Criswell Predicts: Fate #6

fate_7_1949In the fourth issue of Fate, with Criswell’s first appearance, editor Ray Palmer writing as Robert N. Webster, promised the iconic prophet’s predictions would appear every month. But that prediction proved faulty. The column, “Criswell Predicts,” only appeared four times in Fate. The second, in the issue show here from July 1949, Vol. 2 #2, aka whole number #6.

Newsstand staples


AHMM Mar/Apr 2017

There’s a small notice in the current issue of AHMM. It serves as both a page filler and a call to action, and it’s worth repeating:

Note to Our Readers:
If you have difficulty finding Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine at your preferred retailer, we want to help. First, let the store manager know that you want the store to carry this magazine. Then send us a letter or postcard mentioning AHMM and giving us the full name and address of the store. Write to us at:
Dell Magazines, Dept. NS
6 Prowitt Street
Norwalk, CT 06855-1220

Use the above address for AHMM, Analog, Asimov’s and EQMM.

It works. I did it for Fate, which I couldn’t find at any retailer in Portland. Now Rich’s on 9th and Alder downtown carries it. What a kick to see the new issue on their racks.

For convenience, here’s a few more addresses:
Fantasy & Science Fiction
PO Box 3447
Hoboken, NJ 07030

Fate magazine 800-728-2730
PO Box 460
Lakeville, MN 55044

Nostalgia Digest (773) 769-6575
PO Box 25734
Chicago, IL 60625

Art Taylor’s “A Voice from the Past”

Speaking about real life events, Art Taylor shared a few memorable incidents drawn upon for his stories like the one that appears in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine August 2009:

AT: “A Voice from the Past” centers on some hazing incidents very similar to the rat system at the boarding school I attended. All those* are pretty heavily fictionalized beyond those core elements, of course, but building from that foundation has helped to fuel the imagination.

*Art mentions several others in his full interview that appears in The Digest Enthusiast book four.

Peter Phillips for Suspense

astounding_2_1949Stories from Suspense Magazine #1 Spring 1951

In “She Didn’t Bounce” by Peter Phillips, a cocksure suitor, enamored with a plump woman in his office plays a cheeky game of seduction in this surprisingly ribald entry in Suspense #1, that runs just three pages.

Phillips (1920–2012) was a UK writer and journalist, with nearly two dozen science fiction and detective stories published in US pulps and digests. His most famous, at least at the time of Suspense #1, was “Manna,” first published in the Feb. 1949 Astounding and “perennially reprinted in anthologies.”

Nostalgia Digest: Beyond Nick and Nora

A beautiful shot of William Powell and Myrna Loy grace the cover of the Spring 2017 edition of Nostalgia Digest.

Editorial by Steve Darnall
“A Few Moments with . . . Evelyn Rudie” (uncredited)
“Running Down a Dream” by Jordan Elliott (1908 Chicago Cubs)
“Beyond The Thin Man” by Edward Shaw
“And me, Harlow Wilcox . . .” by Kristi Zanker
“Now Playing Home Movies” by Jim Dohren
“By George” by Karl Tiedemann (George Gobel)
“What a Difference a Day Makes” by Michael Barrett (Doris Day)
“Calling Dick Tracy!” by Walter Scannell
Necrology for 2016
Mail Call

Plus, the Radio Program Guide for Those Were the Days

Editor: Steve Darnall
Nostalgia Digest Spring 2017
5.5” x 8.5” 64 pages, b&w interior
$4.50 on newsstands
Four-issue subscription $17
Eight-issue subscription $30
Nostalgia Digest website

The origins of Pulp Literature magazine

Pulp Literature #10

Why start a magazine? I asked Jennifer Landels, one of the founders of Pulp Literature, what she and her co-editors set out to accomplish:

“We felt there was a gap in the market for well-written multi-genre stories. Literary magazines tend to ignore genre fiction, and other fiction platforms tend to be narrowly genre-specific. We wanted to create a smorgasbord where all genres are welcome, and the only criteria are good writing and good storytelling.”

Pulp Literature #14 is coming soon.

The above excerpt, from “Digital Digest Magazines” interviews with the editors, appears in TDE4.

“The Quick and the Bomb” by William Tenn

Stories from Suspense Magazine #1 Spring 1951

Tenn was the pseudonym writer Phillip Klass used for most of his science fiction stories, reserving his own name for his nonfiction work. Born in London, Klass grew up in Brooklyn, New York. After marriage, the couple moved to Pennsylvania, where he taught comparative literature at Penn State University. Among his students who became writers themselves were David Morrell and Ray Ring.

Tenn’s stories appeared in Astounding, Galaxy, F&SF and many other magazines and collections. In “The Quick and the Bomb” a man rejects city life to build a self-sustaining bomb shelter under his farm to protect his family from the impending nuclear war. It’s a fascinating glimpse into post-WWII anxieties, told with Tenn’s trademark sarcastic wit.

Bombastic Humility

Stories from Universe #1 June 1953

In June 1953 Ray Palmer launched Universe Science Fiction from 139 North Clark Street in Chicago, under the editorial name of George Bell and Bell Publications, Inc. Here’s an excerpt of his opening editorial with typical Palmer grandiloquence:

“We have been a fan and student of science fiction for more than 20 years. We have our ideas of what a good science fiction magazine ought to contain and they are very simple. This first issue of UNIVERSE will show you how well we have met this simple objective. It is only this: To give you the best science fiction stories published in America today!”

Robert Bloch’s “Constant Reader” is first up. A small team of space explorers land on 68/5 planet. “We waited while the roboship did its job. It was our star reporter, our roving photographer, our official meteorologist, our staff geologist, our expert in anthropology and mineralogy, our trusted guide and—most important, on many occasions—our stalking-horse.” It soon discovers 68/5 planet is rather like Earth, oxygen and gravity-wise. But it’s lifeless, its dusty surface a flat, slate-colored desert.

Each crewman has his own quirks. George Dale’s is books. “Yes, real books, the old-fashioned kind that were printed on paper and bound together between leather or board covers.”

When the crew disembarks they relish leaving the cramped space of their ship to bask in the warmth of 68/5 planet’s sun. All is well for at least two paragraphs until all five crewmen simultaneously black out. Despite the robotship’s report, the place is inhabited by an alien intelligence that enjoys a good book, and has the ability to transform the fictive world into reality.

Galaxy Novels Extended—Twice

Galaxy Books/Publishing was once a bustling enterprise. The Galaxy Novel series, ran for 31 editions as digest-sized paperbacks. Then there were four more (#32–35) produced in the standard paperback-size of the day, aka 1958. A year later, Beacon Books continued the series with eleven more editions in paperback-size that extended the series through 1961.

And finally, in 1963, a short-lived series of three digest-sized book/magazines appeared. Dubbed a “Magabook” each edition included two compete novels. The first was The Sky is Falling and Badge of Infamy, both by Lester Del Rey, with cover artwork by Virgil Finlay.

See indexes at Internet Speculative Fiction Database and Galactic Central.

Both series of digest-sized novels are covered in depth by Steve Carper and Gary Lovisi in TDE4.

Ray Bradbury’s Small Assassin

Dime Mystery Nov. 1946

Stories from Suspense Magazine #1 Spring 1951

The idea that a newborn, a tiny baby could be an assassin aiming his sights on his own caregivers, aka his parents, is absurd. Yet, that is the premise of “Small Assassin” by Ray Bradbury that was reprinted in the first edition of Suspense Magazine. The story’s first appeared in Dime Mystery (Nov. 1946).

Despite the premise, the story is well-written and has been reprinted in multiple anthologies, including one named for the story. It was adapted for an EC comic book and an episode of The Ray Bradbury Theater television series and even has a page on Wikipedia.

Here’s the opening paragraph:
“Just when the idea occurred to her that she was being murdered she could not tell. There had been little subtle signs, little suspicions for the past month; things as deep as sea tides in her, like looking at a perfectly calm stretch of cerulean water and liking it and wanting to bathe in it, and finding, just as the tide takes your body into it, that monsters dwell just under the surface, things unseen, bloated, many-armed, sharp-fanged, malignant and inescapable.”

Image from the Wikipedia page.