In the 1970s science fiction exploded into the popular consciousness, appearing everywhere along the cultural spectrum—from David Bowie’s alien stage persona to the massively successful global juggernaut that was Star Wars. With the American involvement in Vietnam reaching its bitter conclusion, the Apollo moon program ending, and awareness of humanity’s destructive impact on the environment increasing, our planet began to seem a smaller, lonelier, more fragile place—and the escapist appeal of science fiction grew.
Corresponding with these tumultuous events was a period of significant American economic decline, and, as Mike Ashley shows in Gateways to Forever, the once-enormously-popular science fiction magazines struggled to survive. The third volume of this award-winning series chronicles the publications’ most difficult period so far. The decade began with the death of John Campbell Jr., the man who launched the magazine Astonishing, and with it science fiction’s prominence as a genre. The widespread popularization of sci-fi imagery reflected a newly diversified market—new anthologies, fanzines, role-playing games, comics, and blockbuster films all fought for the attention and money of sci-fi fans. Ashley shows how the traditional magazines coped with these setbacks but also how they, as always, looked to the future, as the decade closed and the earliest precursors to the Internet emerged.
Mike Ashley’s groundbreaking history is a monument to science fiction’s evolution. As the genre continues to infiltrate mainstream literature, Gateways to Forever is essential reading for anyone interested in seeing how it all began.