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The Golden Age of Science Fiction: The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction

Saturday, February 23rd, 2019 | Posted by Steven H Silver

Cover by Ron Walotsky

Cover by Ron Walotsky

Cover by Barclay Shaw

Cover by Barclay Shaw

Cover by David A. Hardy

Cover by David A. Hardy

The Locus Awards were established in 1972 and presented by Locus Magazine based on a poll of its readers. In more recent years, the poll has been opened up to on-line readers, although subscribers’ votes have been given extra weight. At various times the award has been presented at Westercon and, more recently, at a weekend sponsored by Locus at the Science Fiction Museum (now MoPop) in Seattle. The Best Book Publisher Award dates back to 1972, although in 1975 and 1976 the Publisher Award was split into paperback and hardcover categories. Ballantine Books won the award each year from its inception through 1977 (winning the paperback for the two experimental years with the Science Fiction Book Club winning the hardcover award). In 1978, when Del Rey was established as an imprint of Ballantine, Ballantine/Del Rey began winning the award. The award was not presented in 1979 for works published in 1978, but when it was reinstituted in 1980, Ballantine/Del Rey picked up its winning streak. In 1980. The Locus Poll received 854 responses.

Anthony Boucher and J. Francis McComas pitched the idea of a fantasy magazine to Lawrence Spivak at Mercury Press in the mid-1940s and a companion to Spivak’s publication Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine. The Magazine of Fantasy was founded in Fall, 1949 with editors Boucher and McComas. With the second issue, the title was changed to The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Boucher and McComas set the magazine apart from other science fiction magazines not only with their choice of material, which tended to being more literary in nature, but also in the magazine’s design. McComas left the magazine following the August 1954 issue for health reasons, but Boucher continued to edit the magazine until the August 1958 issue. Following Boucher’s departure, Robert P. Mills edited the magazine until March 1962 and then Avram Davidson took over until November 1964. Joseph Ferman, who had bought the magazine in 1954 edited it for a year before turning the editorial tasks over to his son, Edward K. Ferman, who edited the magazine until June 1991, after which Kristine Kathryn Rusch became the magazine’s editor until May 1997. Gordon van Gelder took over editorial duties and purchased the magazine from Ferman in 2001, turning over the editorship to Charles Coleman Finlay in 2015.

1979 was the thirtieth anniversary of the magazine and the year opened up publishing stories by Christopher Priest (the British Science Fiction Award winning “Palely Loitering”), Orson Scott Card, and Stephen R. Donaldson. Over the course of the year, Ferman would also publish stories by Reginald Bretnor, Jack Dann, L. Sprague de Camp, Gary Jennings, James Patrick Kelly, Tanith Lee, Barry N. Malzberg, George R. R. Martin, Vonda McIntyre, Joanna Russ, Olaf Stapledon, Lisa Tuttle, and Jane Yolen.

The year’s cover artists included Tom Bevins, Ed Emshwiller, David Hardy (4), Alex Schomberg, Barclay Shaw (2), and Ron Walotsky (3)

Over the course of the year, Ferman published the serials On Wings of Song, by Thomas Disch and the first two sections of Robert Silverberg’s novel Lord Valentine’s Castle, with the ending running into 1980. On Wings of Song would earn Disch nominations for the Hugo, Nebula, Balrog, American Book Award, and British Science Fiction Awards and would win the John W. Campbell Memorial Award.

The October issue of the magazine celebrated the magazine’s anniversary and reprinted stories from the entire run of the magazine. The earliest story reprinted were R. Bretnor’s “The Gnurrs Come from the Voodvork Out” and Damon Knight’s “Not with a Bang,” both originally published in the Winter/Spring 1950 issue, the second issue of the magazine and the first with the current title. The most recent story to be reprinted in the issue was originally published in July, 1977 and was Harlan Ellison’s “Jeffty Is Five.” The anniversary issue was published as both a double issue of the magazine and as a hardcover volume. Some of the more celebrated reprints included “Flowers for Algernon,” by Daniel Keyes, Richard Matheson’s “Born of Man and Woman,” Philip K. Dick’s “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale,” and Walter M. Miller’s “A Canticle for Leibowitz.”

Cover by Barclay Shaw

Cover by Barclay Shaw

Cover by Joseph N. Miller

Cover by Joseph N. Miller

Cover by Ron Walotsky

Cover by Ron Walotsky

Standard features in the magazine throughout 1979 included book review columns by Joanna Russ, George Zebrowski, Alexei Panshin, Richard Delap, John Clute, and Algis Budrys’s book review column, with Russ and Budrys providing multiple columns over the course of the year. Baird Searles contributed a television and film column and Isaac Asimov wrote a science column for each issue. Gahan Wilson contributed cartoons for many issues over the course of the year.

The magazine underwent a minor typographical change following the April issue when the word “and” in the title was replaced with an ampersand.

Ferman received a nomination for the Hugo Award for Best Editor based on his work for 1979 and the magazine came in fifth for the Balrog Award for Professional Publication.

The other top five magazine for the Locus Award included (in order of finishing) Locus edited by Charles N. Brown, Analog edited by Stanley Schmidt, Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, edited by Darrell Schweitzer, and Omni edited by Ben Bova and Frank Kendig.


 

Steven H Silver-largeSteven H Silver is a sixteen-time Hugo Award nominee and was the publisher of the Hugo-nominated fanzine Argentus as well as the editor and publisher of ISFiC Press for 8 years. He has also edited books for DAW and NESFA Press. He began publishing short fiction in 2008 and his most recently published story is “Webinar: Web Sites” in The Tangled Web. Steven has chaired the first Midwest Construction, Windycon three times, and the SFWA Nebula Conference 6 times, as well as serving as the Event Coordinator for SFWA. He was programming chair for Chicon 2000 and Vice Chair of Chicon 7.

2 Comments »

  1. “… with F&SF it’s rare that it isn’t having a heyday …”

    —The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction.

    Comment by dolphintornsea - February 23, 2019 3:08 am

  2. Shallow of me, but gosh I love that March cover by Barclay Shaw. It illustrates an Aventine story by Lee Killough — those were really nice stories, reminiscent of J. G. Ballard’s Vermilion Sands and Michael Coney’s Pensinsula stories.

    Comment by Rich Horton - February 23, 2019 12:53 pm


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