Friday, May 13, 2011
FFB of a sort, Blogger Crash/Crisis Week edition: The Jack Gaughan Book and related stuff...
A[n Open, now] Note to Luis Ortiz:
Just reading the Gaughan article in Illustration...and I will be picking up that book sooner rather than later.
I note a reference to the sf-magazine field shrinking to F&SF, Analog, Galaxy and Amazing (the latter two staggering), and the advent of Asimov's, by the end of the '70s...Fantastic actually was still getting by till a ways into 1980, and my finances also were taxed a bit by the shortlived Asimov's SF Adventure, the Asimov's Anthology magazine Davis was also publishing, and Destinies, albeit the last was usually purchased by my father and I'd read his issues...we couldn't find Galileo too often, but it was still around, too. [I suppose it's almost a cheat to cite Destinies, since it was a paperback magazine, in the manner of Perry Rhodan or American Review...this being one of few sentences ever to wed those two periodical books.]
Of course, I was also picking up Whispers and Short Story International and the crime-fiction magazines as I came across them, so it seemed like a fuller market.
What wasn't in the note to Luis:
I didn't get to see all the little magazines in those years, in sf and fantasy as well as eclectic titles...it would take until the '80s for me to find the back issues of Evergreen Review, as I've mentioned here, and Triquarterly and all, but it was always a thrill to find a new project had arrived on the newsstands to supplement my steady diet of my subscriptions to The Atlantic (a better magazine in 1980 than it is today, and one with a short story or two in every issue, much as Harper's and The American Scholar essentially still provide today, though the last has only recently added fiction to its mix...perhaps in response to the Atlantic essentially dropping fiction) and Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine (I had bought a cheap 3-year subscription in 1978, but didn't approve of the post office's depredations upon the mailed copies, so usually bought everything else off the newsstand) and the others...such as when Twilight Zone Magazine popped up in 1981, albeit the first issues weren't Too impressive...but the lack of Fantastic left a hole in the heart, and there were some good portents about TZ (and its shortlived companion, Night Cry) that would prove out over the next eight years.
Omni and Heavy Metal, where Ben Bova of Analog and Ted White of Fantastic and Amazing landed, respectively, had some attraction, but not enough to keep me engaged and buying them regularly...and there was enough about both even at their best to turn me off (for every good short story, a credulous UFOlogy piece in Omni or some of the duller comix in HM). Also, the paper and ink Omni was printed on and with would smear with the slightest touch...very annoying (you'd think the Penthouse people, who published it, would know better)(or perhaps that was a bit of planned obsolescence...brings one back for another copy).
The terrible covers on Espionage didn't help. The Writer's Digest folks being behind the revived Story certainly did help that magazine's distribution profile.
Aboriginal SF arose eventually out of the ashes of Galileo (the latter folded in 1980, the former began in '85), and the horror paperback boom meant that some of the horror little magazines, such as Weird Tales' newest revival and Grue, could find some rack space on the bigger newsstands, along with the revival of Story, and such projects as Espionage and the Black Mask periodical book...and the insurgence of the big box bookstores at the turn of the '90s gave more little literary magazines more access to newsstand browsers than they had been getting...probably more than they had ever had gotten, outside the best newsstands in New York City and a very few other places.
Ah, well, enough nostalgic ramble for now. But Jack Gaughan, whose best work isn't quite represented on the covers above--though is on display inside Ortiz's book--can do that to me (I think this cover and this, and they not his best--buy the book, or at least read the article!--are more representative of what he could do). That, and a long week not improved by the day-long Blogspot crash.
For the actual, surviving links to this week's Friday Books, please see Patti Abbott's blog here, and for the index to titles, here.