Science-Fiction Plus

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Frank R. Paul did the cover for the last issue (December 1953) of Science-Fiction Plus. It illustrates the short story "Misfit" by Michael Fischer.

Science-Fiction Plus (with a lower-case subtitle: preview of the future) was a science fiction magazine published in 1953 by Gernsback Publications, Inc., Philadelphia 32, Pa. With a large, 8-3/8" x 11-1/4" format, it began as a monthly but switched to bi-monthly with the June 1953 issue.

Edited and published by Hugo Gernsback, the 68-page magazine (the front and back covers were counted as pages) sold for 35¢ and ran for seven issues, from March 1953 (Vol 1 No 1) to December 1953 (Vol 1 No 7). Not intended as a pulp magazine, it began as a slick (printed on quality paper) with glossy covers. However, for the last two issues, Oct and Dec 1953 (Nos 6 and 7), the paper was switched from slick to "book paper".

Writers and illustrators[edit]

The lineup of writers included Robert Bloch, Philip José Farmer, Murray Leinster, Chad Oliver. Clifford D. Simak and James H. Schmitz. It featured the first published story by Anne McCaffrey. Cover illustrations were by Frank R. Paul and Alex Schomburg, with interior illustrations by Muneef Alwan, Seymour Augenbraun, Paul Cooper, Virgil Finlay, Charles Hornstein, Jay Landau, Tom O'Reilly, Frank R. Paul and others.

The first issue had novelettes by Gernsback, Farmer and Donald Howard Menzel, with short stories by John Scott Campbell, Gernsback (as Greno Gashbuck) and Otto Binder, book reviews by Moskowitz and a variety of essays.

In Transformations: The Story of the Science Fiction Magazines from 1950 to 1970 (2005), historian Mike Ashley questioned the level of quality in Science-Fiction Plus as he outlined the magazine's essential problem:

The emphasis was on the bigger names from science fiction's early years--Eando Binder, John Scott Campbell, Richard Tooker, Raymond Z. Gallun and Harry Bates, most of whom had not contributed much to recent science fiction. This gave the magazine a feeling of archaism despite the glossy appearance... The fact was that the magazine did not appeal to the new generation of readers, and even the older generation found the stories pale against the material in other magazines. There were three worthy stories in Science-Fiction Plus. "Nightmare Planet" by Murray Leinster (June 1953) is an exciting conclusion to his early Argosy series, originally set in the future but transferred to portraying survival on a hostile planet. "Spacebred Generations" by Clifford D. Simak (August 1953) is a cleverly thought through generation starship story. "Strange Compulsion" by Philip José Farmer (October 1953) is another daring story exploring compulsive incest caused by a parasite. Other stories were variable in quality and some were embarrassingly dated."[1]

The final issue (December 1953) featured stories by Corwin F. Stickney, Murray Leinster, Harry Bates, James H. Schmitz, Frank M. Robinson and Eric Frank Russell. Michael Fischer did the cover story, "Misfit," illustrated by Paul.

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