboriginal appeared in the May 1991 Interzone, while most of the June 1991 Interzone appeared in the July/August 1991 Aboriginal. The issues were not identical. Ryan wrote a special editorial for Interzone that did not appear in Aboriginal and Pringle returned the favour for Aboriginal. Each magazine retained their specific typeface so that the stories filled a different number of pages and the accompanying illustrations did not therefore always fit neatly into the relevant spots. At this period Aboriginal’s interior art was almost all in colour and this meant for the first time Interzone ran colour interior art. For its next issue Interzone reverted to black-and-white but Pringle acquired separate colour artwork from Mark Harrison for use in Aboriginal. The artwork had previously appeared in England on paperback book covers but had not hitherto been available in the USA. It meant, of course, that the illustrations did not relate to the stories, but they certainly added to the overall impact of the issue. Finally both magazines retained some of their individual features, such as book reviews and letters, which were not exchanged. But the differences were superficial. To all intents the contents were exchanged in full and the contributors were paid separately for the US and UK publication. They made for unusual one-off issues in both cases. It meant that Interzone was able to run material (albeit experimentally) by Harlan Ellison, Frederik Pohl, Lawrence Watt-Evans and others of whom only Watt-Evans contributed another story to the magazine. Likewise Aboriginal ran material by Greg Egan, Kim Newman and Eugene Byrne, Nicola Griffith, Garry Kilworth and Paul J. McAuley, none of whom appeared again in the magazine. Only Eric Brown took advantage of the opening and placed two more stories there. The stories in the exchange issue of Interzone were not classifiably British in mood or content. Australian Greg Egan’s ‘The Infinite Assassin’, about an assassin who works through multiple parallel worlds, could have taken place in any heavily urbanized country. Eric Brown’s first-contact tale, ‘The Nilakantha Scream’, is set in various countries around the globe. Byrne and Newman’s ‘Ten Days That Shook the World’ is an alternate-history story set in a violently anti-socialist ‘U.S.S.A.’ during the First World War. Nicola Griffith’s therapeutic ‘Song of Bullfrogs, Cry of Geese’ is set in Georgia, USA, to where she had recently moved. The result was a well-rounded

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issue of powerful stories all with a suitable international flavour. One correspondent remarked, ‘Why isn’t every IZ as good as IZ 48?’27 The Aboriginal stories were similarly international. Lois Tilton’s ‘The Cry of a Seagull’ describes a boatload of refugees from Hong Kong that continues to sail the seas because no country will accept them. ‘Amerikan Hiaika’ by Wil McCarthy is set in a future Tokyo where an American policeman tries to investigate his own murder. ‘Darkness Upon the Face of the Deep’, about the fateful search for a treasure in Syria, is a surprisingly untypical story by Harlan Ellison. ‘Targets’ by Lawrence Watt-Evans is a thoughtful account of the relationship between a survivor and a crippled war machine after an apocalyptic war. Both issues were of a high quality though readers’ comments were varied. Most of the letters published in Aboriginal were supportive but some were poles apart. One reader said that ‘the stories in the special Aboriginal issue were of a quality far superior to anything seen recently in Interzone’,28 while another pronounced in favour of Interzone, saying ‘there was a bloody big difference in quality between IZ’s Aboriginal contribution and Aboriginal’s IZ contribution’.29 Interestingly, both writers were from Britain. None of the stories won any awards although Egan’s ‘The Infinite Assassin’ was voted the most popular story in Interzone by readers in the annual poll. While the experiment seemed to meet with readers’ approval, at least as a one-off, it did not generate any rise in subscriptions. A couple of American readers said that they might check out Interzone and a British reader thought it worth subscribing to Aboriginal, but as David Pringle told me: ‘Overall the results of the swap were disappointing. I think most of Aboriginal’s subscribers were pretty “soft”—discount subscribers who didn’t renew their subs to Aboriginal, never mind taking out subs to IZ.’30 The experiment with Aboriginal did Interzone no harm and the magazine continued to grow and prosper. Aboriginal was not quite so fortunate. After the special Interzone number Aboriginal missed an issue but came back with a double issue, dated December 1991. In the interim Ryan, with the advice of the New England SF Association, had set up the Second Renaissance Foundation, a non-profit company which would take over as the official publisher of Aboriginal.31 One reason for this was that the postal charges had

27  C. S. Barlow, letter, Interzone, #50 (August 1991), p. 5. 28  Louis Keough, letter, Aboriginal SF, #29/30 (December 1991), p. 114. 29  C. S. Barlow, letter, Interzone, #50 (August 1991), p. 5. 30  David Pringle, email, 22 May 2013. 31  This was set up under Section 501(c)(3) under the United States Internal Revenue Code on the basis of being a literary foundation for the promotion of the arts. It had a board of directors which included the sf writer Hal Clement. Ryan was not on the board.

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risen dramatically,32 and as a non-profit company the Second Renaissance Foundation was allowed lower second-class and third-class mailing rates. Aboriginal relied heavily on its subscribers as it had only limited newsstand distribution, and any increase in subscription rates because of postal costs could well have had a detrimental effect. It also allowed Aboriginal access to various grants. In his editorial Ryan listed the problems that the small magazines had in trying to increase sales and remain solvent. In summary these were: • Major publishers can discount their subscription rate in order to increase circulation and thus raise more advertising revenue. However, this conditions the public to a lower than practical subscription rate. • Large circulation magazines can negotiate discounts with printers, but small circulation magazines pay more per copy. • Large magazines can take advantage of discount subscription services such as Publishers Clearing House to obtain bulk subscriptions but these organizations will not operate with small magazines. • Postage rates have increased dramatically since 1986 so that mailings to attract new subscribers barely break even. • National advertisers are rarely interested in magazines with sales of less than 500,000 but will deal with organizations where the aggregate sales of several magazines total that figure. • Following mergers between the major distribution companies none of those are willing to distribute magazines with newsstand sales less than several hundred thousand copies. Ryan also observed that not all subscribers realized that the special double issues that magazines were now releasing counted as two against the subscription though they were only a single physical issue with an increased page count. He remarked that a double issue was cheaper for the publisher because it not only saved on postage but also saved the cost of printing one four-colour cover, which was the most expensive part of the printing costs. The six problems that Ryan highlighted were common to all of the science-fiction magazines. Only Analog and Asimov’s as part of Davis Publications, which also published Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine and which between them had a total paid circulation of over 650,000, could take advantage of significant distribution and printing deals. Omni, of course, was in a league of its own.

32  Ryan noted that charges had increased by 56% since 1986 so that it cost $1,980 in 1991 to mail 10,000 copies of Aboriginal compared with $1,270 in 1986. By comparison, the 12-issue subscription rate had risen by only 4.5% from $22 to $23.

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Besides setting up the non-profit company, Ryan introduced other savings of which one of the biggest was the full-colour interior illustrations. Much against his heart’s desire, Ryan dropped these and reverted to black-and-white interior art from the next issue. He retained the double issues, however, so that each year’s four quarterly issues counted as eight against subscriptions. Ryan tried to forestall any objections in his editorial, commenting, ‘A pessimist will only look at the loss of color and the less frequent publication schedule. An optimist would also be delighted that the magazine is still here, and still publishing.’33 Unfortunately the pessimists held sway. In 1991 Aboriginal’s sales peaked at just over 23,000. Subscribers simply failed to renew, perhaps because of the magazine’s erratic schedule, even though each issue was now a substantial 116 letter-size pages. By 1994 sales had dropped by two-thirds to under 9,000. Ryan had also invested in a drive to increase newsstand sales, which were barely above 2,000, but this backfired and endangered Aboriginal’s cash flow. Much of Aboriginal’s stories were by new writers, a fact that was recognized in a study, ‘New American Writers’ by Will Blythe in the July 1992 Esquire. The piece identified that many of America’s new writers appeared first in either underground or small-press magazines and Aboriginal was the only sf magazine to be mentioned. This prestigious praise, though, was tempered because Ryan knew that the researcher had asked a friend to name an sf magazine and that friend had recommended Aboriginal. Ryan believed that had the friend not identified Aboriginal the magazine would not have been mentioned. Yet the fact remains that Aboriginal did encourage new writers which was, under the Second Renaissance Foundation, one of its primary purposes. Unfortunately only a few new contributors, such as Patricia Anthony, Jamil Nasir and Kristine Kathryn Rusch, went on to bigger things. Aboriginal had become something of a closed circle and began to sink in on itself. In June 1994 Ryan’s mother suffered a major heart attack and he was no longer able to devote any time or finances to the magazine. After the Spring 1994 issue the magazine went into hiatus and Ryan tried unsuccessfully to find a purchaser. It is a sad fact that despite its competence and amazing resilience—because Aboriginal would bounce back and we shall encounter it again—it became one of the undeservedly forgotten magazines. 

33  Charles Ryan, ‘When the Color is Gone’ (editorial), Aboriginal SF, #31/32 (Summer 1992), p. 66.

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Were lessons learned by other publishers? The last new magazine of the 1980s, though it didn’t appear until 1990, was Starshore. It was one of the more attractive offerings in a wellillustrated, semi-slick letter-size format, published by the London Bridge Printing Company, a commercial printer in Virginia Beach, Virginia which had set up a separate division, McAlpine Publishing, to run the magazine. Its publisher was Lynn McAlpine and editor, Richard Rowand. Despite its quality appearance, Starshore was semi-professional, paying only one cent per word. Just before its launch McAlpine secured national distribution via American Distribution Services, resulting in 12,000 copies of the first issue being printed rather than the planned 4,000.34 It had been provoked into existence thanks to Pulphouse. McAlpine had been discussing the problems and pitfalls of producing a magazine at her local writers’ group when Richard Rowand, who ran the group, interrupted and read Dean Wesley Smith’s editorial from Letters to Pulphouse #2 (May 1989), ‘So How Come?’, which considered why there aren’t more professional markets. Smith had concluded it was ‘fear of the dark’.35 After that meeting McAlpine decided to take the plunge and Rowand soon joined as editor. The record has shown that most new magazines were undercapitalized and rapidly failed. Starshore was no different. Despite its national distribution, the first issue, dated Summer 1990 and released in April, sold around 3,000 copies which remained similar for the second issue (Fall 1990), despite 17,000 copies being distributed. It attracted only 300 subscribers and raised no significant advertising. The third issue (Winter 1990) was distributed to specialist dealers only and the fourth and final issue, Spring 1991 (distributed in January), was sent to subscribers only. Publisher Lynn McAlpine reflected: ‘With hindsight, it’s obvious we should not have started without a financial commitment for three years.’36 Dean Wesley Smith had advised as much when McAlpine had informed them about their plans. ‘Make sure you have extra money behind you,’ he noted, ‘Everything costs exactly two times what you expected.’37 Without such financial support Starshore’s fate was inevitable and frustrating because it had nothing to do with the magazine’s quality. Rowand geared the magazine towards the science fiction ‘connoisseur’, as one cover blurb announced it, or the ‘aficionado’ and ‘enthusiast’ as labelled on other covers. Rowand could not expect to attract major writers 34  See the news story ‘Starshore: New SF Magazine’, Locus, #349 (February 1990), p. 6. 35 See Letters to Pulphouse, #3 (September 1989), pp. 1–2. 36  Lynn McAlpine reported in Locus, #358 (November 1990), p. 5. 37  Dean Wesley Smith, Letters to Pulphouse, #3 (September 1989), p. 2.

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with Starshore’s low rate of pay—though in fact he did run work by John Brunner, Kim Stanley Robinson (who translated ‘The People in the Painting’ by Renato Pestriniero from the Italian) and Charles Sheffield—but he could acquire good fiction by the new generation of writers. Rowand was known as a fierce critic and had a stern eye for quality. He published several stories by new and up-and-coming writers including L. Timmel Duchamp, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Jeff VanderMeer and K. D. Wentworth. Most of their work reflected the wider treatment from which science fiction or ‘speculative fiction’ was benefiting. Duchamp’s ‘Transcendence’ (Fall 1990) is an especially powerful story of a woman’s obsession with her sexuality and appearance. Rusch’s ‘Theme and Variations’ (Winter 1990), about a composer who converts himself into music, is another of those atmospheric mood stories with which she was establishing a reputation. David Niall’s ‘A Candle in the Sun’ (Winter 1990) was a particularly strong story which explored the idea that Mary Magdalene was a vampire.38 There was also much traditional sf. Stephen Gillette, writing as Lee Goodloe, set a scientific problem story close to the Sun in ‘Mercury Mine’ (Fall 1990). Charles Sheffield’s ‘Casualties’ (Winter 1990) is a final episode in a space war. Kevin J. Anderson’s ‘Entropy Ranch’ (Winter 1990) is a fusion of religious beliefs and time travel. ‘The Voice of the Dolphin in Air’ (Fall 1990), by Howard V. Hendrix, is a moving, almost Bradburyesque story of a family’s tragedy on Mars. Starshore showed considerable promise and could have become a strong second-tier magazine but it was all too soon unjustly relegated to the ranks of the forgotten.  The perils and pitfalls faced by new magazines were clear enough, even if frequently ignored in the passion to publish. Without sufficient financial backing, advance planning and a diverse team prepared to work hard and for nothing at the start, no magazine was likely to succeed or last for more than a few issues. Skills in the new computer facilities for design and publishing clearly saved costs, but these were being counterbalanced by the rapid rise in the cost of paper, printing and postage. Newsstand distribution was failing but thankfully subscriptions for many magazines were increasing, provided postage costs did not result in subscription rates increasing too much. That was where the weight of the magazine

38  The story was later expanded into the novel This is My Blood (1999) under his full name David Niall Wilson.

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was important, and small digests and slim letter-size magazines had their advantages over heavy quality stock pages. There was no doubt that the physical process of producing and distributing the magazines was becoming a major problem to their survival, which is why some eyes started to turn to the fledgling digital magazines that were starting on the small computer networks. Both Athene and Quanta had appeared in 1989 and others soon followed. Would this be the answer to the problems of cost and distribution? That is what I shall be exploring in The Rise of the Cyber Chronicles.

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8 Epilogue

As the 1980s came to a close it seemed the surviving major US and UK sf magazines, both professional and semi-professional, had established their niches in the market, albeit some tenuously. Asimov’s was the creative market leader even though its companion, Analog, remained the more commercially successful, appealing to the hard-sf market. F&SF had lost some of its cutting-edge distinctiveness but retained its idiosyncratic individuality. Though Omni paid the highest rate it was also the smallest market and its appeal to readers was primarily for Ellen Datlow’s often extreme tastes, perhaps as far along one end of the spectrum as Aboriginal was at the other. Amazing Stories, constantly struggling for a better share of its publisher’s budget, perhaps had the least impact but, like Aboriginal, had a conscientious editor who strove to help new writers. Interzone had shown what a group of committed editors could achieve and had not only helped develop a new generation of British sf writers but had encouraged the fascination for technological realism in sf. Like Interzone, The Leading Edge demonstrated what could be achieved by a cohesive and well-focused team. In purely commercial terms the Big Three were just about holding their own. Analog fared the best. Its total paid circulation had dropped by 13% between 1980 and 1990, but though its cover-price rise from $1.50 to $2.50 more than covered this, it did not cover the cost of inflation: Analog’s gross income increased by 50% compared to the cumulative inflation rate of 62%.1 Asimov’s total paid circulation had fallen by 28% but its rise in cover price meant its gross income had increased by 29%, still way below the inflation rate. F&SF’s gross circulation had fallen by almost 13% until 1989, but rallied in 1990. Even so, it only raised its cover price from $1.50 to $2.00, 1  For circulation details see Appendix 5. The comparisons here are simple crude calculations for gross income based on average sales and cover price. According to InflationData.com, the cumulative inflation for the period 1980–89 was 62% and the cost of living had risen by 58.7%.

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so its gross income had only risen by 16.4%. Amazing Stories fared worst. Its total paid circulation had fallen by only 5%, but this was from an already low base. Its cover price had risen slightly from $1.50 to $1.75 so its gross income had increased by only 3%. Economies made within production costs of the Big Three enabled them to remain viable and they continued strongly into the 1990s, while Amazing had a complete face-lift as I shall explore in The Rise of the Cyber Chronicles. Omni’s sales had increased during the decade, peaking at over a million in 1987 and, though they fell steadily thereafter, its paid circulation in 1990 was still 12% higher than in 1981, and with a 75% increase in cover price its gross income was well ahead of inflation, though its production costs had also risen considerably. Nevertheless, as at 1990, its financial status seemed assured. Even though Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone Magazine folded after only eight years, it nevertheless had significant sales and was more a victim of management policy changes than of market forces. Although the rise and fall of many of the small-press and amateur magazines suggests more volatility, there are many other factors at play here and almost all of these magazines are at the mercy of the commitment and time available of their publishers and editors. Nevertheless the magazines Interzone and Aboriginal SF succeeded remarkably considering the rise in inflation and other competing factors. Interzone has to be seen as one of the success stories of the decade because the steady and well-managed development of the magazine allowed it to grow and establish its market without overreaching. The sheer volume of new semi-professional and small-press magazines that started in the 1980s is testament to the determination of individuals to risk the science-fiction market. Table 3 compares the decades 1971–80 and 1981–90. The totals are drawn from Appendix 2 to this volume, though exclude RPG and graphic-story magazines and extreme horror. It is not always easy to distinguish between amateur and semi-professional, but for the purposes of this table I have excluded those that were solely fanzines. Some magazines started as a fanzine and grew in status, and I have included these where the majority of the run is as a semi-prozine. The data for the United States show that in the 1970s there had been 32 individual professional magazines with 733 issues published in that decade, an average of 23 issues per title. In the 1980s the total magazines had almost halved to 17, but the total issues had only dropped by 6% to 686, an average of 40 issues per title. So while the 1980s had less individual titles, they were more resilient and sustained. As for the American small-press/semi-pro magazines, their numbers had more than doubled from 17 titles to 40, though the total number of issues

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Table 3. Comparison of magazine totals between 1971–80 and 1981–90. 1971–80

1981–90

Professional total titles (issues)

Semi-pro/ small-press total titles (issues)

Professional total titles (issues)

Semi-pro/ small-press total titles (issues)

USA

32 (733)

17 (170)

17 (686)

40 (288)

UK

Country

5 (57)

4 (16)

2 (5)

11 (132)

Australia



3 (45)

1 (37)

7 (25)

Canada



3 (33)



8 (22)

Éire







1 (7)

Total

37 (790)

27 (264)

20 (728)

67 (474)

had increased by only 66% from 170 to 288. This shows that, while desk-top publishing and other computer facilities had allowed for the production of more magazines, the time taken in producing the magazines and financing them appropriately meant that fewer issues were produced per title, though they were almost all of a better quality and diversity. The total chart shows the dramatic comparison of the corresponding rise in the small-press magazine over the professional with the total number of individual professional titles falling by 46% with a rise in small-press titles of 148%. There were still more individual issues of professional magazines but the ratio had closed from 3:1 in the 1970s to 1.5:1 in the 1980s. Another way of considering the growth in the small-press magazine is that in the 120 months of the 1980s there were on average six issues of a professional magazine available alongside four issues of a small-press magazine. In the 1970s each month there had been an average of 6.6 professional magazines, so hardly any change, but there had been little more than two issues of a small-press magazine, so their production had doubled in the 1980s. So while the professional magazine remained the dominant force, the small-press magazine had become a significant second-tier force, able to provide a tangible supplement to the prozine not simply as an alternative (though lower-paying) market, but as a forum for greater experimentation. This is why the 1980s became the decade for the alternative magazine, the renegades and the rebels, who not only developed alternate styles of fiction, notably slipstream, but used their status to further explore and develop other forms of fiction appearing in the professional magazines, notably cyberpunk and splatterpunk. Their existence is the voice of the ‘sciencefiction underground’. The majority of small-press magazines proclaimed

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EPILOGUE 233 Table 4. Average survival rates for new magazines first appearing between 1981 and 1989. Total new magazines starting between 1981 and 1989 (a) Total number of magazines

Total of those magazines that ceased between 1981 and 1989

Total that survived beyond 1989 but ceased by 2014

Total still appearing (as of 2014)

43

25

15

3

(b) Cumulative issues

680

231

292

167

(c) Cumulative years

322

90

153

90

Average no. of issues (b÷a)

15.8

9.2

19.5

55.7

Average lifespan in years (c÷a)

7.5

3.6

10.2

30.0

Average no. of issues per year (b÷c)

2.1

2.6

1.9

1.9

they had come into existence in order to publish the kind of challenging and alternative fiction that was not available in the commercial magazines. This, despite the fact that under Datlow, McCarthy, Dozois and Ferman the commercial magazines were indeed publishing challenging fiction, but evidently not enough in either quantity or diversity. However, the success of the small-press magazines needs to be measured against their capacity for survival. As Table 4 shows, of the 43 magazines (pro and semi-pro)2 that first appeared in the USA between 1981 and 1989 inclusive, 25 of them had ceased before the end of the decade. They averaged just over nine issues each and survived on average three to four years, with less than three issues per year. Those figures are inflated by the success of Twilight Zone. If that is excluded, the remaining 24 magazines averaged seven issues each with only two issues per year. The pattern is not dissimilar for those that survived 1990. Of those other 18 US magazines, only three continue to this day—Cemetery Dance, The Leading Edge and Tales of the Unanticipated. Excluding those, the remaining 15 magazines that had started in the 1980s had survived on average for just ten years producing only two issues per year. In simple summary, the majority of the new sf magazines were now semi-professional and small press and the majority of those were producing only two issues per year. 2  Almost all of these were small press. The only new professional US magazines that began in the 1980s were Far Frontiers, New Destinies (these two effectively the same magazine), Night Cry and Twilight Zone, and all of those had ceased by the end of the decade.

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Outside of the United States it was predominantly the small press that sustained the science-fiction magazine market. Great Britain had to all intents lost its professional magazines from the 1970s and although Interzone was professional in just about every criteria except sales, and would be regarded as a prozine by most in the 1990s, in the 1980s it was still growing through the semi-prozine soil. Effectively the only professional magazine in the English-speaking world, outside of the USA, was Australia’s Omega, though this was really a popular-science magazine. So in all non-US countries it was down to the small press to sustain the sciencefiction short story and to encourage new writers and new approaches to sf. This is exactly what Interzone and its UK companions, especially Dream, achieved. It was here that the radical hard-sf renaissance began and where writers Stephen Baxter, Neal Asher, Eric Brown, Keith Brooke, Alistair Reynolds, Nicola Griffith, Ian McDonald, Geoff Ryman, Charles Stross and many more emerged and prospered. Moreover the bonds between the small-press magazines, encouraged by the New SF Alliance, allowed for cross-fertilization and a greater dissemination of ideas. Authors could now contribute to a greater diversity of markets, and these also provided significant feedback, so although not all were paying markets (or were very low paying) they provided other benefits. The obvious one is that they served as stepping stones to prodom for new writers, but they also allowed seasoned writers to experiment. There were only so many stories that could be published each month, and though the commercial magazines with their experienced editors were prepared to consider avant-garde or experimental fiction, it would only be on an occasional basis. The small press, however, yearned for such material— Last Wave, New Pathways, Ice River, Pulphouse, Xizquil, Back Brain Recluse and others all wanted fiction that was cutting edge, extreme and ‘dangerous’— and even if the end result was not always as successful or entertaining as one might have hoped, it was the small press that allowed both writer and reader to understand what worked and what did not. College magazines like The Leading Edge went even further because they provided students with the opportunity to understand the complete process of magazine production, including reading the slush pile and editing manuscripts. Many of those who worked on small-press magazines would move on to establish a career in publishing and editing. Even though it was the professional magazines, notably Omni and Asimov’s, that introduced and encouraged cyberpunk, its leading authors— especially John Shirley and Bruce Sterling—used the small-press magazines, the ‘science-fiction underground’ such as Science Fiction Eye

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and New Pathways, to explore the nature of cyberpunk and understand its purpose and achievement. Nevertheless it is the professional magazine that allows a writer to earn his living and establish his career, and during the 1980s the prozines played a formidable role thanks to their editors. The two that stand proud are Ellen Datlow at Omni and Shawna McCarthy at Asimov’s. Datlow, despite initial discouragement from Ben Bova, ploughed her own furrow from the start and was able to publish a significant amount of top-rate fiction in a magazine where, in all honesty, the fiction section was not the key part. She published the first ‘cyberpunk’ stories by William Gibson, working with him to sharpen the text to its razor-edged keenness. She also published some of the very best work by Pat Cadigan, Greg Bear, George R. R. Martin and Howard Waldrop, among others, during this decade. Her contribution was to allow authors to free their imagination and produce works that were both daring and potent. And because the circulation of Omni was in excess of a million, it allowed these stories to be read by a far greater audience than the other sf magazines or anthologies, and in so doing broadened the public’s understanding of genre fiction. Shawna McCarthy achieved miracles when she took over at Asimov’s which, like Datlow, was long before the official editorial title was bestowed upon her. She had the difficult task of transforming Asimov’s from what had been a relatively safe magazine, relying heavily on Asimov’s reputation, and publishing material that was certainly entertaining but rarely innovative, into a magazine of cutting-edge and often challenging fiction. In the process she found herself in trouble with the publisher, but she persevered regardless and, thanks to authors such as Octavia Butler, Greg Bear, Leigh Kennedy and Connie Willis, raised both the profile and credibility of Asimov’s. Because of his long and multi-award-winning tenure, it is Gardner Dozois who stands out as the editor of the 1980s and 1990s, and while that is justifiably earned, he was able to start at a high level because of the significant groundwork achieved by McCarthy. Thanks to Datlow and McCarthy, science fiction pulled itself up by its bootstraps in the 1980s, matured and reconstructed itself in a form suitable for the new high-tech generation. There is a third editor that must be added to make this a solid triumvirate, and that is David Pringle. Although Interzone was initially a group effort, and even as that group dwindled, Pringle was still working alongside Colin Greenland and Simon Ounsley, each of whom had important roles to play, it was nevertheless Pringle’s original vision for the magazine that was achieved as the 1980s progressed. That was to reinvigorate science fiction and inject it with much of the fun and vision that had become lost

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during the 1960s and 1970s, but without making it a backward step. His and Ounsley’s plan to inject the magazine with radical hard sf resulted in the consolidation of the careers of a dozen or more writers, not all of them British—Greg Egan being the prime non-indigenous example—who were able to use Interzone as the major stepping stone both to publication in books, and selling to the US market. Many other editors played their part, but it was Datlow, McCarthy and Pringle who transformed and regenerated science fiction in the 1980s into a viably relevant genre.  It remains to be said that the 1980s were not just the preserve of the Englishspeaking world. There was also a massive expansion of sf magazines throughout the world, especially in the Far East and Eastern Europe. The achievements there are covered in Appendix 1, but it should not escape mention here that the number of magazines being published outside the English-speaking world now exceeded those in the USA, UK, Canada, Australia and Éire combined. Though many of them drew their contents from the US and UK magazines, that in itself helped inspire local writers and the number of new writers in other countries increased significantly during this decade. The story here, though, differs from Western science fiction, because in most of these countries the emergence of the sf magazine went hand in hand with the winning of personal and social freedoms. It is a role that the UK and US magazines never really needed to perform, except perhaps during the McCarthy Era in the early 1950s, but it is a fundamental characteristic in other countries and one all too easily overlooked. As the 1990s dawned, all of the magazines had problems to face, all related to distribution, rising costs and dwindling sales, and into that equation now had to be factored the emergence of the internet and the birth of online magazines. How they coped and what effect this had upon the science-fiction field is the subject of volume 5, The Rise of the Cyber Chronicles.

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Appendix 1 Non-English-Language Science-Fiction Magazines

The domination of the magazines published in the United States, the United Kingdom and, from the 1980s, Australia and Canada, has overshadowed the sf magazines published elsewhere in the world. The primary reason for this was that until the 1980s many of the non-English-language magazines consisted predominantly of stories translated from English, and although much of their artwork was home-grown, it seemed, at least superficially, that they had little else to offer. That’s not to say that there wasn’t an awareness of international sf novels in translation, some, such as Pierre Boulle’s The Planet of the Apes (originally La planète des singes, 1963), Komatsu Sakyo’s Japan Sinks (originally Nippon Chinbotsu, 1973) and Stanisław Lem’s Solaris (1961), attaining a significant reputation. There was also an increasing, if passing, interest in science fiction from the Soviet Union, notably the works of Boris and Arkady Strugatsky, Ivan Yefremov and Kir Bulychev. But these still seemed the exception rather than the rule, and the translation of shorter fiction was much more rare. There were occasional anthologies devoted to international sf. Donald A. Wollheim had always shown an interest in the wider world of sf and his annual selection of each year’s best science fiction was called The World’s Best SF for good reason as he included two or three stories from other countries. He also published two volumes of European sf compiled by Richard D. Nolane, Terra SF (1981 and 1983). Magazines were another matter, however. The US and British sf magazines are dominated, not surprisingly, by anglophone writers, and it was unusual to see any writers for whom English was not a first language. The reasons are fairly obvious: it costs more to have a story translated, and the translation may not necessarily capture the mood or essence of the original.

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The occasional translated story did appear in the 1980s, though these were usually courtesy of a translator rather than as direct submissions. John Brunner, for example, who had been a close friend of the late French writer Christine Renard, translated her ‘Transistoires’ (1971) as ‘Transistors’ for the August 1982 Asimov’s. Asimov’s also published ‘The Land of Osiris’ (March 1985) by Wolfgang Jeschke, translated by Sally Schiller from the German anthology Arcane (1982). Kim Stanley Robinson provided translations of two stories by Renato Pestriniero, ‘Espree’ (1983) for the August 1989 F&SF and ‘People in the Painting’ for the Summer 1990 Starshore. Through the auspices of Grania Davis, Amazing Stories ran ‘Tansu’ (January 1983) by Hammura Ryo. There are other examples, but they are few and far between and provide no real understanding of the fiction written in those countries. The entrepreneurial William H. Wheeler of Newbury Park, California, who was both a writer and a multilingual translator, decided to make more translated sf available. Via his own imprint, Andromeda Press, he started a bi-monthly magazine, SF International, printed in Mexico. It saw just two issues, dated January/February and March/April 1987. They contained translations of stories from Argentina, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland and Yugoslavia, alongside stories from Australia, Canada and the USA. Wheeler said little about what he was trying to achieve other than to present something ‘different’. The majority of the translated stories dealt either with the exploration of new worlds or alien visitations to Earth, but most had the same mood and style of American sf of the 1950s. Though readable they felt dated, and it is uncertain how much of that was down to the translation itself, which was workmanlike if rather pedestrian. The fact that SF International lasted only two issues, just as Frederik Pohl’s International SF had 20 years earlier, may reflect a lack of interest in non-English sf, but in Wheeler’s case it almost certainly meant a lack of funding as, despite his valiant efforts, his other planned efforts to develop an sf publishing house came to nothing. SF International is as likely to be remembered today, if it is remembered at all, for publishing the first story by Kathe Koja, ‘Happy Birthday, Kim White’, in its first issue. By contrast it was quite common for non-English-language magazines to welcome stories from all over the world, not just within their own borders. The French magazine Antarès, the Hungarian Galaktika, the Italian Futuro Europa, the Québécois imagine… and Sweden’s Jules Verne magasinet all ran translations of stories from countries across Europe and beyond. It was, of course, common for stories to be shared across countries with common languages, such as Spain and Argentina, or France, Belgium and Quebec, but it was also common to share stories through the Soviet bloc of Eastern

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European countries, so that readers in Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Russia and Yugoslavia were all aware of writers in those countries. It is only in the English-speaking world that readers are denied (or deny themselves) an awareness of the sf in other countries. It was not until the 1990s, when communist and other barriers fell and heralded a flourishing of science fiction in Eastern Europe and elsewhere, that a greater recognition was given to world sf. Until then, most countries continued to publish translated English sf alongside developing their own writers, and this was increasingly true of Eastern Europe which I treat separately below. There was one other country, however, which came to embrace the emergence of the new rebellious sf, especially cyberpunk, and that was Japan, and there was little doubt that if the science-fiction magazine was having a significant impact it was in the Far East, in both China and Japan. For that reason in my international coverage, which I cover continent by continent, and countries alphabetically within each continent, I shall start with Asia.

ASIA China, People’s Republic of1 During the twentieth century China had periods when science fiction flourished, with both home-grown material and work in translation from the USA and the Soviet Union, and periods when it was shunned. One of the darkest periods was during the Cultural Revolution from 1966 to 1976. Tan Yunji reported that, at this time, ‘Not a single Chinese sf story was published, not to mention translations of foreign works.’2 With the end of the Cultural Revolution and the downfall of the ‘Gang of Four’ in October 1976, science fiction returned. The first new work, according to Dingbo Wu and Patrick Murphy,3 was ‘Shiyou danbai’ [Strange Cakes] by Ye Yonglie, published in the fifth issue of Shaonian Kexue [Young Science] in 1976. Like so much else that was to follow, this story was aimed at the younger reader and was regarded as educational. Other writers who had established themselves prior to the Cultural Revolution also returned to the fold, including Tong Enzheng and Zheng Wenguang. As early as 1  My thanks to Feng Zhang and Jonathan Clements for their help with this section. 2  Tan Yunji, ‘SF in China: A Brief Historical Review’, Foundation, #26 (October 1982), p. 74. 3  See their ‘Chronological Bibliography of Chinese Science Fiction’, in Dingbo Wu and Patrick D. Murphy (eds), Science Fiction From China (New York: Praeger, 1989).

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1958, Zheng Wenguang had written an essay, ‘Tantan Kehuan Xiaoshuo’ [Discussing the Science Literature Novel], which demonstrated how the didactic tone of sf written for children benefited the genre at a time of extreme authoritarian control. In 1978, Deng Xiaoping delivered a speech where he proclaimed that science and technology were the key to future success and this led to a blossoming of magazines aimed at popularizing science either through articles or fiction. There were many popular-science magazines published in every province, sponsored by each local Association of Science and Technology. All of these carried at least one or two sf stories alongside the articles and features. These included, in addition to Shaonian Kexue, the prestigious Kexue Huabao [Science Pictorial], which had a circulation of over a million copies, and Kexue Shenghuo [Science Life], all three in Shanghai; Women Ai Kexue [We Love Science] and Xiandaihua [Update], both in Beijing; Kexue Yu Shenghuo [Science and Life] in Tianjin; and Kexue Tiandi [World of Science] in Hunan, among many others.4 The true science-fiction magazines, however, proved more popular than the science magazines and began to blossom from 1979 onwards. They also ran popular-science articles but the balance was towards speculative fiction and science. In fact the magazines were the perfect vehicle for Chinese sf because most fiction was under 20,000 words. Chinese novels, at least at this time, were rare. The first of the sf magazines is also the only one from this period still surviving. It began as Kexue Wenyi [Scientific Literature] in May 1979, first quarterly and then bi-monthly from December 1980. It changed its name in June 1989 to Qitan (variously ‘Strange Tales’ or ‘Amazing Stories’) and again in January 1991, when it became Kehuan Shijie [Science Fiction World], under which title it has become China’s leading sf magazine. It was published by the Sichuan Popular Science Creation Association in Chengdu, south-west China and was edited at the outset by Liu Renshou. Hot on its heels was Kexue Shidai [Age of Science], a bi-monthly magazine which began with a double issue in November/December 1979. This was published by the Heilongjiang Science Writers’ Association in Harbin, north-east China. Some treated it as a popular-science magazine rather than science fiction, but it featured rather more fiction than usual. February 1981 saw the first issue of Zhihui Shu, usually translated as ‘Tree of Know­ledge’ or ‘Wisdom Tree’. It was published by the New Budding Press

4  For a list of the many and diverse popular science and related magazines, see Ye Yonglie, ‘SF Magazines in China’, Locus, #268 (May 1983), p. 13, and Ye Yonglie, ‘The Development of SF in China’, Foundation, #34 (Autumn 1985), pp. 57–68.

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in Tianjin, in northern China, with Zheng Wenguang as its editor-in-chief. Zheng had published his first work in 1954 and was generally regarded as the father of modern Chinese sf. He had helped boost the field’s revival with his 1979 novel Feixiang Renmazuo [Forward Sagittarius], where the crew of China’s first spaceship, which is way off course, harness the power of a black hole to return to Earth. His story ‘Diqiu de Jingxiang’ [The Mirror of the Earth], in the October 1980 Shanghai Wenxue [Shanghai Literature], was a commentary on the Cultural Revolution, with natives on an alien world fleeing from Chinese explorers because they had seen holographic images of China during that period. Zheng Wenguang’s main role was to encourage writers to contribute, and his presence gave Zhihui Shu some prestige. Its first issue led with a serial, ‘Fangwen Shizongzhe’ [Call on the Missing People] by Meng Weizai, which used as its starting point the 1976 Tiananmen Square incident, where several people went missing, to have humans abducted by aliens and taken to an Edenic planet. The fourth of the major sf magazines launched at this time was Kehuan Haiyang [Science Fiction Ocean] from the Ocean Publishing House in Beijing, edited by Sun Shaobo. It was presented in book rather than magazine format and appeared irregularly as a numbered series, rather like an anthology series, starting in April 1981, but it carried as much wordage as the three other magazines combined, with over 300 pages. It ran only science fiction, both original and translated, and proved to be the most popular of the sf magazines. Zheng Wenguang was present in the first issue with ‘Quidu Donghai’ [Swimming Across the East China Sea], where a swimmer is able to avoid disaster (from a plesiosaur!) because he has had a positronic computer implanted in his brain. Kehuan Haiyang ran several stories dealing with pollution. ‘Yaoyuan de Diedaluosi’ [A Distant Space City of Daedalus] (#2, 1981) by Chen Jianqiu is a five-act play in which politicians in a space city debate over whether humans should return to Earth to help clean it of pollution. In ‘Feixiang Xuwu’ [Flying Into the Void] (#3, 1981), Wu Yan has a historian explain why humanity had to leave the Earth because of pollution. Wu Yan was one of China’s brightest new talents. He had first appeared with ‘Adventure in an Iceberg’ (Shaonian Kexue, 1979), written when he was just 16, and went on to become a professor at Beijing Normal University where he now teaches science fiction. There were many literary magazines that ran one or two science-fiction stories, such as Renmin Wenxue [People’s Literature] and Xiaoshuojie [Fiction Circles]. Even the Workers’ Daily Newspaper, Gongren Ribao, serialized some sf. In 1979, Professor Philip Smith of the University of Pittsburgh

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established the first course in science fiction at the Foreign Languages Institute in Shanghai, which helped give sf a degree of respectability. In addition were several anthology series that ran primarily translated stories, notably the works of Isaac Asimov. The best known of these was Kexue Wenyi Yicong [Science Literature Translation Series], which began in November 1980 and appeared twice yearly. Also of interest, if only shortlived, was Kexue Huanxiang Zuopin Xuankan [SF World: Selected SF Works], which began in January 1982. This was another reprint anthology but selected the best of both new Chinese sf and translated sf, including older works. It holds the distinction of running the first Chinese translation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, which was serialized in the first two issues. The third issue, released in April 1982, began the translation of Asimov’s Foundation series. The publisher announced that the Foundation Trilogy, as it was then, would soon be published, but no further volumes appeared. There was also a trial science-fiction newspaper, Zhongguo Kehuan Xiaoshuo Bao [China SF Newspaper], published as a supplement to Kexue Zhoubao [Science Weekly] by the Harbin Science and Technology Association. Although only a slim paper of about 50,000 Chinese words, it ran stories and serials and claimed a circulation of 330,000 copies. It appeared once or twice a month and saw nine issues between 3 July and 26 December 1981, but did not obtain official approval as a separate publication. One of its stories prompted the early criticism that descended on science fiction. This was ‘Zishi Qiguo’ [Eat His Own Bitter Fruit]5 by Ye Yonglie which had appeared in Kehuan Xiaoshuo Bao for 19 November 1981. It tells of the cloned son of a millionaire who murders his ‘father’ for his inheritance. This was criticized as promoting selfishness and presenting scientific advance as antisocial, and may have been a factor in the newspaper’s demise. Ye Yonglie also became the victim of criticism with his story Shijie Zuigao Feng Shang De Qi Ji [Miracle on the Peak of the World’s Highest Mountain] (1979) where scientists manipulate a fossilized dinosaur egg so that a dinosaur is born. The basic premise was challenged by a palaeontologist as being unscientific. Scientists generally began to criticize science fiction as promoting false science, and a ‘Cleaning Spiritual Pollution’ movement gathered pace during 1982 and 1983. It was difficult for writers to cope with the criticism. Ye Yonglie wrote a positive story about how scientists discover a cure for Aids in the Xinjiang

5  Translated as ‘Reap as You Have Sown’ in Wu and Murphy (eds), Science Fiction From China.

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deserts, but it was suppressed by the censors who condemned Ye for suggesting that Aids was present in China. Part of the problem with Chinese sf was that the phrase ‘science fiction’, when translated into Chinese, read as ‘science fantasy’. China has a rich history of fantasy and myth which has nothing to do with the forwardlooking and optimistic outlook that science fiction was trying to convey, and as a consequence it was all too easy for the Chinese literati to dismiss ‘science fantasy’ as flights of fancy rather than serious literature.6 Secondly, until the 1960s and still prevalent into the 1980s, Chinese command of science and technology had been limited and, while some writers had a sound understanding of scientific progress many did not, and neither did their readership. When American writer William F. Wu visited China in 1983 he reported that Chinese sf was at a stage roughly equivalent to that of American sf in the late 1920s and was written primarily for children and adolescents.7 It was thus not seen as having any literary and scientific merit. This brought sf writers up against the Chinese authorities where strict censorship rules meant that all fiction had to promote the beneficial potential of Chinese culture and policies and be strictly educational in its description of technological endeavour. If anything could be shown to be either unscientific or pessimistic it received strict criticism. One example was ‘Wenrou zhi Xiang de Meng’ [Dream of a Soft Country]8 in Beijing Wenxue [Beijing Literature] (January 1981), and its sequel ‘Wo Jueding yu Jiqiren Qizi Lihun’ [I Decide to Divorce My Robot Wife] in Yanhe (May–June 1982),9 by Wei Yahua. A scientist takes an android as his wife, and though she serves him submissively this results in the accidental destruction of some of his research papers. In the sequel the android seeks to educate herself and becomes fascinated by feminism. The scientist is put under investigation and comes to realize the danger of excessive love. While the author defended his story as an exploration of the weakness of Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics, it was interpreted as an attack on China’s strict marriage laws and reflected poorly on how the Chinese authorities relate to the Chinese people. Rather than face the wrath of the authorities, publishers stopped their sf series. Kehuan Haiyang ceased after its sixth issue in March 1983; Kexue Wenyi

6  See Guo Jianzhong, ‘The Rise and Fall of Science Fiction in China’, Locus, #372 (January 1992), pp. 43–44. 7  See William F. Wu, ‘Producing the Model “A”’, Amazing, 58:3 (September 1984), p. 50. 8  Translated by Dingbo Wu as ‘Conjugal Happiness in the Arms of Morpheus’, Amazing, 58:3 (September 1984). 9  Yanhe [Yan River] was a literary magazine published by the Writers’ Association in Shanxi Province in northern China.

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Yicong stopped after seven volumes in October 1983; Kexue Shidai ceased as an sf magazine in December 1984 after 31 issues and changed to a familylife magazine. Zhihui Shu ceased in June 1986 after 33 numbered issues. Only Kexue Wenyi persevered despite a loss of government funding. In November 1984, before Zhihui Shu ceased publication, with the hope of improving standards, it joined forces with Kexue Wenyi to sponsor a contest for new stories. The winners would receive the Yinhe10 Award, with stories aimed at younger readers to be published in Zhihui Shu and those for a more mature readership in Kexue Wenyi. The closing date for the first entries was November 1985. The first set of winners was announced at a ceremony in Chengdu in May 1986 and included Wu Xiankui, Miao Shi, Kong Liang, Yang Zhipeng and Wei Yahua. When Zhihui Shu ceased soon after, Kexue Wenyi took over the awards and published the leading stories. When government funding was withdrawn, the editorial team of Kexue Wenyi decided to continue it as a self-financed magazine. The team voted Yang Xiao, daughter of the governor of Sichuan province, to be editor-inchief, and she was encouraged to undertake the role by Tong Enzheng. Yang became the main driving force behind not only developing Kexue Wenyi but in encouraging the growth and improvement of science fiction in China. It was thanks to her that Science Fiction World, as it became, survived the 1980s and helped build the science-fiction scene in China. She explained some of this in a speech she gave at the World SF meeting held in Chengdu in May 1991, which she had helped organize. After commenting that ‘it has been hard for SF World to survive, not to mention develop’, and talking about the Yinhe writing contest which had resulted in several memorable stories, many of which have been translated, she continued: In order to develop sf writers we opened the Science Literature Study Class in 1981 and held many village meetings soliciting members. Many writers were invited to Chengdu to correct manuscripts. We also went out to solicit contributions. An sf campus competition, Sichuan Children’s Cup, was jointly sponsored by the Sichuan Education Committee, Sichuan Children’s Publishing House and our SF World editorial office.11

In order to subsidize the magazine the newly independent company, now called SFW, also published books including non-genre titles. One of these, 365 Nights for Children, was so successful that it gave Kexue Wenyi a secure financial base. In 1991 SFW conducted a survey of its readers, sending out 10  This is usually translated as ‘Galaxy Award’, but has also been interpreted as the ‘Milky Way Award’. 11  Yang Xiao, ‘From SF World to World SF in China’, Locus, #372 (January 1992), p. 43.

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30,000 questionnaires. It revealed that the age of the readership ranged from 12 to 78 with the majority between 15 and 36. This age range shows that, as the 1980s had progressed, Kexue Wenyi had encouraged interest from older readers and this had in turn introduced more mature fiction. One such example was ‘Wubian de Jianlian’ (‘Boundless Nostalgia’, though translated as ‘Boundless Love’) by Jiang Yunsheng in the November 1987 issue, which explores the mental anguish between a widower and the clone of his late wife. ‘Chenxinghao Yanmo’ [The Annihilation of the Spaceship Morningstar] (Qitan, February 1990) by QinBai considered how humans might leave a future China which has become heavily polluted with an excessive population and an energy crisis. However, a problem over the amount of the spaceship’s fuel raises questions over whether the humans will be able to have children. Kexue Wenyi also sought to make contact with the wider science-fiction world. Four of the magazine’s editors visited Japan during August 1987 at the invitation of Japan’s Chinese SF Research Association. This inspired them sufficiently to bid for the annual meeting of World SF in China which came to fruition in 1991. By this time Kehuan Shijie, as it had now become, was reaching a wide audience and could claim a readership in excess of 300,000. In 1987 Yao Haijun, a forestry worker in Heilongjiang Province, decided to start his own amateur magazine, Xingyun [Nebula]. The first issue was a simple photocopied sheet, but it soon became a forum for discussion of science fiction among critics and writers and ran the occasional story. It was evidence of a revival of interest in science-fiction magazines, thanks primarily to the devoted efforts of Yang Xiao who saw Kexue Wenyi through the downside of the mid-1980s and allowed sf once again to flourish in the 1990s.

China, Republic of [Taiwan]12 Taiwan shares its ancient history of science fiction with mainland China and the genre did not start to develop a separate identity until 1968 when, unhindered by the mainland’s Cultural Revolution, three writers

12  My thanks to Feng Zhang and Jonathan Clements for the information on magazines, their issues and editors. For this section I have also drawn heavily on David Uher, ‘Trends in the Development of Science Fiction Literature in Taiwan’, Anthropologia Integra, 1:1, pp. 63–70, http://www.academia.edu/12082082/Trends_in_the_Development_of_Science_Fiction_ Literature_in_Taiwan; Danny J. Han-Chang Lin, ‘The Long and Winding Road to Science Fiction: A Brief Overview of SF Development in Taiwan’, Foundation, #94 (Summer 2005);

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in particular placed sf stories in literary magazines and newspapers. In September 1968, Zhang Xiaofeng’s ‘Panduna’ [Pandora], about the creation of a soulless artificial woman, appeared in Zhongguo Shibao [China Times]. In October 1968, Chun Wenxue [Pure Literature] ran ‘Chaoren Liezhuan’ [Biography of Superman] by Zhang Xiguo, while in December 1968 the daily paper Zhongua Ribao [China Daily] began a series by Huang Hai, ‘Hang Xiang Wuya de lucheng’ [A Boundless Voyage], describing various journeys through the universe. These stories prompted the first critical study of sf in Taiwan, ‘Renlei Gongchengxue—jian Tan Chaoren Liezhuan yu Panduna’ [Human Engineering: On the Biography of Superman and Pandora] by Yan Yuanshu in Daxue Zazhi [University Journal] in May 1969. The writings of these authors, especially Huang Hai and Zhang Xiguo, prompted the growth of sf publishing in Taiwan. Huang Hai also compiled the first anthology of Taiwanese sf, Xin Shiji zhi Lü [Travelling to a New Century] in 1972. It was Zhang Xiguo (or Chang Shi-Kuo as he is better known in Taiwan) who took the lead. In October 1969 he wrote an article on science fiction, ‘Beng Yue zhi Hou’ [After Running to the Moon] in Chun Wenxue (October 1969), which introduced the phrase for ‘science fiction’ into Taiwan. In 1977, writing as Xing Shi, he introduced a series of translated stories for the literary supplement of the newspaper Lianhe Bao [United Daily News]. The series, ‘Kehuan Xiaoshuo Jingxuan’ [Science Fiction Classics Collection], appeared subsequently in book form as Hai de Siwang [Death of the Sea] in 1978. Zhang Xiguo was born in mainland China in 1944 but was raised in Taiwan from 1949 and has lived in the United States since 1966 where, since 1986, he has been a professor and lecturer in computer science at the University of Pittsburgh. However, almost all his fiction has appeared first in Taiwan. Although originally a writer of realism he found that he could better express his thoughts and ideas by incorporating them into a science-fiction scenario. This includes the ten stories that made up his saga Xingyun Zugu [Nebulae Suite], exploring political and philosophical issues about the future of society, and which appeared in Lianhe Bao during 1978. Perhaps his best-known works are the three novels translated as The City Trilogy.13 The first, ‘Tong Xiang Cheng’ [City of a Bronze Statue] was published in the literary supplement to Zhongguo Shibao for 18 August 1980. It later served as the prologue to the book Wu Yu Die [Five Jade Disks], which was also serialized in Zhongguo Shibao, and led to two sequel novels. The opening story succeeded admirably in merging aspects and Zdeň ka Marecká, ‘Development of science-fiction literature in Taiwan’ (Bachelor’s thesis, University of Palacký, 2008), http://theses.cz/id/4cgloh/62020-248532963.doc. 13  Translated by John Balcom and published by Columbia University Press (New York, 2003).

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of Chinese mythology with futuristic views of planetary colonization and ideological societies. It was in November 1977 that the first magazine appeared which gave a focus to science fiction, Yuzhou Kexue (variously translated as ‘Cosmic Science’ or ‘Universal Science’). Published and edited by Lü Yingzhong, it featured articles on astronomy, extraterrestrial civilizations, UFOs and the paranormal, but science fiction was at its core. Its July 1978 issue ran the first symposium on science fiction. However, Lü could not sustain the magazine and it ceased after one year. Nevertheless he remained at the centre of science-fiction studies, releasing a guide to science fiction and how to write it with Kehuan Wenxue [Science Fiction Literature] in 1980. Lü planned to continue Kehuan Wenxue as a regular quarterly magazine, with Zhang Zhijie as editor, but it ceased after just one issue in April 1981 following Zhang’s illness. However, with Zhang Zhijie and Huang Hai, Lü compiled an important anthology of contemporary Chinese sf, Zhongguo Dangdai Kehuan Xuanji in 1981. Lü would later edit Taiwan’s best and, strictly, only pure sf magazine, Huanxiang [Mirage], though this was not launched until January 1990. Although the early 1980s was a prolific period for sf in Taiwan, most of it appeared in newspaper supplements, notably that of Lianhe Bao, which initiated a Literary Award in 1981 the first recipient of which, in the novelette category, was Huang Fan with ‘Ling’ [Zero],14 a deeply disturbing dystopia in the vein of 1984. Lianhe Bao also organized a science-fiction conference in May 1982. As in mainland China, sf also appeared in the many popular-science magazines of which Mingri Shijie [Tomorrow’s World], published in 1979 by Danjiang University following a course on futurology, was perhaps the most prominent. There were also the UFO-related magazines, of which Feidei Yu Kehuan [UFOs and Science Fiction] ran some science fiction, mostly by Huang Hai and Lü Yingzhong, in its four bi-monthly issues from July to December 1980. Its first issue was in tabloid format but the last three switched to book size. With the help of Zhongguo Shibao, Zhang Xiguo was able to initiate the China Times Science Fiction Contest in 1984 which ran for six years until 1989 and included contributions from mainland China. Although not as successful as China’s own Yinhe Award in promoting authors and the genre, it nevertheless published several new authors. Among them were Zhang Dachun (or Chang Ta-ch’un), who won in 1984, and Yeh Leehwa in

14  Translated and collected in Zero and Other Fictions (New York: Columbia University Press, 2011).

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1989, both of whom have established themselves in the sf and literary scene in Taiwan. Although Zhang Xigou’s Huanxiang belongs chiefly to the next decade, as it proved to be Taiwan’s only true sf magazine it is worth discussing here. It was in pocketbook-size format and survived for just eight issues of decreasing regularity from January 1990 to August 1993, with Lü Yingzhong taking on the editorial role from #2 to #6 and Chang Tza-Chieh editing the final two issues. Zhang’s hope was to establish a magazine that covered the whole spectrum of science fiction including films, comics and UFOlogy. He hoped to encourage new science fiction from Taiwanese writers but found it difficult to acquire sufficient for each issue. As a consequence, apart from his own contributions, Huanxiang increasingly relied on translations. It had special issues devoted to Isaac Asimov, Philip K. Dick and feminist sf. It was with much disappointment that Zhang ceased publication, and with its passing the focus for sf in Taiwan once again became diffused, and it returned to the literary supplements and popular science magazines to sustain the bedrock of publication.

Hong Kong15 Unlike mainland China and Taiwan, Hong Kong published only a minimum of indigenous science fiction. The industry was primarily interested in fantasy, especially sword-and-sorcery and its martial arts equivalent, ‘wuxia’. The leading author of these works was Ni Kuang who, though born in mainland China, was a long-time resident of Hong Kong. There was not an sf magazine scene in Hong Kong, and the only attempt at producing one, Kexue yu Kehuan Congkan [Science and Science Fiction], edited by Du Jian, lasted only four quarterly issues from Winter 1990 to Winter 1991. It was as much an anthology series as a magazine, in book-size format. Its main contributors were Du Jian, Eddy Lee Wai Choi, Pan Shaoqiang and Huang Jingheng, who later founded the Hong Kong Science Fiction Club.

Israel16 The 1980s was a transitional period for sf magazines in Israel with the decline of Fantasia 2000, which ceased in August 1984 after 44 issues. The

15  My thanks to Feng Zhang for the information in this section. 16  My thanks to Aharon Hauptman for his help with this section.

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magazine had started in December 1978 as an Israeli edition of F&SF, and stories from that magazine made up about 80% of the content throughout the magazine’s six years. For the first 16 issues it was edited by its publisher Eli Tene, but he could not sustain it thereafter and the magazine almost ceased in 1980. However, Aharon Hauptman, who had been one of the co-founders, took on the editorial duties, and the magazine passed to a new publisher, Hyperion, in Tel Aviv. Hauptman turned the magazine into a focus for Israeli sf fandom. Although there was no real organized fandom in Israel at that time, Fantasia 2000 was a forum for the devotees, partly through its letter column, and was the main driving force behind plans for the first sf convention to be held in Israel, in Jerusalem in June 1982, though this had to be cancelled because of the outbreak of war with Lebanon. Hauptman also encouraged submissions by Israeli writers resulting in a few memorable stories. These include ‘An Elephant is About to Run Over’ (#3, 1979) by Yigal Tzemach, voted in 1982 as the best story the magazine had yet published. ‘War of the Sexes’ (#15 and #20, 1980/81) by Hillel Damron was later expanded into a novel and looks at how after a nuclear holocaust an attempt to reseed the human race leads to a gender imbalance that results in renewed conflict. In ‘Ituy Meduyak’ [Precise Timing] (#29, May 1982) by Shmuel Vaknin, time travel and revenge come together at Roswell in 1947. Later stories include the tongue-in-cheek ‘The Stern-Gerlach Mice’ (#40, 1984) by Mordechai Sasson, where laboratory experiments create a breed of seemingly immortal and all-too-belligerent mice. It also introduced the idea of robot beggars which had quite an impact on the young Lavie Tidhar.17 Alas, despite sales of around 5,000–6,000 copies at the start, the economic climate in the early 1980s was not enough to sustain the magazine. Hauptman had a disagreement with the publisher and resigned after #31 (November 1982), and thereafter the magazine lost its focus. He was succeeded by Gabi Peleg who was later assisted by Dr Emanuel Lottem who provided many translations. Some of these later issues included fantasy such as ‘Yadid Amok’ [A Deep Friend] (#41, April 1984), a deal-with-thedevil story by Amir Gutfreund. With its passing, magazine sf in Israeli floundered for over a decade and, although it recovered, the six years of Fantasia 2000 is now regarded as something of a Golden Age.

17  Lavie Tidhar, interview (2010), SFmag, http://sfmag.hu/2010/10/13/interview-withlavie-tidhar/.

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Japan18 Unlike China, Japan embraced Western-based science fiction in the years after the Second World War and increasingly so during the 1950s. Japan’s leading science-fiction magazine, SF Magazine or SFM, but also called Hayakawa’s SF Magazine to acknowledge its publisher, was released in December 1959, its first issue dated February 1960. It has appeared monthly ever since and, with its occasional extra ‘special’ numbers, is now second only to Analog in the total issues published, overtaking F&SF at the end of 2015. Ironically, SF Magazine began as a Japanese edition of F&SF, though it also drew on other American sources. At the start it had only a few original Japanese contributions, but Hoshi Shinichi and Mitsuse Ryû soon became prominent as the decade progressed, their work modelled to some degree on the culture of American sf. SF Magazine has remained the premier magazine of sf in Japan, despite many competitors. By the 1980s, it had helped create a sizeable new generation of writers who were developing and experimenting with the images of Western science fiction, sometimes incorporating them with Japanese motifs. For example, Yamada Masaki’s debut award-winning story ‘Kamigari’, in the July 1974 issue, considered how the gods of mythology might be the original ‘Secret Masters’ of the planet. Takachiho Haruka mercilessly spoofed the whole concept of pulp space opera in his humorous ‘Dirty Pair’ series that began with ‘Dirty Pair no Daibō ken’ [Dirty Pair’s Great Adventure] in the February 1979 issue and later became a hit as an anime series. SF Magazine’s contributors have dominated the major Japanese Seiun Award since it was inaugurated in 1970. In the 1980s it was almost a clean sweep. The award for best novel in 1980 went to Yamada Masaki’s Hoseki Dorobo [Jewel Thief], a visionary Jack Vance-style far-future extravaganza relating a struggle against aliens that have destroyed the Moon (the ‘jewel’ of the title). It had first appeared in SF Magazine over 16 episodes (not all consecutive) between December 1977 and August 1979. Kanbayashi Chō hei was another of the magazine’s discoveries—his first story, ‘Kitsune to Odore’ [Dance with a Fox] winning a story competition and appearing in the September 1979 issue. Soon thereafter, with ‘Sentō ga Mau’ [The Sylph Dances] (November 1979), Kanbayashi began his Yukikaze series where humankind and, more especially, sentient aircraft, are fighting aliens who have invaded the Earth via a gateway at the South Pole. A later story in the series, ‘Super Phoenix’ (June 1983), won the Seiun Award, one of five that Kanbayashi would win in the 1980s alone. He and Yumemakura Baku

18  My thanks to Jonathan Clements for his help with this section.

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were among the most prolific contributors to SF Magazine during the 1980s, where it was rare for an issue not to include at least one of their stories. Yumemakura’s work is known for its violence, eroticism and frequent religio-mystical imagery. He brought much of this together in a Buddhist space odyssey which ran for three separate series in SF Magazine between February 1986 and June 1989 and was collected as Jyogen no Tsuki wo Taberu Shishi [The Beru Lion Eating the Crescent Moon], the first book to win both the Seiun and Taishō Awards, in 1990. Despite the popularity of SF Magazine, there had been a degree of reaction in Japan to its frequent use of US authors and derivative sf. During the 1960s, Japan had embraced the British New Wave and, with Japan’s own technological and economic advance, its indigenous science fiction began to develop. Tatsumi Takayuki recalled that when he first started reading sf in the late 1960s, mostly in the pages of SF Magazine, ‘the Japanese sf community took New Wave so much to heart that writers such as Kôicho Yamano and Yoshio Aramaki began to experiment seriously with Japanese speculative fiction, leading to a heated controversy around 1970 over the literary significance of science fiction.’19 Yamano Kôichi led a scathing attack upon derivative Japanese sf, arguing that ‘Japanese sf ought to get out of prefabricated houses, and say goodbye to US sf’.20 His views led Yamano to begin his own magazine, NW-SF, in July 1970 to publish a more radical form of sf, and though it drew upon British influences, notably J. G. Ballard, who had a presence in almost all of its issues. This occasional magazine (planned as a quarterly but usually one or two issues per year) published a welcome amount of original Japanese fiction and essays, but ceased after 18 issues in 1982. Two other magazines folded in the early 1980s, SF Hoseki and Kisô tengai. One might have expected SF Hoseki [SF Jewel] to be highly successful as the Japanese edition of Asimov’s. Published bi-monthly by Kobun-sha, it began in August 1979. Although over half its contents were from the US magazine, always with an opening essay or editorial by Asimov, it ran the occasional Japanese story, including the first sale by Suga Hiroe, ‘Blue Flight’ (April 1981), but most new material was essays or interviews, often by Shibano Takumi, the dean of Japanese fandom. SF Hoseki even broadened its coverage to include some Chinese science fiction in its twelfth and what proved to be final issue, June 1981. From the start it appears it was underfinanced, as the publisher sought to produce a lavish periodical comparable

19  Takayuki Tatsumi, Full Metal Apache (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2006), p. 86. 20  Yamano Kôichi, ‘Japanese SF: Its Originality and Orientation’ (1969), trans. Kazuko Behrens, Science Fiction Studies, #62 (March 1994), p. 74.

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to SF Magazine. Its editors, who knew little about science fiction, sought advice from fandom which rather endeared the magazine to fans but not to general readers, so its circulation was never high. Kisô tengai (literally ‘Bizarre’ but usually translated as ‘Fantastic’) also struggled financially, surviving mostly due to the determination of editor Sone Tadashi. It had four separate incarnations, appearing first as a combined sf and mystery magazine for just ten issues from January to October 1974, its contents almost entirely translated from US or European sources. With a new publisher it reappeared in November 1976 for its most successful period, running to October 1981. Now only a fraction of its content was translated material, the emphasis being on local work. It did much to help new Japanese writers: it was in Kisô tengai that Yumemakura Baku made his first professional appearance with a reprint of his experimental story ‘Kaeru no Shi’ [The Death of Frogs] (August 1977) from Tsutsui Yasutaka’s satirical fan magazine Neo-Null. Another discovery was Arai Motoko, who debuted with ‘Atashi no Naka no …’ [Inside of Me] (February 1978), a novella of spirit possession. Though only 17 at the time, Arai proved a precocious talent and soon became the darling of the sf establishment. Kisô tengai published her first novel ‘Grîn rekuiemu’ [Green Requiem] (September 1980), a tragic tale of love between a human and alien. Kisô tengai often encouraged women contributors, and its March 1977 issue was devoted to female sf writers, including Fujimoto Izumi, Koizumi Kimiko and Suzuki Izumi, while the April 1980 issue featured the work of Yamao Yuhko. In addition to its monthly issues it produced 15 special issues called Bessatsu Kisô-Tengai,21 though these were frequently full of translations or manga adaptations. Unfortunately, despite its talented contributors and important contents Kisô tengai always struggled to survive. Sone Tadashi tried again with a new publisher, Tairiku-shobo, relaunching it as Shō setsu Kisô tengai [Kiso-Tengai Fictions] in December 1987. It saw 12 issues up to June 1990 and seven more as Neo Fantasy (December 1990–June 1992) before the publisher went bankrupt and Tadashi gave up the fight. These final two incarnations carried solely Japanese fiction and no translations. Among its discoveries was Matsuo Yumi with ‘Camera Eye’ (April 1988), who became one of the leading campaigners for women’s sf. One factor which may have contributed to Kisô tengai’s demise was the rise in popularity of SF Adventure which was soon outselling even SF Magazine. It was published by Tokuma-Shoten and edited by Sugawara Yoshio. Much of its content was by leading Japanese authors, giving the magazine an

21  Bessatsu means ‘extra’ or ‘supplement’.

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instant status. The first issue, Spring 1979, featured material by Komatsu Sakyo, Tsutsui Yasutaka and Yamada Masaki. SF Adventure soon switched from quarterly to bi-monthly and, from June 1980, to monthly. It attracted many of the same contributors to SF Magazine such as Ishihara Fujio, with several later stories in his Light Century series, Kanbayashi Chō hei and Hori Akira, all highly popular writers of the period. The magazine’s publisher, in conjunction with the Science Fiction Writers of Japan, established a new award, Nihon SF Taishō [Japan SF Grand Prize], similar to the American Nebula Award in its selection process, which was for the best contribution to the genre that year, whether a novel, film, manga or story collection. The winner in the first year, 1980, was Hori Akira for his story collection, Taiyō -fu Houten [Solar Wind Intersection]. Most of the stories had appeared in SF Magazine, including the title story (March 1977), but soon SF Adventure would have its share of winners. In 1982 Yamada Masaki won for his novel, Saigo no Teki [The Last Enemy], which had been serialized in SF Adventure, February–July 1981. Kanbe Musashi won in 1986 for Warai Uchû no Tabi Geinin [Showman in the Universe of Laughter], several stories of which had been running in the magazine since 1982. SF Adventure also featured many stories by award-winner Yumemakura Baku, including his manga serial ‘Rasen Ou’ [Spiral King], illustrated by Amano Yoshitaka, which ran for 24 episodes from January 1988 to December 1989. SF Adventure claimed a readership of up to 100,000, though its print run was seldom more than 50,000 suggesting actual sales of 30,000–40,000. Similar figures had been claimed by SF Magazine in the 1970s. Both magazines were clearly popular, SF Adventure because it provided wholly Japanese material flavoured more with the essence of local culture, and SF Magazine because it encouraged new writers and was prepared to explore new territory. One other magazine that perhaps also reflected the Japanese zeitgeist was Omni. In the same way that Japan welcomed the New Wave it became ecstatic over cyberpunk because this reflected the urban environment that Japan had developed for itself. It created a rapport for cyberpunk within Japan by portraying society in a sufficiently imminent urban future as to be instantly recognized and understood in Japan. Grania Davis observed, ‘gradually Americans realized that the Japanese are already living in a version of the future—with its overcrowding, microelectronic gadgets, polluted environment, and efficient group-minds. The

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problems—and solutions—of the future are happening in Japan right now.’22 John G. Cramer remarked, ‘Japan has achieved a quasi-mythological status in the USA as the one country that is doing things correctly in the development of new industry, in science and education, and in planning for the future.’23 Recognizing this, William Gibson stated that Japan is ‘the most inherently futuristic of all nations’.24 In this context, Omni was ideally suited to Japan’s urban culture. The US edition had already run several features by Japanese artists such as Nagai Kazumasa, Naito Sadao and Sadamatsu Yoshihisa. It had reprinted two stories from Japan—‘Standing Woman’ (February 1981; originally 1974) by Tsutsui Yasutaka and ‘Triceratops’ (August 1982; originally 1974) by Kono Tensai—and had alerted readers to the technological progress in Japan with such articles as ‘Robots of Japan’ (January 1982) by R. Bruce McColm. The first Japanese edition of Omni went on sale on 5 April 1982, dated May. It ran most of its stories from the parent edition, but included some new articles, features and artwork. As a consequence cyberpunk came with it. William Gibson’s ‘Burning Chrome’ from the original July 1982 issue was translated for the December 1984 Japanese issue. Because of the late debut of the Japanese Omni, there wasn’t time for it to translate all of Gibson’s earlier stories from the US edition before the Japanese edition of Neuromancer appeared in July 1985. As a consequence cyberpunk exploded across the publishing scene in Japan and SF Magazine, edited throughout the 1980s by Imaoka Kiyoshi, took full advantage of this. It had already translated the early Shaper stories by Bruce Sterling from F&SF, ‘Swarm’ in its April 1983 issue and ‘Spider Rose’ in October 1983, but the full materialization of cyberpunk came in 1986. For the January 1986 issue Tatsumi Takayuki contributed an article about the panel discussion on cyberpunk at the 1985 North American SF Convention. Two issues later, Kobayashi Yoshio provided an overview of the key cyberpunk authors. Tatsumi also conducted interviews with Bruce Sterling and William Gibson for the July and October 1986 issues respectively.25 Finally, November 1986 saw a special cyberpunk issue with Rudy Rucker’s essay, ‘What is

22  Grania Davis, ‘Foreword’, in John Apostolou and Martin H. Greenberg (eds), The Best Japanese Science Fiction Stories (New York: Dembner Books, 1989), pp. 11–12. 23  John G. Cramer, ‘Science and SF in Japan’, Analog, 113:5 (April 1993), p. 108. 24  William Gibson, ‘The Future Perfect: How did Japan become the favored default setting for so many cyberpunk writers?’, Time, 157:17 (30 April 2001). 25  These later appeared in abridged form in Science Fiction Eye, 1:1 (Winter 1987).

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Cyberpunk?’, and translations of William Gibson’s ‘Johnny Mnemonic’ and Pat Cadigan’s ‘Pretty Boy Crossover’. Cyberpunk seemed to dominate Japan’s cultural media. Tatsumi Takayuki recalled, ‘During 1987, cyberpunk attracted attention in numerous magazines and journals outside the sf field, just as it did in the States, culminating in a feature section in one of the major lit-crit journals Eureka.’26 SF Magazine even welcomed previously unpublished stories by American writers. John Shirley’s ‘Wolves of the Plateau’ appeared in the July 1988 ‘What is Cyberpunk?’ issue before it appeared in the cyberpunk issue of Mississippi Review later in 1988. Bruce Sterling’s ‘Flowers of Edo’, the cover story for the May 1987 issue of Asimov’s, appeared several months after it had been the cover story for the October 1986 SF Magazine. Yet what was being classified as cyberpunk by Japanese writers was not quite the same as the American import. Although both Ō hara Mariko and Masaki Goro were recognized for their early contributions to cyberpunk, neither claimed to be influenced by the movement. Initially a writer of Star Trek fan fiction, Ō hara Mariko acknowledged the influence of A. E. van Vogt and Cordwainer Smith, though her early story, translated as ‘The Whale That Sang on the Milky Way Network’ (SF Magazine, August 1982) is Bradburyesque in its portrayal of two unlikely carnival performers on a remote colonial world. She had been selling stories to SF Magazine since 1980, including the apocalyptic ‘Girl’ (June 1985), concerning sex, love, cyber-engineering and body manipulation. ‘Mentaru Fiimeeru’ [Mental Female] in the extra December 1985 issue was regarded as cyberpunk. Here television manifestations of a Japanese and Russian computer fall in love and playfully fire missiles at each other. Her stories are more about gender issues and identity than the technoglitz of cyberpunk. The same applies to the work of Masaki Goro. His contest-winning debut novella, ‘Jagan’ [Evil Eyes] (December 1987), which was instantly hailed as a cyberpunk classic, has more in common with the works of James Tiptree, Jr than William Gibson. In ‘Jagan’ the head of a mind-control software company has developed a way that, through empathic breeding and psycho-manipulation, could brainwash humanity. However, the core of the story, as with Ō hara’s, is about individual identity and gender masking. Masaki claimed that he had deliberately tried to write something that was not like Gibson: I had been playing with the main idea since 1979 or so. I once tried to write it down but failed. I was too busy then. And I completed the story during the summer and fall of 1986 … I thought it would be regarded as 26  Tatsumi Takayuki, ‘Graffiti’s Rainbow’, Science Fiction Eye, 1:4 (August 1988), p. 46.

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a Tiptree-like story, but when it appeared, people immediately said it was a kind of cyberpunk.27

There is a case to be made that Tiptree’s work was more influential on the emergence of Japanese cyberpunk than that of William Gibson. James Tiptree, Jr was one of the most popular writers in Japan. In 1988, SF Magazine conducted a reader survey for the ‘All-Time Best’ science fiction in various categories, and the results were published in the February 1989 issue. In the ‘All-Time Best Author’ category, Tiptree placed fifth behind Heinlein, Clarke, Asimov and Philip K. Dick; Gibson was tenth. In the novelette and short-story category, most relevant to the magazines, the winner was James Tiptree, Jr. In fact she had three out of the first four stories, interrupted only by Tom Godwin’s ‘The Cold Equations’ in second place. Gibson’s ‘Burning Chrome’ was joint seventh. The appreciation of Tiptree’s work has remained. In 2006 the survey was repeated and her 1989 winning story, ‘The Only Neat Thing to Do’, still ranked fourth, and her fourth-placed story in 1989, ‘The Girl Who Was Plugged In’, still ranked seventh.28 It may be seen that through Tiptree, Ballard, Philip K. Dick and Cordwainer Smith, Japan’s writers were inspired to explore the human dimension within an increasingly complex and uncertain technological world. Japanese sf thus worked towards its equivalent of cyberpunk in the same way that American writers had but, in reality, both cultures developed cyberpunk independently. In America it dwelt on the cyber- and technobabble while in Japan it focused on the human, social and psychological reactions. Consequently, in Japan cyberpunk became a reflection of the reality of Japan’s culture, and its life as a commercial commodity was short. As Shibano Takumi reflected, ‘Several years ago “cyberpunk” looked coming into fashion, but it was just a shout by media people with little effect.’29 Between them SF Magazine and SF Adventure dominated the sf magazine scene in Japan during the 1980s, complemented to some degree by Kisô tengai. All three provided a major market for both new and seasoned Japanese writers and allowed sufficient capacity for those writers to explore new avenues arising from Western-based sf and develop a stronger indigenous form of sf, imbued with all the colour and majesty of Japanese mythology and legend.

27  Goro Masaki, interview by Sinda Gregory and Larry McCaffery in ‘Not Just a Gibson Clone’, Review of Contemporary Fiction, 22 (July 2002), p. 78. 28  ‘The Only Neat Thing to Do’ had first appeared in F&SF, 69:4 (October 1985), and was translated for SF Magazine, January 1987. ‘The Girl Who Was Plugged In’, from New Dimension 3 (1973), was translated for SF Magazine, October 1975. 29  Shibano Takumi, letter, 12 June 1995.

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In hindsight the 1980s was Japan’s magazine Golden Age, because by the end of the decade and the early 1990s most of these magazines had folded. The Japanese edition of Omni ceased in April 1989. Kisô tengai breathed its last in June 1990 and its successor, Neo Fantasy, in June 1992. Surprisingly, SF Adventure came to an end in July 1993 after 153 issues. Despite its peak sales in the 1980s, these had dropped dramatically at the start of the 1990s with the rivalry encountered with increased interest in manga and anime, and writers turning more to novels and film and TV work. Japanese sf was becoming multimedia, much as was happening in the USA, though with a faster burn. There had been a few other new magazines, but of minor interest or relevance. SF-Ism had started in May 1981 as an ‘SF Pop Culture’ magazine, targeting a younger readership. Edited by Hosokawa Eiichi, it came from a small-press publisher, Shapio, and ran mostly cartoons and interviews. It appeared twice a year at the start and then quarterly from early 1983, but made little impact. It ceased after 16 issues in December 1985, though put out one further special issue in March 1987. SF No Hon [The Book of SF] was of more interest to dedicated fans and it published mostly articles, reviews and convention reports with some fiction, mostly translations. It was produced by an editorial collective and published by the small-press firm of Shinjidai-sha, and saw just nine occasional issues between December 1982 and June 1986. Of slightly more interest was SF World, a quarterly supplement to the crime and mystery magazine Shôsetsu Suiri [Mystery Fiction], published by Futaba-sha. It was edited by Katahara Kiyoshi and ran from August 1983 to January 1985. Each issue had an author focus, with an interview and a story or two. Authors celebrated in this way included Arai Motoko (August 1983), Ō hara Mariko (January 1984), Yumemakura Baku (July 1984) and Hori Akira (October 1984). Shishioh [Lion King] began in July 1985 as a quarterly from Asahi Sonorama, and was edited by Ishii Susumu. It concentrated on fantasy, mostly sword-and-sorcery and martial arts, and was aimed at the younger reader. It was beautifully illustrated with much artwork by Amano Yoshitaka and became very popular, shifting to a monthly schedule from September 1986. It was a natural venue for Yumemakura Baku and ran several stories in his Chiméra series. It also ran several of the Kaikajū Vibe monster stories by Yamada Masaki. However, the magazine’s contents increasingly lent themselves to manga interpretation and Shishioh gradually shifted its emphasis. It eventually ceased in May 1992 after 74 issues, though was briefly revived as a quarterly magazine, Griffon (November 1992–May 1994).

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By the 1990s manga was far outselling the more formal literary sf magazines, which were also facing competition from the growth in wargame magazines. Japan’s economic downturn in the 1990s also contributed to the waning of the more traditional sf magazine. Some measure of the public’s change in attitude may be seen by the success of the magazine Yasei Jidai [Wild Age], which explored the whole range of popular culture. This had started in 1974 and still appears today. It occasionally runs science fiction which, during the 1980s, included Yamada Masaki’s apocalyptic alternate history novella ‘Kau no Nai Kamigami’ [Gods Without Faces] (December 1984–January 1985), but that is usually a minor element against the magazine’s coverage of music, fashion and other popular media. It mirrors the general attitude by the public that science fiction, particularly its imagery, has become part of the general culture and is seen increasingly less as a discrete magazine genre.

Mongolia30 In Mongolia, as in countries of the Soviet bloc, sf was published in magazines aimed at promoting science and technology among the youth and young adults. The production of home-grown sf was extremely limited and translations were also quite rare, but Mongolian readers had a chance to read sf more regularly thanks to a periodical sf anthology Mаpгашийн Mэнд (Margashiin Mend, ‘Welcome to Tomorrow’) which started in 1976 and ran until volume 7 (1990). Published in pocketbook format, with occasional black-and-white illustrations, it was edited by the most prolific Mongolian sf writer, Dzh. Gal, and ran only original stories by Mongolian writers accompanied by occasional non-fiction.

Taiwan see China, Republic of

30  Entry provided by Jaroslav Olša, jr.

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WESTERN EUROPE Denmark Although Denmark has long claimed that its small population, which barely changed above 5.1 million throughout the 1980s, was insufficient to sustain a professional science-fiction magazine, it has nevertheless published several that hover between being amateur and semi-professional including one of the longest-surviving Scandinavian magazines, Proxima. It can also claim a number of native science-fiction writers, some of whom have achieved a moderate reputation beyond Denmark’s shores. As covered in Gateways to Forever, Denmark had a few magazines prior to 1980 but the only survivor into the 1980s was Proxima. It had been started in October 1974 by Denmark’s leading sf organization, Science Fiction Cirklen, with Carsten Schiøler as editor for the first ten issues followed by Niel Dalgaard, who saw the magazine through the next 60 issues, from March 1977 to 2001. Dalgaard insisted that Proxima was not a sciencefiction magazine, ‘but a critical journal/sercon fanzine’31 which usually ran one or two stories per issue. Dalgaard also assembled two anthologies for his fan press Tohubohu Press, the first, Gemini 1 (1979) with Ellen Pedersen, the second Solaris (1980). These had print runs of 200 for the first and 250 for the second, and were intended as the start of a series of volumes to encourage local writers. Rather than pursue this, though, Dalgaard persuaded fans in Science Fiction Cirklen to publish its own all-story magazine, Nye Verdener [New Worlds] as a group project, with the editorship rotating. Among the editors in the first series were Jens Carstensen and Klaus Johansen. It was bound as a booklet, running to 48 pages or so, but the print size was small and compressed meaning that it crammed much wordage into the small space and still left room for artwork. It began in late Summer 1981 with a quarterly schedule, seeing ten issues before it ceased in November 1983. It sold by subscription only and over time this meant that the income just covered the small cost of production. What caused the magazine to fold was the problem in obtaining translation rights to the stories, as it proved difficult to negotiate with literary agents for such a small market. The magazine relied on UK and US translations, with work by Alfred Bester, Philip José Farmer, George R. R. Martin, Larry Niven, Robert Sheckley, Robert Silverberg, Clifford Simak, Jack Vance and Gene Wolfe. There were stories from elsewhere in Europe, leaving little room for local fiction, and it 31  Niels Dalgaard, email (undated).

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was not until its second incarnation in the 1990s that Danish writers had a more visible presence. Even before Nye Verdener ceased, a new magazine appeared, Forum Fabulatorum, produced by a specialist shop in Copenhagen, Fantask, which dealt with sf books, comics and role-playing games (RPG). The proprietor and editor was Martin R. Sørensen, who was not part of Danish active fandom but was better known as a film buff and RPG creator. It appeared with an advance issue #0 in September 1982. Although only a small magazine with a circulation little more than 250, it did pay for contributions, though only 150 krone (£15) per story. It also relied heavily on translations with a mix of horror and fantasy alongside the sf—it ran several of Michael Moorcock’s Elric stories, for example. Original Danish fiction made up perhaps a quarter of each issue. Sørensen usually compiled three issues a year and kept Forum Fabulatorum going for 19 issues (#0–18), with the last in Autumn 1988. After deciding to stop Nye Verdener, Science Fiction Cirklen began a new magazine, Novum, as a companion to Proxima, starting from October 1985. Proxima usually had more material in hand than it could publish, so it was decided to focus Proxima on the scholarly critical articles and reviews, as well as running one story per issue, and use Novum for the more fannish material. Novum also ran a story per issue and generally focused on Danish material. Both Proxima and Novum continue to appear, the former twice yearly and the latter quarterly, and between them remain the main market for both local and translated sf in Denmark.

Finland32 During the 1980s the population of Finland remained just under five million, less than Denmark’s, and yet by comparison Finland produced several significant and long-running science-fiction magazines. None of them has the status of professional, and they do not pay their contributors, but they are nevertheless professional in content, purpose and, over time, appearance. The magazines grew out of Finnish fandom. The students at Turku University held a convention in 1969 but it was not until 1976 that the Turku SF Society was founded. As with all such clubs, it issued a magazine, Spin, in May 1977 under the editorship of Markku Haapio. He had access

32  My thanks to Vesa Susatto, Juri Nummelin, John-Henri Holmberg, Ben Roimola, Jari Koponen and Toni Jerrman for their help with this section.

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to professional printing machinery so it was printed to a high quality from the start. It began as a simple news and review magazine, published irregularly, with articles on Finnish sf and other works around the world. Following some reorganization within the society, the magazine returned on a quarterly schedule at the end of 1980, now changed to the B5 format, and under a new editorial board headed by Kari Mäentaka. It ran its first fiction with its twelfth issue in autumn 1981. This included ‘Tulevaisuuden työpaikka’ [Workplace of the Future], an early story by Eija Elo, who became a regular contributor and soon established her reputation as an original writer. The magazine continued on a quarterly basis throughout the 1980s with a succession of club editors, each issue running two or more short stories. Looking back, later editor Ben Roimola told me: Most of everyone who became anyone in Finnish fandom was a contributor to Spin. Raimo Nikkonen, who went on to start Portti, wrote sf news. Toni Jerrman, who became the editor-in-chief of Tähtivaeltaja wrote short stories and comics. Jukka Murtosaari, who became a famous illustrator, provided artwork and covers. Leena Peltonen, who became a highly regarded reviewer, translator and writer of articles, started her sf career in Spin. Johanna Sinisalo, who went on to become the writer with most Atorox awards to date and a highly regarded author, was published in Spin in those early years. Antti Oikarinen, Veikko Rekunen, Anetta Meriranta, Pekka Manninen, Juhani Hinkkanen—the list could be made very long.33

The existence of Turku and Spin were a catalyst as several other clubs and organizations appeared soon after, along with their magazines. In December 1979, Seppo Lehtinen, Matti Rosvall and Raimo Nikkonen founded the Tampere SF Society. In October 1980, the URSA Astronomical Society in Helsinki formed a science-fiction club under the guidance of Jari Koponen. Earlier that year, Koponen had started a regular column on science fiction in the society’s membership journal Tähdet ja avaruus [Stars and Space].34 Koponen also established a science-fiction imprint under the auspices of the society to publish novels or collections of significance, beginning in 1980 with Robert A. Heinlein’s Double Star (as Panoksena tulevaisuus [The Future at Stake]). In March 1981, Koponen met with the Turku and Tampere SF societies to discuss the possibility of starting a nationwide sf magazine, but they concluded they did not have the resources. So Koponen turned to URSA to see if they might finance it. He organized an editorial board with Jyrki Ijäs, Olavi Markkanen and Tom Ölander, and in October 1981 released the first 33  Ben Roimola, email, 7 January 2015. 34  This had started in 1971 as Tähtiaika [Star Time] and was renamed in 1976.

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issue of Aikakone [Time Machine]. Its initial printing of 500 copies sold out as did a further run of 300 copies. In the end over 1,000 copies were printed and sold. Meanwhile the Tampere SF Society continued with its own plans and in January 1982 started Portti [Gateway] under Nikkonen’s editorship. A few weeks later Tuomas Kilpi began his own rather renegade fanzine, Time and Space, assisted by Ari Ahola and Hannu Lindburg. Although superficially at the start these four magazines looked similar— they were all B5-size booklets, with relatively crude black-and-white covers and half-filled with news, reviews and articles of interest to the local clubs— there were also differences which became increasingly apparent over time. Spin effectively remained a club magazine and, despite running some interesting fiction, concentrated on news and reviews, even reshaping itself by 1992 into an A4-size newsletter. It ran some translated material but its content was almost wholly from Finland. Since Aikakone was under the auspices of the URSA Astronomical Society, its emphasis was on science-related features and discussing whether the science in sf was realistic. It also ran only science fiction, no horror or fantasy. It sought a broader coverage than material for fandom, and was keen to explore sf in other countries. Like Spin, though, its content was predominantly Finnish. It was also highly illustrated, notably the work of Jukka Murtosaari. Portti was close to Spin in its content of news about fandom and awards, but it gave a greater focus to US fiction, initially Roger Zelazny, Philip K. Dick and, perhaps surprisingly, R. A. Lafferty, and also recognition to other aspects of sf, such as role-playing games. However, it also began to publish a significant quota of Finnish fiction of especially high quality, and within a few years Portti was establishing itself as the field leader. Time and Space was the renegade of the group. It covered a broader range of material, with the emphasis on the New Wave, but also horror fiction, music and comics, all accompanied by graphic artwork—in fact it sometimes seemed more a punk magazine than an sf one. It focused less on fan issues. Kilpi sustained the magazine for six issues with the help of his two colleagues, but then moved to Helsinki. The seventh issue (Fall 1983) was co-edited with Toni Jerrman and was in English. Dubbed the ‘Universal Mind’, it provided an overview of Finnish sf. With the eighth issue (Winter 1983) Jerrman became sole editor with the magazine now published by the newly formed Helsinki SF Society. With its ninth issue, at the start of 1984, the magazine was renamed Tähtivaeltaja (‘Star Rover’, after Jack London’s novel) and, with Jerrman firmly at the helm, it developed its eccentricities and comic-book image, publishing some of the more extreme material. Toni

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Jerrman told me, ‘We wanted to show that SF has literary and artistic merit, that SF talks about real issues, is innovative, inspirational, intellectual and challenging. For us SF was the genre that would change the world for better—make everybody see the world in a new way.’35 Tähtivaeltaja also wanted to promote the new generation of writers rather than the old guard, and make readers aware of the cutting edge of fiction from the USA and UK. These four magazines provided a firm basis for Finnish sf writers to develop and for their talents to be recognized. In May 1983 the Turku SF Society inaugurated a science-fiction prize, later called the Atorox Prize, taking its name from the robot in a series written by Aarne Haapakoski in the late 1940s. The award was for the best story by a Finnish writer published in the previous year. Stories were nominated by fans with a final adjudication by a panel from both Turku and Tampere clubs. The first winner was Antti Oikarinen with ‘Jumalten vuori’ [Mountain of the Gods], which had appeared in Portti (4/82).36 The story tells of the profound religious implications of a discovery made on a remote planet. An interesting aspect of the story is that the explorers are Scandinavian, among the only survivors of a major European war. The second winner was Eija Elo with her time-travel story, ‘Napoleonin vaihtoviikot’ [The Alternative Napoleons], also from Portti (3/83). The next two winners were from Aikakone: ‘Perinne’ [Tradition] (3/84) by Pekka Virtanen, a challenging portrayal of the inhibition of religious belief within a closed system, and ‘Suklaalaput’ [Chocolate Tickets] (2/85) by Johanna Sinisalo, another story of a closed system, this time on a generation starship where society becomes corrupted by the market economy that emerges. Sinisalo won another six Atorox Awards, more than any other writer, and she has established herself as one of Finland’s most important sf writers, emerging directly from the magazines. In 2000, she won the country’s most prestigious literary award, the Finlandia Prize, for her novel Ennen päivänlaskua ei voi [Not Before Sundown]. Another early winner who would become a distinctive writer was Kimmo Saneri. His ‘Ollin oppivuodet Aapelin alkuasetelmat’ was one of the few Atorox winners to appear in Tähtivaeltaja (issue 1/86). The title does not lend itself to translation but describes a story which muses on the possible cosmic influence on literary inspiration. Saneri was at first better known as a poet and his stories reflect that lyrical and often enigmatic quality,

35  Toni Jerrman, email, 19 November 2014. 36  Finnish magazines bear a cover number rather than a full date, so ‘4/82’ means the fourth issue in 1982.

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not unlike the work of R. A. Lafferty—Jeff VanderMeer called him a ‘true original’.37 Alas Saneri has written little since the 1990s. In its first ten years the Atorox Prize went to four stories from Aikakone, three from Portti, one from Tähtivaeltaja and one each from an anthology and a story collection. The anthology was Atoroxin perilliset [Heirs of Atorox], published in the URSA SF series and consisting of the winner up to that time and new stories by the winners, thus raising the profile of the authors. The anthology also recognized the significance of the country’s sf magazines: ‘The life force of Finnish science fiction is its magazines. Most of the writers in this book practised his/her skills in writing short stories in sf magazines. These magazines deserve all possible support because they run solely on amateur/voluntary work.’38 Other prizes were developed. In 1986, the Helsinki SF Society established the Tähtivaeltaja Award for the best book published in Finland. This almost always went to a translation rather than an indigenous work, starting with a collection of stories by Cordwainer Smith, Planeetta nimeltä Shajol [A Planet Named Shayol]. Later winners would include Will Self and Flann O’Brien, which gives some idea of the award’s diversity. It would not be until 2001 that a Finnish writer would win, Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen, with his collection Missä junat kääntyvät [Where the Trains Turn]. Jääskeläinen was every bit a product of the Finnish magazines, for almost all of the stories in that collection had appeared in the magazines in the 1990s and three of them won the Atorox Award in successive years. Also in 1986 the Tampere SF Society began its annual contest for new short stories. Besides publication in Portti, the winner received prize money equivalent to €500,39 a substantial sum when other contributors to the Finnish magazines received no payment. The first winner was Harri Närhi, who later established himself as a film critic as well as a novelist and short-story writer. Other winners in the 1980s included Jukka Terästö, Olav Tirkkonen and Boris Hurtta. Their work included elements of horror, particularly that of Hurtta whose stories, such as ‘Aikaportti’ [Timegate] (Portti 1/89), introduced Lovecraftian imagery. A measure of Portti’s success came in 1989 when it received the European SF Award. While by 1986 Portti was going from strength to strength, and Tähtivaeltaja was establishing its individuality, Aikakone was struggling, despite the quality of its fiction. Its publisher, URSA, wanted it to run more short fiction 37  Jeff VanderMeer, ‘Finnish Weird—and Finnish SF/F Links Round-Up’, The Southern Reach, http://www.jeffvandermeer.com/2011/05/13/finnish-weird-and-finnish-sff-links-round-up/. 38  Pekka Supinen, ‘Preface’, Atoroxin perilliset (Helsinki: URSA, 1988), p. 7 (translated by Vesa Sisatto). 39  It has since risen to €2,000.

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rather than articles and shift to a boy’s-adventure magazine. This led to an editorial split and Jyrki Ijäs left to found his own magazine, Ikaros, at the start of 1986. Ikaros looked like Aikakone and, to some degree, represented more of what URSA would have liked. It ran a good selection of home-grown fiction plus a wide range of translated fiction, but it remained financially unviable to be sustained by one individual rather than a society, and it ceased after ten issues in 1988. Meanwhile at Aikakone, Jari Koponen stepped down as primary editor and Juhani Hinkkanen took over. Despite changes that Hinkkanen introduced, which included more stories and artwork and a degree of comic-book imagery, sales were still not high. At the end of 1989, URSA sold Aikakone to Hinkkanen and his wife Leena Peltonen who, together with other fans, had set up the Aikakone Association to publish the magazine, and which took it forward into the 1990s. In 1990 a group of editors compiled an anthology called Tähtipuu [Star Tree] which published 33 stories by Finnish writers, almost all of which had first appeared in the local magazines. It was a testament to the success of the magazines in the 1980s in helping to develop a substantial stable of local writers which would continue to grow in the 1990s and beyond. In fact the success of Finnish sf is underscored by one other magazine that appeared in the 1980s. Enhörningen [Unicorn], edited by Ben Roimola, appeared in May 1987 and ran for five issues until it ceased (albeit temporarily)40 in December 1990. What was unusual was that although it was published in Finland, it was entirely in Swedish. It was a pure fanzine, with material about fantasy and sf, and the occasional piece of fiction. As to why it was published in Swedish, Roimola told me that few people outside of Finland understood Finnish, but most understood Swedish, and there is a minority contingent (about 5%) of Swedish-speaking Finns. Roimola wanted to be able to inform Swedish-speaking readers about Finnish sf and fandom. This serves to emphasize how isolated Finland was linguistically and that its primary magazines had minimal chance of circulation outside of Finland. Yet despite this the magazines survived and, certainly with Portti and Tähtivaeltaja, prospered, and that could only have happened because of the dedication of the Finnish fans and the quality of the material published.

40  It would return in 1999 as a semi-prozine, both in print and online, supported by a grant from the Swedish Cultural Fund.

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France41 Writing about the science-fiction scene in France at the end of the 1970s the French commentator Pascal J. Thomas said, ‘the present situation could hardly be worse’.42 Ten years later he remarked, ‘the outlook for French SF is bleak indeed’.43 Yet at first glance the 1980s seemed promising. Above all there were the many long-running sf imprints, such as Fleuve Noir’s Anticipation, Denoël’s Présence du Futur, Laffont’s Ailleurs et Demain and J’ai Lu’s Science Fiction, which published not just novels but story collections and anthologies of often high originality, providing solid and reliable markets for French writers. In addition, there were a variety of sf magazines and original anthology series, with close on 200 issues and volumes.44 But although the decade began with a flurry of magazines and shortfiction venues, most of these were short-lived and by the end of the decade only one magazine survived, and that was more a market for overseas fiction than French. The 1980s differed from the 1970s in one key respect, and that was because of the election of a socialist president in 1981, François Mitterand. Before this there had been a radical underground in the French sf scene spearheaded by editors such as Bernard Blanc who, with Swiss publisher Rolf Kesselring, produced the left-wing magazine Alerte!. There had been plans in 1980 to convert Alerte!, which had hitherto been an occasional periodical in irregular pocketbook format, into a standard regular magazine, but this collapsed when the publisher went bankrupt. Bernard Blanc bounced back as a columnist and advisory editor on the equally politically engaged new monthly magazine, SF & Quotidien, which started in November 1980. It was published by Waterloo, their only venture into

41  My thanks to René Beaulieu, Jean-Pierre Moumon and Richard D. Nolane for their help with this section. 42  Pascal J. Thomas, ‘SF in France’, Locus, #226 (October 1979), p. 6. 43  Pascal J. Thomas, ‘The Current State of SF in France’, Science Fiction Studies, #49 (November 1989), p. 303. 44  The achievement of French sf up to this point was celebrated in the amateur magazine Fantascienza, produced by Allain Grousset with the help of Dominique Martel and Claude Eckerman. After its first fairly traditional issue in Fall 1979 with the usual translated stories, articles and reviews, it blossomed into a bibliographer’s dream. The next issue (June 1980), a double #2/3 of 112 pages, provided a complete index, guide and commentary upon Fleuve Noir’s Anticipation series. The 244-page final issue (Spring 1981) concentrated on the Galaxies series with interviews with the various editors (both of the French and the original American series, Galaxy) and another complete index and guide. These last two were large, oversizeformat books, profusely illustrated with drawings, photographs and cover reproductions, the final one all on glossy paper. It was a genuine recognition of the significance of these publications.

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science fiction, and its overall editor, Stéphane Gillet, likewise had little involvement with the science-fiction scene. The odd title, which translates both as ‘SF & Daily Life’ and ‘SF & Daily News’, was intended to reflect the nature of the contents, reporting people’s daily lives in the present or near future. The magazine was an uneven mixture of translated stories, mostly of recent vintage but some 20–30 years old, and French ‘New Wave’ stories, plus articles and comic strips. The end result was visually and aesthetically unimpressive, ending up more like a cheap newspaper than a magazine. It survived for 11 issues until November 1981 and then vanished, with few regrets from readers. Another victim of the change was the pocketbook series Univers, which had been a magazine disguised as an anthology and had run for 19 quarterly issues from June 1975 to Fall 1979. Although the literary director was Jacques Sadoul, the direct editor was Yves Frémion, a known radical, who selected mostly material from Anglo-American anthology series which reflected his views. Although the series was popular, with sales in excess of 30,000, those sales were not fast enough and in 1979 the publisher, J’ai Lu, decided to drop it. At the last minute, Sadoul rescued the series and converted it into an annual anthology with volume 20 in 1980, and it continued throughout the decade to volume 30 in 1990. With volume 20, Sadoul took over the editorship; from volume 23 (1983) Joëlle Wintrebert edited the next three volumes and Pierre K. Rey saw the series through the final five volumes. With the anthology series the sequence numbering was dropped and each successive volume bore the year in the title, starting with Univers 1980. Each volume contained the usual mixture of fiction and essays, both translated and original. The anthologies were substantial offerings of up to 448 pages. Although translated stories were still the primary choice, Univers 1981 had the distinction of running ‘Dans le profondeurs de la mer repose le sombre Léviathan’,45 the first story by American author Scott Baker, who was then resident in Paris. French contributors of fiction included Jean-Pierre Andrevon, Jacques Boireau, Sylviane Corgiat, Jean-Claude Dunyach, Pierre Giuliani, Jean-Pierre Hubert, Michel Jeury, Emmanuel Jouanne and Bruno Lecigne. Several stories in the series won awards. Hubert’s ‘Pleine peau’ [Full skin] in Univers 1984 won the Prix Rosny-aîné, as did two stories by Francis Valéry in successive years, ‘Bumpie™’ in Univers 1988 and the firstcontact story ‘Les voyageurs sans memoire’ in Univers 1989. Richard Canal’s ‘Etoile’, also in Univers 1988, won the Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire. Joëlle

45  Later reprinted in English as ‘Full Fathom Deep’, Interzone, #99 (September 1995).

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Wintrebert contributed many excellent stories including ‘Transfusion’ (Univers 1988),46 a powerfully seductive image of an encounter with an alien. Under Sadoul, Wintrebert and Rey Univers was no longer so radical but had switched to strong storytelling. In fact the last of the radical, or more appropriately, ‘challenging’ sf series had finished in 1984. This was Mouvance, started in 1977 under the editorship of Raymond Milési and Bernard Stephan. Unlike Univers, Mouvance ran to only 128 pages, but contained wholly French material.47 The anthology was subtitled ‘Science Fiction et pouvoir’ [Science Fiction and Power] and each volume had a theme. The first had been the mass media and others covered space, time, civilization and the place of the individual. From the start it had been intended that Mouvance would provide a serious exploration of the key aspects of the contemporary world projected into the future, and of the diverse use of power at work in society and the world at large. Although its payment rate was low (the equivalent of half a cent per word),48 Mouvance proved a prestigious market with writers keen to be represented. It had been planned from the start as a set number of volumes and it ceased with volume 8 in 1984. Among its most memorable stories were two that won the Prix Rosny-aîné as that year’s best short story: ‘Chronique de la vallée’ [Chronicle of the Valley] (volume 4, 1980) by Jacques Boireau, the story of a lost valley and its social struggles, and ‘Le clavier incendié’ [The Keyboard on Fire] (volume 7, 1983) by Lionel Évrard where a man, finding his old typewriter, begins to rewrite his life. These magazines and anthologies had caused small waves to ripple through the sf community and were, on the whole, much welcomed. Mouvance and Univers, in particular, were highly regarded and of a consistent quality and overshadowed what was happening in the magazine field which, by comparison, had become predictable and rather tame. France’s longest-running sf magazine, Fiction, had also undergone changes. It was ostensibly the French edition of F&SF, in the same digest format but with new artwork for the covers. It had started in October 1953 and continued mostly on a monthly schedule until 1975 when its publisher, Editions OPTA, encountered financial difficulties. Thereafter its July and August issues were combined as a slightly larger (and more expensive) summer issue. In its heyday under Alain Dorémieux, from 1958 to 1974,

46  This was translated by Kim Stanley Robinson for its first US printing in Lou Aronica, Amy Stout and Betsy Mitchell (eds), Full Spectrum 3 (New York: Doubleday, 1991). 47  The one exception was ‘The Eight-Thirty to Nine Slot’ by George Alec Effinger in the first issue, which helped define the theme for that volume about mass-media communication. The story had first appeared in Fantastic for April 1971. 48  Equal to about £3 per thousand words.

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about a quarter of the magazine’s content was filled by French writers which had helped develop many careers. By the late 1970s Fiction’s circulation had dropped to around 6,000.49 Daniel Riche, who had been the editor since May 1977, resigned in August 1979 and his last few issues were spread over several months until April 1980. OPTA managed to bring back Dorémieux as editor from the May 1980 issue50 and it looked, for a while, as though things would improve. However, Dorémieux’s budget was minimal and he had little room for manoeuvre. Stories from F&SF were already paid for under licence to Mercury Press, though Dorémieux had to pay for translations. Such budget as was left allowed for two or three local stories per issue but Dorémieux expanded the review section until it was about one-third of the magazine, paying for this at a slightly lower rate. It thus became an important magazine for the dissemination of criticism and commentary on science fiction but with minimal scope for encouraging new fiction. He did run a minor short serial by the prolific Pierre Pelot, a parody ‘Konnar le Barbant’ [Konnar the Boring]51 (July–September 1981), and did his best to present stories by the new generation of writers, but generally the new material was short. Although he ran early material by Richard Canal, Jean-Pierre Hubert, Emmanuel Jouanne, Bruno Lecigne (including the award-winning ‘La Femme-escargot allant au bout du monde’, December 1980), Jean-Marc Ligny and Jacques Mondoloni, there were really only two new writers of significance whom Dorémieux discovered at this time. Michel Lamart’s professional debut was with ‘Reflets dans un oeil mort’ [Reflections in a Dead Eye] (December 1980) and, aside from some early fanzine material, Jean-Claude Dunyach debuted with ‘Vénus Erotica’ (March 1982). Both remained loyal contributors to Fiction through the 1980s. Dunyach won the Grand Prix de la Science-Fiction Française in 1984 for ‘Les nageurs de sable’ [The Sand-Swimmers] (March 1983), which considers how the children of colonists on another world must adapt to their environment. Dorémieux ran three stories by Lamart in the February 1984 issue which was remarkable in that, apart from the first episode of a serial by Phyllis Eisenstein, the remainder of the issue consisted of work by French writers. Dorémieux’s approach was not wholly supported by the head of OPTA, Michel Ferloni, who believed Fiction could be run in-house without the need for a freelance editor. There had already been a disagreement in 1982 when 49  Estimated by Pascal J. Thomas in ‘SF in France’, Locus, #246 (July 1981), p. 19. 50  Although dated May and June, the issues did not appear until June and July respectively. The magazine got back on schedule with its double July/August issue. 51  Later expanded as Le Fils du Grand Konnar (Paris: Fleuve Noir, 1990).

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some of the non-fiction had been rejected, causing Dorémieux to walk out for several months. He returned, but the acrimony continued. Despite the fact that the circulation had reportedly increased to around 15,000,52 Ferloni decided to reduce Dorémieux’s editorial fee to 1,000 francs per issue (about £85 or $120) and Dorémieux resigned in September 1984, his last issue being for October. Thereafter the magazine was edited in-house by Juliette Weingand. Almost immediately the review section was cut by over a half and reduced in quality. The total page count remained at 196, filled by longer stories from F&SF, but the magazine switched to pocketbook size from digest after a year. The emphasis changed to running translated stories and though a few French ones appeared, some were reprints from earlier issues. By the late 1980s Fiction had lost the status it had held in previous decades. It eventually ceased publication at the end of 1989, its final issue dated February 1990. Unfortunately there was nothing to replace it. During the 1980s a variety of magazines came and went, most of variable quality. Antarès was a semi-professional magazine that appeared at the start of 1981 on a quarterly basis. It was produced by Jean-Pierre Moumon and Martine Blond and issued in trade-paperback format running to a substantial 142 pages. As its cover heading proclaimed, ‘Science-Fiction et Fantastique sans Frontières’, its aim was to publish material from around the world in translation. Moumon could read a dozen languages and he and Blond had been translating Swedish and Italian stories for Fiction. After Riche resigned, Dorémieux was unable to run any more such translations and so Moumon decided to continue in his own magazine. The first few issues ran material from Austria, Brazil, Cuba, French-speaking Canada, Germany, Norway, Romania, Spain and Sweden, as well as France, Great Britain and the United States. It was the first magazine in France, outside of fanzines, to publish stories from Lithuania, Catalonia, Provence and Quebec. It ran interviews with authors and an occasional article looking at sf within selected countries. It was never a major market for new French sf, and it was never going to be commercial, but Moumon persevered and kept the magazine alive for 15 years and 43 issues.53 It improved both in content and presentation, so that by 1985 it was an attractive magazine with an idiosyncratic mix. It ran some original material. For instance, #19 (Autumn 1985) had the first publication of Harry Harrison’s ‘A Dog and His Boy’, a parody of Harlan Ellison’s classic ‘A Boy and His Dog’, and intended for

52  See Pascal J. Thomas, ‘Report from France’, Locus, #292 (May 1985), citing data from Nous les Martiens, #3 (1984). 53  There were four double issues so that the final issue was #47, at the start of 1996.

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Ellison’s anthology The Last Dangerous Visions. It did not appear in English for another decade, and even then only in a small-press booklet.54 Antarès was thus somewhat of a novelty, though a serious and entertaining one, but not a major market for French sf. The one attempt at a slick sf magazine was Futurs, published by Idémédia. It looked like a blend between the American Vertex and Twilight Zone. There had been an earlier incarnation in 1978 when it ran for six issues. It was revived in February 1981 in the same full-size semi-slick format but with a new editor, Pierre Delmotte, with no help from the previous highly competent editorial team of Gérard Klein, Phillipe Curval and others. It tried to repeat the same formula, covering a variety of sf and science-related topics plus films, comics, graphics, interviews, essays, opinion, commentary and fiction, both translated and original. The French original fiction was generally of good quality, but the translations of some excellent stories by Theodore Sturgeon, Frederik Pohl, Jack Williamson, Fritz Leiber and others were variable and the overall editing of the magazine was patchy. It paid well (at the outset) and attracted major contributors, and it aimed at a large readership—a print run of 50,000 at the start. But it lacked the investment necessary to hit such standards. Neither its publisher nor its editor was au fait with the science-fiction field and they overstretched themselves. This new version proved too expensive and ceased after three issues, the last delayed by a month in May 1981. Bientôt appeared at the same time, the first issue dated April 1981. This was another glossy magazine, with more emphasis on science and technological development than on science fiction and, as a result, became known as the French Omni, though it had no association with that magazine. Its publisher and editor-in-chief was Jean-Luc Gronner, a business entrepreneur working with technology companies, and for the science-fiction expertise he brought on board Stan Barets and Daniel Riche. Barets ran a specialist sf bookshop in Paris while Riche had been the editor of Fiction. Alas, as with Futurs, Bientôt was underfinanced and failed after four issues, in July 1981. Like Antarès, though, it offered first publication to some American stories as yet not available in English. Robert Silverberg’s ‘The Man Who Floated in Time’ appeared in the fourth issue (July 1981), almost a year before its first American publication in Speculations (1982), edited by Alice Laurance. Besides advising Bientôt, Daniel Riche was developing his own magazine, Orbites, with publisher Nouvelles Editions Oswald. Its first issue appeared

54  It was included in Overload, edited by Martin Tudor for the Novacon convention and published by the Birmingham SF Society in November 1995.

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dated February 1982 on a quarterly schedule. Though it looked outwardly like the 1970s issues of the American Galaxy, with a similar cover style, the content was considerably more diverse. The first issue, for example, with its lead novella by Pierre Giuliani, reprinted stories by Arthur C. Clarke, Ian Watson and Stanley G. Weinbaum (often the first French translations) alongside new French stories and articles, including a study of sf in China. Its second issue (May 1982) focused on Michael Moorcock, translating two essays including one about New Worlds, and his little-known story ‘Leaving Pasadena’. The third issue (September 1982), with its comic-book cover, featured several vintage translated stories by H. Beam Piper, Damon Knight and Avram Davidson, alongside a feature on Hungarian science fiction. The fourth, and what proved to be final, issue shifted to fantasy and horror with translations of Fritz Leiber and Robert E. Howard. While this variety seemed to show no focus, it was the diversity that gave the magazine its strength and character. It was never predictable, and its contents often held a surprise. Its second issue carried ‘Variqueux sont les ténias’ [Varicose Worms], the second published story by American author Scott Baker. The third issue featured Jacques Mondoloni’s powerful ‘Papa 1er’ [Papa the First], where a boy on a colonial world returns to Earth to search for the truth. Heavily influenced by the work of Philip K. Dick, the story won the Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire. Unfortunately Orbites’s publisher was unable to sustain it and it folded with the December 1982 issue. Ever determined, Riche returned with Science Fiction which, although it contained some magazine features such as reviews, was presented as an anthology series. From the start, the magazine had big ambitions to bring together science fiction and experimental mainstream literature and to be a kind of ‘academic magazine for SF’. To achieve this there was a strong editorial committee with, among others, Élisabeth Gille, Philippe Curval, Robert Louit and Denis Guiot. The magazine was slanted towards modernist and postmodernist thinkers, presenting more essays than stories, interviews and analyses by such famous academic people as Jean Beaudrillard, Alexandre Zinoviev, Julia Kristeva, Gérard Cordesse and Umberto Eco. Its profusely illustrated inner design, with often very experimental graphics, illustrations and photos, was quite daring and modernistic. Its unillustrated covers merely listed the title and the theme for each issue. The first (January 1984) was called simply ‘Ballard’, with three articles by Ballard, two pieces about him, and a translation of his story ‘Memories of the Space Age’. The second issue was labelled ‘politique’, while the third and fourth proclaimed ‘Matheson’ and ‘Sheckley’ respectively. Of more local interest were the fifth and sixth issues, which focused on French sf, while its final delayed double issue, #7/8 (November 1986), covered Philip

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K. Dick. Science Fiction was a quality item, and a substantial one, running to 256 trade-paperback pages, which also made it expensive, costing 38 francs (just over £3). Science Fiction was published by one of France’s leading sf publishing houses, Denoël, which also published the long-running series Présence du Futur, so had a strong sales record and reliable distribution network, but even so the magazine failed to gain support. With the departure of Élisabeth Gille as the primary editor at Denoël at the end of 1986, the series came to an end. Even as Science Fiction passed away, Proxima, the only other surviving sf magazine besides Fiction and Antarès, had also all but died. Edited by Alain Garguir, it was published by Éditions Andromède, a small press in Lille, which had entered the realms of the fantastic with a series of horror anthologies starting with Chroniques de Mort in 1981, which Garguir also edited. It began with a trial issue #0 at the end of 1983, with a print run of 500 copies. It was still a substantial product, running to 76 pages and packed with excerpts and samples of material. This included a poor pulp-style feuilleton, ‘La Centième affaire’ [The Hundredth Affair] by Raf Vellino, which continued through to #5 (Winter 1985). When the first formal issue appeared (Winter 1984), with a print run of 2,000, it concentrated almost wholly on non-fiction. Proxima covered a wide range of material, from the Strugatsky brothers in #3 (Summer 1984) to eroticism and homosexuality in #7 (Summer 1985). Sometimes controversial, Proxima established a reputation but remained underfinanced. After its eighth numbered issue in Autumn 1985, Garguir cut back and issued a series of specials, the first, in Spring 1986, covering sf in Quebec. After a double special in September 1986 for the French National SF Convention the magazine to all intents disappeared, resurfacing as a mainly non-fiction review in 1988 for just four more issues and another special. It ceased completely in Summer 1989. The passing of Proxima and Fiction in 1989 and Univers in 1990 left no regular magazine or series publishing original short French fiction, except for the international magazine Antarès—and that was more popular in Romania than France. As Thomas had reported, the end of the 1980s was bleak indeed for the sf magazine scene in France.

Germany55 Germany has not had a significant history of professional or even semiprofessional science-fiction magazines, and those that have appeared have

55  My thanks to Thomas Recktenwald for his help with this section.

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usually failed within a few issues (see previous volumes). There was another such flourish in the 1980s, most without lasting success. By all appearances regular sf magazines did not feel part of the German sf scene and did not appeal to the general reading public. The best were those generated by devoted fans who knew the field but created something that appealed to a minority readership. The worst were those that tried to be commercial but generated no interest among the sf fans and were of limited value to general readers whose interest in science fiction, such as it might be, was satisfied by other forms of publication, notably the hefte and multivolume anthology series. The hefte (meaning a stapled folder) was the German equivalent of the American dime novel, a slim periodical containing a single novel or novella, sometimes supported by a few editorial features. The best known was the Perry Rhodan series which had been running since 1961 and remains the longest continuously published character series throughout the world. It was still selling a purported 700,000 copies a week in 1987.56 Yet despite its popularity, when a Perry Rhodan Magazin was launched in spring 1978 it folded after three years, in June 1981, even though its first few issues sold extremely well, benefiting from the spike in interest in sf engendered by the success of the Star Wars movies. The rapid decline in interest shows that the additional features and material which distinguishes a magazine did not attract the devotees of Perry Rhodan or, for that matter, the fans of Star Wars, who simply wanted more adventures relating to their favourite heroes. The demand for short fiction, both original and in translation, was met more by a variety of anthologies than it was by magazines. Germany’s leading publisher of science fiction, Heyne, which started its science-fiction line in 1960, had been under the editorial command of Wolfgang Jeschke since 1973, and he began several series of regular anthologies, starting with the Science Fiction Story-Reader. It appeared twice yearly, in January and June, for ten years and 21 volumes. The editorial role alternated between Jeschke and the leading Austrian writer Herbert W. Franke for the first 12 volumes, but from 1980 it was edited solely by Jeschke. At the start it was a rather straightforward anthology, comparatively slim (between 124 and 160 pages) and featuring almost entirely translations of Anglo-American sf with just one original German story (or poem). It even gave first publication to a number of stories by English writers that had not yet appeared in any English source, among them Chris Boyce, David Garnett, Garry Kilworth and Peter Tate. However, by volume 9 (January 1978) German fiction

56  See Uwe Luserke, ‘The West German Market: Crashed Down but still Alive’, SFWA Bulletin, 22:1 (Spring 1988), p. 55.

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dominated, with occasional stories from the Netherlands, France and other European countries. Once Jeschke became sole editor it was almost entirely non-Anglo-American fiction, and was the most reliable local market for sf. It also became profusely illustrated, each volume usually featuring the work of one artist. To accommodate this, and the growing preference for longer stories and poetry, the number of pages expanded considerably, peaking at 458 with volume 16 (July 1981). Jeschke next began the Titan series which ran for 23 volumes from 1976 to 1985. This contained no new material, but was based upon various anthology series of classic sf published in the USA or UK, such as Frederik Pohl’s Star Science Fiction or the SFWA’s Science Fiction Hall of Fame.57 Jeschke also compiled the Heyne Science Fiction Jahresband [Yearbook], running for 21 volumes from 1980 and 2000. These were thick paperbacks of over 400 pages consisting again of mostly American material, often up to short-novel length. Among these series, Jeschke began Heyne Science Fiction Magazin in September 1981. It was also in pocketbook format running to many pages— the first issue was 432 pages. The cover proclaimed ‘Fiction’ first among the contents but there were only four long stories, taking up 130 pages (including the artwork), less than a third of the content. The magazine effectively supplemented the anthology series, with a mixture of reviews, commentary, interviews, cartoons and bibliography, plus a coloured inset portfolio of artwork by Karel Thole. The last 70 or so pages were taken up by an extensive bibliographic update by Ronald M. Hahn of the Lexicon der Science Fiction Literatur by Hahn, Jeschke, Hans Joachim Alpers and Werner Fuchs, which Heyne had published in two volumes in 1980. These updates continued in some later issues and, along with the other non-fiction material gave Heyne SF Magazin a decidedly academic feel. With the might of Heyne behind it the magazine ran for 12 issues, roughly quarterly, before ceasing in February 1985 with the downturn in the market. Jeschke converted it into Das Science-Fiction Jahr, an annual of commentary, interviews and reviews, but no fiction, which began in 1986 and still continues. Jeschke edited over 50 anthologies during the 1980s, plus the 12 issues of the magazine, but he was not the only prolific editor. Hans Joachim Alpers compiled some 60 anthologies in that decade, including the Kopernikus series

57  The first five volumes were reprints of Frederik Pohl’s Star Science Fiction series, slightly rearranged by Jeschke. Volumes 6–16 were material drawn from the Science Fiction Hall of Fame and were co-credited with the editors of the original US series, Robert Silverberg and Ben Bova, though volume 17 (1981), which consisted of earlier material from the days of Hugo Gernsback, was co-edited with Ronald M. Hahn. The final six volumes drew upon Brian W. Aldiss’s Galactic Empires series of anthologies and are co-credited with him.

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for Moewig Verlag which ran for 15 volumes from October 1980 until 1988. There were initially three or four volumes per year but the final few were annual. Alpers selected from a wide range of American sources, including Analog, Omni, Asimov’s and some original anthologies. Each volume included at least one original German story, but it was by no means a regular market. Alpers also edited the German edition of Analog as a quarterly anthology rather than a monthly magazine. It translated only selected fiction, mostly the novelettes and novellas, and reproduced some artwork, but none of the articles or other features. It ran for eight volumes, between October 1981 and June 1984, the later ones becoming irregular and thinner. In 1980 a group of fans and authors organized the Kurd Lasswitz Prize, named after the noted German author, with awards in several categories which were first presented in 1981. In 1985 the Science Fiction Club of Germany instigated the Deutscher Science Fiction Prize. It is notable that in the short-fiction categories all of the awards in both prizes went to stories either in anthologies or authors’ story collections. For example, stories by Wolfgang Jeschke and Ronald M. Hahn in the Science Fiction Story-Reader volumes 15 and 16 received the Lasswitz Prize in 1982 as that year’s best long and short stories. Jeschke also won both awards for ‘Nekyomanteion’,58 which had appeared in his 1985 anthology Science Fiction Jubiläumsband, celebrating 25 years of Heyne’s sf line. Not a single story from a magazine won either award in the 1980s. With the success of these anthologies, and there were many of them, one might wonder why there were any attempts at publishing a magazine. Although the anthologies provided both fiction and non-fiction—and two series by Alpers, Science Fiction Almanach (seven volumes, 1980–86) and Science Fiction Jahrbuch (five volumes, 1983–87) also provided interviews and reviews of the best books and films—what none of them could provide was the immediacy of a regular magazine with its interaction with readers, its timely reviews and commentary. It was these last two, including reviews of films and games along with a wider study of the writers and themes in science fiction, that made the magazines different, even though they appealed to a smaller readership. As a consequence few of the magazines could be classified as professional, but rather various grades on a spectrum from amateur to semi-professional. At the most commercial end of the spectrum, but arguably the least relevant to German sf, was Deutsches Science-Fiction Magazin, which began in July 1981, edited by Wolfgang Dülm. It was in the large flat A4 format to

58  The title was apparently in error and should have been ‘Nekromanteion’. It appeared in translation as ‘Loitering at Death’s Door’ in Aronica, Stout and Mitchell (eds), Full Spectrum 3.

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allow for the reproduction of film stills as the magazine was, to all intents, a movie magazine, though it did run book and games reviews and, surprisingly, convention reports. After the first issue the publisher became ID Verlag, run by Uwe Draber who also now edited the magazine. It ran a short story or two in a few of the issues, but nothing of any significance. It survived for nine increasingly staggered issues until January 1985. It also released one issue of a supplement, Skyline, in August 1984 that published mostly erotic sf and fantasy, but it was an experiment that failed. There were several local fan clubs with their magazines providing a commentary on science fiction, plus occasional stories. The most prominent was Andromeda, the official journal of the Science Fiction Club of Germany, which had been running since 1955. It had grown in stature to the extent that in 1978 it turned semi-professional in a new semi-slick format, running at least one story per issue. It planned to go fully professional in 1980, but the costs were too high and the sales insufficient, so the plans were dropped and Andromeda returned to being a simple club magazine, though one of high quality, still featuring a story or two amid the many reviews and articles. It continues to this day, though usually only one issue per year.59 Exodus had first appeared in April 1975 (with issue #0) and continued for 13 numbered issues, first quarterly and then twice yearly. Edited by Paul Roder and Rene Moreau (though editorial roles rapidly changed), it ran the usual mixture of stories and articles by a variety of young fans and writers but also went so far as to reprint a story by the Strugatsky brothers. The most regular contributor was the artist Thomas Franke, who not only illustrated most issues but also contributed stories and reviews. Although the magazine ceased in early 1980, having left only a moderate mark, it would reappear in 2003 and establish itself as a magazine of some note. Cosmonaut was started by Michael Kunath in 1981. It saw two issues that year but then only two more issues spread over the next two years. It was primarily a reviews magazine with extensive essays, interviews and commentary, but sought to include a selection of stories as representative of both the history and international status of the genre, so reprinted tales by William S. Burroughs, C. S. Lewis, E. M. Forster, Andrzej Czechowski, Philip K. Dick, Cherry Wilder and Janusz A. Zajdel. Forster’s ‘The Machine Stops’

59  There were several magazines that ran purely news and articles and no fiction. The oldest was Science Fiction Times which had started in January 1959 as a straight German translation of the eponymous American news magazine. It had originally been incorporated in the Science Fiction Club Europa’s members’ periodical Blick in die Zukunft [View of the Future], but from May 1961 had become a self-contained German magazine and continued as such until 1993. Similarly Vision, published in February 1982, sought to be a non-fiction magazine covering the whole field of sf and fantasy. Professionally produced by Manfred Knorr in Nürnberg, it lasted only one issue.

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was translated as a two-part serial but to wait a year between episodes was expecting too much of readers. While seeking to be scholarly, Cosmonaut effectively achieved little. Solaris was a bold attempt at a professional magazine—at least in looks and distribution if not in payment rates or encouraging new fiction. There was a trial issue in April 1982, referred to as ‘Null-Nummer’ in the editorial but numbered #1 on the cover, which served to confuse when the real #1 appeared in August. It was published by Jürgen Mercker through the auspices of Rolf Bingenheimer who ran the science-fiction book club TransGalaxis, which had also developed into a dealership in games and movies. It was edited by literary agent Uwe Luserke. It was a slick A4-size magazine with some colour interior art and photographs, so production costs were high. There were usually two stories per issue, mostly translations from American or British sources, and its home-grown material was entirely reviews, interviews and bibliography. In its first formal issue the magazine included a magazine within a magazine, incorporating the bookclub’s own news magazine TransGalaxis, thereby doubling the size of Solaris to 84 pages. The main review section, ‘Prisma’, remained the largest feature. The fifth issue (#4, June/August 1983), which was also the final issue, was dedicated to the work of Michael Moorcock, but was again dominated by the huge TransGalaxis insert. There is no doubt that Solaris offered much of interest to an Anglophile readership who also wanted to know what German published books were available, but it provided no market for original German fiction. Then there was Starship, which had to change its name to Star from the third issue after objections to the title were raised by Andrew Porter, publisher of the American magazine Starship (formerly Algol). Starting as a monthly in December 1982, this was edited by Helmut Gabriel, the former editor of Perry Rhodan Magazin. It was another A4 glossy magazine but, despite the title, also projected an interest in horror fiction and fantasy. As with Solaris, it relied heavily on translated stories by British and American writers such as Brian W. Aldiss, J. G. Ballard, Pat Cadigan and C. J. Henderson, as well as classic reprints by H. P. Lovecraft and Franz Kafka, but by far the bulk of the magazine was reviews. Another expensive magazine to produce, it managed to publish 11 issues, ceasing with the November/December 1983 issue. More successful was Sagittarius, which had been started as a fairly basic fanzine by Klaus N. Frick, with the first issue in February 1980 in a print run of just 100 copies. In addition to all the usual features, Frick included a comics section. The magazine rapidly progressed, moving to full-colour covers with #11 (July 1985). By #12 (January 1986), Frick had established

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a small printing business and raised Sagittarius to the level of semiprofessional. It had become an attractive fully illustrated A4-size magazine on glossy quality stock, with coverage extended to include films and roleplaying games. Issues #12 and #13 (August 1986) had special features on John Brunner and Brian W. Aldiss respectively. Issue #13 also included a feature on Perry Rhodan’s twenty-fifth anniversary. Frick was a long-time Rhodan fan and Sagittarius would serve as a stepping stone to him becoming (by 1995) the managing editor of that series. Frick attempted to make Sagittarius monthly and succeeded in securing distribution to bookstores and railway kiosks. The extra demand on his time meant that he brought in others to help and Walter Arweiler took over the role of editor. Frick had, though, overstretched himself. His desire to produce a regular quality magazine led instead to delays and high costs. It came to a head with #18 (May 1988), when the magazine’s distribution deal was cancelled. Frick decided to continue the magazine as a fanzine and returned to using predominantly fan material and convention reports, in which form it continued until 2001. Meanwhile, Walter Arweiler teamed up with Eckhard Marwitz and Thomas Recktenwald to try to continue with a glossy semiprozine called Space. By then, though, the bottom had fallen out of the sf market in Germany and sales were less than a thousand, even though its covers and contents emphasized sf movie blockbusters. Space lasted for just three issues in 1989. Parsek, which appeared in December 1989, looked very promising. It was edited by Hans Joachim Alpers and Gerd Maximovic, who had set up their own Parsek Verlag in Bremen. It was a slim A4 magazine on matt paper, the attractive covers to its two issues being by American artists, Vincent Di Fate and Victoria Poyser. The emphasis, for once, was on fiction, but again almost entirely Anglo-American, with George R. R. Martin, Jack McDevitt, Lewis Shiner and Ian Watson in the first issue, and David R. Bunch, Robert Sheckley and John Shirley in the second. German contributions, including the fiction, were relatively short and mixed with cartoons and reviews. The only other genre magazine of the 1980s was Phantastiche Zeiten [Fantastic Times], published by the appropriately named Trivial Verlag. This was more of a horror magazine with the emphasis on cinema, and when it did turn to science fiction, true to its name, it trivialized it, such as ‘Sex im Weltraum’ [Sex in Space] (December 1987), and sex again in a feature on the work of Philip José Farmer in its final issue. It also ran coverage of Perry Rhodan and Stephen King but was of no value to the German sf scene. It lasted just six issues, from November 1987 to April 1988. These rather woeful experiences of the 1980s, with the only real magazine high spot being Heyne SF Magazin, supported by raised hopes with

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Andromeda and Sagittarius, demonstrated that there was neither a market nor the potential for a reliable and adequate German sf magazine. Yet no one could have predicted what would happen next. All of the above publications appeared in West Germany. On the night of 9 November 1989 the Berlin Wall was opened leading, eventually, to the unification of Germany on 3 October 1990. So it was still in East Germany that the first dedicated science-fiction magazine emerged, the appropriately named Alien Contact, the first issue of which appeared in July 1990. It was published by Edition Avalon in Berlin and edited by Hardy Kettlitz and Gerd Frey. East Germany had its own science-fiction devotees but, as with other Eastern European communist countries, the publication of science fiction was strictly controlled. There had been a fan society, the Stanisław Lem Club, founded in Dresden in 1969, but a shadow had fallen over this in 1972 when the activities of one of its members, a physicist, came under scrutiny. German State Security, the Stasi, thereafter kept files on all sf writers and activists. The club was soon dissolved and it was not until 1985 that the first new club, which took the name Andymon60 in 1988, was created. They ran their own club journal, tranSFer, from 1987 to 1990. It was these fans who drew on their experience with tranSFer to create Alien Contact in 1990.61 Its first print run was 40,000, which sold out across the country. That first issue was only 36 pages, with three stories, an article on George Orwell’s Animal Farm and an essay about the end of socialism in East Germany. It was a real moment in history. Ironically with the unification of Germany the GDR distributor was closed down and Avalon had to renegotiate its contracts with West German distributors. Other social and economic changes resulted in sales falling by a half, so that by the autumn of 1991 the company was bankrupt and after eight issues Alien Contact was in peril. Nevertheless, it was still the most commercially successful German magazine of the decade and it survived to tell the tale. Its full story will be covered in The Rise of the Cyber Chronicles.

60  The name came from an East German novel by Angela and Karlheinz Steinmüller published in 1982 and considered by many to be the most popular utopian novel published in the GDR. 61  In setting up Edition Avalon, the club members took advantage of a particular financial regulation effective in East Germany during the period of transition to unification, whereby it cost 10,000 Deutschmarks to establish the equivalent of a limited company compared with 25,000 Deutschmarks in West Germany.

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Greece62 Greece is not immediately associated with science-fiction magazines because sf has become confused in the minds of many with the country’s interest in UFOs and unexplained phenomena and the preponderance of comics. While researching the Greek magazines I was told by one authority: ‘Sci-Fi in Greece isn’t supported by magazines, as the publishers (about 98%) want just articles for the Unknown and Mysterious Issues.’63 In fact Greece has had a number of genuine science-fiction magazines, but many were short-lived and most were classified as amateur because they did not pay contributors, and so were generally disregarded. Greece’s involvement can be traced back to a series of hero pulps in the 1930s which included Khalyvdinos Anthropos [Man of Steel], Maska [Mask] and Mysterion [Mystery], the last two weekly. They were single-novel series rather than multi-content magazines, but proved popular, with both Maska and Mysterion being revived several times after the Second World War and into the 1970s. The most relevant of these post-war series was Hyperanthropos [Superhuman], which ran for 96 issues from 1951 to 1953 and dealt with a superhero and his son and grandson. Most of this series was written by the publisher, Stelios Anemodouras (as Thanos Astritis) and illustrated by Byron Aptosoglou, the most important illustrator of the period. There was little sf published under the military junta which took power in April 1967, and it was not until the fall of that regime, in July 1974, that a greater freedom returned to the publishing world. There had been a few approachable if somewhat innocuous markets. Andreas Ntoupas managed to sell his first sf story, ‘O megálos nómos’ [The Great Law] to the magazine Yuvaíka [Woman] in 1973. Moreover Dimitris Panagiotatos, a former law student who had turned to studying the cinema, managed to publish the first Greek fanzine devoted to fantastic literature, cinema and art, Fasma [Spectrum], which saw just two issues in 1971. Panagiotatos would go on to become a leading expert on the arts and compiled The Fantastic Cinema in 1979. There was a struggle for the literature of science fiction to be recognized. Writer and journalist Thanassis Vembos told me: SF was practically unknown in Greece before the fall of the dictatorship (1974) and back then extremely few people read sf in English. Afterwards the situation changed dramatically. But for many of the subsequent years, the quality of the translations was horrible (usually). Gradually the

62  My thanks to Spyros Vretos and Thanassis Vembos for their help with this section. 63  Christina Savvani, email, 16 March 2011.

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situation improved since more and more were exposed to the genre and qualitative standards were raised considerably.64

It was in June 1975 that the first magazine of popular science and unexplained phenomena appeared, Ainígmata tou Symbandos [Riddles of the Universe]. It was published by the Golden Ratio company of Christos Lazos, who was also the editorial director. It was an A4-size flat magazine with 64 pages, devoted to parapsychology, UFOs and extraterrestrial intelligence, alongside scientific articles on archaeology, astronomy, biology and cosmology, not unlike Omni would develop two years later. Ainígmata began to run science fiction from its third issue, translating Arthur C. Clarke’s ‘History Lesson’ which, though nearly 30 years old,65 was relevant to current readers. The story shows how aliens discovering a deserted Earth draw wrong conclusions from the relics they find, a subject related to the pseudoscientific work of Erich von Däniken which the magazine was also printing. Most of the fiction it published was translated from US sources but it did run some original work by local writers including early stories by former actor Makis Panorios, who also served as the magazine’s main artist. Ainígmata ran for 67 issues66 ending with a triple number dated July– September 1981. Because it was the first such post-junta magazine to explore the weird possibilities of science, it opened the doors and encouraged other magazines. Next came Analógio, which started in October 1976. The title means ‘Lectern’ but is also a pun on the name of Analog. It was another popular-science magazine, its articles translated mostly from French sources, but ran three or four stories per issue. By far the majority were Anglo-American, with work by J. G. Ballard, Harlan Ellison, Cordwainer Smith, Daniel Keyes and Gene Wolfe, but it also organized the first SF writers’ contest in Greece and published the three winning stories in its last issue.67 It was a fully professional tabloid magazine, running to a hundred or more pages. However, the readership was still too small. The editor, Pete Konstanteas, struggled to improve the contents, commenting that it was difficult to obtain sufficient good material to sustain a monthly schedule. After nine issues, he and his publisher promised to rethink the magazine, but it ceased in June 1977 and nothing more appeared.

64  Thanassis Vembos, email, 17 March 2011. 65  It first appeared in Startling Stories, May 1949. 66  The magazine had double issues each summer, so the final issue was #74–76. 67  For the record, these were ‘Promi̱ théas’ by Alexander Lara, ‘Parálli̱ li̱ Istoría’ [Parallel History] by Emmanuel Manolas and ‘Epistrofés’ [The Return] by Michael Papanatsidis.

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That same year, Ainígmata risked publishing an all-sf companion, Andromeda, in October 1977, with Makis Panorios as the primary editor and illustrator. Andromeda was Greece’s first true sf magazine, though it did include some fantasy (Ray Bradbury’s ‘The Wind’) and the selection of material was not of the high standard used in Analógio. It ran two rather weak stories by Jules Verne (‘In the Year 2889’) and H. G. Wells (‘A Vision of Judgement’), and two short reprints by Fredric Brown and Italo Calvino. Panorios wrote about the origins of science fiction in the works of Lucian and there were book reviews and a column about TV sf. The only two stories of any substance were ‘The Highest Dive’ by Jack Williamson and ‘Balaam’ by Anthony Boucher. There was also the first instalment of a novel by Panorios, ‘Giinos i̱ merológio’ [Earthly Calendar] but the second instalment never appeared. Although planned as a bi-monthly, it would be 13 years before Andromeda returned. A few more publishers braved the genre waters. Angelos Mastorakis, who would later edit Greece’s longest-running magazine, Ennea, and had already earned a reputation working in films and rock music, issued Nova. Although it saw only four issues from April to September 1978, it was a well-balanced selection of high-quality stories, mostly by Americans, though Andreas Ntoupas also appeared here. Contributors included A. E. van Vogt, Robert Sheckley, Brian Aldiss, Harry Harrison, Clifford Simak, Philip K. Dick, Roger Zelazny and Cordwainer Smith. Many of the individual stories, such as Dick’s ‘We Can Remember It For You Wholesale’ and Cordwainer Smith’s ‘Mother Hitton’s Littul Kittons’, were challenging to translate and retain the story’s authenticity, so one has to congratulate Mastorakis for not taking the easy route. Despite the quality of the contents the magazine looked cheap—a slim digest (80 pages) on pulp paper—but it sold for 50 drachmas, the equivalent of £0.71, when at that time most UK paperbacks sold for about £0.25. Distribution of magazines in Greece was expensive. Spyros Vretos told me: The reason the magazine folded after only four issues is the same with most other Greek magazines and fanzines: the potential SF readership is small, and (especially nowadays) scattered: some like literature, others comics, computer games, films, TV series, RPGs etc. There is not enough of a sense of community in Greece. (Right now, in Athens and suburbs, there are about half a dozen SF clubs—but few members of one participate in the events of the others). Back in 1978, readership was even smaller, and publishers were less inclined than today to support a magazine through advertisements (because they feared their ads would not yield a return). To be distributed properly (this is the case today as well as in 1978), you need to have an initial print run of a few thousand copies—magazines are

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distributed through a couple of agencies, and these expect you to provide enough copies to be distributed to all the kiosks in Athens, Pireaus and suburbs. Unless you have important financial backing, you don’t take that risk, choosing instead to send a few hundred copies in bookshops. That of course ensures that you will sell very few copies and thus will fail to get enough ads.68

That may have been the primary reason for its poor sales but, in her ground-breaking study ‘Hellenic Magazines of Science Fiction’, Domna Pastourmatzi noted there was a strong anti-American mood in Greece at that time because many intellectuals believed the United States had supported the military junta. She commented that ‘Flooding the book market with sf texts aroused suspicion and hostility, for the socio-political climate was unfriendly to any endeavour that smacked of pro-Americanism.’69 Instead, with no dedicated magazine, science fiction retreated into the pages of the popular UFO magazines, notably Astriki Epafi [Astral Contact], published and edited by the leading Greek UFOlogist, Sokratis Ekaterinidis. Astriki Epafi ran for 21 issues from March 1981 to January 1983 and proved to be a highly popular magazine, but it did nothing to further the cause of science fiction in Greece. Neither did the amateur magazines that tried to fill the void. To Ktinos! [The Beast!] was the most successful of these, running for 12 issues from May 1985 to May 1989. It emphasized horror and the avant-garde covering extremist science fiction, rock music and art. Among its more basic contents was an article on Franz Kafka in #4 (September 1985) and a feature on J. G. Ballard in #8 (May 1986), but there was little else that reflected traditional science fiction. The editor Iraklis Renieris himself confessed that the magazine was more ‘fanatical’ than fan. It had a rivalry with Ilektriko Machairi [Electric Knife] (five issues, May 1988–Spring 1992), which was heavily into alternative rock and cinema. Its editor, Ilias Polychronakis, joined forces with Renieris to publish Esoteriko Diastima [Inner Space], with just one issue in April 1989. If this type of underground material was representative of the interest of Greek fans, then it was poles apart from the more traditional sf magazines. They had a resurgence in the second half of the 1980s thanks to publisher Giorgos Bazinas. Along with two colleagues he had established the comics publisher Ars Longa, starting with the adult comic Babel in February 1981, in the style of France’s Métal Hurlant. Other comics followed and in May 1985

68  Spyros A. Vretos, email, 18 December 2014. 69  Domna Pastourmatzi, ‘Hellenic Magazines of Science Fiction’, Science Fiction Studies, #79 (November 1999), p. 412.

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Bazinas included both comics and text stories in Epómeni̱ Méra [Next Day]. This published graphic-story art by Philippe Druillet, Tanino Liberatore, Caza (Philippe Cazamayou), Juan Giménez and Enki Bilal among others, as well as short stories by Alfred Bester, Philip K. Dick, Harlan Ellison and Robert Silverberg. The art always dominated the text, which also included interviews and essays. All translations were by Dimitris Arvanitis who had encountered science fiction via Ainígmata tou Symbandos and Andromeda. His first full-length translation was Norman Spinrad’s Bug Jack Barron as O Tzak Báron kai Aio̱ nióti̱ ta [Jack Barron and Eternity] for Bazinas’s Ars Longa in 1984. He not only became the leading translator of sf in Greece, but also edited Bazinas’s next magazine. Epómeni̱ Méra lasted for nine issues, mostly bi-monthly, and ceased with that for Winter 1986. It was promptly replaced by Apagorevmenos Planitis [Forbidden Planet], still regarded as one of Greece’s most important sf magazines. Arvanitis served as editor as well as principal translator, though he developed a team to provide accurate translations of some of the best US and UK science fiction of the last 20 years. The first issue, for example, dated March/April 1987, presented Robert Silverberg’s ‘Schwartz Between the Galaxies’, Ursula K. Le Guin’s ‘Vaster Than Empires and More Slow’, James Tiptree, Jr’s ‘We Who Stole the Dream’ and Harlan Ellison’s ‘Adrift Just Off the Islets of Langerhans: Latitude 38° 54ʹN, Longitude 77° 00ʹ13″W’, all stories that required a skilled hand at translation. Arvanitis also supplied an essay for newcomers to more mature science fiction, ‘Science Fiction for Beginners and Advanced’. The next few issues saw work by C. J. Cherryh, Greg Bear, Philip K. Dick, William Gibson, Rudy Rucker, Bruce Sterling and Gene Wolfe. Between them Giorgos Bazinas and Dimitris Arvanitis found it difficult to compile the issues. Although it was sufficiently well funded, Arvanitis reported in the second issue (Summer 1987) that several of the magazine’s collaborators were still fulfilling their military service. The third issue, which consisted primarily of cyberpunk, was delayed by a whole year and appeared in June 1988. The fourth issue, dated November/December 1988, changed format from a large digest (almost a small pulp of 16.5 x 23cm) with 135 pages, to letter size (20.5 x 27.5cm) with 105 pages. It also presented a more erotic cover with a bare-breasted woman staring straight out at the reader. These two changes suggest that the sales had been poor and that it needed a face-lift to attract readers. It also reverted to issue #1, suggesting that a new distribution deal had been secured. None of this was stated internally. Instead the editorial noted that the magazine was continuing to improve the quality of its contents to establish the true identity of science fiction and to counter the prevailing view that it was ‘frivolous space adventures’.

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The contents of the larger Apagorevmenos Planitis continued to present some of the best recent American sf such as Octavia Butler’s ‘Bloodchild’, Pat Cadigan’s ‘Pretty Boy Crossover’, Joanna Russ’s ‘When it Changed’ and work by Philip K. Dick, Tom Maddox and Lucius Shepard. There were interviews with Douglas Adams, James Tiptree, Jr and Octavia Butler, and serious essays, including two from Foundation, ‘Scientism, or Science as Doctrine’ by Gavin Browning and ‘Philip K. Dick and the American Political Metaphysics’ by Brian J. Burden. There were also reviews and a brief comic strip, and a few issues ran material from other European authors, such as France’s Philippe Curval and the Czech Jaroslav Veis. Apagorevmenos Planitis remained in the larger format for five issues until June/July 1989 when it reverted to a standard digest format, clearly to save costs, but by now the magazine was struggling. There were only two issues in this form, November/December 1989 and Fall 1990, but they maintained the quality of the fiction with William Gibson’s ‘Burning Chrome’, David Langford’s ‘Blit’, George Alec Effinger’s ‘Schrödinger’s Kitten’ and similar work by Michael Bishop, Thomas M. Disch, Gardner Dozois and Alexander Jablokov. By all criteria Apagorevmenos Planitis was a quality magazine, but it did not seem that either the readers or dealers responded. Arvanitis wrote dejectedly in one of his last editorials (April/May 1989) that science fiction was ‘systematically ignored by newspapers and magazines’. He added, ‘most people link sf in a weird manner with the metaphysical pseudo­ sciences and UFOs’.70 Science fiction had been unable to escape the image that it had when it first appeared in magazine form nearly 20 years earlier. Yet it did not stop the dedicated editors and publishers from persevering. In May 1990, Christos Lazos and Kostas Koutsoukos produced their own photocopied fanzine, Cyborg, which sought to develop local Greek writers and educate devotees about the scope of science fiction and its history within Greece. Cyborg would stagger through seven issues over the next five years, though after four issues Lazos and Koutsoukos had a disagreement and Lazos left to relaunch Andromeda in September 1990, also as an amateur magazine but destined to become one of Greece’s most successful. As I will explore in The Rise of the Cyber Chronicles, science fiction in Greece refused to be ignored.

70  Translated by Domna Pastourmatzi, ‘Hellenic Magazines of Science Fiction’.

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Italy Like Germany, science fiction in Italy favoured the long-running digest-size paperback series which usually ran one novel per issue with the occasional editorial feature, and so were not strictly magazines but nevertheless highly collectable periodicals. The grandfather of them all was Urania, published by Mondadori in Milan, which started in October 1952 and has appeared regularly ever since, releasing #1600 in the series in October 2013. Mondadori dominated the paperback scene. Another of their series, which had started as a bumper offering of three novels in one trade paperback, was Millemondi. The series began in 1971 with Asimov’s original Foundation trilogy as one 472-page volume. The series continued with trios of novels in one volume, not necessarily connected, by authors including John Wyndham, Murray Leinster and Philip K. Dick. From volume 4 it took on a twice-yearly schedule. It occasionally included a story collection alongside two other novels, but with volume 29 (Summer 1986) it switched to an anthology under the overall editorship of Gianni Montanari. These were also substantial volumes, close on 400 pages, and contained primarily classic American and English stories with occasional more recent material and, perhaps once per volume, an original Italian story. Selling for 7,000 lira (about £3) these volumes were expensive but, appearing just twice a year, a welcome indulgence for devotees. The dominance of these series can be seen by comparison with the Italian edition of Asimov’s, also published by Mondadori, which saw only 11 issues between Spring 1978 and November 1980. It was then sold to SIAD Edizioni, also in Milan, but only 16 issues appeared, from September 1981 to February 1983. It would be revived a third time in January 1993, by Telemaco in Bologna, with just six issues, and one final revival in May 1994 for just 15 monthly issues. If a magazine of that significance could not survive, especially at the outset with Italy’s biggest publisher of sf, it was evident that the Italian sf climate was very different from that in the USA. Just rarely did one or two magazines secure more than a tenuous foothold. There were two tenacious titles, Nova SF and Robot. Robot had ceased in July 1979 after three years and 40 issues but would be revived, though not until 2003. Nova SF folded in December 1980 after 13 years and only 42 issues but reappeared in 1985, and would continue erratically for the next 24 years and another 81 issues. Throughout its 42-year life Nova SF was edited by Ugo Malaguti, one of the giants of Italian science fiction. It had first appeared in May 1967, published by Libra Editrice in Bologna, in large digest format, roughly equivalent to a trade paperback, and it consisted almost entirely of Anglo-American

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translations with just the occasional Italian story or feature. The first two issues had been a slim 94 pages and the next two 128 pages, but from the fifth issue in April 1968 it expanded to 252 pages and remained this size or bigger over the next decade, compensating for its rather approximate quarterly schedule. By 1980 Libra Editrice was in financial difficulties and Nova SF ceased. Thanks to the efforts of Malaguti, however, most of the literary assets of Libra Editrice were salvaged and relaunched in 1984 as Perseo Libri [Perseus Books], still in Bologna. The revived Nova SF soon followed in March 1985, same size and format. This time, though, the magazine was not distributed via bookstalls or newsstands, as that demanded a higher print run. Instead it was sold by subscription directly by the publisher, and though this must have limited sales—they averaged around 3,000—it also saved on distribution costs. Nova SF continued the same policy as before. It printed primarily translations of American or British sf and, because of the magazine’s length, was able to include novellas. The first new issue, for example, published the complete ‘The Quest for Saint Aquin’ by Anthony Boucher, ‘Behold the Man’ by Michael Moorcock and, dating back to 1889, ‘Urania’ by Camille Flammarion. This last reflects Malaguti’s abiding interest in the history of science fiction which he did much to promote and inform in all his publications. Nova SF would often reprint older material, usually for its first publication in Italy. That first issue, for example, ran Eric Frank Russell’s little-known 1937 story ‘Mana’ and ‘Roads’ by Seabury Quinn. Subsequent issues would resurrect stories by Stephen Vincent Benet, Lord Dunsany, Jack London and J.-H. Rosny aîné, as well as less archaic stories by Ray Bradbury, Arthur C. Clarke, Theodore Sturgeon and similar. At the same time Malaguti did not overlook more recent authors and there were translations of stories by Michael Bishop, Nancy Kress, Pamela Sargent, Lucius Shepard, Ian Watson, Wayne Wightman and Gene Wolfe. There were stories by Italian writers but usually short and only one or two per issue, authors including Gualberto Buonadonna, Luigi Cozzi, Luciano Radaelli and Daniele Vecchi. Most of the Italian contributions were articles and reviews. Nova SF was an informative magazine covering the breadth of sf and fantasy. This passion of Malaguti’s was further accommodated by another magazine, Futuro Europa, a review of European sf which he started in December 1988. It was intended as a quarterly but by 1990 was appearing just twice a year and was suspended in September 1992 after 11 issues, but resurfaced in 1995. It was in a larger format than Nova SF but with fewer pages. Malaguti co-edited this with the long-established writer and critic Lino Aldani. It reprinted fiction from throughout Europe alongside

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detailed articles about sf in specific countries, the first three issues covering Czechoslovakia, Romania and the Soviet Union. It was a truly international magazine. At the same time that Nova SF was revived a group of students in Milan— Claudio Bruneri Fusi, Marco Crespiatico, Franco Forte and Walter Maggi— let their enthusiasm overcome common sense and they determined to produce a professional magazine, despite a complete lack of experience. With almost no funding, but taking advantage of the newly available desk-top publishing, it is a tribute to their skills and determination that they succeeded and the first issue of Ucronia appeared in July 1985. That issue was a hotch-potch of ideas and material, covering science, comics, music and the cinema as well as fantasy and science fiction. They learned to their cost the problems with national distribution, but despite that their initial print run of 6,000 sold about 2,000, which did not quite meet their financial investment. Disillusioned Maggi left the team but the others persevered with two more issues in the spring and summer of 1986. These were all-Italian products, including the authors and artists, a rarity among Italian sf magazines. However, after those three brave but undisciplined issues the team rather fell apart. Eventually Crespiatico revamped the whole process, found a printer, and together with former colleagues Claudio Fusi and Nicoletta Vallorani (whose translation skills proved significant) the magazine was relaunched with a new series in the summer of 1987. Now in a slightly larger, review-size format, with 82 pages rather than 128, Ucronia had a colour cover by Eddie Jones and reprinted material by Isaac Asimov and Robert Silverberg in addition to the home-grown material, which still remained the priority in the magazine. Crespiatico looked for more cuttingedge material and in the fifth issue, dated Autumn 1987, he published the first translation into Italian by William Gibson, ‘Il Mercato d’Inverno’ [The Winter Market]. The second series also presented material by David Brin, Kim Stanley Robinson, Carter Scholz and Lucius Shepard. Unfortunately the team still lacked the finances and they were unable to promote the magazine sufficiently to improve sales. The final issue (the fourth of the new series but seventh overall), dated Summer/Autumn 1988, showed the financial strain, with fewer pages, a rise in the cover price and almost all minor Italian material. The collapse of Ucronia was not unexpected but was disappointing because it was a valiant and worthy counterpart to Nova SF which did, at least, survive into not only the 1990s but also the new millennium. The economic situation in Italy made any new publishing venture difficult, and the reader preference was always for the regular paperback series rather

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than the magazine. Malaguti kept Nova SF going because he wanted to, and because on its own it was sufficient to appeal to the dedicated local fan.

Netherlands71 Although the Netherlands has a strong and active fan base, it has never been enough to support a professional science-fiction magazine, though there have various valiant attempts over the decades. There were many clubs in both the Netherlands and neighbouring Belgium, which shared a significant Flemish-speaking population, and they all issued their ‘clubzines’, some of which also ran fiction of reasonable quality. The leading club was the Nederlands Contactcentrum voor Science Fiction (NCSF) which had been formed in 1965 and started its magazine Holland-SF in August 1966. The magazine has been remarkably resilient and continues to this day, passing #250 in 2013. From 1977 to 1989 its editor was Annemarie van Ewyck, who encouraged short fiction and usually published one or two stories per issue. It was through her help that Tais Teng saw his first story published in English, when she translated his ‘Disslish de Aquamancer’ from Holland-SF July/August 1981 for Richard D. Nolane’s anthology Terra SF II (1983), representing that year’s best European sf. Teng’s very first story had also appeared in Holland-SF in 1971, ‘De beelden der goden’ [The Images of Gods] and he used the fanzines and clubzines to hone his craft before developing his reputation on the wider international scene. The most important magazine to seek professional status and bookstand distribution was Orbit, which ran for 31 issues from August 1977 to Summer 1987. It was published and edited quarterly by Kees van Toorn and its origins, emerging from a rivalry of two fans in the Perry Rhodan SF Club, were told in Gateways to Forever. Orbit was a quality product with colour covers and profusely illustrated on slick paper, and it received the European SF Award in 1978. It relied heavily on reprints, mostly from the USA, UK and Germany, and ran at best one Dutch or Belgian story per issue—Guido Eekhaut, Tais Teng, Bob Laerhoven and Eddy C. Bertin, for instance, all appeared with either original stories or reprints—but the emphasis still showed the influence of Perry Rhodan: #17 (Winter 1982) was a special Perry Rhodan number. The magazine gave an increasing bias towards the blockbuster movies that came in the wake of Star Wars and Close Encounters. Issue #23 (Summer 1983) was a special collaboration with SF Terra, the only other professional magazine, and was devoted to the film The Return of

71  My thanks to Jaap Boekestein for his help with this section.

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the Jedi. This briefly boosted Orbit’s finances, which had been struggling, but soon after issues became rather less regular with over a year between the Summer 1985 and Autumn 1986 issues. Only two further issues appeared as van Toorn became increasingly involved with the organization of the 1990 World SF Convention which was held in The Hague. Despite apologies and promises that Orbit would return, it never did. SF Terra had been the long-running fanzine of the Perry Rhodan SF Association and had started out as Terra in July 1972. It was a fairly reliable clubzine but suddenly with #45 in February 1980 it transformed into a glossy, full-colour magazine and a name change to SF Terra with evident professional intent. This had arisen because of an arrangement between the editor and a local printer, but this had not been with the full agreement of the club. Issues became delayed and the quality of presentation suffered so much so that the arrangement ceased at the end of 1980, with #49. Nevertheless, this had given the magazine a taste of the big life. It had already had some distribution through comic-book stores, but now it sought wider sales and a more professional quality. After a brief respite when it reverted to a standard clubzine, from #56 (March 1982) it had another glossy face-lift, but this time had special issues printed for national distribution and standard issues for the club. As with Orbit, it also promoted the latest movies. However, sales were uneven and income unpredictable, while costs were high. Although it was supported to a degree by club dues, it was difficult to sustain the production costs so, once again, SF Terra cut costs where it could by producing only the occasional special issue. Unfortunately disaster struck in 1984, resulting in a special ‘crisis’ number (#68, August 1984) labelled as ‘extra thin’. Moreover the next issue, a double number, was printed but not distributed. SF Terra persevered but it no longer had national distribution, and could at best be called a clubzine with ‘big ideas’. It has continued, nevertheless, reaching its 200th number at the end of 2006. The experiences of both Orbit and SF Terra had showed how difficult it was to publish a national sf magazine in the Netherlands. A much greater success was had with the anthology series Ganymedes edited by Vincent van der Linden, and published as a yearbook by Bruna SF. These were of 200 pages or so and consisted of stories almost entirely by Dutch and Belgian writers. With volume 8 (1984), van der Linden began to include the winners of the King Kong Award. This had started in 1977 as a result of a story contest run by Rob Vooren, who published the results and the top stories in his fanzine De beste SF verhalen van de King Kong Award which he ran until 1983. Vooren also raised the prize money for the awards which was 1000 guilders (about £240 or $400). Regular winners and runners-up included

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Peter Cuijpers, Wim Burkunk, Eddy C. Bertin, Tais Teng, Bert Vos and Sophie van der Waaij. The prize was itself prestigious but the subsequent publication from 1984 onwards in Ganymedes was an added bonus. Unfortunately Ganymedes only ran for three more volumes, ceasing with number 11 in 1989. Since Orbit had also ceased by then and SF Terra had reverted to a clubzine with occasional special issues, professional publication in the Netherlands remained elusive. It is little surprise that many Dutch writers produce their work in English and sell to the American or British markets. Indeed in later years a Dutch author, Jetse de Vries, would become an editor with the British Interzone, but that was not until 2005.

Spain72 The 1980s were, for Spain, something of a desert between oases, and yet a deceptively fertile desert. Until 1982, Spain’s leading magazine had been Nueva Dimensión, discussed in detail in Gateways to Forever. Despite decent sales the magazine had become financially bereft thanks to the failure of distribution networks and payments. What had been one of the leading sf magazines in Europe effectively ceased in September 1982, with one longdelayed issue, #148, in November 1983. It had set the standard for quality for although the majority of its stories were translations, its editor, Domingo Santos, selected material that reflected contemporary attitudes and ideas. It would be nearly ten years before it found suitable successors in B.E.M. and Gigamesh. In-between, there were several attempts at new commercial magazines but none lasted for long—not even the Spanish edition of Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, published as Isaac Asimov’s Revista Ciencia Ficción. The first attempt, from the publisher Picazo, began in December 1979 with 12 bi-monthly issues until March 1981. These were straight translations of fiction from the US edition, with new cover art, but none of the non-fiction except for Asimov’s editorials. Unfortunately, the translations were of a poor quality and, despite trading on Asimov’s name—the publisher also issued several of Asimov’s collections—the magazine failed to find a market. There was a second attempt from another publisher, Forum, starting on a monthly basis in February 1986. This time the editor was Domingo Santos and he not only selected a wider range of material, including non-fiction, with better translations, but he also made the magazine more personal and informative, with individual story introductions by various Spanish sf

72  My thanks to Miguel A. Martínez for his help with this section.

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experts. It was the one star in the generally bleak firmament of the 1980s, but still failed to find a sufficiently commercial market and ceased after 15 issues in April 1987. The same had applied to the Spanish edition of Omni, called Alien, which saw just seven issues from December 1981 to June 1982. Although it was published under licence to Omni, and used some material from the magazine, it also used much Spanish material, or older fiction translated from other sources. It was competently edited by Javier Viejo Comas, but as it was published in the flat, letter-size format on quality slick paper, heavily illustrated, it proved too expensive to produce. It did not fit comfortably into the Spanish market because it did not attract the sf fans, while those interested in science and technology, including UFOs and other parascience, already had their own magazines such as Algo, Karma-7 and Investigación y Ciencia (the Spanish edition of Scientific American). At the other end of the market were a few amateur magazines that tried to expand into the commercial market. Zikkurath Ficción, produced by Fernando Fuenteamor, already had a complicated history before it made the change in 1980. It started as a sword-and-sorcery A4-size fanzine called simply Zikkurath in 1974. Then, from March 1975 it switched to science fiction and renamed itself Zikkurath 2000. Apart from its first issue, which began a serialization of Donald A. Wollheim’s The Universe Makers and looked back to the Futurians of the 1940s and the work of H. P. Lovecraft, most issues featured writers of the New Wave and their US counterparts, for example reprinting material by Harlan Ellison and stories from Dangerous Visions, as well as the work of Brian W. Aldiss, Thomas M. Disch, Robert Silverberg, Theodore Sturgeon, Ian Watson and others, including William S. Burroughs. For most of its run it published minimal Spanish fiction but there was much by way of commentary on the stories. However, its last two issues in 1978 were taken over entirely by Spanish fiction, mostly very short and imitative of the New Wave. In this guise it won the European SF Award as Spain’s leading fanzine in 1978. After 16 issues in that form, it was reborn in 1979 as ‘Zikkurath (2ª época)’ [second series], proclaiming itself ‘Best European Fanzine’, with more of a blend of Spanish and Anglo-American fiction, but still with an emphasis on the New Wave or renegade writers. Perhaps because of the award it had attracted over 700 subscribers and this may have been enough to encourage the move to professional status. After one more amateur issue in August 1979, consisting mostly of crime and mystery fiction, it repositioned itself and, in November 1980 was relaunched as Zikkurath Ficción with full-colour covers. It was still A4 size and still followed much the same path: New Wave and speculative fiction with work by J. G. Ballard, David S. Garnett,

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Michael Moorcock and Norman Spinrad, but also some traditional material by Poul Anderson and Bob Shaw. There was a higher percentage of fiction by Spanish writers, such as Mariano Antolín Rato and Jaime Rosal, as well as some international coverage with stories from France and Japan. The cost was too much, though. After four issues the magazine almost died, but managed to publish two more in December 1981 and January 1982. It was another valiant effort, but the magazine never really outgrew its fannish base and was not commercially viable. Tránsito was another matter. It had started in February 1982 as a simple A5-size, six-page news and review zine, produced single-handedly by Alejo Cuervo. Thereafter, Cuervo was joined by a steadily growing team, including Joan Manel Ortiz and Miquel Mas, pooling resources to keep Tránsito to a regular schedule, which at the outset was fortnightly but soon shifted to monthly. Issue #5 (April 1982), at 36 pages, was a special Philip K. Dick issue, reprinting one of his early stories. Issue #6 (May 1982) grew further, discussing Robert E. Howard’s Conan stories. By #7 (August 1982), because of a delay in production, the news feature was dropped. Tránsito now developed its concept of focusing on a particular author with a representative story and a supporting article or analysis alongside the regular reviews and essays. Authors covered in later issues included Angela Carter, Fritz Leiber, Ramsey Campbell (in a special Cthulhu issue), Jack Vance and Italo Calvino. From #7 Albert Solé had joined the team as the main editor and director, alongside Joan Manel Ortiz. Cuervo left the team after #8 (November 1982) but soon returned with Gigamesh. With Cuervo’s departure the magazine became less regular but grew in size to A4 with #11 (November 1983), with improved production. The amount of work compiling each issue was significant and after #12 (May 1984) there was up to a year between issues. By now the team were investing heavily and secured quasi-national distribution. Tránsito received the European SF Award in 1987 as Spain’s best fanzine. With #16 (November 1987) there was a concerted effort to expand the fiction content, but that was the issue that broke the bank. It was two years before #17 (December 1989) appeared and that contained no fiction. That was to all intents the final issue, but most of the editorial team reconstituted themselves as the Interface Group and returned to basics, producing B.E.M. as a new news and review magazine, from August 1990. The team eventually published an eighteenth issue of Tránsito in October 1993, this time predominantly fiction, with work by Jonathan Carroll, Keith Laumer, Joe Haldeman and Dan Simmons. Though that was the last of Tránsito, its title became indicative of the transition between Nueva Dimensión and B.E.M. which became one of the major publications of the 1990s.

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It was to be joined by Gigamesh which became a professional magazine in June 1991, but only after it had seen 12 issues as an amateur magazine from September 1985 to May 1989. The first issue was produced by Alejo Cuervo, but thereafter he was assisted by Albert Solé. For a fanzine it maintained a surprisingly regular quarterly schedule, at least until its eleventh issue in September 1987. It was in some ways a repetition of Tránsito, in the same octavo format and with much the same author-centred informative articles. It did run a translation of Ursula K. Le Guin’s ‘The White Donkey’ in #3 (February 1986) and Ray Bradbury’s ‘A Piece of Wood’ in #5 (August 1986), but otherwise the magazine concentrated on essays, interviews and bibliographies. Unlike Tránsito, it did not overstretch itself, keeping to a regular 28 octavo pages per issue. It provided excellent experience for Cuervo who would relaunch Gigamesh as a fully professional and beautifully produced magazine in 1991. Neither Tránsito nor Gigamesh published much Spanish fiction. There were other fanzines that encouraged local writers, notably Máser and Kandama. Máser, which ran for 14 octavo issues between 1980 and 1989, was produced by Juan José Parera who would later establish a claim to fame as the creator of the Terminus Trantor bibliographic website. Kandama saw eight quarto issues from 1980 to 1984. It was edited by Miquel Barceló who went on to become a senior editor at the publisher Ediciones B and introduced a new line of science-fiction books. The influence and inspiration of Nueva Dimensión was to some degree passed on to Máser and Kandama. For example, Nueva Dimensión had published the first story by Rafael Marín Trechera, ‘Habrá un día en que todos …’ [There Will be a Day When All …] (#119, January 1980), which he later remarked drove the editors into ‘un arrebato de locura’ [a fit of madness].73 It was soon followed by the novella ‘Nunca digas buenas noches a un extraño’ [Never Say Goodnight to a Stranger] (#129, December 1980), set in the near-future computer-controlled dictatorship of the Netherlands, which is considered an early example of cyberpunk. His alternate-history story, ‘Mein Fuhrer’, which appeared in Kandama #3 (August 1981), caused ripples and his talent was soon recognized. Máser #5 (June 1983) ran a piece on him by Joan Manel Ortiz, ‘Rafael Marín: le enfant terrible’, with two new stories. It soon led to his highly regarded first novel, Lágrimas de luz [Tears of Light] (1984). Marín went on to be better known as a writer of graphic novels and an expert on Marvel Comics, but his early writings set science fiction alight in Spain.

73  Rafael Marín Trechera, interview by Pedro Jorge Romero, El archivo de Nessus, http:// opococ.com/entrevistas/rafael_marin/index.html.

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Carlos Saiz Cidoncha, who became known as the Spanish Isaac Asimov, had been instrumental in helping Nueva Dimensión to survive in the 1970s. He contributed essays and stories to most of the Spanish small press but he was best known for his Galactic Empire space operas of which Máser published ‘Naves en orbita’ [Ships in Orbit]. Likewise the work of Elia Barceló. She had first appeared in Kandama #2 (1981) with two stories, ‘Embryo’ and ‘Minnie’. She had two further stories in Kandama and also appeared in Nueva Dimensión with ‘Catarsis’ (#138, October 1981) before placing two stories in Máser. Barceló’s experiences with the amateur magazines paved her way as she later recalled: When I was twenty-two, I started getting short stories published in all the fanzines and magazines available in Spain and little by little I started being known in the small world of science-fiction fandom. I think that two things helped: my literary style (that was unusual at the time for science-fiction stories) and the fact that I am a woman (actually the only successful female science-fiction writer in Spain). Some years later, one of the people who had been publishing fanzines [Miquel Barceló] got a job with a big publisher and asked me if I would like to publish a book with them. Of course I said yes and my first book—Sagrada—was published by Ediciones B in 1989.74

During the 1980s the fraternity of Spanish sf fandom was relatively small and close-knit and so provided a fertile ground for new writers to develop their talents, and thus mature into the 1990s.

Sweden75 During the 1980s Sweden had two science-fiction magazines which were as different as they were the same. Jules Verne magasinet had the oldest pedigree, though on closer scrutiny this is not as much as it seems. The original magazine of that title was a weekly that ran from 16 October 1940 to 28 February 1947, notching up a total of 332 issues. Its subtitle was ‘Veckans Äventyr’ [Adventures of the Week] and though those adventures were usually science fiction there were also many sports stories and westerns and a healthy dose of crime fiction. So it was not a dedicated sf magazine, and in fact the original title was more or less superseded by Veckans Äventyr within the first year. 74  Elia Barceló, interview by Paul Engles, Maclehose Press, http://maclehosepress.com/tag/ elia-barcelo/. 75  My thanks to John-Henri Holmberg for his help with this section.

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In early 1969 Bertil Falk revived the magazine under its original title. His version was a quarterly digest, and although he reprinted some material from the first series it otherwise had nothing in common. The print run increased steadily from 200 to 1,200 copies but, despite this improvement it ceased after ten issues in the summer of 1971. In January 1972 Sam Lundwall revived the magazine, again as a quarterly but now in the larger letter-size format, though with only 36 pages. Lundwall had secured a licence with Edward Ferman for Jules Verne magasinet (JVM) to reprint stories from F&SF, though it never operated as a Swedish edition of F&SF. Lundwall tried to include at least one original Swedish or European story per issue, and there was always a column on Swedish fandom and reviews. The first four issues were published by Askild & Kärnekull, but from March 1973 Lundwall switched to a new publisher, Delta, in which he was a co-partner with the literary agent Gunnar Dahl and Dahl’s wife, Inga. At this time the print run of the magazine was 8,000–10,000 copies but sales were less than half. So, after three issues with Delta, the print run was significantly reduced and sales were chiefly by subscription with limited bookstore outlets. The format changed to pocketbook size, close to digest. JVM had to all intents become an amateur magazine despite being printed professionally to high standards. It was also from this first reformatted issue that it picked up the numbering from the original JVM, including the recent issues, and so became #350. Thereafter JVM appeared on a regular quarterly schedule increasing to bi-monthly from 1978 with a couple of extra issues, one as a convention programme booklet in October 1977 and one to celebrate Lundwall’s tenth anniversary issue in January 1982. The contents of all issues were almost entirely from F&SF, including Isaac Asimov’s column, though there were occasional older reprints. Among the Swedish stories, Lundwall published the first by the later major sf author, Lars Jakobson, ‘Vid randen’ [At the Edge] (#371, October 1978). From #401 (October 1983), Lundwall took over the magazine entirely, publishing it under his own company Fakta & Fantasi and adding the subtitle ‘Science Fiction Nytt’ [Science Fiction News], the name of the fanzine he had produced since 1958. There is a consistency throughout all of Lundwall’s issues. Although most of his US stories came from F&SF he was highly selective and tended to choose rather more idiosyncratic and unconventional stories, including ones by Philip K. Dick, Felix Gotschalk, R. A. Lafferty, Barry Malzberg, James Morrow, Kit Reed, Joanna Russ, James Sallis, Norman Spinrad and Ian Watson. He regularly reprinted Brian W. Aldiss, George Alec Effinger, Ron Goulart and Robert F. Young, and published an original piece by Harry

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Harrison in #433 (February 1989). He seldom went for the traditional, though he did dedicate an entire issue to stories by Alfred Bester (#429, June 1988). He selected stories from the full history of F&SF, sometimes going back to the start. Richard Matheson’s ‘Born of Man and Woman’ from 1950 was reprinted in his first solo issue, #401. Occasionally he went outside F&SF, such as with Ray Bradbury’s ‘I, Rocket’ from the May 1944 Amazing Stories for #416 (April 1986).76 He also published some international material, from Italy, Poland, Spain and the Soviet Union, though this dwindled over time, as did his publication of Swedish fiction. The most regular Swedish writer he published was Sten Andersson, who had nine stories in JVM between 1976 and 1986 before he left sf for a career in finance, returning 20 years later as a writer of thrillers. JVM may therefore be seen as a magazine that contained predominantly translated American and English fiction that was primarily non-traditional and occasionally challenging, peppered with some Swedish and other European fiction. Since it was available increasingly by subscription with barely no other distribution, it was not a significant influence on Swedish sf and was chiefly of interest to the inner core of Swedish fans. Lundwall was fortunate in that the magazine was supported by a grant from the Swedish State Board of Culture, allowing him to be relatively self-indulgent. Nova science fiction was very different—the only similarities being that it was also trade-paperback size and that it reprinted primarily US fiction, with at least one Swedish story per issue. It was published by Laissez Faire Produktion (LFP), a company established in 1978 by John-Henri Holmberg, Per Insulander and John Ågren with the aim of undertaking various sf-related professional assignments. In 1982 they decided to become publishers and Nova sf appeared that March, first on a quarterly basis but bi-monthly from the following year. Holmberg and Insulander served as co-editors. The magazine had a print run of 10,000 copies of which it sold about 6,000 (including 1,000 subscribers) which, in a country with a total population of around 8.3 million at that time was significant. It also paid all contributors. Because Nova sf was not linked to any specific US magazine its selection of material was more wide-ranging. Its first issue featured work by Poul Anderson, George R. R. Martin, Clifford Simak, James Tiptree, Jr and John Varley, with a good cross section of representative stories. It also reproduced covers by many leading US and UK artists, among them David Hardy, Carl Lundgren, Don Maitz and Michael Whelan. These gave Nova sf a

76  This story had, though, previously been reprinted in JVM for 9 April 1946 (when it was the first story by Bradbury to appear in Sweden), so saved time and costs on translation.

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more contemporary look against JVM’s rather staid covers and its range of material made the magazine more comprehensive. It also translated several classic stories hitherto unavailable in Swedish such as ‘By His Bootstraps’ by Robert A. Heinlein (December 1982), ‘Mimsy Were the Borogoves’ by Lewis Padgett (Henry Kuttner and C. L. Moore; August 1983), ‘Shambleau’ by C. L. Moore (April 1984), ‘Who Goes There?’ by John W. Campbell, Jr (February 1985), ‘Behold the Man’ by Michael Moorcock (April 1985) and ‘First Contact’ by Murray Leinster (December 1985). To give further emphasis to the range of material, the same issue that presented Campbell’s ‘Who Goes There?’ also ran ‘A Letter from the Clearys’ by Connie Willis, and ‘A Boy and His Dog’ by Harlan Ellison, together with an interview with Ellison by Charles Platt. The original Swedish stories were also of high quality. ‘Androider tänker inte’ [Androids Don’t Think] (February 1984) by Bertil Mårtensson, which considers man’s prejudices towards thinking and feeling machines, was voted the most popular story for that year. ‘Lidandebäraren’ [The Sufferer] (September 1982) was a powerful fantasy by one of the rising stars of Swedish literature, Inger Edelfeldt, and there were several hard-sf stories by particle physicist Kjell Rynefors, starting with ‘På andra sidan porten’ [The Other Side of the Gate] (October 1983). Rynefors’s tragic death in a house fire on New Year’s Eve 1986 robbed both physics and science fiction of a significant talent. Despite Nova sf’s good sales, LFP as a business became unprofitable by 1985. The magazine had already missed an issue and slipped to quarterly in 1984, and effectively ceased in April 1986 after 19 issues. However, Holmberg wanted to continue the magazine and set up his own small imprint, Gafiac Produktion. In September 1987 he published two issues simultaneously, intending to mail the first to subscribers and store the second issue for dispatch the following month. Unfortunately, at that point the copies of the first issue were taken by LFP’s former managing editor, Ahrvid Engholm. Engholm had objected to comments made about him by Anders Bellis in that issue’s fan column. It needed intervention by the police and a court order to have the copies returned, though not until there had been a second printing. Copies were eventually distributed in December along with the second issue. Holmberg had planned to print two more issues but this disruption, plus the fact that Holmberg had accepted a new job, meant that Nova sf was wound up. Between them, JVM and Nova sf provided an excellent cross section of contemporary and classic sf, both traditional and modern, with at least some space for new Swedish fiction, but not enough to help stimulate the

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market. JVM would continue for another 20 years and Nova sf returned in 2004.

EASTERN EUROPE77 The situation in Eastern Europe was significantly different from that in Western Europe as, since the end of the Second World War, the large belt of countries ranging from East Germany to the Balkans fell under the control of the Soviet Union. The creation of the so-called ‘Soviet bloc’, which lasted for four decades until the fall of Berlin Wall in 1989, had an enormous impact on publishing, which in all these countries was put under strict control of each state and its leading (often Communist) party. The publishing houses were operated and owned predominantly by state ministries or their subsidiaries, controlled more or less visibly by various types of censorship bodies, and although in some Soviet bloc countries, at different times, publishing was allowed greater freedom (such as Yugoslavia, Hungary and 1980s Poland), they were never allowed a free press. The desire to disseminate propaganda is believed to have been the driving force behind the creation of new types of newspapers in the Soviet Union, a trend which was followed in all Soviet bloc countries. As one of the aims was to support the development of science and technology, a specific role was assigned to new specialized magazines aimed at young adults. Following the example of the Russian Tekhnika molodezhi [Technology for Youth], similar periodicals emerged in all Soviet bloc countries and, with the relaxation of strict censorship by the early 1960s, these started work on capturing the hearts of the youth. One way was to publish entertaining stories, often science fiction, which had been unimaginable in the early 1950s. As such magazines were powerful, because of their high print run, and in demand, as they became prestigious in that society, sf started gaining in importance in all countries of the Soviet bloc. Part of the fraternal relationship between the Soviet bloc countries and its organizations was the regular exchange of materials and the cautiously controlled cooperation and coordination between various state bodies, including publishers. Not surprisingly, therefore, Russian sf stories had a prominent presence in the majority of other Soviet bloc countries, being published both in magazines and anthologies. The second most published was Polish sf, followed by Czech and East German. Hungarian sf was less

77  My thanks to Jaroslav Olša, jr for providing this introduction to Eastern Europe and for advising upon and sometimes substantially revising the entries.

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known because of a lack of translators, while in Yugoslavia and Romania, which were rather more isolated from the rest of the Soviet bloc, their sf was translated only in rare years of closer cooperation. Much rarer was the appearance of Anglo-American sf, though there were occasional translations of, for example, Isaac Asimov, because of his Russian name. In addition to the cross-translation of each country’s works, the other tangible result of cooperation between the socialist countries’ magazines in the sf field was three unconnected international competitions for the best sf short stories, which were held in 1962, 1968 and 1986 respectively.78 The first, in 1962, was the most ambitious, announced shortly after sf became acceptable to the Communist authorities as a useful tool in supporting the interest of children and youth in technology. It was co-organized by the Soviet magazine Tekhnika molodezhi, East Germany’s Jugend und Technik [Youth and Technology], Poland’s Młody technik [Young Engineer], Czechoslovakia’s Vě da a technika mládeži [Science and Technology for Youth], Hungary’s Népszerű Technika [Popular Technology], Romania’s Ş tiinţ ă ş i tehnică [Science and Technology] and Bulgaria’s Nauka i tekhnika za mladezhta [Science and Technology for Youth].79 Some 1,400 stories were received (almost half by Soviet writers), of which the ten best from every country were selected for the international part of the competition. The winning stories were published in translation in other magazines, and a number of new and upcoming writers were among the winners (such as the Czech Václav Kajdoš, Romania’s Gheorghe Să să rman, Poland’s Konrad Fiałkowski and Bulgaria’s Dimitar Peev).80 These science and technology magazines effectively played the role of ersatz genre magazines in the Soviet bloc countries for quite some time,

78  See Jaroslav Olša, jr’s entry on the history of sf competitions in Ondř ej Neff and Jaroslav Olša, jr (eds), Encyklopedie literatury science fiction [Enyclopedia of Science Fiction Literature] (Prague: AFSF–H+H, 1995), pp. 493–96. 79  Such ‘fraternal’ cooperation might also have included Albania’s fortnightly Horizonti [Horizon], which regularly ran sf stories by local writers, one of whom—Thanas Qerama—was its editor-in-chief from 1979 to 1989. However, as the competition was announced after the Sino–Soviet rift in 1960, Albania was not included. 80  The 1962 contest was followed six years later by another in cooperation between Vě da a technika mládeži from Czechoslovakia, Mlody technik and Horyzonty techniki dla dzieci i młodzież y [Technology Horizons for Youth and Young Adults] from Poland, OTO zabavnik za nauku i tehniku [OTO Magazíne for Science and Technology] from Yugoslavia and East Germany’s Technikus [Engineer], but the international element was never realized as it was planned to be held in Warsaw in Autumn 1968, shortly after the Soviet bloc was shaken by the Russian occupation of Czechoslovakia. The last such international literary contest, for the best sf on an ecological topic, was announced in 1986 by the Russian Tekhnika molodezhi, Czech Vě da a technika mládeži, Slovak Elektrón [Electron], Polish Młody technik and Bulgarian sf magazine Космос [Kosmos], with not much publicity or success.

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until the success of sf brought a new source—anthologies. Regular anthologies soon emerged in many countries of the Soviet bloc, often under the same title, which could be seen as pseudo periodicals (such as Fantastika in Soviet Union, Kroki w nieznane [Steps into the Unknown] in Poland or the best-known Galaktika in Hungary). These were soon supplemented by newly emerging fanzines, the first of which appeared in Hungary in the late 1960s.81 Thus as no real periodicals existed in the Soviet bloc countries until the late 1980s (with the exception of Fantastyka in Poland) the following chapters have a broader scope.

Bulgaria Despite not being a major producer of science fiction, Bulgaria has two interesting claims. It seems to have had the first sf specialist publisher in the world, and it was the first non-English country to publish an sf magazine entirely in English. Almost 70 years separate the events. The first specialist sf imprint was Argus Publishing, established in 1922 by Svetoslav Minkov and Vladimir Poilianov in order to publish Minkov’s story collection Siniata Khrizantema [The Blue Chrysanthemum], regarded as the first sf book published in Bulgaria.82 What distinguished Argus from a simple vanity

81  Sources on sf fanzines in various Eastern European countries are scarce and often only partial. Useful tools, often compiled by fans and published also as fan publications or in fanzines, are such bibliographies as: Andrey Chertkov, ‘Fenziny, ili samizdat fantastiky’ [Fanzines, or Science Fiction Samizdat], Sovetskaya bibliografia, #1 (1990), pp. 114–22 (on sf fanzines in the Soviet Union); Wojciech Sedeń ko, Katalog wydawnictw klubowych fandomu polskiego 1976–1986 [Catalogue of Publications of Polish Fandom 1976–1986] (Olsztyn: OW PSMF Stalker, 1986), and Katalog wydawnictw klubowych fandomu polskiego 1986–1987 [Catalogue of Publications of Polish Fandom 1986–1987] (Olsztyn: OW PSMF Stalker, 1987) (on Poland); Jaroslav Olša, jr, Bibliografie č eských a slovenských fanzinů do roku 1987 [Bibliography of Czech and Slovak Fanzines until 1987] (Praha: Ústř ední kulturní dů m železnič ář ů —Klub vě decké fantastiky R.U.R., 1988), and Bibliografie č eských a slovenských fanzinů za rok 1988 [Bibliography of Czech and Slovak Fanzines in 1988] (Praha: Ústř ední kulturní dů m železnič ář ů —Klub př átel vě decké fantastiky R.U.R., 1990) (for Czechoslovakia); Gerd Frey and Hans-Peter Neumann, ‘Die Fanzinen in der DDR’ [Fanzines in the GDR], Terminator, #9 (1990), pp. 24–27 (on East Germany); Géza Fehér, Fanzin-katalógus [Fanzines Catalogue] (Szeged: Galaktika klub, 1988) (on Hungary); and Victoria Ceraceanu, Lira Ibraghimova, Ion Ilie Iosif and Octavian Lohon, Catalog al literaturii de anticipaţ ia tehnico ş tiinţ ifica ş i S. F. [Catalogue of Future Scientific Fiction and SF] (Craiova: Universitatea din Craiova, 1988) (also covers fanzines in Romania). 82  Valentin Ivanon, ‘Bulgarian Science Fiction Between East and West’, The World SF Blog, http://worldsf.wordpress.com/2010/02/16/bulgarian-science-fiction-between-the-east-andthe-west-ii-svetoslav-minkov-and-the-diabolic-fate-of-sf-writers-who-tried-their-hand-atpublishing/.

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press was that it also published two books by Edgar Allan Poe and Hanns Heinz Ewers before it went bankrupt. Between then and the emergence of Orphia, the first English-language magazine in Bulgaria in 1990, was a long and slow process. Science fiction, indeed all genre fiction, was virtually banned under the Communist regime from 1946, and it was not until 1956 that there was some relaxation following the appearance of S raketa LZ na Lunata [With Rocket LZ to the Moon] by the Bulgarian poet, editor and translator Bozhidar Bozhilov. Thereafter a number of local writers turned to science fiction including Lyuben Dilov and Dimitar Peev. Peev would have a significant role in the development of magazine sf in Bulgaria. Although he became known as an author of detective novels, his first book was Raketata ne otgovaria [Rocketship Not Responding] (1958), a scientific-problem story. As in the Soviet Union and other Soviet bloc countries, Bulgaria had several magazines aimed at young adults encouraging them in science and technology. One of the earliest had been Nauka i tekhnika za mladezhta [Science and Technology for Youth], which began in 1948 and occasionally ran fiction, but it was not until 1962 that two new magazines appeared which gave a much greater profile to science fiction, often running two or three stories per issue. These were Космос (Kosmos) and Орбита (Orbita). Kosmos saw ten issues per year, while Orbita was weekly. Both were published by DKMS, the youth wing of the Bulgarian Communist Party. Kosmos was founded and edited until 1990 by the noted Bulgarian novelist and playwright, Stefan Dichev. It grew to be one of the top-selling magazines of the time. Its advance issue, for instance, carried two translated stories by Ray Bradbury and the Strugatsky brothers plus a new story, ‘Virus 2015’ by Svetoslav Slavchev, about a virus affecting a Martian medical station, written in a simple educational style. From 1967 Slavchev became the magazine’s deputy editor. The first formal issue of Kosmos carried a story by Dimitar Peev, who was also on the magazine’s editorial board and became the first editor of Orbita. Orbita was a weekly tabloid paper, less attractive than Kosmos, but which also usually ran at least one story per issue. Throughout their 30-year lives, Kosmos and Orbita regularly ran sciencefiction stories. Kosmos relied heavily on translations, almost all from the United States, Great Britain and other European countries, chiefly Poland and the Soviet Union. Orbita was more likely to publish Bulgarian sf. To encourage writers, Kosmos ran occasional story contests and in 1969 set up a writers’ group, the Golden Quill, under the guidance of Vasil Raykov, who was a regular contributor to the magazine during the 1960s. The Golden Quill gave awards to writers in groups under and over 18. Among

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the earliest winners were Alexsandŭ r Karapanchev and Svetoslav Nikolov, both then under 18, recognized as being two of the most promising young authors. Alongside this, science fiction fandom was growing. One of the authors published by Kosmos, Khristo Geshanov,83 founded the first fan club, Friends of the Future, in Sofia in 1962 which lasted until 1966. In Burgas, Atanas Slavov founded the club Terra Fantasy in 1968, which made several international connections. In 1972 Slavov moved to Sofia and the Terra Fantasy club temporarily ceased. In Sofia, Slavov, along with Nenko Seymenliyski and Alexsandŭ r Karapanchev, helped establish the Club Ivan Efremov, named after the noted Russian writer, which soon became the backbone of Bulgarian sf fandom. It was later realized that these clubs were being checked by state security in case they were a threat. Each club, under the control of the Central Committee of Young Communists, had a security agent attend the meetings. The state-sponsored publishing house Liliana Dmitrova was established to publish material arising via the clubs. Atanas Slavov compiled a series of annual anthologies under the generic title Модели [Models]. There were four volumes of Models published between 1981 and 1989. Of particular interest is the novella ‘Worm in Autumn Wind’ by Lyubomir Nikolov, another Kosmos discovery, in Models 2 (1981), which may be seen as proto-cyberpunk. It concerns an astronaut who, following some inexplicable adventures, begins to realize that he is part of a videogame in virtual reality. When published as a separate book in 1987 it won the European SF Award. The book version was published by Fatherland which, since 1977, had issued a regular Fantasy Library. One of the first books in the series was Professor Cornelius Intervenes, by the founder of Golden Quill, Vasil Raykov. By the 1980s science fiction was thus a regular part of publishing in Bulgaria, but there was still no dedicated magazine. In 1984 the Club Ivan Efremov assembled, under the editorial guidance of Nenko Seymenliyski and Atanas Slavov, ФЕП (FEP). ‘FEP’ stood for ‘Fantastika, Evristika, Prognostika’ [Fantasy, Heuristics, Prognostics], the club’s slogan, meaning its purpose was to explore fantasy and the future, and to encourage research and discovery. This first issue was a tentative toe in the water. It ran mostly non-fiction, with a profile of the Russian author Ivan Efremov by Todor Pink, an overview of the club itself by Miroslav Popov, and features on films and music. The one major piece of fiction was ‘V epokhata na Unimo’ [In

83  His story ‘Moon-4’ had been published in Kosmos #5 (1965). In 1976, Geshanov would also publish the first anthology composed entirely of sf by Bulgarian authors, Bulgarian Fantasy, edited by Ogynan Saparev, Lyuben Dilov and Stanca Pencheva.

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the Age of UNIMA] by Alexsandŭ r Karapanchev, a clear satire exploring the effect on humanity of a future where society is controlled completely by one giant computer. The club found it difficult to continue with the magazine and it was not until March 1988 that they revived it, still called FEP, published through the auspices of the Journal of National Youth. It was edited by Rumen Ivanchev with an editorial team under Alexsandŭ r Karapanchev. Again its content was predominantly non-fiction with interviews, reviews and studies of computers and artificial intelligence, but it did run four stories. Two were translations of work by Theodore Sturgeon and the recently deceased Russian author Dmitri Bilenkin, but the other two were by local authors, including a new story by Bulgaria’s leading sf writer, Lyuben Dilov. The magazine continued in this vein, on a bi-monthly schedule, each issue featuring several articles on science and sf, plus three or four stories mixing local work with translations from Russia and the USA. It set a contest for new writers and among these was Dorothea Valentino who was only ten when her story ‘Epilogue’ was run in the February 1989 issue. In its second year, FEP received the European SF Award for best magazine. FEP was soon claiming a circulation in excess of 20,000, but this began to falter when the Communist regime stood down at the end of 1989 and open elections were held in early 1990 as Bulgaria moved towards democracy. The ban on privately owned publishing houses ceased and new publishers began to emerge, many of which published sf and fantasy. According to Khristo Poshtakov, by the end of 1990 there were more than 30 new sf books being published each month.84 FEP’s sales fell, possibly further aggravated by the start of a new magazine, Омега (Omega), which appeared in February 1990. This was published by the major publishing house, People’s Youth, and had a large print run of some 65,000. It was issued in tabloid format, like FEP, and ran to 32 pages but featured far more fiction, again a mixture of original and translations. It was edited by Agop Melkonyan, the Bulgarian-born son of Armenian immigrants. He had been a contributor to both Orbita and Kosmos, mostly with articles on science and technology, but also with fiction—his first sf story ‘Nai dlgiyat smyah’ [The Longest Laugh] had appeared in Orbita in 1972. He had previously compiled two volumes of Bulgarian sf and fantasy, called Fantasy, for People’s Youth in 1985 and 1986. He became the first recipient of the Graviton Award in

84  Khristo D. Poshtakov, ‘El desarrollo de la ciencia ficción y la fantasía en Bulgaria’ [The Development of Science Fiction and Fantasy in Bulgaria], Khristo Poshtakov blog, http:// khristoposhtakov.blogspot.co.uk/2007/10/para-empezar-ofrecemos-un-artculo.html.

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1991, founded and sponsored by Lyuben Dilov to recognize major achievements by Bulgarian writers. It was in this climate of apparent prosperity that Atanas Slavov issued Orphia in February 1990. Along with Ivailo Runev, Slavov had established the publishing house Orphee as the first specialist sf-publishing enterprise in Bulgaria since Argus, 68 years before. Orphia was a beautiful magazine, printed entirely on glossy paper, in perfect-bound A5 format with full-colour covers and many colour interiors. The magazine’s purpose was to present a range of Slavonic sf to a wider world. It included new translations of older material by Karel Č apek and the Strugatsky brothers, plus a selection of new fiction, articles on sf music, psychic surgery and Polish sf films, and an attractive portfolio of Bulgarian sf art. Of the Bulgarian fiction, the opening story, ‘Vergilius and the Water’ by Svetoslav Nikolov, about an alien android left on Earth to monitor the decline of the Roman Empire, is also one of the best, along with the first episode of a serial, ‘Along the Wall’ by Lyubomir Nikolov. The contents as a whole were diverse and an interesting change to the majority of English-language magazines, reflecting the outlook of Bulgarian publications. Orphia was planned as a monthly, but Slavov and his team had underestimated the problems of coping in a free market having been used to a lifetime of state control. It was a struggle to raise the finances to publish such a lavish production and there was conflict in trying to continue the magazine alongside producing books. In the end the magazine was sacrificed and no further issues appeared, leaving Western readers puzzling over the conclusion to Nikolov’s serial and the fate of an astronaut lost on a hostile planet. The second issue had promised a feature on women in sf, which would have been particularly welcome from Eastern Europe. The financial climate was causing problems with the magazines. In February 1991, FEP changed its name to Фантастика (Fantastika). Much of the editorial work was now by Petar Kyrdzhilov, though Ivanchev remained the overall editor. It carried much the same material but the market failed to respond. Omega was also struggling and faltered at the end of 1990, though there was always a promise of a fourth issue which eventually appeared in 1992 in the smaller A5 format. Fantastika ceased in November 1991 after a run of, including FEP, 22 issues. Petar Kyrdzhilov started his own magazine, Фантастични истории (Fantastichni Istorii, ‘Fantastic Stories’) with an advance issue in December 1990. It was going to face severe problems as Bulgaria’s economy was in decline and there was a paper shortage which would see the end of both Kosmos and Orbita by early 1993. The start of the 1990s looked as if the promise of the new sf magazines in Bulgaria and the pinnacle of achievement with

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Orphia was at an end. Yet it was as nothing compared with the struggles science fiction had experienced in Bulgaria in the preceding decades and the magazines would rise again.

Croatia see Yugoslavia

Czechoslovakia85 Following the ‘Prague Spring’ of 1968, when the plans of Czechoslovakia’s leader Alexander Dubč ek to introduce more liberal reforms were harshly quashed by the Soviet and other Eastern European allied nations’ invasion, the Czech and Slovak establishment found itself subject to ‘normalization’ purges when, among much else, many magazines and journals were shut down. A new draconian press law was introduced and a specific agency was established under the Ministry of Interior to control published material. As a result it became impossible to start any new periodical as it had to be approved on many levels of both state and Communist Party bureaucracy before being published. While the late 1960s could be seen as a period of openness in publishing, with many genre books reprinted or published for the first time in the Czech and Slovak languages, in the early 1970s the publication of genre literature, including science fiction, dropped dramatically. Translations of foreign science fiction (excluding Polish, East German and Russian) virtually disappeared and the publication of original Czech and Slovak works was extremely limited.86 It was not until the late 1970s that the situation started to change. The influential sf writer Ludvík Souč ek appealed for the foundation of an sf magazine in his article published in Literární mě síč ník [Literary Magazine], an important literary mouthpiece of the regime, but this appeal was in vain as he died suddenly a few months later. At the same time a few enterprising editors in state-run publishing houses, sympathetic to science fiction, compiled several original sf anthologies. The first to consist entirely of stories by Czech writers was Neviditelní zlodě ji [Invisible Thieves] in 1980,

85  My thanks to Cyril Simsa and Jaroslav Olša, jr for their help with this section, which includes considerable text additions of their own. 86  Between 1965 and 1970, 61 titles of Czech sf first editions appeared, while between 1971 and 1976 there were only 22 titles. See the table in Ivan Adamovič , Slovník č eské literární fantastiky a science fiction [Encyclopedia of Czech Fantastic and Science Fiction Literature] (Prague: R3, 1995), p. 262.

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edited by Irena Zítková with contributions by Ludmila Freiová, Milan Hejduk, Pavel Toufar, Jaroslav Veis, Zdenĕ k Volný and Jaroslav Zýka. All of these were authors who were making a name in Czechoslovakia for their science fiction. The big change, though, came with editor Vojtĕ ch Kantor, who worked at the state-run Mladá fronta, where production was aimed at a young adult readership. He succeeded in publishing two story collections by Jaroslav Veis in 1976 and 1979, but 1983 saw publication of his twin anthologies Železo př ichází z hvě zd [Iron Comes from the Stars] and Lidé ze souhvě zdí Lva [People of the Constellation Leo]. Kantor was close to Czechoslovak sf fandom and used many stories sent to the unofficial first year of the Karel Č apek Award, initiated by the SF Club in Pardubice. Even more influential was Ivo Železný, whose anthologies, published by Albatros and later Svoboda, were aimed at adult readers and collected mainly translated, often English-language stories. These were Stvoř itelé nových svě tů [Creators of New Worlds] (1980), Pozemšt̕ané a mimozemšt̕ané [People and Extraterrestrials] (1981), Experiment č lově k [Experiment Human] (1983) and Roboti a androidi [Robots and Androids] (1988). Of importance were two original anthologies of Czech (and a few Slovak) writers, collected as Stalo se zítra [It Happened Tomorrow] (1984) and Návrat na planetu Zemi [Return to Planet Earth] (1985). During the 1980s, around 40 anthologies appeared in Czech and Slovak, thus filling at least partly the void of no regular sf periodical. Železný and Kantor were rightly praised by leading sf fan Petr Holan as ‘true talent-hunters among Czech fan writers of sf. They introduced some fifty to seventy new names into Czech sf in recent years.’87 Both editors secured the help of Czech fandom in finding contributors. Leading fan Ondř ej Neff, who would soon be regarded as the country’s major new writer and had written a study of Czech science fiction, Ně co je jinak [Something is Otherwise] (1981), contributed a story and foreword to Iron Comes from the Stars. Kantor’s publishing house Mladá fronta also published a collection of Neff’s early stories, Vejce naruby [Inside-Out Egg] (1985), which launched his fiction career. The fans, though, were keen to have a proper magazine but, as Neff recalled: The beginning of the 80s was very difficult from the ideological point of view, because the communists had a very firm grip on us, and they suspected science fiction was something which threatened their

87  Petr Holan, ‘Czechoslovak publishers and editors of sf’, Locus, #290 (March 1985), p. 26.

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ideological supremacy over society, so it was unrealistic to even think of the foundation of such a magazine.88

Czech fans began to organize themselves in 1979 when the first sciencefiction club, which later took the name Villoidus, was established at the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics, Charles University, Prague. Other clubs followed and there were over 40 by 1985, and 70 by 1987,89 most issuing a small club newsletter or fanzine. The first to issue a fanzine was the club at Teplice Observatory, which in 1981 started Sci-Fi under the editorship of Jindra Strádalová. A simple mimeographed magazine with a print run of a few dozen copies, it ran only a handful of stories (including pirated translations) and saw just 12 issues.90 It was in 1982 that the first sf convention was held at Pardubice, organized by Pavel Poláč ek of the sf club Salamandr. It was held annually thereafter and called Parcon, even after it moved from Pardubice in 1987. The convention inaugurated the annual Karel Č apek Award, named after the famous Czech author. It was soon nicknamed the Newt after Č apek’s War With the Newts (1935). The first winner was Ladislav Kubic with ‘Když jsou hosté v domě ’ [When There Are Guests in the House], which had appeared in the April 1982 issue of Salamandr’s fanzine Koč as. The winners from the next two years also appeared in Koč as, but as the decade progressed a wider variety of sources appeared. Perhaps the two most notable winners in the 1980s were ‘Legenda o Madoně z Vrakoviště ’ [The Legend of the Madonna of the Scrapyard] by František Novotný, from the samizdat anthology Lidště jší než lidé [More Human Than Humans] (1985) edited by Zdenĕ k Rampas, and ‘Zítř ek v Agónii’91 [Tomorrow in Agony] by Eva Hauserová from the officially published anthology, Skandál v divadle snů [Scandal at the Theatre of Dreams] (1988) edited by Vojtĕ ch Kantor. Novotný’s story is an ingenious account, presented as a scholarly document, of how a religious myth grew among the robots. Hauserová’s proto-feminist tale is set in the ruins of a high-rise housing estate on the planet Agony, and recounts the story of a local woman who becomes fascinated by a visitor from another 88 Ondř ej Neff, interview by Cyril Simsa in ‘An Interview with Ondř ej Neff’, Foundation, #52 (Summer 1991), p. 62. 89  See Jaroslav Olša, jr, ‘SF in Czechoslovakia’, Locus, #290 (March 1985), p. 25, and Jaroslav Olša, jr, ‘Science Fiction in Czechoslovakia. Retrospective (1985–1987)’, Locus, #338 (March 1989), p. 39. 90  For a thorough study of fanzines in Czechoslovakia see Jaroslav Olša, jr, Fanziny př ed listopadem 89. Vývoj a typy science fiction samizdatu [Fanzines Before November 89: Development and Types of sf Samizdat], Nemesis, #11–12 (1986) and #1 (1987). 91  The story was originally entitled ‘U nás v Agónii’ [Here in Agony], but this had to be changed at the insistence of the Communist censor. Later (post-Communist) editions have restored the original title.

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planet (i.e. the West), their ensuing love affair, and his betrayal of her. Told with great wit and a keen eye for grotesque detail, it is also very sad. Between them, the fanzines and anthologies were providing a firm basis for the organization of fandom and the development of new writers. Moreover, further understanding of and occasional access to science fiction was being provided, almost surreptitiously, through official channels. Zdenĕ k Volný, himself an sf writer and translator, was also the editor of the highly acclaimed elitist bi-monthly Svě tová literatura [World Literature]. He managed to sneek a fairly regular selection of sf from around the world into almost every issue of his widely read, but thoroughly controlled, magazine. From 1978, for ten consecutive years, not less than 44 sf sections were published, of which half were translations of Anglo-American writers (including Isaac Asimov, Alfred Bester, J. G. Ballard, John Brunner, Arthur C. Clarke, Samuel R. Delany, Philip K. Dick, George Alec Effinger, Damon Knight, R. A. Lafferty, Vonda McIntyre, Frederik Pohl, Robert Sheckley, Robert Silverberg, Theodore Sturgeon and Jack Vance). There were a limited number of authors from the Soviet Union, Poland, France and Romania, and a special selection of sf from such countries as the Netherlands, Slovenia, East and West Germany, Hungary, Sweden and some Asian countries. All these were supplemented by longer critical essays, usually lacking in anthologies. Science fiction was also published more or less regularly in such magazines as the young-adult weekly Sedmič ka pionýrů [Seven Days of a Pioneer], the fortnightly ABC mladých techniků a př írodově dců [ABC of Young Technicians and Biologists] and the monthly Č tení (o Sově tském svazu) [Reading (about Soviet Union)], plus regular columns in Vě da a technika mládeži [Science and Technology for Youth] and Vě da a život [Science and Life]. There were ten sf issues of the monthly Sově tská literatura [Soviet Literature] between 1980 and 1989. As a sign of the slowly changing situation, even the Czech Union of Writers, with the aim of promoting Czech literature abroad, published a special sf issue of its Panorama of Czech Literature in English, German, French, Russian and Spanish in 1986. In addition, perhaps the most influence came from the fortnightly magazine for soldiers, Zápisník [Notebook], where sf stories had appeared in every issue since the late 1970s. In 1986 a new quarterly section, titled Fan-fan, ran interviews, criticism and other short texts on sf and fandom. It was edited by Vlastimír Talaš, an occasional sf writer and translator, who became an influential figure in Czech sf. But not everyone thought the quality of fiction was high. Eva Hauserová remarked, looking back at the late 1980s and early 1990s:

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When I had a chance to compare our sf with stories by Australian and Dutch writers, my impression was that our beginning writers are somehow not able to create an expressive, clean-cut world of their own. It is as if they don’t realize what a lot of thinking you must do before you start to write.92

Ondř ej Neff was of a similar view, commenting that British and American sf was so much better than anything published in Czechoslovakia.93 What was needed was a regular dedicated magazine that gave some rigour to the process of selecting, criticizing and publishing science fiction, as well as allowing the field a wider appreciation and dissemination. But under Czechoslovakia’s totalitarian regime that was almost impossible. Even when, in the Soviet Union, President Gorbachev’s glasnost provided some relaxation of control in Czechoslovak publishing, it still proved difficult. At least five interconnected groups of fans and writers tried. The first was Ondř ej Neff, who recalled several attempts he made to found a magazine with artist Teodor Rotrekl in the late 1980s: We tried to set up a magazine in the Panorama publishing house, but this bureaucracy … it was terrible. So only after the revolution was it possible to found such a magazine. But now one sort of problem has vanished—I mean ideological and police oppression—and new problems have emerged. We have difficulties physically producing the magazine, because all the old printing companies are decomposing gradually, and new companies are emerging, but for them, publishing a science fiction magazine isn’t interesting.94

One issue of Neff’s planned pre-revolution magazine did eventually appear in pocketbook form in 1989, marketed as an anthology, SF: svĕ t, fakta, fantazie [SF: The World of Fact and Fantasy], with 12 stories including ones by Ivan Adamovič , Jaroslav Veis, Jan Veselý and Neff himself. No more volumes appeared and the rest of the material accumulated for the magazine was lost. Neff was connected with another project that would later become the mainstay of Czech sf, Ikarie XB, taking its name from the ground-breaking 1963 Czech sf film. This began as a collaboration between two sf clubs, Ada and Spectra, spearheaded by active fan and aspiring translator Jaroslav 92  Eva Hauser, ‘Science Fiction in the Czech Republic and the Former Czechoslovakia: The Pleasures and Disappointments of the New Cosmopolitanism’, Science Fiction Studies, #63 (July 1994), pp. 133–40. 93  Neff, ‘An Interview with Ondř ej Neff’. 94  Neff, ‘An Interview with Ondř ej Neff’.

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Olša, jr. Important members of the editorial team were Ivan Adamovič (now a leading expert on Czech sf and still an important editor of AngloAmerican sf in the Czech Republic), who was in charge of foreign sf, Pavel Kosatík (now a leading Czech historian and bestselling non-fiction writer) in charge of Czech sf, Alexandre Hlinka who was responsible for production, and Neff who edited the film section. Running to 64 A4 pages, printed offset on quality paper to allow for original artwork (not possible in mimeographed fanzines) and some photographs, Ikarie XB was issued in a print run of 500 copies. Although Ikarie XB sought a kind of official ‘recognition’ by being published for the ‘internal use’ of members of one club of the state-controlled Svazarm (aka Association for Cooperation with the Armed Forces), it was in fact still mainly distributed via fan ‘underground’ networks, so although it was intended at the outset to be a professional magazine, it could never claim such an official status, and since it did not pay contributors it would be a stretch to call it semi-professional. In its first year it received a European SF Award in the fanzine category. But it was a cut above all other magazines at that time and the first that could be recognized as produced to professional standards. It ran a mixture of translated and original stories, plus articles and reviews, though the latter was limited because the magazine aimed as quarterly appeared on virtually a yearly basis, with just four issues between early 1986 and 1989. Other fans persevered, with their amateur magazines steadily evolving into something more robust. One such was the club AF 167 in Brno, founded by the translator of Asimov’s Foundation series, Jindř ich Smékal, in 1985. With the help of designer and illustrator Karel Soukup, Smékal issued an eponymous fanzine, AF 167. ‘AF’ stood for ‘Anno Frankenstein’, hence 167 years since the first publication of Frankenstein in 1818. At the outset this was much like any other club magazine, running local short fiction and translating pirated US or British stories. But whereas most other club magazines—of which there were well over 20—kept their profile low so as not to attract too much attention, AF 167 was technically on a higher level and was keen to promote itself. After the fall of Communism and the end of the parent club in 1990, Smékal and Soukup developed their enterprise into a specialist publishing company. Starting with Harry Harrison’s Deathworld, they issued legitimate translations, as well as several local books, notably two collections by František Novotný. The magazine AF 167 was put on a formal semi-professional footing for its final three issues from September 1990 to Summer 1991. Thereafter Smékal and Soukup concentrated on the book-publishing business. A similar transition from fanzine to official publishing house happened to the mimeographed Laser, edited by Tomáš Jirkovský, which became the

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same-named publishing house, and to the fanzine SF povídky [SF Story], edited by Václav Soukup, which became the specialist sf publishing house Winston Smith (or Wales). Perhaps the most successful was Vlastimír Talaš, working with MON, the publishing wing of the International Union of Students (IUS), a left-wing international organization. With its headquarters in Prague, IUS had a sort of ‘diplomatic’ status during the Communist period and could operate more freely, running a publishing empire that produced both booklets for their own use, and a few successful magazines and books. Although a successor of Ikarie XB, named Ikarie, became the country’s first fully fledged monthly in 1990, it was beaten to the post as the first professional magazine by Svĕ t fantastiky [World of Fantastic], which first appeared at the end of 1989, edited by Talaš. It had a similar appearance and mix of contents as Ikarie with more stories and less non-fiction, and a similar balance of foreign stories to Czech ones, with some of Ikarie’s contributors taking part, such as Olša, jr., Adamovič and Jan Hlavič ka. However, its frequency, originally planned to be three per year, was never achieved and, with the fall of Communism shortly after its maiden issue, it folded after its third issue in summer 1990. Following the fall of the Communist regime after the Velvet Revolution in 1989, publishing freedom allowed new magazines to emerge. The editorial collective behind Ikarie XB, including Ondř ej Neff, Jaroslav Olša, jr, Pavel Kosatík and Ivan Adamovič , put together a proposal and the eversupportive publisher Mladá fronta took it on, issuing it as a genuine professional sf magazine, now called simply Ikarie, on a monthly basis from June 1990. The structure and concept was similar to Ikarie XB, having one third of a magazine with translated sf, one third consisting of original Czech sf and the remaining part being non-fiction, books, comics and film reviews, criticism, interviews and bibliographies. Ondř ej Neff served as editor-in-chief, with Kosatik as editor for the first issue, and Olša as editor for the rest of 1990. They were assisted by Ivan Adamovič and, after the first issue, Eva Hauserová. Vlado Ríša (now the editor-in-chief) joined in late 1990. This was a strong team with a profound know­ledge and understanding of the strengths of science fiction who did their best to assemble a quality magazine. Production was excellent, with full-colour covers and many interior illustrations, and it ran a good selection of top-quality translated sf—with work by Brian W. Aldiss, David Brin, Suzy McKee Charnas, Harry Harrison, Garry Kilworth, Barry Longyear, Frederik Pohl, Jeff VanderMeer and such European writers as Stanislaw Lem and Tais Teng—but also the best of the Czech writers, including Jaroslav Veis, Vilma Kadleč ková, František Novotný, Jaroslav Velinský and Eva Hauserová.

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Ikarie did not have the problems that had faced Neff when trying to plan his magazines, but there were still hurdles to surmount as American writer Grania Davis discovered when she visited Czechoslovakia and took part in the annual Parcon convention, held in the Slovak capital Bratislava later in 1990: Shortages of paper and an unreliable state distribution system have limited their printings to 45,000 copies. Yet the magazine is very popular and could profitably sell 100,000 copies each month … Another problem is payment to foreign authors. Although the newly formed Czechoslovakian Science Fiction Writers Syndicate has joined the World SF global community, the country still lacks a hard international currency to pay western authors.95

Thanks to the determination of the publisher and editors, Ikarie was set to stay and would be a key part of sf in Eastern Europe for the next 20 years, as will be explored in The Rise of the Cyber Chronicles. Nevertheless it was evident that the new-found post-Communist freedom had set sf publishing free in Czechoslovakia and, apart from a few trials, it would go from strength to strength.  Although fandom in Czechoslovakia was a unitary body comprising both Czech and Slovak clubs, the situation in Slovakia was slightly different. During the 1980s, there were fewer sf books published, and fewer fanzines appeared in Slovak than in the Czech language.96 There was a special sf issue of the leading literary digest monthly, Revue svetovej literatúry [Selection of World Literature] (July 1981), co-edited by one of the best-known Slovak sf personalities, translator, critic and historian Ondrej Herec with Lýdia Vadkerti-Gavorníková. It contained the usual mix of Anglo-American sf (by Poul Anderson, Vernor Vinge, Kurt Vonnegut, Fritz Leiber and Fredric Brown) mixed with stories by writers from the Soviet Union, East Germany, Poland, Hungary, Italy and even Cuba and Nicaragua. Quite a number of Slovak sf anthologies appeared in the 1980s (some of which resembled quasi-periodicals due to their standard graphic design and format) which unsuccessfully aimed to be yearbooks, such as 13x sci-fi

95  Grania Davis, ‘Czechoslovakian SF Rises Above Ground’, Locus, #360 (January 1991), p. 42. 96  For a detailed account of the development of Slovak sf, see Miloš Ferko, Dejiny slovenskej literárnej fantastiky [History of Slovak Fantastic Literature] (Bratislava: Literárne informač né centrum, 2007).

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(1983), a selection of Russian and Soviet sf edited by Hilda Holinová, 10x sci-fi (1985), stories by Anglo-American sf writers edited by Hviezdoslav Herman, and 13x sci-fi, Volanie na Mlieč nej caste [13x Sci-fi: Call from the Milky Way] (1989), a selection of Polish sf edited by Hilda Holinová. These were published by Smena, one of the biggest Slovak publishing houses, which in 1989 attempted to establish the first Slovak sf periodical. Similar to the Czech Svě t fantastiky, which under the stringent Communist regulations could not be a ‘proper’ periodical, it started under the title SF 01 which was followed by SF 02 in 1990. Edited by Ondrej Herec and Ján Tazberík, it was an A4 magazine with a print run of 30,000 copies (SF 02) containing a number of original Slovak stories together with a sufficiently politically balanced selection of three Russian and four Anglo-American stories (by Michael Moorcock, Larry Niven, Greg Bear and James H. Schmitz), complemented by two Polish stories and one story each from West and East Germany, Hungary, Bulgaria, France and Japan. Even shorter-lived was an A5-size fantasy semi-prozine (and/or periodical anthology) Legendy [Legends], edited by Peter Sadovský, a long-time fan and former publisher of the fanzine Prit in the 1980s. Two issues of Legendy were published in 1990 under the same title, but with different contents (one with a black and white cover, the other with full colour) to be followed by the last issue, Legendy 2, in 1991. All three were published by one of the most active Slovak sf clubs, 451° Fahrenheita in Košice, and contained exclusively stories by Slovak fantasy writers. Slovakia would eventually get its own regular professional sf magazine, Fantázia, but not until 1997.

East Germany see Germany

German Democratic Republic see Germany

Hungary97 The history of modern science fiction in Hungary is, to a large degree, the history of one magazine, Galaktika, and of its publishing house, Móra, which despite operating under a Communist regime until 1989 was, for an Eastern European country, surprisingly liberal. That may be because Móra

97  My thanks to Endre Zsoldos and Attila Nemeth for their help with this section.

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was a publisher of books for children and adolescents. After the end of the Second World War, different publishers were assigned different specialisms under the nationalization programme, and Móra was allocated children’s books. In 1968 Móra began a specialist science-fiction line called Kozmosz [Cosmos] under the editorship of Péter Kuczka, who became a leading figure in the establishment of Eurocon in 1972 and in the World SF organization when it was created in 1976. Móra began publication of Galaktika in December 1972 with Kuczka as editor. Although it was a magazine in looks and content it was treated, initially, as a quarterly anthology series. At the outset sales were in the order of 20,000–25,000, but by 1981 had risen to 80,000–90,000.98 As related in Gateways to Forever, Kuczka did not endear himself to the science-fiction fans in Hungary. He had what may be seen as an elitist attitude towards science fiction, which he needed in order to destigmatize sf from its juvenile image, and to do that he wanted to publish quality fiction. His view, rightly or wrongly, was that little of this was going to be produced by Hungarian fans, so he took to encouraging mainstream writers to produce science fiction, and to reprinting material not just from the United States and Great Britain but from all round Europe. Galaktika became the most cosmopolitan of sf magazines. Kuczka produced many themed issues, several by nationality. Over its first 12 years, a third of its issues celebrated the sf of other countries, starting with French sf in #3 (February 1973).99 There were also three issues which explored in more detail the nature of sf in Hungary. Issue #35 (September 1979), for example, looked at the origins of Hungarian sf, while #55 (May 1984) presented recent Hungarian fiction. Galaktika has also had themed issues by subject and by author. The former included an environmental issue (#30, November 1978) and a special issue by women writers (#56, August 1984). Author issues, in the 1980s, included Philip K. Dick (#52, December 1983), Frederik Pohl (#53, February 1984) and Brian W. Aldiss (#60, September 1985). The only non-Anglo-American author to have a dedicated issue was the Romanian Mircea Opriț ǎ (#54, March 1984).

98  See Peter Kuczka, ‘SF in Hungary’, SFWA Bulletin, 16:4 (May 1982), p. 38. In this same article Kuczka refers to Galaktika as a magazine despite all the pretence that it was an anthology. 99  The full run was: France (#3, February 1973; #44, November 1981), Italy (#6, November 1973; #49, August 1983), the Soviet Union (#11, January 1975; #25, June 1977; #39, November 1980), Romania (#12, June 1975), East Germany (#21, September 1976; #47, October 1982), Spain (#24, April 1977), Sweden (#28, January 1978), Bulgaria (#29, April 1978), Poland (#41, June 1981), Australia (#43, November 1981), Czechoslovakia (#48, December 1982) and Japan (#59, August 1985).

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Kuczka did not neglect Hungarian writers and developed a reliable stable of contributors. One such was Tibor Dévényi, a research chemist who took to writing sf late in his career, when he was in his 50s. Galaktika published nearly 40 of his stories in the 1980s alone, starting with a group of vignettes in #49 (August 1983). Most of his stories were humorous and satirical, including a sequence where he uses the plight of the officials on the space station The Three Geraniums (October–December 1989) to parody the bureaucracy in Hungary at that time. Another prolific contributor was István Nemere who won the European SF Award in 1983, jointly with Christopher Priest, as that year’s best writer. Nemere had started writing in the late 1960s when he lived in Poland, and turned to science fiction in 1977 after he had settled back in Hungary. His first sf story was ‘Leleplezés’ [The Unveiling] in Galaktika #27 (November 1977) but his more regular contributions began with ‘Kettő s csapda’ [Double Trap] (May 1984), where people’s experiences of virtual dreamworlds become disturbing. Although most of Nemere’s books were aimed at younger readers with the general impression of rousing space adventures, his stories in Galaktika explored the nature of reality hidden from the world we normally see, always a potent message in totalitarian societies. ‘Kisérletek’ [Experiments] (November 1985), for example, explored the age-old problem of who watches the watchers. ‘Madárszárny’ [Bird-Wing], one of three stories by Nemere in the March 1987 issue, is a clever story of how explorers on an alien world have to outwit the invisible inhabitants. There is an element of Philip K. Dick in Nemere’s more provocative work. The like-named István Németh was far less prolific but his work was perhaps more notable. ‘Árkádia’ (#46, August 1982) depicts a future Earth which has been rebuilt after an apocalypse only to face a new threat of recolonization. ‘A gyű rű ’ [The Ring] (October 1985) explores the consequences of a sexual relationship with a totally alien culture. ‘Világnemzés’ [World Procreation] (January 1986) likens a comet flying into the Sun to sperm entering an ovum, and its consequences for the population of Earth. Viola Pap was one of the most original contributors, her satires, usually about our desecration of the Earth, sometimes taking the form of allegories or parodies to highlight her message. In the pantheistic fable ‘Egy kicsit’ [A Little] (#50, September 1983), the Earth seeks a reprieve from destruction by the Sun, which wants to wipe out the ‘worms’ on the planet. In ‘Rendhagyó vadászat’ [Irregular Hunting] (January 1986), hunted animals turn upon humans. In ‘A viz joga’ [The Right to Water] (August 1987), a new chemical, intended to purify polluted water, proves so powerful that it ejects everything from the seas. ‘A Nő i Szem’ [Feminine Eye] (June 1989)

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has the Cosmic Commission consider destroying humanity as not being of any worth. Two other writers who established themselves in Galaktika in the 1980s were András Gáspár and László L. Lő rincz. Gáspár emerged from fandom and had eight stories in Galaktika in the space of just over two years, several, such as his first ‘Dollársas, ha szárnyra kap …’ [Dollareagle, When it Takes to Wing …] (November 1986), showing concern for the desecration of our planet. By the late 1980s he had joined the editorial board and later moved into fantasy and book publishing. Lő rincz’s first story, ‘A Nagy Kupola szégyene’ [The Great Dome Shame] (January 1980), was like something one might have expected in the Sloane Amazing Stories of the 1930s—a tale related by a red ant. Some of his later stories were more traditional, such as ‘Idő utazás’ [Time Travel] (July 1986), but he enjoyed writing fiction where the plot disguised the real story, so it was no great surprise when he moved on to become a successful author of mysteries. With the steadily increasing quality of Hungarian writers, it was decided to put Galaktika on a new footing. Although the first 60 issues had all the appearance of a magazine, they were treated as an anthology series, but from October 1985 it was converted into a monthly A4 magazine with 96 pages instead of the previous 125 A5-size pages. It now ran regular news and reviews (books, TV, videos and film), with a greater emphasis on new stories by Hungarians, though US and UK translations still accounted for almost half of each issue. From March 1987 a new feature was added, ‘3.2.1.0. Start!’, publishing the works of new Hungarian writers. All of this extra work meant that Kuczka needed a more senior editor to run the magazine directly, rather than the various managing editors he had employed previously. The first in this role was Ferenc Halmos, who edited the magazine from March 1985 to September 1987. During his editorship the magazine flourished, winning the European SF Award in 1986. He was followed by Judit Trethon. Her working relationship with Kuczka was at times fiery and she resigned with the April 1990 issue and was succeeded by Mária Simon. Galaktika had had a companion anthology since 1978. The first MetaGalaktika was a one-off, consisting of material selected from earlier issues of Galaktika plus the addition of a French comic strip and an illustrated article on the history of science-fiction films. It was a hefty volume, the same size as Galaktika but running to 396 pages and selling for just 36 Forint.100 It was three years before another volume appeared, when it became established as an occasional series with a separate identity. It

100  In 1978 that was the equivalent of £0.50/$0.75, when Analog cost $1.25 (around £0.80).

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followed the international theme of Galaktika, but with different material. Volume 2, issued in 1981, featured all Soviet SF, volume 3 (1982) presented a rather more traditional selection of translated US and UK fiction while volume 4, in two parts at the start of 1983, was an international selection. There were two more volumes in 1983, #5 featuring Stanisław Lem and #6 the Strugatsky brothers. The 1984 volume, #7, was a departure in that it ran no fiction at all but was a separate edition of Sam Lundwall’s history of science fiction, Holnap történt [Of Tomorrow]. An eighth volume in 1985 featured A. E. van Vogt and a final volume in 1986 presented a selection of Golden Age SF from the US. All of these were substantial volumes of 400 pages or more, each selling for a bargain price. From Autumn 1984 Galaktika acquired a formal companion magazine, Robur, the title taken from Jules Verne’s megalomaniac in Robur the Conqueror. It was edited by Béla Rigó under Kuczka’s editorial command, and was intended primarily for a younger readership than Galaktika. It appeared on an approximately six-weekly schedule and ran for 16 issues before ceasing in September 1986. Its contents were also primarily by Hungarian writers, though from #5 it started to run translations of older English or French material by Arthur Conan Doyle, J.-H. Rosny aîné and others. Galaktika acquired a fantasy companion from January 1990, Atlantisz. It had been preceded by a one-shot issue called Fantasy in 1989 to test the market. Atlantisz was edited by Gyula Baranyi assisted by András Gáspár, its slim 48 pages consisting almost entirely of translated Anglo-American fiction. It did not prove as popular and ceased after 13 monthly issues in January 1991. It ended so abruptly that it ran only the first instalment of Leigh Brackett’s intended five-part serial, ‘A rő t csillag’ [The Ginger Star]. Galaktika, though, remained just as popular, even as Hungary passed from the Communist regime into democracy in early 1990. Writing in 1989, John Fekete reported that Galaktika was printing 100,000 copies which were ‘read by approximately three times that many readers’.101 If that figure is in any way accurate, then those 300,000 readers represented nearly 3% of the population. Compare this with approximately 0.1% of the US population that read Analog, which had the highest circulation.102 In other words over 30 times as many people in Hungary read the leading sf magazine than in the USA. However this is viewed, it must make Galaktika one of the most popular sf magazines of the 1980s, and certainly the most international.

101  John Fekete, ‘Science-Fiction in Hungary’, Science Fiction Studies, #48 (July 1989). 102  Analog’s reported paid circulation in 1989 was 90,404 and advertisers usually allow at least three readers per issue, so approximately 270,000, but the USA’s population in 1989 was 246.8 million or 24 times that of Hungary.

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Poland103 Despite the political, social and economic turbulence that battered Poland in the 1980s and would eventually see the fall of the Communist regime during the winter of 1989/90, Poland had a prosperous decade for the growth and development of science fiction. Poland had long been known for its science fiction, primarily the works of Stanisław Lem whose first novel, ‘Człowiek z Marsa’ [A Man From Mars] had been serialized in Nowy Ś wiat Przygód [New World of Adventures], a magazine for adolescents, as far back as 1946. As already stated, in most Eastern European countries there were technical magazines aimed at young adults encouraging an interest in science through speculative articles and science fiction. The most important of these in Poland was Młody technik [Young Engineer], which counted Lem as one of its contributors. It had been reborn out of an earlier general magazine in September 1950 under the editorial guidance of Zbigniew Przyrowski, who could arguably be seen as the Polish Hugo Gernsback.104 He encouraged science fiction in its pages, and instigated a science-fiction story contest in 1962. Among the writers who emerged in the magazine were Krzysztof Boruń , Andrzej Czechowski, Maciej Parowski, Andrzej Trepka, Wiktor Ż wikiewicz, the 16-year-old Marek Pą kciń ski105 and Janusz Zajdel. Zajdel had debuted with ‘Tau Wieloryba’ [Tau Ceti] in the October 1961 issue and soon became second only to Lem in popularity and importance to Polish sf. Fans had chosen his 1984 dystopic novel Paradyzja as the winner of their first sf award, but with his sudden death in 1985 the award was named after him and given posthumously. Przyrowski retired as editor of Młody technik in July 1981 after 31 years in which he encouraged a new generation of science-fiction writers. Until then there had been no specific magazine dedicated to science fiction. Alfa, which started in 1976 on an irregular basis, was perhaps the closest, though this was primarily classic stories adapted into comic strips, including H. G. Wells’s The War of the Worlds and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World. It did run some text stories but again reprints and primarily Russian, so it did nothing to help Polish writers. Alfa saw only seven issues, the last long delayed in 1985. Much better was an annual anthology series, or almanac, Kroki w nieznane [Steps into the Unknown], edited by Lech Ję czmyk. It began in 1970 and ran for six volumes until 1976. It reprinted mostly Anglo-American and 103  My thanks to Konrad Walewski for his help with this section. 104  See Zbigniew Przyrowski, interview by Małgorzata Karolina Piekarska, Młody technik, March 1999. 105  Marek Pą kciń ski debuted with ‘Turniej’ [Tournament] in the July 1976 issue.

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Russian stories but managed to squeeze one or two Polish authors into each volume. This was the only regular anthology series behind the Iron Curtain to be regularly reprinting British and American authors, and was an inspiration to many new Polish writers.106 The big change came in October 1982 when the first issue of Fantastyka appeared. It was published by KWCz and from the start was a monthly magazine with a print run of close to 200,000, claiming sales of around 150,000.107 It was a flat A4-size glossy magazine, fully illustrated in colour. It was created by a team of enthusiasts in Warsaw, which included Adam Hollanek, Jacek Rodek, Lech Ję czmyk and Andrzej Wójcik. Hollanek, who was a much-respected writer and journalist, became the editor-inchief at the age of 60, and Tadeusz Markowski was deputy editor. Andrzej Krzepkowski, who had been involved in selecting texts for adaptation for Alfa, was brought on board in coordinating news and information. Also on the team was Maciej Parowski, who had been one of those encouraged by Zbigniew Przyrowski at Młody technik. It now became Parowski’s turn to help develop new Polish writers. One of his first discoveries was Marek Baraniecki with ‘Karlgoro, godzina 18.00’ [Karlgoro, Time 18.00] (January 1983). He soon caused a storm with his post-apocalyptic novel ‘Głowa Kasandry’ [Cassandra’s Head], the opening chapters of which had been published in the July 1983 issue. It went on to win the Janusz Zajdel Prize in 1986. Among others who sold their first or early stories to Fantastyka were Janusz Cyran, Grzegorz Drukarczyk, Krzysztof Kochań ski, Jacek Piekara and Andrzej Zimniak. The multi-award-winner Andrzej Sapkowski began as a translator before turning to his own fantasy stories as a result of a story contest. Though it came third, his first sale, ‘Wiedź min’ (December 1986), launched his famous character The Witcher, which would go on to be a major series. The magazine soon provided a firm platform not just for writers but for critics and artists. In addition to its fiction it ran science articles, reviews and, in its early issues, details of fan events. It also generated a companion magazine for younger readers, Mała Fantastyka (’Little Fantasy’) from 1987. In 1986 both Fantastyka and its editor, Adam Hollanek, won the European SF Award for their achievement. Fantastyka had already won the award in 1983. 106  There had been an earlier anthology, Rakietowe szlaki [Rocket Trails] edited by Julian Stawinski and Jan Zakrzewski and published in 1958, which consisted entirely of stories from US sf magazines. 107  See the news reports ‘SF in Poland’ in Locus, #304 (May 1986), p. 25, and Locus, #324 (January 1988), p. 37.

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During the first decade there were various changes to the editorial board, although Hollanek remained overall editor. The biggest change was the departure of Tadeusz Markowski as deputy editor at the start of 1984. He was replaced by Lech Ję czmyk, who took on the task of securing stories for translation. By 1990 the economic upheaval of Poland’s transition to democracy had an impact on the publishing scene and Fantastyka almost folded. Hollanek, now approaching 68, took the opportunity to retire, and Lech Ję czmyk took over as editor under a new publisher. With a slightly revised title, Nowa Fantastyka would go from strength to strength in the 1990s. Alongside Fantastyka during the 1980s had been many amateur magazines, mostly club magazines, several of which gained significant status. One such was Kwazar [Quasar], which became the first fanzine to win the European SF Award (in 1983) as Europe’s best amateur magazine. It was produced by Orbit, the Science Fantasy Lovers Club of Poznań , and was edited by Mirosław Murawski. It began with a rather tentative typed issue (#0) in August 1979 but from 1980 went into full production with a standard colour cover and extensive contents of around a hundred mimeographed A4 pages. It published Russian, English and American fiction, mostly translated by Paweł Porwit, and occasional Polish fiction, alongside a variety of articles, poems and editorial features. Despite plans for a quarterly schedule, all issues had to be approved by the censor and some were delayed extensively. Issue #5, for instance, which should have appeared at the start of 1981, and which included the second part of the serialization of Dean McLaughlin’s ‘The Brotherhood of Keepers’, was delayed for two years. The next issue, though, dedicated to Janusz Zajdel, appeared more or less on schedule. Nevetheless, Murawski resigned as editor and the deputy, Jacek Wójciak, took over. From then on the magazine ran chiefly Russian and Polish fiction, and had a long association with Witold Banach and Bronisław Kijewski. Issue #17 (Spring 1984) began a series studying Russian sf and its fandom. Kwazar ran for 32 issues, ceasing at the end of 1987. Also of importance was Fikcje [Fictions], the magazine of the Silesian SF Club, which could be regarded as semi-professional. It began in January 1983 and maintained a monthly schedule, except for a combined larger summer number, with a print run of a thousand copies per issue. The club succeeded in distributing copies through local railway booksellers and stores and increased the print run to 3,000. It relied heavily on translations from Anglo-American and Russian authors as well as French writers. There was little of Polish interest at the outset, though it did feature several stories by Jan Maszczyszyn. Instead it concentrated on longer stories, including a translation of Ayn Rand’s Anthem and Isaac Asimov’s Foundation. Starting

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in #32 (February 1986) it serialized the original Star Wars novel credited to George Lucas108 over 15 issues (not always consecutive), concluding the serial in its final issue (#54, April/June 1988) alongside an abridgement of The Empire Strikes Back. Fikcje was also awarded the European SF Award for best fanzine in 1986. Of particular interest, because it later achieved professional status, was Feniks [Phoenix], which began in 1984 as the magazine of the Polish Association of Friends of Fantasy, edited by Maciej Makowski. It was a substantial offering, published by the Supreme Council of the Association of Polish Students with a print run of 3,000. It published not only critical articles and reviews, but a considerable amount of fiction, both translated and new. It ranged from work by H. G. Wells to J. G. Ballard, Isaac Asimov to Ray Bradbury, reprints of little known stories by Stefan Grabinski, and the editor even managed to reprint J. R. R. Tolkien’s story ‘Aldarion and Erendis’. An active member of the association and a regular contributor was Rafał A. Ziemkiewicz, who was also responsible for securing original Polish material. By #7 in 1986 the majority of the content was Polish. Feniks ran for eight issues (one of which was a double) to 1986, winning the European SF Award in 1987 as the best fanzine. Four years later it was resurrected as Fenix (still meaning ‘Phoenix’) under the editorship of Rafał A. Ziemkiewicz. Together with Jaroslaw Grzę dowicz and Krzysztof Sokolowski, who had been a regular reviewer and contributor of critical essays to Fantastyka, Ziemkiewicz succeeded in finding a publisher, Radwan, and relaunching the magazine as a commercial publication in early 1990. For the first few issues Fenix relied heavily on translations of US stories, including John W. Campbell’s ‘Who Goes There?’, as well as reprinting cyberpunk, but it soon attracted contributions by the rapidly growing number of top-class Polish writers. Between them Fantastyka, Kwazar and Feniks/Fenix had helped create a significant number of new writers who would take Polish sf forward into the 1990s.

Romania Paradoxically, although Romania had one of the most repressive totalitarian regimes under the dictator Nicolae Ceauş escu from 1965 until 1989, it also had the longest-running science-fiction magazine in Eastern Europe, Colecţ ia Povestiri ş tiinţ ifico-fantastice [Collection of SF Stories], which had

108  Actually ghost-written by Alan Dean Foster.

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run since October 1955. It was a twice-monthly supplement to the weekly science magazine Ş tiinţ ă ş i tehnică [Science and Technology], but unfortunately as Ceauş escu’s control of the press tightened the supplement was closed down in October 1974 after 466 issues. Colecţ ia had been the focus for science-fiction writers and fandom under the editorship of the famous sf writer Adrian Rogoz, but when it ceased fans looked for new ways to communicate. Fan clubs had started to come into existence as early as 1969, encouraged by Rogoz in Colecţ ia, and the first national sf convention was held in Bucharest in 1972. Perhaps surprisingly the conventions were seen as cultural events and thus financed by the state. It was also in 1972 that the first club magazines were produced, Solaris from the Solaris Club in Bucharest and Paradox, the first printed fanzine, from the H. G. Wells Club in Timiş oara in November. The H. G. Wells Club and Paradox, edited by Marcel Luca and Cornel Secu, dominated fan affairs in the 1970s. Authors who debuted in Paradox, in order of appearance, included Silviu Genescu with ‘Transplant’ (1977), Mihai Alexandru with ‘Capul de somn’ [Cape of Sleep] (#7, 1981), Caius Chiriţ ă with ‘Kilometrul 50’ [Kilometre 50] (1982), Constantin Cozmiuc with ‘Pă puș arii’ [The Puppeteers] (1983), György Györfi-Deák with ‘Vână torul ş i pescarul amator’ [Amateur Fishermen and Hunters] (1985) and Antuza Genescu with ‘Poiana sufletelor’ [Poiana Souls] (1986). In March 1980 the formation of a new club, Helion, in Timiş oara, began to shift the balance. It issued its own eponymous magazine, Helion, from 1981, edited by Cornel Secu. Almost from the start it encouraged further new writers. Laurenţ iu Nistorescu debuted in the first issue with ‘Sandaua de aur’ [Sandal of Gold]. Alexandru Ungureanu, who had sold his first story to Solaris in 1978, established his reputation with ‘Artele Marţ iale Moderne’ [Modern Martial Arts], which won the 1982 Helion story contest and appeared in the November 1982 issue. This story proved extremely popular and became symbolic of Romanian cyberpunk, depicting a future form of holographic avatar called a ‘videoplasm’. Others who debuted in Helion were Lucia Robitu with ‘Lac’, [Lake] (1982), Lucian Vasile Szabo with ‘Regă sire’ [Retrieval] (1982), Costel Baboş with ‘Acasă ’ [Home] (1983), Adrian Chifu with ‘Casa printre nori, omul printre stele’ [The House in the Clouds, the Man in the Stars] (1987) and Cotizo Draia with ‘Vână torul de strawni’ [Hunter Strawn] (1989). All of these and more placed stories in both Paradox and Helion, making them fertile markets for new material. In addition was the welcome return of Colecţ ia Povestiri ş tiinţ ifico-fantastice, though now as an annual with the formal title Almanah Anticipaţ ia [Anticipation Almanac], still published

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by the science journal Sţ iintă ş i tehnică but now edited by Ioan Eremia Albescu. Although the first volume was dated 1983, it appeared in the late summer of 1982, a sequence maintained for each successive edition. These were substantial books of 300 pages or more divided into several sections. Each volume had a frontispiece photograph of Nicolae Ceauş escu with a quotation which seemed to support scientific research and, by inference, science fiction. Roughly translated the quotation, which is unsourced, says: ‘The cultural and educational activity of molding the new man and, primarily, the young generation, must fight any decision that is old and outdated.’ At the start, Albescu raised questions for a symposium about anticipating the future of science and communication, including the likelihood of contact with alien life. This was followed by an extensive range of fiction, one of Romanian fiction, new and reprint, and the other labelled as ‘foreign’ literature, with selections of varying vintage from around the world. The Almanac sought to raise the status of Romanian sf by awarding ‘medallions’ to certain authors with representative stories. For the first volume medallions were presented to Alexandru Ungureanu, Radu Pintea, Rodica Bretin and Marcel Luca. The Almanac would continue for 17 annual volumes until 1999, but it changed slightly after 1990. The 1980s saw it at its best, championing Romanian sf alongside an eclectic selection of international works. After 1990, when the fall of Ceauş escu’s regime gave a new freedom to publishers, it took a back seat against its new monthly companion, the return, in May 1990, of Colecţ ia Povestiri ş tiinţ ifico-fantastice as a monthly magazine, Anticipaţ ia. It continued the numbering from the earlier series, starting with #467, and the same format, a cheap paperback of around 32 pages. Ioan Albescu remained the editor-in-chief, supported by Gheorghe Badea, and with Mihai-Dan Pavelescu as literary editor. As with the original series, Anticipaţ ia consisted primarily of a monthly serial, supported by other stories, new or in translation. The first seven issues marked the first translation in Romania of Arthur C. Clarke’s Childhood’s End. The first Romanian serial was Aragua by Camil Baciu (#476–80, 1991) concerning genetic engineering of animals not unlike H. G. Wells’s The Island of Dr Moreau. Although the shift to a capitalist society caused some problems with the printing of club magazines and delayed some issues of Paradox and Helion, generally the sf magazine scene in Romania was strong at the start of the 1990s, and would continue to thrive and grow.

Serbia see Yugoslavia

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Slovakia see Czechoslovakia

Yugoslavia109 Until the fragmentation of Yugoslavia after the conflicts of 1990–92, the country was a federation of republics of which Croatia, Serbia and Slovenia had thriving science-fiction communities. Although Slovenia did not generate a science-fiction magazine, it did contribute to those created by the other two republics and writers from all three republics would receive the SFera Award which was initiated in 1981. For that reason, and because Yugoslavia remained intact during the 1980s, I will discuss the magazines from both of those republics in this entry. It was Croatia that led the science-fiction fan movement with the founding of the SF Society SFera in Zagreb in February 1976.110 One of the co-founders and first president of the club was Krsto Mažuranić , a key figure not only in Croatian fandom, but also a translator and one of the inaugural members of World SF. The members of SFera were all highly active. The author and translator Damir Mikulič ić proposed the idea of a literary magazine and suggested the name Sirius. The idea was taken up by the publisher Vjesnik, with Borivoj Jurković , the senior editor with responsibility for magazines and genre fiction, becoming its first and longestserving editor, until June 1985. It appeared in July 1976 in a large digest format, unillustrated at the outset apart from the covers, many of which were reprints from elsewhere in Europe. It continued monthly, with a few combined issues, for the next 13 years. At the outset Jurković was helped by Mikulič ić and also advised by members of SFera. Although most of the early issues contained reprints from Europe and the USA, Sirius soon began to publish material by local writers and the demand for this grew until the publication of an all-Yugoslavian issue, YU-Sirius in December 1978. However, as Aleksandar Žiljak told me, it ‘was an experiment never repeated. Readers didn’t always appreciate the Croatian authors.’111 Having said that, when the SFera club initiated its SFera Award in 1981, it went predominantly to stories that had appeared in Sirius, though not all

109  My thanks to Aleksandar Žiljak for his help with data on Croatian magazines, to Miodrag Milovanović and Boban Knežević with regard to Serbia, and to Zoran Živković for his help overall. 110  It did not adopt the name SFera until a year later, and was known initially as the sf section of the Astronautics and Rocketry Club of Zagreb. 111  Aleksandar Žiljak, email, 10 April 2011.

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authors were Croatian. The first was ‘Prsten’ [The Ring] (October 1980), a time-paradox story by Goran Hudec. Other winners during the 1980s were ‘Hajka’ [The Chase] (January 1981) by Radovan Devlić , who won again with ‘Zatvor’ [Prison] (February 1989), ‘Vrijeme je, maestro’ [Time, Maestro] (March 1982) by Biljana Mateljan, ‘Šume, kiše, grad i zvezde’ [Forest, Rain, the City and the Stars] (November 1983) by the Serbian author Slobodan Ć urč ić , ‘Most’ [The Bridge] (December 1985), the first appearance by Slobodan Petrovski, ‘Spomenik Euridiki’ [The Eurydice Monument] (July/ August 1986) by the Slovenian author Miha Remec, ‘Sokolar’ [Hawker] (November 1987) by the Serbian Vladimir Lazović , and ‘Škorpion na jeziku’ [Scorpio in the Language] (December 1988) by Predrag Raos. Predrag Raos was one of the few writers who wrote sf more or less full-time in Yugoslavia in the 1980s, but his sales tailed off when Sirius ceased. For most writers payments were low and writing was little more than a hobby. Other prolific contributors to Sirius were Branko Pihač and Živko Prodanović , both best known for their traditional forms of high-tech sf. Jurković was also keen to promote women writers and started to include at least one story by a woman in each March issue to coincide with Women’s Day on 8 March. With the March 1979 issue the contents were entirely by women, including three by Yugoslav authors. One of the most popular authors was Biljana Mateljan whose award-winning story is listed above. Sirius received the European SF Award twice, in 1980 and 1984. Soon after the launch of Sirius, SFera started its own in-house club magazine, Parsek, which began in January 1977. It tended to appear sporadically and at the outset was only a small duplicated magazine of news and reviews, but in time it included fiction and informative essays. Working in tandem, Parsek and Sirius encouraged writers and sf in Yugoslavia soon blossomed. Most sf in Sirius and Parsek was heavily influenced by classic US and UK themes, with little attention to new approaches such as cyberpunk. There was an emphasis on post-nuclear dystopias, influenced to a degree by the Cold War. There was also much criticism, albeit cautious, of the single-party socialist system, though these stories were always set elsewhere. Initially, sales of Sirius were in the region of 30,000 copies, but as the economic crisis took hold during the 1980s there became a shortage of paper, and there were times when the publisher considered dropping the magazine. Although pages were reduced, smaller type was used to keep the same amount of wordage, though this led to a very cramped appearance. Inflation led to regular rises in the cover price and a consequent fall in sales.

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Jurković retired as editor with #108 (June 1985) and was succeeded by Milivoj Pašič ek. He had little interest in science fiction, but had proved popular with the publisher because of the success of the erotic fiction magazine, Erotika. This occasionally carried science-fiction stories, one of which even won the SFera Award, ‘Ana s onu stranu zrcala’ [Ana, on the Other Side of the Mirror] (June 1984) by Hrvoje Prć ić . Prć ić subsequently took over editorship of Sirius with #128 (January 1987), but by then sales were already spiralling downward and once they reached around 8,000 Sirius ceased, in December 1989. Sirius was much missed and, although a new Croatian magazine came along soon after, Futura in 1992, for a while the only local market was Parsek and that focused on helping new and younger writers. However, the frequent changes in editorial staff and the fact that it was essentially a club magazine meant that during the 1980s Parsek was only a minor market. The magazine ceased appearing for two years with just one (double) issue between November 1981 and February 1984. Issue #26, though prepared (for Spring 1986) was never published, meaning that in the decade from 1981 to 1990 there were only 20 issues. SFera did attempt to publish its own commercial magazine, SFERA, in autumn 1980, edited by Nenad Rijavec. It looked all too like an issue of Parsek, except that it ran to 100 pages (it was originally to be called MegaParsek), and was deemed by many to be too unprofessional to sell. Rijavec resigned in disgust and most of the 2,000 print run was apparently destroyed, with only a hundred or so copies surviving. It consisted mostly of translated stories and an extract from a novel by Predrag Raos. It was not until the mid-1990s that Parsek became a more significant magazine.  Like Croatia, Serbia had its fan organization, the Lazar Komarč ić SF Society, named after the pioneering Serbian sf novelist. It was founded in autumn 1981 by a group which included Zoran Živković , Boban Knežević , Damir Joka and Nikola Marič ić . The author Radmilo Andelković became the society’s first president and a regular contributor to its fanzine, Emitor, as well as a later editor. Unlike Croatia’s Parsek, Emitor, which began in December 1981, was regular, initially bi-monthly and then monthly through 1983. After a hiatus in 1984 when only one issue appeared, it became regular and stronger thereafter and would pass its hundredth issue in 1991. At the start Emitor was a simple duplicated A4-size fanzine, but switched to A5 size and improved printing with #4 (June 1982). In 1984 the society began the Lazar Komarč ić Award, covering both national and international fiction. In the first year the winner in the short story category

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was Andrija Lavrek with the alternate-history story ‘Nemač ka 1942’ [Germany, 1942], which had appeared in Sirius (January 1984). A later prominent winner in the short-story category was ‘Govnokradica’ [The Shit Stealer] (Sirius, September 1987) by Dragan R. Filipović , another rising star of Serbian sf. Emitor frequently ran one or two stories per issue. Besides work by Andelković , other regular contributors included the noted comic-strip artist Aleksandar Manić , the research scientist and translator Zoran Jakšić , and above all Boban Knežević , the first editor of Emitor, who became active in establishing markets for new fiction. Knežević was both an award-winning writer and a creative editor. He won the first Lazar Komarč ić Award in the domestic novella category with ‘Protiv Irvinga’ [Against Irving], where virtual reality provides a facility for fighting, which had also first appeared in Sirius (August 1984). Knežević won another five of these awards but he also made his mark as an editor throughout the 1980s and 1990s, first with the annual almanac, Monolit, which began in 1984 and ran for ten volumes. These were huge volumes of over 500 pages, consisting predominantly of translations, mostly from the USA but including French, English and some Russian, but there were also essays and a round-up of news from the sf field during that year. Knežević then started the monthly magazine Alef in August 1987, published in the city of Novi Sad. He had tried to interest the publisher, Dnevnik, in such a magazine two years earlier but they had turned it down. In 1986, though, they began a series of pulp-style adventure novels called ‘X-100 SF’ which ran for 38 volumes and included work by both local authors and others in translation (ranging from the Strugatsky brothers to Lin Carter). Sales were good and they began another series, Supernova, and by 1987 they remembered Knežević ’s proposal and started the magazine. The print run at the start was 23,000 copies. The early issues were filled mostly with translations, starting with the story by Jorge Luis Borges from which the magazine took its name. The first four issues ran a translation of Heinlein’s novel Citizen of the Galaxy and there were several other older stories, but most were comparatively recent, including Greg Bear’s ‘Blood Music’ in its October 1987 issue. Knežević wanted to encourage local fiction and where possible he included one original story in each issue, with work by the leading Serbian authors Radmilo Andelković , Ilija Bakić , Dragan R. Filipović , Zoran Jakšić , Vladimir Lazović , Ljiljana Praizović and Goran Skrobonja, as well as authors from other republics, such as Živko Prodanović (who was a mainstay of Sirius), Lidija Beatović , Branko Gradišnik and Vera Ivozić Santo. Knežević insisted that the stories reflected both a local Balkan setting and local topics. These stories also bore the main characteristics of the Serbian genre scene at that

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time—a gradual ‘softening’ of the hard-science component of the fiction and an intrusion of the elements of fantasy or horror—that resulted in works that could easily be labelled as slipstream. After just 11 issues the magazine was hit by economic problems. There were paper shortages and the publisher suffered a financial setback. Issues of Alef were delayed, but Knežević managed to convince the publisher to continue and it reappeared in February 1989. It continued with increasing irregularity until #26 in October 1991, by which time paper shortages had reduced the print run to 6,000 and, with reduced visibility on the stands, sales had more or less ended. As Knežević reflected, ‘Alef ceased to exist at the same time as Yugoslavia’.112 Alef never had the status of Sirius, nor did it publish as many local authors, but the breadth of its content was always interesting, ranging from Stanisław Lem to H. P. Lovecraft, Anthony Burgess to J. R. R. Tolkien and Edgar Allan Poe to J. G. Ballard. Issue #23 (January 1991) ran predominantly French fiction in translation. The regular publication of Emitor, though, meant that it provided at least some continuity during the breakup of Yugoslavia after the end of Sirius in 1989 and the return of Boban Knežević in 1993 with his semi-professional magazine Znak Sagite [The Sign of Sagittarius], which will be covered in The Rise of the Cyber Chronicles.

THE AMERICAS Argentina113 At the start of the 1980s two talents came together in Argentina to give rise to a new generation of magazines: Marcial Souto and Sergio Gaut vel Hartman. Souto had been born in Spain and had come to Argentina via Uruguay.114 Throughout the 1970s he had persevered in seeking to produce a new science-fiction magazine, starting with an Argentinian version of F&SF which had three bi-monthly issues in 1976–77, then Entropía, with only one issue in 1978, and finally El péndulo entre la ficción y la realidad [The Pendulum Between Fantasy and Reality], usually known simply as El péndulo. This began in June 1979 as a supplement to the magazine Humor, but became a magazine in its own right from September. Alas, its 16-page 112  Boban Knežević , email, 30 January 2015. 113  My thanks to Moisés C. Hassón and Sergio Gaut vel Hartman for their help with this section. 114  He was not born in Uruguay as I mistakenly stated in Gateways to Forever.

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colour section proved too costly, and the magazine folded after four monthly issues. Through all of these magazines, Souto had used some US and UK reprints as a base but added several local stories plus comic strips and fillers. Souto was persistent and El péndulo returned in May 1981 as a 128-page pocketbook. It was still illustrated but rather more sparingly, and ran only one comic strip. Souto’s preference in all his magazines was for recent US and UK fiction, especially the New Wave and similar eclectic material. El péndulo continued this with work by J. G. Ballard, Thomas M. Disch, Michael Moorcock, Cordwainer Smith, Norman Spinrad, Theodore Sturgeon and James Tiptree, Jr, and the eccentricities of David R. Bunch and R. A. Lafferty. Souto was in regular contact with Sam Lundwall in Sweden and reprinted several Swedish stories, as well as French and, when space and quality allowed, the occasional local story. Among the local writers whose careers were launched by El péndulo was Carlos Gardini. He had already written some reviews and criticism for the magazine before his first story, ‘Fases’ [Phases] appeared in #5 (November 1981). Eduardo Abel Giménez, who has since become a major writer for children, made his first appearance in #10 (November 1982) with the enigmatic ‘Quiramir’, about a mysterious city. The long-established Angélica Gorodischer, who was voted Argentina’s most popular sf writer in 1985, also appeared with two stories. Sergio Gaut vel Hartman had been selling occasional stories to the Spanish Nueva Dimensión since #15 (May/June 1970), but now turned to the local market. Besides appearing in #6 (January 1982) with ‘Lapso de reflexión’ [Period of Reflection], about aliens monitoring the Earth, he also ran the letters column which helped generate contact between fans. As a result the Círculo Argentino de Ciencia Ficción y Fantasía (CACYF) was formed in July 1982. This became the focal point for fandom, mostly under the driving force of Daniel Croci, under whose auspices the Más Allá Awards were established in 1984 for the year’s best works published in Spanish and circulating in Argentina. Ironically the first two Más Allá Awards for best published short story went to a Uruguayan author, Mario Levrero, who was a regular contributor to Souto’s magazines, though he denied that he wrote science fiction. His story ‘El lugar’ [The Place] (El péndulo #6, January 1982), which won the first award, is a disorientating story of displacement and uncertainty as a waking man struggles to understand where he is. It serves as a reminder that in many Latin American countries, while there was some definable science fiction being written, there was also much that was more irreal, part of the all-encompassing ‘fantastic literature’ that Alberto Manguel explored in his Black Water anthologies.

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The second series of El péndulo ceased after ten issues, the last delayed until November 1982. But Souto soon reappeared, switching to a new publisher, Sudamérica, and relaunching Minotauro, which had previously seen ten issues between 1964 and 1968. The new series was much like El péndulo, with the same mix of mostly avant-garde or New Wave translations, local fiction and literary criticism, the last including many contributions by Carlos Gardini. Among the Argentinian fiction was a story by Ana María Shua, the dreamlike ‘La sueñera’ [Sleepiness] in the first issue, April 1983. Souto had actually sought Shua out, having seen some of her earlier poems and micro-stories, and invited her to contribute to his magazine. He published three of her stories in Minotauro including the remarkable ‘Octavio, el invasor’ [Octavio the Invader] (#6, May 1984), where an alien that uses a new-born infant as its host is defeated by the power of human love and mother–child bonding. Souto published a collection of Shua’s stories as La sueñera in 1985 in the Minotauro series of books which he began in 1983 and which included all of the major Argentinian writers of sf and fantasy. He was able to develop this in tandem with the magazine reaching #10 (September 1985), an all-Argentinian issue with work by Carlos Gardini, Eduardo Abel Giménez, Angélica Gorodischer, Raul Alzogaray, Luisa Axpe, Rogelio Ramos Signes and Leonardo Moledo. These were all writers, along with Elvio Gandolfo, who established themselves as part of the leading new tranche in Argentinian sf. Souto also compiled a showcase anthology, La ciencia ficción en la Argentina, published in 1985, at the same time that Augusto Uribe compiled the wider-ranging Latinoamérica fantástica, Ciencia Ficción, which was published in Barcelona. Reflecting upon the mid-1980s, Sergio Gaut vel Hartman commented: Argentina was experiencing a moment of great cultural effervescence, brought on by her return to democracy after eight years of military ‘process’. In our field, the literature of the fantastic, that pot had been brought to boiling by El péndulo, Marcial Souto’s magazine, and simmered by the publishing house Minotauro, which in those years brought out a collection of books that gave an opportunity to some writers who had been working in this genre for some time.115

Gaut vel Hartman was also part of this liberating process. At the same time that Minotauro was relaunched, to which Gaut vel Hartman contributed, he began his own fanzine, Sinergía, as a quarterly from December 1983116 115  Sergio Gaut vel Hartman, ‘The Continental Scene’, Asimov, #20 (September/October 2005), http://it.stlawu.edu/~koon/CFArgentina/stories/TheContinentalScene.html. 116  Dated ‘Verano [Summer] 1983’ because it is in the southern hemisphere.

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and, the following year, convinced the publisher Filofalsia, in Buenos Aires, to start its own professional magazine, Parsec. Unfortunately Parsec only survived for six monthly issues from June to November 1984, after which it was absorbed into the literary magazine, Clepsidra.117 Its contents were mostly representative translations of recent sf from US sources, but it also ran a serial, Eduardo Abel Giménez’s ‘Un paseo por Camarjali’118 [A Walk Through Camarjali] (August–October 1984), a wonderful exploration of an enigmatic planet which won the Más Allá Award as that year’s best novel. However, it was in Sinergía that Gaut vel Hartman gave opportunity to both new and established writers to explore the fields of science fiction. In his opening editorial he stated that the magazine’s title was to represent that relationship between speculative fiction and conjectural fiction. Though he defined neither, his approach was similar to the concept of slipstream that had emerged in Britain and the USA, but within the tradition of the fantastic in South American literature. The magazine was roughly 60% review and 40% fiction, and though it did reprint stories from outside Latin America these were, for the most part, by writers equally unconventional, such as Avram Davidson, Barry Malzberg and Algis Budrys. The magazine grew in both size and ambition, with each issue providing a comprehensive analysis of alternative fiction with representative examples. Sinergía survived for 12 issues, quarterly for the first nine and then with increasing delays, finishing in early 1987. It proved very popular, twice winning the Más Allá Award as the best non-professional magazine and once, in 1986, as the best professional magazine. In 1985, when CACYF undertook a survey of members, the results of a poll for the most popular magazine was won by El péndulo, with Sinergía second. There were other semi-professional and amateur magazines against which Sinergía could be measured, notably Nuevomundo, produced by Daniel Croci, and Cuásar, from Luis Pestarini and Mónica Nicastro. Both magazines were a mix of fiction and essays. Croci’s views on Argentinian sf were similar to Gaut vel Hartman’s, though he veered more towards an existential preference. Claudio Omar Noguerol felt that, while Nuevomundo published local fiction ‘of literate quality’, it demonstrated ‘a dangerous xenophobic definition in our obligation towards the expression of nationalism’.119 This

117  Clepsidra was a high-quality quarterly literary magazine that had started in 1984 and which often ran surreal or fantastic tales. For example, #6 (September 1985) reprinted stories by Harlan Ellison, Fritz Leiber and Ursula K. Le Guin. It continued for 19 issues until 1989. 118  Later reprinted in book form as El misterio del planeta mutante [The Mystery of the Mutant Planet]. 119  Claudio Omar Noguerol, ‘A History of Science Fiction & Fandom in Argentina, Part Three’, The Mentor, #78 (April 1993), p. 42.

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last is perhaps an extreme overstatement of Croci’s belief that Englishlanguage sf was easily accessible and the emphasis needed to be placed on promoting sf from Spanish nations. Since Nuevomundo appeared just over a year after the Falklands War, any resentment towards Anglocentric fiction was no surprise. Nuevomundo ran for 16 numbered issues120 from September 1983 until late 1991. It was revived as an online magazine in 2006. Nuevomundo never had the production standards to which Sinergía aspired and sometimes attained, but it was a magazine that challenged conventional thought about sf. Although Cuásar looked superficially like both Sinergía and Nuevomundo, it had a different philosophy. It still promoted Spanish and Argentinian sf, but within a more global context, happily setting it alongside material from the UK, USA and elsewhere, demonstrating how well indigenous sf compared to its international cousins. It was edited by Luis Pestarini, and though it began as a quarterly in summer (January) 1984 it soon drifted to a twice-yearly schedule with some double issues. Nevertheless it kept on going, and although it temporarily suspended with #23 in November 1991 it returned as a prestigious semi-professional magazine in 1994 and continued for a further 17 years, making it not only the longest-running South American magazine, but also the longest-running Spanish-language magazine, outlasting Nueva Dimensión by 12 years, even though it published just over a third the number of issues. While Pestarini favoured humanistic sf over hard-tech sf he nevertheless recognized the importance of cyberpunk, and Cuásar was the first Argentinian magazine to publish stories by William Gibson, Bruce Sterling and Michael Swanwick. Issue #11 (February 1987) ran Swanwick’s essay ‘A User’s Guide to the Postmoderns’ alongside Gibson’s ‘Burning Chrome’. Pestarini spoke of his views on what he wanted to publish in an interview in 2011: I always say that science fiction, at least the part of science fiction that interests me, is a branch of philosophy, because the same question becomes: what are we? What is reality? Is there a possibility of transcendence? I think that science fiction opens a huge space to speculate on these issues, and to do so in an entertaining way.121

Because of this broad vision, the diversity of material and the time given for the magazine to grow and mature, Cuásar became the most consistent and rewarding of publications. It compared favourably with El péndulo 120  There was one combined issue, #11/12, in January 1987. 121  Luis Pestarini, interview by Juan Arellano Valdivia (2009), http://arellanojuan.com/ entrevista-a-luis-pestarini-de-cuasar/.

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which returned for a third series under Marcial Souto and his team in September 1986, sponsored and published by CACYF. Seeking to sustain its professional appearance and content it proved too expensive, and ceased after five issues in May 1987. Nevertheless it strove to present the same quality material as the previous two series and Minotauro, so that between them there had been a degree of continuity since September 1979 which had helped Argentinian sf to grow. There were other magazines. Launched in May 1984, Unicornio azul [Blue Unicorn] started as the club magazine for the newly formed Rosario SF & Fantasy Circle. Although it was a rather basic production it still attracted some major Argentinian writers, notably Angélica Gorodischer, but it rapidly floundered. After four issues, the last a double number in November 1984, the magazine was taken over by Claudio Omar Noguerol. He put out one further issue under the original title, in December 1985. Thereafter it was retitled El Unicornio from #7 (May 1986) and its content broadened to cover other forms of art. Noguerol raised it to professional status, something of a rival to Clepsidra, but with a greater remit and with quality artwork. In this form it continued until #16 (February 1990). Noguerol used the material remaining in the inventory for the original Unicornio azul in a separate magazine, Supernova, which he started in July 1986 but, even with the help of Eduardo Fontenla, he found the cost in both time and finance too much to sustain both magazines and Supernova saw only three issues, the last in August 1987, after which it became a section within El Unicornio. Vórtice was a neat, well-printed digest-size booklet of around 60 pages, produced by Juan Carlos Verrecchia in Buenos Aires, which saw ten issues from July 1986 to September 1988. It ran some local fiction but its main content was translations of US/UK material with rather more unusual works from Arthur C. Clarke, Bob Shaw, Harry Harrison and even an issue dedicated to Olaf Stapledon. Acronos was a thick, digest-size fanzine, rather poorly printed, published by Christian Vallini and Lanús Oeste which saw just two issues, a year apart in Octobers 1987 and 1988. It drew heavily on older US fiction but was primarily a magazine of review and commentary. Argentina’s last magazine of the decade, though, was something far from ordinary. Axxón was an e-zine, issued on a floppy disk. It was produced by Eduardo J. Carletti, of Ituzaingó, who had been a regular contributor of articles and reviews to almost all of the above magazines. At the end of the 1980s Argentina’s economy was in meltdown and inflation was rampant. The cost of paper and printing was excessive, which was why so many of the magazines had folded. Carletti, with the help of Fernando Bonsembiante, wrote a special non-commercial programme which allowed each individual disk to be read on screen. Despite the limitations of computers of the day,

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they were able to compress 140 pages of text onto one disk. A trial issue #0, released in September 1989, included a translation of Douglas R. Hofstadter’s 1981 11,000-word existential flight of fancy, ‘A Conversation with Einstein’s Brain’. After this bold experiment, #1 (October 1989) seemed rather restrained, featuring just one story, J. G. Ballard’s ‘The Smile’, but thereafter Axxón began to push the boundaries. The third issue (December 1989) was devoted almost entirely to studies and examples of sf rock music; #4 (January 1990) carried stories by and features about Frederik Pohl, covering 165 pages. And so it progressed, Carletti continuing to experiment and use this new facility to publish longer stories and find new ways of presentation. With #11 (August 1990) he introduced colour. His big coup came with #17 (February 1991), which ran to the equivalent of 400 pages and presented Carlos Gardini’s entire novel El libro de la tierra negra [The Book of the Black Earth]. This far-future extravaganza, which imagines a global theocracy struggling to understand a disaster that had left a wide region devastated a millennium earlier, won the Más Allá Award in 1992, ahead of the first formal book edition in 1993. Axxón was the world’s first regular e-zine to be devoted to science fiction. There had already been the first shared-world gaming fantasy magazine, FSFnet, which had appeared in 1984, and there were other pioneering efforts to place stories and other material on computer networks, but none was as sophisticated or as advanced as Axxón and, as such, it set the standard for the next decade.

Brazil122 Brazil has not hitherto featured in the previous three volumes of this history. Although it had already seen three sf magazines, they were almost all entirely reprint. Fantastic ran from 1955 to October 1960, published by Mario Ponzini in São Paulo, and was a local edition of the US digest magazine published by Ziff-Davis, but it appeared only occasionally and ceased after 12 issues. Although its final editor, Nilson Martello, called for local authors to submit their work, his first issue proved to be the last. In January 1968 appeared Galáxia 2000, edited by Mario Camarinha and published in Rio de Janeiro by Edições O Cruzeiro to accompany their book series of the same title. This was quite a progressive company and the magazine was published on quality paper with good artwork. It selected stories not just from the original US edition of F&SF but from the French, Italian and Argentinian editions, so it resulted in an international selection

122  My thanks to Roberto de Sousa Causo for his help with this section.

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of material. However, it ran no local fiction and ceased after four (possibly five) monthly issues. A further Brazilian edition of F&SF appeared in April 1970, entitled Magazine de Ficção Científica, published in Porto Alegre by Revista do Globo and edited by the pioneer Brazilian author Jerônymo Monteiro, who had been writing science fiction, including for radio, since 1937. Monteiro also established the Associação Brasileira de Ficção Científica in 1964. Unfortunately, within two months of starting the magazine Monteiro’s health failed and he died in June 1970. His daughter Theresa continued to compile issues from material her father had assembled, under the editorial guidance of Flavio Cardoza, and in this way the magazine survived for 20 issues, ceasing in November 1971 when the company declared it had never sold more than 6,000 copies and was making a loss. Monteiro ensured that there was one original story by a local author in each issue and so ran work by Clovis Garcia, Nilson D. Martello, Walter Martins and Rubens Teixeira Scavone among others, as well as his own. The fact that these last two magazines appeared at all is an achievement, because Brazil had been controlled by a military dictatorship since 1968 and its authority, including state censorship, was not relaxed until the early 1980s and a return to democracy in 1985. It would not be until 1990 that another professional sf magazine would appear in Brazil and that was another local edition of a US magazine, this time Isaac Asimov Magazine, which ran for 25 issues from June 1990 to January 1993, but its fortunes and influence really belong to the next decade. During the 1980s, however, there was a steady growth in science-fiction fanzines of which there were three of some significance: Hiperespaço, produced by César Silva, which began in 1983, Somnium, which began in 1985 as a simple one-page newssheet, produced by Roberto Nascimento for the SF Readers’ Club of São Paulo, and Megalon, created by Marcello Simão Branco and Renato Rosatti in November 1988. All three ran fiction, though Megalon was more heavily into criticism and analysis. It had national and international news, essays, reviews, interviews, a thriving letter column, comics and coverage of TV and cinema. Orson Scott Card authorized the publication of his column, ‘Books to Look For’, from F&SF, from the March 1990 issue. Somnium did not have quite the same broad coverage and concentrated on being a writers’ magazine with more space for fiction. It was in Somnium that a debate emerged about the nature of Brazilian sf. The author who took the lead in this was Ivan Carlos Regina. Although he was already in his mid-30s, Regina had yet to sell anything professionally

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because he was primarily a short-story writer and there were no regular markets. But his work was popular. ‘Pela valorização da vida’ [The Value of Life], which had first appeared in Somnium, is a clever satire about the dehumanization and fragmentation of society and the individual, and it received the first Nova Award, instigated by Roberto de Sousa Causo, as the best short story of 1987. He won again the next year with ‘A derradeira publicida