Jump Back! Quatro-Decadal Review, Looking Ahead to November 1989

Jump Back! Quatro-Decadal Review, Looking Ahead to November 1989

The Holy Trinity

With the 1969 and 1979 magazines behind me I prepare to delve into 1989.  A problem with the decadal review is that, well, it comes in decade intervals. I was 10 years old in 1979, but in 1989 I was a well-seasoned 20.  The answers?  I had them.   In the intervening decade I had gotten a car, a job, started taekwondo, finished high school, and was deep into college.

Unlike 10-year-old me, 20-year-old me had a full handle on SF/F in popular culture.  In fact, the 80s were a watershed decade for SF/F — the promise of green screen special effects and the progress of practical effects really come to fruition in the 80s. Television was more hit and miss, but the decade that started with The Phoenix, progressed through V and  Knight Rider and ended with Star Trek:  The Next Generation. What started with Adventure Atari 2600 ended with Wizardry and The Bard’s Tale. I discovered Dungeons and Dragons in 1982 and never looked back.  My awareness of SF/F books started with Asimov’s juveniles Lucky Starr through Andre Norton and C.J. Cherryh and into Tolkien, Joel Rosenberg’s Guardians of the Flame and the discovery of REH, Fritz Lieber, Richard and Wendy Pini (which ties into the first round of graphic novels into the public imagination). 

A Forgotten Classic

You know what got short shrift?  You know what’s missing from this list?  Magazines!*  I knew about them by this point, and knew they were important in the history of SF/F but I can’t 100% say that I was aware they were still an ongoing thing.  Honestly, I was a book guy.  Well, and Dragon Magazine, which sometimes had fiction.

So what did sci-fi magazines of late 1989 have to offer?  We’ll soon find out.

*outside of Penthouse, as discussed.

Previous entries the Quatro-Decadal Reviews include:

November 1969

Amazing Stories
Galaxy Science Fiction,
The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction
Worlds of If
Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact
Venture Science Fiction
A Decadal Review of Science Fiction from November 1969: Wrap-up

November 1979

Quatro-Decadal Review, November 1979: A Brief Look Back
The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction
Galileo Magazine of Science & Fiction
Analog Science Fiction Science Fact
Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction
Amazing Stories
A Decadal Review of Science Fiction from 1979: Wrap-up

Adrian Simmons is an editor for Heroic Fantasy Quarterlycheck out their Best-of Volume 3 Anthology, or support them on Patreon!

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Joe H.

I think 1989 was when I discovered that Weird Tales had come back, in the form of the Terminus edition. That was the only magazine that I consistently read cover-to-cover — I think I had started getting F&SF around the same time, but I mostly read the book reviews and the columns, not the actual fiction.

Jeff Doten

It’s C.J. Cherryh, with an ‘H’.

John ONeill

Aargh — Jeff, you’re absolutely right. Totally my fault for not spotting that in the editing. That was sloppy. Thanks for the catch!

Adrian Simmons

Joe H- I was aware of the historical importance of the magazines to SFF, but I think it had barely dawned on me that they were still around, still a going thing.

Jeff D and John O– I am totally going to blame autocorrect for that one.

James McGlothlin

What do you remember of Rosenberg’s books? He’s mainly a thriller writer now.


>>What do you remember of Rosenberg’s books? He’s mainly a thriller writer now.<<

Different Joel Rosenberg. The SF&F Author passed in 2011.

Adrian Simmons

James McGlothlin, there are several things that stand out in my memory– it was a sort of ‘portal’ world, and the guy who in our world is paralyzed from the waist down and is a dwarf in the fantasy world and he has no intention of going back. There was a thing about how magic is kind of addictive, and of course the war against the slaver guild.

I also remember that the protagonists start making guns and gunpowder, and the slavers start doing something like it, but it isn’t gunpowder.

A lot of the rest of it is lost to time, though. Just what happened in each book? I couldn’t tell you.

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