Visions of Paradise

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Worlds of IF mystery solved

Last December I discussed a Worlds of IF mystery which occurred after the December 1964 issue announced that the feature story for the January, 1965 issue would be the first installment of Jack Vance’s second Demon Princes novel The Killing Machine. However, the serial never appeared in Worlds of IF, being replaced in the subsequent issue by the serial Starchild, by Frederik Pohl and Jack Williamson.

Recently I began reading that January 1965 issue, and the solution to the mystery was revealed in the letter column. A correspondent named Martin Massoglia commented “The Killing Machine by Jack Vance has just been published by Berkeley Medallion–now you are planning to serialize it? WHY?“ The editor (presumably Frederik Pohl, although at times an assistant editor handled the lettercol) replied “As re The Killing Machine: we agree with every word you say...and that’s why the serial beginning this month is Starchild. When we bought The Killing Machine it was with the clear understanding that there would be no book publication for at least a year. Somewhere, somebody, somehow failed to get the message–and the book edition came out–and at the last possible moment we had to pull the story out and replace it (If you look closely at the cover you can see where the type was cut out and changed).


  • Interesting story. I really love the old SF pulps - for their content and the great cover art. I found an image of the issue online but it's not very high quality so I can't see any evidence of the switch.

    By Blogger icowdave, At 7:32 AM  

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