Beyond Fantasy Fiction

Beyond Fantasy Fiction

Infobox Magazine
title = Beyond Fantasy Fiction

image_caption = The surrealist cover of "Beyond Fantasy Fiction" #1, July 1953 by Richard M. Powers
editor = H. L. Gold
frequency = bimonthly
circulation =
category = fantasy magazine
company = Galaxy Publishing Corporation
publisher = Robert Guinn
firstdate = July, 1953
finaldate = January, 1955
finalnumber = Volume 2 No 4
country = United States
website =

"Beyond Fantasy Fiction" was a US fantasy fiction magazine edited by H. L. Gold, of which only ten issues were published, from 1953 to 1955. Although not a commercial success, it included several significant short stories by distinguished authors, such as Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury and Philip K. Dick.Asimov's "Kid Stuff" and Dick's "The King of the Elves" appeared in the September 1953 issue: cite journal | year = 1953 | month = September | journal = Beyond Fantasy Fiction | title = "Kid Stuff" & "The King of the Elves" | pages = 121, 142 | volume = 1 | issue = 2 Bradbury's "The Watchful Poker Chip" appeared in the March 1954 issue: cite journal | year = 1953 | month = March | journal = Beyond Fantasy Fiction | title = The Watchful Poker Chip | pages = 128 | volume = 1 | issue = 5 . These and more may be found via an online index: cite web | url = | title = ISFDB: Beyond Fantasy Fiction | accessmonthday=21 July | accessyear = 2007] The publication has been described by critics as a successor to the tradition of "Unknown", a fantasy magazine that folded in 1943 and was noted for printing fantasy with a rational basis, such as stories about werewolves with a scientific explanation. A selection of stories from "Beyond" was published in paperback form in 1963, also under the title "Beyond".

James Gunn, a historian of science fiction, regarded the magazine as the best of the fantasy magazines launched in the early 1950s, and science fiction encyclopediast Donald H. Tuck felt it printed very good material. Not every critic felt "Beyond" was completely successful, however; P. Schuyler Miller, in a 1963 review, commented that the stories were most successful when they did not try to emulate "Unknown".

History and significance

"Beyond Fantasy Fiction" was a fantasy-oriented companion to the more successful "Galaxy Science Fiction", which launched in 1950; "Beyond" had been planned by editor H. L. Gold from the time "Galaxy" was launched, but had to wait until "Galaxy" was firmly established.Michael Ashley, "Transformations", pp. 65–66.] "Beyond"'s first issue, dated July 1953, included an editorial by Gold in which he laid out the magazine's scope, excluding (in his words) only "the probably possible" and "the unentertaining".H.L. Gold, "Beyond", in "Beyond Fantasy Fiction", July 1953, p. 2.] Gold recruited Sam Merwin, who had recently quit as editor of "Fantastic Universe," to help in editing, though Gold was listed as editor on the masthead of both magazines. A typical issue of "Beyond" included a couple of stories that were long enough to be listed as novellas or novelettes, with the contents filled out with shorter works, usually for a total of at least seven stories.See the individual issues, and also the index at cite web | url = | title = ISFDB: Beyond Fantasy Fiction | accessmonthday=21 July | accessyear = 2007|publisher=ISFDB]

The first issue featured Theodore Sturgeon, Damon Knight and Richard Matheson. Other writers who appeared in the magazine included Jerome Bixby, John Wyndham, James E. Gunn, Fredric Brown, Frederik Pohl (both under his own name and with Lester del Rey under the joint pseudonym "Charles Satterfield"), Philip José Farmer, Randall Garrett, Zenna Henderson, and Algis Budrys.

, though there were several other regulars. The magazine carried almost no non-fiction, though there were occasional "filler" pieces to fill spaces at the end of stories.For example, the January 1954 issue has a half-page filler entitled "Feline Facts", about the habits of cats. cite journal | year = 1954 | month = January| title = Feline Facts | journal = Beyond Fantasy Fiction | volume = 1 | issue = 4 | pages = 59] There were no book reviews, and only the first issue carried an editorial.

The magazine was not commercially successful: at that time circulation figures were not required to be published annually, as they were later,See for example the statement of circulation in "Statement Required by the Act of October 23, 1962", "Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact" vol. 76, no 4 (December 1965), p.161.] so the actual circulation figures are not known. It lasted less than two years, its demise caused in part by the decreasing popularity of fantasy and horror fiction.


, reviewing an anthology drawn from the pages of "Beyond", was generally approving but commented that "Except for Budrys, Pohl, Brown and Sturgeon, these stories from "Beyond" are rather self-conscious. They are best when they are not trying to be like "Unknown"." Miller's assessment of the magazine overall was that it "made a pass at the same position [as "Unknown"] but didn't make it.""The Reference Library", "Analog Science Fact—Science Fiction" vol. 71, no 5 (July 1963), pp. 87–88.]

"Beyond"'s selection of stories has been described by a historian of sf Michael Ashley as "seeking to achieve … high quality fantasy fiction acceptable to all readers"; he adds that "Beyond" was more successful than "Fantastic Science Fiction", a competitor in this niche, because Gold "had a clearer vision and was more determined … to achieve it. … despite sales problems, Gold persisted in publishing fiction that sought to stretch the boundaries of imagination."

Several significant or widely reprinted stories appeared during "Beyond"'s short history:All but the Gunn and Dick stories are included by Tuck in his list of "Notable fiction" from "Beyond". The Gunn story is mentioned as a classic by Ashley, in "Beyond Fantasy Fiction", p.110. Dick's story is included because of his current prominence; see Tuck "Beyond Fantasy Fiction".]

* "…And My Fear Is Great…", by Theodore Sturgeon (July 1953)
* "The Wall Around the World", by Theodore R. Cogswell (September 1953)
* "Kid Stuff", by Isaac Asimov (September 1953)
* "The Watchful Poker Chip", by Ray Bradbury (March 1954). Generally reprinted under the title "The Watchful Poker Chip of H. Matisse"
* "Sine of the Magus", by James E. Gunn (May 1954)
* "The Green Magician", by L. Sprague de Camp and Fletcher Pratt (November 1954). Part of the Incompleat Enchanter series
* "Upon the Dull Earth", by Philip K. Dick (November 1954)

Although no Hugo Awards were presented in 1954, the 2004 World Science Fiction Convention awarded "Retro Hugos" for that year. Two "Beyond" stories appeared as runners-up: Sturgeon's "…And My Fear Is Great…" placed third in the novella category, and Cogswell's "The Wall Around the World" fifth in the novelette category. In addition, Gold placed fifth in the editor category, though this recognized his work at "Galaxy" as well as at "Beyond".cite web | url = | title = The Long List of Retro Hugo Awards, 1954| publisher = NESFA| accessmonthday=20 September | accessyear = 2007]

Bibliographic details

The publisher was Galaxy Publishing Corporation, New York. The magazine was initially titled "Beyond Fantasy Fiction", and this remained the title on the masthead throughout the ten-issue run. However, issue 9 changed the title to simply "Beyond Fiction" on the cover, spine, and table of contents. Issue 10 used the new, shorter title on the cover and spine, but reverted to "Beyond Fantasy Fiction" for the table of contents. As a result the magazine is often listed as having changed its name for the last two issues.See the individual issues, and also the index at cite web | url = | title = ISFDB: Beyond Fantasy Fiction | accessmonthday=21 July | accessyear = 2007|publisher = ISFDB Tuck, "Beyond Fantasy Fiction", p.549.]

The magazine began as a 160-page digest, priced at 35 cents. The price stayed the same throughout the run, but the page count was cut to 128 for the eighth issue, September 1954. The magazine was bimonthly, but issues 9 and 10 did not carry month and year dates, which has led different bibliographers to catalogue them in different ways. However, the masthead for these issues indicates that the magazine remained bimonthly, and so they are now usually catalogued as November 1954 and January 1955, respectively; the copyright dates on the last two issues correspond to these dates. The volume numbering was completely regular; volume 1 had six numbers, and volume 2 ceased with its fourth number. The stories were printed in the two-column format usual to digest magazines.Not described in the reference works; see the individual issues.]

A British edition of the magazine ran for four issues on a bimonthly schedule starting in November 1953 and finishing in May 1954. These copied the first four issues of the US version, with slightly cut contents. They were numbered 1 to 4 but were not dated. [Ashley, "Beyond Fantasy Fiction," p.110; Tuck, "Beyond Fantasy Fiction", p.549.] Ten years after the magazine folded, nine stories from "Beyond" were collected into the 160-page paperback "Beyond", published in 1963 by Berkley Books (F712) and edited by Thomas Dardis (who was not credited on the book).Mike Ashley, "Beyond Fantasy Fiction," in John Clute and John Grant, eds, "The Encyclopedia of Fantasy" (New York: St. Martin's; ISBN 0312145942), 110.]



*cite book | first=Michael | last=Ashley | title=The History of the Science Fiction Magazine Vol. 3 1946–1955| publisher=Contemporary Books, Inc.| location=Chicago | year=1976 |isbn= 0-8092-7842-1
*cite book | first=Michael | last=Ashley | title=The History of the Science Fiction Magazine Part 4 1956–1965| publisher=New English Library| location=London | year=1978 | isbn= 0-450-03438-0
*cite book | first=Mike | last=Ashley | title=Transformations: The Story of the Science Fiction Magazines from 1950 to 1970| publisher=Liverpool University Press| location=Liverpool| year=2005 | isbn= 0-85323-779-4
*cite book|last= Nicholls|first= Peter| title= The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction| year=1979| publisher= Granada Publishing| location= St Albans| isbn= 0-586-05380-8
*cite book|last=Clute|first= John|coauthors= Nicholls, Peter| title= The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction| year=1993| publisher= St. Martin's Press, Inc.| location= New York| isbn= 0-312-09618-6
*cite book | first=Donald H. | last=Tuck | title=The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy: Volume 3| publisher=Advent: Publishers, Inc. | location=Chicago | year=1982 | isbn= 0-911682-26-0

External links

* [ ISFDB: "Beyond Fantasy Fiction"] in Internet Speculative Fiction Database

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