Since pulp days, the primary publishing organ for SF had been the monthly magazines: The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Astounding / Analog, Galaxy, New Worlds, Worlds of If. By the 1950s, the SF genre was in the throes of change, authors were starting to land publishing deals that took them outside the orbit of the SF magazines. Not everyone could land deals, such as Robert A. Heinlein, but publishers like Ace Books (once the biggest US paperback publisher for SF) offered outlets for new novels to the likes of Philip Dick and Andre Norton. Clearly the market was growing. What of the authors who neither wrote novels nor had a publishing deal?
Robert Conquest, a respected historian, and Kingsley Amis, an English novelist & critic – both championed SF. Together they edited Spectrum I and its sister collections, five volumes in all. These illustrated the diversity in SF short stories from the 40s, 50s and 60s, and demonstrated that the genre didn’t necessarily need to stick slavishly to the literary rule book to achieve its effect. Many of these stories are worth a read (or reread).
The above is adapted from my review of the series as a whole in an obituary for Robert Conquest, Advocate of SF.
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