Saturday, August 25, 2007

Aaron's Magazine of the Week :: Galaxy February 1951

Galaxy February 1951The Magazine of the Week is the February 1951 issue of Galaxy magazine, with cover story "The Fireman" by Ray Bradbury, the original story which Bradbury later expanded into the classic Fahrenheit 451. The cover art -- totally unrelated to "The Fireman" even though that is the only story named on the cover -- is by Chesley Bonestell.

This was the fifth issue of Galaxy magazine, and it boasts a remarkable table of contents. In addition to the first version of Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, this issue contains part two of a serialized novel by Isaac Asimov later published under the title The Stars, Like Dust, as well as stories by major authors Clifford D. Simak, Lester del Rey, and Frank M. Robinson.

Galaxy was one of dozens of science fiction digest magazines to enter the marketplace as the pulps disappeared in the late 1940's and 1950's. Under the direction of editor Horace Gold, Galaxy quickly emerged as one of two digests that could consistently challenge market leader Astounding in quality. (Next week's magazine of the week will be the very first issue of the other.) Published from 1950 to 1980, Galaxy de-emphasized high-tech gadgetry in favor of stories like Fahrenheit 451 that addressed social issues. This change of focus was instrumental to the growth of the SF genre.

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