Analog, November 1979: A Retro-Review

Monday, February 11th, 2019 | Posted by Adrian Simmons

Analog 1979-small Analog 1979-back-small

The November 1979 Analog has probably the least appealing magazine cover I’ve ever seen. By Richard Anderson, for the story “Phoenix.” However, when we get to the story itself, that guy… that guy has seen some things, man.

Guest Editorial, by G. Harry Stine.

So… Harry Stine is a writer, space advocate, and a major founder of model rocketry, and he is unhappy with this whole idea that humans will never break the light speed barrier. So, as you do, he writes a bit of a hatchet-job on Albert Einstein, or at least those people lacking enough imagination to assume Einstein didn’t know what the hell he was talking about.

He was so successful at it, as a matter of fact, that a whole new cult of Keepers of the Faith have taken over and continue to look upon the Universe with the tunnel vision created by the blinders of their interpretations of Einstein’s work.

He goes on like this for easily 6 pages, hitting all the high points of various scientific ‘certainties’ that were exploded by later experimentations and observations. At least it wasn’t an article about telepathy…

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Golden Age of Science Fiction: The 1973 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer

Saturday, February 9th, 2019 | Posted by Rich Horton

Analog December 1971 A Spaceship for the King-small The Mercenary Jerry Pournelle-small The Mote in God's Eye-small

Steven Silver has been doing a series covering the award winners from his age 12 year, and Steven has credited me for (indirectly) suggesting this, when I quoted Peter Graham’s statement “The Golden Age of Science Fiction” is 12, in the “comment section” to the entry on 1973 in Jo Walton’s wonderful book An Informal History of the Hugos. You see, I was 12 in 1972, so the awards for 1973 were the awards for my personal Golden Age. And Steven suggested that much as he is covering awards for 1980, I might cover awards for 1973 here in Black Gate.

It seems appropriate in a year that represents my dawning as an SF reader, I should cover the dawning of an award that since then has celebrated the dawning of what we (as fans) think might be a significant career. This is the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. Some people think the full name of the award includes a parenthetical addition: (Not a Hugo). This is because the award is sponsored by Dell Magazines (publisher of Analog, where John Campbell was the long time Editor), but administered by the World Science Fiction Society, and as such voted on using the same process and schedule as the Hugo Awards.

The very first Campbell Award, in 1973, went to Jerry Pournelle. Writers are eligible for the award for the two years after their first professional SF/Fantasy publication. While Pournelle had published a thriller, Red Heroin, in 1969 under the name Wade Curtis, his first SF story was “Peace With Honor,” under his own name, in the May 1971 Analog. This was the first story in his Co-Dominion future history, and the first to feature John Christian Falkenberg, one of his primary heroes. His nomination was based on that story, on another Falkenberg story, “The Mercenary,” and on the novel A Spaceship for the King (set much later in the Co-Dominion universe), as well, perhaps, on three stories that appeared in Analog under the “Wade Curtis” name: “Ecology Now!”, “A Matter of Sovereignty,” and “Power to the People.”

I first encountered Pournelle with some stories in Analog in 1974, such as “Extreme Prejudice.” I soon searched out his earlier stories in back issues of Analog borrowed from my library, and I remember reading, with particular enjoyment, the serialized version of A Spaceship for the King.

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The Astounding Life of John W. Campbell

Wednesday, February 6th, 2019 | Posted by Thomas Parker

(1) Astounding-small (1) Astounding-back-small

Every now and then, amid your fevered cries for net neutrality, free soil and free silver, the restoration of the house of Stuart, more episodes of Firefly, or whatever other hopeless cause gets your blood racing and your family members fleeing (they recognize a wind-up to a full fledged rant when they hear one), against all odds the universe actually hears, takes note, and gives you precisely what you’ve asked for — not often, dammit, but sometimes.

Thus it was that after decades of buttonholing strangers and lecturing them on the nation’s desperate need for a biography of John W. Campbell, the pioneering science fiction writer and influential editor of Astounding Science Fiction (later Analog) from 1937 until his death in 1971, a couple of months ago I discovered that just such a book had finally been written. (Where did I find this out? I saw it mentioned on some fantasy web site or other… hold on… I’ll think of the name in a minute…)

I Immediately put Astounding: John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, L. Ron Hubbard, and the Golden Age of Science Fiction by Alec Nevala-Lee at the top of my Christmas list, and I have just finished devouring it, blurbs, book jacket, binding glue, and all. Give me a second to belch, and I’ll tell you what I thought.

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Exploring the Weird through Poetry: Spectral Realms

Tuesday, January 29th, 2019 | Posted by John ONeill

Spectral Realms 9

I’m not much a poetry buff, I admit. But I want to be.

Coincidentally, I’m also a huge fan of Hippocampus Press, whom I first discovered when I stumbled on their amazing booth at the World Fantasy Convention in 2015. I’ve been sampling more and more of their wares over the years. BG blogger James McGlothlin famously labeled them “A very excellent publisher, and at the forefront all things Lovecraftian and weird – new and old,” but in the last few years they’ve been expanding well beyond their original Lovecraft-esoterica focus with popular titles such as Simon Strantzas’ collection Burnt Black Suns, John Langan’s acclaimed The Wide, Carnivorous Sky, and John Langan’s upcoming Sefira and Other Betrayals.

One way to make modern poetry more accessible to casual readers like me is to package it in an attractive and easy-to-read package, and that’s precisely what Hippocampus has done with their bi-annual weird poetry journal Spectral Realms. It’s been published since Summer 2014, and the 9th issue (above) includes poems by John Shirley, Ashley Dioses, Fred Chappell, Darrell Schweitzer, Wade German, K. A. Opperman, Jessica Amanda Salmonson, and many others. As usual, it also includes a few classic weird poems and non-fiction articles as well.

Issues are perfect bound, 130+ pages, and retail for $10 — and frequently have terrific art, like the wraparound piece above by Daniel V. Sauer. You can order copies (with free shipping) right from their website, as well as through online booksellers like Amazon.

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Call for Backers! DreamForge: A Magazine of Science & Fantasy Fiction Campaign on Kickstarter

Sunday, January 20th, 2019 | Posted by Emily Mah

A new science fiction and fantasy market is about to launch, and they’re calling for Kickstarter backers to help get them off the ground. DreamForge, headed up by Scot Noel, is recruiting “dreamers, heroes, and optimists” to back, submit to, and subscribe to this new magazine. Check out their Kickstarter video above!

This magazine is an exciting addition to the publishing market and Noel is open to all the subgenres of speculative fiction. The overarching theme is hope.

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The Golden Age of Science Fiction: “Palely Loitering,” by Christopher Priest

Friday, January 18th, 2019 | Posted by Steven H Silver

Cover by Ron Walotsk

Cover by Ron Walotsky

Peter Graham is often quoted as saying that the Golden Age of Science Fiction is 12. I was reminded of this quote last year while reading Jo Walton’s An Informal History of the Hugo Awards (Tor Books) when Rich Horton commented that based on Graham’s statement, for him, the Golden Age of Science Fiction was 1972. It got me thinking about what science fiction (and fantasy) looked like the year I turned twelve and so this year, I’ll be looking at the year 1979 through a lens of the works and people who won science fiction awards in 1980, ostensibly for works that were published in 1979. I’ve also invited Rich to join me on the journey and he’ll be posting articles looking at the 1973 award year.

The British Science Fiction Association (BSFA) Awards have been presented by the British Science Fiction Association since 1970 and were originally nominated for and voted on by the members of the Association. The Short Fiction (later Short Story) award was created in 1980, and Christopher Priest’s “Palely Loitering” won the award in its first year. The award was presented every year until 2017, when it was won by Jaine Fenn for “Liberty Bird.” In 2018, it was replaced with an award for Shorter Fiction.

Originally published by Edward L. Ferman in the January 1979 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, “Palely Loitering” is a time travel story set in a future England that has the feel of a story set in an England of the 1920s. Mykle comes from a wealthy family who goes on an annual picnic to a park where they can cross bridges into either the future or the past. When Mykle leaps from one of the bridges, he finds himself much further in the future than anticipated and can only get home with the help of a stranger, who also points out a beautiful woman, Estyll, who will become a focus for Mykle, who often returns to the park and that future to find her.

“Palely Loitering” is reminiscent of Richard Matheson’s Bid Time Return (filmed as Somewhere in Time) and the film Citizen Kane. The former also deals with a man who travels through time to meet a woman he has become obsessed with. For Richard Collier in Matheson’s novel, it is actress Elise McKenna. For Mykle in Priest’s story, it is the enigmatic Estyll.

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The Silent Garden: A Journal of Esoteric Fabulism is a Beautiful New Fantasy Magazine

Thursday, January 10th, 2019 | Posted by John ONeill

The Silent Garden-small The Silent Garden-back-small

I don’t usually buy books or magazines sight unseen. But I made an exception for the inaugural volume of The Silent Garden, a beautiful new “Journal of Esoteric Fabulism.”

Part of the reason was the publisher. Mike Kelly’s Undertow Publications has produced some of the most memorable dark fantasy and horror of the past few years, including the anthology Aickman’s Heirs, Simon Strantzas’s new collection Nothing is Everything, and five volumes of Year’s Best Weird Fiction. To be honest the list price, $50 for a deluxe full color hardcover on 70lb. paper, gave me sticker shock, but the list of contributors — V.H. Leslie, Nick Mamatas, Helen Marshall, Brian Evenson, D.P. Watt, and many more — and the discounted 4-volume “The Year in Weird” bundle pricing on their website eventually won me over.

I’m very glad it did. At 249 pages, there’s a whole lot of content crammed into this journal, including eleven short stories, poems, book reviews, articles, and a 24-page full-color gallery devoted to the work of Manchester artist David Whitlam. But just describing the contents doesn’t do it justice. The real strength of The Silent Garden is its top-notch design. It looks fantastic, and every piece is accompanied by at least one striking visual or full-color work of art. Here’s a few pics of the gorgeous interiors.

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The Golden Age of Science Fiction: Stephen Fabian

Sunday, January 6th, 2019 | Posted by Steven H Silver

Cover by Stephen E. Fabian

Cover by Stephen E. Fabian

Cover by Stephen E. Fabian

Cover by Stephen E. Fabian

Cover by Stephen E. Fabian

Cover by Stephen E. Fabian

Peter Graham is often quoted as saying that the Golden Age of Science Fiction is 12. I was reminded of this quote last year while reading Jo Walton’s An Informal History of the Hugo Awards (Tor Books) when Rich Horton commented that based on Graham’s statement, for him, the Golden Age of Science Fiction was 1972. It got me thinking about what science fiction (and fantasy) looked like the year I turned twelve and so this year, I’ll be looking at the year 1979 through a lens of the works and people who won science fiction awards in 1980, ostensibly for works that were published in 1979. I’ve also invited Rich to join me on the journey and he’ll be posting articles looking at the 1973 award year.

In 1972, the British Fantasy Society began giving out the August Derleth Fantasy Awards for best novel as voted on by their members. In 1976. The name of the awards was changed to the British Fantasy Award, although the August Derleth Award was still the name for the Best Novel Award. A category for Best Artwork was created in 1977 and ran for three years until 1979. Stephen Fabian won the award in its second year. In 1980, the Artwork Award was replaced by an award for Best Artist and Fabian won the inaugural award. The category has remained part of the awards to the present day, although a re-alignment in 2012 means the awards are now selected by a jury rather than the full membership of the British Fantasy Society. In 1980, the awards were presented at Fantasycon VI in Birmingham.

Fabian was born on January 3, 1930 in Garfield, New Jersey. Fabian was self-taught and heavily influenced by Edd Cartier, Hannes Bok, and Virgil Finlay. He began creating sketches for fanzines in the mid-1960s, but it wasn’t until he was laid off from a job due to the oil embargo of the 1970s that he turned his skills towards professional artwork. On the day that he received word of the layoffs, he also received invitations from Sol Cohen and Jim Baen to submit work for their consideration for inclusion in Amazing Stories (Cohen) and Galaxy (Baen). His first paid work was a cover for Robert E. Howard’s Western The Vultures.

His work was also championed by book collector and publisher Gerry de la Ree, who published several portfolios of Fabian’s work, bringing him to the attention of both fans and publishers who were able to give him work.

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Closing Out 2018 with Interzone Magazine

Saturday, January 5th, 2019 | Posted by John ONeill

Interzone 276-small Interzone 277-small Interzone 278-small

I don’t get to pick up British SF magazine Interzone as often as I like, though I buy it whenever I see it. I was lucky enough to find three issues recently on the magazine rack at Barnes & Noble, and they’ve help remind me what a terrific magazine it is. If you’re at all interested in what’s going on in modern SF, I urge you to check it out.

Interzone is published and edited by Andy Cox, who has assembled a top-notched team of writers, artists, and columnists. It is one of the sharpest-looking magazines on the market, with full color interiors and gorgeous art. The most recent three issues of the bi-monthly magazine (#276, 277, and 278, cover dated July-December 2018) include fiction from Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam, Aliya Whiteley, Natalia Theodoridou, Fiona Moore, Rachael Cupp, James Warner, and many others. They also include some of the best columns and non-fiction in the business, including the long-running Ansible Link by David Langford (news and obits); my favorite film review column, Mutant Popcorn by Nick Lowe; the excellent Book Zone (book reviews); Andy Hedgecock’s Future Interrupted (column); Nina Allan’s Time Pieces (column); interviews, and guest editorials.

Here’s a few samples of that gorgeous interior art I was talking about.

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New Treasures: Clarkesworld Year Nine, Volumes One & Two, edited by Neil Clarke and Sean Wallace

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2019 | Posted by John ONeill

Clarkesworld Year Nine Volume One-small Clarkesworld Year Nine Volume Two-small

It’s hard to believe Clarkesworld magazine launched over a decade ago (in October 2006, believe it or not). I remember when Neil Clarke announced it, as sort of a side project/marketing scheme for his online Clarkesworld bookstore. I was already a regular customer — Clarkesworld was far and away the best source for small press magazines, and they sold a lot of the print edition of Black Gate — and I was curious to see what he could do with it.

The rest, as they say, is history. The bookstore shut down a few years later, but the magazine exploded. Last time I counted it had a World Fantasy Award, three Hugo Awards, a British Fantasy Award, and in 2013 it received more Hugo nominations for short fiction than all the leading print magazines combined. Clarkesworld keeps getting bigger and more ambitious every year… although, in one way at least, things haven’t changed much since 2006: I’m still intensely curious to see where Neil and Sean will take it next.

I don’t have time to read every issue, so I greatly appreciate their tradition of producing an annual print volume every year collecting a complete year of fiction under a single cover. Last year’s Year Eight was a huge 448 pages and, given how much the magazine has grown in the past year, I was looking forward to seeing just how big Year Nine would be. When I finally set eyes on it (at the Clarkesworld booth at the World Fantasy convention) I wasn’t disappointed. For the first time it’s been broken into two books, both over 300 pages.

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