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Borgo Press

Entry updated 10 July 2023. Tagged: Publisher.

Former US publishing house, a Small Press which long maintained a fairly extensive list of works of interest to sf. Its name is a play on "Borgo Pass," the name for Romania's Tihuţa Pass used in Bram Stoker's Dracula (1897; rev with cuts 1901). Originally based in California, the company was founded in 1975 by Robert Reginald, as publisher and editor, and his wife, Mary Wickizer Burgess, who played an increasingly large role from the mid-1980s as co-publisher and managing editor.

Borgo Press began by publishing 35 64-page chapbooks on sf authors in the late 1970s as The Milford Series: Popular Writers of Today, which started with Robert A. Heinlein: Stranger in his Own Land (1976 chap; rev 1977) by George Slusser, as well as ten full-length novels by Piers Anthony, D G Compton, and others through 1979. In 1980 Borgo Press turned from the trade to the academic market, moving to full-size books, and introducing other monographic series of sf interest, including the I.O. Evans Studies in the Philosophy and Criticism of Literature (from 1982); Bibliographies of Modern Authors (from 1984, bibliographies of individual writers, including Stephen King); Essays on Fantastic Literature (from 1986); and Classics of Fantastic Literature (from 1994, comprising original and reprint sf works). In 1991 Borgo Press purchased Brownstone Books, Sidewinder Press, and St. Willibrord's Press, which it continued to operate as separate imprints, and in 1993 acquired 100 titles of sf interest from Starmont House and FAX Collector's Editions when those lines ceased operation, plus 30 unpublished manuscripts. New imprints were begun in the 1990s, including Burgess & Wickizer, Emeritus Enterprises, and Unicorn & Son (revived from Reginald's 1970 one-shot imprint). Borgo Press also distributed over 1000 books from other lines, mostly not sf.

In the 1990s, Borgo Press was usually publishing from 30 to 40 titles a year, including nonfiction from prominent authors like Harlan Ellison, James Gunn, and George Zebrowski; yet Reginald was also provoking much behind-the-scenes ire due to his habit of liberally issuing numerous contracts to authors but failing to publish their books. After an ominous period of inactivity, the company officially closed down in 1998. Five years later, Borgo Press was revived as an imprint of the print-on-demand publisher Wildside Press, again under Reginald's direction and again specializing in critical books about sf. However, after Reginald's death in 2013, the imprint has apparently been retired. [JC/PN/GW]

see also: SF in the Classroom.

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