Friday, January 7, 2022

FFMagazines: SPECIAL REPORT: FICTION May-July 1990: "Humor" issue; edited by Keith Bellows: contributions by Harvey Jacobs, Elizabeth Berg, Roy Blount, Jr., et al. (in progress)

Special Report: Fiction, May-July 1990, no volume nor issue numbers, Humor issue. William S. Rukeyser, editor-in-chief; Keith Bellows, editor; Elise Nakhnikian, managing editor (Whittle Communications, $3.50--though not known ever to be distributed to newsstands, individual issues were offered for sale, including postage, for that amount, with a four-issue yearly subscription for $14), 70pp plus covers, 10.5x14" full-color slick with heavier-grade slick paper covers. Cover photograph by Philip Saltonstall; another on the TOC on page 1.

2 * Letters: Ramsey Campbell, complimenting the fantastica issue, August-October 1989/"Another Dimension", which reprinted his story "Little Man" (originally in Night Cry, Winter 1986); also letters from Donna D. Vitucci, Pamela Kennedy, Lillian J. Taylor, Andrea Cirillo, Ann Shields, Lottie T. Caldwell, and Sarah Aronson
5 * In This Issue: What's So Funny? *  The Editors* ed/cs (illus. as a comic strip by Joey Waldon) 
7 * Salvation Sunday * Liz Newall * ss (illus. Laura Levine)
12 * Liz Newall * anon * bi (photo by Brian Dressler)
14 * About Men * Jay Neugeboren * vi (illus. Dudley Reed)
16 * Jay Neugeboren * anon * bi (photo by Chris Wade)
19 * The Poet Lariat * Roy Blount, Jr. * poems about Edna St. Vincent Millay, John Donne, William Blake, Walt Whitman, Jonathan Swift, Stephen King, William Faulkner * gp/hu (illus. Edward Sorel)
23 * Second Thoughts * Elizabeth Berg * ss  (illus. Cary Bartholomew)
31 * Elizabeth Berg * anon * bi  (photo by John Goodman)
33 * 3 Faces of Fiction  (Humor, Mysteries, Romance) * Walter Gurbo * cartoons
34 * Because It Was There * Harvey Jacobs * ss (illus. John Craig)
40 * Harvey Jacobs * anon * bi (photo by Patrick Harbron)
43 * Pequod II * Frank Gannon * hu (illus. Robert de Michiell)
46 * Hotline! * William Price Fox * ss (illus. Karen Kuehn)
55 * William Price Fox * anon * bi (photo by Brian Dressler)
57 * Punch Lines * gp/hu (excerpts) 
57 * Bred Men Don't Wear Checks * P. G. Wodehouse * ex (from The World of Jeeves, Harper & Row 1967) (illus. Tom Bachtell)
57 * Easy Come, Easy Go * Elmore Leonard * ex (from Labrava, Arbor House 1983) 
57 * Dinner's in the Freezer * Calvin Trillin * ex (from "Barnett Frummer Learns to Distinguish Packaged Paprika From the Real Article" The New Yorker 31 March 1967/Barnett Frummer is an Unbloomed Flower E. P. Dutton 1971) (illus. Tim Lewis)
57 * Remedies that Stink * Mark Twain * ex (from "Curing a Cold" The Golden Era 20 September 1863) (illus. Robert Andrew Parker) 
58 * Till Flirting Do Us Part * "Groucho" Marx * ex (from "Private Life" in The Groucho Letters Simon & Schuster 1967) (illus. Robert Andrew Parker)
58 * Shall We Dance? * Dorothy Parker * ex (from "The Waltz" The New Yorker 2 September 1933
58 * Lonely at the Top * Gracie Allen * ex ("If you don't have time to cultivate all your friendships, plow under every fifth one.") from How to Become President Duell, Sloan and Pearce 1940
58 * Children We're Stuck With * Fran Liebowitz * ex (from Metropolitan Life E. P. Dutton 1978) (illus. Tim Lewis)
58 * The Trick to Toy Assembly * S. J. Perelman * ex (from "Insert Flap A and Throw Away" The New Yorker 5 February 1944) (illus. Tom Bachtell)
60 * The Long Fly Ball * Bill Bickel * ss (illus. Steve Carver)
65 * Bill Bickel * anon * bi (photo by Joyce Ravid) ("Bickel, now 35, lives in Hillside, NJ"--thus born 1955, NYC, raised in Yonkers and spent most of his adult life in Northern NJ...thanks to Dennis Lien, I've learned he died on 16 September 2020. Obituary/remembrance on his Comics I Don't Understand site)
68 * Elsewhere in Special Reports * house ad for the other Special Report: magazines, about health, sports, etc., part of a line of quarterly magazines sold primarily to and for doctors' offices.
70 * Passages * ex from a story/article in each Special Reports: current issue * house ad

A review of the contents will be posted tomorrow (or, really, later today)...even given the relative difficulty in trying to strike a balance between the types of humorous writing, this issue is reasonably successful, even if the cover was the worst I saw on an issue of Special Report: Fiction during its brief run, if more in concept than execution. The image below is more "bleached" than my copy's front cover. 

Bickel's story is a baseball fantasy; the Jacobs story is a well-turned satire on corporate dissembling; the Newall story a gently funny account of church-based romance. More post-sleep.

images courtesy layout designer William Grimes

Previous index and review here:

Incomplete contents of two previous issues:
Special Report: Fiction November 1989-January 1990: Growing Up Female
A Single Ounce of Good * Kaye Gibbons * ex A Virtuous Woman Algonquin Books 1989
In the Courtyard of the Five Julias * Anna Monardo * ss 
--from references in the letter column detailed above

Special Report: Fiction August-October 1989: Another Dimension
Little Man * Ramsey Campbell * ss  from Night Cry Winter 1986 (as noted above)
I Just Kept Staring at the Rock * Bill Bickel * vi --cited in his bio blurb indexed above; Bickel in ISFDB and in the Fictionmags Index

Publisher Chris Whittle standing in front of first-issue cover images from other Special Report: magazine titles: Health. Living. Family. Whittle had been publisher of Esquire.

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