Galaxy was the leading science fiction magazine of the 1950s and 1960s. Its first editor, H.L. Gold, is credited with being instrumental in raising the bar for literary standards in science writing by bringing to the genre a “sophisticated intellectual subtlety.” The stories he published were more sociological, psychological, or satirical than purely technological in nature. He also detested the muscularity of other leading science fiction publications and helped to attract more women to write science fiction.
Classic science fiction stories, such as The Fireman by Ray Bradbury (which later went on to become Fahrenheit 451) and part one of Time Quarry by Clifford D. Simak made their first appearance within the pages of Galaxy. The magazine is also widely regarded as a catalyst for the New Wave movement in science fiction of the 1960s and 1970s, which was characterized by experimentation and higher artistic sensibilities.
The magazine’s cover was equally influential. Gold veered away from traditional science fiction artwork, depicting muscular men and scantily clad women fighting monsters. Also, its inverted white “L” shape framing the cover went on to be imitated by several other magazines, including its main rival Astounding.
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