J. Francis McComas

Jesse Francis McComas (June 9, 1911 – April 19, 1978) was an American science fiction editor. McComas wrote several stories on his own in the 1950s using both his own name and the pseudonym Webb Marlowe.

He entered publishing in 1941 as a salesman and editorial representative, spending two years in New York with Random House. He returned to California in 1944, working as the Pacific Coast editorial representative for Henry Holt and Company. For Simon & Schuster he became their Northern California sales manager and general editorial representative.

McComas was the co-editor, with Raymond J. Healy of one of the first major American anthologies of science fiction, Adventures in Time and Space (1946). Within a few years, he was the co-founding editor, with Anthony Boucher, of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. He edited the magazine from its inception in 1949 as The Magazine of Fantasy. In the fall of 1954 he left the magazine as an active editor but continued in the role of advisory editor until 1962.

During the 1950s, McComas reviewed science fiction for The New York Times.[1]

He left to the San Francisco Public Library his collection of 3,000 volumes of fiction and 92 science fiction magazines dating from the 1920s.

J. Francis McComas
J. Francis McComas circa 1954
J. Francis McComas circa 1954
BornJesse Francis McComas
June 9, 1911
United States
DiedApril 19, 1978 (aged 66)
United States
Pen nameWebb Marlowe
OccupationWriter, editor
LanguageEnglish
GenreScience fiction

References

  1. ^ Maria E. Alonzo, "Jesse Francis McComas: The Traveler Returns, F&SF, May–June 2011

External links

Adventures in Time and Space

Adventures in Time and Space is an American anthology of science fiction stories edited by Raymond J. Healy and J. Francis McComas and published in 1946 by Random House. A second edition was also published in 1946 that eliminated the last five stories. A Modern Library edition was issued in 1957. When it was re-released in 1975 by Ballantine Books, Analog book reviewer Lester del Rey referred to it as a book he often gave to people in order to turn them onto the genre. It is now once again out of print.

The book and A Treasury of Science Fiction were among the only science fiction hardcover books from large, mainstream publishers before about 1950. The large (997 page) anthology collected numerous stories from the Golden Age of Science Fiction, which had originally appeared in pulp magazines (mostly Astounding Science Fiction) and are now regarded as classics of science fiction. According to Frederik Pohl, it was "A colossal achievement...the book that started the science-fiction publishing industry!" In 1954, Anthony Boucher described it as "the one anthology unarguably essential to every reader." In Astounding readers' surveys in both 1952 and 1956, it was rated the best science fiction book ever published.

He Who Shrank

"He Who Shrank" by Henry Hasse is a science fiction novelette printed as the featured story in the August 1936 issue of Amazing Stories magazine (illustrated on the cover and in interior page by Leo Morey) about a man who is forever shrinking through worlds nested within a universe with apparently endless levels of scale. It was reprinted in the 1946 collection Adventures in Time and Space, edited by Raymond J. Healy and J. Francis McComas, and in Isaac Asimov's anthology of 1930s science fiction Before the Golden Age.

Henry Hasse

Henry Louis Hasse (February 7, 1913 – May 20, 1977) was an American science fiction author and fan. He is probably known best for being the co-author of Ray Bradbury's first published story, "Pendulum", which appeared in November 1941 in Super Science Stories.

Hasse's novelette "He Who Shrank" is anthologized in both the classic 1946 collection Adventures in Time and Space, edited by Raymond J. Healy and J. Francis McComas, and in Isaac Asimov's memoir of 1930s science fiction Before the Golden Age.

McComas

McComas is a surname. Notable people with the surname include:

Alice Moore McComas (1850–1919), American author, editor, lecturer, reformer

Campbell McComas, Australian comedian, writer, and actor

Daniel F. McComas, American politician

David McComas, American space scientist

Francis McComas (1875–1938), Australian-born artist

James Douglas McComas, former president of three U.S. universities

J. Francis McComas, American science fiction editor

Kendall McComas, American child actor

Lorissa McComas, American nude model

Louis E. McComas, American politician

Mercury Publications

Mercury Publications (a.k.a. Mercury Press) was a magazine publishing company, owned and operated by Lawrence E. Spivak, which mainly published genre fiction in digest-sized formats. The focus of Spivak's line was on detective and mystery stories and novels, but it also included magazines about humor, fantasy, and true crime. The offices were located at 570 Lexington Avenue in New York, N.Y.

Spivak entered publishing in 1933 as the business manager of The American Mercury, and two years later, he became the magazine's publisher, expanding his operations in the late 1930s with additional titles. His subsidiary companies included Mystery House and Fantasy House. Two Mercury series were Mercury Library and Mercury Books.

Other Mercury imprints and titles included:

Bestseller Mystery Books (a.k.a. Bestseller Library)

Bestsellers magazine (beginning 1945), subtitled "Authorized Book Condensations"

The Book of Wit & Humor, edited by Louis Untermeyer and Charles Angoff

Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, edited by Frederic Dannay

Jonathan Press Mystery Books

The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, initially edited by Anthony Boucher and J. Francis McComas

Mercury Mystery (a.k.a. Mercury Mystery Book Magazine and Mercury Mystery Magazine), edited by Joseph W. Ferman

True Crime Detective, edited by Edward D. Radin, and then by Boucher and McComasSpivak launched his Bestseller Library series in 1938, with a new title each month. In 1940, he split the Bestseller Library into Mercury Mysteries and Bestseller Mysteries. Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine began in 1941, followed by the Jonathan Press Mysteries imprint in 1942. Mercury Mystery Book Magazine continued the long-run series of full-length and condensed mystery novels published in a digest-sized format, beginning with the title of Mercury Mystery in March 1940. Starting with #210, it ran for 23 issues before merging with Bestseller Mystery Magazine. The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction began in 1949 under the title The Magazine of Fantasy. In the fall of 1950, Spivak sold The American Mercury to millionaire investment banker Clendenin J. Ryan, and his editor was William Bradford Huie.

Joseph W. Ferman was the business manager of Mercury Publications from 1940 to 1950. The Mercury art director from 1938 to 1958 was designer George Salter, who created about 750 covers for Mercury Publications during that time frame. After leaving the art director position, he continued to design covers for Mercury.

Raymond J. Healy

Raymond John Healy (September 21, 1907 – July 17, 1997) was a pioneering American anthologist who edited four science fiction anthologies from 1946 to 1955, two with J. Francis McComas. Their first collaboratioun, Adventures in Time and Space (1946) is generally recognized as the finest early anthology from the Golden Age of Science Fiction.

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