GALAXY: Thirty Years of Innovative Science Fiction by Frederik; Martin H. Greenberg & Joseph D. Olander--Eds. Pohl
Kirkus Star

GALAXY: Thirty Years of Innovative Science Fiction

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The stories--though they're a fine crop of 25 (from Leiber's ""Coming Attraction"" to Le Guin's ""The Day Before the Revolution')--aren't the really appealing thing about his 30th-anniversary salute to Galaxy, the downtown-Manhattan magazine that spearheaded sf's branching-out from thrills to social comment and literary respectability. Pohl, who was Galaxy's second editor, starts off with a fairly routine tribute to the magazine (""After Galaxy it was impossible to go on being naive"") and to his predecessor--founder Horace L. Gold. But the other writers here were asked to supply ""memoirs"" to accompany their chronologically-arranged stories; and thore's a delightful effect in how these more vivid, less respectful comments accumulate through the book and over time. Robert Sheckley remembers the Friday night poker games--""Horace Gold raising, Fred Pohl checking, John Cage smiling, Phil Klass fumpfing, and yours truly folding."" Fumpfer Klass (a.k.a. William Tenn) recalls how Gold ""ruined more stories for me than he made""--with incessant phone calls and unwanted advice. Philip K. Dick stopped writing for Galaxy till Pohl had replaced Gold (""who had the habit of changing your stories without telling you: adding scenes, adding characters, removing downbeat endings in favor of upbeat endings""). Yet Pohl gets his from Robert Silverberg and Harlan Ellison. And, as a perfect comic climax, the last story, is by John Varley, but Varley refuses to supply a memoir: ""They [Galaxy] still owe me money. . . . I will not do anything further for the firm until the accounts are balanced."" Add in an index to Galaxy's entire output--and it's a rich but flaky mix of sf classics and backroom publishing lore.

Pub Date: March 31st, 1980
Publisher: Playboy--dist. by Harper & Row