As October draws to a close, it is worth taking a pause and reflecting on all the things that did and didn’t happen this month before moving on to a preview of November.
In the battle of the digests, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction came out the clear winner with an aggregate rating of 3.5 stars. IF was the middle child, with a perfect 3 star score. Analog took up the rear, at 2.75 stars, despite having a pair of the best stories of the month, largely due to the quackish non-fiction articles.
But the biggest loser of the month was the fairer sex: not a single woman author is credited in any of the Big Three magazines. Perhaps they made appearances in one of the few remaining others.
Only two new books came out this month, and I only read one of them: the 2.5 star clunker Starfire. One of the Journey’s most vocal fans (by monicker of TRX), however, has stepped up to the role of occasional contributor, and his review of Murray Leinster’s Men into Space will be forthcoming in just a few days. Welcome to the team!
The visual media have also been something of a bust this month. The second season of Twilight Zone has been underwhelming, and I didn’t particularly like The Flintstones (though I understand I’m in the minority). I aim at the Stars, the Wehrner von Braun hagiography isn’t playing near me, though I did manage to pick up a copy of the comic book adaptation given out to those who saw the film. I may review it in November.
There were four televised Presidential debates, on which I dutifully reported. I understand that Jack Kennedy is drawing tremendous, adulating crowds while Dick Nixon’s audiences, albeit similarly sized, are far more restrained. It’s too soon to draw conclusions from this, though. It may just be a matter of temperament.
In the Space Race, America launched the first active repeating communications satellite, and if you haven’t grasped the significance of that event, you might want to read my article on the launch. But there were a couple of missteps, too. The first publicaly acknowledged spy sat, SAMOS 1, didn’t make it into orbit on October 11. The probe reportedly would have returned live TV pictures of Soviet installations. I’m very curious to see if the technology works given the issues the Air Force has had with capsule-recovery spy satellites…I mean biological return satellites. Speaking of which, Discoverer 16 also suffered a launch failure on October 26. Not a good month for snooping on the Communists from space.
What can we expect for next month? A few calls to various publishers have brought me to the conclusion that there will be slim pickings for new books. Of course, there are the Big Three digests, and the election on November 7. Other than that, it’s wide open.
And so I turn to you, my fans. To paraphrase Senator Kennedy, the Journey is a great column, but it can be better. What would you like to see in the month of November? And by the way, if any of you have a subscription to Amazing or Fantastic or any of the other digests, I’m always keen to enlist more contributors…