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Science-Fiction Plus

Entry updated 5 April 2024. Tagged: Publication.


US letter-size magazine, perfect bound. Seven issues, March to December 1953, monthly for four months, then bimonthly, published from New York by Hugo Gernsback's Gernsback Publications Inc, with Sam Moskowitz as managing editor.

This was Gernsback's last venture in the sf field, and attempted to recover something of the flavour of his early pulps, including some Frank R Paul covers, but it was a financial failure. Notable stories – there were few – included two of Philip José Farmer's early novelettes, "The Biological Revolt" (March 1953) and "Strange Compulsion" (October 1953), material by Clifford Simak and F L Wallace, and two stories by the veteran Harry Bates: "Death of a Sensitive" (May 1953) and "The Triggered Dimension" (December 1953). However, the reappearance of contributors like Eando Binder and Raymond Z Gallun may have appealed to the Pulp devotees, but not to the new readers of Galaxy and the other flourishing Digest magazines. Science-Fiction Plus was well produced, the first five issues being on slick paper; but an appeal to nostalgia was not enough, and Gernsback retired hurt, complaining in his final editorial that fans had become too highbrow. Gernsback and Moskowitz had different views on what constituted good new science fiction and both were rather locked into their own idealized but often incompatible views about new contributions by the sf writers of the 1930s. The result was a magazine that felt it was looking backwards rather than forwards and certainly offered nothing to rival Astounding or Galaxy, despite its initial Slick appearance. Moskowitz did try to seek out new writers, but the majority of those he discovered just as rapidly disappeared. Although he published the first story by Anne McCaffrey, "Freedom of the Race" (October 1953), he rejected her later submissions and did little to encourage her career.

A "pre-first" issue of Science-Fiction Plus dated November 1952, with lead story "And Sodden Death" by Hugo Gernsback, was according to Sam Moskowitz published for trademark purposes only and never offered for sale; its three other stories are by Gernsback's anagrammatic pseudonyms Greno Gashbuck, Kars Gugenchob and Gus N Habergock – the last being his byline for "The Radio Brain" (1946 Digest of Digests), here reprinted. [BS/PN/DRL/MA]

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