Fantastic universe 195808 - Drawing. Public domain image.
Cover of Fantastic Universe, August 1958
Fantastic was an American science fiction and fantasy magazine that was published from 1952 to 1980. It was known for publishing stories by some of the most well-known and influential authors in the science fiction and fantasy genres, including Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, and Robert Heinlein, among others. The magazine was published in digest size, which is smaller than a standard magazine, and it featured both short stories and serialized novels. Fantastic was initially published by Ziff-Davis and was edited by Howard Browne as a fantasy companion to Amazing Stories. Early sales were good, and the company quickly decided to switch Amazing from pulp format to digest and to cease publication of their other science fiction pulp, Fantastic Adventures. Within a few years sales fell, and Howard Browne, the editor, was forced to switch the focus to science fiction rather than fantasy. Browne lost interest in the magazine as a result and the magazine generally ran poor-quality fiction in the mid-1950s, under Browne and his successor, Paul W. Fairman. The magazine experienced some financial difficulties in the 1950s, and it was sold to Sol Cohen in 1958. Cohen relaunched the magazine as Fantastic Science Fiction and Fantasy, and it became known simply as Fantastic again in 1962. Under Cohen's ownership, the magazine continued to publish a mix of science fiction and fantasy stories, as well as articles and features about science fiction and fantasy in general. Fantastic remained popular throughout the 1960s and 1970s, but it struggled to compete with other science fiction and fantasy magazines in the late 1970s, and it was ultimately unable to survive the rise of science fiction and fantasy franchises in other media, such as movies and television. The magazine published its final issue in 1980. Despite its short run, Fantastic left a lasting impact on the science fiction and fantasy genres and is remembered as an important and influential publication.