Transformations: The Story of the Science-Fiction Magazines from 1950 To 1970

Transformations: The Story of the Science-Fiction Magazines from 1950 To 1970

Transformations: The Story of the Science-Fiction Magazines from 1950 To 1970

Transformations: The Story of the Science-Fiction Magazines from 1950 To 1970

Excerpt

This second volume of my three-volume history of the science-fiction magazine covers the years 1950 to 1970, and the title, Transformations, sums up in one word every possible change that happened to sf and the magazines during that period.

In the first volume I traced the development of the sf magazine from its earliest days and the creation of the first specialist magazine, Amazing Stories, by Hugo Gernsback in 1926, through the so-called Golden Age under John W. Campbell in the period 1938–42, to the dying of the pulps at the end of the 1940s. the period saw the first two great generations of sf writers and the start of a third, which would come into full fruition in the fifties. It also saw sf evolving from Gernsback's original gadget story, into the cosmic science story, space opera, and ultimately into the transcendent sf of the forties. During this process some writers fell by the wayside, while others helped create the super-hero pulps and comic-books. Others even created a religion. It was with the first breath of the new science, dianetics, that I closed Volume I. Dianetics, created by L. Ron Hubbard, was being championed in Astounding by John W. Campbell, but to many looked almost as much a sham as the Shaver Mystery had in Amazing Stories only a few years earlier. It was in this moment of weakness at Astounding that new magazines came along, especially Galaxy and The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction (F&SF) to help transform science fiction and take it into the postnuclear age.

That is what this volume covers. It sees the rise and fall and rise again of science fiction during a period of intense turbulence. At the start we find publishers switching from the old pulp magazines to the new digest size or into slick format, or even into pocketbook format. It was difficult to know which way to go. the public interest in science fiction spawned by the . . .

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