Academic Journal

Tagged: Publication | Theme

In strict definition these are critical journals about science fiction, featuring no fiction other than as reference, published by academic establishments. By wider acceptance, however, these can include other critical Magazines produced within the science fiction fraternity which provide serious discussion and analysis of the genre to academic standards.

Academic interest in sf did not fully emerge until the 1970s (see Critical and Historical Works About SF), when science fiction courses started to appear, but before that Thomas D Clareson had edited Extrapolation since December 1959, originally based at the College of Wooster, Ohio. It was considerably ahead of the game, and Clareson's rational and perceptive understanding of science fiction helped develop a foundation in academic studies. Clareson also founded the Science Fiction Research Association in October 1970 which publishes its own SFRA Newsletter (now SFRA Review) which is noted for its insightful book reviews. Thanks to the efforts of George Hay, who helped establish the Science Fiction Foundation in 1971, then based at the North-East London Polytechnic, Britain had its own academic journal, Foundation: The Review of Science Fiction, launched in March 1972 with Charles Barren as its founding editor. It was followed rapidly by Science Fiction Studies, founded in Spring 1973 by Richard Dale Mullen at Indiana State University and co-edited with Darko Suvin. These three have remained the primary academic journals of science fiction, developing a depth of information and opinion on major writers and the international scene.

A fourth magazine appeared in 1988, Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts, published by the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts which had grown out of the annual International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts established by Robert A Collins and Roger Schlobin in 1979 under the auspices of the Florida Atlantic University. Despite subsequent problems in finding funding and a permanent home for the Association, the Journal has continued, producing a wide ranging view of the fantastic, including sf and fantasy, with many thematic studies.

Outside of academic circles fans and writers have produced several Amateur Magazines that have explored science fiction seriously. One of the first was The Science Fiction Critic (November 1935-December 1938) a simple four-page mimeographed Fanzine, produced by Claire P Beck (1919-1999) in Reno, Nevada. More appeared after the War including, chronologically, Fantasy Commentator (2 series: December 1943-Spring/Summer 1952 [Spring and Fall 1953 were not published until 1986]; Winter 1978/9-Spring 2011) edited by A Langley Searles; The Journal of Science Fiction (Fall 1951-#4, 1953) edited by Charles Freudenthal with Edward Wood from the second issue; Algol (November 1963-Winter/Spring 1984), later Starship, edited by Andrew Porter; Zenith (October 1963-#33, 1973), later Speculation, edited by Peter Weston; SF Horizons (Spring 1964-Winter 1965), edited by Brian W Aldiss and Harry Harrison; Riverside Quarterly (August 1964-June 1995) edited by Leland Sapiro (1924-2013); The Australian SF Review (2 series: June 1966-June 1969; March 1986-Autumn 1991) edited in its first series by John Bangsund and its second series by the "Science Fiction Collective"; Thrust (January 1973-Spring/Summer 1993), later Quantum, edited by Doug Fratz; Delap's F & SF Review (1975-1978) edited by Richard Delap; Arena SF (December 1975-#13, 1982; first 4 issues as Titan) edited by Geoff Rippington; Science Fiction: A Review of Speculative Literature (1977-2009) edited by Van Ikin; Fantasy Review (June 1978-July/August 1987), which had started life as Fantasy Newsletter, but turned into a serious critical study, especially under the editorship of Robert Collins; Science Fiction & Fantasy Book Review (1979-1980), edited by Neil Barron; American Fantasy (1982-1988), edited by Robert and Nancy Garcia; Science Fiction Eye (1987-1997), edited by Stephen P Brown and Daniel Steffan; The New York Review of Science Fiction (August 1988-current), produced by David G Hartwell and others; Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Review Annual (1988-1994), edited by Robert A Collins and Robert Latham; Monad (October 1990-September 1993), edited by Damon Knight, which only lasted three issues but provided a forum for longer critical essays, and Femspec (September 1999-current), an interdisciplinary Feminist journal edited by Batya Weinbaum. [MA/DRL]

Previous versions of this entry

Website design and build: STEEL

Site ©2011 Gollancz, SFE content ©2011 SFE Ltd.