As indicated on the start page of this archive, SCIENCE FICTION NEWS was the house newsletter of the SFBC. Edited by various hands - including good old Anonoymous, as well as the more forthcoming Herbert Jones, Oliver Caldecott, and Ildiko Hayes, both characters with some distinction in publishing (see Jim Linwood's note below) - it began with the first SFBC issue, EARTH ABIDES, March 1953, and carried on until number 107 for April 1966. At that point it ceased as an independent entity and was absorbed into the Readers Union leaflet READERS NEWS, where at best the SFBC was given a page or so, at worst and usual there seemed only grudgingly-given space for simple details of the present and forthcoming SFBC issues.

In a sense it did continue in some form or another until the eventual miserable petering-out of the once glorious SFBC line. Eventually there was a revival - we have to hand the January 1979 issue of The SCIENCE FICTION BOOK CLUB NEWS which may have been the first issue of the new order. See the associated webpage for further information on that. Parts of it were excellent.

It's actually quite difficult to divine who edited SFN and when. Of the names we know, it is in order Herbert Jones, Oliver Caldecott, and Ildiko Hayes.

It is apparent that Herbert Jones was SFN editor from issue 1 until at least issue 34 - all those issues are bylined as 'edited by Herbert Jones'. By issue 42 of SFN he has been replaced by Oliver Caldecott.

From there on things become confusing; not all issues have an editor named, although numbers 48-50 inclusive have 'Edited by Ildiko Hayes' prominent on the first page. It may be that Hayes lasted just a handful of issues. Who carried on after that? Certainly Oliver Caldecott wrote occasional items after Hayes apparent departure - there are several articles signed 'O.C.' ; was he also back at the editorial bench? No-one gets an editorial credit after that, although there is one renegade item entitled 'Editorial' signed 'A.M.'  

The world may never know.

SCIENCE FICTION NEWS Number 46 of September 1960, which includes Kingsley Amis on becoming a selector of SFBC







SFN No 28, September/October 1957 - from a scan provided by Jim Linwood






Marion Lansdale is now Marion Linwood. Note membership number is 5034.


JIM LINWOOD contibutes some notes regarding somewhat lesser-known (within the sf world anyway) one-time SFBC selection panel members, reinforced by some notes by MALCOLM EDWARDS -  

J.G. Porter was Dr J.G.Porter, an astronomer who was the Patrick Moore of his day regularly appearing on the steam radio.

Edward Shanks was Edward Richard Buxton Shanks the writer and war poet who died in 1953. He also wrote SF according to: Edward Shanks -  Wikipedia.

Malcolm Edwards indicates that  "Edward Shanks published one proto-sf novel, PEOPLE OF THE RUINS, in 1920, plus a number of other books.  He died in 1953, hence his lack of continued involvement."   Yeah, that's pretty conclusive.

Oliver Caldecott was an editor at Penguins, Readers Union, and Hutchinson and founded his own publishing firm Wildwood House with his partner Dieter Pevsner. His last editorial post was at Rider, for Century Hutchinson. He was also a very good artist. The Moyra  Caldecott Web - Biographical Sketch  

Malcolm Edwards also comments - "Oliver Caldecott was an editor with a number of different publishers, latterly Wildwood House (which I think he co-founded) and Rider (which I think was the New Age imprint at what is now Random House).  I've never met him, and am not aware of him being an sf-enthusiast-about-publishing, so would guess that this is just a job he held at some point."
I wonder about this last; Caldecott makes some good points about sf and even the sf culture in his little articles, he may then have been more interested in sf than was later apparent.