If was an American science fiction magazine launched in March 1952. It won the Hugo Award for best professional magazine three years running from 1966 to 1968. The most prominent writer to make his first sale to If was Larry Niven, whose story \”The Coldest Place\” appeared in the December 1964 issue. If was merged into Galaxy Science Fiction after the December 1974 issue.
About If (magazine) in brief
If was an American science fiction magazine launched in March 1952 by Quinn Publications. It won the Hugo Award for best professional magazine three years running from 1966 to 1968. The most prominent writer to make his first sale to If was Larry Niven, whose story \”The Coldest Place\” appeared in the December 1964 issue. If was merged into Galaxy Science Fiction after the December 1974 issue, its 175th issue overall. If published many award-winning stories over its 22-year run, including Robert A. Heinlein’s novel The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress and Harlan Ellison’s short story \”I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream\”. The magazine was moderately successful, though for most of its run it was not considered to be in the first tier of U.S. science fiction magazines. If’s origins can be traced to 1948 and 1949, when Raymond Palmer founded two magazines while working at Ziff-Davis in Chicago: Fate and Other Worlds. The two were sufficiently successful to attract the notice of James L. Quinn, a New York publisher. The first issue of If was dated March 1952, with Paul W. Fairman as editor; it featured stories by Richard Shaver, Raymond Palmer, and Howard Browne, all writers who were regulars of the ZIFF-Davis magazines. The magazine’s quality quickly improved and soon Quinn felt able to switch to a monthly schedule, instead of bimonthly. In 1957, American News Company, the largest magazine distributor, was liquidated by far the largest distributor, and the magazine was dropped from being published from a high of 46 in 1953 to less than a dozen by the end of the decade.
Almost all the science Fiction magazines had to find a new distributor to find advertising revenue within two or three years, and within these years many of them had disappeared. The only other one of the seven announced winners who had a career as a science fiction writer was Leo P. Kelley, perhaps because the competition was perhaps because Kelley was perhaps the competition’s only winner. In late 1953, Quinn decided to run a competition for short fiction from new writers. The first prize was USD 1,000, the second prize USD 500, with five runner-up prizes of USD 100 each. The competition was only open to college students who had not sold a story before. Entries came in from writers later to become well known, including Harlan. Ellison, Roger Zelazny, and Andrew J. Offutt, who won first prize and appeared in a December 1954 issue of the magazine. In May 1953, Larry T. Shaw joined in May 1953 as associate editor and soon began writing editorials and assisting with story selection. By the March 1954 issue, the magazine’s circulation dropped again, with the June 1956 issue, it was the largest issue by far as far as the distributor was liquidating by far. For the next two years, many of the magazines did not have the advertising revenue required to support their new format.