Friday, August 26, 2011
FFM: EPOCH, Fall 1955; ELLERY QUEEN'S MYSTERY MAGAZINE (and F&SF), September 1955
I mentioned in an FFB post a few weeks back*** that I'd recently purchased a short stack of Epoch, the Cornell-based literary magazine that in its first, Fall 1947 issue featured a short story by young lion Ray Bradbury and poems by old lion e. e. cummings and early-middle-years lion John Ciardi, and while I didn't have that issue nor the one with Joyce Carol Oates's, well, epochal "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?", I did have the Fall 1955 (8th anniversary) issue with two poems by the late Joanna Russ, who would've been 18 at time of publication and probably newly matriculated. The issue also featured a short story by R. V. Cassill and a poem by Lysander Kemp, and these along with the Russ poems might've been just as much at home on the contents page of EQMM's sister magazine The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, though the Philip Roth short story in the same issue (which Barry Malzberg advises me was his first to be published) might push the TOC in a more Partisan Review direction; scientist-poet Theodore Melnechuk pushes it back a little.
Meanwhile, in this, the 70th anniversary year of publication for Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, it only seemed fitting to take up the 14th anniversary issue, September 1955, as close as they could get to accuracy given that the first issue was dated Fall 1941. (The editorial half of "Ellery Queen," Frederic Dannay, or perhaps someone else high up on staff, decided to fudge it inside the magazine, at least, and call this issue, erroneously, the 15th anniversary.)
So, these two would've been on better newsstands at about the same time, with EQMM running 35c a copy and Epoch 75c.
As Douglas Greene indexed the issue for the FictionMags Index:
Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine (Including Black Mask Magazine) [v 26 #3, No. 142, September 1955] ed. Ellery Queen (Mercury Publications, 35¢, 144pp, digest s/b, cover by George Salter) Managing editor Robert P. Mills. "15th Anniversary issue." [sic]
3 · For Men Only [Insp. Kyle] · Roy Vickers · nv; continued on p. 125.
22 · Murder at the Poe Shrine · Nedra Tyre · ss
35 · The Most Exciting Show in Town · Cornell Woolrich · nv Detective Fiction Weekly May 16 1936, as “Double Feature”; In EQMM’s Black Mask Magazine section.
50 · Turtle Race · Paul W. Fairman · ss; In EQMM’s Black Mask Magazine section.
60 · Star Witness · Allan Vaughan Elston · ss Dime Detective Magazine Aug 1 1934; The American Magazine, May 1952, as “Caballero Alegre”.
70 · The Devil and Mr. Wooller · R. J. Tilley · ss; Department of “First Stories”.
77 · Double Your Money [Ellery Queen] · Ellery Queen · ss This Week Sep 30 1951, as “The Vanishing Wizard”; collected in Queen’s Q.B.I.: Queen’s Bureau of Investigation (Little, Brown, 1954).
83 · What Did Poor Brown Do · Mark Twain · ex (r); from chapter II of Following the Equator.
90 · A Very Odd Case Indeed [John Appleby] · Michael Innes · vi (r); Probably from The Evening Standard.
93 · The Man Who Made People Mad · Mark Van Doren · ss
105 · Killers Three: (3) First Time Machine · Fredric Brown · vi; The title in the TOC is “The First Time Machine”.
106 · EQMM’s Detective Directory · Robert P. Mills · br
108 · Dead Pigeon · Jules Archer · vi Esquire Dec 1951
111 · The Splinter · Mary Roberts Rinehart · ss
A fairly typical mix of reprints and new fiction for EQMM in those years, with its "Black Mask" section (a feature recently revived after some decades' absence in the magazine) populated by a Woolrich reprint and a Paul Fairman original, with accompanying note that fudges Fairman's career history a bit as well, soft-pedaling his work with Howard Browne at the Ziff-Davis pulp and digest magazines and omitting his very short tenure as the founding editor of If, the sf magazine Fairman did his best to make a weak echo of Browne's Amazing...which by 1955, Fairman would be editing, along with its companion Fantastic, as almost inarguably the worst editor of either. In the late 1950s, Fairman would serve for some years as Managing Editor of EQMM, as well.
Fredric Brown's vignette, the third in a sequence that year, "Killers 3," "The First Time Machine," is indicative of Dannay's fondness for the fantasticated crime story, mixed in with the contemporary and historical items; he would publish horror fiction from time to time, as well. The Tyre and the Twain are charming.
The Epoch issue runs thus:
Epoch [v. VII, #1, Fall 1955] edited by Baxter Hathaway, Morris Bishop, Carl Hartman, Robert O. Brown, Hazard Adams, Herbert Goldstone, and Bruce R. Park. "Non-Resident": John A. Sessions and Harvey Shapiro; Asssitant Editors: Steven Katz, Barbara D. Long, Ronald Sukenick and Nina Zippin. (Epoch Associates, publishers; quarterly; $3/year; approx. 8.5 x 5.5"; 64pp plus covers).
3· When Old Age Shall This Generation Waste · R.V. Cassill· ss
20· Savors · T. Melnechuk · pm
21· False Autumn · Rosanne Smith-Robinson · ss
33· Tenebrae: Seven Variations · Frederick Eckman · pm
35· Two Poems · Joanna Russ · pm
· Botanical Gardens · pm
· A La Mode · pm
36· Where the Tiger Walks · Chris Bjerknes · pm
37· The Contest for Aaron Gold · Philip Roth · ss
51· Orpheus Again · Lysander Kemp · pm
53· Sing, and Singing Praise · Peter Cohen · pm
54· Two Poems · Richard Hugo · pm
· Anti-Social Easter · pm
· The Gull Hardly Explained · pm
55· War in the Pacific · Bruce Cutler · pm
60· Notes, Reviews, Speculations · Anon. · ed
The Cassill is a fine representation of the more cosmopolitan society of the mid-'50s, and how said folks had to tread carefully among the louts so easily stirred up all around them (among other points about the Literary Scene in NYC at that time); the Russ poems are very promising, the Melnechuck poem very clever in its cummings-esque usage of typography for multiple layers of meaning. The Roth story is decent early work, rather more sentimental than he was later likely to indulge in.
Meanwhile, the September issue of F&SF, arguably its sixth anniversary issue, featured (as per ISFDb)--edited by Anthony Boucher; cover by Chesley Bonestell (Vol 9, No 3, Whole No 52 ". . . Nearly in the Usual Manner" is an anecdote about Robert Fulton from "Temple of Reason"; it was contributed by Rita Gottesman.):
3 • The Man Who Cried "Sheep!" • novelette by J. T. McIntosh
32 • ". . . Nearly in the Usual Manner" • (1801) • (filler) essay by uncredited
33 • The Fourth Man • (1933) • short story by Agatha Christie
47 • The Science Screen • reviews by Charles Beaumont
52 • Personal Monster • short story by Margaret St. Clair [as by Idris Seabright]
63 • Too Many Bears • (1949) • short story by Eric St. Clair
68 • Old Story • short story by Ward Moore
83 • The Music on the Hill • (1911) • short story by Saki
88 • Recommended Reading • reviews by Anthony Boucher
93 • Rudolph • (1954) • short story by Thyra Samter Winslow
99 • Pottage • [The People] • novelette by Zenna Henderson
127 • Too Far • vignette by Fredric Brown
--the Saki being another of his most telling horror stories, the Henderson a key story in her "the People" series, the St. Clairs fine examples of what they could do, and the Brown one of the best recomplicated punning vignettes I can recall reading.
So, that would've been a good month...
***I'd mentioned this in the FFB post noting Carol Emshwiller's retrospective collection, and yesterday this news about Emshwiller, from her son, Stony, on FaceBook:
My 90-year-old mom, Carol Emshwiller, had a "cardiac event" (which
apparently is, to a "heart attack," what "breaking wind" is to "farting").
She's doing okay, thankfully. Since she's a life-long atheist (second
generation), asking for your prayers would no doubt piss her off royally. So
instead I'll ask you to track down one of her stories or books on-line (or
even in a bookstore) and give a few lines (or more) a read. She's awesome.
Get well soon, Mom!
For more of this week's books, please see Patti Abbott's blog.