Revisit Futuria Fantasia: The Science Fiction Fanzine That Ray Bradbury Published as a Teenager


Bud­ding sci­ence-fic­tion authors today know that, to get their start, they should prob­a­bly go online and pub­lish them­selves. But even before the advent of the mod­ern inter­net, many writ­ers eager to tell spec­u­la­tive tales of human­i­ty’s future strug­gle with tech­nol­o­gy, knowl­edge, and its own nature showed a sim­i­lar self-start­ing bent. They made espe­cial­ly advan­ta­geous use of pho­to­copiers and sta­plers in the sev­en­ties and eight­ies, the decades com­mon­ly con­sid­ered the hey­day of those low-cir­cu­la­tion pub­li­ca­tions known as zines. But long before before that, the for­mat already incu­bat­ed seri­ous sci­ence-fic­tion tal­ent. Take Futuria Fan­ta­sia, which pub­lished four issues between 1939 and 1940. Its edi­tor? A cer­tain Ray Brad­bury, before Fahren­heit 451, before The Mar­t­ian Chron­i­cles — before every­thing.

“Released in 1939 short­ly after Brad­bury grad­u­at­ed from high school,” says Zinewik­i’s entry on the mag­a­zine, “Futuria Fan­ta­sia was pub­lished with the help of [sci-fi pro­mot­er] For­rest J. Ack­er­man, who lent Brad­bury $90.00 for the fanzine.” The first issue, avail­able free from Project Guten­berg, includes Brad­bury’s sto­ry “Let’s Get Tech­na­tal” (writ­ten under the pseu­do­nym “Ron Reynolds”) and poem “Thought and Space.”

The sec­ond issue includes an arti­cle he wrote under “Guy Amory” and his sto­ry “The Pen­du­lum.” The third includes a Brad­bury edi­to­r­i­al, the fourth anoth­er edi­to­r­i­al and the pseu­do­ny­mous sto­ries “The Piper” and “The Flight of the Good Ship Claris­sa.” “I hope you like this brain-child, spawned from the womb of a year long inan­i­ma­tion,” the ambi­tious young Brad­bury writes in his intro­duc­tion to the sum­mer 1939 issue. “This is only the first issue of FuFa … if it suc­ceeds there will be more, bet­ter issues com­ing up.” Three more would, indeed, emerge, but sure­ly even such a pre­dic­tive mind as Brad­bury’s could­n’t imag­ine what his career real­ly held in store.

You can hear all ten sto­ries from the Spring 1940 edi­tion of Futuria Fan­ta­sia in the playlist below. It includes “Gor­gono and Slith” by Ray Brad­bury:

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Ray Brad­bury Reads Mov­ing Poem on the Eve of NASA’s 1971 Mars Mis­sion

Ray Brad­bury: Sto­ry of a Writer 1963 Film Cap­tures the Para­dox­i­cal Late Sci-Fi Author

Ray Brad­bury Gives 12 Pieces of Writ­ing Advice to Young Authors (2001)

Ray Brad­bury Offers 12 Essen­tial Writ­ing Tips and Explains Why Lit­er­a­ture Saves Civ­i­liza­tion

Col­in Mar­shall hosts and pro­duces Note­book on Cities and Cul­ture and writes essays on lit­er­a­ture, film, cities, Asia, and aes­thet­ics. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­lesA Los Ange­les Primer. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall.

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