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4. Science Fiction Magazines: The Crucibles of Change

Mike Ashley

Subject Literature

Key-Topics newspapers and periodicals, science fiction

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405112185.2005.00006.x


The science fiction magazine has been the primary driving force in the generation of science fiction for some 80 years. Its heyday was in the 1940s and 1950s, and though its potency has faded in recent years, with its role relegated largely to the sidelines, its potential remains. The day of the science fiction magazine is not over yet. Unfortunately today the very existence of the SF magazine is largely unknown to the vast science fiction market that the magazines helped create. It has also become confused with the science fiction media magazine, which concentrates on cinema and television and runs no science fiction at all. Yet it remains a truism that no country has developed its own body of science fiction writers without having a regular SF magazine and the majority of the leading SF writers throughout the world learned their craft through the SF magazine. In this chapter I want to look not only at the key magazines and editors and the parts they played in the shaping of the genre but also at the current fate of the magazines and whether they still exert an influence and have a part to play. The early history of the SF magazine is possibly well enough known, but it is important to understand because of how it shaped the nature of the beast from the start. The growth in science fiction arose in the 1890s out of the public's fascination with various forms of scientific development. ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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