US DIGEST-size magazine. 175 issues Mar 1952-Nov/Dec 1974. It was founded by the Quinn Publishing Co. with Paul W. FAIRMAN as editor, but James L. QUINN quickly assumed the editorial chair himself, in Nov 1952, holding ituntil Damon KNIGHT took over Oct 1958-Feb 1959. There were no issues Feb-July 1959 because the title was sold during that year to DigestProductions and became a companion to GALAXY SCIENCE FICTION under the editorship of Gal's editor H.L. GOLD, who stayed in the post July 1959-Sep 1961. Frederik POHL assumed the editorship Nov 1961. From July 1963 thepublisher operated as Galaxy Publishing Corp. Gal and If were both sold in 1969 to the Universal Publishing and Distributing Co., and Ejler JAKOBSSONtook over as editor of both in July 1969. James BAEN became editor with the Mar/Apr issue in 1974, shortly before the magazine folded. For most of its life it was bimonthly, but Mar 1954-June 1955, and again July 1964-May 1970, it was monthly. The latter period was its heyday; it won HUGOS forBest Magazine in 1966, 1967 and 1968. If was at first merely subtitled Worlds of Science Fiction, but in Nov 1961 the cover logo - though not the spine - was altered to Worlds of If Science Fiction. If absorbed its bimonthly companion, WORLDS OF TOMORROW, in 1967. The title was resurrected for one issue by Clifford R. Hong in 1986 (Sep-Nov 1986, vol. 23, number 1, issue 176) and immediately disappeared again.The mostnotable story appearing in If during the Quinn period - during one year of which, 1953-4, Larry SHAW did most of the actual editing - was James BLISH's classic A CASE OF CONSCIENCE (Sep 1953; exp 1958). At its height,under Pohl, the magazine featured several Hugo-winning stories, including Robert A. HEINLEIN's The Moon is a Harsh Mistress (Dec 1965-Apr 1966;1966), Larry NIVEN's "Neutron Star" (Oct 1966) and Harlan ELLISON's "I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream" (Mar 1967); other stories included Samuel R. DELANY's "Driftglass" (June 1967). In this period the magazine also featured A.E. VAN VOGT's return to sf-writing after a long absence, and the fourth volume of E.E. "Doc" SMITH's Skylark series, nearly 30 years after the third - Skylark Du Quesne (June-Oct 1965; 1966). Under Jakobsson's editorship the magazine resumed playing second fiddle to Galand gradually declined until it was merged with its companion as of Jan 1975. It had been, overall, one of the more distinguished sf magazines.Writers who made their debuts in If include David R. BUNCH, Larry Niven, William F. NOLAN, Andrew OFFUTT and Alexei PANSHIN.Artwork was quite good from early on. Ed VALIGURSKY was the first art editor - replaced by Mel Hunter in 1955 - and introduced Kelly FREAS's and Kenneth Fagg's work tothe magazine. Later artists included Jack GAUGHAN, Gray MORROW and Wally WOOD.The history of If's UK editions is inordinately complex. StratoPublications reprinted 15 numbered issues from the 1953-4 period, and a further 18 (beginning again at \#1) in 1959-62. Gold Star Publications marketed a UK edition Jan-Nov 1967 whose issues were dated 10 months later than the otherwise identical US editions. Copies of the UPD version were imported 1972-4 and numbered for UK release, the numbers running \#1-\#9 and then, astonishingly, \#11, \#1, \#13, \#3, \#4 and \#5! The last issue of If was never distributed in the UK.Two anthologies of stories from If, in magazine format, were released as The First World of If (anth 1957) and The Second World of If (anth 1958), both ed Quinn. There followed The IfReader of Science Fiction (anth 1966) and The Second If Reader of Science Fiction (anth 1968), both ed Pohl. More recent collections have been The Best from If (anth 1973) ed anon, The Best from If Vol II (anth 1974) ed The Editors of If Magazine, and The Best from If Vol III (anth 1976) ed James Baen.

Science Fiction and Fantasy Encyclopedia. . 2011.


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