‘Where Silverberg goes today, the rest of science fiction will follow tomorrow’
This month: Re-reading Philip José Farmer
There had been rumblings all through the spring of 1952 that Startling Stories was going to publish something special that summer, a truly startling story indeed, a taboo-smashing novella by a brilliant newcomer named Philip José Farmer. Startling Stories had emerged in the previous few years as one of the leading SF publications, having transformed itself from the juvenile action-adventure magazine of the wartime years into a serious contender for the top rank. Its special feature was a policy of running a lengthy lead novella — thirty-five thousand to sixty thousand words — complete in each monthly issue. I was a teenage fan at the time, yearning for a career as a science fiction writer; I read all the magazines, I studied the news of the field intently, I kept alert for all the latest trends. Oh, yes, the advance word about this man Farmer and his game-changing novella caught my attention. It certainly did.