Venture Science Fiction Magazine

Venture Science Fiction Magazine

"Venture Science Fiction Magazine" was a digest-sized US science fiction magazine published from 1957 to 1958, and revived for a brief run in 1969 and 1970. Ten issues were published of the 1950s version, with another six in the second run. It was founded in both instances as a companion to the successful "Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction", with Robert P. Mills as editor in the 1950s and Edward L. Ferman for the later edition. A British edition appeared of the first version, which lasted for 28 issues; it reprinted material from "The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction" as well as from the US edition of "Venture".

Publication history

"Venture's" first issue was dated January 1957. The magazine, with Robert P. Mills as editor, was started as a companion to "The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction" ("F&SF"}, published at that time by Fantasy House. Mills was managing editor of "F&SF" throughout "Venture"'s first run; he became editor of "F&SF" shortly after "Venture" ceased publishing in July 1958. The editorial philosophy was laid out by Joseph W. Ferman, the publisher, in the first issue: "strong stories of action and adventure... There will be two prime requisites for "Venture" stories: In the first place, each must be a well told "story", with a beginning, middle and end; in the second place, each must be a strong story — a story with pace, power and excitement." This bias towards action-oriented adventure sf led to rather more sex and violence than appeared in the competitive magazines, and one critic has commented that the magazine was perhaps five or ten years ahead of its time.cite book | first=Michael | last=Ashley |authorlink= Michael Ashley| title=The History of the Science Fiction Magazine Part 4 1956-1965| publisher=New English Library| location=London | year=1978 | pages = 22|id=ISBN 0-450-03438-0] cite book | first=Donald H. | last=Tuck |authorlink= Donald H. Tuck| title=The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy: Volume 3| publisher=Advent: Publishers, Inc. | location=Chicago | year=1982 | pages = 604|id=ISBN 0-911682-26-0] See the individual issues.]

"Venture" kept to a steady bimonthly schedule for ten issues, but ultimately was cancelled in the summer of 1958, having failed to gain enough circulation. A little over ten years later, a new edition appeared, again as a companion to F&SF. This time the magazine was quarterly; the first issue was May 1969, and it was edited by Edward L. Ferman, who was also the editor of F&SF. There was no statement of editorial intent for this version, but the policy was straightforward: a novel was presented in each issue. Though these were substantially cut, they took up the majority of each issue, with the result that the other stories tended to be very short. As in the first incarnation, the contents were of reasonably good quality, with contributions from well-known writers. However, the magazine was no more successful than before, and lasted for only six quarterly issues; the last issue was August 1970.


Venture published some notable fiction in each of its incarnations. The first version included the following:
* "Virgin Planet", by Poul Anderson (January 1957). Later expanded as a novel of the same title.
* "The Dust of Death", by Isaac Asimov (January 1957). An early Asimov sf/mystery story.
* "It Opens the Sky", by Theodore Sturgeon (November 1957).
* "Falling Torch", by Algis Budrys (January 1958). Later expanded as "The Falling Torch".
* "Two Dooms", by C.M. Kornbluth (July 1958).

With the July 1957 issue, Theodore Sturgeon began a book review column, "On Hand . . . Offhand", which ran in every issue thereafter. "Venture" was also the place that "Sturgeon's Law" first saw print. This adage is now usually seen in the form "90% of everything is crap". It was formulated by Sturgeon in about 1951, and a version of it appeared in the March 1958 issue of "Venture", under the name "Sturgeon's Revelation". [cite web| url=| title=Science Fiction Citations: Sturgeon's Law| format=html| accessdate=2007-03-07] The January 1958 issue saw a science article by Isaac Asimov; these also continued to the last issue of "Venture", for a total of four articles. In November 1958 Asimov began publishing these articles in "F&SF", and began a series that ran for an astonishing 399 consecutive articles; it is not often remembered that the series actually began in "F&SF"'s shortlived companion magazine.

An editorial, "Venturings," appeared in each issue of the first series; this was usually written by Mills, but Joseph Ferman used the first one as a platform to declare editorial policy, and Mills occasionally turned the column over to letters from sf figures. The very last editorial, in July 1958, featured a eulogy of C.M. Kornbluth by Frederik Pohl, and one of Henry Kuttner by Theodore Sturgeon. Both Kornbluth and Kuttner had died within two months of each other in the spring of that year.

The 1950s version used Ed Emshwiller for eight of the ten covers. Emshwiller also contributed interior illustrations in the first issue, but the main interior artist was John Giunta, with John Schoenherr contributing some of his earliest work to several of the later issues.

The second version of "Venture" included several novels; these were cut significantly for the magazine. They included:
* "Hour of the Horde", by Gordon R. Dickson (May 1969).
* "Plague Ship", by Harry Harrison (November 1969).
* "Beastchild", by Dean R. Koontz (August 1970).

The short fiction included little of note, though Reginald Bretnor contributed a Feghoot story to each issue. It also included:
* "The Snows Are Melted, the Snows Are Gone", by James Tiptree, Jr. (November 1969). One of Tiptree's earlier stories.
* "Breaking Point", by Vonda McIntyre (February 1970). This was McIntyre's first story, but, perhaps because it was published as by "V.N. McIntyre", it has been missed by several bibliographers. [See for example cite book|editor= Clute, John & Nicholls, Peter| title= The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction| origdate= 1993| publisher= St. Martin's Press, Inc.| location= New York| pages= 757]

Ron Goulart contributed a regular book review column to each issue of the second incarnation. This version of Venture did not credit the artists, but most of the covers were signed by Bert Tanner, who was listed on the masthead as the art director. Tanner also contributed much, but not all, of the interior art; other artists who can by identified by their signatures include Ed Emshwiller, Derek Carter and Bhob Stewart, who illustrated Tiptree's story in the November 1969 issue.

Bibliographic details

For the first incarnation, "Venture" was priced at 35 cents throughout, and maintained a 132 page count along with a regular bimonthly schedule, starting with January 1957 and ending with the July 1958 issue. The first volume had six numbers, and the second had four. The second version began in May 1969 with volume 3 number 1, and maintained a regular quarterly schedule till the last issue in August 1970. It was priced at 60 cents for each of these issues, and like its predecessor had a page count of 132.

There was a British issue, which began in November 1963, and ran for 28 numbered issues, through February 1966. It was issued by Atlas Publications, and was founded to replace the British edition of "Analog Science Fiction", which had been replaced by direct imports of the US originals. It printed material from both the US version of "Venture" and also from the US edition of "F&SF". Atlas Publications also ran a UK reprint of "F&SF", but this ceased publication in June 1964. The UK edition of "Venture"'s selections from "F&SF" did not overlap with material already reprinted in the UK edition of "F&SF".


External links

* [ Comprehensive index of issues and contents]
* [ Visco: a catalog of sf cover art that includes images of the UK editions]

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