Friday, September 3, 2010

Friday's "Forgotten" Magazines and Periodical Books: Firsts: F&SF, FANTASTIC, WHISPERS, SHADOWS, TZ, ARIEL, WEIRD TALES, OTHER WORLDS and before.

(Indices from and the Contento indices; magazine cover images mostly from the collection at Galactic Central).

So, I thought I'd highlight the first new issues I picked up of some of my favorite fiction magazines from my salad days (having already blogged about the first older issues I encountered, my free first taste)...the second taste, no longer free (though only Ariel was so expensive as to make me think twice...).

The March, 1978, issue of F&SF (the first issue to cost $1.25...editor and publisher Edward Ferman would offer "all-star" issues for the anniversaries and every price rise...and clearly, my timing was exquisite) was pretty impressive, both for its nice proportion of horror stories (the Wellman, the Grant, the Garrett Lovecraftian parody which inspired the cover, and the relatively weak Young) and for the longest fiction in the issue, John Varley's "The Persistence of Vision." Solid columns by Algis Budrys, Baird Searles (his rundown of the film of Damnation Alley, quite probably the funniest column Searles wrote) and Isaac Asimov, a Gahan Wilson cartoon, Ted Thomas's deft humanistic sf piece, Glen Cook's fine Vancean fantasy, and a not-bad Papa Schimmelhorn story...instant addiction.

6 • The Persistence of Vision • novella by John Varley
51 • Hundred Years Gone • [Southern Appalachia] • shortstory by Manly Wade Wellman
63 • Books (F&SF, March 1978) • [Books (F&SF)] • essay by Algis Budrys
65 •   Review: Gateway by Frederik Pohl • review by Algis Budrys
66 •   Review: The Futurians by Damon Knight • review by Algis Budrys
72 • The Family Man • shortstory by Theodore L. Thomas [as by Ted Thomas ]
78 • The Seventh Fool • shortstory by Glen Cook
83 • Cartoon: "I suppose you don't think this is hard work! • interior artwork by Gahan Wilson
84 • Hear Me Now, My Sweet Abbey Rose • shortstory by Charles L. Grant
97 • Films and Television: The Road to Albany • [Films (F&SF)] • essay by Baird Searles
100 • Down the Ladder • shortstory by Robert F. Young
111 • The Horror Out of Time • shortstory by Randall Garrett
123 • Anyone for Tens? • [Asimov's Essays: F&SF] • essay by Isaac Asimov
135 • Papa Schimmelhorn's Yang • [Schimmelhorn] • novelette by Reginald Bretnor

The quarterly Fantastic had its July issue out by March (and also the first $1.25 issue), so the next time I dropped by the Derry bookstore that was my source of new fiction magazines, and most of my new books, in my New Hampshire years (a real pity it didn't ever carry UnEarth nor Shayol nor even the Boston-based Galileo regularly in those years), I snagged it. Again, Robert Young's story was more foolish than not, but fun enough to read (and an opportunity for Stephen Fabian to do his mild cheesecake illustrations), but Charles Sheffield's first Erasmus Darwin historical fantasy (further stories would appear in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine and F&SF in months to come, as Fantastic would soon go into its final decline) was impressive, as the horrors by Malzberg, Springer, and arguably Davis were augmented by charming fantasies by Godwin and Haldeman, and a borderline sf by Bunch. And Fritz Leiber was their book reviewer! I did luck into his first column in about a year or so...and one where he was, as he had with Katherine Kurtz previously, reluctantly forced to give a very negative review...unsurprisingly, even moreso (along with inviting a guest to give another persoective, at least as unimpressed).

4 • Editorial (Fantastic, July 1978) • [Editorial (Fantastic)] • essay by Ted White
6 • The Journal of Nathaniel Worth • novelette by Robert F. Young
7 • The Journal of Nathaniel Worth • interior artwork by Stephen Fabian [as by Steve Fabian ]
20 • The Last Rainbow • novelette by Parke Godwin
21 • The Last Rainbow • interior artwork by Joe Staton
44 • The Chill of Distant Laughter • shortstory by Sherwood Springer
45 • The Chill of Distant Laughter • interior artwork by John Rodak
54 • The Treasure of Odirex • [Erasmus Darwin] • novella by Charles Sheffield
55 • The Treasure of Odirex • interior artwork by Lydia Moon
93 • Prowl • shortstory by Barry N. Malzberg
96 • David's Friend, the Hole • shortstory by Grania Davis
97 • David's Friend, the Hole • interior artwork by Tony Gleeson
105 • What Weighs 8000 Pounds and Wears Red Sneakers? • shortstory by Jack C. Haldeman, II
108 • Send Us a Planet! • shortstory by David R. Bunch
116 • Fantasy Books (Fantastic, July 1978) • [Fantasy Books (Fantastic)] • essay by Fritz Leiber
119 •   Review: The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks • review by Fritz Leiber
123 • . . . According to You (Fantastic, July 1978) • [According to You (Fantastic)] • letter column conducted by Ted White

There were only two more Ted White issues of Fantastic before Arthur Bernhard bought out his retiring senior partner Sol Cohen as publisher, and remade Fantastic into a garish mostly-reprint magazine with game but even more underpaid tyro editor Eleanor Mavor (she used the pseudonym "Omar Gohagen" at first). White wandered over to Heavy Metal for a year, where he luxuriated in a real about the same time, Ben Bova was leaving the sf magazine Analog and wandering over to a gig at Omni, and leaving behind a minimal budget for a similarly luxurious one.

So, as I mentioned, Ariel simply cost too much. Though it was handsome, as I browsed each issue as I found it, this second issue being the first I saw. A buck and a quarter I could swing on my irregular allowance...but $6 for one rather slim issue/volume? Even with that lineup? Um...
Cover: Frank Frazetta
fep • Ariel: The Book of Fantasy, Volume Two • interior artwork by Franklin Booth
bc • Ariel: The Book of Fantasy, Volume Two • interior artwork by Bruce Jones
2 • Ariel: The Book of Fantasy, Volume Two (frontispiece) • interior artwork by Richard Corben
3 • Title Page (Ariel: The Book of Fantasy, Volume Two) • interior artwork by Frank Frazetta
5 • Contents Page (Ariel: The Book of Fantasy, Volume Two) • interior artwork by Frank Frazetta
6 • Eggsucker • [Vic and Blood • 1] • shortstory by Harlan Ellison
6 • Eggsucker • interior artwork by Richard Corben
14 • Interview with Frank Frazetta Part II • interview of Frank Frazetta • interview by Armand Eisen
14 • Interview with Frank Frazetta, Part II • interior artwork by Frank Frazetta
27 • The Princess and the Merman • shortfiction by Bruce Jones
27 • The Princess and the Merman • interior artwork by Bruce Jones
32 • The Lake — To __ • interior artwork by Michael Hague
33 • The Lake — To __ • (1827) • poem by Edgar Allan Poe (aka The Lake)
34 • Science Fiction Chauvinism • (1975) • essay by Ursula K. Le Guin [as by Ursula Le Guin ]
34 • Science Fiction Chauvinism • interior artwork by Mark Corcoran
36 • Frodo as Christ • interior artwork by John Butterfield
36 • Frodo as Christ • (1970) • essay by Myra Edwards Barnes [as by Myra Edward Barnes ]
40 • The Burning Man • (1976) • shortstory by Ray Bradbury
40 • The Burning Man • interior artwork by Bruce Jones
44 • Thinking of Frankenstein • essay by Arthur Asa Berger
44 • Thinking of Frankenstein • interior artwork by Michael McClue
47 • Paradise Gems • shortstory by David James
47 • Paradise Gems • interior artwork by Tom Kowal
48 • The Helmet-Maker's Wife • novelette by Keith Roberts
48 • The Helmet-Maker's Wife • interior artwork by Robert Noback
56 • Den (Ariel #2) • comics by Richard Corben
71 • Islands • (1963) • shortstory by Michael Moorcock
72 • Islands • interior artwork by Jeff Jones

But one I was willing to expend the effort and expense (a mere $4 for this relatively fat double issue, in comparison) to obtain was my first Whispers issue, having already enjoyed library copies of the First World Fantasy Awards anthology, with its Whispers sampler within, and the first Whispers anthology.
Title: Whispers #13-14, October 1979: Fritz Leiber tribute issue
(wraparound) Cover: Steve Fabian
fep • Our Lady of Darkness • interior artwork by John Stewart
bep • Smoke Ghost • interior artwork by Chris Pellitiere
1 • Whispers (masthead) • (1977) • interior artwork by John Linton
2 • Editorial (Whispers #13-14) • essay by Stuart David Schiff
3 • News (Whispers #13-14) • essay by Stuart David Schiff
12 • A Ghostly Photograph of Fritz Leiber • interior artwork by Emil Petaja
13 • The Button Molder • novelette by Fritz Leiber
35 • Swords and Deviltry Folio • interior artwork by Stephen Fabian [as by Steve Fabian ]
43 • Fritz Leiber Revisited: From Hyde Park to Geary Street • essay by James Wade
48 • Alderman Stratton's Fancy • (1969) • shortstory by David Campton
55 • Alderman Stratton's Fancy • interior artwork by Ray Capella
56 • Castle of Tears • [Dread Empire] • shortstory by Glen Cook
64 • Castle of Tears • interior artwork by Vincent Napoli
69 • Blood Moon • shortstory by Thomas L. Owen
78 • Chang Dree • shortstory by Gerald W. Page
88 • HPL: A Reminiscence (part 2 of 2) • essay by H. Warner Munn
96 • The Sorcerer's Dream • shortstory by Brian Lumley
99 • The Sorcerer's Dream • interior artwork by Alan Hunter
100 • A Fly One • shortstory by Steve Sneyd
104 • A Fly One • interior artwork by Denis Tiani
105 • The Last Ambition • shortstory by Charles L. Grant
109 • The Last Ambition • interior artwork by Alan Hunter
110 • Who Nose What Evil • shortstory by Charles E. Fritch
115 • Who Nose What Evil • interior artwork by Jim Shull
116 • The White Beast • [Dilvish] • shortstory by Roger Zelazny
118 • The White Beast • interior artwork by Alan Hunter
119 • The Secret Member • essay by J. Vernon Shea
121 • The Dead Line • shortstory by Dennis Etchison

--Goodness. Even the minor Lumley was fun to read. Much less the Leiber, the Etchison, the Campton, the Grant...

Meanwhile, here's the lineup for that first Whispers anthology, from Doubleday:
Whispers ed. Stuart David Schiff (Doubleday 0-385-12568-2, Aug ’77, $7.95, hc); Also in pb (Jove 1979).
· Introduction · Stuart David Schiff · in
· Sticks · Karl Edward Wagner · nv Whispers Mar ’74
· The Barrow Troll · David Drake · ss Whispers Dec ’75
· The Glove · Fritz Leiber · ss Whispers Jun ’75
· The Closer of the Way · Robert Bloch · ss *
· Dark Winner · William F. Nolan · ss Whispers Dec ’76
· Ladies in Waiting · Hugh B. Cave · ss Whispers Jun ’75
· White Moon Rising · Dennis Etchison · ss *
· Graduation · Richard Christian Matheson · ss Whispers Aug ’77
· Mirror, Mirror · Ray Russell · ss *
· The House of Cthulhu · Brian Lumley · ss Whispers Jul ’73
· Antiquities · John Crowley · ss *
· A Weather Report from the Top of the Stairs · James Sallis & David Lunde · ss Whispers Dec ’73
· The Scallion Stone · Basil A. Smith · nv *
· The Inglorious Rise of the Catsmeat Man · Robin Smyth · ss New Writings in Horror and the Supernatural #1, ed. David A. Sutton, London: Sphere, 1971; Whispers Jul ’74
· The Pawnshop · Charles E. Fritch · ss *
· Le Miroir · Robert Aickman · ss Whispers Aug ’77
· The Willow Platform · Joseph Payne Brennan · ss Whispers Jul ’73
· The Dakwa [Lee Cobbett] · Manly Wade Wellman · ss *
· Goat · David Campton · ss New Writings in Horror and the Supernatural #1, ed. David A. Sutton, London: Sphere, 1971; Whispers Dec ’75
· The Chimney · Ramsey Campbell · ss *
· Afterword · Stuart David Schiff · aw

The only conteporary series which could touch the Schiff anthologies, at least at first, was Charles Grant's Shadows volumes, with their emphasis on what Grant himself preferred to write, "quiet" or subtle horror...Avram Davidson's brilliant "Naples" led, and not only in its placement in this impressive debut.

Shadows ed. Charles L. Grant (Doubleday 0-385-12937-8, 1978, $7.95, hc); Also in pb (Playboy 1980).
· Introduction · Charles L. Grant · in
· Naples · Avram Davidson · ss *
· The Little Voice · Ramsey Campbell · nv *
· Butcher’s Thumb · William Jon Watkins · ss *
· Where All the Songs Are Sad · Thomas F. Monteleone · nv *
· Splinters · R. A. Lafferty · ss *
· Picture · Robert Bloch · ss *
· The Nighthawk · Dennis Etchison · ss *
· Dead Letters · Ramsey Campbell · ss *
· A Certain Slant of Light · Raylyn Moore · ss *
· Deathlove · Bill Pronzini · ss *
· Mory · Michael Bishop · nv *
· Where Spirits Gat Them Home · John Crowley · ss *
· Nona · Stephen King · nv *

(Well, to be fair, Ramsey Campbell found his 1980 New Terrors anthology published in two volumes...not supported, as Kirby McCauley was with his comparable Frights and Dark Forces, with one fat volume...these all comparable reads....)

Even Zebra, so ready to help overload horror fiction with mediocre to terrible horror novels in a few years, was willing to briefly support two anthology series, both not quite what they should be, and not quite up to these others, but more grist for my mill...Roy Torgeson's Other Worlds (which actually managed to leave out the Avram Davidson story mentioned on its cover...published in the second and final volume), and Lin Carter's Weird Tales, the second revival to use the title (Sam Moskowitz had edited four issues for Leo Margulies's Renown Publications in 1973-74 of the first revival...Carter's series saw four volumes, and some questionable accounting on everyone's part helped kill it...a two-issue revival followed in 1984, and the current WT began its much more tradtionalist (than currently) run in 1985 when George Scithers and his editorial staff left the D&D-gaming TSR Publishers, who'd hired them from founding Asimov's to edit Amazing (combined with Fantastic) after TSR bought it from Bernhard; TSR promptly sold the tv rights to the magazine and title to Steven Spielberg for his plastic timewaster...a bump of cash which no doubt helped keep the magazine going despite TSR nonchalance.

Other Worlds 1 ed. Roy Torgeson (Zebra 0-89083-558-6, Dec ’79, $2.25, 282pp, pb)
9 · Introduction · Roy Torgeson · in
18 · Fire from the Wine-Dark Sea · Somtow Sucharitkul · nv *
40 · The Birdchaser · James E. Thompson · ss *
46 · The Pavilion Where All Times Meet · Jayge Carr · nv *
69 · The Bully and the Beast · Orson Scott Card · na *
142 · Hideout · Steve Rasnic Tem · ss *
153 · The Last Performance of Kobo Daishi · Alan Ryan · nv *
178 · Miss Notworthy and the Aliens · Sharon Webb · ss *
187 · Water Kwatz, or More Bible Suckers · Ronald Anthony Cross · ss *
207 · The Dragon That Lived in the Sea · Elizabeth A. Lynn · ss *
215 · The Painters Are Coming Today · Steve Rasnic Tem · ss *
221 · Perfect Balance · Steve Perry · ss *
235 · The Character Assassin · Paul H. Cook · ss *
249 · from The Last Viking: The Saga of Harald Hardrede · Poul Anderson · ex *

Weird Tales [No.1, v48 # 1, Spring 1981] ed. Lin Carter (Zebra 0-89083-714-7, Dec ’80, $2.50, 268pp, pb)
5 · Editorial · Lin Carter · ed *
9 · Scarlet Tears · Robert E. Howard · nv *
47 · Down There · Ramsey Campbell · ss *
65 · The Light from the Pole · Clark Ashton Smith & Lin Carter · ss *
86 · Someone Named Guibourg · Hannes Bok · nv *
Annals of Arkya:
___ 116 · 1. The Courier · Robert A. W. Lowndes · pm *
___ 116 · 2. The Worshippers · Robert A. W. Lowndes · pm *
117 · Bat’s Belfry · August W. Derleth · ss Weird Tales May ’26
130 · The Pit · Carl Jacobi · ss *
149 · When the Clock Strikes · Tanith Lee · ss *
174 · Red Thunder · Robert E. Howard · pm JAPM: The Poetry Weekly Sep 16 ’29
175 · Some Day I’ll Kill You! · Seabury Quinn · ss Strange Stories Feb ’41
194 · Healer · Mary Elizabeth Counselman · nv *
219 · The House Without Mirrors · David H. Keller, M.D. · ss *
230 · Dreams in the House of Weir · Lin Carter · nv *

And, finally, in 1981, a magazine rolled onto the stands that wouldn't quite replace Fantastic in my heart, but did in its seven-year run consistently improve and offer a good array of much of the best short fantasy and horror published during its time...and even helped name as well as first publish some of the best of the not-so-quiet horror writers, the "splatterpunks"...Twilight Zone. I missed the first issue, and started with the second. (Its sister publication, a few years later, Night Cry, was even better but had poorer distribution...very catch as catch can.)
6 • In the Twilight Zone: Rewriting the Legends... • essay by T. E. D. Klein
7 • Other Dimensions: Books (Twilight Zone, May 1981) • essay by Theodore Sturgeon
7 •   Review: Far from Home by Walter Tevis • review by Theodore Sturgeon
7 •   Review: King David's Spaceship by Jerry Pournelle • review by Theodore Sturgeon
7 •   Review: Zelde M'Tana by F. M. Busby • review by Theodore Sturgeon
7 •   Review: Wild Seed by Octavia E. Butler • review by Theodore Sturgeon
7 •   Review: Orbit 21 by Damon Knight • review by Theodore Sturgeon
7 •   Review: Shadows 3 by Charles L. Grant • review by Theodore Sturgeon
7 •   Review: The Last Defender of Camelot by Roger Zelazny • review by Theodore Sturgeon
7 •   Review: Fundamental Disch by Thomas M. Disch • review by Theodore Sturgeon
7 •   Review: If All Else Fails by Craig Strete • review by Theodore Sturgeon
7 • Review of the nonfiction book "Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid" by Douglas R. Hofstader • essay by Theodore Sturgeon
7 • Review of the nonfiction book "The Time Falling Bodies Take to Light" by William Irwin Thompson • essay by Theodore Sturgeon
8 •   Review: An Island Called Moreau by Brian W. Aldiss • review by Theodore Sturgeon
8 •   Review: The Claw of the Conciliator by Gene Wolfe • review by Theodore Sturgeon
8 •   Review: Conan and the Spider God by L. Sprague de Camp • review by Theodore Sturgeon
8 •   Review: Nightmares by Charles L. Grant • review by Theodore Sturgeon
8 •   Review: Jack Vance by Martin Harry Greenberg and Joseph D. Olander and Tim Underwood and Chuck Miller • review by Theodore Sturgeon
9 •   Review: A Fond Farewell to Dying by Syd Logsdon • review by Theodore Sturgeon
10 • Other Dimensions: Screen (Twilight Zone, May 1981) • essay by Gahan Wilson
13 • TZ Interview: Peter Straub: "I Looked Into My Imagination and That's What I Found" • interview of Peter Straub • interview by Jay Gregory
18 • In the Sunken Museum • novelette by Gregory Frost
19 • In the Sunken Museum • interior artwork by Frances Jetter
28 • Blood Relations • shortstory by Lewis Shiner
28 • Blood Relations • interior artwork by Arthur Somerfield
34 • And I Only Am Escaped to Tell Thee • shortstory by Roger Zelazny
34 • And I Only Am Escaped to Tell Thee • interior artwork by Bob Gale
36 • Chronic Offender • shortstory by Spider Robinson
37 • Chronic Offender • interior artwork by Steven Guarnaccia
46 • Seven and the Stars • shortstory by Joe Haldeman
46 • Seven and the Stars • interior artwork by Jose Reyes
53 • TZ Screen Preview: The Hand • essay by uncredited
57 • Drum Dancer • shortstory by George Clayton Johnson
57 • Drum Dancer • interior artwork by A. G. Metcalf
60 • Brief Encounter • shortstory by Michael Garrett
60 • Brief Encounter • interior artwork by Jose Reyes
62 • How They Pass the Time in Pelpel • shortstory by Robert Silverberg
62 • How They Pass the Time in Pelpel • interior artwork by uncredited
70 • Magritte's Secret Agent • novelette by Tanith Lee
70 • Magritte's Secret Agent • shortfiction by Jose Reyes
89 • Show-by-Show Guide: TV's Twilight Zone: Part Two • essay by Marc Scott Zicree
95 • The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street (teleplay) • shortfiction by Rod Serling
106 • Looking Ahead (Twilight Zone, May 1981) • essay by uncredited

...of course, I was primed for all these as a small child, when my parents presented me with a few issues of Humpty Dumpty and Children's Digest, when they were published by the Parents Magazine folks, and not yet by Christian conservatives.

This was one of the issues of HD I had:

And, with excerpts from Hugh Lofting and Lewis Carroll (and Herge's Tintin comics serialized), I think I had this issue of CD...

While my folks would get me a few Highlights for Children and, as a Webelos, Boy's Life in the next few years, I think the digests made a stronger impression... pity my folks didn't know about Jack and Jill and Cricket...nor realized how much I enjoyed the digests...of course, I was also reading the crime-fiction and sf digests, and Short Story International, and The Atlantic Monthly and Dissent, and Omni and Scientific American, and Downbeat when I could find it, by the turn of the '80s...

For more of this round of "forgotten" books, and probably less nostalgic ramble by anyone else this week, please see George Kelley's blog, as he fills in for the vacationing Patti Abbott.

And, in a ten-years-later addition to the discussion here, illustrator and writer Tony Gleeson cites his own years-later experience with the illustration of a Grania Davis story in this issue of Fantastic, the illustration reprinted below from the context of the issue archived here. (Text and illo are a bit sharper and more readable at


David Cranmer said...

It looks like some fine Syfy offerings. (Sorry I couldn't help that.)

Since reading Robert E. Howard's Kane series, I've been buying old issues of WEIRD TALES. Extraordinary magazine and they run a sharp looking website as well.

George said...

There's a ton of great stories in your FORGOTTEN BOOKS posting this week, Todd! Where to begin... I, too, shelled out the bucks for ARIEL. Who could resist that great cover? And FANTASTIC, an underrated magazine that I read faithfully for decades.

Todd Mason said...

David--well, of course, SyFy the television channel mostly offers wrasslin'...between giant monsters when not between, well, giant humans who pretend to be opposed to "syfy" the disease...these fantasy magazines are rather more stimulating, even at their worst, of higher mental function.

The current WEIRD TALES, edited by Ann VanderMeer, is trying to make a few breaks with WT tradition, not least in cover design (good) and foolishly listing themes rather than author names on the covers (didn't work for FANTASTIC and AMAZING much in the 1950s, probably won't work much now). But even the weakest issues of the original WEIRD TALES or its four revivals so far usually have some work of interest, and are at least telling of the publishing practices of the folks putting them out in their times. And, writing, as George does, of underrated magazines, Dorothy McIllwraith's editorship of the original WT (from the turn of the '40s till folding in 1954) was the era that saw the efflorescence of Robert Bloch, Fritz Leiber, Manly Wade Wellman, Margaret St. Clair, Theodore Sturgeon, Ray Bradbury, Mary Elizabeth Counselman, and many more in what is too often disregarded in favor of Farnsworth Wright's earlier years (dominated by Seabury Quinn and featuring work by these Lovecraft and Howard and Clark Ashton Smith folks).

You know, George? I always thought the ARIEL covers could be better, particularly given some of the interior illustration (something that would be even more acutely true or REALMS OF FANTASY in the '90s and too often still), but I was gratified, years ago, to be reading a contemporary reference annual for librarians that took care to note that FANTASTIC in the 1970s was an overlooked and urgently recommended gem, despite its modest budget and relatively poor sales (though the 20K copies or so per issue that it sold then would cheer most fiction-magazine staffs today)...I was certainly gathering and reading all the back issues I could after discovering Ted White and his predecessor Barry Malzberg would be quick to note as well, aside from their own terms (and Malzberg is modest about his short tenure), the best years of the magazine were under Cele Goldsmith (later Cele Lalli) in 1959-1965, and its first few, very well-funded years, edited by Howard Browne, who lost interest as Ziff-Davis lost willingess to invest...though Bill Crider and Mike Ashley will be quick to note that, even in the depths of Paul Fairman's robotic editorship in the latter '50s and Joe Ross's no-budget attempts to put out a mostly-reprint magazine in '65-'68 (similar to Mavor's, with less colorful garishness), FANTASTIC was still fun to read...and could still offer suprises...Cele Goldsmith, as Fairman's assitant, pulled Kate Wilhelm's first story out of the slush and it ran in 1956...Joe Ross got to serialize Avram Davidson's THE PHOENIX AND THE MIRROR...and so on, till Harry Harrison, Malzberg and White were able in succession to improve the magazine, even given no money to work with...and FANTASTIC as a title has been revived, too, though that revival has since folded...

C. Margery Kempe said...

I loved Children's Digest which is where I first read Tintin's adventures. Lots of different kinds of things in its pages including my introduction to Ermine Bandicoot. I still remember that name all these years later.

Todd Mason said...

Why, I faintly remember that name! I do wish my folks had sprung for an extended subscription, but they certainly helped make up for it later...yes, CD was at least as diverse as HIGHLIGHTS and moreso than CRICKET...

C. Margery Kempe said...

I remember Highlights from my doctor's office where it's Christianity weirded me out (the eternal pagan); I remember a story where children in the hospital and one who had been there longer told the little girl how they went to sleep with their hands held out so Jesus could take them. They helped prop up the girl's hand. She was already dead when he made his rounds, "but Jesus understood."

How creepy!

Todd Mason said...

Hmmm...I was a pretty militant atheist from Very Early on, moreso at 9 than I have been since, and I don't remember that about HIGHLIGHTS (though it was a recurring sore point in those Don't Ask Don't Tell years of Scouting and therefore to some extent of BOY'S LIFE), but I only had a few issues of that, and perhaps they weren't the Xian issues (or are you conflating it with some of the [other?] Xian kids' magazines? I'll buy it that you aren't.)

The CHILDREN'S DIGEST at the height of its Christian right-thinking some years back was a very sad thing...I don't know if it's still being published.

David Cranmer said...

Todd, I need your expertise back at my blog when you get a chance. Richard has a question for you.

Todd Mason said...

Always ready when called to action...even when, as Rick's was, the query was a bit of a jest...

Richard R. said...

I had that issue of Ariel. There are many great oldies here, as always with widely varying quality, from mag to mag and story to story. Certainly I read some early story by Sheffield, who is still a favorite hard SF writer for me, though since the cover of that issue of Fantastic doesn't look familiar. Good overview, Todd, and brought back some positive memories of the days when... Thanks.

Todd Mason said...

Sheffield, who died rather young, did get far enough as to publish a collection of his Erasmus Darwin fantasies and borderline fantasies, so you might've read them there. I at this late date note, looking at the FANTASTIC and TZ covers, that TZ took a few cues early on from Ted White's cover designs (Sol Cohen always wanted his magazine covers to mention Every contributor, and White particularly treated with that as best he could)...thanks for dropping in and commenting (and causing Trouble over at Dave's blog)...

Todd Mason said...

from a magazine subscription site: "Children's Digest is ceasing with its May/June 09 issue. Existing subscribers will receive Jack & Jill for the remainder of their subscription term."

HUMPTY DUMPTY seems to have been acquired by the SATURDAY EVENING POST folks, and is ongoing.

WestcoastTony said...

A few years back at a book show, I was approached by a fellow who remembered "David's Friend, the Hole," Grania Davis's tale that I illustrated for the abovementioned issue of Fantastic. I happened to have the original art on exhibition for sale and it made him come to a complete stop. He told me that when he read that tale, about a strange out-of-place boy who finds a magical place of sorts, that it resounded with him immensely. At the time, he too was a kid feeling out of place and uncomfortable, and even conceivably considering unfortunate options. He told me that the story, and the drawing, had an enormous impact on him and perhaps even saved his life. Wow. Perhaps he was exaggerating for effect, but... how many times in the life of a writer or an artist do you get to hear a tale like that?
I was fortunate to become online friends with Grania Davis in her final years and got to tell her the story as well. So that was two of us who benefited from that marvelous story.
--Tony Gleeson

Todd Mason said...

Glad you had that experience, Tony, and I enjoyed the art you did for Ted White's magazines a lot, as well. Maybe the former alienated kid wasn't exaggerating a bit, and you can be proud (and very good of you to let Grania Davis know, as well)...

Thanks for sharing the anecdote here, and glad you are still catching up with attention to your work...hope you're still getting to do good work, or at very least having a good time in the current extreme circumstances...

WestcoastTony said...

Thanks for the kind words,and yes, I've remained an ink-stained wretch for many years since those days, doing all sorts of illustration. I'm also a writer with nine whodunits published under my name. It might be of interest that the upcoming June issue of Digest Enthusiast (published by Larque Press) has an interview with me scheduled, coveringd my work for the digests and a bit of what I've done since.
--Tony Gleeson

Todd Mason said...

Thanks for the heads-up, Tony! I'm very much impressed with THE DIGEST ENTHUSIAST and shall look out of for the interview/article...and I'm sorry I was unaware of your career as a novelist!

I sent along your initial message via Facebook to Ethan Davidson, and here's some further information about the story and its origin:

Ethan Davidson (from Facebook)--Grania Davis and Avram Davidson's son:

OK, here is the thing about that story: I helped her write it. When I was in first grade I spent my recesses and lunch breaks digging a hole. For a while, the other kids helped me, but they got bored with it. I did not and kept digging it until they told me to stop. I called it "my friend the hole", which gave Grania the idea for the story. Then she would sit down with me and ask me to come up with some fantasy worlds. Of course, she did not quote me verbatim and steered me clear of cliched material towards more original stuff. But I helped her create all of the fantasy worlds in that story. Reading it later, though, I was bothered by the ending. It said that when the boy died, the mom was "Sad, but also maybe a little happy (or relieved)," and that "maybe she would move to Hawaii" (which we eventually did). It seemed like an incredibly callous ending and I could not help but take it a little personally. Oh well. Anyhow, I am glad that we helped somebody and maybe even saved his life.

I don't think that I ever saw the drawings. -ED

I've given Ethan the link to the Fantastic issue in,

And I've added the image of the illustration to the end of the article above.

Thanks for the good work, and the information!

WestcoastTony said...

Wow, what a nice addition to the story of the story. Thanks for tracking that down! It's surprising how things from some years ago can again turn up and fill out the narrative. My years doing those illustrations for Sol Cohen were my foot in the door of the graphic world-- my first steps on a long, long journey so far-- and I often tend to think of them as not much more than that, but they were formative. Man, were some of those a labor of sheer love. I didn't think anybody actually saw them at the time! But over the decades I've happily been proven wrong, which is very nice. What's also surprising is that many of the drawings I did for Amazing and Fantastic that I didn't think all that much of at the time, I now look at as the standouts. Funny how our perspective changes with time.
-- Tony Gleeson

Todd Mason said...

Indeed. And it turned out Ethan recalled he Had seen your work illustrating the story...

I've been surprised, often pleasantly, but what people have found on this blog and in my scattered publication elsewhere, and rarely more pleasantly than in this conversation...glad to make your acquaintance, Tony!