Portal:Speculative fiction/Selected publications/5

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November 1954 issue; cover by Alex Schomburg

Fantastic Universe was a U.S. science fiction magazine which began publishing in the 1950s. It ran for 69 issues, from June 1953 to March 1960, under two different publishers. It was part of the explosion of science fiction magazine publishing in the 1950s in the United States, and was moderately successful, outlasting almost all of its competitors. The main editors were Leo Margulies (1954–1956) and Hans Stefan Santesson (1956–1960); under Santesson's tenure the quality declined somewhat, and the magazine became known for printing much UFO-related material.

Fantastic Universe's first issue, in digest format, was dated June–July 1953 and priced at 50 cents. This was higher than any of its competition, but it also had the highest page count in the field at the time, with 196 pages. The initial editorial team was Leo Margulies as publisher, and Sam Merwin as editor;. Fantastic Universe enjoyed good distribution from the start—a key factor in a magazine's success. The first issue included stories by Arthur C. Clarke, Philip K. Dick, and Ray Bradbury. According to Donald Tuck, the author of an early SF encyclopaedia, the magazine kept a fairly high quality through Merwin's departure after a year, and through the subsequent brief period of caretaker editorship by Beatrice Jones. Margulies took over the editor's post with the May 1954 issue.