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Vargo Statten Science Fiction Magazine

Entry updated 6 May 2024. Tagged: Publication.

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UK magazine published by Scion, London, for the first seven issues, then Dragon Publications; edited by "Vargo Statten", a pseudonym of Alistair Paterson (1902-1976) for seven issues, and thereafter of John Russell Fearn. 19 issues, January 1954 to [February] 1956. Nominally monthly, but see below.

All but the first two issues were undated. The first three issues were standard Pulp size, if a little thin, then large Digest size to #11 (January 1955), and finally pocketbook size. Though intended to be a monthly, the magazine skipped months seven times. It was retitled Vargo Statten British Science Fiction Magazine for volume 1 #4-#5 ([May]-[July] 1954), The British Science Fiction Magazine for volume 1 #6-#12 ([September] 1954-[April] 1955), and finally The British Space Fiction Magazine from volume 2 #1 ([June] 1955) to the end.

Vargo Statten Science Fiction Magazine owed its existence to the success of Scion's paperback-book line, which included many sf novels written by Fearn and published as by Vargo Statten. A magazine under Statten's name seemed a good financial bet, given the popularity of the books. The policy of aiming stories at younger readers may have alienated some UK authors; the low rates of payment, finally 12s 6d (£0.63) per thousand words for world rights, cannot have helped. The magazine also incorporated some fan features in a hope to appeal to British fans, but nevertheless this publication never really caught on. Barrington J Bayley made his debut here with "Combat's End" in #4 (1954), though his name was given as J Barrington Bayley; E C Tubb often appeared both under his own name and under pseudonyms, and Kenneth Bulmer also appeared several times under the alias Chesman Scott. Fearn, who was still producing novels at a regular pace, was forced to use many of his own stories – sometimes old ones slightly rewritten under various pseudonyms – to fill up the issues.

The Fandom-related features – including the regular column "Fanfare and Suchlike" by A Vincent Clarke writing as "Inquisitor", and many "Who's Who in Fandom"/"Personalities of Fandom" profiles by various hands – were eventually assembled as The Inquisitor: Fan Columns from The Vargo Statten Science Fiction Magazine (anth 2000 chap). [FHP/MA]

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