Sam Moskowitz

Sam Moskowitz (June 30, 1920 – April 15, 1997) was an American writer, critic, and historian of science fiction.

Sam Moskowitz
Sam Moskowitz, date unknown
Sam Moskowitz, date unknown
BornJune 30, 1920[1]
Newark, NJ
DiedApril 15, 1997 (aged 76)[1]
University Hospital Newark, NJ
Pen nameSam Martin
GenreScience Fiction


As a child, Moskowitz greatly enjoyed reading science fiction pulp magazines. As a teenager, he organized a branch of the Science Fiction League. Meanwhile, Donald A. Wollheim helped organize the Futurians, a rival club with Marxist sympathies. While still in his teens, Moskowitz became chairman of the first World Science Fiction Convention held in New York City in 1939.[2] He barred several Futurians from the convention because they threatened to disrupt it. This event is referred to by historians of fandom as the "Great Exclusion Act".[3][4]

Moskowitz later worked professionally in the science fiction field.[2] He edited Science-Fiction Plus, a short-lived genre magazine owned by Hugo Gernsback, in 1953. He compiled about two dozen anthologies, and a few single-author collections, most published in the 1960s and early 1970s. Moskowitz also wrote a handful of short stories (three published in 1941, one in 1953, three in 1956). His most enduring work is likely to be his writing on the history of science fiction, in particular two collections of short author biographies, Explorers of the Infinite and Seekers of Tomorrow, as well as the highly regarded Under the Moons of Mars: A History and Anthology of “The Scientific Romance” in the Munsey Magazines, 1912-1920. His exhaustive cataloging of early sf magazine stories by important genre authors remains the best resource for nonspecialists.

Theodore Sturgeon, although noting the book's many imperfections, praised Explorers of the Infinite, saying "no one has surveyed the roots of SF as well as Mr. M.; probably no one ever will; prossibly [sic], no one else can."[5]

Reviewing Seekers of Tomorrow, Algis Budrys wryly noted that "Moskowitz is a master of denotation. He wouldn't know a connotation if it snapped at his ankle, which is something that happens quite often." He added, however, that "Moskowitz knows and transmits, at least as much about the history of science fiction and its evolution, as anyone possibly could."[6]

Moskowitz's works include also The Immortal Storm, a historical review of internecine strife within fandom. Moskowitz wrote it in a bombastic style that made the events he described seem so important that, as fan historian Harry Warner, Jr. quipped, "If read directly after a history of World War II, it does not seem like an anticlimax."[7][8] Floyd C. Gale wrote in his review of the book that "[f]ortunately, most of these petulant warriors have since grown up—but their historian is still leading their ghostly legions that are more real than today to him. The miracle is that S-F survived even the love of its most rabid fans".[9] Anthony Boucher noted that "never has so much been written about so little," but added that the book was "a unique document not without a good deal of social and psychological value."[10]

Moskowitz was also renowned as a science fiction book collector, with a tremendous number of important early works and rarities. His book collection was auctioned off after his death.

As "Sam Martin", he was also editor of the trade publications Quick Frozen Foods and Quick Frozen Foods International for many years.[1][11][12]

First Fandom, an organization of science fiction fans active before 1940, gives an award in Moskowitz' memory each year at the World Science Fiction Convention.

Moskowitz smoked cigarettes frequently throughout his adult life. A few years before his death, throat cancer required the surgical removal of his larynx. He continued to speak at science fiction conventions, using an electronic voice-box held against his throat. Throughout his later years, although his controversial opinions were often disputed by others, he was recognized as a leading authority on the history of science fiction.



  • The Immortal Storm: A History of Science Fiction Fandom (1954)
  • Explorers of the Infinite: Shapers of Science Fiction (Cleveland: World Pub. Co, 1963)
  • Seekers of Tomorrow: Masters of Modern Science Fiction (Westport, Conn: Hyperion Press, 1974, ISBN 0883551292)
  • A Canticle for P. Schuyler Miller (1975)
  • Science Fiction Calendar 1976 (1975)
  • Strange Horizons: The Spectrum of Science Fiction (1976)
  • Charles Fort: A Radical Corpuscle (1976)
  • Science Fiction in Old San Francisco: 1 History of the Movement, From 1854 to 1890 (1980)
  • A. Merritt: Reflections in the Moon Pool (1985) with A. Merritt
  • Howard Phillips Lovecraft and Nils Helmer Frome: A Recollection of One of Canada's Earliest Science Fiction Fans (1989)
  • After All These Years . . . (1991)

Edited anthologies

  • Editor's Choice in Science Fiction (1954)
  • The Coming of the Robots (1963)
  • Exploring Other Worlds (1963)
  • Modern Masterpieces of Science Fiction (1965)
  • Strange Signposts (with Roger Elwood) (1966)
  • Doorway Into Time (1966)
  • Masterpieces of Science Fiction (1966)
  • Three Stories (1967) (a.k.a. A Sense of Wonder, The Moon Era)
  • The Human Zero and Other Science-Fiction Masterpieces (with Roger Elwood) (1967)
  • Microcosmic God (1968) (a.k.a. The Microcosmic God)
  • Science Fiction by Gaslight; A History and Anthology of Science Fiction in the Popular Magazines, 1891-1911 (Cleveland: World Pub. Co, 1968)
  • The Vortex Blasters (1968)
  • The Time Curve (with Roger Elwood) (1968)
  • Alien Earth and Other Stories (with Roger Elwood) (1969)
  • Other Worlds, Other Times (with Roger Elwood) (1969)
  • The Man Who Called Himself Poe (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1969)(a.k.a. A Man Called Poe: Stories in the Vein of Edgar Allan Poe)
  • Great Untold Stories of Fantasy and Horror (with Alden H. Norton) (1969)
  • Under the Moons of Mars; A History and Anthology of "the Scientific Romance" in the Munsey Magazines, 1912-1920 (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1970)
  • Futures to Infinity (1970)
  • Horrors Unknown (1971)
  • The Space Magicians (with Alden H. Norton) (1971)
  • Ghostly By Gaslight (with Alden H. Norton) (1971)
  • When Women Rule (1972)
  • Horrors in Hiding (with Alden H. Norton) (1973)
  • The Crystal Man: Stories by Edward Page Mitchell (1973)
  • Horrors Unseen (1974)

See also


  1. ^ a b c "Retired QFFI editor and SF historian Sam Martin, 1920-97, dies in Newark". Editor Biography. Quick Frozen Foods International @ 1997-07-01. Retrieved 2007-08-15.
  2. ^ a b Henniker-Heaton, Peter J. (July 6, 1963). "From the Bookshelf". Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved March 8, 2011. Sam Moskowitz has written science fiction, taught it, been an editor and literary agent in the field, and in 1939 organized the first of the still continuing World Science Fiction Conventions.
  3. ^ Kyle, David. "The Great Exclusion Act of 1939," Mimosa #6
  4. ^ Kyle, David. "SaM -- Fan Forever," Mimosa no. 21, pp. 7-10, Dec. 1997 [1]
  5. ^ "Galaxy's 5 Star Shelf", Galaxy Science Fiction, December 1963, p.124. It is not evident whether "prossibly" is a typographical error or a portmanteau.
  6. ^ "Galaxy Bookshelf", Galaxy Science Fiction, October 1966, pp.159-60
  7. ^ "Harry Warner's All Our Yesterdays". Archived from the original on 2007-07-06. Retrieved 2007-08-15.
  8. ^ Resnick, Mike (December 1997). "The Literature of Fandom". Mimosa 21. Nicki and Richard Lynch. pp. 17–24. Retrieved 2007-08-15.
  9. ^ Gale, Floyd C. (March 1957). "Galaxy's 5 Star Shelf". Galaxy. pp. 116–119. Retrieved 9 June 2014.
  10. ^ "Recommended Reading," F&SF, February 1955, pp.98.
  11. ^ Moskowitz, Sam (November 1996). "The First College-Level Course in Science Fiction". Science Fiction Studies #70 Volume 23 Part 3. Retrieved 2007-08-15.
  12. ^ "Quick Frozen Foods International". Sam Martin death article not found. Retrieved 2007-08-15.

External links

13th World Science Fiction Convention

The 13th World Science Fiction Convention, also known as Clevention, was held on September 2–5, 1955, at the Manger Hotel in Cleveland, Ohio, United States.

The chairmen were Nick and Noreen Falasca. The guests of honor were Isaac Asimov (pro) and Sam Moskowitz (mystery GoH). Total attendance was approximately 380.

This was the first convention at which the Hugo Awards were established as an annual feature; the first awards had been given out two years before, at Philcon II in 1953.

1st World Science Fiction Convention

The First World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon) was held in the Caravan Hall in New York from July 2 to July 4, 1939, in conjunction with the New York World's Fair, which was themed as "The World of Tomorrow". The convention was later named "Nycon I" by Forrest J Ackerman. The event had 200 participants.

7th World Science Fiction Convention

The 7th World Science Fiction Convention, also known as Cinvention, was held September 3–5. 1949, at the Hotel Metropole in Cincinnati, Ohio, United States.

The Guests of Honor were Lloyd A. Eshbach (pro) and Ted Carnell (fan). Don Ford carried out the duties of Chairman, but was officially Secretary-Treasurer; Charles R. Tanner had the honorary title of Chairman. Total attendance was approximately 190; noteworthy attendees included Forrest J. Ackerman, Hannes Bok, Lester del Rey. Vince Hamlin. Sam Moskowitz, Rog Phillips, Milton Rothman, "Doc" Smith, and George O. Smith.

9th World Science Fiction Convention

The 9th World Science Fiction Convention, also known as Nolacon I, was held 1–3 September 1951 at the St. Charles Hotel in New Orleans, Louisiana, United States.

The chairman was Harry B. Moore.

The guest of honor was Fritz Leiber.

Total attendance was approximately 190. The at-the-door membership price was US$1, the same price charged from the 1st through the 12th Worldcon

Other pros attending included Robert Bloch, Fredric Brown, Judith Merril, E.E. Smith, L. Sprague de Camp, editor John W. Campbell and fantasy artist Hannes Bok, who did Nolacon's program book cover. Famous fans present included Sam Moskowitz, Wilson Tucker (aka Bob Tucker), Dave Kyle, Roger Sims, Terry Carr, and Lee Hoffman. The latter, editor of the very popular fanzine Quandry, whom everyone assumed was male, turned out to be a young woman, a ‘revelation’ which greatly startled even those who had corresponded with her.

Notable events included world premiere screenings of The Day The Earth Stood Still and When Worlds Collide, plus a continuous two-day-long party in Room 770 at the St. Charles Hotel that became legendary following the convention not only for its duration but for its high quality. Mike Glyer's long-running newszine File 770, named in commemoration of this party, has won the Hugo Award for Best Fanzine a number of times.Hugo Awards were not presented at this Worldcon as the awards were not proposed until the following year, 1952, with the first Hugos actually presented in 1953 at the 11th World Science Fiction Convention. However, in 2001 at the 59th World Science Fiction Convention held in Philadelphia, a set of Retro Hugo Awards were presented to honor work that would have been Hugo-eligible had the award existed in 1951. A "Certificate of Merit" was presented to representatives of The Day the Earth Stood Still by the Nolacon I chairman, and this was reported on Movietone News at the time.

First Fandom

First Fandom is an informal association of early, active and well-known science fiction fans.

In 1958 a number of fans at Midwestcon realized amid table-talk that they all had been active in fandom for more than 20 years. This inspired the creation of an organization for longstanding fans under the initial chairmanship of Robert A. Madle. Originally only those fans who were known to have been active in fandom before the cutoff date, January 1, 1938, were eligible. Such fannish activity (or "fanac") including writing to letter columns in science fiction magazines, having been published in fanzines, or having participated in science fiction oriented clubs, or just generally doing fannish things.The term itself is an oblique reference to Olaf Stapledon's classic science fiction epic Last and First Men. In this book the stages of mankind are enumerated. Thus early 1950s historian of fandom Jack Speer began to label successive generations of fans as First Fandom, Second Fandom, Third Fandom, and so forth... all the way to Seventh Fandom and beyond.

Currently the organization allows several classes of membership. For example, a Dinosaur is a member who was active before the first Worldcon (World Science Fiction Convention) held on July 4, 1939, while Associate Membership requires provable activity in fandom for more than three decades.

First Fandom annually presents its First Fandom Hall of Fame award and Sam Moskowitz Archive Award for excellence in science fiction collecting. at the beginning of the Hugo Awards Ceremony at the World Science Fiction Convention.

There is an analogous informal society in Finnish fandom called the Dinosaur Club; the cutoff being the first major Finnish con Kingcon.

History of the Movement From 1854 to 1890

Science Fiction in Old San Francisco: Volume One, History of the Movement From 1854 to 1890 is a history of science fiction writers in San Francisco in the period following the American Civil War by Sam Moskowitz. It was first published by Donald M. Grant, Publisher, Inc. in 1980 in an edition of 1,500 copies. This book with its companion volume Into the Sun & Other Stories won a Pilgrim Award for the author in 1981.

Modern Masterpieces of Science Fiction

Modern Masterpieces of Science Fiction is an anthology of science fiction short stories, edited by Sam Moskowitz. It was first published in hardcover by World Publishing Co. in 1965, and reprinted by Hyperion Press in 1974. It was split into three separate paperback anthologies published by MacFadden-Bartell; Doorway Into Time (1966), The Vortex Blasters (1968) and Microcosmic God (1968); the paperback editions omitted Moskowitz's introduction and the story by Robert Bloch.The book collects twenty-one tales by various authors, together with a historical and critical introduction by the editor. NESFA Press characterizes it as "an excellent historical introduction to the field, including some of the best stories of the 1940s and 1950s."

Pilgrim Award

The Pilgrim Award is presented by the Science Fiction Research Association for Lifetime Achievement in the field of science fiction scholarship. It was created in 1970 and was named after J. O. Bailey’s pioneering book Pilgrims Through Space and Time. Fittingly, the first award was presented to Bailey.

1970 – J. O. Bailey (USA)

1971 – Marjorie Hope Nicolson (USA)

1972 – Julius Kagarlitski (USSR)

1973 – Jack Williamson (USA)

1974 – I. F. Clarke (UK)

1975 – Damon Knight (USA)

1976 – James E. Gunn (USA)

1977 – Thomas D. Clareson (USA)

1978 – Brian W. Aldiss (UK)

1979 – Darko Suvin (Canada)

1980 – Peter Nicholls (Australia)

1981 – Sam Moskowitz (USA)

1982 – Neil Barron (USA)

1983 – H. Bruce Franklin (USA)

1984 – Everett F. Bleiler (USA)

1985 – Samuel R. Delany (USA)

1986 – George E. Slusser (USA)

1987 – Gary K. Wolfe (USA)

1988 – Joanna Russ (USA)

1989 – Ursula K. Le Guin (USA)

1990 – Marshall Tymn (USA)

1991 – Pierre Versins (France)

1992 – Mark R. Hillegas (USA)

1993 – Robert Reginald (USA)

1994 – John Clute (UK)

1995 – Vivian Sobchack (USA)

1996 – David Ketterer (Canada)

1997 – Marleen Barr (USA)

1998 – L. Sprague de Camp (USA)

1999 – Brian Stableford (UK)

2000 – Hal W. Hall (USA)

2001 – David N. Samuelson (USA)

2002 – Mike Ashley (UK)

2003 – Gary Westfahl (USA)

2004 - Edward James (UK)

2005 - Gérard Klein (France)

2006 - Fredric Jameson (USA)

2007 - Algis Budrys (USA)

2008 - Gwyneth Jones (UK)

2009 - Brian Attebery (USA)

2010 - Eric Rabkin (USA)

2011 - Donna Haraway (USA)

2012 - Pamela Sargent (USA)

2013 - N. Katherine Hayles (USA)

2014 - Joan Gordon (USA)

2015 – Henry Jenkins (USA)

2016 – Mark Bould (UK)

2017 – Tom Moylan (Ireland)

2018 – Carl Freedman (USA)

Science-Fiction Plus

Science-Fiction Plus was an American science fiction magazine published by Hugo Gernsback for seven issues in 1953. In 1926, Gernsback had launched Amazing Stories, the first science fiction magazine, but he had not been involved in the genre since 1936, when he sold Wonder Stories. Science-Fiction Plus was initially in slick format, meaning that it was large-size and printed on glossy paper. Gernsback had always believed in the educational power of science fiction, and he continued to advocate his views in the new magazine's editorials. The managing editor, Sam Moskowitz, had been a reader of the early pulp magazines, and published many writers who had been popular before World War II, such as Raymond Z. Gallun, Eando Binder, and Harry Bates. Combined with Gernsback's earnest editorials, the use of these early writers gave the magazine an anachronistic feel.

Sales were initially good, but soon fell. For the last two issues Gernsback switched the magazine to cheaper pulp paper, but the magazine remained unprofitable. The final issue was dated December 1953.

In addition to the older writers he published, Moskowitz was able to obtain fiction from some of the better-known writers of the day, including Clifford Simak, Murray Leinster, Robert Bloch, and Philip José Farmer, and some of their stories were well-received, including "Spacebred Generations", by Simak, "Strange Compulsion", by Farmer, and "Nightmare Planet", by Leinster. He also published several new writers, but only one, Anne McCaffrey, went on to a successful career in the field. Science fiction historians consider the magazine a failed attempt to reproduce the early days of the science fiction pulps.

Tangent Online

Tangent Online is an online magazine launched in its online incarnation in 1997, though it began as a print magazine in 1993. Tangent Online is edited by Dave Truesdale, with web-hoster Eric James Stone. The magazine covers reviews of science fiction and fantasy short fiction as well as providing classic interviews, articles, and editorials. According to the late SF historian Sam Moskowitz, Tangent was the first of its kind in the history of the SF field (going back to its official inception in 1926) to review short science fiction and fantasy exclusively.

The Haunted Pampero

The Haunted Pampero is a collection of fantasy and other short stories by William Hope Hodgson. It was first published in 1992 by Donald M. Grant, Publisher, Inc. in an edition of 500 copies, all of which were signed by the editor, Sam Moskowitz. The stories first appeared in the magazines The Premier Magazine, The Red Magazine, Cornhill Magazine, The Idler, Shadow: Fantasy Literature Review, The Royal Magazine, The Blue Magazine, Sea Stories, The New Age, Everybody’s Weekly and Short Stories.

The Red Peri

"The Red Peri" is a science fiction novella by Stanley G. Weinbaum that first appeared in the November 1935 issue of Astounding Stories. Sam Moskowitz has noted that Weinbaum planned to write a series of sequels to "The Red Peri" but died before he could do so. "The Red Peri" is the only Weinbaum story set on Pluto. The novel also inspired Arthur C. Clarke, who stated that David Bowman's helmetless spacewalk in 2001: A Space Odyssey was inspired by Frank Keene's escape from the pirate base in "The Red Peri".

The Time Curve

The Time Curve is an anthology of science fiction short stories edited by Sam Moskowitz and Roger Elwood. It was first published in paperback by Tower Books in 1968.The book collects nine novelettes and short stories by various science fiction authors.

Tidal Moon

"Tidal Moon" is a science fiction short story by Stanley G. Weinbaum and Helen Weinbaum that first appeared in the December 1938 issue of Thrilling Wonder Stories and was reprinted in the collection Interplanetary Odysseys (2006). Sam Moskowitz stated that Stanley G. Weinbaum completed only a page and a half of the story before his death, and that his sister Helen Weinbaum completed the story on her own. "Tidal Moon" is the only story by Weinbaum to take place on Ganymede.

Uncanny Tales (Canadian pulp magazine)

Uncanny Tales was a Canadian science fiction pulp magazine edited by Melvin R. Colby that ran from November 1940 to September 1943. It was created in response to the wartime reduction of imports on British and American science-fiction pulp magazines. Initially it contained stories only from Canadian authors, with much of its contents supplied by Thomas P. Kelley, but within a few issues Colby began to obtain reprint rights to American stories from Donald A. Wollheim and Sam Moskowitz. Paper shortages eventually forced the magazine to shut down, and it is now extremely rare.

World Publishing Company

The World Publishing Company was an American publishing company founded by Alfred H. Cahen. Originally headquartered in Cleveland, the company later added an office in New York City. The company published genre fiction, trade paperbacks, children's literature, nonfiction books, textbooks, Bibles, and dictionaries, primarily from 1940 to 1980. Authors published by World Publishing Company include Ruth Nanda Anshen, Michael Crichton, Simone de Beauvoir, Robert Ludlum, Sam Moskowitz, Ayn Rand, Rex Stout, Gay Talese, and Lin Yutang. The company's Cleveland headquarters were located in the Caxton Building.World Publishing was notable for publishing the first edition of Webster's New World Dictionary in 1951, which contained 142,000 entries, said to be the largest American desk dictionary available at the time. The company also had a vibrant children's book division, and published the first edition of Eric Carle's Very Hungry Caterpillar in 1969.World Publishing Company is not related to the original owners of the Omaha World-Herald or Tulsa World (also called "World Publishing Co.").

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