Friday, January 11, 2019

FFB: Midcentury Literary Ferment: some best-ofs from magazines and movements: TRIQUARTERLY, IF, SHORT STORY INTERNATIONAL, VENTURE SF, and other bohemian expressions

FFB: NO LIMITS edited by Joseph Ferman (Ballantine Books 1964); THE BEST OF TRIQUARTERLY edited by Jonathan Brent (Washington Square Press/Pocket Books 1982)

August 1964...aside from your servant, two other and more immediately impressive creations were introduced to a largely indifferent world. From Ballantine Books, an original publication collecting short stories, a novelet or three and a novella from the magazine Venture Science Fiction, which had published nine issues in 1957-58, before being formally merged with its elder sibling, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction (which Mills became the editor of, as founding editor Anthony Boucher moved on; Mills had been assisting at F&SFEllery Queen's Mystery Magazine, and the other Mercury crime-fiction magazines; after publishing Daniel Keyes's "Flowers for Algernon" and much else at F&SF as editor, he moved on to become one of the more important literary agents of his time). From Northwestern University, issue #1 of a newly reformulated little magazine, TriQuarterly, which in its initial series, beginning in 1958, had essentially been a campus-bound magazine devoted to student and faculty contributions; Charles Newman, who had come to Northwestern as a professor in '63, wanted to make a more sophisticated and widely-appealing project of the magazine. 

Both magazines were consciously and rather successfully attempting to advance the art of literature. Robert P. Mills, as editor of Venture (Joseph Ferman was its publisher, as head of Mercury Press), was hoping to feature sophisticated adventure fiction (hence in part the title), but also, as the contents took shape, sexual themes and somewhat greater attention to bringing emotional resonance to satirical sf became common factors of Venture's fiction...not least in the several contributions from Theodore Sturgeon, but also in the work of Avram Davidson, Algis Budrys, Leigh Brackett, Judith Merril, Poul Anderson, Walter Miller and C. M. Kornbluth, among others. If the magazine might not have had No Limits, there were certainly fewer in several ways than other magazines had imposed. Newman for his part wanted to make TQ a home for post-modernist fiction and poetry, and attendant nonfiction. It would, through the next decade and a half and a bit more, take on innovations in format and offer special theme issues devoted to specific writers (such as Sylvia Plath, Vladimir Nabokov and Jorge Luis Borges) and international literature and genres of fictional form and beyond (such as the visual issue 32, "Anti-Object Art" [1975], which was Newman's last as editor, and with guest editors Lawrene Levy and John Perreault; the cardboard covers featured a pocket containing five cards of photographs of Robert Smithson's "Spiral Jetty"); another issue was devoted to a narrative told in photographs.  
Venture had a UK edition (and an otherwise identical, two-months delayed Australian edition) from 1963-65, which published more issues than the two US editions combined, reprinted a different mix of stories from the US edition, and immediately added stories from F&SF, under the editorship of Ronald Wickers. The Fermans (Joseph's son Edward started editing F&SF and other Mercury Press magazines in the mid-'60s, including probably ghost-editing No Limits) relaunched Venture for another short run in 1969. TriQuarterly continued under the editorship of Elliott Anderson, eventually co-editing with Robert Onopa and Jonathan Brent, for the balance of the '70s. Then, in the wake of too many issues of interesting work (apparently the science fiction issue was the Last Straw, for a university which also cancelled its English department sf course reportedly for being too popular, following a western issue and one devoted to Love/Hate that featured some elegant but straightforward-seeming feminist adventure fiction), first Onopa, then Anderson, then Brent (who was formally editor of one issue only) were fired from the magazine and replaced by one Reginald Gibbons, who was very careful to minimize the achievements of the previous editors at every opportunity over his decade as editor, which resulted immediately in the magazine becoming much less innovative and much less widely-admired--more conventional and less important, and eventually in TQ becoming a grad-student-staffed webzine. The 20th anniversary issue/anthology, edited by Gibbons and Susan Hahn, doesn't at any point acknowledge this book. 

There are at least mildly classic stories in these anthologies, and at least several others in the case of each author that might've been opted for instead...Kornbluth's "The Education of Tigress Macardle" is the more humorous side of the same coin that inspired his unfinished story, completed by Frederik Pohl as "The Meeting" ("Two Dooms" might've been included
instead);  the stories by Davidson and Miller are among their best-remembered work, but others of theirs for the magazine are impressive, and the Sturgeon here could easily have been "Affair with a Green Monkey"...and so on. The at least near-classics in the TQ book include the Oates story, the Brautigan duo, and the Sayles; Elkin (in relation toward Nabokov) and Singer are elegantly represented; Baumbach's metafiction is clever; though BorgesCarol Emshwiller and many others had major stories in the magazine as well. MacMillan amounts to a key TriQuarterly "discovery", with the seeds of his first two novels as well as stories in his only collection gathered from the magazine; in the other, Asimov was happy enough with his story collected in the best-of to name a retrospective collection for it, and it probably should be noted that not only did Sturgeon's Educated Estimate (aka Law: 90% of everything is mediocre or worse) first get widespread audience in his (first recurring magazine) books
the 1969-70 US revival
column, but Asimov began a regular science column first in Venture, which moved over to F&SF upon the merger of the two, and that column helped spur Asimov's pop-science career, in many ways the primary work of his life till his last years, when fiction finally was paying even better. Sturgeon, for his part, would later have continuing book-review columns in GalaxyNational Review (!), and Hustler (!--though during Paul Krassner's editorship). Sturgeon was the kind of writer who could and did sell a short sf story to Sports Illustrated.

Sadly, these anthologies were by no means pushed hard by their publishers... Ballantine was at one of its lower ebbs in '64, and while 50c for a slim, nine-story paperback wasn't extremely expensive, it wasn't cheap; $4.95 for a mass-market paperback, even with 20 stories ranging from vignettes to novellas, in 1982 was ridiculous (and earlier Washington Square Press releases at least had been published on heavier, perhaps acid-free paper and otherwise looked like their production value might begin to justify their inflated price, as with the similar Doubleday Anchor line of rack-sized paperbacks). A handsome-enough generic over on the Venture book (and no mention of the source magazine anywhere), and an even more generic cover (which has not been previously online) on the TQ. And while women contributors are underrepresented in both volumes (and didn't achieve parity in the magazines, either), at least neither volume is the completely stag affair too many anthologies of this sort had been in their years.

The Best of TriQuarterly
Editor: Jonathan Brent
Publisher: New York : Washington Square Press publication of Pocket Books, 1982, pb, 310 pp
Introduction / Jonathan Brent
Two stories: Revenge of the lawn; A short history of religion in California / Richard Brautigan -- #5, Winter 1966
How I contemplated the world from the Detroit House of Correction and began my life over again / Joyce Carol Oates -- #15, Spring 1969
Notes on the present configuration of the Red-Blue conflict / Robert Chatain -- #16, Fall 1969
Three meetings with Vladimir Nabokov / Stanley Elkin -- #17, Winter 1970
Altele / Isaac Bashevis Singer -- #18, Spring 1970 (translated by Mirra Ginsberg)
From The Tunnel : why windows are important to me / William H. Gass -- #20, Winter 1971
The traditional story returns / Jonathan Baumbach -- #26, Winter 1973
The warden / John Gardner -- #29, Winter 1974
From Lookout Cartridge / Joseph McElroy -- #29, Winter 1974
Sacrifice / Ian MacMillan -- #40, Fall 1977
Autoclysms / Michael Anania -- #40, Fall 1977
The missing person / Maxine Kumin -- #42, Spring 1978
Caye / T. Coraghessan Boyle -- #42, Spring 1978
Blue day / Arnost Lustig -- #45, Spring 1979
The first clean fact / Larry Heinemann -- #45, Spring 1979
Two shoes for one foot / John Hawkes -- #46, Fall 1979
In the town of Ballymuck / Victor Power -- #47, Winter 1980
Walking out / David Quammen -- #48, Spring, 1980
Dillinger in Hollywood / John Sayles -- #48, Spring, 1980
Amarillo / Jonathan Penner -- #50, Winter 1981
Notes on Authors / Anon. (presumably Brent).

Issue 20, Winter 1971

Speculators are wishing hard on this one now because of the Cormac McCarthy...

Issued as a two-volume set...Winter 1976...

Complementary covers (and issues!), above and below (the first issue of Venture)

Sturgeon's seemingly awkward title is masterfully employed in the story...

FFB: THE LITTLE MAGAZINE IN AMERICA: A MODERN DOCUMENTARY HISTORY edited by Elliott Anderson and Mary Kinzie (TriQuarterly 43/Pushcart Press 1978)

When a little magazine has a 750-page issue, the nature of little magazines might need explication. Happily, issue 43 of TriQuarterly amply demonstrated what (however arguably) little magazines were, at least, in the 20th Century...and its influence in the field when it was published was sufficient that the University of Chicago Press, down the street and across the way from Northwestern, the latter still the home of the online echo of the heroic years of TQ, has published last year a new, shorter collection that echoes this one in content and title, The Little Magazine in Contemporary America (which also struggles to clearly establish, if not quite define, what a little magazine is)(in case you're on tenterhooks, some would insist, or at least would in 1978, that any college/university-sponsored magazine, such as TQ itself, didn't qualify as a little magazine...when I was appointed to editorship of Hawai'i Review, I had to explain to one ex-schoolmate why a "little" magazine wasn't a "mini" magazine, but instead the adjective referred to the circulation rather than the dimensions of the issue itself).
The contents of this issue/volume (Pushcart Press basically took the camera-ready pages of the magazine issue, added a not quite good index, and replaced the unusually unimpressive TQ cover with the funereal image at left, on their hardcover and trade paperback editions) are an interesting array of memoirs, interviews, survey essays and similar materials, from movers and shakers in the small-press literary magazine world, stretching back to the early years of the likes of transition and The Sewanee Review, from the no-budget mimeographed beginnings of Story magazine and the complete run of Neurotica, to the fairly elaborate productions of  magazines published as multiple pieces of literary art, shipped in a box (a concept emulated from time to time over the years since) and the at-first  well-produced paperback issues and eventual slick and Beat/erotica Evergreen Review.

And how people loop in and out of  the magazine culture as documented here...August Derleth, the Wisconsin regionalist, horror fiction writer, Lovecraft devotee/Arkham House editor and publisher, and Solar Pons (ersatz Sherlock Holmes) chronicler, was also a bit of a labor radical early in his literary career, and a contributor in the 1930s to The Anvil, the Proletarian litmag which was merged with (and co-opted by) Partisan Review; Derleth reappears in 1958 as a force for reaction, as the sole prosecution witness from the literary community against the (rather slick) magazine Big Table, founded to feature contents of a suppressed issue of Chicago Review, which was pulled from publication by the University of Chicago after Chicago Daily News complaints of the Beat literature and other Filth published there; the Post Office censors decided, in those immediately pre-Lenny Bruce-prosecution years, to get upset about The Naked Lunch excerpts and Kerouac contributions in the new magazine (speaking of  those who recur in history: Judge Julius J. Hoffman found in favor of Big Table as not obscene, a decade before presiding over the Chicago Seven trial). 

Just another example of the ambitious and impressive projects tackled by TQ in the 1970s, before the gibbons of reaction at Northwestern U. made their resentment of the vital nature of the magazine manifest. 
Prefatory note / Elliott Anderson & Mary Kinzie --
Of living Belfry and Rampart: on American literary magazines since 1950 / Michael Anania--
Academia and the little magazine / Charles Robinson --
Felix Pollak, an interview on little magazines / Mark Olson, John Judson, Richard Boudreau --
Little magazine in its place : literary culture and anarchy / Robert Boyers --
Kenyon Review, 1939-1970 / Robie Macauley --
Southern review and a post-southern American letters / Lewis P. Simpson --
On editing Furioso / Reed Whittemore --
On Anvil / Jack Conroy --
On Partisan review / William Phillips --
Memoir of a 50 year old publisher on his voyage to outer space
/ Seymour Lawrence --
Orl : hallelujah on a straw / Theodore Weiss --
Manifesto (sotto voce) / James Boatwright --
Karl Shapiro, an interview on Poetry / Michael Anania, Ralph J. Mills, Jr. --
Care and funding of Pegasus / Joseph Parisi --
Origin / Cid Corman --
On Black Mountain review / Robert Creeley --
Daisy Aldan, an interview on Folder / Dennis Barone --
Kulchur : a memoir / Lita Hornick --
Neon, Kulchur, etc. / Gilbert Sorrentino--
Leroi Jones, an interview on Yugen / David Ossman --
Backward glance O'er beatnik roads / Krim --
On Big table, Chicago Review, and the Purple Sage / Peter Michelson --
On Trace / James Boyer May --
Gall of Wormwood in printing over 66 issues and still continuing / Marvin Malone --
Robert Kelly, an interview on Trobar / David Ossman --
El corno emplumado, 1961-1969: some notes in retrospect, 1975 / Margaret Randall --
Dust: a tribal seed / Len Fulton --
On Kayak / George Hitchcock --
Doing caterpillar / Clayton Eshleman --
Blue suede shoes, issue (Babe Ruth essay) / Keith Abbott --
History of Io, 1964-1976 / Richard Grossinger --
Discussion of little magazines and related topics / Anne Waldman, Larry Fagin --
On Fiction / Mary Jay Mirsky --
Enterprise in the service of art / George Plimpton --
Stridency and the sword : literary and cultural emphasis in Afro-American magazine / Eugene Redmond --
Little magazine/small press connection : some conjecture / Tom Montag --
Behind the writer, ahead of the reader : a short history of Corinth Books / Ted Wilentz, Bill Zavatsky --
On Pushcart Press / Bill Henderson --
Who do they think they are? A personal history of the Fiction Collective / Jonathan Baumbach--
Report on the Fiction Collective / Gene Lyons --
The little magazine today / Felix Stefanile --
Annotated bibliography of selected little magazines / Peter Martin.

FFB: WORLD'S BEST CONTEMPORARY SHORT STORIES selected by the Editors of SHORT STORY INTERNATIONAL [magazine] (Ace Books, 1966)

Having written about Donald Wollheim's tenure at Ace Books, I was gratified to learn while researching some of the details of his work there that one of the books he was almost certainly responsible for as publisher's editor (given his consistent interest in international fiction, and that he was editing most of the contemporary fiction Ace published) was this, an anthology from the magazine Short Story International, which flourished for several years in the mid 1960s as a monthly digest-sized magazine drawing on English-language stories and stories in translation, in the hopes of both entertainment and international understanding. The magazine folded but was revived in the latter 1970s in a more expensive package, and ran in that version for a couple of decades; I'd first heard about it as a source of stories for Judith Merril's Year's Best S-F: Tenth Annual Edition, a 1965 book I read in early 1978, and later that year was able to find my first issue of the revived title, which I would read whenever I came across copies thereafter (it had a somewhat limited newsstand presence in the latter '70s, even as it had been a fully newsstand-accessible magazine in the '60s).  The title and package somewhat resemble the sf annual Wollheim was editing with assistant Terry Carr beginning in 1965 and running till their departure from Ace after the 1971 volume, World's Best Science Fiction, and generally it is reasonably representative presentation of what SSI was offering in the 1960s...reprints from other magazines, some far more obscure than others and some simply not necessarily going to draw the eye of the typical SSI reader--even a story in the Saturday Evening Post could easily be lost in the shuffle of that prolific magazine's weekly issues and several short stories per issue at the time, much less the Australian men's magazine Man or the Ladies Home Journal...back when that title, like most big broad-spectrum "slick" magazines, still featured fiction. And then there were the little magazines, and magazines and collections and anthologies published by foreign governments as part of cultural exchange programs.

A typical mid '60s issue.
It's just arrived, so I haven't had time to sit down with it and dig in, though another Frank Roberts story was a memorable entry in the Merril annual from all those years ago (this, like the earlier one, is apparently sf), and I'm definitely interested in reading the only long story in the volume, Daphne Du Maurier's novella "The Blue Lenses" well as being curious about the Djilas short story, "War," which was published (in Italian) while he was a political prisoner in Tito-era Yugoslavia, and apparently did nothing to help his practical situation at that time. Romain Gary and, of course, John Steinbeck (in a piece that appeared in, of all places, True magazine--back when that magazine was willing to pay for a little marquee value, I guess) are among the familiar names...I've read the Shymansky previously in part because I was the contributor to the FictionMags Index who posted that particular issue of SSI, some years of the first issues of the 1960s version I'd read.

Below is an index I've put together from the volume's headnotes and the TOC, as the only contents index I've found online, that from a WorldCat participant, has several typos and far less information. Still need to scan the covers of the volume...haven't seen any images online yet. Issue of SSI where the stories in question appeared cited where known, from the FictionMags Index...where, currently, the Du Maurier novella is listed as a "novel," no doubt from a TOC tag referring to it as a "complete novel" in that issue of LHJ.

7 · Foreword · Erik Sandberg-Diment (Assoc. Editor, SSI) · in
9 · The Inheritor · (Australia) · Frank Roberts · (ss) Man, 1963; Short Story International Oct 1964
16 · River Two Blind Jacks  · (Canada) · Dave Godfrey · (ss) The Tamarack Review, 1962
29 · The Blue Lenses · (England) · Daphne du Maurier · (na); illus. Al Parker (Ladies’ Home Journal [v76 # 5, May 1959])
65 · The Singing Silence · (Finland) · Eva-Lis Wuorio · (ss) The Saturday Evening Post Mar 23 1963; Short Story International Dec 1963
71 · A Bit of Dreamer, a Bit of Fool · (France) · Romain Gary ·(ss) Playboy Mar 1964
85 · The Tax Dodger · Cameron Duodu · ss (r); Ghana (from the magazine Okyeame, and also an excerpt from/incorporated into an unnamed novel); Short Story International Nov 1963
103 · The Lion’s Maw · Gabor Thurzo · ss The New Hungarian Quarterly Apr/Jun 1963; Hungary; Short Story InternationalDecember 1963
124 · The Kite-Maker · (India) · Ruskin Bond · (ss) The Times of India, Jan 26 1964
129 · The Blind Girl · Yaakov Shteinberg; trans. by Curt Leviant  (ss) The Jewish Spectator Apr 1963; Israel;  Short Story International Nov1963
138 · The Breach · (Italy) · Mauro Senesi (ss) The Atlantic Monthly, Ap 1964
144 · A Trip with Obstacles · (Lithuania) · Juozas Grusas · (ss) Selected Lithuanian Short Stories ed. Stepas Zobarskas (Manyland Books, 1963))
154 · An Apple--a Measure of Oats ·(New Zealand) · Cecilia Dabrowska · (ss) Blackwood's Magazine,  Jun 1960 (?aka A Measure of Oats · Argosy (UK) [v31 #3, March 1970])
162 · The Stone and the Cross · (Peru) · Ciro Alegria  (trans. Zoila Nelkin) · (ss) Short Stories of Latin America (Las Americas Publishing Co., 1963)
171 · The Wallaby Track · Les Shymansky · (ss); Polish-Australian · Escape to the Tropics (collection), Parnassus Publishing House, 1954; Short Story International [v 2 # 4, February 1965]
193 · The Salt Worker · (China) ·  Lo Shu · (ss) Chinese Literature #1, 1963 
207 · The Island · (Scotland) · John Angus · (ss) The Scots Magazine, Oct 1963
215 · A Man of Dignity ·  (South Africa) ·  Sheila Brown Sandray · (ss) Phoenix Point West, Dec 1964
227 · Barbara ·  (Switzerland) ·  Jurg Schubiger (trans. Peter Berger) · Bogen Hefte #52 (1956); translation Short Story International 1964
238 · Sale of Satanat · (Turkey) · Kamal Bilbasar (trans. Esin Bilbasar) · (ss) originally in Turkish, 1962
245 · The Mutineers · Oliver La Farge · ss The New Yorker Jun 30 1962; U.S; Short Story International [Nov 1963]
253 · A Ragged Crew · (USA) · John Steinbeck ·  (ar) True Feb 1963
268 · Love Affair with a Truck · Vil Lipatov · nv Soviet Literature #4 1963, as “The Wisdom Tooth”; USSR; Short Story International [Dec 1963]
299 · Taibele and the Demon · (Yiddish) · Isaac Bashevis Singer (trans. Mirra Ginsberg) · Commentary, Feb 1963
311 · War · (Yugoslavia) · Milovan Djilas (trans. Giovanni Segreto) · Tempo Presente 1962 (in Italian)

Series Title: Ace Star Book, A-7  (75c); 319 pp. mass-market pb.

It's also interesting as an example of the ex-Futurians' tendency to encourage exploration of world literature...Wollheim and Merril pushing the magazine through their books while also publishing international writers in many other contexts, Frederik Pohl probably using the example of SSI to argue for trying out his slightly later magazine International Science-Fiction...

This week's list [at time of original publication] is dedicated to the memory of 

Randy Johnson.
The Ace annual with a rather similar title...

FFB: HEAVEN AND HELL edited by Joan D. Berbrich (McGraw-Hill 1975); SUPERFICTION, OR THE AMERICAN STORY TRANSFORMED edited by Joe David Bellamy (Random House/Vintage 1975)

Two 1975 textbooks, more or less.

Though Joe David Bellamy's anthology SuperFiction was published in Random House's "prestige" paperback line Vintage (and to be published in 1975 as a slightly beefy mass-market paperback with a pricetag of $4.95, without color plates inside or anything else very expensive about its production, was to trade very heavily on that notion of prestige), and was available in at least some bookstores as a regular trade item, it clearly was from inception meant to be sold primarily to a limited audience, and often as not as a textbook (in 1975, a mass-market paperback from Random House's recently-acquired Ballantine paperback line, of similar dimensions and page count, would be printed on slightly thinner, less acid-free paper and probably go for $1.50). It, however, is a rather charming anthology demonstrating some of the various means US fiction had been exploring fantasticated approaches, in form and content, to cope with the world and the human condition since mid-century.  

Anatole Broyard didn't like this book. But, even as late as 1975, perhaps except at Vintage's sales department (and even there maybe with mixed emotions), it wasn't really expected or hoped that Broyard and (perhaps even more) those he could be seen to represent in the cultural establishment would like the book or the fiction it hoped to showcase, even given that the contributors were often not the youngest of young lions, even if on average a bit younger and more untraditional than even such peers as Saul Bellow or Mary McCarthy or Philip Roth. 
While (with this third example of the high school-oriented "Patterns of Literary Art" series of textbooks I've dealt with over the last three weeks, as examples of of what McGraw-Hill and other explicit textbook publishers decided they had latitude to experiment with by the 1970s), Joan Berbrich was attempting something perhaps even a bit more "subversive" than what Bellamy hoped to suggest, in moving in her book  from religious texts and similar matter to various sorts of intentional fantasy fiction, and treating with folklore and myth also treated as such at time of writing, to both engage young student readers and also to get at the underlying currents of literature, and, like Bellamy, to demonstrate how this fantasticated material was taking on, in its various ways, the largest questions facing humanity that are or can be explored by art. And doing so via the inclusion, in a 1975 text, of not only a poetical play for voices by Robert Frost, but also a radio play, classics by Tolstoi and Dante (as translated by John Ciardi) and Benet and Beerbohm and John Collier  (and less-well-known gems by Alice Laurance and Robert Arthur and Stephen Goldin and Bruce Elliot),  and Julian Lester's retelling of the Stagolee/Stackolee/Stagger Lee folktale...Lester having just died yesterday, after an eventful and accomplished life and a short illness. Berbrich also includes a fine "first story" by Joyce Winslow, "Benjamen Burning" (the name as presented), which had been in the 1969 Best American Short Stories, after publication in a University of Michigan campus magazine and reprint in R. V. Cassill's "best of the young writers" anthology Intro 1 the previous year. (Most sources cite the Cassill as the source of the story, which is incorrect, as I was able to confirm with Ms. Winslow yesterday; after her own rather impressive career so far, focusing in large part on various sorts of public relations nonfiction writing, she's looking forward to seeing in print her first collection of her short stories for adults, to include this and other Pushcart Prizes-reprinted, National Press Club Prize-winning and other short stories she's been publishing over the years.) It's also notable how this book recapitulates the "multiple stories from one source" trope evident in the Leo P. Kelley volumes in the series: the Laurance and the Goldin stories come from the same all-originals anthology Protostars; amusingly, between the two 1975 books considered this week, the Joyce Winslow and the Joyce Carol Oates stories were in the same 1969 volume of BASS. 

More to come about all this, as personal events are intruding on each other...and I wasn't even able to finish the the revised index of the Berbrich anthology yesterday, though I did improve considerably and correct a few omissions in the Contento Anthology Index listing for the Bellamy.

Heaven and Hell edited by Joan D. Berbrich (McGraw-Hill 0-07-004837-1, Patterns in Literary Art series, 1975, 268+vii pp, trade paperback)

vi · General Introduction · Joan D. Berbrich · in

· Heaven and Hell and All That · Joan D. Berbrich · es

· The Last Judgment · Cynewulf · pm
· African Heaven · Francis Ernest Kobina Parkes · pm · New World Writing #15 1959
12 · Stagolee · Julian Lester · folktale Black Folktales (Grove Press 1969)
25 · What Price Heaven?  · Howard Maier · radio play
48 · The Last Ghost · Stephen Goldin · (ss) Protostars, edited by David Gerrold and Stephen Goldin (Ballantine, 1971)
56 · Chances Are · Alice Laurance · (ss) Protostars, edited by David Gerrold and Stephen Goldin (Ballantine, 1971)
67 · The Grey Ones · J. B. Priestley · (nv) Lilliput Apr/May 1953
85 · The Dead · Denise Levertov ·  (pm) With Eyes at the Back of Our Heads (New Directions, 1959)

89 · The Paths of Good and Bad Intention · Joan D. Berbrich · es

93 · Our Lady's Juggler · Anatole France · (ss) Mother of Pearl (translated by Frederic Chapman; John Lane/The Bodley Head 1909)
100 · Benjamen Burning · Joyce Madelon Winslow · (ss) Generation V. 19 N. 2 1968
118 · The Devil Grows Jubilant · Daniel B. Straley · (pm) Said the Devil to His Wife and Other Poems (Normandie House 1944--Chicago-based vanity press?)
120 · How the Devil Redeemed the Crust of Bread · Leo Tolstoy · folktale (translated by Leo Weiner) What Shall We Do Then?... (The Complete Works of Count Tolstoy, V. 42)(The Colonial Press, 1904)
124 · The Happy Hypocrite · Max Beerbohm · (nv) The Yellow Book October 1896
150 · A Ballad of Hell · John Davidson · (pm) 

157 · Bargains with the Devil · Joan D. Berbrich · es
160 · Ballad of Faustus · Anon. · song

164 · The Devil and Daniel Webster · Stephen Vincent Benet · (ss) The Saturday Evening Post Oct 24 1936
180 · Satan and Sam Shay · Robert Arthur · (ss) The Elks Magazine Aug 1942

196 · The Devil and the Old Man · John Masefield · (ss)  The Green Sheaf #6, 1903
203 · Thus I Refute Beelzy · John Collier ·  (ss) The Atlantic Monthly October 1940 (third and final ending version...Collier kept adding to the last lines)
209 · The Devil was Sick · Bruce Elliott ·  (ss) The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction April 1951

221 · Reward and Retribution · Joan D. Berbrich · es

224 · The White Stone Canoe · Henry Rowe Schoolcraft and John Bierhorst · folktale/myth (The Fire Plume: Legends of the American Indians, Dial Press 1969)
228 · Go Down, Death! · James Weldon Johnson · pm (God's Trombones, The Viking Press, 1927)
232 · from The Inferno, Canto V, The Carnal · Dante Alighieri · The Inferno (translated by John Ciardi; Mentor Books/New American Library 1954)
239 · The Devil and Tom Walker · Washington Irving  · (ss) Tales of a Traveller, John Murray, 1824
252 · Right and Wrong · Hesiod · pm (translator?)
254 · A Masque of Reason · Robert Frost · verse play (Henry Holt, 1945)

Revised from the Contento Index:

  • Fantasy • Fabulation • Irrealism
  • 23 · Unready to Wear · Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. · ss Galaxy Science Fiction April 1953
  • 40 · The Elevator · Robert Coover · ss Pricksongs & Descants (Dutton 1969) --possibly reprinted rather than first published here
  • 54 · Quake · Rudolph Wurlitzer · ex Quake (Dutton 1972)
  • 76 · Chiaroscuro: a Treatment of Light and Shade · Ursule Molinaro · ss TriQuarterly Winter 1974
  • Neo-Gothic
  • 91 · By the River · Joyce Carol Oates · ss December 1968
  • 113 · The Universal Fears · John Hawkes · ss American Review #16,  February 1973 (Bantam)
  • 129 · Manikin · Leonard Michaels · ss Massachusetts Review Winter 1968
  • 137 · In Which Esther Gets a Nose Job · Thomas Pynchon · ex V (Lippincott 1963)
  • Myth • Parable
  • 157 · Queen Louisa · John Gardner · ss The King’s Indian (Knopf 1974)
  • 173 · Order of Insects · William H. Gass · ss The Minnesota Review 1962
  • 182 · One’s Ship · Barton Midwood · ss The Paris Review Winter 1966
  • 187 · Saying Good-Bye to the President · Robley Wilson, Jr. · ss Esquire February 1974
  • Metafiction • Technique as Subject
  • 197 · Life-Story · John Barth · ss Lost in the Funhouse (Doubleday 1968)
  • 213 · Sentence · Donald Barthelme · ss The New Yorker, March 7, 1970
  • 221 · The Moon in Its Flight · Gilbert Sorrentino · ss New American Review #13 1971 
  • 234 · What’s Your Story · Ronald Sukenick · ss The Paris ReviewFall 1968
  • Parody & Put-On
  • 259 · The Loop Garoo Kid · Ishmael Reed · ex Yellow Back Radio Broke Down (Doubleday 1969)
  • 274 · A Lot of Cowboys · Judith Rascoe · ss The Atlantic Monthly November 1970
  • 282 · At the National Festival · John Batki · ss Fiction, Fall 1972
  • 289 · Under the Microscope · John Updike · ss The Transatlantic Review. #28 Spring 1968 · illustrations by Ann Haven Morgan

FFB: TABOO and TABOO 2, edited by Paul Neimark (New Classics House 1964, 1965)

For fairly obvious reasons, there has been an interplay between First Amendment advocacy, bohemian writers, sexually explicit fiction and other publications, and the occasional publication of fairly serious work by houses that are better known for what was intentionally disposable literature, at best. Usually, whether we refer to such magazines as Evergreen Review or Playboy or Rogue or Eros, or to such publishers as Grove Press or Olympia Press, there was often some desire to package and present sophisticated material in every sense, even if the sophistication of some of that material was solely in the adult themes addressed by it. Thus, the Chicago-based New Classics House, which published such work as Kerry Thornley's assassination account OswaldAlbert Ellis's collection of essays Suppressed, and, in two volumes published in 1964 and '65, Paul Neimark's anthologies Taboo and Taboo 2. Not quite Harlan Ellison's anthology Dangerous Visions (1967), nor DV's first form, the abortive Judith Merril anthology for Regency Books that Ellison had commissioned during his brief editorship at that paperback line (which was a corporate cousin to the more erotic Greenleaf Classics and other imprints), the Taboo volumes nonetheless managed to publish some work by notable writers, some of which remains otherwise unavailable...I'm not sure, but it's possible one or more of the stories in Taboo, at least, had been written with the Merril project in mind. (See Matthew Davis's comments, below.)

Taboo, for all the hype inherent in the subtitle "seven short stories that no publisher would touch from seven leading writers", reprints two of its stories from books published by mainline publishers, Charles Beaumont's "The Neighbors" (first in his 1960 Bantam Books collection Night Ride and Other Journeys) and Ray Russell's "Take a Deep Breath" (originally in a 1956 issue of George Fox's Chicago-based Playboy imitator Tiger, probably there as a salvage market since Russell was already an editor at Playboy by that time, but perhaps Hefner or A. C. Spectorsky didn't much care for the story; Russell apparently revised it for inclusion in his 1961 Ballantine collection Sardonicus and Other Stories and here). I believe all the other stories were first published in this volume (index courtesy ISFDB) of 127pp.:
As far as I've found so far, the Bloch and Neimark stories have not been reprinted anywhere, nor the Algren at least under that title (though at least one study suggests that it's a rather different, more sardonic recasting of an incident in Algren's novel A Walk on the Wild Side). As the links above will demonstrate, the other stories original to the volume have since been reprinted in at least one collection of the authors' works. Neimark was a fairly prolific writer, perhaps best-known in his time as the as-told-to collaborator with Jesse Owens on several memoirs and related books by the Olympic athlete, and the author of the novel She Lives! (1972), which was adapted as one of the more popular US telefilms of the early 1970s. It's notable that all the writers involved had some strong ties to Chicago, and most had at least occasionally published in the men's magazines based in the city. Leiber's story includes an incident of incestuous necrophilia, so the tagline was perhaps not so very misleading as to the nature of the stories, if not the facts of their publication history. 
Taboo 2 has a less stellar, if still good, lineup of writers, and, presumably as a result, is far easier to procure on the secondhand book market; the second volume includes four stories, one each by James T. Farrell, true crime writer Jay Nash, fellow prolific novelist Con Sellers (who, like Neimark, would make his biggest commercial splash in later years, with his novels set in and dealing with the run up to World War 2), and Neimark himself again--from the Miscellaneous Anthologies Index:
At least this one is held in local libraries nearby for me (interlibrary loan from mostly Chicagoland holdings for the first volume might be problematic, at best). Niemark published at least one other, nonfiction anthology with New Classics, 1964's Crisis, which includes essays from Farrell and Algren mixed with considerations of the state of the world from L. Sprague de Camp, G. Harry Stine and L. G. Alexander, along with some verse from Carl Sandburg. 

Given the importance of the contributors and the relative interest both the content and the writers in question might generate, I'm mildly surprised these two anthologies haven't been scanned and posted in such online resources as Open Library, but at least the physical copies are held by some libraries, and the books, like most published in any quantity, are available, if, again, it's far more likely one can buy a copy of 2 than the original. I would like to know what was so taboo about the Bloch story, and why it's not been included in any of his collections over the decades. 

FFB: WORLDS OF IF: A Retrospective Anthology, Frederik Pohl, Martin H. Greenberg & Joseph Olander, editors (Bluejay 1986); TQ 20 (TriQuarterly 20 years), Reginald Gibbons & Susan Hahn, editors (Pushcart 1985)

Nearly contemporary issues:

Executive summary: 

Two impressive slices through the first two decades of two important, but not always sufficiently respected, fiction magazines. If, aka Worlds of If, ran from 1952-1974, with some weak attempts at revival afterward (at the end of 1974, it was merged into its longterm stablemate Galaxy, which itself staggered into folding and sporadic revival by 1980); even at its weakest points editorially under original publisher James Quinn, Ifwas an elegantly-produced magazine, and while the later publishers at the "Digest Productions"/Guinn/Galaxy group and UPD Publications varied in their investment, it was often striking later as well. TriQuarterly began as a relatively modest physical production, though less so in content, in 1964, had made itself into one of the most visually as well as literarily impressive of little magazines throughout the 1970s thanks to founding editor Charles Newman and successors Elliot Anderson and Robert Onopa, the latter being rewarded by being unceremoniously dumped for daring to treat "popular fiction" as essentially no different from "literary fiction"; TQ never quite recovered its spirit, though it did continue, and is now a webzine.

What's good about these anthologies: Take a quick look at their contents, below. As the material about each magazine in their respective volumes makes clear, the not terribly well-measured consensus view about these two magazines was that they were very well in their way, but not the Serious Contenders that were, say, the hidebound 1969 Analog or The Hudson Review, nor even the resolutely lively contemporary issues of The Paris Review or Galaxy, when If and TQ had also been hitting their very comparable high-quality marks for some years, would continue in If's case till merger in 1975 and in TriQuarterly's case was allowed to continue doing so for another half-decade beyond that year. Again, look below at the evidence. In addition to the good to great fiction in the If volume, you get a plethora of reminiscences by the writers and editors, some taken not long before these folks died or otherwise became incapable of comment (the book was also delayed for several years). The material about the magazine is less generous in the TQ, perhaps in part because the book's editors were also TQ's editors after the shameful putsch in 1980/81, but to help make up for that, the selection of poetry and artwork as well as fiction is even larger.

What's not so great about these anthologies: Don't let your book be the last Bluejay book nor the second Pushcart anthology of material the Pushcart folks didn't shape for themselves...because signs of haste and slipshoddery will be evident all over the productions, beginning with the covers. Both manage to have half-good covers, with some boldish graphics not employed quite properly...clearly the white space in the If was meant to hold some writers' names, and the TQ would work better if the cover gave a legible indication what "TQ" meant (the book replicates but slightly worsens the cover of the magazine issue it essentially reprints)...the contributors' names in both cases are almost illegible on the back cover, if the casual browser gets past the front cover. The "If" in the one should've been larger, to resemble the magazine's frequent logo; the spine of the TriQuarterly jacket doesn't have the title "TQ 20" on it anywhere. It takes some effort to get much more clumsy than this.

Unfortunately, the bad packaging gives way in the If  to some very blatant typos (Charles Beaumont's The Hunger and Other Stories becomes the "Hunter"; the Zelazny here is incorrectly cited as the only story he published in If;  more annoying is Martin Greenberg's contention that Larry Niven was rare in being conversant in both "hard" science fiction and adventure if Poul Anderson, Fritz Leiber and at least arguably Jack Vance and the predominance of the contributors to the magazine Unknown didn't rather roundly contradict that). Perhaps even more of a mixed bag is the uncorrected nature of a number of the memoirs; several contributors, Algis Budrys slightly and P.J. Farmer to a gross extent, manage to get historical facts out of order (Budrys misremembers Fairman as the editor after Quinn), but mostly the disagreements between the nonfiction contributors are reasonable disagreements of judgment, and useful assessments. (One which definitely caught my eye detailed editor Larry Shaw's run-ins with Evan Hunter, whom he found unpleasant, not least when Shaw sought to have him correct an error in his famous, overrated story "Malice in Wonderland," and Hunter replied, "Well, it's only science fiction, after all." A kind of irresponsibility I tend to find in all the Hunter [McBain, et al.] fiction I've read.)

The TQ basically reshoots the pages of the magazine for the book; the typefaces are unmistakable, and so any typos in the original magazine run are presumably reproduced here (I haven't spotted any blatant ones yet); and, again, as little as possible is said about the purge of Anderson and Onopa from the magazine; in fact, Onopa is neither reprinted (he contributed interesting fiction, as well) nor mentioned. Very much down the memory hole.

At left, a 1974 issue; below left, one of the last Anderson/Onopa issues, from 1979.

These books are valuable documents, if not quite what they could've been; the magazines treated, as their staffs were, with insufficient respect once again. And, in part as consequence, they are long out of print. But they will reward you if you seek them out, and they won't cost you too much...unless you don't look for the bargains. The better work represented here is even worth a premium price.

Some If covers through the years, below:

Vonnegut's only story in If:

Fact (I believe) about If: it employed more book-publisher editors as its editor or associate/assistant editor than any other sf magazine has, before or since: founding editor Paul Fairman might make the weakest link (in several ways!) by being the editor in charge of the Ziff-Davis fiction magazines later when they published the one volume/issue of Amazing Stories Science Fiction Novels, Henry Slesar's novelization of 20 Million Miles to Earth (I wouldn't be surprised if Fairman eventually edited books for others, as well). James Quinn (Handi-Books--or did he not wield an editorial hand there as well as publishing?), Larry Shaw (Lancer Books), Damon Knight (Berkley), H. L. Gold (Galaxy Novels), Frederik Pohl (Ace, Bantam), Judy-Lynn Benjamin/Del Rey and Lester Del Rey (Ballantine/Del Rey), Ejler Jakobsson (Award and other UPD lines), and James Baen (Ace, Tor and Baen Books).

courtesy the Locus Index:
Worlds of If: A Retrospective Anthology ed. Frederik Pohl, Martin H. Greenberg & Joseph D. Olander (Bluejay 0-312-94471-3, Dec ’86, $19.95, 438pp, hc) Anthology of 24 stories. This is the last Bluejay book.

1 · Introduction · Frederik Pohl · in
6 · As If Was in the Beginning · Larry T. Shaw · ar, 1986
19 · Memoir · Philip K. Dick · ms
20 · The Golden Man · Philip K. Dick · nv If Apr ’54
50 · Memoir · Robert Sheckley · ms
51 · The Battle · Robert Sheckley · ss If Sep ’54
57 · Last Rites · Charles Beaumont · ss IIfOct ’55
71 · Game Preserve · Rog Phillips · ss If Oct ’57
85 · The Burning of the Brain · Cordwainer Smith · ss If Oct ’58
95 · Memoir · Algis Budrys · ms
103 · The Man Who Tasted Ashes · Algis Budrys · ss If Feb ’59
117 · Memoir · Poul Anderson · ms
119 · Kings Who Die · Poul Anderson · nv If Mar ’62
147 · Memoir · Fred Saberhagen · ms
148 · Fortress Ship [Berserker] · Fred Saberhagen · ss If Jan ’63
158 · Father of the Stars · Frederik Pohl · ss If Nov ’64
177 · Trick or Treaty [Jame Retief] · Keith Laumer · nv If Aug ’65
202 · Memoir · R. A. Lafferty · ms
203 · Nine Hundred Grandmothers · R. A. Lafferty · ss If Feb ’66
214 · Memoir · Larry Niven · ms
216 · Neutron Star [Beowulf Shaeffer] · Larry Niven · nv If Oct ’66
234 · Memoir · Roger Zelazny · ms
235 · This Mortal Mountain · Roger Zelazny · nv If Mar ’67
272 · Memoir · Harlan Ellison · ar *
289 · I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream · Harlan Ellison · ss If Mar ’67
305 · Memoir · Samuel R. Delany · ms
306 · Driftglass · Samuel R. Delany · ss If Jun ’67
324 · Memoir · Isaac Asimov · ms
326 · The Holmes-Ginsbook Device · Isaac Asimov · ss If Dec ’68
336 · Memoir · Philip José Farmer · ms
338 · Down in the Black Gang · Philip José Farmer · nv If Mar ’69
359 · Memoir · Robert Silverberg · ms
361 · The Reality Trip · Robert Silverberg · ss If May ’70
378 · Memoir · James Tiptree, Jr. · ms
379 · The Night-Blooming Saurian · James Tiptree, Jr. · ss If May ’70
385 · Memoir · Theodore Sturgeon · ms
388 · Occam’s Scalpel · Theodore Sturgeon · nv If Aug ’71
409 · Memoir · Clifford D. Simak · ms
410 · Construction Shack · Clifford D. Simak · ss Worlds of If Jan/Feb ’73
424 · Memoir · Craig Kee Strete · ms
427 · Time Deer · Craig Kee Strete · ss Red Planet Earth #4 ’74
433 · Afterword: Flash Point, Middle · Barry N. Malzberg · aw 

courtesy WorldCat:
TQ 20 : twenty years of the best contemporary writing and graphics from TriQuarterly magazine
Editors: Reginald Gibbons; Susan Hahn
Publisher: Wainscott, NY : Pushcart Press, ©1985.
Description: 667 p. : ill. ; 25 cm.

Preface/1964-1984 --
Forward / Charles Newman --
Fragments from the unpublished death fantasy sequence of Judgment day / James T. Farrell --
To friends in East and West "A New Year's greeting" / Boris Pasternak --
Three essays / Roland Barthes --
Two stories / Richard Brautigan --
In a hole / George P. Elliott --
Two poems / Anne Sexton --
Why is American poetry culturally deprived? / Kenneth Rexroth --
Storm still / Brock Brower --
TV / Howard Nemerov --
Two essays / E.M. Cioran --
The fly / Miroslav Holub --
Two poems / Vasko Popa --
A damned man / Aleksander Wat --
From the wave / Thom Gunn --
Meeting hall of the Sociedad Anarquista, 1952 / Irving Feldman --
Few things to say / John Frederick Nims --
The town / C.P. Cavafy --
Tuesday siesta / Gabriel García Márquez --
The sea / Jorge Luis Borges --
The doll queen / Carlos Fuentes --
From unusual occupations / Julio Cortázar --
Montesano unvisited / Richard Hugo --
Possibility along a line of difference / A.R. Ammons --
Life / Jean Follain --
Footprints on the glacier / W.S. Merwin --
The Eagle Exterminating Company / James Tate --
The double dream of spring / John Ashbery --
Toward a new program for the university / Christopher Lasch --
Three meetings / Stanley Elkin --
Three / W.S. Merwin --
Pain / Maxine Kumin --
That's what you say, Cesar? / Andrew Glaze --
Enigma for an angel / Joseph Brodsky --
Two poems / Osip Mandelstam --
To Edward dahlberg / Jack Kerouac --
Confessions / Edward Dahlberg --
From The tunnel: why windows are important to me / William H. Gass --
The wheel / Aimé Césaire --
A tale from Lailonia / Leszek Kolakowski --
Men fought / Jorge Luis Borges --
Meredith Dawe / Joyce Carol Oates --
From Ninety-two in the shade / Thomas McGuane --
Torpid smoke / Vladimir Nabokov --
My encounters with Chekhov / Konstantin Korovin --
Commitment without empathy : a writer's notes on politics, theatre and the novel / David Caute --
Human dust / Agnes Denes --
Heart attack / Max Apple --
The reurn of Icarus / David Wagoner --
With Uncle Sam at Burning Tree / Robert Coover --
Gala / Paul West --
The sewing harems / Cynthia Ozick --
Two shoes for one foot / John Hawkes --
Coyote hold a full house in his hand / Leslie Marmon Silko --
Dillinger in Hollywood / John Sayles --
Walking out / David Quammen --
Where is everyone? / Raymond Carver --
Hunters in the snow / Tobias Wolff --
From A flag for sunrise / Robert Stone --
Embryology / Magdalena Abakanowicz --
Going to the dogs / Richard Ford --
Editorial / Reginald Gibbons --
Dear Lydia E. Pinkham / Pamels White Hadas --
Somg of napalm / Bruce Weigl --
Three prose pieces / Stephen Berg --
Had I a hundred mouths / William Goyen --
From Steht noch dahin / Marie Louise Kaschnitz --
Prayer for the dying / Willis Johnson --
Don't they speak jazz? / Michael S. Harper --
Aubade / Roland Flint --
The third count / Andrew Fetler --
In the cemetery where Al Jolson is buried / Amy Hempel --
June harvest / W.S. Di Piero --
Ambush / John Morgan --
Instructions to be left behind / Marvin Bell --
Gill Boy / Dennis Schmitz --
From A minor apocalypse / Tadeusz Konwicki --
The belly of Barbara N. / Wiktor Woroszylski --
Two poems / Stanislaw Baranczak --
Isaac Babel / R.D. Skillings --
The story tellers / Fred Chappell --
Night traffic near Winchester / Dave Smith --
Sweet sixteen lines / Al Young --
Father and son / Morton Marcus --
His happy hour / Alan Shapiro --
The last class / Ellen Bryant Voigt --
Two poems / C.K. Williams --
Recovering / William Goyen --
On welfare / William Wilborn --
Two poems / William Heyen --
The hooded legion / Gerald McCarthy --
Snowy egret / Bruce Weigl --
Three epigrams / Elder Olson --
Interview with Saul Bellow / Rockwell Gray, Harry White and Gerald Nemanic-
Fulfilling the promise / Lisel Mueller --
The Aragon ballroom / John Dickson --
The city / Lorraine Hansberry --
The address / Marga Minco --
Departures / Linda Pastan --
He, she, all of them, ay / John Peck

Every issue of If online at the Internet Archive.
Selected issues--nearly all--of TQ online, most post-putsch.

A redux post.

For more of today's reviews, please see Patti Abbott's blog.


George said...

Another mind-blowing post! I have a fair amount of the material you cite starting with NO LIMITS. I enjoyed reading VENTURE SF as a kid. TRIQUARTERLY came later for me. I discovered TRIQUARTERLY as a college student a decade later. The cutting edge fiction set the Gold Standard for innovative writing. Love the covers you reproduced!

Todd Mason said...

Thanks, George. What I didn't quite have time to do for this week was a comparison of specific issues of TRIQUARTERLY, SSI, THE PARIS REVIEW and some others, probably including THE ATLANTIC. I became aware of VENTURE because of my reading of F&SF starting in 1977...caught up with TQ in 1981 due to some F&SF people contributing to the 1980 sf issue of the Northwestern University little magazine, found SSI on a newsstand in 1979 after reading stories from it in Judith Merril's 1965 YEAR'S BEST SF in 1978...and began reading THE ATLANTIC in 1978. It all came in in a rush for me...pity that THE ATLANTIC has rather consistently dropped in quality since the early '80s.

Todd Mason said...

The loss of Anthony Burgess as book reviewer certainly didn't help at THE ATLANTIC.

Walker Martin said...

TRIQUARTERLY used to be an excellent magazine. Unfortunately they stopped publishing physical copies several years ago and went online. That's bad enough but they turned the magazine over to the students and I lost all interest in it at that point.

We are not just talking about some run of the mill literary magazine. TRIQUARTERLY was excellent and one of the leading little magazines. A real shame. We have talked about this before but it still bothers me when I look at my set of the magazine and especially the tremendous issue on the little magazines. They killed an exceptional magazine.

Todd Mason said...

Well, that's what comes of snobs, who probably didn't read the magazine in the first place, choosing to feel it was Wrong to support an innovative magazine that dared "mx" "serious" and "popular" fiction, and so let's let Reginald Gibbons run it into the ground, and then set it on fire when he was put out to pasture.

Rich Horton said...

Very good stuff, Todd! It's striking how much stuff Sturgeon published in Venture.

As it happens, I just read the issue with Sturgeon's "It Opens the Sky" and Brackett's "All the Colors of the Rainbow". (I'd have chosen "The Queer Ones" over "All the Colors of the Rainbow" for the anthology -- "Rainbow" is just a bit too programmed, too obvious, though it's still good, and wrenching. Brackett was essentially already done with SF by then, the movies paying more, but those two stories suggest that she could have done some truly significant work if she'd stayed.)

I've been meaning to write up the whole issue as a magazine retro-review, but I've set myself too high a bar -- I want to do a close analysis of "It Opens the Sky" as a great example of how Sturgeon pulls his tricks. I think it shows his methods more than his great stories precisely because it's a weaker story (though still worth your time), so the seams show.

Todd Mason said...

Thanks! and a worthwhile aspiration! (But you can do both...of course, I can more than sympathize with the time-crunch and ambition impediments, with less excuse for the time crunch.)

VENTURE was clearly the market Sturgeon had been waiting for, given its openness to sexual themes to a much greater extent than any previous speculative fiction magazine, including the weak attempt at the early MARVEL (though they had been purely in the Spicy Pulp tradition).