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Saturn [magazine]

Entry updated 18 November 2015. Tagged: Publication.

US Digest-size magazine. Published by Robert C Sproul as Candar Publishing Company. Edited by Sproul with editorial consultant Donald A Wollheim, who actually selected the stories and assembled the issues. Five issues March 1957 to March 1958 (but see below for later incarnations).

Considering some of the contributors, there was surprisingly little of interest in the magazine: Harlan Ellison, Damon Knight, Jack Vance and Robert A Heinlein. Their work was clearly bottom-drawer material bought cheaply. Heinlein's was "The Elephant Circuit" (October 1957), a story written in 1948 which has since appeared under the title "The Man Who Traveled in Elephants" (in The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag coll 1959). It is of historical interest that the fifth issue ran the last published story by Ray Cummings, "Requiem for a Small Planet" (March 1958), and there were new translations of little-known stories by Jules Verne. The magazine kept changing its subtitle: "The Magazine of Science Fiction" on the first issue, "Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction" on the second and the remainder "Science Fiction and Fantasy". Then Saturn changed entirely. Dissatisfied with sales and with sf entering an apparent slump, Sproul transformed it into a hard-boiled crime magazine as Saturn Web Detective Stories from August 1958, then Web Detective Stories from July 1959 and, from August 1962, as Web Terror Stories, harking back to the weird-menace Pulps of the 1930s, though in digest format. This final incarnation ran some terror tales by John W Jakes and Marion Zimmer Bradley in its first issue, and even included one or two sf stories, but nothing of interest. The magazine eventually ceased its identity-changing and folded in June 1965 after 27 issues. [MA/PN/DRL]


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