|cover illo by Janet Aulisio, for Robert
Bloch's "The Double Whammy"
|The first issue, a cover much referred to in
James Gunn's introduction and that of
the source of Asimov's story in the book...and
not included in the selected cover images...
illo by Barrye Phillips and Leo Morey
However, those high circulation figures were not sustained into the second year of publication, and with the folding in of FA, Fantastic's budget was cut and Browne went back to the usually relatively indifferent efforts he'd been making at Fantastic Adventures, accepting and publishing good work when it was offered by writers but just as happy to run that good work alongside no-more-than-readable hackwork by regular Ziff-Davis writers, much of the latter published under "house names" such as "Lawrence Chandler" and "Ivar Jorgensen"--the actual authors could be any number of contributors including Browne and Fairman themselves (many of the stable of contributors in those years haven't remembered clearly [or didn't choose to] who wrote what among the less memorable items, and the office records of the era have apparently not all been retained; among the best writers who didn't always do their best efforts for Ziff-Davis fiction magazines in their Chicago-based days were Robert Bloch and William McGivern). When Browne officially resigned in 1956 (having checked out to the degree of spending much of his office time writing his crime fiction, and deciding that the relocation of the editorial offices from Chicago to New York City were his cue to try his luck as a screenwriter in Hollywood), newly official editor Fairman went even further along into systematization of Fantastic and Amazing, depending not entirely but largely on four relatively young writers to produce wordage that would be accepted and published unread (under a variety of bylines), as long as the manuscript delivery was punctual and the stories didn't cause any problems that might interfere with Fairman's own in-office writing for other markets...and even this arrangement managed to bring in some good or promising work among the acceptably mediocre, since the quartet was comprised of Milton Lesser (who would publish most of his better work as Stephen Marlowe), Harlan Ellison, Robert Silverberg and Randall Garrett. And Fairman had as his assistant a young and
|illo by Richard Powers
|One of the better covers from the Goldsmith/
Lalli years...Jakes, who wrote many sorts of
fiction, made his biggest splash in historical
fiction in the mid-1970s. Illo by
|A typically handsome (and comics-
influenced) cover from Ted White's term
as editor and art director; illo by Douglas
The earmarks of nonchalance all over this anthology are a pity, because the selection of stories is pretty good, though not reasonably representative of the best of the magazine's career. It's also notable which of the contributors whose work is collected here have gone onto ever greater fame in the years since this 1987 book was published, much less their stories' original publication (pretty obvious examples: J. G. Ballard and particularly George R. R. Martin), those whose fame has been sustained (Le Guin and Philip K. Dick), those whose star has dimmed (almost inarguably unfairly, given their best work: Roger Zelazny, John Brunner and to a much lesser extent Isaac Asimov) and those who remain stubbornly underappreciated (Ron Goulart, David Bunch, and to too great an extent Robert Bloch...Judith Merril is perhaps as well-remembered today as a mover and shaker in the Toronto countercultural scene in the 1970s and '80s as she is for her extensive work in sf and related literatures).
Courtesy the Locus Index:
Fantastic Stories: Tales of the Weird and Wondrous ed. Martin H. Greenberg & Patrick L. Price (TSR 0-88038-521-9, May ’87, $7.95, 253pp, tp) Anthology of 16 stories from the magazine, with an introduction by James E. Gunn plus a selection of color cover reproductions.
- 7 · Introduction · James E. Gunn · in
- 11 · Double Whammy · Robert Bloch · ss Fantastic Feb ’70
- 21 · A Drink of Darkness · Robert F. Young · ss Fantastic Jul ’62
- 33 · A Question of Re-Entry · J. G. Ballard · nv Fantastic Mar ’63
- 59 · The Exit to San Breta · George R. R. Martin · ss Fantastic Feb ’72
- 70 · The Shrine of Temptation · Judith Merril · ss Fantastic Apr ’62
- 85 · Dr. Birdmouse · Reginald Bretnor · ss Fantastic Apr ’62
- 97 · Eve Times Four · Poul Anderson · nv Fantastic Apr ’60
- 126 · The Rule of Names [Earthsea] · Ursula K. Le Guin · ss Fantastic Apr ’64
- ins. · Artists’ Visions of the Weird & Wondrous · Various Hands · il
- 135 · The Still Waters [“In the Still Waters”] · Lester del Rey · ss Fantastic Universe Jun ’55
- 144 · A Small Miracle of Fishhooks and Straight Pins · David R. Bunch · vi Fantastic Jun ’61
- 148 · Novelty Act · Philip K. Dick · nv Fantastic Feb ’64
- 174 · What If... · Isaac Asimov · ss Fantastic Sum ’52
- 186 · Elixir for the Emperor · John Brunner · ss Fantastic Nov ’64
- 202 · King Solomon’s Ring · Roger Zelazny · nv Fantastic Oct ’63
- 220 · Junior Partner · Ron Goulart · ss Fantastic Sep ’62
- 229 · Donor · James E. Gunn · nv Fantastic Nov ’60
Two weeks ago, I gave a quick gloss of a review of Ted White's The Best from Fantastic, and the other anthology drawn largely from Fantastic, even earlier than White's and including stories from Fantastic Adventures and one from Amazing, is Ivan Howard's Time Untamed, mentioned here briefly some time back (with its original ugly cover, as cheerfully reproduced by an Award Books reprint); the slightly less ugly second edition and UK covers are below. This volume is an example of the "hidden" anthology drawn from a given magazine, or in this case a magazine group (as is the Weird Tales magazine anthology The Unexpected, mentioned in that same post), as are Ivan Howard's several other anthologies for the publisher Belmont/Belmont Tower, which drew from Science Fiction, Future Fiction, Dynamic Science Fiction and the other sf magazines Robert Lowndes edited for Columbia Publications, owned by Louis Silberkleit, who also owned the later, and similarly low-budget Belmont books concern (Silberkleit was also a partner of Archie Comics guy Martin Goodman in several projects over the decades) ...no mention, or essentially so, in the book's packaging that all the collected stories are from the one source, or related group of sources. Fantastic Universe, mentioned above as the source of the Del Rey story that has no reason to be in a Fantastic anthology, had one obvious anthology drawn from its pages, The Fantastic Universe Omnibus, but FU (and The Saint Mystery Magazine) editor Hans Stefan Santesson later published several anthologies that draw all but exclusively from FU's pages, while not advertising that fact, beginning with Rulers of Men. I recently suggested to the editors of The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction that not only Samuel Mines's The Best from Startling Stories should be noted in the entry for Thrilling Wonder Stories, Startling's older sibling which the anthology also draws from, but that Damon Knight's anthology The Shape of Things should also be cited in both magazines' entries, as it's also an anthology drawn intentionally and exclusively from both magazines (and quite a good one)...another "hidden" example (as the Mines Startling volume almost is for TWS...). Joseph Ferman's No Limits (quite possibly co- or ghost-edited by his son, Edward Ferman) is an anthology drawn from the 1950s version of Venture Science Fiction magazine; Once and Future Tales, an all-but "hidden" anthology from Venture's sibling The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction (and commissioned by a short-lived publishing project, and outside the then-regular set of Doubleday's Best from F&SF volumes). I hope to add other examples to an ongoing list here...I've also briefly reviewed a vintage pirated volume taken from Christine Campbell Thomson's legitimate UK anthology series Not at Night that drew regularly on the early Weird Tales for its contents...the pirated volume published here as one of the early products of The Vanguard Press, co-founded by Rex Stout, no less.
For more of today's books, please see Patti Abbott's blog.
For more of today's books, please see Patti Abbott's blog.