The Versatile Jim Blish


Jim Blish, perhaps fandom's most versatile character, resides at 91 Halsted St., East Orange, N. J. Fifteen years old, his age is coincident with that of Bill Miller Jr., well known fan who resides in the second floor of the same residence in the winter, and a few doors away in the summer.

Jim's interest in scientific fiction was aroused about a year and a half ago. The disease was catching, so with Miller as co-editor they turned out the first number of the Planeteer, a combination of mimeographing and hektographing. The pair, uninitiated in the field, bought their first story, "The Coal Thief", from Lawrence Manning. Paying five dollars for the same. In answer to a hypocritical letter on Bill's part, T. O'Conor Sloane, editor of Amazing Stories, offered to review The Planeteer in the book review column. Unfortunately, this number which was to have been printed and contain 60 pages was never completed, due to expiration of available cash. This terminated in a split between Jim Blish and C. Hamilton Bloomer, who was to have combined his Tesseract with The Planeteer. It also meant a cessation of a series of articles by Jim in the former publication. Disgusted by the turn of events, Jim turned his subscribers over to the Science Fiction Fan and signed the rights to The Planeteer over to Donald A. Wollheim, who will publish the magazine utilizing the cover title character.

Jim then began working on Curious Stories, which was to have been nicely printed and contain material by Lovecraft, Louis C. and Clark Ashton Smith, probably Petaja, and a promise of "The Root Gatherers" by R. H. Barlow. With his usual undecidedness Jim gave up this venture and now has finally decided to publish Grotesque. This publication he says will positively appear. It will be hektogeaphed and contain 40 or more pages size 6 by 4 1-2. Will use up Planeteer and Curious Story material. Only one issue will ever appear. During his short, but versatile period of scientifiction activity Jim has contemplated but never turned out:

1.) Odd - No plans.
2.) Bewildering Tales - Like Pohl's 'Mind of Man.'
3.) Fantastic - No plans.
4.) Nova - General science fiction content.

Besides Grotesque which Jim states will be fandom's weirdest magazine, he is also trying his hand at professional writing. His First effort "Empty City", a collaboration with Nils H. Frome, has been rejected by Astounding Stories. Another, "Spacecast", is still going the rounds. Blish also has a series of articles on the culture of amoeba running in the International Observer.

(Data entered by Judy Bemis)