OUTLANDS

At first appearance Outlands in no way resembled a science fiction magazine. Subtitled "A Magazine for Adventurous Minds," it sported a blue cover with an inset pastoral scene. A slim, digest publication of only forty pages, it could have passed as a church parish magazine almost anywhere. Outlands was edited by Liverpudlian fan Leslie J. Johnson, co-founder of the British Interplanetary Society. He had sunk most of his RAF gratuity into forming a company with Leslie J. Heald and together with Ernest L. Gabrielson (who provided the cover and the magazine's title) launched 'Outlands' in October 1946.

Its contents were not special. John Russell Fearn provided the lead story, "Pre-Natal," while Leslie V. Heald (as "Charnock Walsby") and Ernest Gabrielson (as "John Gabriel" and "Antony Cotrion") helped complete the issue. If any historical significance can be attached to it, it is that it contained both a first and a last. "Strange Portrait" was the first published story by Sydney J. Bounds, soon to become a well-known name in British SF circles. It had been used at the last minute to replace "Hully Gee," a fantasy by Eric Frank Russell that had been withdrawn due to disagreements between author and editor. "Rival Creators," on the other hand, was the last published story by George C. Wallis, a grand old name on the British scene who had published SF in the popular periodicals since the 1890s in one of the longest careers in SF.

The stories and articles showed a strong bias toward psychic fantasy rather than SF: stories the editor called "outlandish." Soon after publication Johnson discovered that copies were being returned without being distributed; he promptly decided to cut his losses, and the magazine folded. In 1979, however, young fan Stephen Holland decided to revive the magazine with Johnson's blessing, and has attempted to assemble a second issue with as many of the original planned stories as possible, plus new stories by authors included in the first issue. Publication of this novelty item is still awaited.

- SCIENCE FICTION, FANTASY, AND WEIRD FICTION MAGAZINES Marshall B Tymn and Mike Ashley, (Greenwood Press, 1985)

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