I came across a rare treasure from Chapter 2 Books in Hudson, Wisconsin. The owner showed me some old magazines which bundled various short Sci-fi and Fantasy stories. I grabbed a few to take home and check them out. The first one I opened was an issue of “Fantastic” from Nov 1974, cover price 75 cents. Some of the stories within were timeless, and would be every bit as entertaining if released today. One story revealed a futuristic Earth society divided into the Uns (Unemployables) and the working class. Another involved a living brain, installed in and piloting a spaceship, as he recalled an encounter with a “dragon” (a being composed of particles that fed on ions in space).
I noticed a few odd things about the style of the periodical. The back cover, and both inside covers, were designated for advertisements. Nothing to help sell the book, just advertisements like a Mail-in university, a free book on psychic powers, and a wants ads mix. There was also a full-color, front-and-back advertisement in the center for a cigarette brand. Furthermore, the “letter from the editor” shed light on the state of revenue and editorial work at that time. Apparently, they began charging 25 cents for unsolicited stories to be read. The reasoning, was that their volunteer screening editors at the time were reading 400-600 manuscripts a month! And since one of those editors was leaving to pursue full-time writing, that was putting more of a load on the rest of their volunteers. They also admitted this change was after they’d already raised the cover price, which I’ve already mentioned was 75 cents.
I thought this was a good experience for me to see what publishing and writing was like in 1974, as well as get a glimpse at past indieauthors. Chapter 2 Books might still have some of these around.