1955 was a year that confirmed that the SF magazine “boom” of the 50s was over. In 1953, there were some 36 individual magazine titles on the stands, producing 178 individual issues during the year (that’s almost 15 issues per month, if they were evenly distributed throughout the year. That’s almost enough content to keep a fan supplied daily, if they read slowly…).
By November of 1955, when this magazine debuted, the market was down to 19 individual titles, a drop-off of almost 50 percent!
The situation would begin to recover towards the end of that decade, but then, as now, would remain at a fraction of the peak.
However, market reports probably did not affect Futurian Larry T. Shaw from hopping on board as editor of this new title – Infinity Science Fiction –
The cover is by Roger Engle for Edward W. Ludwig’s story The First; all of the remaining 19 issues published between 1954 and 1958 would feature cover illustrations by Emsh (Ed Emshwiller).
I picked this one up at that Farmer’s Market in NJ, mentioned previously. As you can see, the cover remained intact.
I did not know it at the time, but this debut magazine issue contained the first publication of a story that became one of the genre’s most pre-eminent short stories, by one of its top talents – Sir Arthur C. Clarke – though he would not be knighted for many years to come.
The Star would win the 1956 Hugo Award for Best Short Story, quite a feat for the debut issue of this magazine.
Infinity was a well-respected title at the time and would feature works by Ellison, Silverberg (though which magazine didn’t have stories by those two in that era?) Blish, Knight, Asimov, Budrys, Kornbluth.
It unfortunately had an irregular schedule of publication which probably contributed to its demise.
In the 1970s, Robert Hoskins began editing an anthology series of the same name (Infinity), which is considered to be a continuation of the title, with four of five planned volumes published.
A companion magazine, also edited by Shaw – Science Fiction Adventures – would debut in 1956, but would only manage 12 issues before closing down.
(Both Science Fiction Adventures and Infinity One are in the V1N1 collection.)