News Stand Anniversaries – 60 Years Ago

Sixty years ago – 1963 – would find me on the verge of discovery with the upcoming airing of Fireball XL-5 – which would eventually lead me down the path to Science Fiction Fandom.

Meanwhile, unbeknownst to me, science fiction magazines were gracing the stands and spinner racks of bowling alleys, smoke shops, pharmacies, motel lobbies, supermarkets and bookstores.

1963 saw a mini-boom in magazine SF publishing, a brief recovery blip in the decline that had begun nine years before.  12 titles appeared at one point or another during the year, producing some 73 individual issues.

It was a year that would see a change in format for Analog, a brief experiment with a larger size.  It would also see Galaxy Publishing producing the most individual titles of any SF magazine publisher – Galaxy, If, Worlds of Tomorrow and Galaxy Magabook, all under the tutelage of one Frederik Pohl.  (Extensive research has revealed that “Magabook” was a portmanteau of “Magazine” and “Book“, and not a prescient political statement, nor even evidence of time travel.  I’m pretty darned sure that Fred would have had something to say if it had been anything other than an intention to let the reader know they were buying something that resembled both a magazine and a book.)

It would be the last issue for Gamma, and almost the last issue for Spacemen (a Warren magazine edited by Forrest Ackerman).

Yes, that is a Richard Powers illo on the Wonder Stories (reprint) annual.  It was used several times.  Can’t let the Winds of If publication in Amazing go by without mention either:  Chandler had a fair number of Rim Worlds/Grimes stories published in both Amazing and Galaxy from the 60s through the mid-70s.  This one (Worlds of If) probably didn’t get published in If Worlds of Science Fiction as it would have confused things terribly.  This is one of his metaverse stories.  And note the Cordwainer Smith story in Galaxy (Pohl is the guy who “discovered” Smith and championed his fiction).

All in all, September, sixty years ago, wasn’t a bad month on the stands.


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