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The Sixth Galaxy Reader

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The Sixth Galaxy Reader

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Author: H. L. Gold
Publisher: Doubleday, 1962
Series: Galaxy Reader: Book 6
Book Type: Anthology
Genre: Science-Fiction
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Horace Gold, Galaxy's 1st editor, had worked at Standard Magazines in the early '40s as assistant editor, reading for Standard's 3 sf pulps: Startling Stories, Thrilling Wonder & Captain Future. With war's advent he joined the army, but in '49 was approached by Vera Cerutti, who had once worked for him. Cerutti was now working for an Italian publisher, Edizione Mondiale, who had opened a NY office as World Editions. World Editions had made a heavy loss on Fascination, an attempt to launch a magazine in the US, & they were looking for new title recommendations. Gold knew about The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, a digest launched in the fall of '49 & thought there was a market for another serious sf magazine. He also proposed paying 3 cents a word, a high rate, given that most others only paid 1 cent. World Editions agreed, made Gold editor & the 1st issue appeared in 10/50.

For the 1st issue, Gold obtained several stories by known authors, including Isaac Asimov, Fritz Leiber, Theodore Sturgeon & part 1 of Time Quarry by Clifford D. Simak. Along with an essay by Gold, the premiere introduced a book review column by anthologist Groff Conklin (running til '55) & a Willy Ley science column.

In the summer of '51, disagreements within World Editions led to distribution disruptions. The operations head found out & agreed to sell Galaxy to the printer, Rbt M. Guinn. Guinn's new company, named Galaxy Publ. Corp, took over with the 10/51 issue. Gold remained editor, but lost the assistance of World Editions staff, relying instead on Jerome Bixby, Algis Budrys, Theodore Sturgeon & Sturgeon's wife Evelyn Paige. Frederik Pohl, working as a literary agent, was also helpful in obtaining writers.

The sf magazine boom was over by the late '50s. Their low circulation didn't endear them to distributors, middlemen who transported magazines from publishers to news-stands & other outlets. Gold changed Galaxy Science Fiction to Galaxy Magazine with the 9/58 issue, commenting that science fiction "scares many people away from buying". Galaxy's circulation, at about 90,000, was the highest of the sf magazines, but Guinn decided to cost cut, & in 1959 raised the price, changed it to a bimonthly, & increased the page count. Guinn also cut the rates paid to authors from 3-4 to 1.5 cents a word. These changes saved over $12,000 yearly. The result was a circulation fall to about 80,000 within 2 years. This was sustainable because of fiction budget savings.

Guinn acquired If, another sf magazine, in '59, gaving it to Gold to edit as well. The 1st issue of If under Gold was 7/59. Galaxy's shift to a bimonthly schedule had been to reduce Gold's workload as he was in poor health. He was able to take on If because the magazines alternated publication months. The next year he had a car accident & proved unable to continue. Frederik Pohl took over at some point in early '61, tho not listed on the masthead as editor until 10/61.

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