Tuesday, 3 May 2016

New Worlds 157

Michael Moorcock (editor) New Worlds 157 (1965)
Here's another oddity, specifically a magazine, albeit a magazine published as a standard paperback - as I guess were other issues of Moorcock's New Worlds. Someone sent me this through the post, I made a mental note to read it at some point and it went onto the shelves, there to remain unread because I rarely bother with periodicals - which is an explanation of how my brain works rather than some sort of manifesto. I know Fantasy & Science Fiction to be wonderful, and Asimov's and Analog have their moments, but if I read the magazines I'd never find time to read books, and there's so much I still want to read and I don't even know if I'll be alive long enough to get through all of it.

Anyway, New Worlds ran for a long, long time, and was pretty much the English magazine of new science fiction. It had a reputation for innovation, for taking risks on weirdos, and as such is probably directly responsible for at least some degrees of the fame enjoyed by Brian Aldiss, Moorcock himself, Harry Harrison, J.G. Ballard, William Burroughs, and others. There's nothing historically remarkable about this particular issue beyond that it seems typically solid. Colin Fry's Ernie and Langdon Jones' Transient sort of make you wish that at least one of them had gone on to bigger, better publicised things, whoever they were; and Moorcock contributes something which ended up in one of the Jerry Cornelius books, but mostly this serves as a fascinating snapshot of its milieu, an era when science-fiction was something you read, nine times out of ten, which seems a more civilised state of affairs than is presently the case. Being a periodical, there's an editorial concerned mostly with a convention at which fancy dress was still termed fancy dress, and there's a review of Ray Bradbury's newie - Dandelion Wine apparently, and very good it sounds too - and, best of all, a terse advice column written by one Dr. Peristyle, apparently Brian Aldiss in stealth mode.

All I ask of a story is that it tells a story. Why do writers insist on trying to give me more? asks Betty Pierce of Diss, Norfolk.

I suppose the answer is that there are writers who write for the likes of you, madam, Aldiss responds, but the good ones hope to avoid you.


I might have to hunt down a few more of these.

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