PALMER, Raymond A(rthur)


PALMER, Raymond A(rthur)
(1910-1977)
   US author and editor. His childhood was plagued by serious accidents, and in adulthood he stood only 4ft tall and was hunchbacked, but he never allowed physical stress to affect his career. He was an active sf fan in the 1930s - he is credited with publishing the first sf FANZINE, The Comet, in 1930 - and was the author of a fair number ofstories, beginning with "The Time Ray of Jandra" for WONDER STORIES in 1930; some later tales were published as by Henry Gade, Frank Paton, J.W.Pelkie, A.R. STEBER and Morris J. Steele. After the death of Stanley G. WEINBAUM in 1935, RAP edited and published a memorial collection of his stories, Dawn of Flame and Other Stories (coll 1936); RAP's only other book was Strange Offering (anth c1945 chap UK) with Otis Adelbert KLINE.It was as an editor that RAP would make his name. When AMAZING STORIES was bought by the Chicago-based ZIFF-DAVIS in 1938 it was decided to replace T. O'Conor SLOANE as editor. RAP, a resident of nearby Milwaukee, wasrecommended for the job and was appointed. AMZ was in a moribund state by this time; RAP made it livelier, albeit with a more overtly juvenile slant, and it revived. He published work by Edgar Rice BURROUGHS and, in 1939, Isaac ASIMOV's first story, "Marooned off Vesta"; in the same yearhe began a companion magazine, FANTASTIC ADVENTURES. The vigour of his early editing work, though evident at the time and in retrospect, was submerged during the 1940s by the notoriety he achieved with his promotion as fact of the stories of Richard S. SHAVER. RAP claimed that the popularity of the "Shaver Mystery" gave AMZ the highest circulation ever achieved by an SF MAGAZINE. His interest in PSEUDO-SCIENCE and the occult widened; in 1948, while still employed at Ziff-Davis, he started his own occult magazine, Fate, which has proved enduringly successful.In 1949 he established his own sf magazine, OTHER WORLDS (using the editorial pseudonym Robert N. Webster on the first issue), and shortly afterwards he left Ziff-Davis. In 1950 he began a companion magazine, IMAGINATION, in this case lending his name as a cover for William L. HAMLING, who edited the journal while still officially working for Ziff-Davis. After another severe accident, RAP sold Imagination to Hamling, while Bea Mahaffey edited Other Worlds. On his recovery in 1953, RAP took over the magazine UNIVERSE SCIENCE FICTION and started a companion, SCIENCE STORIES;meanwhile Other Worlds was suspended. Science Stories was short-lived, and in 1955 RAP changed the title of Universe to Other Worlds, continuing the Universe numeration. The magazine began to feature more and more UFOmaterial, and in 1957 was retitled Flying Saucers from Other Worlds, RAP deciding to concentrate all his energies on UFOs and the occult. He later explained that the bewildering title changes of his magazines resulted in part from financial difficulties and the need to throw up smokescreens. A last RAP publication, including UFO and Shaver material, was The HIDDEN WORLD .
   MJE/JC

Science Fiction and Fantasy Encyclopedia. . 2011.


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