Am There, Doing That

     Some of the science fiction magazines of the 50s, including many of the better ones, lasted not much beyond the 50s and did not originate until the end of the forties. They got wide followings and were highly active magazines, with fanzine departments, letter columns, and what-all. However, a lot of them did not continue to publish much beyond ten years, nevertheless establishing very solid reputations. This puts me in mind of Surprising Stories, which has lasted sixteen years now; in other words, it has had a longer run than Imagination, Infinity, Other Worlds, Venture, Worlds of Wonder, Fantastic Universe, Science Stories, Universe, and a lot of the lesser-known publications than these. Of course, those magazines were costing money (something Steve Davidson has reason to talk about as he resurrects Amazing Stories) whereas doing Surprising Stories doesn’t cost me very much. Mostly these magazines ignored the possibilities of the computer. So that leaves me carrying the science fiction battle flag, with only three or now, if it continues to succeed, four other publications doing this. And carry it I do; note that my science fiction in this magazine continues to move into the future. Call it netzine if you will, it brings about a full delivery, whatever may be said of it.
     What of this world we find around us now? It seems full of doom and destruction, and the mass media, including television and the movies, are full of nameless idiocy. I read in a magazine called Med-Web, originating in New York City, that scientists in Nashville (they didn’t say what state that was in, but I am assuming they meant Nashville Tennessee) were conducting bio experimentation on the effects of salt on the daily diet, and to further this research someone had granted them ten Russian cosmonauts to go through their experimentation program as it would contribute to their training for a forthcoming Mars landing, and they wanted to find out about eating during the trip. The study was primarily concerned with what salt might have to do with gaining weight and getting fat, but they were attentive to other aspects of their study. The scientists were connected with a university that is located in Nashville. This was a paper magazine, which made me wonder why it was titled for the Web, but it said they had a website in the magazine. It didn’t say anything about having an electronic version of the magazine, though.
     A New York Review of Books publication said it had something by or about Studs Terkel in an issue I got, but I looked through it carefully and couldn’t find that in it. My careful reading was a search of a careless format. Their latest issue pronounces things said and done on the current Presidency; apparently they don’t know that that’s not considered good magazine fare, it brings in question the loyalty of the magazine to the country, and they’re not an acknowledged magazine of dissent either, rather they are square in their background and heed best-seller lists; maybe it blew their minds to see what was getting onto the best seller lists since Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee and The Bull From the Sea gravitated into the realm of past reading. I am, though, keeping up with literary magazines such as Poetry Magazine, and like to think that I am staying within literary tradition rather than ranging into nullity.
     You won’t find actual nullity and nihilism in Surprising Stories; you might be surprised to see a magazine with its attitude still around. We believe in keeping up the good work and presenting it to readers in the best manner we can. Here’s hoping it’s bringing the readership some pleasure.