Science fiction magazine | digest-sized magazines

Digest-sized magazines

After the pulp era, digest size magazines dominated the newsstand. The first sf magazine to change to digest size was Astounding, in 1943. Other major digests, which published more literary science fiction, were The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Galaxy Science Fiction and If. Under the editorship of Cele Goldsmith, Amazing and Fantastic changed from pulp style adventure stories to literary science fiction. Goldsmith published the first professionally published stories by Roger Zelazny (not counting student fiction in Literary Cavalcade), Keith Laumer, Thomas M. Disch, Sonya Dorman and Ursula K. Le Guin.

There was also no shortage of digests that continued the pulp tradition of hastily written adventure stories set on other planets. Other Worlds and Imaginative Tales had no literary pretensions. The major pulp writers, such as Heinlein, Asimov and Clarke, continued to write for the digests, and a new generation of writers, such as Algis Budrys and Walter M. Miller, Jr., sold their most famous stories to the digests. A Canticle for Leibowitz was published in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction.

Most digest magazines began in the 1950s, in the years between the film Destination Moon, the first major science fiction film in a decade, and the launching of Sputnik, which sparked a new interest in space travel as a real possibility. Most survived only a few issues. By 1960, in the United States, there were only six sf digests on newsstands, in 1970 there were seven, in 1980 there were five, in 1990 only four and in 2000 only three.

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