Wednesday, March 27, 2013

fantasy magazines, late March, 1965

The first set is comprised of what could've been found on a theoretical Very well-stocked newsstand (as some were) in late March, 1965...the English-language professional magazines specializing in publishing fantasy fiction (though all of the science fiction and mystery magazines were not averse to publishing some fantasy or horror or at least material running up to the very edges, nor the eclectic fiction magazines, of which there were a few non-littles still extant at that time...). For some reason, the March issues, or the earlier issues in each case, have somewhat better covers...either better-executed, or better subjects, or perhaps just a touch less blatantly sleazy in Gamma's case. Some of he second set might just have been on the stands instead, given the vagaries of magazine distribution...and certainly the undercapitalized Gamma (which folded with the issued dated September) and the microbudgeted Magazine of Horror had erratic schedules (Gamma had announced a stablemate, crime-fiction magazine Chase, which was published by MOH's publisher instead...and was much less handsome for it).
Cover by Agosta Morol

Cover by Fred Wolters

Cover by Edmund Emshwiller ("Emsh")

Cover by Gray Morrow

Cover by John Healey
Cover by Bert Tanner

The notable facts of these issues are several, not least that John Brunner appears in the April issue of the Magazine of Horror, and any number of other fantastic-fiction issues at about this time (as the always-prolific Brunner was working up to some of the best work in his career); the March F&SF features one of Roger Zelazny's most important early stories, while the April issue is perhaps most significant as the first issue that Edward Ferman edited on his own (even though his father, publisher Joseph Ferman, still had the formal title of "editor" as he had since Davidson's resignation the previous year), not "using up" the inventory that Avram Davidson had purchased for the magazine, and introducing Gahan Wilson's first monthly cartoon (Wilson had contributed cartoons to Fantastic in the 1950s, as well as having already made a career for himself in Playboy, The New Yorker and other slick magazines by 1965)...Southern Illinois University Press published a facsimile of this issue in hardcover, with added memoirs by several of the contributors including Ferman, in 1981. Meanwhile, these were almost the last issues edited by the similarly important Cele Lalli, who had begun editorship of Fantastic and its stablemate Amazing as Cele Goldsmith; when the magazines were sold at mid-year to independent publisher Sol Cohen, as Cele G. Lalli she would stay with Ziff-Davis as a notable editor of bridal magazines. Here's a decent appreciation for some of the early issues of the Magazine of Horror, which Robert A. W. Lowndes was able to keep afloat from 1963-1971, and a more comprehensive one here...and not long after these issues, edited by Kyril Bonfiglioli with the help of fellow writer and artist Keith Roberts, the British institution Science Fantasy would change title to SF Impulse...while its elder sibling, New Worlds, underwent similar changes and eventually even greater ones...
Indices courtesy ISFDb:

Science Fantasy, March 1965 

Magazine of Horror, April 1965 

The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, March 1965 

Fantastic: Stories of Imagination, March 1965

Gamma,  February 1965 

Cover by Gray Morrow

Cover by Fred Wolters
Cover uncredited (perhaps a rush job
by Keith Roberts)

Cover by John Healey,  which would be recycled much later by Mike Shayne 
Mystery Magazine, then also under the editorship of Charles Fritch


Walker Martin said...

The only thing that I find to be more fun than reading these digest magazines, is reading *about* the digests. I had forgotten about the hardcover reprint of F&SF and so I ordered a copy on

Todd Mason said...

Thanks, Walker...for my part, you are too kind...but I wanted to write something "quick" today, and my thoughts turned to how I recently had done quick surveys of two other magazine publishers which particularly had flourished in the 1960s, so both Health Knowledge and Mercury Press seemed like likely subjects...and then that important period just about 48 years ago exactly came to mind, when all these magazines were facing unusually large turning points of one sort or another...I need a copy of the facsimile book, as well...

George said...

Wow, do those covers bring back a lot of memories. I was reading FANTASTIC back then so I read that John Jakes BRAK story. And, I read that Keith Laumer "Imperium" serial, too! Great stuff! SCIENCE FANTASY magazine never showed up around here. Great post!

Todd Mason said...

I've had a copy of that April F&SF for years and decades (though I was less than a year old when it was on newsstands, so I didn't pick it up new...slacker, I know) was quite amusing, when the SIU reprint came out, to learn of its backstage importance. I think you would've needed a newsstand bent on getting an excellent selection of British or sf & fantasy magazines, or both, to find one carrying the Compact magazines in upstate NY in 1965...probably more easily found in NYC, but perhaps not too easy even there...hard enough to find GAMMA around the country, I gather...