Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CCL (Worlds of If and Galaxy magazines)

(David A. Hardy’s cover art detail from the September 1974 issue of Galaxy)

I am not a collector. “But Joachim Boaz you post recent purchases all the time!” Let me revise: I am a reader who procures a lot of science fiction novels, collections, and anthologies that I may never read. As a general rule, I only buy science fiction that I want to read. There’s a logic behind the handful of duplicate copies I own—for example, both the 1952 and the 1969 editions of Wilson Tucker’s fantastic The Long Loud Silence (1952) grace my shelf. Editors sliced and diced the 1st edition and Tucker published an updated version in 1969 (restoring cuts and adding Vietnam War references).

Of course, I’ve purchased more than one book based on the cover. But more often than not, a few years will pass and I’ll gather those volumes I’ve never wanted to read in the first place, duplicates I’ve accidentally purchased, and my least favorite reads and send them to MPorcius and Thomas L. Anderson (who have far higher tolerance for schlocky science fiction). A collection purge looms.

Magazines are absent from my science fiction accumulation. A glance at my shelves reveals a mere handful (25-30) amidst the looming piles of “to read” science fiction (~1k total volumes). This is partially due to their availability on Internet Archive and partially due to the issue of serialized novels (I never feel the urge to collect four magazines in order to have the entire novel when I could simply buy the novel). That said, so many short fictions were never anthologized and the original magazines are the only way to read them. Only recently have I paid attention to all the fascinating non-fiction sections of the magazines–from updates on the state of the genre to book review columns.

Is there a difference between collecting and buying to read? Let me know.

The Magazines

1. The January 1970 issue of Worlds of If contains the best Harry Harrison short story I’ve encountered so far — “By the Falls” (1970). I’ve also read Frank Herbert’s Whipping Star (1970), serialized over four volumes, but never got around to reviewing it. I found it average at best—far weaker than The Eyes of Heisenberg (1969) and his other non-Dune novels. Are any of the other stories worth reading?

2. The November 1974 issue of Galaxy contains zero stories I’ve read or know much about. I am interested in trying to fictions of J. A. Lawrence (the wife of James Blish). She is best known for her Star Trek novelizations but also published short stories in the major magazines of the day (bibliography).

3. The October 1974 issue of Galaxy likewise contains zero stories I’ve read. As John Christopher’s post-apocalyptic fictions are fresh in my mind, I am intrigued by his short story “The Long Night,” although I know little about it.

4. Once again, the September 1974 issue of Galaxy contains no stories I’ve previously read. I am eager to return to Doris Piserchia’s strange brand of science fiction—i.e. A Billion Days of Earth (1976).

Let me know what stories/covers intrigue you. Which have you read? Disliked? Enjoyed?


1. The January 1970 issue of Worlds of If, ed. Eiler Jakobsson

(Jack Gaughan’s cover illustrating James Sallis’ “This One”)

Contents: Richard Wilson’s “If A Man Answers,” James Sallis’ “This One,” Daniel F. Galouye’s “O Kind Master,” Frank Herbert’s “Whipping Star” (Part 1 of 4), Harry Harrison’s “By The Falls”, Larry Eisenberg’s “Child’s Play.”

2. The November 1974 issue of Galaxy, ed. James Baen

(Stephen Fabian’s cover illustrating Fred Saberhagen’s Love Conquers All)

Contents: Fred Saberhagen’s “Love Conquers All” (Part 1 of 3), J. A. Lawrence’s “The Persistence of Memory,”  David Drake’s “The Butcher’s Bill,” Peter D. Ambrose’s “Of a Death on Dante,” Herbie Brennan’s “The Aerial Machine.”

3. The October 1974 issue of Galaxy, ed. James Baen

(Jack Gaughan’s cover illustrating David Drake’s “Under the Hammer”)

Contents: Arsen Darnay’s “The Eastcoast Confinement,” David Drake’s “Under the Hammer,” James F. Lacey’s “Witch Children,” H. Carl Hill’s “Easy Rider,” Mal Warwick’s “The Destination of Master G,” John Christopher’s “The Long Night,” Edgard Pangborn’s “The Company of Glory” (Part 3 of 3), Tim Altom’s “The Twist.”

4. The September 1974 issue of Galaxy, ed. James Baen

(David A. Hardy’s cover titled “Seismic Operations on Titan”)

Contents: Arsen Darnay’s “The Splendid Freedom,” Doris Piserchia’s “Nature’s Children,” Elizabeth and Rex Levie’s “Incident,” Thomas Wylde’s “Target of Opportunity,” Edgar Pangborn’s “The Company of Glory” (Part 2 of 3), J. A. Lawrence’s “Family Program,” Mary Soderstrom’s “The August Revolution.”

For book reviews consult the INDEX

For cover art posts consult the INDEX

31 thoughts on “Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CCL (Worlds of If and Galaxy magazines)

  1. “I am a reader who procures a lot of science fiction novels, collections, and anthologies that I may never read. As a general rule, I only buy science fiction that I want to read.”
    I feels ya!
    Presently, I’m trying to curb the purchases and read stuff I can find online–all those wonderful scans of old mags.

    • In the grand scheme of things this is a relatively inexpensive hobby (I rarely spend more than $5 with shipping for a paperback) — I’ve slowed down a bit of my purchases due to Covid as I can’t visit bookstores in person. These magazines were $1 each and in fantastic condition.

      This is to say, I’m not trying to curb my purchases! hah!

      • Sadly buying s/h books online in Australia is often a drag. Most of the old sf i’m after comes from the US or the UK—occasionally here—so the postage rates + the exchange rate pumps up the cost somewhat. For instance, the Asimov/Greenberg Great SF Stories series, all 25 volumes, averaged US$15-20 a volume with postage.

  2. I try not to collect. It’s a dangerous addiction. But I love buying books, most of which I haven’t read. I’ve ended up purging my library many times over the years to make room for new purchases. In recent years I’ve tried to stop buying so many books. I’ve imposed rules on myself. Within those rules, I allow myself two collections. First, I buy SF anthologies, either the better retrospective anthologies or the annual best-of-the-year volumes. Second, I collect F&SF before 1980. I have scans of all those issues, but I like holding those old magazines, and I love the covers. Before I made these rules for myself, I bought a large run of Galaxies. I love their covers too, but I’m trying not to collect the missing issues – yet.

    Of the covers above, I like Jan. 1970 IF the best.

    • In this particular instance, these Galaxies cost $1 each. It was hard to resist!

      I enjoy the Jan. 1970 cover as well. Jack Gaughan is always a favorite (although his cover for the Galaxy 1974 issue is murky and far from his best work).

      • That’s why I couldn’t resist buying that lot of Galaxies. Over 150 issues for much less than a dollar each. I even got v. 1 n. 1. Great bargains are what destroy my discipline.

          • That’s the irony of all this. I find it easier to read .cbr scans than the actual magazines. Wanting these magazines is really all about collecting. To own something historical I admire. If I was rational, I would not buy old magazines. I daily call CDisplayEx to view old SF magazines, but seldom pull off an old issue from the shelf. But when I do hold an old SF magazine, especially one with a great cover, and famous stories within, it sparks joy, just like Marie Kondo talks about.

            • So you haven’t read these volumes (in whatever format)? Just curious as I plan on reading them…. eventually…

              If I were presented with two editions at the bookstore, I will almost always choose the older of the two, for similar reasons. But I don’t have to own the older edition to derive pleasure from the reading experience.

  3. Oh, I’m reading them — sometimes. I’ve got two reading projects going. I’m reading the best-of-the-year annuals in order by year. Finished 1939-1952. Also, I’m in a Facebook group where we’re reading SF short stories. Sometimes my only source of a story is a magazine. I read about 350 short stories last year, and expect to go over 500 this year. On the Facebook group, we try to link to the magazine scan if it’s available for members who don’t have the books. I also enjoy seeing the story in the physical magazine if I have it. Our group tries to focus on the best-of-the-year collections, but we’re concurrently trying to keep an eye on the current SF/F magazines too.

    Years ago I decided the best way to understand the SF genre was through the short stories. I figured there were three approaches. Read 5-10 retrospective anthologies. This would cover a couple hundred of the classics. Second level would be to read the best-of-the-year anthologies. It would involve reading hundreds of volumes. Practical, but it would take years, decades. The final level would be to read the magazines. Too impractical. But I still love SF magazines. I think they were the heart and soul of the genre for many decades.

    • By the way, the Facebook group just started The Best Science Fiction of the Year edited by Terry Carr that began in 1972 covering 1971 stories. We’re also one story from finishing up The Science Fiction Hall of Fame Volume One, and will start 2A soon.

    • James, I’m talking only about the magazines in this acquisitions post. I know that you frequently read and comment about various anthologies. I purchased these for the reverse reason as many stories weren’t anthologized. As you stated that you read Galaxy magazines in the past, I asked if you had read these particular issues. I’m sorry if my question wasn’t clear.

      • Okay, I see. I do have the three issues of Galaxy, but not the IF. I’ll take a look at them and get back to you. Off-hand, most of the stories and authors are unfamiliar. There is an Edgar Pangborn serial, and I admire his work. The first thing that attracted me to read, which I’m going off to do now, is the book reviews by Theodore Sturgeon. He reviews Before the Golden Age in the September issue.

        One other thing I noticed is the colors of my issues are slightly different from the pictures you present online. I’m sure every monitor shows them differently too.

        • Pangborn’s Davy is still one of the classics from the 60s I haven’t read — yet… These are hi-res scans of my personal copies. And the colors match. Must be a screen issue.

          • I have a copy of Davy but haven’t read it yet.

            My scans look different on every screen I have. I’ve thought about getting into color calibration but I don’t want to spend the money for a color calibration tool.

            But I guess it really doesn’t matter since everyone sees everything slightly differently. My friend just had cataract surgery and says everything looks different and much brighter.

            • I’ve got a big soft spot for Davy and Pangborn, tho i’ve yet to read A Mirror for Observors. I recently finished The Company of Glory, another work in the same loose sequence Davy is in (Tales of a Darkening World) and it was ok—tho with some great bits. Some of the short stories are worth a look too, mostly collected in the collection Still I Persist in Wondering.

            • I don’t think I’ve read any of his Tales of a Darkening World stories or novels — maybe a short story here and there. I have read but never reviewed West of the Sun (1953), and it was really awful (I understand completely that his other work is far better!).

              West of the Sun does have a great Hoot von Zitzewitz cover for the 1966 edition I owned at one point.

              I have his best known work on the “to read” shelf: Davy, its sequels, A Mirror for Observers, etc.

  4. GALAXY and IF from the latter 1960s just before F. Pohl left as editor is a better bet than just afterwards. That’s to say, the New Wave and the 1960s counterculture and the unrest of 1968 found expression in this period of those magazines, and the mags also occasionally contains stories by great authors which have not made the canon, in the sense of being much reprinted in the anthologies and the author’s own ‘Best of” collections.

    For instance, there are a few James Tiptree stories in that era of GALAXY and IF, such as “Mother In the Sky With Diamonds’ that are better than some than did make it into the posthumous Tiptree ‘best of’, HER SMOKE ROSE UP FOREVER. There are other things, too — weird Frank Herbert and Philip Jose Farmer stuff that has slipped under the radar in the years since, but which is worth a read.

    Also —

  5. Yeah, TEN THOUSAND LIGHT-YEARS FROM HOME was her first anthology: a cheap Ace edition, but a collection with amazingly few duds and a strikingly strong voice for a first outing. And “Mother etc.” is in that one.

    The stories that you mention reviewing above are among the recognized classics, not least because they’re in the HER SMOKE collection, which in 2020 has sort of become the default Tiptree canon as they seem to be the stories by her everybody knows about these days.

    That’s kind of unfortunate, because all the first three Tiptree collections are worth having, IMO, as WARM WORLDS AND OTHERWISE (1975) and STAR SONGS OF AN OLD PRIMATE (1978) also contain stories that I prefer to some of those in the HER SMOKE book.

    Once one looks at all her work, it’s apparent that while Tiptree/Sheldon was very much her own person, she’s a lot more in the great tradition of the classic 1950s-era science fiction writers with a dark, literary outlook — Kornbluth, William Tenn, some Budrys, Pohl, Walter Miller — than people realize these days. Nor is that surprising given that those people were actually her age-contemporaries.

    • The forces of canonization! While I knew two of the stories I linked were classics, I didn’t know what people thought of “A Momentary Taste of Being” — the entire anthology it first appeared in (Le Guin and Wolfe) was of the highest order.

      I should return to her earlier work. I read Ten Thousand for an aborted SF book club while a grad student back in 2011 (?). And what happens if I don’t write up my thoughts on the stories? I’ve lost everything but the vaguest sense that it was a good reading experience.

  6. antyphayes wrote: “For instance, the Asimov/Greenberg Great SF Stories series, all 25 volumes, averaged US$15-20 a volume with

    Yes, these have become inordinately expensive s/h. But again, they’re all free online in PDF form. If you’re not aware, here and look under Asimov.–

    • Oooof! Brutal to find this out so late in the piece–and I even know about the luminist site, mostly using it more the magazine pdfs. I don’t regret buying the hard copies, and I purchased them over about 3 years, so it was manageable. And I still love books over screens any day. But yeah, presently I’m reigning in my buying of old sf and going for the sweet sweet pdfs found all over the net.

      • antyphayes: “But yeah, presently I’m reigning in my buying of old sf.’

        At some point reality has to kick in.

        Personally, I’ve about 8,000 books, magazines, and whatnot in storage — not just SF, and furthermore I used to get paid to review science and business non-fiction and some of that was worth keeping.

        Yes, I was fairly disciplined about selling off books I knew I’d never look at a second time. Nevertheless, it got up to where I was paying $250 a month for that storage. So I recently found a cheaper, nicer place for $93 a month.

        But both the storage charges ($3000 annually at the end!) and the recent physical moving were brutal.

        So as of about eight years back I moved to Kindle, PDFs, and whatever onscreen, unless it’s something that I absolutely want to have at hand in a print edition.

  7. ‘Other than a repository for great PDF copies of SF, what precisely is it?’

    I dunno, honestly. I won’t do it again.

    Conceivably, folk/folks with an Ayn Randian/libertarian bent could be behind the site. But I doubt it; there’s a lot of persuasions of writers there: Engels, Huey Newton, J.G. Ballard, Bob Black (‘The Abolition of Work’), T. Leary, Allan Ginsberg, Nelson Algren, some of the anarchists.

    As regards the Asimov/Greenberg Great SF series, these days they’re prohibitively priced, and a couple of years’ volumes are effectively impossible to find at less than totally ridiculous prices. I happened to buy them in the 1980s. And, IMO, they’re probably the most comprehensive selection out there of what was best of pre-1965 New Wave magazine short SF — and once that constituted the whole field — and people absolutely need and should have access to them

    Similarly, the site has books by R.A. Lafferty that are just impossibly priced and rare now — in the U.S.. You can find them for very different prices in the U.K. So that’s a instance of a situation that’s being gamed by book merchants and that does the author’s readership no service.

    • No apologies needed! I, too, at one point came across their vast repository for my Generation Ship Stories series of posts (all the stories needed to be available online for people to read along with me). And felt strange linking it…..

      I was scared it was some sort of cult. hah.

      I have slowly acquired quite a few R. A. Lafferty volumes over the years, including some of the expensive ones. Like this one (scan of my copy).

  8. Read most of the magazines listed when they first arrived in my mailbox when I was in high school. Favorite cover is the Steve Fabian, always loved his stuff. Loved the “Hammer’s Slammers” stories then, I was sixteen. I liked Fred Saberhagen’s short stories, but stay away from “Love Conquers All”. Yes, “By the Falls” is a great story, and it never dates. Sadly. So many of these authors I liked in my teens when I was reading exclusively sf magazines. As a side note, I read “Houston, Houston, Do You Read?” when it first came out, and found it so bad, that until this day I find it hard to read Tiptree’s fiction. I seem to be in the minority about this however. Ah, well.

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