Sam Moskowitz

Last updated
Sam Moskowitz
Sammoskowitz.jpg
Sam Moskowitz, 1976
Born(1920-06-30)June 30, 1920 [1]
Newark, NJ
DiedApril 15, 1997(1997-04-15) (aged 76) [1]
University Hospital Newark, NJ
Pen nameSam Martin
GenreScience Fiction

Sam Moskowitz (June 30, 1920 – April 15, 1997) was an American writer, critic, and historian of science fiction.

Science fiction Genre of speculative fiction

Science fiction is a genre of speculative fiction that has been called the "literature of ideas". It typically deals with imaginative and futuristic concepts such as advanced science and technology, time travel, parallel universes, fictional worlds, space exploration, and extraterrestrial life. It often explores the potential consequences of scientific innovations.

Contents

Biography

As a child, Moskowitz greatly enjoyed reading science fiction pulp magazines. As a teenager, he organized a branch of the Science Fiction League. Meanwhile, Donald A. Wollheim helped organize the Futurians, a rival club with Marxist sympathies. While still in his teens, Moskowitz became chairman of the first World Science Fiction Convention held in New York City in 1939. [2] He barred several Futurians from the convention because they threatened to disrupt it. This event is referred to by historians of fandom as the "Great Exclusion Act". [3] [4]

Pulp magazine Cheap fiction magazines made from 1896 to the 1950s

Pulp magazines were inexpensive fiction magazines that were published from 1896 to the late 1950s. The term pulp derives from the cheap wood pulp paper on which the magazines were printed. In contrast, magazines printed on higher-quality paper were called "glossies" or "slicks". The typical pulp magazine had 128 pages; it was 7 inches (18 cm) wide by 10 inches (25 cm) high, and 0.5 inches (1.3 cm) thick, with ragged, untrimmed edges.

Science Fiction League

The Science Fiction League was one of the earliest associations formed by science fiction fans. It was created by Hugo Gernsback in February 1934 in the pages of Wonder Stories, an early science fiction pulp magazine. Gernsback was the League's "Executive Secretary', with Charles D. Hornig its "Assistant Secretary". The initial slate of "Executive Directors" included Forrest J. Ackerman, Eando Binder, Jack Darrow, Edmond Hamilton, David H. Keller, P. Schuyler Miller, Clark Ashton Smith, and R. F. Starzl.

Donald A. Wollheim American author and editor

Donald Allen Wollheim was an American science fiction editor, publisher, writer, and fan. As an author, he published under his own name as well as under pseudonyms, including David Grinnell.

Moskowitz later worked professionally in the science fiction field. [2] He edited Science-Fiction Plus , a short-lived genre magazine owned by Hugo Gernsback, in 1953. He compiled about two dozen anthologies, and a few single-author collections, most published in the 1960s and early 1970s. Moskowitz also wrote a handful of short stories (three published in 1941, one in 1953, three in 1956). His most enduring work is likely to be his writing on the history of science fiction, in particular two collections of short author biographies, Explorers of the Infinite and Seekers of Tomorrow , as well as the highly regarded Under the Moons of Mars: A History and Anthology of "The Scientific Romance" in the Munsey Magazines, 1912–1920. His exhaustive cataloging of early sf magazine stories by important genre authors remains the best resource for nonspecialists.

<i>Science-Fiction Plus</i> American science fiction magazine

Science-Fiction Plus was an American science fiction magazine published by Hugo Gernsback for seven issues in 1953. In 1926, Gernsback had launched Amazing Stories, the first science fiction magazine, but he had not been involved in the genre since 1936, when he sold Wonder Stories. Science-Fiction Plus was initially in slick format, meaning that it was large-size and printed on glossy paper. Gernsback had always believed in the educational power of science fiction, and he continued to advocate his views in the new magazine's editorials. The managing editor, Sam Moskowitz, had been a reader of the early pulp magazines, and published many writers who had been popular before World War II, such as Raymond Z. Gallun, Eando Binder, and Harry Bates. Combined with Gernsback's earnest editorials, the use of these early writers gave the magazine an anachronistic feel.

Hugo Gernsback Luxembourgian American inventor, writer, editor, and publisher

Hugo Gernsback was a Luxembourgish-American inventor, writer, editor, and magazine publisher, best known for publications including the first science fiction magazine. His contributions to the genre as publisher—although not as a writer—were so significant that, along with the novelists H. G. Wells and Jules Verne, he is sometimes called "The Father of Science Fiction". In his honour, annual awards presented at the World Science Fiction Convention are named the "Hugos".

Science fiction studies is the common name for the academic discipline that studies and researches the history, culture, and works of science fiction and, more broadly, speculative fiction.

Theodore Sturgeon, although noting the book's many imperfections, praised Explorers of the Infinite, saying "no one has surveyed the roots of SF as well as Mr. M.; probably no one ever will; prossibly [ sic ], no one else can." [5]

Theodore Sturgeon American speculative fiction writer

Theodore Sturgeon was an American writer, primarily of fantasy, science fiction and horror. He was also a critic. He wrote approximately 400 reviews and more than 200 stories.

The Latin adverb sic inserted after a quoted word or passage indicates that the quoted matter has been transcribed or translated exactly as found in the source text, complete with any erroneous, archaic, or otherwise nonstandard spelling. It also applies to any surprising assertion, faulty reasoning, or other matter that might be likely interpreted as an error of transcription.

Reviewing Seekers of Tomorrow, Algis Budrys wryly noted that "Moskowitz is a master of denotation. He wouldn't know a connotation if it snapped at his ankle, which is something that happens quite often." He added, however, that "Moskowitz knows and transmits, at least as much about the history of science fiction and its evolution, as anyone possibly could." [6]

Algis Budrys American writer

Algirdas Jonas "Algis" Budrys was a Lithuanian-American science fiction author, editor, and critic. He was also known under the pen names Frank Mason, Alger Rome, John A. Sentry, William Scarff, and Paul Janvier.

Denotation is a translation of a sign to its meaning, precisely to its literal meaning, more or less like dictionaries try to define it. Denotation is sometimes contrasted to connotation, which includes associated meanings. The denotational meaning of a word is perceived through visible concepts, whereas connotational meaning evokes sensible attitudes towards the phenomena.

A connotation is a commonly understood cultural or emotional association that some word or phrase carries, in addition to its explicit or literal meaning, which is its denotation.

Moskowitz's works include also The Immortal Storm, a historical review of internecine strife within fandom. Moskowitz wrote it in a bombastic style that made the events he described seem so important that, as fan historian Harry Warner Jr. quipped, "If read directly after a history of World War II, it does not seem like an anticlimax." [7] [8] Floyd C. Gale wrote in his review of the book that "[f]ortunately, most of these petulant warriors have since grown up—but their historian is still leading their ghostly legions that are more real than today to him. The miracle is that S-F survived even the love of its most rabid fans". [9] Anthony Boucher noted that "never has so much been written about so little," but added that the book was "a unique document not without a good deal of social and psychological value." [10]

Harry Warner Jr. was an American journalist. He spent 40 years working for the Hagerstown, Maryland, Herald-Mail.

Anthony Boucher Editor, novelist, short story writer

Anthony Boucher was an American author, critic, and editor, who wrote several classic mystery novels, short stories, science fiction, and radio dramas. Between 1942 and 1947 he acted as reviewer of mostly mystery fiction for the San Francisco Chronicle. In addition to "Anthony Boucher", White also employed the pseudonym "H. H. Holmes", which was the pseudonym of a late-19th-century American serial killer; Boucher would also write light verse and sign it "Herman W. Mudgett".

Moskowitz was also renowned as a science fiction book collector, with a tremendous number of important early works and rarities. His book collection was auctioned off after his death.

As "Sam Martin", he was also editor of the trade publications Quick Frozen Foods and Quick Frozen Foods International for many years. [1] [11] [12]

First Fandom, an organization of science fiction fans active before 1940, gives an award in Moskowitz' memory each year at the World Science Fiction Convention.

Moskowitz smoked cigarettes frequently throughout his adult life. A few years before his death, throat cancer required the surgical removal of his larynx. He continued to speak at science fiction conventions, using an electronic voice-box held against his throat. Throughout his later years, although his controversial opinions were often disputed by others, he was recognized as a leading authority on the history of science fiction.

Works

Nonfiction

Edited anthologies

See also

Related Research Articles

The Futurians were a group of science fiction (SF) fans, many of whom became editors and writers as well. The Futurians were based in New York City and were a major force in the development of science fiction writing and science fiction fandom in the years 1937–1945.

The New Wave is a movement in science fiction produced in the 1960s and 1970s and characterized by a high degree of experimentation, both in form and in content, a "literary" or artistic sensibility, and a focus on "soft" as opposed to hard science. New Wave writers often saw themselves as part of the modernist tradition and sometimes mocked the traditions of pulp science fiction, which some of them regarded as stodgy, adolescent and poorly written.

Science fiction fandom

Science fiction fandom or SF fandom is a community or fandom of people interested in science fiction in contact with one another based upon that interest. SF fandom has a life of its own, but not much in the way of formal organization.

Damon Knight American science fiction writer, editor and critic

Damon Francis Knight was an American science fiction author, editor and critic. He is the author of "To Serve Man", a 1950 short story adapted for The Twilight Zone. He was married to fellow writer Kate Wilhelm.

Lester del Rey Novelist, short story writer, editor

Lester del Rey was an American science fiction author and editor. He was the author of many books in the juvenile Winston Science Fiction series, and the editor at Del Rey Books, the fantasy and science fiction imprint of Ballantine Books, along with his fourth wife Judy-Lynn del Rey.

Roger Elwood was an American science fiction writer and editor, who edited a large number of anthologies and collections for a variety of publishers in the early 1970s.

David Kyle American science fiction writer and publisher

David A. Kyle was an American science fiction writer and member of science fiction fandom.

The First World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon) was held in the Caravan Hall in New York from July 2 to July 4, 1939, in conjunction with the New York World's Fair, which was themed as "The World of Tomorrow". The convention was later named "Nycon I" by Forrest J Ackerman. The event had 200 participants.

Fred Patten American animation historian

Frederick Walter Patten was an American writer and historian known for his work in the science fiction, fantasy, anime, manga, and furry fandoms, where he gained great distinction through a substantial contribution to both print and online books, magazines, and other media.

Arthur William Saha was an American speculative fiction editor and anthologist, closely associated with publisher Donald A. Wollheim.

<i>Science Fiction Quarterly</i> US pulp science fiction magazine

Science Fiction Quarterly was an American pulp science fiction magazine that was published from 1940 to 1943 and again from 1951 to 1958. Charles Hornig served as editor for the first two issues; Robert A. W. Lowndes edited the remainder. Science Fiction Quarterly was launched by publisher Louis Silberkleit during a boom in science fiction magazines at the end of the 1930s. Silberkleit launched two other science fiction titles at about the same time: all three ceased publication before the end of World War II, falling prey to slow sales and paper shortages. In 1950 and 1951, as the market improved, Silberkleit relaunched Future Fiction and Science Fiction Quarterly. By the time Science Fiction Quarterly ceased publication in 1958, it was the last surviving science fiction pulp magazine, all other survivors having changed to different formats.

Walter Kubilius was an American science fiction writer.

Astonishing Stories was an American pulp science fiction magazine, published by Popular Publications between 1940 and 1943. It was founded under Popular's "Fictioneers" imprint, which paid lower rates than Popular's other magazines. The magazine's first editor was Frederik Pohl, who also edited a companion publication, Super Science Stories. After nine issues Pohl was replaced by Alden H. Norton, who subsequently rehired Pohl as an assistant. The budget for Astonishing was very low, which made it difficult to acquire good fiction, but through his membership in the Futurians, a group of young science fiction fans and aspiring writers, Pohl was able to find material to fill the early issues. The magazine was successful, and Pohl was able to increase his pay rates slightly within a year. He managed to obtain stories by writers who subsequently became very well known, such as Isaac Asimov and Robert Heinlein. After Pohl entered the army in early 1943, wartime paper shortages led Popular to cease publication of Astonishing. The final issue was dated April of that year.

The Philadelphia Science Fiction Society (PSFS) is a science fiction club in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. PSFS is the second oldest group in science fiction fandom and hosted what is considered by some to be the first science fiction convention. Anyone living in the greater Philadelphia area and interested in science fiction, fantasy, horror, whether written or on TV or in the movies; SF, fantasy, and horror art; gaming, board games or video games; comic books/graphic novels; and related arts is welcome.

<i>Cosmic Stories</i> and <i>Stirring Science Stories</i> Two related US pulp science fiction magazines

Cosmic Stories and Stirring Science Stories were two American pulp science fiction magazines that published a total of seven issues in 1941 and 1942. Both Cosmic and Stirring were edited by Donald A. Wollheim and launched by the same publisher, appearing in alternate months. Wollheim had no budget at all for fiction, so he solicited stories from his friends among the Futurians, a group of young science fiction fans including James Blish and C. M. Kornbluth. Isaac Asimov contributed a story, but later insisted on payment after hearing that F. Orlin Tremaine, the editor of the competing science fiction magazine Comet, was irate at the idea of a magazine that might "siphon readership from magazines that paid", and thought that authors who contributed should be blacklisted. Kornbluth was the most prolific contributor, under several pseudonyms; one of his stories, "Thirteen O'Clock", published under the pseudonym "Cecil Corwin", was very successful, and helped to make his reputation in the field. The magazines ceased publication in late 1941, but Wollheim was able to find a publisher for one further issue of Stirring Science Stories in March 1942 before war restrictions forced it to close again.

<i>Comet</i> (magazine) US pulp science fiction magazine

Comet was a pulp magazine which published five issues from December 1940 to July 1941. It was edited by F. Orlin Tremaine, who had edited Astounding Stories, one of the leaders of the science fiction magazine field, for several years in the mid-1930s. Tremaine paid one cent per word, which was higher than some of the competing magazines, but the publisher, H-K Publications, was unable to sustain the magazine while it gained circulation, and it was cancelled after less than a year when Tremaine resigned. Comet published fiction by several well-known and popular writers, including E.E. Smith and Robert Moore Williams. The young Isaac Asimov, visiting Tremaine in Comet's offices, was alarmed when Tremaine asserted that anyone who gave stories to competing magazines for no pay should be blacklisted; Asimov promptly insisted that Donald Wollheim, to whom he had given a free story, should make him a token payment so he could say he had been paid.

<i>The Time Curve</i>

The Time Curve is an anthology of science fiction short stories edited by Sam Moskowitz and Roger Elwood. It was first published in paperback by Tower Books in 1968.

References

  1. 1 2 3 "Retired QFFI editor and SF historian Sam Martin, 1920-97, dies in Newark". Editor Biography. Quick Frozen Foods International @ AllBusiness.com. 1997-07-01. Retrieved 2007-08-15.
  2. 1 2 Henniker-Heaton, Peter J. (July 6, 1963). "From the Bookshelf". Christian Science Monitor . Retrieved March 8, 2011. Sam Moskowitz has written science fiction, taught it, been an editor and literary agent in the field, and in 1939 organized the first of the still continuing World Science Fiction Conventions.
  3. Kyle, David. "The Great Exclusion Act of 1939," Mimosa #6
  4. Kyle, David. "SaM -- Fan Forever," Mimosa no. 21, pp. 7–10, Dec. 1997
  5. "Galaxy's 5 Star Shelf", Galaxy Science Fiction , December 1963, p. 124. It is not evident whether "prossibly" is a typographical error or a portmanteau.
  6. "Galaxy Bookshelf", Galaxy Science Fiction, October 1966, pp. 159–60
  7. "Harry Warner's All Our Yesterdays". Archived from the original on 2007-07-06. Retrieved 2007-08-15.
  8. Resnick, Mike (December 1997). "The Literature of Fandom". Mimosa 21. Nicki and Richard Lynch. pp. 17–24. Retrieved 2007-08-15.
  9. Gale, Floyd C. (March 1957). "Galaxy's 5 Star Shelf". Galaxy. pp. 116–119. Retrieved 9 June 2014.
  10. "Recommended Reading," F&SF , February 1955, p. 98.
  11. Moskowitz, Sam (November 1996). "The First College-Level Course in Science Fiction". Science Fiction Studies #70 Volume 23 Part 3. Retrieved 2007-08-15.
  12. "Quick Frozen Foods International". Sam Martin death article not found. Retrieved 2007-08-15.