Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Asimov's 001 - George H. Scithers

If there was a thesaurus where one of the words was WankerAuthor, the antonym might be IsaacAsimov, or at least that is how he often comes off in print :

"I suppose I ought to start by introducing myself, even though that seems needless. The whole point about putting my name on the magazine rests on the supposition that everyone will recognize it at once, go into ecstatic raptures, and rush forward to buy the magazine.
Well, just in case that doesn't happen, I'm Isaac Asimov..." and after credentialling "But let's not go on with the litany since I am (as is well known) very modest,-and since I am the least important person involved with this magazine."

He says, of Joel Davis suggesting publishing a science fiction magazine: 'I can't say I fell all over myself with joy. The truth is I was worried. I told Joel that no science fiction magazine had ever borne a person's name on it, to my knowledge, and that the writers and readers would surely resent this as an example of overweening arrogance. He said, "Nonsense, Isaac, who could possibly accuse you of arrogance?"'

Not having the time or capabilities to be Editor, the good doctor fills us in: "So we agreed to that; now let me introduce the Editor. He is George H. Scithers, an electrical engineer specializing in radio propagation and rail rapid transit, who is a Lieutenant Colonel (retired) in the United States Army and who does a bit of writing on the side."

On the style : "Now what about the magazine itself ? Life is risky for magazines in these days of television and paperbacks so ... we will work our way up to monthly as soon as we can.
We are concentrating on the shorter lengths, and there will be no serials. Novels have plenty of outlets these days, the shorter lengths relatively few. With my name on the magazine, it won't surprise you to hear that we will lean toward hard science fiction, and toward the reasonably straightforward in the way of style. However, we won't take ourselves too seriously and not every story has to be a solemn occasion. We will have humorous stories and we will have an occasional unclassifiable story as, for instance, the one by Jonathan Fast in this issue. We will have a book review column that will favor short notices of many books rather than deep essays on a few. We will have non-fiction pieces that we will try to make as science-fiction-related as possible."

Later, on reviews he says "There were 890 science fiction books published in 1975, of which 411 were originals and 479, reprints. The year 1976, only half over as I write this column, will probably have just as many. Obviously, there's no way to discuss all of these books or even to mention them..."

He picks out a few crappy books to talk about, among others - Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang, Children of Dune, Imperial Earth, and a few collections by no-names : the Best of Arthur C. Clarke, and some Silverberg, etc.

On the stories, for a first issue not too bad I guess, and of course it is 1977. A 3.32 average, with 3 good ones.

ASIMOVS001 : Air Raid - Herb Boehm
ASIMOVS001 : Think! - Isaac Asimov
ASIMOVS001 : Quarantine - Arthur C. Clarke
ASIMOVS001 : Time Storm - Gordon R. Dickson
ASIMOVS001 : Kindertotenleider or Who Puts the Creamy White Filling in the Krap-Snax? - Jonathan Fast
ASIMOVS001 : The Homesick Chicken - Edward D. Hoch
ASIMOVS001 : Period of Totality - Fred Saberhagen
ASIMOVS001 : Perchance to Dream - Sally A. Sellers
ASIMOVS001 : The Scorch on Wetzel's Hill - Sherwood Springer
ASIMOVS001 : Good-bye, Robinson Crusoe - John Varley
ASIMOVS001 : Coming of Age in Henson's Tube - William John Watkins


Computer brain power talk.

3 out of 5


Plane crash Time Snatch paraleprosy repopulation.

4 out of 5


Chess a waste of computing resources.

4 out of 5


One bloke, one leopard, one girl, and not bloody much else.


3 out of 5


Kid processing.

3 out of 5


Why cross the road? What use is super-chicken strength unless to break out and escape?

3.5 out of 5


Particle eclipse problem.

2.5 out of 5


Immortality transplant.

4 out of 5


Polygala alien.

3 out of 5


Transplant Disneyland ghost shark shag shot cash fightback.

3.5 out of 5


Wing test.

3 out of 5




3.5 out of 5

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