Worlds of IF Science Fiction, April 1955 (FIRST-EVER WEBZINE REISSUE + new bonus content!)

5. A Chat with the Editor + New Editorial

Dear Reader,

Welcome! It is my sincere hope that you enjoy this classic copy of Worlds of IF science fiction magazine, reissued in a dynamic webzine format. I very much enjoy the aesthetics of an easy-to-read webzine. If you share in this particular sensibility, well, here you go, my friend in SF!

This delightful issue has work by both James E. Gunn and Philip K. Dick — double-barreled reading pleasure!

I’d like to take this opportunity to provide you with an overview of the revival of Worlds of IF. But before diving in headlong, I would like to mention that we regularly add exciting new content to the Worlds of IF homesite! So drop by for a visit from time to time.

The photo below, of Deputy Editor-in-Chief Jean Paul L. Garnier with legendary science fiction writer Larry Niven, who got his start with Worlds of IF, provides a clue to some of the new content that will be appearing on the magazine’s website very soon.

You’ll notice the “Science Briefs” section of this magazine. Departments like this and science-related articles and essays will be under the auspices of Dr. Daniel Pomarède, our science editor. Dr. Pomarède is one of the world’s foremost cosmologists and he writes about hard science and complex scientific material and concepts in an engaging and accessible fashion.

Dr. Pomarède holds a Ph. D. in particle physics and cosmology and is a staff scientist at the Institute of Research into the Fundamental Laws of the Universe, CEA Paris-Saclay University.

He is the co-discoverer of the Laniakea Supercluster, the South Pole Wall, the Dipole Repeller, the Cold Spot Repeller, and just the other day, of Ho’oleilana, an individual baryon acoustic oscillation. 

Dr. Daniel Pomarède, science editor

This just in: It is a real honor to welcome SF legend Robert Silverberg on board as a contributing editor at Worlds of IF magazine! He is one of the greats of science fiction and a multiple winner of both Hugo and Nebula Awards, a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame, and a Grand Master of SF.

Robert Silverberg at Worldcon 67, at the Exploring the Classics panel.

Robert Silverberg, contributing editor

Credit: Edward Swatschek, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons [no changes made]

The rest of this editorial provides an overview of Worlds of IF‘s relaunch, followed by the original, “A Chat with the Editor.” Please read on!

It is a thrill for Starship Sloane Publishing Company, Inc. to be bringing back the legendary science fiction magazine, Worlds of IF

It has been an interesting journey thus far. We’re working with a surplus of enthusiasm on a shoestring budget – which can create some vivid disconnects between vision and reality. You know, I also await the invention that gives us enough time in the day to somehow accomplish everything on those to-do lists that we all have spilling about in our minds and workspaces! 

A love of science fiction – the ideas, the art, and the literature – and the special place that Worlds of IF holds in that sphere is the driving inspiration behind this project.

As mentioned above, the team thus far is comprised of the distinguished Dr. Daniel Pomarède, who will serve as the science editor. The exceptionally talented Jean-Paul L. Garnier, will serve as the deputy editor-in-chief. And I’ll be serving as the editor-in-chief. Together, we might just pull this thing off – or, it might be a crazy fiasco. Either way, we’ll have tried.

I always liked Worlds of IF’s content and style, while its cover art was very often the best on the market – and I’m a cover art fanatic. I was just about to turn five-years old when Worlds of IF was merged into Galaxy Science Fiction, its sister publication, after the December 1974 issue (it’s 175th), despite three Hugo wins and finally outselling Galaxy. Years before that, Worlds of Tomorrow had been merged into Worlds of IF, two worlds, one magazine. A certain symmetry there.

Worlds of IF was a magazine for experimentation, taking chances, and trying out new writers. That approach appeals to me and it’s what we’ll be doing – both by design and necessity.

Frederick Pohl stated that he enjoyed his editorial work at Worlds of IF more than at Galaxy and the proof was in the alien pudding as Worlds of IF overtook Galaxy, long one of the leading SF mags, with the readers. Conceptually, Worlds of IF retained more of a focus on rollicking, technology-driven science fiction – my personal preference; while Galaxy, like a good but sobering city council member, focused more on the societal aspect . . . ungh. Accurate or not, my perception of the difference between the two can best be described by quoting Raymond A. Palmer’s now classic utterance, “Gimmee bang bang.” That relentless and very little man with the world-gripping ambition hit the science-fiction nail squarely on the head! Who doesn’t like bang bang?

I will strive to be consistent in my usage of the title Worlds of IF, referring to the magazine from its origin to now, as such. But that is of course not at all accurate, as the story is far more complicated. Isn’t it always? 

The magazine was founded by a publisher named James L. Quinn of the eponymous Quinn Publications and it was originally titled If: Worlds of Science Fiction (no colon). However, the title was often presented on the cover in such a manner that it seemed to read as Worlds of If: Science Fiction (again, no colon). Further to this, and I have discovered this to be true of many magazines, Worlds of IF referred to itself with a giddying inconsistency, often in the same issue, by editor, by editorial, by cover, by styling, by arrangement, by spine (remember, it was digest sized), by interior information, by masthead, by publisher, etc. Regarding the capitalization and sometimes italicization of the word-cum-title “if” – who knew that two letters could be presented in so very many ways?! Finally, one of Worlds of IF’s new owners, Universal Publishing and Distribution Corporation had had it with the titular bedevilment and officially changed the name to Worlds of If (but with no specific character stylization identified nor adhered to) in 1972. When the magazine was later revived in 1986 for one issue by the enterprising Clifford Hong (Bueller? . . . Bueller? . . .), the title was stylized like so: Worlds of iF, reflecting both the look of the last issue and the styling of the title during the 70s (though it was also referred to as Worlds of IF in the interior). Now, in a remarkably bold and possibly clarifying move for the magazine, both letters are officially capitalized, which reflects the styling of the magazine’s title during the early-to-mid-60s. No one should confuse Worlds of IF with the Johnny-come-latelies, if: Inside Film Magazine and iF: International Focus Magazine.

Also, although this may just add to the confusion, it is intended to provide clarity, at least for this publisher. When our debut issue is published, it will mark the 25th year that Worlds of IF will have been in publication since 1952. March 1952 to be exact. The volume number for our first issue will reflect that total, the total number of years in publication. Meaning that it will be volume 25. A volume 24 will not appear. Hong had it at volume 23 in 1986, the December 1974 issue was volume 22, but looking back, you will see that the volume number did not necessarily reflect the numerical progression of the years in publication due to, I gather, the numbers of issues published in a given year and whatever other criteria were being used by a given publisher and editorial team. As such, the volume number jumps about, staying the same from one year into the next in some cases then changing midyear then resuming a chronological count consistent with the year in the next, then, well, somewhere along the line, a volume year vanished. The one constant is the issue number. Number 175 for the final issue of Worlds of IF before the merge into Galaxy. Number 176 for Hong’s excellent revival. And number 177 for us.

Next on the list: In what forms will we publish this magazine? Initially, online as a PDF. Ebook and print copies will be made available. Paying for another, fancier online magazine platform can come later. As much as I love the webzine format that Starship Sloane Publishing has used on the homesite for its various publications, that won’t be the approach for this new magazine. However, we will be presenting free webzine reissues of the original magazine on the Starship Sloane Publishing website! When those become available, they will be announced on this site, with a link provided. It’s exciting to see the classics revitalized in an easy to read and dynamic webzine format. 

The debut issue will be free. A gift from us to the world of science fiction. What will the magazine cost later? Maybe nothing if we can round up enough advertising. Will we do paywalls and passcodes and special access paid content and so forth? Not if, like any good highwaymen, we can apprehend enough stagecoaches of advertising gold (but never will we offend our readers with vulgar or intrusive advertising). Advertising rates will be forthcoming.

You may be wondering when the first issue will arrive. Good question. Lots of moving parts right now, but I can tell you with certainty that the first issue will be a very good one as we have been working diligently to procure the work of as many outrageously talented individuals as we possibly can.

What about submission guidelines and a submission portal? Those will be made available at a later date. When? Not sure yet, but probably after the first issue has been published. For a variety of reasons, we’re trying to fill this first issue with invited work.

Now we come to the topic of prozine, semiprozine and amateur magazine. Everything is categorized and labeled. I don’t like labels much. But such is life. So, we are an amateur magazine publisher, just rank amateurs and we make no bones about it. There. I feel better now. The work you see is donated by those who, like us, are inspired to see this thing take off. That being said, the objective is to become a paying market, providing semipro rates after the first issue and eventually, professional rates.

Finally, a tip of the hat to Editor Hong, whose inspiring efforts brought Worlds of IF back for one mighty issue – a genuinely impressive accomplishment for which I hold the utmost respect. Mr. Hong then promptly disappeared from the industry and possibly, the planet. I have no idea where he is now or what he is doing. Internet searches in the matter are fairly bewildering. So, I would like to state here that the fans of Worlds of IF very much appreciate Mr. Hong’s issue of the magazine, #176.

I guess that’ll do it for the moment. This gives you some idea of what we’re up to. Please stay tuned!

Yours in science fiction,


Justin T. O’Conor Sloane, editor-in-chief
Worlds of IF
Starship Sloane Publishing Company, Inc.
23 October 2023