Authentic Science Fiction was a British science fiction magazine published in the 1950s that ran for 85 issues under three editors: Gordon Landsborough, H.J. Campbell, and E.C. Tubb. The magazine was published by Hamilton and Co., and began in 1951 as a series of novels appearing every two weeks; by the summer it became a monthly magazine, with readers' letters and an editorial page, though fiction content was still restricted to a single novel. In 1952 short fiction began to appear alongside the novels, and within two more years it completed the transformation into a science fiction magazine.
Authentic published little in the way of important or ground-breaking fiction, though it did print Charles L. Harness's "The Rose", which later became well-regarded. The poor rates of pay—£1 per 1,000 words—prevented the magazine from attracting the best writers. During much of its life it competed against three other moderately successful British science fiction magazines, as well as the American science fiction magazine market. Hamilton folded the magazine in October 1957, because they needed cash to finance an investment in the UK rights to an American best-selling novel.
|Authentic Science Fiction|
December 1952 issue; cover by Vann
|Editor||Gordon Landsborough, H.J. Campbell, E.C. Tubb|
|Categories||Science fiction magazine|
|Frequency||Fortnightly for 8 issues, then monthly|
|First issue||January 1951|
|Company||Hamilton & Co.|
In 1950, science fiction (sf) magazines had been published successfully in North America for over twenty years, but little progress had been made in establishing British equivalents. The bulk of British sf was published as paperback books, rather than magazines; a situation opposite of that in the US. Several short-lived magazines had come and gone, both before and after the war. John Spencer launched four very poor quality juvenile magazines in 1950, which continued into the mid-1950s, while one magazine, New Worlds, had survived since 1946. Since 1939, Atlas, a British publisher, had been producing a reprint edition of Astounding Science Fiction, one of the most well-regarded American sf magazines. During the war the contents had often been cut severely, and the schedule had not been regular, but it was reputed to sell 40,000 copies a month. This was enough to attract the attention of Hamilton & Co., a British publisher looking for new markets.
In 1949, Hamilton hired Gordon Landsborough as an editor. Landsborough did his best to improve the quality of the science fiction he was publishing, and was allowed to offer £1 per 1,000 words for selected material. He also was joined at Hamilton by H.J. Campbell, who was hired as a technical editor. Campbell was a London science fiction fan; he had been brought on by Hulton Press (publisher of the very successful comic the Eagle) to create a science fiction magazine, but the project had been abandoned before seeing print.
By the start of 1951, Hamilton's science fiction titles were being published every two weeks. On 1 January 1951, Hamilton published Mushroom Men from Mars, by Lee Stanton, which was a pseudonym for Richard Conroy. A banner was added to the base of the cover reading "Authentic Science Fiction Series"; the same banner appeared on the 15 January novel, Reconnoitre Krellig II, by Jon J. Deegan, also a pseudonym, this time for Robert G. Sharp. With the next book, Roy Sheldon's Gold Men of Aureus, Landsborough changed the banner to read "Science Fiction Fortnightly No. 3", thinking that the caption might help sales. In addition to the banner, a contents page (including a date and issue number), a letter column, an editorial, and an advertisement for subscriptions were inserted. According to Landsborough, the banner was only intended to indicate the publishing schedule to readers, but combined with the other changes the appearance became much more magazine-like. These changes established the sequence in the minds of readers and collectors, and retroactively determined that Mushroom Men from Mars had been the first in the series: the first two issues had carried no issue number. Issue 3 was also the first issue to carry the editors' names: Landsborough used the pseudonym L.G. Holmes ("Holmes" was his middle name) for his editing role on the magazine.
The caption did apparently help sales: Landsborough subsequently commented that while Hamilton's other titles were selling perhaps 15,000 copies, Authentic managed to sell 30,000. After the banners were in place, Hamilton proposed launching a monthly sf magazine. Landsborough was concerned about the workload, and also felt it would be difficult to find enough good material; Hamilton refused to increase the pay rate, which was not high enough to attract the best stories. A compromise was reached, and Authentic was born as a monthly magazine in paperback format, with a single novel and a short editorial feature in each issue, plus an occasional short story. The eighth issue was the last on the fortnightly schedule. Issues 9–12 were titled "Science Fiction Monthly" in the footer of the cover. In mid-1951, Landsborough left Hamilton, and Campbell replaced him as editor of Authentic with the thirteenth issue, which was also the first one on which the title changed to "Authentic Science Fiction".
Under Campbell Authentic improved somewhat, and continued its metamorphosis into a magazine, with additional non-fiction writing, and short fiction in addition to the main novel in each issue. Hamilton also ran a science fiction paperback imprint, Panther Books, which would go on to become one of the leading British sf houses. By 1953 the British sf market was going through a metamorphosis similar to the one going in the US at the same time: poor quality sf markets were failing, and the result was a reduced but active market, with four magazines: Authentic, New Worlds, Science Fantasy, and Nebula Science Fiction.
At the end of 1955 Campbell decided to give up editing in favour of his scientific career as a research chemist. He was replaced from the February 1956 issue by E.C. Tubb, who remained editor to the end of the magazine's life. Tubb had contributed a great deal of material to the magazine under various pseudonyms, often amounting to more than half of an issue's fiction, and he later recalled that Campbell's way of hiring him as editor was to say to him, "As you're practically writing it, you may as well edit it."
The quality of material submitted to Tubb was "dreadful", in the words of sf historian Michael Ashley, and included many stories that had previously been rejected by Campbell: he was able to recognize these because Campbell had kept a log of all submissions. One story was rejected that had been plagiarized from one that had appeared twelve years earlier in Astounding Science Fiction. Tubb's overall acceptance rate was about one in twenty-five submissions. As a result, he found it difficult to keep standards up, often finding himself forced to write material under pseudonyms to fill an issue.
In early 1957, Tubb persuaded Hamilton to switch the magazine from pocket-book to digest size format, in the hope that this would improve the magazine's visibility on bookstalls. The circulation did indeed rise, to about 14,000 copies per month—a surprisingly low figure given Landsborough's assertion that Authentic had been selling 30,000 copies in the early days. However, later that year, Hamilton made the decision to invest a substantial sum in the UK paperback rights of an American best-seller: it is not known for certain which book this was, but it is thought to have been Evan Hunter's The Blackboard Jungle. Hamilton could no longer afford to have cash tied up in Authentic, and in the summer of 1957 Tubb was given two months to close down the magazine, printing stories that had already been paid for. The last issue was dated October 1957.
For the first twenty-five issues, Authentic ran a full novel in every issue, but no other fiction, though there were various non-fiction departments such as "Projectiles" (readers' letters), an editorial, book reviews, fanzine reviews, and science related articles, quizzes, and news columns. In issue 26, dated October 1952, the first installment of Frontier Legion, a serial by Sydney J. Bounds, appeared. With issue 29, the full-length novel, Immortal's Playthings by William F. Temple, was accompanied by a short story, Ray Bradbury's "Welcome, Brothers!" as well as part four of Frontier Legion. The serial was stretched out over six issues by printing scarcely more than a dozen pages in each installment; it finally completed in issue 31.
With issue 36 (August 1953), the cover text changed from advertising a "Full-length Novel" to "Full-length Story"; the "featured story", as it was called in the contents page, was still the longest piece of fiction in the issue, but was no longer necessarily even close to novel length. Issue 41, for example, ran Richard deMille's "The Phoenix Nest" as the lead story, with fewer than forty pages of text. Finally, in issue 60 (August 1955), the word "feature" was removed from the contents page, and with it the last vestige of the origin of the magazine as a series of novels.
The early novels published by Hamilton were of generally poor quality. Michael Ashley, a historian of sf, described the first issue, Lee Stanton's Mushroom Men of Mars as "of abysmal quality", and the third, Roy Sheldon's Gold Men of Aureus as "atrocious". However, Campbell contributed some better work, beginning with Phantom Moon, under the house name Roy Sheldon, which appeared in issue 6, dated 15 March 1951; his first novel under his own name was World in a Test Tube, which appeared in issue 8, dated 15 April 1951. He continued to write for the magazine after he became editor—his work has been described as "enjoyable", though "not especially sophisticated". Tubb was also a regular contributor, often under house names, which according to Landsborough were used by Hamilton to prevent authors gaining name recognition under a pseudonym and then taking that name to another publisher.
Regulars in the magazine included Sydney J. Bounds, William F. Temple, Bryan Berry, and Ken Bulmer. At the start of 1953, Authentic began to include material that had been previously published in the US; this practice ceased later that year, but began again in 1956, and led to the reprinting of material by well-known names such as Isaac Asimov, whose 1951 story "Ideals Die Hard" was reprinted in issue 78, dated March 1957. Other well-known names that appeared in Authentic included Brian Aldiss and John Brunner. Campbell had encouraged science articles during his tenure, but under Tubb's editorship these were gradually eliminated.
Perhaps the most notable story Authentic published was Charles L. Harness's "The Rose", which appeared in the March 1953 issue. Other than this, Authentic published little of note: the Nicholls/Clute Encyclopedia of SF commented that it "seldom published stories of the first rank", specifically excepting Harness's "The Rose". David Kyle, in his Pictorial History of Science Fiction, states that Campbell improved the magazine, making it "remarkably good", and sf expert Donald Tuck's opinion was that it eventually achieved "a good standard", but in Michael Ashley's opinion, the magazine "sadly lacked originality", and ran fiction that was "stereotyped and forced, frequently because Campbell had to rely on the same small band of regulars to supply the bulk of the fiction".
The cover artwork was initially poor: the very first issue has been described as "British pulp at its most infantile", but the covers began to improve from mid-1953. Josh Kirby, now well known for his Discworld art, contributed seven covers, beginning with issue 61 in September 1955. There were also many covers on astronomical themes: these were clearly influenced by the US artist Chesley Bonestell, and were fairly successful.
Authentic was pocket book size (7.25 × 4.75 inches) for most of its life, changing to digest size (7.5 × 5.5 inches) for the last eight issues. The issue numbering was consecutive from 1 to 85, with no volume numbers. The first issue had a publication date of 1 January 1951, and the first eight issues had publication dates of the 1st and 15th of each month. From the ninth issue to the end Authentic maintained a completely regular monthly schedule; the publication date was given in the magazine as the 15th of each month from issue 9 through issue 73; thereafter the date was just given as the month and year.
The price began as 1/6 (one shilling and six pence); the price was raised to two shillings with issue 60, February 1955, and stayed at that price until the end of the run. Interior artwork was not used for the first issues, which contained no fiction other than a single novel; illustrations began to appear with issue 29. Tubb announced in issue 85, which turned out to be the last issue, that he had dropped all interior artwork.
|1–2||1 January 1951 – 15 January 1951||Authentic Science Fiction Series|
|3–8||1 February 1951 – 15 April 1951||Science Fiction Fortnightly|
|9–12||May 1951 – August 1951||Science Fiction Monthly|
|13–28||September 1951 – December 1952||Authentic Science Fiction|
|29–67||January 1953 – April 1956||Authentic Science Fiction Monthly|
|69–85||May 1956 – October 1957||Authentic Science Fiction on the masthead|
The first six issues were 132 pages, with the page count dropped to 116 for issues 7 through 25. Issue 26 saw the page count return to 132. The cover layout for all these issues remained essentially the same, despite title changes. With issue 29 a layout using a yellow inverted "L" to frame the cover picture was introduced, and the page count was increased to 148. Another cover redesign with issue 39 saw the yellow "L" removed, and the page count went up again to 164 with issue 41, then back to 148 with issue 47. The cover design varied further, with different title fonts; the page count went back to 132 with issue 57, then returned to 164 from issue 60 through issue 77, the last in pocket-book format. The eight issues in digest format all had 132 pages.
The editors were:
Elizabeth M. "Betsy" Curtis (1917 – April 17, 2002) was an American science fiction/fantasy writer.
She was born in Toledo, Ohio. She earned a BA and MA in English from Oberlin College. In 1966, she earned a MEd from Allegheny College.Her first short story was published in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction in 1950. Her second story was published later that same year in Imagination. Her work appeared in various publications, including Amazing Stories, Analog Science Fiction and Fact, Authentic Science Fiction, Galaxy Science Fiction, If, Infinity Science Fiction and Marvel Science Stories, from the 1950s to the 1970s.In 1969, she was nominated for a Hugo Award for Best Short Story for "The Steiger Effect".She was an active member of the Society for Creative Anachronism.Curtis died at the age of 84.Charles L. Harness
Charles Leonard Harness (December 29, 1915 – September 20, 2005) was an American science fiction writer.Edwin Charles Tubb
Edwin Charles Tubb (15 October 1919 – 10 September 2010) was a British writer of science fiction, fantasy and western novels. The author of over 140 novels and 230 short stories and novellas, Tubb is best known for The Dumarest Saga (US collective title: Dumarest of Terra), an epic science-fiction saga set in the far future. Michael Moorcock wrote, "His reputation for fast-moving and colourful SF writing is unmatched by anyone in Britain."Much of Tubb's work was written under pseudonyms including Gregory Kern, Carl Maddox, Alan Guthrie, Eric Storm and George Holt. He used 58 pen names over five decades of writing, although some of these were publishers' house names also used by other writers: Volsted Gridban (along with John Russell Fearn), Gill Hunt (with John Brunner and Dennis Hughes), King Lang (with George Hay and John W Jennison), Roy Sheldon (with H. J. Campbell) and Brian Shaw. Tubb's Charles Grey alias was solely his own and acquired a big following in the early 1950s.Galaxy Science Fiction
Galaxy Science Fiction was an American digest-size science fiction magazine, published from 1950 to 1980. It was founded by a French-Italian company, World Editions, which was looking to break into the American market. World Editions hired as editor H. L. Gold, who rapidly made Galaxy the leading science fiction (sf) magazine of its time, focusing on stories about social issues rather than technology.
Gold published many notable stories during his tenure, including Ray Bradbury's "The Fireman", later expanded as Fahrenheit 451; Robert A. Heinlein's The Puppet Masters; and Alfred Bester's The Demolished Man. In 1952, the magazine was acquired by Robert Guinn, its printer. By the late 1950s, Frederik Pohl was helping Gold with most aspects of the magazine's production. When Gold's health worsened, Pohl took over as editor, starting officially at the end of 1961, though he had been doing the majority of the production work for some time.
Under Pohl Galaxy had continued success, regularly publishing fiction by writers such as Cordwainer Smith, Jack Vance, Harlan Ellison, and Robert Silverberg. Pohl never won the annual Hugo Award for his stewardship of Galaxy, winning three Hugos instead for its sister magazine, If. In 1969 Guinn sold Galaxy to Universal Publishing and Distribution Corporation (UPD) and Pohl resigned, to be replaced by Ejler Jakobsson. Under Jakobsson the magazine declined in quality. It recovered under James Baen, who took over in mid-1974, but when he left at the end of 1977 the deterioration resumed, and there were financial problems—writers were not paid on time and the schedule became erratic. By the end of the 1970s the gaps between issues were lengthening, and the title was finally sold to Galileo publisher Vincent McCaffrey, who brought out only a single issue in 1980. A brief revival as a semi-professional magazine followed in 1994, edited by H. L. Gold's son, E. J. Gold; this lasted for eight bimonthly issues.
At its peak, Galaxy greatly influenced the science fiction genre. It was regarded as one of the leading sf magazines almost from the start, and its influence did not wane until Pohl's departure in 1969. Gold brought a "sophisticated intellectual subtlety" to magazine science fiction according to Pohl, who added that "after Galaxy it was impossible to go on being naive." SF historian David Kyle agreed, commenting that "of all the editors in and out of the post-war scene, the most influential beyond any doubt was H. L. Gold". Kyle suggested that the new direction Gold set "inevitably" led to the experimental New Wave, the defining science fiction literary movement of the 1960s.Gordon Landsborough
Gordon Holmes Landsborough, (1913–1983), English publisher, author and bookseller, was in the forefront of change in the paperback publishing and bookselling industries in England during the 1950s to 1980s. Considered a "maverick publishing genius", he was noted for his phenomenal drive and energy, his innovative business ideas and also for his prolific output as an author.Hugo Award for Best Novella
The Hugo Award for Best Novella is one of the Hugo Awards given each year for science fiction or fantasy stories published or translated into English during the previous calendar year. The novella award is available for works of fiction of between 17,500 and 40,000 words; awards are also given out in the short story, novelette and novel categories. The Hugo Awards have been described as "a fine showcase for speculative fiction" and "the best known literary award for science fiction writing".The Hugo Award for Best Novella has been awarded annually since 1968. In addition to the regular Hugo awards, beginning in 1996 Retrospective Hugo Awards, or "Retro Hugos", have been available to be awarded for years 50, 75, or 100 years prior in which no awards were given. Retro Hugos may only be awarded for years in which a World Science Fiction Convention, or Worldcon, was hosted, but no awards were originally given. To date, Retro Hugo awards have been given for novellas for 1939, 1941, 1943, 1946, 1951, and 1954.Hugo Award nominees and winners are chosen by the supporting and attending members of the annual World Science Fiction Convention, or Worldcon, and the presentation evening constitutes its central event. The selection process is defined in the World Science Fiction Society Constitution as instant-runoff voting with six nominees, except in the case of a tie. These novellas on the ballot are the six most-nominated by members that year, with no limit on the number of stories that can be nominated. Initial nominations are made by members in January through March, while voting on the ballot of six nominations is performed roughly in April through July, subject to change depending on when that year's Worldcon is held. Prior to 2017, the final ballot was five works; it was changed that year to six, with each initial nominator limited to five nominations. Worldcons are generally held near the start of September, and are held in a different city around the world each year. Members are permitted to vote "no award", if they feel that none of the nominees is deserving of the award that year, and in the case that "no award" takes the majority the Hugo is not given in that category. This happened in the Best Novella category in 2015.During the 57 nomination years, 161 authors have had works nominated; 41 of these have won, including coauthors and Retro Hugos. Connie Willis has received the most Hugos for Best Novella at four, and at eight is tied for the most nominations with Robert Silverberg. Willis and Charles Stross at three out of four nominations are the only authors to have won more than twice, while thirteen other authors have won the award twice. Nancy Kress has earned seven nominations and Robert A. Heinlein, George R. R. Martin, Kim Stanley Robinson, and Lucius Shepard six, and are the only authors besides Willis and Silverberg to get more than four. Robinson has the highest number of nominations without winning.J. T. McIntosh
James Murdoch MacGregor, (14 February 1925 – 2008) was a Scottish journalist and author best known for writing science fiction under the pen name J.T. McIntosh.John Christopher
Sam Youd (16 April 1922 – 3 February 2012), known professionally as Christopher Samuel Youd, was a British writer, best known for science fiction under the pseudonym John Christopher, including the novels The Death of Grass, The Possessors, and the young-adult novel series The Tripods. He won the Guardian Prize in 1971 and the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis in 1976.
Youd also wrote under variations of his own name and under the pseudonyms Stanley Winchester, Hilary Ford, William Godfrey, William Vine, Peter Graaf, Peter Nichols, and Anthony Rye.Lynn Venable (writer)
Marilyn A. Venable (born about 1927) is an American writer known as Lynn Venable or Lyn Venable.Nebula Science Fiction
Nebula Science Fiction was the first Scottish science fiction magazine. It was published from 1952 to 1959, and was edited by Peter Hamilton, a young Scot who was able to take advantage of spare capacity at his parents' printing company, Crownpoint, to launch the magazine. Because Hamilton could only print Nebula when Crownpoint had no other work, the schedule was initially erratic. In 1955 he moved the printing to a Dublin-based firm, and the schedule became a little more regular, with a steady monthly run beginning in 1958 that lasted into the following year. Nebula's circulation was international, with only a quarter of the sales in the United Kingdom (UK); this led to disaster when South Africa and Australia imposed import controls on foreign periodicals at the end of the 1950s. Excise duties imposed in the UK added to Hamilton's financial burdens, and he was rapidly forced to close the magazine. The last issue was dated June 1959.
The magazine was popular with writers, partly because Hamilton went to great lengths to encourage new writers, and partly because he paid better rates per word than much of his competition. Initially he could not compete with the American market, but he offered a bonus for the most popular story in the issue, and was eventually able to match the leading American magazines. He published the first stories of several well-known writers, including Robert Silverberg, Brian Aldiss, and Bob Shaw. Nebula was also a fan favourite: author Ken Bulmer recalled that it became "what many fans regard as the best-loved British SF magazine".Philip E. High
Philip Empson High (28 April 1914 - 9 August 2006) was an English science fiction author.Ray Bradbury short fiction bibliography
This is a chronological list of short fiction by Ray Bradbury. Only original works are listed, along with their first publication. Note that several stories exist in one or more revised versions, sometimes under different titles. Attempts have been made to document this.Science fiction magazine
A science fiction magazine is a publication that offers primarily science fiction, either in a hard copy periodical format or on the Internet.
Science fiction magazines traditionally featured speculative fiction in short story, novelette, novella or (usually serialized) novel form, a format that continues into the present day. Many also contain editorials, book reviews or articles, and some also include stories in the fantasy and horror genres.Stuart J. Byrne
Stuart James Byrne (October 26, 1913 - September 23, 2011) was an American screenwriter and writer of science fiction and fantasy. He published under his own name and the pseudonyms Rothayne Amare, John Bloodstone, Howard Dare, and Marx Kaye (a house pseudonym).The Canopy of Time
The Canopy of Time is a science fiction novel by English writer Brian W. Aldiss, first published in 1959 by Faber and Faber. The story is a fix-up of previously published short stories, centering on the forty-million year history of the fictional city of New Union. The book was published in the United States as Galaxies Like Grains of Sand.The Other Side of the Moon (anthology)
The Other Side of the Moon is an anthology of science fiction stories edited by American writer August Derleth. It was first published by Pellegrini & Cudahy in 1949. Many of the stories had originally appeared in the magazines The Graphic Christmas, Astounding Stories, Thrilling Wonder Stories, Wonder Stories, Weird Tales, Blue Book, Planet Stories, The Saturday Evening Post, Collier's Weekly or in the collections The Fourth Book of Jorkens by Lord Dunsany and The Witchfinder by S. Fowler Wright.
Aside from a second printing by Pellegrini and Cudahy in 1949, the anthology has never been reprinted in its original form. All subsequent editions were substantially abridged. The only British hardcover, from Grayson & Grayson in 1956, contained only 11 stories. The only American paperback, a 1959 Berkley Books version, included only 10 of the original 20 stories. The first British paperback, from Panther Books in 1963, also included only 10 stories, though the selection was somewhat different. A 1966 British paperback, from Mayflower-Dell in 1966, carried the same title, but contained the 10 stories not included in the Panther edition.In 1951, The New York Times reported that The Other Side of the Moon had become the first science fiction title to be included in the Talking Books program.Two Complete Science-Adventure Books
Two Complete Science-Adventure Books was an American pulp science fiction magazine, published by Fiction House, which lasted for eleven issues between 1950 and 1954 as a companion to Planet Stories. Each issue carried two novels or long novellas. It was initially intended to carry only reprints, but soon began to publish original stories. Contributors included Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, Arthur C. Clarke, Poul Anderson, John Brunner, and James Blish. The magazine folded in 1954, almost at the end of the pulp era.