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Extrapolation [magazine]

Entry updated 2 May 2022. Tagged: Publication.

Critical magazine, edited by Thomas D Clareson from its inception in December 1959; Donald M Hassler joined Clareson from the Winter 1987 issue, and became sole editor from the Spring 1990 issue, a dominant role he maintained, though the designation of his role changed at least once, until he retired in 2007. The journal has since been edited by several scholars acting as a board; they include Andrew M Butler, Michael Levy, Javier A Martinez, Wendy Pearson and John Rieder. Extrapolation appeared initially twice a year, quarterly since Spring 1979, and is now tri-annual. It began as The Newsletter of the Conference on Science-Fiction of the MLA (the MLA being the Modern Languages Association) and was first published from the English Department of the College of Wooster, Ohio; from Spring 1979 it was published by the Kent State University Press, Ohio, and it is now published by Liverpool University Press.

Initially Extrapolation was very much the product of one person, Clareson (although it had a large editorial board), without whose enthusiasm it might not have survived. He continued as Emeritus Editor until his death in 1993. It was the first of the academic journals about sf; its successors have included Foundation: The Review of Science Fiction, then Science Fiction Studies and, much more recently, Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts. Extrapolation is a journal more notable for feature articles than for reviews, polemics or ongoing debate. While its standard has been variable – there have certainly been flat spots – the same can be said of the other critical magazines. In its long career it has published articles of all kinds, though generally concentrating more on scholarship than on criticism. A long-running feature (until 1981) was the annual survey, "The Year's Scholarship in Science Fiction and Fantasy", compiled first by Clareson and later by Marshall B Tymn and Roger C Schlobin; it continued as a separate publication from Kent State from 1982. Extrapolation's existence as the earliest public platform for sf studies significantly advanced them; historically important, Extrapolation continues to be relevant and sometimes stimulating, although too few of its articles are of interest outside a rather narrow academic community. Extrapolation's rare first ten years' issues – constituting volumes 1-10 – were reprinted in book form by Gregg Press as Extrapolation: A Science-Fiction Newsletter, Vols 1-10 (anth 1978) edited by Clareson, and volumes 11-13, covering 1969-1972, were reprinted by Johnson Reprint Corporation as Extrapolation: A Science-Fiction Newsletter (anth 1973), also edited by Clareson. [PN]

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