Wednesday, June 28, 2023

SSW: The Annotated Facsimile of THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION, April 1965, edited by Edward Ferman (with an introduction by Ferman and memoirs by most of the contributors to the issue, edited by Ferman and Martin H. Greenberg), Southern Illinois University Press, 1981

This was one of a series of books the Southern Illinois University Press issued in their "Alternatives" line, devoted to fantasy and sf, which published a number of volumes from 1990, including collections of Cornell Woolrich's fantasticated fiction (which can be read here), with essays by Francis Nevins and Barry Malzberg, and the first collection of Algis Budrys's book-review essays, for Galaxy magazine, Benchmarks: Galaxy Bookshelf, in 1985 (and similar collections of his later work have been published by Ansible Editions). The Science Fiction of Mark Clifton (1980), edited by Malzberg and Greenberg (with an introduction by Judith Merril), which can be read here, was one of a number of similar books SIU Press was publishing in the same years that were, for no obvious reason, not under the "Alternatives" aegis. Another, less improbably segregated from the "Alternatives" label, was 
Exeunt Murderers: The Best Mystery Stories of Anthony Boucher (1983), edited by Nevins and Greenberg.

They issued only two facsimile issues of fiction magazines during the run, in hardcover editions, one devoted to one of the most promising, as it was laden by current and future stars of the magazine and sf, issues of Astounding Science Fiction, July 1939, and this one, devoted to the first issue Edward Ferman would consider as one he fully edited, as he was the editor succeeding Avram Davidson, who had been editing remotely from Mexico for his last year or so, and his father, the publisher of F&SF, Joseph Ferman, wasn't at all sure it would make for a Good Look to install his young son, four years out of college, as the editor at once, so called himself "editor" as well as publisher during the transition--with Ted White, later to edit Fantastic and Amazing for a decade, continuing as Assistant Editor and Robert P. Mills, editor of Mercury Mystery, Bestseller Mystery, Venture Science Fiction, and of F&SF just before Davidson (and having been managing editor of Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine while that was still a Mercury Press  property) as staff advisor, younger Ferman was able to make his mark, as the various memoirs as well as the evidence of his issues, and longest term of anyone as editor (and eventually publisher) of the magazine, has made clear.

This issue was a good one, and Ferman can be reasonably proud of it, as he was, as he settled into the full role beyond the "Managing Editor" credit he took for this and previous issues, as they worked through most of the Davidson-selected inventory. (In this issue, at least the M. J. Engh story, her second and last to be published as by "Jane Beauclerk", of a loose and widely-spaced trilogy of stories; "Lord Moon" having been a story eventually bought by the departing Davidson, and, probably only coincidentally, her last F&SF story--she's not been hugely prolific. Engh is probably best-known for her first novel, Arslan, published in the UK as A Wind from Bukhara, which I couldn't help but be reminded of during the recent fracas in Russia, when the mercenary army Putin has been employing for various ugly business around the world briefly threatened to attack him,) Also notable, Gerald Jonas's charming poem "Imaginary Numbers in a Real Garden", a decent Isaac Asimov story (as he informs us in his essay, one solicited by Playboy as one of three vignettes to be written in response to an illustration...and, despite Algis Budrys as a tapped-temporarily [as Asimov remembers it, at least] fiction editor [or sub-editor] seeking to accept Asimov's second draft, it being bounced by the upper hierarchy)(Steven Cooper was kind enough to point me to the relevant Playboy issue, December 1966, which features Jack Gregory's sculpture, as photographed by Seymour Mednick, and the three vignettes Playboy went with: "Playback" by Arthur C. Clarke. "Lovemaking" by Frederik Pohl [which Pohl called "Making Love" in his collections] and "Cephalotron" by Thomas Disch [which Disch called "Fun with Your New Head" in his collections]. Gahan Wilson has his first F&SF cartoon in this issue, a regular feature (as with Asimov's essays, which would continue till Asimov's death in 1992) for the next 17 years...whatever ended Wilson's run in the magazine apparently also had enough bad blood to it for Wilson to not provide a memoir. "T P Caravan" also has his last F&SF contribution in this issue, and sadly also doesn't have a latter-day essay.

Len Guttridge would have only two more F&SF stories, despite living into his 90s; then-young Robert Rohrer would have only one more in F&SF, his last in the fantastica magazines (two stories, one each in Cele Goldsmith Lalli's Fantastic and Amazing appeared between his last two in Ferman's magazine)(in comments below. Rich Horton notes that Rohrer wrote to comment on RH's blogpost about Rohrer's career), and Roderic Hodgins has never published in fantastica magazines again (though he did keep a hand in, as a science and medicine reporter for Life magazine [not, alas, a long-term job for him given the essential folding of the magazine not long after, with sporadic specials and revivals], apparently before turning his day-job efforts toward clinical psychology). Judith Merril didn't offer an essay, either, though she might've been under the weather by the time this book was being put together in 1980...the eclecticism of the work she was reviewing (as well as assembling in her annual) was notable. And Ted Thomas's short-form science and speculation column, which ran in the magazine for a few years in the '60s, was a nice counterpoint to Asimov's essays (the film and other a/v reviews wouldn't reappear in the magazine till Samuel Delany, initially reviewing 2001, would begin a column in '68, after Charles Beaumont's column in the latter '50s ended with his ill health...William Morrison's very occasional stage reviews ended with Beaumont's; Baird Searles, Harlan Ellison, Kathi Maio, Lucius Shepherd, Dave Skal and others would follow Delany). 

Patti Abbott has the balance of Short Story Wednesday reviews posted and linked here.

And here's the FMI listing for the Playboy issue, slightly augmented:

    Playboy [v13 #12, December 1966] (quarto) 
    Details supplied by Paul Di Filippo (with some additions, the variant titles of the Pohl and Disch vignettes from ISFDB citations).
    • 126 · An Expensive Place to Die [Part 1 of 3] · Len Deighton · n.
    • 138 · Accidentally Good · Robert Ruark · ss
    • 141 · So Pretty and So Green · MacKinlay Kantor · ss
    • 165 · The Truth About Orlik · Gerald Kersh · ss
    • 182 · The Only Game in Town · Garson Kanin · ss
    • 215 · The Scamp He Would a Scribbler Be · Poggio Bracciolini (as "retold" by John Keefauver) from Facetiae (1470) (the "Ribald Classic"; the volume was the first printed jokebook in Europe, a collection of satirical vignettes) illustration uncredited
    • · Fantastic Trio
    • 220 · Playback · Arthur C. Clarke · ss
    • 221 · Lovemaking · Frederik Pohl · ss [variant title of "Making Love"] (as in Day Million et al.)
    • 222 · Cephalatron · Thomas M. Disch · ss [variant title of "Fun with Your New Head"] (as in the collection of that title and others)


Rich Horton said...

For a bit more on Robert Rohrer's career, including comments from Mr. Rohrer himself, one can look at this post I did reviewing every one of his stories (Bob Rohrer shows up in the comment section):

Kelly Robinson said...

I'd like to start reviewing forgotten books again, but it's been so many years, I forgot the protocol. I'm doing it on my Patreon page (subscription is required to see some posts, but I will keep the FFB posts public). First entry is here, and if it seems familiar, I'm repurposing some of the posts from my now-defunct blog to get started.

I will, of course, re-adopt the habit of checking out everyone else's content. Trying very hard to get my act together before I die!

Todd Mason said...

Thanks, Rich! I believe I read that when it popped in.

Welcome back, Kelly! Yes, I was a bit sad you'd put your Blogspot blog to invitation-only status (and yet I suspect B-s still managed to muck things up for you a bit). Getting one's act together is usually a lifelong quest...and hoping one doesn't let the act collapse too badly toward the end (or anywhere else along the way) also a lifelong thing...sometimes, life makes B-s look like a piker.

Now if I can get enough time and energy to finish (or "finish") the current (last Friday's) FFB list, we'll be two weeks for two!