The History of Science Fiction Part 12: 1960 -1969 - Books

We finally reach the 1960s in my exploration of science fiction and again due to the amount of activity I will be splitting this decade up to cover different media, starting here with books.

Beyond Pulp

By the 1960s the pulp magazines that had supported the genre and surfaced so many authors were largely gone. Science Fiction magazines had transitioned to a digest format but there were far fewer of them, around 6 in the US during the decade. They continued to publish significant stories (including the… Continue reading...

The History of Science Fiction Part 11: 1950 - 1959 - TV, Radio and Movies

During the 1950s science fiction exploded out of print and onto the airwaves. Of course people were already used to seeing science fiction in the movies, but now they could experience it on the radio or watch it on tv. A lot of what was produced for the American market was aimed firmly at the juvenile audience but there was also some more sophisticated output too and outside of America the BBC produced a number of very worthwhile serials. But let’s start with movies where creature features… Continue reading...

The History of Science Fiction Part 10: 1950 - 1959 (Books)

The 1950s were a peak in American culture in some ways. It was also a time when television was established, radio still had a presence and movies and magazines were still big business. There’s a fair amount of dispute over when the Golden Age of Science Fiction actually ended, but certainly we were still in it at the beginning of the decade. Not only were many of the established writers still publishing furiously, but many new names were coming up and the variety of science fiction being… Continue reading...

The History of Science Fiction Part 9: 1940 - 1949

The forties were of course dominated by World War II and its after-effects. Perhaps the biggest immediate influence that had on science fiction was the peak and decline of pulp magazines. Paper shortages caused the cancellation of some lower selling titles, but also pushed publishers and authors to look more towards other approaches. As the Golden Age came to a close, the more familiar current model of publishing began to dominate. Another aspect of WW II that clearly impacted on science… Continue reading...

The History of Science Fiction Part 8: John W. Campbell

There are a lot of very colorful characters from the early days of science fiction. But a handful of them were so influential that they influenced the direction of the whole genre. John W. Campbell undoubtedly falls into this category. In fact so significant was his contribution that the Golden Age of science fiction is generally marked as starting from the time he took editorship of Astounding Science Fiction. Born in Newark, New Jersey in 1910, Campbell attended MIT but was later… Continue reading...