Satellite Science Fiction was an American science fiction magazine, published from October 1956 to April 1959 by Leo Margulies' Renown Publications. Initially Satellite was digest-sized, and ran a full-length novel in each issue, with a handful of short stories accompanying it: the policy was intended to help it compete against paperbacks, which were taking a growing share of the market. Sam Merwin edited the first two issues; Margulies took over when Merwin left, and then hired Frank Belknap Long for the February 1959 issue. That issue saw the format change to letter-size, in the hope that the magazine would be more prominent on newsstands. The experiment was a failure, and Margulies closed the magazine when the sales figures came in.
The novels included the original version of Philip K. Dick's first novel, The Cosmic Puppets, and well-received work by Algis Budrys and Jack Vance, though the quality was not always high. Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, and L. Sprague de Camp were among the short story contributors. Sam Moskowitz wrote a series of articles on the early history of science fiction for Satellite; these were later to be revised as part of his book Explorers of the Infinite. In 1958 Margulies tracked down the first magazine publication of H.G. Wells' The Time Machine from 1894–1895, and reprinted a short excerpt from it that had been omitted by every subsequent printing.
In 1952, Leo Margulies and H. Lawrence Herbert founded King-Size Publications, which published Saint Detective Magazine and Fantastic Universe. By 1956 the company was in debt, and Margulies sold his share of the company to Herbert. With the money from the sale he founded Renown Publications, launching Michael Shayne Mystery Magazine in September 1956, and the first issue of Satellite Science Fiction in October. Satellite's distributor, PDC, was run by old friends of Margulies. The magazine began as a bimonthly, though Margulies hoped to make it monthly eventually. The first editor was Sam Merwin, whom Margulies had worked with since the 1930s. Margulies also hoped to launch a book imprint, Renown Books, with the goal of issuing four books a month. One title each month would be science fiction, and would be featured in Satellite before it appeared in book form.
Merwin left after two issues and Margulies took over as editor with the February 1957 issue. In an attempt to make Satellite more visible on the newsstands, Margulies changed the format from digest-size to letter-size with the February 1959 issue, handing over the editorship to Frank Belknap Long at the same time, and switching to a monthly schedule. This proved to be a mistake. The production costs for the new format were higher, and the sales figures for the first issue in the new format were weak; when Margulies saw the numbers he immediately closed down the magazine. The June 1959 issue was assembled, but never printed, though a few galley proofs made their way into the hands of collectors.[note 1] The end of the magazine also meant the end of Margulies' plans for Renown Books.
Paperbacks were a growing share of the science fiction (sf) market in the mid-1950s; they were successful partly because they offered novels, which most readers preferred to short stories. Margulies decided to combat the threat from paperbacks by including a novel in every issue of the magazine. This was a strategy that had been used by pulp sf magazines like Startling Stories, for which Margulies had been editorial director. It was not common in digest magazines, where a story as short as 15,000 words might be listed as a novel on the contents page, but Margulies acquired true novel-length works, with an average length of about 40,000 words, for Satellite. Margulies used the slogan "The Magazine That Is a Book!" in advertisements for the magazine, and the tagline "A Complete Science Fiction Novel in Every Issue!" appeared on many of the covers.
The first two issues featured Algis Budrys's novel "The Man From Earth", and Philip K. Dick's debut novel, under the title "A Glass of Darkness". Both were revised and appeared as paperbacks in the next couple of years, titled Man of Earth and The Cosmic Puppets, respectively. The high standard of these two issues could not be maintained, and in the opinion of sf historians Malcolm Edwards and Mike Ashley the magazine's quality declined thereafter. Hal Clement's "Planet for Plunder", which appeared in the third issue, was told from the point of view of an alien on a mission to Earth. It was too short to fit Margulies' policy of publishing a lead novel, so Merwin wrote additional chapters from the human perspective, and alternated the two points of view in the published version. Ashley speaks highly of Clement's original novella, which was eventually published without the additions in 1972, and comments that Merwin's additions serve as "an object lesson in how to ruin a good story". Edwards and Ashley single out two other novels as worthy of mention: J.T. McIntosh's One Million Cities (in the August 1958 issue), and Jack Vance’s The Languages of Pao (December 1957), described by sf critics Peter Nicholls and David Langford as "one of the most intelligent uses in genre sf" of the Whorf hypothesis – the theory that the language one speaks determines one's perception of reality. Frank Belknap Long's novel Mission to a Distant Star (February1958) was at one point considered for publication as the first novel in the planned Renown Books line.
The novels in the first five issues were all original, but in August 1957 the lead novel was a reprint: John Christopher's The Year of the Comet, which had been published in the UK in 1955, but had not yet appeared in the US. More reprints followed, including Charles Eric Maine's Wall of Fire, E.C. Tubb's The Resurrected Man, and Noel Loomis's The Man With Absolute Motion. Each had been published in the previous few years in the UK, but not in the US.
Since the word count for the whole magazine was only about 53,000 words, there was little space for other stories or for non-fiction features, and as a result the accompanying stories were usually very short expositions of an idea or joke; in Michael Shaara's "Four-Billion Dollar Door", the first manned trip to the moon lands successfully but discovers that the door has frozen shut and cannot be opened. Arthur C. Clarke and Dal Stevens were frequent contributors of short fiction, and there were appearances by other well-known writers such as Isaac Asimov and L. Sprague de Camp. Margulies was aware that a couple of pages of H.G. Wells' 1895 novel The Time Machine had been omitted from every printing of the novel since its original serialization in 1894–1895 in The New Review, so he paid for a library search and was rewarded by the discovery of the magazine containing the missing pages in the New York Public Library, across the street from his office. The omitted material, which dealt with a far future where humans have degenerated to small, rabbit-like creatures, was reprinted in the August 1958 issue.
Sam Moskowitz began a book review column in February 1957 that quickly turned into a series of articles about early science fiction, beginning with "The Real Earth Satellite Story" in the June 1957 issue, about the idea of satellites in early sf. Moskowitz also suggested stories that could be reprinted to supplement the articles, such as Fitz-James O'Brien's 1864 short story "How I Overcame My Gravity", which accompanied the essay on O'Brien in the June 1958 issue. Most of these articles were later revised for his book, Explorers of the Infinite, though the illustrations, which reproduced early artwork or book covers, were omitted for the book version. Margulies wrote an editorial for every issue except the last one. In the April 1959 issue his essay argued that a letter column was a way to "[strengthen] the bond between writers and readers"; he accordingly introduced a letter column in the May 1959 issue, which proved to be the last. Satellite's artwork was unremarkable, in the opinion of Mike Ashley; he singles out Alex Schomburg's half-dozen covers for praise, but describes the interior art, much of it by Leo Morey, as "mediocre".
When the format changed, at the start of 1959, Margulies dropped the policy of having a full-length novel in every issue. He added a "Department of Lost Stories", which reprinted old stories, selected by reader's requests; the first to be reprinted was Ralph Milne Farley's 1932 short story "Abductor Minimi Digit", requested by Theodore Sturgeon. The June 1959 issue, which was never distributed, would have contained Sturgeon's "The Strange Birth", which eventually appeared in the May 1960 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, under the title "Open to Me, My Sister". A mockup of the cover for the July 1959 has survived, showing some of the planned contents; the two unpublished issues would have contained stories and articles by Arthur C. Clarke, A.E. van Vogt, and Frank Herbert, among others. Most of the stories and articles were eventually published elsewhere.
|Issues of Satellite showing volume/issue numbers, and indicating editors: in order Sam Merwin,|
Leo Margulies, and Frank Belknap Long.
Satellite was digest-sized for the first fourteen issues, and converted to letter-size for the last four. It maintained a regular bimonthly schedule until the switch to letter size, at which point it became monthly. There were three volumes of six numbers each. The digest issues were each 128 pages, and the letter-sized issues were 64 pages. The price was 35 cents throughout. Sam Merwin edited the first two issues; he was succeeded by Leo Margulies for the rest of the digest run. Frank Belknap Long took over as editor for the four letter-sized issues. Margulies' wife, Cylvia, was managing editor for all issues, under her maiden name, Cylvia Kleinman. The publisher for all issues was Renown Publications, which was wholly owned by Leo Margulies.
"A Statue for Father" is a humorous science fiction short story by American writer Isaac Asimov. The story first appeared in the February 1959 issue of Satellite Science Fiction and was reprinted in the 1975 collection Buy Jupiter and Other Stories.Cold War (short story)
"Cold War" is a science fiction short story by British writer Arthur C. Clarke, first published in 1956, and later anthologized in Tales from the White Hart. Like the rest of the collection, it is a frame story set in the fictional pub "White Hart", where Harry Purvis narrates the secondary tale.Explorers of the Infinite
Explorers of the Infinite: Shapers of Science Fiction is a work of collective biography on the formative authors of the science fiction genre by Sam Moskowitz, first published in hardcover by the World Publishing Company in 1963, and reprinted in trade paperback in 1966. A photographic reprint of the original edition was issued in both hardcover and trade paperback by Hyperion Press in 1974. Most of its chapters are revised versions of articles that initially appeared in the magazines Satellite Science Fiction and Fantastic Science Fiction Stories from 1958-1960.The work presents the early history of the genre via a discussion of the lives and works of eighteen of its most important formative authors, followed by a more general discussion of more recent writers.Frank Belknap Long
Frank Belknap Long (April 27, 1901 – January 3, 1994) was an American writer of horror fiction, fantasy, science fiction, poetry, gothic romance, comic books, and non-fiction. Though his writing career spanned seven decades, he is best known for his horror and science fiction short stories, including early contributions to the Cthulhu Mythos. During his life, Long received the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement (at the 1978 World Fantasy Convention), the Bram Stoker Award for Lifetime Achievement (in 1987, from the Horror Writers Association), and the First Fandom Hall of Fame Award (1977).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.Man of Earth
Man of Earth is a science fiction novel by American writer Algis Budrys, first published in 1958 by Ballantine Books. "The Man from Earth", a "greatly different" earlier version of the story, was published in the debut issue of Satellite Science Fiction in 1956.Pay for the Printer
"Pay for the Printer" is a science fiction short story by American writer Philip K. Dick. It was first published in Satellite Science Fiction, in October 1956.Rocket to Limbo
Rocket to Limbo is a 1957 science fiction novel by Alan E. Nourse. It was first published in book form by David McKay Co., Inc, and was later incorporated into an Ace Double (with Echo in the Skull, by John Brunner). It first appeared in the October 1957 issue of Satellite Science Fiction.Second Variety (1991 collection)
Second Variety is a collection of science fiction stories by American writer Philip K. Dick. It was first published by Citadel Twilight in 1991 and reprints Volume III of The Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick with the addition of the story "Second Variety". Many of the stories had originally appeared in the magazines If, Science Fiction Adventures, Science Fiction Stories, Orbit, Fantasy and Science Fiction, Imagination, Future, Galaxy Science Fiction, Beyond Fantasy Fiction, Satellite, Science Fiction Quarterly, Imaginative Tales and Space Science Fiction.Sister Planet
Sister Planet is a science fiction short story by Poul Anderson. It was first published in Satellite Science Fiction in 1959 and has been anthologised many times. It was included in The Golden Age of Science Fiction (anthology).The Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick
The Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick is a collection of 118 science fiction stories by American writer Philip K. Dick. It was first published by Underwood-Miller in 1987 as a five volume set. See Philip K. Dick bibliography for information about the mass market reprints.
Many of the stories had originally appeared in the magazines Fantasy and Science Fiction, Planet Stories, If, Galaxy Science Fiction, Imagination, Space Science Fiction, Fantastic Story Magazine, Amazing Stories, Future Science Fiction, Cosmos, Fantasy Fiction, Beyond Fantasy Fiction, Thrilling Wonder Stories, Startling Stories, Fantastic Universe, Science Fiction Quarterly, Astounding, Science Fiction Adventures, Science Fiction Stories, Orbit, Satellite Science Fiction, Imaginative Tales, Fantastic, Worlds of Tomorrow, Escapade, Famous Science Fiction, Niekas, Rolling Stone College Papers, Interzone, Playboy, Omni and The Yuba City High Times.The Cosmic Puppets
The Cosmic Puppets is a science fiction novel by American author Philip K. Dick, published in 1957. It is a revision of A Glass of Darkness, first published in the December 1956 issue of Satellite Science Fiction.
The Cosmic Puppets was first published as a novel by Ace Books as one half of Ace Double D-249, bound dos-à-dos with Sargasso of Space by Andrew North (better known as Andre Norton).The Egg (1956 short story)
"The Egg" is a science fiction short story by L. Sprague de Camp. It was first published in the magazine Satellite Science Fiction for October, 1956. It first appeared in book form in the collection A Gun for Dinosaur and Other Imaginative Tales (Doubleday, 1963). The story has been translated into German.The Father-Thing (collection)
The Father-Thing is a collection of science fiction stories by American writer Philip K. Dick. It was first published by Gollancz in 1989 and reprints Volume III of The Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick. It had not previously been published as a stand-alone volume. Many of the stories had originally appeared in the magazines If, Science Fiction Adventures, Science Fiction Stories, Orbit, Fantasy and Science Fiction, Imagination, Future, Galaxy Science Fiction, Beyond Fantasy Fiction, Satellite, Science Fiction Quarterly and Imaginative Tales.The Languages of Pao
The Languages of Pao is a science fiction novel by American writer Jack Vance, first published in 1958, in which the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis is a central theme. A shorter version was published in Satellite Science Fiction in late 1957. After the Avalon Books hardcover appeared the next year, it was reprinted in paperback by Ace Books in 1966 and reissued in 1968 and 1974. Additional hardcover and paperback reprints have followed, as well as British, French and Italian editions.The Last Word (Knight short story)
"The Last Word" is a science fiction short story by American writer Damon Knight. It first appeared in the February 1957 issue of Satellite Science Fiction and has been reprinted twice, in Far Out (1961) and The Best of Damon Knight (1976).The Million Cities
The Million Cities is a science fiction novel by Scottish writer J. T. McIntosh, published in August 1958 in Satellite Science Fiction in somewhat shorter form, and subsequently in full in both the US and the UK. A second edition was printed in August 1963.The Watery Place
"The Watery Place" is a science fiction short story by American writer Isaac Asimov. It was first published in the October 1956 issue of Satellite Science Fiction and reprinted in the 1957 collection Earth Is Room Enough. It is Asimov's only science fiction story set in Idaho.