Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Cele Goldsmith Lalli, interviewed by Barry Malzberg

Cele Goldsmith, who married and took the name Cele Lalli, edited, as noted below, the magazines Fantastic and Amazing from 1959-1965 (having served as Assistant Editor since 1955, briefly with Howard Browne and then with Paul Fairman), until Ziff-Davis sold the titles to Sol Cohen's Ultimate Publications, at which time she moved over to the staff of ZD's Modern Bride, the latter half of her 33-year career there as editor-in-chief. In the wedding-consultancy industry there is a notable memorial award in her honor.

Barry Malzberg edited Fantastic and Amazing in 1968, after a short and much better-paid term at Escapade magazine; the new publisher had rid himself of the then-current Escapade staff, and the ridiculous lack of resources at Ultimate led in notable part to Malzberg's resignation, as it had for Harry Harrison before him; Ted White, who followed, was capable of getting by on the modest (to put it very kindly) stipend editing for Ultimate offered.

George Zebrowski originally commissioned this interview, as he notes below, while on staff at a later Amazing, during its game-company years.

Reprinted from Synergy SF: New Science Fiction, edited by George Zebrowski (Five Star, 2004), with the kind permission of Zebrowski, who wrote the italicized prefatory note, and Barry Malzberg, with further thanks to Pamela Sargent for her assistance. I might just transcribe this, but for now, the (relatively) Quick and (?)Easy (please click on images to enlarge):

    Cele Goldsmith Lalli, Michael Lalli, Barry Malzberg:

    Photo by and Copyright © Andrew Porter; all rights reserved

prefatory note Copyright © 2004 by George Zebrowski; interview copyright 2002 by the Science Fiction Foundation on behalf of Barry Malzberg; copyright © 2004 by Barry Malzberg; originally published in Foundation

Related: Cele Goldsmith Lalli: an obituary and photography by Andrew Porter

Women Editors in Fantasy and SF at Midcentury

Anthologies from Amazing

Barry Malzberg, co-editor: Neglected Visions

Fantastic and its peers (when I was first reading them)...

Cele Goldsmith/Lalli at the Internet SF Database

Judith Merril's Year's Best SF (speculative fiction, so fantasy, sf and more), the 10th Edition, covering Lalli's penultimate year at the fiction magazines...

A Disch/Goldsmith note.

Laurie Powers, who misidentifies Cele Goldsmith/Lalli as a pulp editor, but otherwise offers useful information in this post.

A Barry Malzberg-edited issue, the blue one featuring Fritz Leiber's "Richmond, Late September," below several Goldsmith/Lalli issues.

A very incomplete Cele Goldsmith/Lalli bibliography:

Editorial work at Ziff-Davis, as noted, on Fantastic Stories (which during her editorship, in 1960, became Fantastic: Stories of Imagination), Amazing Stories (which became Amazing: Fact and Science Fiction Stories), Dream World: Tales of Incredible Powers (a shortlived Fantastic spin-off), Pen Pals, Modern Bride

Anthologies from the fiction magazines particularly highlighting her years (courtesy the Contento and ISFDb indices):

The Best from Amazing Stories ed. Ted White (Manor, 1973, pb)
· No Charge for Alterations · Horace L. Gold · nv Amazing Apr/May ’53
· The Augmented Agent [“I-C-a-BeM”] · Jack Vance · nv Amazing Oct ’61
· The Misfit · Roger Zelazny · nv Amazing Oct ’63
· The Dowry of the Angyar [“The Dowry of Angyar”] · Ursula K. Le Guin · ss Amazing Sep ’64
· Placement Test · Keith Laumer · nv Amazing Jul ’64
· The Horn of Time the Hunter [“Homo Aquaticus”] · Poul Anderson · ss Amazing Sep ’63
· Phoenix · Ted White & Marion Zimmer Bradley · ss Amazing Feb ’63
· Rogue Psi · James H. Schmitz · nv Amazing Aug ’62

The Best from Fantastic ed. Ted White (Manor 95242, 1973, 95¢, 192pp, pb)
9 · Foreword · Ted White · fw
13 · I’m Looking for “Jeff” · Fritz Leiber · ss Fantastic Fll ’52
27 · Angels in the Jets · Jerome Bixby · ss Fantastic Fll ’52
40 · Paingod · Harlan Ellison · ss Fantastic Jun ’64
51 · The Malatesta Collection · Roger Zelazny · ss Fantastic Apr ’63
58 · Sally · Isaac Asimov · ss Fantastic May/Jun ’53
79 · The Roller Coaster · Alfred Bester · ss Fantastic May/Jun ’53
88 · Eve Times Four · Poul Anderson · nv Fantastic Apr ’60
125 · Final Exam · Chad Oliver · ss Fantastic Nov/Dec ’52
138 · April in Paris · Ursula K. Le Guin · ss Fantastic Sep ’62
151 · A Trip to the City [“It Could Be Anything”] · Keith Laumer · nv Amazing Jan ’63

[I'm not sure why White included an Amazing story in this Fantastic book.]

Amazing Stories: 60 Years of the Best Science Fiction ed. Isaac Asimov & Martin H. Greenberg (TSR 0-88038-216-3, Jul ’85 [Aug ’85], $7.95, 255pp, pb); Anthology of 20 stories which originally appeared in Amazing, with a section of color illustrations showing magazine covers.
5 · Amazing Stories and I · Isaac Asimov · in
9 · The Revolt of the Pedestrians · David H. Keller, M.D. · nv Amazing Feb ’28
29 · The Gostak and the Doshes · Miles J. Breuer, M.D. · ss Amazing Mar ’30
43 · Pilgrimage [“The Priestess Who Rebelled”; Meg] · Nelson Bond · nv Amazing Oct ’39
57 · I, Robot [Adam Link] · Eando Binder · ss Amazing Jan ’39
67 · The Strange Flight of Richard Clayton · Robert Bloch · ss Amazing Mar ’39
75 · The Perfect Woman · Robert Sheckley · vi Amazing Dec ’53/Jan ’54
79 · Memento Homo [“Death of a Spaceman”] · Walter M. Miller, Jr. · ss Amazing Mar ’54
93 · What Is This Thing Called Love? [“Playboy and the Slime God”] · Isaac Asimov · ss Amazing Mar ’61
103 · Requiem · Edmond Hamilton · ss Amazing Apr ’62
115 · Hang Head, Vandal! · Mark Clifton · ss Amazing Apr ’62
125 · Drunkboat · Cordwainer Smith · nv Amazing Oct ’63
ins. · 60 Years of Amazing Stories’ Covers · Misc. Material · il
147 · The Days of Perky Pat · Philip K. Dick · nv Amazing Dec ’63; expanded to The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldrich, Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1964
165 · Semley’s Necklace [“The Dowry of Angyar”] · Ursula K. Le Guin · ss Amazing Sep ’64
179 · Calling Dr. Clockwork · Ron Goulart · ss Amazing Mar ’65
187 · There’s No Vinism Like Chauvinism · John W. Jakes · nv Amazing Apr ’65
215 · The Oögenesis of Bird City · Philip José Farmer · ss Amazing Sep ’70
225 · The Man Who Walked Home · James Tiptree, Jr. · ss Amazing May ’72
237 · Manikins · John Varley · ss Amazing Jan ’76
247 · In the Islands · Pat Murphy · ss Amazing Mar ’83

Title: Fantastic Stories: Tales of the Weird & Wondrous
Editors: Martin H. Greenberg, Patrick L. Price
Year: 1987-05-00
ISBN-10: 0-88038-521-9 ISBN-13: 978-0-88038-521-3
Publisher: TSR
Fantastic Stories: Tales of the Weird & Wondrous • (1987) • interior artwork by Janet Aulisio
7 • Introduction (Fantastic Stories: Tales of the Weird & Wondrous) • (1987) • essay by James E. Gunn
11 • Double Whammy • (1970) • shortstory by Robert Bloch
21 • A Drink of Darkness • (1962) • shortstory by Robert F. Young
33 • A Question of Re-Entry • (1963) • novelette by J. G. Ballard
59 • The Exit to San Breta • (1972) • shortstory by George R. R. Martin
70 • The Shrine of Temptation • (1962) • shortstory by Judith Merril
85 • Dr. Birdmouse • (1962) • shortstory by Reginald Bretnor
97 • Eve Times Four • (1960) • novelette by Poul Anderson
126 • The Rule of Names • [Earthsea Cycle] • (1964) • shortstory by Ursula K. Le Guin
135 • The Still Waters • (1955) • novelette by Lester del Rey
144 • A Small Miracle of Fishhooks and Straight Pins • (1961) • shortstory by David R. Bunch
148 • Novelty Act • (1964) • novelette by Philip K. Dick
174 • What If . . . • (1952) • shortstory by Isaac Asimov
186 • An Elixir for the Emperor • (1964) • novelette by John Brunner
202 • King Solomon's Ring • (1963) • novelette by Roger Zelazny
220 • Junior Partner • (1962) • shortstory by Ron Goulart
229 • Donor • [Dr. Russell Pearce] • (1960) • novelette by James E. Gunn

(citations courtesy WorldCat:)
Modern Bride-related books:

Modern bride wedding celebrations : the complete wedding planner for today's bride
Author: Cele Goldsmith Lalli; Stephanie H Dahl
Publisher: New York : J. Wiley & Sons, ©1992

Modern bride guide to etiquette : answers to the questions today's couple really ask
Author: Cele Goldsmith Lalli
Publisher: New York : J. Wiley & Sons, ©1993

Modern bride complete wedding planner : the #1 bridal magazine helps you create the wedding of your dreams
Author: Cele Goldsmith Lalli; Stephanie H Dahl
Publisher: New York : J. Wiley, ©1997

Selected video performances:
The Party of your life
Author: Cele Goldsmith Lalli; Tott's Champagne Cellars.
Publisher: Modesto, CA : Tott's Champagne Cellars, ©1992.

[Guest lecturer, Cele Lalli]
Author: Cele Goldsmith Lalli; Fashion Institute of Technology (New York, N.Y.)
Series: CL 111 lecture series, v. 92.


Jerry House said...

Her stint at AMAZING/FANASTIC was nothing less than magical.

Walker Martin said...

Thanks Todd, for posting this interview with Cele Goldsmith. This proves once again that an editor can make a big difference.

Todd Mason said...

And one writer whose first story she pulled out of slush and was allowed to buy by her disengaged boss and immediate predecessor as FANTASTIC editor, Paul Fairman, was Kate Wilhelm. Cele Goldsmith managed to beat John W. Campbell to both Ben Bova and Kate Wilhelm...and Keith Laumer, too...

SteveHL said...

Those weren't the first science fiction magazines that I read but I think that FANTASTIC was the first magazine that I bought. I liked many of the regularly appearing authors - Jack Sharkey (well, somebody had to like him), Robert Bloch, Robert F. Young, Tom Disch ("Descending"!), Arthur Porges, Daniel Galouye, FRITZ LEIBER. (I never much cared for David R. Bunch, most of Leo Summers's artwork, and every single Norman Lobsenz editorial.)

So if it weren't for Cele Goldsmith, I probably wouldn't have paid nearly as much attention to science fiction / fantasy and I would have saved a medium-sized fortune...but what would I have read?

Todd Mason said...

Well...plays, perhaps, Steve. I bet you know that Sharkey eventually made his living writing one-acters and similarly local-theater friendly work for Samuel French and Co, publishers of plays for that market...which was at least as big and probably a bigger market in the 1960s and '70s than it is now. I'll trade you Robert F. Young for David Bunch, most days...but you're certainly on-target about the Summers art in most cases, and the Lobsenz "editorials" in all but the slimmest of partial exceptions. He seems to have meant well. His responses in the letter column were even worse.

Richard Moore said...

Her magazines were my gateway into SF and fantasy, graduating from the Winston juveniles. I well remember my excitement reading each installment of Laumer's "Worlds of the Imperium" as the issues of Fantastic arrived in my mailbox. The all-Leiber issue for Fantastic November 1959 was another highlight.

What an editor! As a teenager I wrote her a letter asking for novel recommendations and she responding with a personal note.

George said...

I'm with Jerry: Cele Goldsmith was a fantastic and amazing editor! She had few resources, but was able to publish top-quality SF.

Todd Mason said...

Even when she made some bad choices in what she accepted for publication (and she did), there was a certain spirit of exploration about her magazine, that was a little different than the canny attempts to rebuild GALAXY and IF that Frederik Pohl undertook in the same years, or the bohemian spirit of art for wit's sake when utter excellence wasn't quite within reach (as it often was) in Avram Davidson's F&SF. Goldsmith/Lalli was alone at Ziff-Davis, after B. G. Davis left to found Davis Publications (buying ELLERY QUEEN'S MYSTERY MAGAZINE and launching the abortive JACK LONDON ADVENTURE MAGAZINE in doing so), in caring about the fiction magazines, but she had these peers, along with John Carnell in the UK with his version of NEW WORLDS and SCIENCE FANTASY in fostering the newly literate and some self-consciously literary fantastic fiction of the 1960s...which built on the innovations of the 1950s work, and the rumblings were felt even in ANALOG. and the MAGAZINE OF HORROR's component of new fiction among its reprints, and the shortlived but lively SHOCK and GAMMA.

And it's indicative of just what a propagator of talent Goldsmith/Lalli was that she thought it only proper to respond to a young reader, Richard. You don't remember what, if any, recommendations she made, do you?

And she did have one resource ahead of even John Campbell, George--she needed to buy more fantasy and sf than any other editor in the magazines at the time, for her two monthly titles, which might offer a Sam Moskowitz-selected reprint in an issue, and might not...so she could offer a steadier, if not higher-paying, market than any other single fiction magazine editor.

Richard Moore said...

Somewhere in a file I still have the letter she sent me although it has been many years since I read it. Goodness knows what file cabinet or box it is in but I'll check the most likely spots and report back.

I do remember her choices surprised me. For example, I am 80% certain that one was by S. Fowler Wright, most likely DELUGE, although I can't quite rule out THE ISLAND OF CAPTAIN SPARROW.

This will bug me until I find her note.

Todd Mason said...

Sorry to put that in the forebrain! I suspect that she might well've been tipped to Wright by Moskowitz. Though as she notes in the interview, she'd casually read Wells and Verne before thinking of taking on the job, so Wright might've seemed a natural next step even if someone other than Moskowitz was doing the recommendations. (But I'll still bet on it being SaM.)

Jim Harris said...

I always admired the Cele Goldsmith era at Amazing/Fantastic, so it was great to read more about here. I was too young to read them as they came out, but I loved finding them in used bookstores.

Todd Mason said...

I received my first Goldsmith issues in a grab-bag from dealer and art-portfolio publisher--and don't these sound like euphemisms, when they aren't) Gerry de la Ree in 1978, three copies of AMAZING (1959 issues with an Ellison novella and Bloch's SNEAK PREVIEW, and a 1964 issue with an Emsh cover portraying both adult Emshwillers and thus my media crush on Carol Emshwiller began). I was just turned 14yo when I received them, and had been reading new fiction magazines as regularly as possible for the previous year, so my back-issue collection began in earnest. These issues seemed Very old to me, and fascinating. The first issue of IF less fascinating, but still good to have, among the others included.

Richard Moore said...

I posted early in this string but her editorship was a major influence on my teenage self. Growing up in rural Georgia the SF world was a significant oasis for me. She introduced me to so much.