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Satellite Science Fiction

Entry updated 18 June 2021. Tagged: Publication.


US magazine, 18 issues October 1956 to May 1959, began as a Digest until December 1958 and then letter-size, February to May 1959; bimonthly, but monthly for last four issues (February-May 1959). Published by Renown Publications, New York. Cylvia Kleinman (Mrs Leo Margulies) was managing editor on all issues, which were edited by Sam Merwin Jr October to December 1956, Leo Margulies February 1957 to December 1958 and Frank Belknap Long February to May 1959.

Satellite Science Fiction was the new sf magazine created by Leo Margulies after he left Fantastic Universe. In seeking to combat the growing rivalry of the paperback novel, Margulies recreated the formula that had worked in the 1940s for Startling Stories – of which Margulies was overall editorial director – of "a complete science fiction novel in every issue". Satellite began promisingly, its first two issues featuring "The Man from Earth" (October 1956; rev vt Man of Earth 1958) by Algis Budrys and "A Glass of Darkness" (December 1956; vt The Cosmic Puppets 1957) by Philip K Dick, as well as stories by Isaac Asimov, Arthur C Clarke (in each of the first five issues), L Sprague de Camp and others, including Helen McCloy writing as Helen Clarkson. Merwin left after the second issue, however, and the magazine gradually declined, though it did run an interesting series of articles by Sam Moskowitz on the History of SF – a partial basis for his Explorers of the Infinite (coll 1963) – and the novel The Languages of Pao (December 1957; cut 1958) by Jack Vance. Most later novels were first US printings of British titles, with work by John Christopher, Charles Eric Maine and E C Tubb; there was also a more unusual novel by American writer, Noel Loomis, The Man With Absolute Motion (1955; October 1958) which had hitherto only been published in the UK under an alias. The change to letter size for the last four issues was brought on by market demands to have a format that stood out on the shelves – many magazines were considering this at the time – but the change was costly both in terms of production costs and reader expectation. The magazine's entire policy changed, losing the complete novel and incorporating a relatively lacklustre set of stories. Margulies decided to cut his losses. The June 1959 issue was printed but never distributed.

Satellite Science Fiction should not be confused with the early UK fanzine The Satellite. [MJE/MA]


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