Friday, 7 December 2012

Who remembers Science Fiction Monthly?

Everyone knows that Steve of Steve Does Comics is a connasewer of the visual arts. Why, only last week, I was drawing a moustache on the Mona Lisa in order to improve it to the exacting standards I always maintain.

And, because of that love of the visual arts; in the mid-1970s, there was one magazine alone whose arrival on our living room carpet I always anticipated.

That magazine was the New English Library's Science Fiction Monthly.

Science Fiction Monthly was not a comic - and therefore has no business being on this blog - but it did have a comic strip in it, one I recall little of other than that it swiped copiously from Barry Smith's classic adaptation of Conan's Red Nails.

The rest of the magazine was a mighty thing indeed, huge in size, making a Marvel Treasury Edition look tiny, and packed with stories and art.

I actually don't remember that much about the fiction it featured. I seem to recall there being a tale about the Pied Piper that may have used the idea of it all being down to ergot poisoning. And there was another one about acid rain. There may also have been one or more old Tarzan stories reprinted in it.

Another highlight for me was an interview with Space: 1999 special effects maestro Brian Johnson who later went on to work on the The Empire Strikes Back and Alien.

Most of all, it was a good showcase for artists like Bruce  Pennington, Chris Foss, Tim White and Roger Dean whose output supplied it with a whole string of eye-catching covers.

Later in its life, it switched from the broadsheet format to a smaller tabloid form which, bearing in mind that its main selling point was the giant size of its artwork, probably wasn't the best of ideas.

Was the magazine any good?

As far as I can make out, not according to anyone else. Personally I don't recall enough of it to say - plus I was only ten at the time - but I do remember the pretty pictures and, as I'm a comics fan, pretty pictures are good enough for me.

If you want to see more fabby covers of Science Fiction Monthly, you can see them right here.

And if you remember the mag and want to say so, you can do that in the comments box below.

On the other hand, if you don't remember the mag and want to say so, you can do that too in the comments box below.


cerebus660 said...

I do remember the mag and I want to say so ;-)

In fact, I've still got a few copies knocking about. As you say it had some mind-blowing artwork ( man! ) but the rest of it could be forgettable. However, that issue with the giant skull on the cover features a coolly eerie short by Ray Bradbury ( illustrated by John Bolton )which is worth the price of admission...

Steve W. said...

Do you have the one with Brian Johnson talking about Space:1999? I seem to remember it featured a large picture of a Hawk spaceship. As an eleven year old, I found it very exciting. If I ever have the money to buy my own spaceship, it'll definitely be a Space: 1999 Hawk.

cerebus660 said...

No, I haven't got that one unfortunately... but it sounds very cool. I loved Space:1999 as a kid. Well, I loved series one, the second series being somewhat of a Star Trek-aping technicolor yawn...

And weren't the Moonbase Alpha transporter ships called Eagles, not Hawks...?

Steve W. said...

The transporters were called Eagles but, in one episode, Moonbase Alpha was attacked by their military equivalent, which were called Hawks, as seen here:

Kid said...

Merry Christmas, Stevie, ol' boy.

Steve W. said...

Merry Christmas to you too, Kid.

Tony Jones said...

Thanks for this post - I'd forgotten all about these

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