One thing missing from my book collection database are all of my science fiction magazines. I have had subscriptions to the Big Three for several years now. I also have a fair amount of old magazines (the May 1950 issues of ASTOUNDING, for instance, which contains the original “Dianetics” essay by L. Ron Hubbard).

But I think my favorite set of magazines is my complete, mint-condition set of SCIENCE FICTION AGE. SF AGE was a terrific s.f. magazine for the 7-1/2 years it was being published. Its first issue is dated November 1992. Its last issue is dated May 2000. All told there were 46 issues and each was packed with great science fiction, essays, science fact, and even an article about science fiction art. During the time it was in circulation, it was my favorite magazine and I was sad to see it cease publication. (It’s sister magazine, REALMS OF FANTASY is still being published.) So it makes sense that I start cataloging my s.f. magazines with my complete set of SF AGE. I have cataloged all of the fiction that appeared in the magazine in preparation to import it into my database. And I made some interesting discoveries along the way.

In the course of 46 issues, there were 273 pieces of fiction (or poetry) that appears in SCIENCE FICTION AGE. Based on my count, this adds to a total of just over 2 million words of fiction. (How do I know, you ask? I estimated the number of words per column in the magazine, and then projected the length of each story based on the number of columns it took up. In SF AGE, I estimated about 700 words per column.)

What is even more remarkable is the wide variety of outstanding science fiction writers that appeared in the magazine. Here is a list of the top 10 author appearances in the magazine over its lifespan:

Author Appearances Total Words
Stephen Baxter 15 135,700
Robert Reed 8 88,400
Adam-Troy Castro 8 44,100
Paul Di Filippo 8 73,100
Gregory Benford 7 73,600
Bruce Boston 7 12,800
Stephen Dedman 6 53,500
Jack Willimson 6 70,700
Geoffrey A. Landis 6 56,300
Barry Malzberg 6 14,200

Then there is the wide array of all-star science fiction writers whose fiction appeared in the magazine. Aside from those listed above:

Ben Bova
Charles Sheffield
Cory Doctorow
Damon Knight
David Gerrold
Harlan Ellison
Jack Dann
James Gunn
James Morrow
Mike Resnick
Piers Anthony
Robert Silverberg

Other who appeared in the magazine, writing nonfiction instead of fiction were people like Ray Bradbury, Joe Haldeman, and Frederik Pohl.

I have read only a fraction of the 273 stories that appeared in the magazine, but I made several personal discoveries of newer authors who became writers that I looked out for in other magazines in later years: William Shunn, Daniel Hood, and Martha Soukup (whose SF AGE story, “On the Defense of Social Contracts” won the Nebula Award for best short story) are a few.

As 2007 commences, I think I’m going to go back through these issues and read the stories that I was too busy to read when I was back in school (and later, at work). It really is too bad that this magazine couldn’t have survived. It was a terrific magazine.