Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine

US digest Magazine, originally quarterly, bimonthly from January/February 1978, monthly from January 1979, four-weekly since January 1981, monthly from January 1996, Spring 1977-current, published by Bantam Doubleday Dell Magazines, New York; ed George H Scithers (1929-2010) Spring 1977-February 1982, Kathleen Moloney March 1982-December 1982, Shawna McCarthy (1954-    ) January 1983-December 1985, Gardner Dozois (1947-2018) since January 1986.

Originally entitled Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, when founded by Davis Magazines, the title changed in November 1992 with the magazine's sale to its new publisher. Despite the inclusion of "science fiction" in the title, and the association with Isaac Asimov, ASFM published fantasy stories from the outset, though these maintained some core trappings of sf, as in Roger Zelazny's award-winning "Unicorn Variation" (1981). Even Asimov's own continuation of his Azazel series, originally about a friendly Demon, turned Azazel into an extraterrestrial for ASFM. Under the editorship of McCarthy, fantasy became an increasing part of the content, and Asimov's own February 1984 editorial made it explicit that in future more fantasy would be included. The main contributors to the change were Tanith Lee, whose Revisionist Fantasy "La Reine Blanche" (1983) produced the first fantasy-orientated cover, and Lucius Shepard, whose strong Ghost Story "The Storming of Annie Kinsale" (1984) and powerful "How the Wind Spoke at Madaket" (1985) set cross-generic standards. Asimov himself hastened to assure readers that basic Sword and Sorcery would not appear in ASFM, and the closest it came to Heroic Fantasy was the Gilgamesh series (1986-1988) by Robert Silverberg. Most ASFM Secondary-World fantasies are fashioned as Fairytales. It also regularly publishes Ghost Stories, plus many light fantasies in the Unknown style; these have been more evident during Dozois's tenure. Overall, though, ASFM comes closest to The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction in its approach to a crossover of sf and fantasy, and could now be claimed as the major publisher of Slick Fantasy. Main contributors include Michael Bishop, Octavia E Butler (1947-2006), Suzy McKee Charnas, John Crowley, Jack Dann, Avram Davidson, Charles de Lint, Gregory Frost, Alex Jablokov (1956-    ), Janet Kagan (1945-2008), Nancy Kress, Bruce Sterling (1954-    ), S P Somtow, Michael Swanwick, Connie Willis and Jane Yolen. In recent years more stories from ASFM – including a number of fantasies – have won Awards than from any other magazine; Dozois has won the Hugo for Best Professional Editor seven times since 1988, including an unbroken run in 1988-1993. Many anthologies have been drawn from ASFM, but the most representative of its fantastic fiction are Isaac Asimov's Fantasy (anth 1985; cut 1990) ed McCarthy, Transcendental Tales from Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine (anth 1989) ed Dozois and Isaac Asimov's Ghosts (anth 1995) ed Dozois and Sheila Williams. [MA]

This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.