Worlds of Tomorrow

Tagged: Publication

US Digest-size magazine, 26 issues in two series, April 1963 to May 1967 and [Summer] 1970 to Spring 1971. First issue published by Barmaray Co., New York and then by Galaxy Publishing Co. as a bimonthly companion to Galaxy Science Fiction and If, until May 1967, 23 issues, edited by Frederik Pohl. The bimonthly schedule slipped when August 1964 was followed by November 1964, and it went quarterly May 1966-May 1967. Worlds of Tomorrow was briefly revived by the Universal Publishing and Distributing Co. after they bought the Galaxy group, with three disappointing issues published 1970-1971 edited by Ejler Jakobsson.

The magazine had been started because Pohl had wanted Galaxy to go monthly and his publisher, Robert M Guinn, was not convinced it was worth the extra cost but felt a new magazine, in the alternate months, would be more profitable – which it wasn't. The first series was usually regarded as a poor relation to Galaxy and If, though in fact it did have an identity of its own. Pohl used it partly as an overflow for stories he wanted to get into print quickly but for which he didn't have space in Galaxy or If, or for stories that were slightly more risky and did not feel at home in the other two magazines. Brian W Aldiss's The Dark Light-Years (April 1964; exp 1964) is one such example which considers Aliens that are physically repellent. The most notable examples, though, are the early stories in Philip José Farmer's Riverworld series, including "Day of the Great Shout" (January 1965), which was incorporated into the Hugo-winning To Your Scattered Bodies Go (January 1965-March 1966; fixup 1971). Pohl was prepared to give his contributors artistic freedom and Worlds of Tomorrow was a good vehicle for such experimentation. As a consequence Pohl enticed Robert Silverberg back into the SF Magazines with "To See the Invisible Man" (April 1963) which marked a turning point in Silverberg's career, heralding his more mature phase.

Other notable stories included Philip K Dick's "All We Marsmen" (August-December 1963; exp vt Martian Time-Slip 1964) and "Project Plowshare" (November 1965-January 1966; exp vt The Zap Gun 1967), Samuel R Delany's "The Star Pit" (February 1967), and Larry Niven's first novel World of Ptavvs (March 1965; exp 1966). A much-discussed article on Cryonics by R C W Ettinger (June 1963) ultimately led to the magazine publishing a symposium on the subject (August 1966). The magazine also continued Sam Moskowitz's series of articles on themes and personalities in sf which had previously run in Amazing Stories. Worlds of Tomorrow was absorbed into its senior partner Worlds of If Science Fiction after May 1967.

When Jakobsson revived the magazine it was once again used for the more risky and outlandish stories, tapping into the sexual freedom of the end of the 1960s, such as in "The Bridge" ([Summer] 1970) by Piers Anthony and "In the Land of Love" ([Summer] 1970) by George H Smith. Generally the three revival issues were a wasted opportunity, the only stories of any interest being "The State vs Susan Quod" ([Summer] 1970) by Noel Loomis, which considered the legal rights of Androids and "Epic" (Spring 1971) by William Rotsler, which explored the movie industry of the future.

A UK edition, published by Gold Star, ran for only four issues Spring-Winter 1967. The second issue of the short-lived magazine The Best Science Fiction (1965), edited by Frederik Pohl, consisted wholly of reprints from Worlds of Tomorrow. [MA/BS/PN]

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