Tag: magazines

Special Issues in My Science Fiction Magazine Collection

The premier issue of Science Fiction Age, November 1992
The premier issue of Science Fiction Age, November 1992

I saw the new Dune film the other night. I enjoyed it, although I hadn’t realized that it was going to be a 2-parter. I’m kind of tired of multipart films; it’s too long in between and I lose the continuity of the story. Better to remake Dune as a miniseries anyway, it seems to me. Anyway, seeing the picture reminded me of the book, of course, which I read only once back in 2004. I enjoyed it when I read it, and still have the gist of the story in my head, but much of it faded. In all of the talk of the film, what sometimes get lost is that the story first appeared in the December 1963 issue of Analog Science Fiction, as the opening of a 3-part serial.

This got me thinking: I know I don’t have Dune in my magazine collection, but what special issues do I have? Ones that matter to me?

First, there is the complete run of Science Fiction Age edited by Scott Edelman. This magazine had the good fortune to appear just when I began to write for publication. I submitted quite a few stories to the magazine over the years, but never sold one there. I did, however, have two letters printed in the magazine over its 8 year run, my first foray into fandom. That magazine is still my favorite science fiction magazine. It was a glossy, and had wonderful stories by established writers, as well as new ones. It was that magazine that introduced me to Scott Edelman, Barry N. Malzberg, and Paul Di Filippo, all of whom I’d come to know IRL, as the kids say, many years later.

In it I also discovered many new writers whose stories I greatly admired, among them William Shunn, whose story “Two Paths in the Forest Toulemonde” in the January 1994 issue blew me away. Another was Martha Soukup, whose “In Defense of of Social Contracts” likewise made me realize that s.f. was much more than what I thought it to be. I could go on and on here. I love the magazine, and now and then flip wistfully through its pages, wishing it could have gone on longer than it did.

I’ve written how almost everything I learned about science, I learned from Isaac Asimov. When I say this, I am referring mostly to the 399 monthly essays he wrote for the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction from November 1958 until his death in 1992. Actually, this monthly science column first began in the January 1958 issue of Venture magazine. After that magazine folder, the series moved to F&SF. In my collection, I have both the January 1958 Venture and the November 1958 F&SF. I wanted them because those essays meant so much to me.

Among the magazines in my collection is a complete run of Astounding Science Fiction from July 1939 through December 1950, covering what if often referred to as the Golden Age of science fiction. (Others consider Galaxy’s run in the 1950s to be the real Golden Age.) I originally obtained these issues while I was writing my Vacation in the Golden Age series. In the set of 1942 issues I obtained, many of the issues were signed by A. E. van Vogt and Jack Williamson. How’s that for luck! However, two issues in my Astounding collection stand out in my mind: the May 1939 and July 1939 issues of Astounding.

The May 1939 issue is not part of my consecutive golden age run. But it contains one of my favorite stories from that time, Lester Del Rey’s “The Day Is Done.” The July 1939 issue is probably more familiar to people. This is often considered to be the opening salvo of the Golden Age. It contains Isaac Asimov’s first story in Astounding. It also contains a lead story by A. E. Van Vogt, “Black Destroyer” with that amazing cover.

One other issue of Astounding that I wanted to call out is the May 1950 issue. This issue is famous not for its fiction, but for its nonfiction essay, “Dianetics” by L. Ron Hubbard. This essay was later turned into a book by the same name, and a whole movement formed from it. Whatever you think of Hubbard and Scientology, he was an incredible writer in his day. One of my favorite reads during my Vacation in the Golden Age was his 3-part serial, “Final Blackout” which debuted in the April 1940 issue of Astounding.

There are other issues in my collection that I enjoy. I have the July 1977 special Harlan Ellison issue of F&SF. I have the premier issue of Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine. I have others that have meaning to me alone: the March 1972 issue of Analog–the month I was born, to say nothing of the 4 issues of Analog in which my own writing has appeared (2 stories, and 2 guest editorial).

Every now and then I flip through these magazines and marvel at them. I skim the letter columns, look at the ads, and sometimes listen to the pages riffle as I inhale their scents.

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The June Asimov’s (times two)

Went to the mailbox today and found two copies of the June Asimov’s shrink-wrapped together in a nice, tight little package. The label on the outside was not my standard subscription label, but my name and address was there. Looking at it, I guessed that perhaps I was supposed to received a couple of author’s copies of the June Analog, where my story “Take One for the Road” appears. And I guessed further that perhaps I was sent Asimov’s by accident.

Well, that looks like the case. When I opened up the first issue to scan the table of contents, a form for ordering additional copies at a discounted “author’s rate” fell out.

It’s a happy accident, all together, since the lead novella is by Mary Robinette Kowal (with gorgeous cover art by Jacques Barbey) and I enjoy Mary’s short fiction quite a bit. The downside, of course, is that Mary’s novella takes up literally half of the magazine and I’m trying to figure out where I am going to find the time to read it!

Finally caught up on science news!

New Scientist.jpg

I have been behind on my science reading since late last year. In part this has been due to other demands on my time. My Vacation in the Golden Age has crowded out most of my other reading, for instance, including keeping up with my science magazines. But over the weekend, I glanced at the stack of more than a dozen accumulated issues of New Scientist and Scientific American and decided that something had to be done about it. I knew there was no way I could read each issue cover-to-cover the way I used to. So what I did was this:

I went through the table of contents for each issue, and checked off one or two feature articles that caught my eye. I then paged quickly through the issue and looked for any short news or opinion items that I might be interested in and marked those off. I did this for each of the issues that had piled up. Then I turned back to the first issue in the pile and read only those items that I had checked off. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

At lunch today, I finished going through the April 2011 Scientific American and as of this moment, I am completely caught up.

I imagine this won’t last very long. I suspect I’ll get home to find the April 2 issue of New Scientist in my mailbox. I’m afraid that for the duration, I’ll have to continue using this technique to “keep up” because I have too many other commitments. To some extent, this is unfortunate. I am not necessarily interested in every article in every issue, but reading them cover to cover forces me to learn things that I might not otherwise learn–about medicine, or biochemistry for instance. In weeding out articles, I tend to weed these out first which gives me an unbalanced view of all of the physical sciences, but that’s just something I have to live with for a while.

As it turned out, there were several interesting articles that I did read and I was glad I did. For instance:

I should mention that I subscribe to both these magazines and have access to their online content. If you click on the above links you may be limited by a pay-wall.

InterGalactic Medicine Show now available on Kindle

Good news! Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show is now available on the Kindle. I have a soft spot for IGSM. Not only do they publish very good science fiction and fantasy, but they also published my first pro science fiction story, “When I Kissed the Learned Astronomer” back in July 2007. If you’ve never seen the magazine, I urge you to check it out.

How do you properly store collectable magazines?

I have been gathering quite a collection of old issues of Astounding Science Fiction, some of them more than 70 years old. Ultimately, for my Vacation in the Golden Age, I’ll have more than 120 issues of the magazine spanning from 1939 – 1950. I’m looking for advice on the best way to store these magazines. The way they are being stored right now is not pretty. In order to protect the sanity of real collectors who might be reading this, I have put the image of my current storage system behind the cut. Be warned, the image is not for the faint of heart:

Read more

InterGalactic Medicine Show, Issue #20 is online

For those who enjoy good science fiction and fantasy, Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show, issue #20 is online today. I have a soft spot in my heart for this gem of a magazine since they published my first story, “When I Kissed the Learned Astronomer” way back in issue #5.

In particular, Id’ call your attention to Erin Cashier‘s story, “Beneath the Shadow of the Dragon” (which is also available in audio form).

Also, Issue 11 is currently free to read through the end of the year.  And if you like what you read, consider subscribing to the magazine.

Et cetera

Veterans Day weekend, Kelly and I are heading up to Stony Point, New York to visit with vickyandnorm as well as strausmouse and rmstraus. Since it’s a long drive, and since it’s about that time anyway, I made an appointment at Saturn for this Saturday for my next regularly scheduled maintenance. I’ll be there bright and early at 9 AM.

AJ and Denisse invited us over for a Peruvian dinner Saturday evening. Although neither Kelly nor I have any culinary skills to speak of (we can both make grilled cheese, PB&J and Kelly can make fish on a George Foreman grill), I think we can combine our talents to produce Dirt. I’ve only had Dirt once before, back when I lived in L.A., but I loved it so much that it has stuck in my memory to this day. I think we might give it a shot.

The Recreation Committee at my work is having a haunted house tomorrow and I was asked to be a “lurker” in the haunted house. I have to dress in black. I will be given a scary mask. It is then my job to walk close behind visitors to the haunted house in an effort to freak them out a bit, and in general make them feel unsettled. Sounds like a lot of fun.

I received the November 2007 issue of SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN in the mail today, which means I am now about 4 issues behind. This seems to happen every so often. The problem is that each of the 4 issues looks equally interesting so that it’s not even possible to skip one.

Zeke cornered another mouse last night so I was awakened at 1:30 AM to the sounds of squealing. I managed to liberate the tiny mouse from Zeke and get it out of the house. This time, however, I watched Zeke afterward and sure enough he went right to the space in the back wall of the kitchen from where the mouse emerged. It came in through a small space from under the house and that space is now blocked off by a piece of furniture that I don’t use. Hopefully that puts an end to it.

The Yankees announced that Joe Girardi would be the new manager. He signed a 3-year deal. Don Mattingly decided not to return to the Yanks after the announcement was made. I don’t blame him. Girardi is a great guy and a good manager, but Donny Baseball was the fan favorite. I’m not sure I understand the point of winning championships if you lose fans in the process.

I’m hitting the shower and calling it an early night tonight. I have another busy day at work tomorrow, this time writing SQL stored procedures and C# code, but I also get to play around with AJAX which is a terribly geeky thing to be excited about.

The dinner I had tonight was so bad for me, so utterly inappropriate that I’m not even going to mention what it was. Someday, I will get back to the gym.

Support short science fiction & fantasy

Read this from slushmaster via mabfan. With the decline continuing in markets for short speculative fiction, the assistant editor of Realms of Fantasy is urging a subscription drive for all short science fiction, fantasy and horror magazines as a way of supporting the art form and bolstering their subscriptions.

Doing this preserves a commercial art form limited almost exclusively to the genre markets these day, the short story, something near and dear to my heart.

I have multi-year subscriptions to Analog Science Fiction, Asimov’s Science Fiction, and Fantasy & Science Fiction. I have a year-long subscription to Jim Baen’s Universe. And I buy individual issues of Intergalactic Medicine Show. I’m partial to the latter, of course, because they published my first story. But the truth is that all of the magazines publish outstanding fiction and are well worth subscribing to.

See what mabfan has to say about this, too.


Edmund Schubert, editor of INTERGALACTIC MEDICINE SHOW announced today that IGSM was officially moving to a quarterly schedule.

Our target date for publication of issue 5 is mid-June, a new issue will be published every three months after that, and I now know exactly how many stories I need and can proceed accordingly.

This is exciting news for me, since my first sale was made to Edmund at IGMS and my story, “When I Kissed the Learned Astronomer” will be appearing in issue 5.

For those who have never checked out IGSM, it is a great online science fiction magazine, and has been steadily accruing recognition. Tangent Online has reviewed every issue of IGMS that has appeared so far. It has been reviewed in Asimov’s Science Fiction. And most recently, 4 stories from IGMS were selected for the Million Writers Award for online short stories published in 2006.

If you are a science fiction fan, or a fan of good short fiction in general, you should check it out.

July/August 2007 ANALOG

The July/August double issue of ANALOG was waiting for me when I got home last night. Like I did with SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, I’m trying to get through the entire magazine within a day or two, setting aside everything else I am reading until I’m done with it. I started on the train this morning with Michael Flynn’s lead novelette, “Quaestiones super Caelo Et Mundo”. I am still trying to get through a book a week (The Greeks is well underway) and have the advantage of having finished the previous book early, so that I really don’t have to be done with The Greeks until next Sunday.

Nebula awards are this weekend. I’m eager to see the outcome of the novella category…