Friday, September 16, 2011

FFB: WORLDS OF IF: A Retrospective Anthology, Pohl, Greenberg & Olander, ed. (Bluejay '86); TQ 20 (TriQuarterly 20 years), Gibbons & Hahn, ed. (Pushcart '85)

Nearly contemporary issues:











































































Executive summary: 

Two impressive slices through the first two decades of two important, but not always sufficiently respected, fiction magazines. If, aka Worlds of If, ran from 1952-1974, with some weak attempts at revival afterward (at the end of 1974, it was merged into its longterm stablemate Galaxy, which itself staggered into folding and sporadic revival by 1980); even at its weakest points editorially under original publisher James Quinn, If was an elegantly-produced magazine, and while the later publishers at the "Digest Productions"/Guinn/Galaxy group and UPD Publications varied in their investment, it was often striking later as well. TriQuarterly began as a relatively modest physical production, though less so in content, in 1964, had made itself into one of the most visually as well as literarily impressive of little magazines throughout the 1970s thanks to founding editor Charles Newman and successors Elliot Anderson and Robert Onopa, the latter being rewarded by being unceremoniously dumped for daring to treat "popular fiction" as essentially no different from "literary fiction"; TQ never quite recovered its spirit, though it did continue, and is now a webzine.

















What's good about these anthologies: Take a quick look at their contents, below. As the material about each magazine in their respective volumes makes clear, the not terribly well-measured consensus view about these two magazines was that they were very well in their way, but not the Serious Contenders that were, say, the hidebound 1969 Analog or The Hudson Review, nor even the resolutely lively contemporary issues of The Paris Review or Galaxy, when If and TQ had also been hitting their very comparable high-quality marks for some years, would continue in If's case till merger in 1975 and in TriQuarterly's case was allowed to continue doing so for another half-decade beyond that year. Again, look below at the evidence. In addition to the good to great fiction in the If volume, you get a plethora of reminiscences by the writers and editors, some taken not long before these folks died or otherwise became incapable of comment (the book was also delayed for several years). The material about the magazine is less generous in the TQ, perhaps in part because the book's editors were also TQ's editors after the shameful putsch in 1980/81, but to help make up for that, the selection of poetry and artwork as well as fiction is even larger.

What's not so great about these anthologies: Don't let your book be the last Bluejay book nor the second Pushcart anthology of material the Pushcart folks didn't shape for themselves...because signs of haste and slipshoddery will be evident all over the productions, beginning with the covers. Both manage to have half-good covers, with some boldish graphics not employed quite properly...clearly the white space in the If was meant to hold some writers' names, and the TQ would work better if the cover gave a legible indication what "TQ" meant...the contributors' names in both cases are almost illegible on the back cover, if the casual browser gets past the front cover. The "If" in the one should've been larger, to resemble the magazine's frequent logo; the spine of the TriQuarterly jacket *doesn't have the title "TQ 20" on it anywhere*. It takes some effort to get much more clumsy than this.

Unfortunately, the bad packaging gives way in the If to some very blatant typos (Charles Beaumont's The Hunger and Other Stories becomes the "Hunter"; the Zelazny here is incorrectly cited as the only story he published in If; there's a more unforgivable one that I'll have to find again--it's Martin Greenberg's contention that Larry Niven was rare in being conversant in both "hard" science fiction and adventure fantasy...as if Poul Anderson and at least arguably Jack Vance and the predominance of the contributors to the magazine Unknown didn't rather roundly contradict that). Perhaps even more of a mixed bag is the uncorrected nature of a number of the memoirs; several contributors, Algis Budrys for one and P.J. Farmer to a gross extent, manage to get historical facts out of order (Budrys misremembers Fairman as the editor after Quinn), but mostly the disagreements between the nonfiction contributors are reasonable disagreements of judgment, and useful assessments. (One which definitely caught my eye detailed editor Larry Shaw's run-ins with Evan Hunter, whom he found unpleasant, not least when Shaw sought to have him correct an error in his famous, overrated story "Malice in Wonderland," and Hunter replied, "Well, it's only science fiction, after all." A kind of irresponsibility I tend to find in all the Hunter [McBain, et al.] fiction I've read.)

The TQ basically reshoots the pages of the magazine for the book; the typefaces are unmistakable, and so any typos in the original magazine run are presumably reproduced here (I haven't spotted any blatant ones yet); and, again, as little as possible is said about the purge of Anderson and Onopa from the magazine; in fact, Onopa is neither reprinted (he contributed interesting fiction, as well) nor mentioned. Very much down the memory hole.

At left, a 1974 issue; below left, one of the last Anderson/Onopa issues, from 1980.


These books are valuable documents, if not quite what they could've been; the magazines treated, as their staffs were, with insufficient respect once again. And, in part as consequence, they are long out of print. But they will reward you if you seek them out, and they won't cost you too much...unless you don't look for the bargains. The better work represented here is even worth a premium price.

Some If covers through the years, below:

















































Fact (I believe) about If: it employed more book-publisher editors as its editor or associate/assistant editor than any other sf magazine has, before or since: founding editor Paul Fairman might make the weakest link (in several ways!) by being the editor in charge of the Ziff-Davis fiction magazines later when they published the one volume/issue of Amazing Stories Science Fiction Novels, Henry Slesar's novelization of 20 Million Miles to Earth (I wouldn't be surprised if Fairman eventually edited books for others, as well). James Quinn (Handi-Books--or did he not wield an editorial hand there as well as publishing?), Larry Shaw (Lancer Books), Damon Knight (Berkley), H. L. Gold (Galaxy Novels), Frederik Pohl (Ace, Bantam), Judy-Lynn Benjamin/Del Rey and Lester Del Rey (Ballantine/Del Rey), Ejler Jakobsson (Award and other UPD lines), and James Baen (Ace, Baen Books).

courtesy the Locus Index:
Worlds of If: A Retrospective Anthology ed. Frederik Pohl, Martin H. Greenberg & Joseph D. Olander (Bluejay 0-312-94471-3, Dec ’86, $19.95, 438pp, hc) Anthology of 24 stories. This is the last Bluejay book.

1 · Introduction · Frederik Pohl · in
6 · As If Was in the Beginning · Larry T. Shaw · ar, 1986
19 · Memoir · Philip K. Dick · ms
20 · The Golden Man · Philip K. Dick · nv If Apr ’54
50 · Memoir · Robert Sheckley · ms
51 · The Battle · Robert Sheckley · ss If Sep ’54
57 · Last Rites · Charles Beaumont · ss If Oct ’55
71 · Game Preserve · Rog Phillips · ss If Oct ’57
85 · The Burning of the Brain · Cordwainer Smith · ss If Oct ’58
95 · Memoir · Algis Budrys · ms
103 · The Man Who Tasted Ashes · Algis Budrys · ss If Feb ’59
117 · Memoir · Poul Anderson · ms
119 · Kings Who Die · Poul Anderson · nv If Mar ’62
147 · Memoir · Fred Saberhagen · ms
148 · Fortress Ship [Berserker] · Fred Saberhagen · ss If Jan ’63
158 · Father of the Stars · Frederik Pohl · ss If Nov ’64
177 · Trick or Treaty [Jame Retief] · Keith Laumer · nv If Aug ’65
202 · Memoir · R. A. Lafferty · ms
203 · Nine Hundred Grandmothers · R. A. Lafferty · ss If Feb ’66
214 · Memoir · Larry Niven · ms
216 · Neutron Star [Beowulf Shaeffer] · Larry Niven · nv If Oct ’66
234 · Memoir · Roger Zelazny · ms
235 · This Mortal Mountain · Roger Zelazny · nv If Mar ’67
272 · Memoir · Harlan Ellison · ar *
289 · I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream · Harlan Ellison · ss If Mar ’67
305 · Memoir · Samuel R. Delany · ms
306 · Driftglass · Samuel R. Delany · ss If Jun ’67
324 · Memoir · Isaac Asimov · ms
326 · The Holmes-Ginsbook Device · Isaac Asimov · ss If Dec ’68
336 · Memoir · Philip José Farmer · ms
338 · Down in the Black Gang · Philip José Farmer · nv If Mar ’69
359 · Memoir · Robert Silverberg · ms
361 · The Reality Trip · Robert Silverberg · ss If May ’70
378 · Memoir · James Tiptree, Jr. · ms
379 · The Night-Blooming Saurian · James Tiptree, Jr. · ss If May ’70
385 · Memoir · Theodore Sturgeon · ms
388 · Occam’s Scalpel · Theodore Sturgeon · nv If Aug ’71
409 · Memoir · Clifford D. Simak · ms
410 · Construction Shack · Clifford D. Simak · ss Worlds of If Jan/Feb ’73
424 · Memoir · Craig Kee Strete · ms
427 · Time Deer · Craig Kee Strete · ss Red Planet Earth #4 ’74
433 · Afterword: Flash Point, Middle · Barry N. Malzberg · aw

courtesy WorldCat:
TQ 20 : twenty years of the best contemporary writing and graphics from TriQuarterly magazine
Editors: Reginald Gibbons; Susan Hahn
Publisher: Wainscott, NY : Pushcart Press, ©1985.
Description: 667 p. : ill. ; 25 cm.

Contents:
Preface/1964-1984 --
Forward / Charles Newman --
Fragments from the unpublished death fantasy sequence of Judgment day / James T. Farrell --
To friends in East and West "A New Year's greeting" / Boris Pasternak --
Three essays / Roland Barthes --
Two stories / Richard Brautigan --
In a hole / George P. Elliott --
Two poems / Anne Sexton --
Why is American poetry culturally deprived? / Kenneth Rexroth --
Storm still / Brock Brower --
TV / Howard Nemerov --
Two essays / E.M. Cioran --
The fly / Miroslav Holub --
Two poems / Vasko Popa --
A damned man / Aleksander Wat --
From the wave / Thom Gunn --
Meeting hall of the Sociedad Anarquista, 1952 / Irving Feldman --
Few things to say / John Frederick Nims --
The town / C.P. Cavafy --
Tuesday siesta / Gabriel García Márquez --
The sea / Jorge Luis Borges --
The doll queen / Carlos Fuentes --
From unusual occupations / Julio Cortázar --
Montesano unvisited / Richard Hugo --
Possibility along a line of difference / A.R. Ammons --
Life / Jean Follain --
Footprints on the glacier / W.S. Merwin --
The Eagle Exterminating Company / James Tate --
The double dream of spring / John Ashbery --
Toward a new program for the university / Christopher Lasch --
Three meetings / Stanley Elkin --
Three / W.S. Merwin --
Pain / Maxine Kumin --
That's what you say, Cesar? / Andrew Glaze --
Enigma for an angel / Joseph Brodsky --
Two poems / Osip Mandelstam --
To Edward dahlberg / Jack Kerouac --
Confessions / Edward Dahlberg --
From The tunnel: why windows are important to me / William H. Gass --
The wheel / Aimé Césaire --
A tale from Lailonia / Leszek Kolakowski --
Men fought / Jorge Luis Borges --
Meredith Dawe / Joyce Carol Oates --
From Ninety-two in the shade / Thomas McGuane --
Torpid smoke / Vladimir Nabokov --
My encounters with Chekhov / Konstantin Korovin --
Commitment without empathy : a writer's notes on politics, theatre and the novel / David Caute --
Human dust / Agnes Denes --
Heart attack / Max Apple --
The reurn of Icarus / David Wagoner --
With Uncle Sam at Burning Tree / Robert Coover --
Gala / Paul West --
The sewing harems / Cynthia Ozick --
Two shoes for one foot / John Hawkes --
Coyote hold a full house in his hand / Leslie Marmon Silko --
Dillinger in Hollywood / John Sayles --
Walking out / David Quammen --
Where is everyone? / Raymond Carver --
Hunters in the snow / Tobias Wolff --
From A flag for sunrise / Robert Stone --
Embryology / Magdalena Abakanowicz --
Going to the dogs / Richard Ford --
Editorial / Reginald Gibbons --
Dear Lydia E. Pinkham / Pamels White Hadas --
Somg of napalm / Bruce Weigl --
Three prose pieces / Stephen Berg --
Had I a hundred mouths / William Goyen --
From Steht noch dahin / Marie Louise Kaschnitz --
Prayer for the dying / Willis Johnson --
Don't they speak jazz? / Michael S. Harper --
Aubade / Roland Flint --
The third count / Andrew Fetler --
In the cemetery where Al Jolson is buried / Amy Hempel --
June harvest / W.S. Di Piero --
Ambush / John Morgan --
Instructions to be left behind / Marvin Bell --
Gill Boy / Dennis Schmitz --
From A minor apocalypse / Tadeusz Konwicki --
The belly of Barbara N. / Wiktor Woroszylski --
Two poems / Stanislaw Baranczak --
Isaac Babel / R.D. Skillings --
The story tellers / Fred Chappell --
Night traffic near Winchester / Dave Smith --
Sweet sixteen lines / Al Young --
Father and son / Morton Marcus --
His happy hour / Alan Shapiro --
The last class / Ellen Bryant Voigt --
Two poems / C.K. Williams --
Recovering / William Goyen --
On welfare / William Wilborn --
Two poems / William Heyen --
The hooded legion / Gerald McCarthy --
Snowy egret / Bruce Weigl --
Three epigrams / Elder Olson --
Interview with Saul Bellow / Rockwell Gray, Harry White and Gerald Nemanic --
Fulfilling the promise / Lisel Mueller --
The Aragon ballroom / John Dickson --
The city / Lorraine Hansberry --
The address / Marga Minco --
Departures / Linda Pastan --
He, she, all of them, ay / John Peck

Every issue of If online at the Internet Archive.
Selected issues of TQ online, most post-putsch.

Brian Lindemuth's Spinetingler magazine blog will be offering the links to other FFBs this week, as Patti Abbott is at BoucherCon.

14 comments:

Richard R. said...

That Words of If anthology looks to be tip-top. I may have to try to find a copy.

Ed Gorman said...

What a great magazine. I started buying it in 1955 and continued till it folded. Dozens and dozens of fine stories. Thanks for this excellent post, Todd.

Todd Mason said...

You might even enjoy the TRIQUARTERLY book...but you should try the SF issue or the Love and Hate issue (with some impressive historical adventure fiction) first...

Todd Mason said...

Thanks, Ed! It had its ups and downs, IF did, but it usually managed to be engaging to some extent, particularly since you missed the rather bad first four issues Paul Fairman edited as weak-tea imitation Ray Palmer AMAZINGs...even the Theodore Sturgeon story in the first issue was extremely minor, the Howard Browne just yardgoods.

TRIQUARTERLY did a Western issue between Love and Hate and SF...the SF issue was The Last Straw for the snobs.

Steve Lewis said...

I remember IF very well. One of my favorite SF magazines for as long as it lasted. I miss GALAXY SF a lot also. Many good moments were spent in reading both.

Todd Mason said...

I first became aware of IF because my father brought home the Jakobsson/Baen Award Books collections, THE BEST FROM IF and THE BEST FROM GALAXY, V. 3 in both cases...the IF volume took its cover from the last UPD issue, the one with "Time Deer" in it. The four 1971 sf/fantasy magazines I was given at my junior high-school library included an IF, the only title of the four not still publishing at that time...so I was just a bit late for IF, though certainly my early collecting got me more copies of the magazine from various eras.

Emotionally, of course, the world should still have MIKE SHAYNE and GALAXY and FANTASTIC and SHORT STORY INTERNATIONAL and maybe even FAR WEST and 10 GREAT ROMANCES still in it, since they were on the newsstands as I started collecting new fiction magazines as a kid...and I can just barely remember seeing RANCH ROMANCES AND ADVENTURES on newsstands...but, well, you take what you can get.

K. A. Laity said...

Love those covers.

Walker Martin said...

IF is a big favorite of mine and my set of back issues are stacked next to GALAXY, my favorite SF magazine.

TRIQUARTERLY is certainly in the running for best literary magazine. I recently was reading through my set of ANTAEUS, thinking that it was the best but after reading your article, I've decided to dig through my literary magazines and put together all my TRIQUARTERLY back issues.

I think I have TQ 20 because it was also published as TRIQUARTERLY # 63. I guess my favorite issue is #43 which was a gigantic TRIQUARTERLY all about the little magazines.

I hope you continue discussing literary magazines and SF digests(don't forget the crime digests). Excellent post with alot to think about. Thanks Todd; I'm starved for discussions of literary and little magazines!

Todd Mason said...

I just wish there were better photos of some of those covers available, Kate...but, again, we take what we can get. That 1971 IF cover for Sturgeon's "Occam's Scalpel" seems to be the only photo of that cover online, as it appears on NooSFere, Galactic Central and the ISFDb.

Walker, I won't say that IF and TRIQUARTERLY were the best among sf and eclectic fiction magazines, but certainly were among the best at their best, and both were condescended to and treated roughly by people who should've known better, but were too hidebound in their thinking, even when the magazines might win awards and achieve major coups. I certainly intend to keep the mix of various sorts of fiction magazine a major part of what I discuss here...they've been too much a part of my life to do otherwise. (And I must admit that my disappointment in NorthWestern University and TQ after the firing of Anderson and Onopa was so great that I hadn't realized the anthology was also produced as one of those latter-day issues. The online TQ is too often sadly trivial, particularly in its nonfiction content.)

Walker Martin said...

Speaking of being disappointed with Northwestern, how about the decision to end the print format in 2009 and go online. With student editors yet! Students are ok as interns and assistants but a quality publication needs a salaried staff.

As one academic headline stated, "Literary Circles Reel at Northwestern's Plans for TRIQUARTERLY".

Todd Mason said...

Well, see my last line in the previous comment, Walker. They clearly didn't care any more...but, then, even the Gibbons TQ was easy, in comparison, not to care about.

Sadly, TRIQUARTERLY began as a modest student magazine and ends as one.

Todd Mason said...

http://chronicle.com/article/Literary-Circles-Reel-at/48612/

Notable that Gibbons, the beneficiary of the 1980 putsch (he was editor from '81-'97), also was the big booster of the conversion to a student-run webzine...twelve years after his protege (and co-editor of the TQ 20 volume) succeeded him as editor. Have I mentioned that I don't think much of Gibbons's role in the history of the magazine?

George said...

During the late 1960s, WORLD OF IF was my favorite SF magazine. Fred Pohl was a wonderful editor who managed to fill every issue with top-notch stories.

Todd said...

Though he felt he was putting the lighter-weight or Not Quite stories in IF...till it took on a life of its own, as the intelligent adventure sf magazine, and thus the most popular with fans. Hence the first magazine to take the Hugo away from GALAXY, F&SF and ANALOG (aside from NEW WORLDS getting a one-off Best UK magazine).