Gateways To Forever by Mike Ashley
This third volume in Mike Ashley's 'History of the Science Fiction Magazines’ covers the 1970's, a period of upheaval and change in the SF magazine world.
The first chapter covers the death of John W. Campbell, Jr. and the impact this had on a world he had dominated for over thirty years. The chapter goes on to assess the positions of the 'Big Six' magazines (Analog, F&SF, Galaxy, If, Amazing and Fantastic) at the start of the decade and how they changed as the ‘70s progressed.
Chapter two covers the threat posed to the magazines from the explosion in paperback original anthologies published in the mid-seventies and the influence of female writers on the field.
The third chapter covers semi-prozines and comics, such as Metal Hurlant, and gaming magazines, which appeared in the wake of the 'Dungeons and Dragons' craze. The chapter also charts the rise of academic criticism of SF, with the appearance of magazines and journals such as Riverside Quarterly, Science Fiction Review, Extrapolation and Foundation.
The fourth chapter covers the resurgence of the magazines in the late ‘70s, with the appearance of new magazines, such as Galileo, Asimov's, and Omni, as well as the decline and ultimate fall of Galaxy. The new media magazines, which flourished in the wake of Star Wars and Star Trek, are also covered.
The volume has the same appendices as the previous volumes — Non-English language SF magazines, summary of SF magazines, directory of editors and publishers, and directory of magazine cover artists. Also included for the first time in this series is a chronology and a schedule of magazine circulation figures.
This volume is a first class continuation of an excellent series by Mike Ashley. The only reason I don't give it five stars is I personally think it would be improved with a few cover illustrations by the artists covered, and a few photographs of editors and writers in order to put names to faces.
Despite the lack of illustrations, I would highly recommend this series to any SF history buff or magazine collector.