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World Editions agreed, hired Gold as the editor, and the first issue appeared in October Gold initially suggested two titles for the magazine, If and Galaxy. Gold's art director, Washington Irving van der Poel, mocked up multiple layouts and Gold invited hundreds of writers, editors, artists, and fans to view them and vote for their favorite; the vote was strongly for Galaxy as the title.
Simak later published in book form as Time and Again. Along with an essay by Gold, Galaxy 's premiere issue introduced a book review column by anthologist Groff Conklin , which ran until , and a Willy Ley science column. Gold sought to implement high-quality printing techniques, though the quality of the available paper was insufficient for the full benefits to be seen.
History of science fiction
The new paper was of even lower quality, a disappointment to Gold. In the summer of , disagreements within World Editions led to attempts to disrupt Galaxy 's distribution. They tried to recruit Gold, but he contacted the Italian office, which rejected the sale and eventually agreed to sell Galaxy to the printer, Robert M. It was only after the sale was complete that the sabotaged distribution came to light; World Editions wanted to buy back the magazine, but Guinn quoted a price four times as high as he had paid.
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In Gold's words, "he, Guinn, knew what he was buying, whereas World Editions hadn't known what they were selling". Guinn's new company was named Galaxy Publishing Corporation, and it took over beginning with the October issue. Science fiction author Frederik Pohl , then working as a literary agent, was also helpful in connecting writers with Gold. By the late s, the science fiction magazine boom was over, and the relatively low circulation of the magazines did not endear them to distributors, the middlemen who transported magazines from the publishers to the newsstands and other outlets.
Gold changed the title from Galaxy Science Fiction to Galaxy Magazine with the September issue, commenting that the term science fiction "scares many people away from buying". Galaxy 's circulation, at about 90,, was the highest of the science fiction magazines, but Guinn decided to cut costs, and in raised the cover price and changed the magazine to a bimonthly schedule, while increasing the page count. Guinn also cut the rates paid to authors from three and occasionally four cents a word to one and a half cents a word.
The result was a fall in circulation to about 80, within two years, but this was sustainable because of the savings from the fiction budget. Guinn acquired If , another science fiction magazine, in , and gave it to Gold to edit as well. The July issue of If was the first under Gold's editorship. Galaxy 's shift to a bimonthly schedule had been intended to help reduce the workload on Gold, who was not in good health; he was able to take on If as well because the two magazines alternated months of publication.
Gold, who was agoraphobic, was making efforts at this time to leave his apartment, but in he was seriously injured in a taxi accident, and proved unable to continue as editor.
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Pohl took over at some point in early , though he was not listed on the masthead as editor until the December issue. Pohl attempted to persuade Guinn to double the pay rate of one and a half cents a word back to the former level of three. Guinn refused, but Pohl was able to find enough material that he could purchase at a low rate to allow him to offer some authors three cents per word.
The strategy was successful in improving circulation, and Guinn eventually acceded to the rate increase. Pohl also tried hard to persuade Guinn and Sol Cohen , whom Guinn had hired to help with the publishing duties, to switch both Galaxy and If to monthly schedules. In late , they agreed, but soon changed their minds and decided to start a third science fiction magazine instead.
This was Worlds of Tomorrow , which was launched in April and lasted until mid it was briefly revived in — Pohl was in Rio de Janeiro at a World Science Fiction Symposium when the sale went through; he heard the news when he returned to the Galaxy office afterwards and within a few days decided to resign.
Lester del Rey stayed on as features editor, and Judy-Lynn Benjamin took his place as managing editor. Galaxy 's circulation had held relatively steady in the mids, ranging between 73, and 78,, but the UPD acquisition coincided with a precipitous drop—from 75, for the year ended October , circulation fell to 51, just one year later.
Difficulties with distribution also cut into income, and Arnold Abramson, UPD's owner, decided to cut costs and maximize profits. Galaxy went bimonthly in August , ending a two-year spell of monthly scheduling though a couple of months had been missed. The page count, which had been cut from to when UPD bought it, was increased again, and the price was raised from 60 cents to 75 cents.
The net effect of all these changes was a substantial increase in profitability. Circulation in also rose by about 6, issues, though it is possible that this was solely due to the new British edition. He resigned less than a year later, citing overwork and other issues, and was replaced by James Baen , who took over with the June issue after Pohl declined the post. Baen was successful at increasing circulation again, bringing it from 47, when he took over to 81, when he left.
The magazine was profitable for UPD, but the financial pressure on the parent company took its toll and Baen left in late to work for Ace Books —the October issue was his last. Baen was replaced by John J. Pierce, but the situation only worsened. Pierce resigned within a year: the company was in increasing debt, and his office assistant recalls that the office appeared inefficiently run, though he commented that Pierce "clearly loved what he did and knew what he was talking about".
Pierce's replacement was Hank Stine , who took over in late , though because of Galaxy 's irregular schedule Pierce's last issue was March—April Stine managed to produce only two more issues, June—July and September—October , before UPD's financial problems spelled the end.
Rights to the title were transferred to a new company, Galaxy Magazine, Inc. Stine had compiled two more issues, but neither ever appeared; McCaffrey, who had also launched a separate magazine, Galileo , had cash-flow problems that prevented him from distributing the magazine as he had planned. One more issue did finally appear from McCaffrey, in July , in a large format; it was edited by Floyd Kemske. A subsequent issue, to be dated October , was assembled, but never distributed. The last few years of Galaxy 's life were marked by stories of unpaid contributors.
John Varley , for example, reported that he was still owed money for his stories five years after they appeared. Submissions from well-known writers fell away, and the lack of financial support from UPD meant that the pay rate was an unattractive one cent per word. Higher postal rates, higher paper costs, and continuing competition from the paperback science fiction market all added to the pressure on Galaxy.
These problems were not resolved by the sale to McCaffrey, who did not even have enough money to pay for circulation postage, with the result that not every Galaxy subscriber received a copy of the final issue. In , the magazine reappeared briefly as a semi-professional publication under the editorship of E.
Gold , son of H. Gold produced eight issues on a regular bimonthly schedule, starting with the January—February issue, and ending with March—April Gold intended Galaxy to publish stories of sufficient literary quality to attract readers of the slick magazines, as well as those who came to Galaxy already familiar with genre science fiction.
Campbell , the editor of the leading magazine in the field, Astounding Science Fiction : Gold was interested in sociology, psychology, and other "soft" sciences, and was also willing to publish humorous and satirical stories. The image was muted, in contrast to the sensational art typically found on the covers of the sf pulps; the intention was that Galaxy should look like an sf magazine, but one "that you were not embarrassed to hold", in the words of Mike Ashley.
A sample: "He cut out his super-hyper-drive for the landing In the first issue, Gold asked for reader feedback on what should be included in the magazine—letters, editorials, book reviews, or other features. The response was against a letter column, [notes 7] but the readers wanted editorials, and short book reviews with recommendations that would help them identify what books to buy, as opposed to in-depth criticism. The first six issues contained stories by well-known authors, including some that became highly regarded such as Fritz Leiber's "Coming Attraction", Damon Knight 's " To Serve Man ", and Ray Bradbury 's "The Fireman", later expanded as Fahrenheit Bleiler and T.
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Dikty 's The Best Science Fiction Stories: , commented in an editorial that Gold's work "will succeed in placing science-fiction on an equal basis with any other field of modern literature". Gold maintained Galaxy 's high standards for most of the s.
Alfred Bester 's The Demolished Man —according to critic Peter Nicholls , "among the few genuine classics of genre sf"—was serialized in early Running uninterrupted until Ley's death in ,    Frederik Pohl describes it as "the most popular single feature Galaxy ever had". Gold published a wide range of material, and Galaxy became known for irony and satire; the work of authors able to adopt the wry style he favored, such as Knight and Robert Sheckley , appeared regularly in the magazine  and were obvious commentaries on contemporary society.
Tenn quotes Gold, an ex-radical, as saying the idea made him "sweat green", though the year before he had published Isaac Asimov's "The Martian Way", a thinly veiled anti- McCarthy story. Sprague de Camp commented that Gold "sets an extremely high standard of literary excellence for his writers", and observed that he often demanded multiple revisions and rewrites.
In the case of The Demolished Man , his involvement extended almost to the point of collaboration. In March Gold announced a novel-writing contest, but it failed to attract any usable submissions. He asked Pohl and Kornbluth if they would be willing to allow him to print Gladiator-at-Law , which they had just completed, under a pseudonym, so he could claim that the contest had found a new talent.
They refused, but shortly afterwards Pohl and Lester del Rey agreed to let Gold take their recently completed novel Preferred Risk and publish it as the winner, under the pseudonym Edson McCann. It lasted for ten bimonthly issues, with the final one appearing in January The ABC radio series Tales of Tomorrow , which began in as an offshoot of the TV series of the same name, used stories from Galaxy ; the connection was announced at the start of each of its fifteen episodes.
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