[Oct. 31, 1960] Looking both ways (October wrap-up, November preview)

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…

Happy Halloween!

(Halloween at Drake University, Iowa, in 1954)

5 thoughts on “[Oct. 31, 1960] Looking both ways (October wrap-up, November preview)”

  1. Happy Halloween to you! With pumpkin pies and purring cats.

    (From my admittedly poor view here, it looks as if the Flintstones think the supreme sin thinking; and the supreme virtue stupidity.)

  2. We’ve had three Flintstones episodes broadcast locally, but I got a lot of information about it before it hit the airwaves.  Fred is supposed to be a “don’t be like this” example, like those “how to get along with others” films in high school.  Fred is a liar, a cheat, and a sneak; we’re supposed to see him get in trouble and learn a lesson with each episode.

    How close the show will follow that original plan… who knows.  I’ve had the misfortune to know several people just like Fred, except they never seemed to pay attention to the “learn a lesson” part.

  3. > One of the Journey’s most vocal fans

    It may seem like that lately, but it’s probably more due to my being annoying and argumentive than how much I actually participate.

    (“He’s been hanging around here for months and hasn’t gone away, maybe I can run him off by giving him some homework…”)

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