This is the second of three volumes which chart the history of the science fiction magazine from the earliest days to the present. The first volume Time Machines traced the development of the sf magazine from its earliest days and the creation of the first specialist magazine, Amazing Stories. Transformations takes up the story to reveal a turbulent period that was to witness the extraordinary rise and fall and rise again of science. Britain’s foremost sf historian, Mike Ashley charts the sf boom years in the wake of the nuclear age that was to see the ‘The Golden Age’ of Science Fiction with the emergence of magazines such as Galaxy, Startling Stories and Fantastic, as well as authors like Isaac Asimov, Philip K. Dick and Frank Herbert . He then goes on to explore the bust years of 1954-1960 followed by the renaissance in the 1960s led by the new wave of British authors like Michael Moorcock and J.G. Ballard and the rise in interest of fantasy fiction, encouraged by Lord of the Rings and the Conan books of Robert E. Howard. Transformations concludes with an examination of the new found interest in sf magazines during the late 1960s and the incredibly influential roles Star Treck , the film 2001: A Space Odyssey and, above all, the first manned Moon landing played in transforming the sf magazine.
Capaciously researched yet incisively argued.
Times Literary Supplement
Ashley's study of hacks pounding away at typewriters, bullying editors and money-pinching publishers is a rich mine of information. When complete, his trilogy will undoubtedly form the definitive history of SF from the pulp to the paperback.
I acquired a copy of your masterly Transformations a couple of days ago and I've been reading it almost non-stop ever since. It is a marvellous book… Page by page I find myself wanting to take all the magazines down from the shelves and read them again… A wonderful book.