I've been wading through my grandfather's old science fiction magazines and have decided to do occasional scans of this content to illustrate forgotten aspects of the genre's history. In particular, I want to illustrate the letters to the editor which were a major way people in fandom communicated with each other before the start of the digital revolution.
My first scan is a letter to the editor from Marion Zimmer Bradley. Long before she became famous as a fiction writer — and then infamous for both ignoring her husband's child molestation activities and engaging in the same herself — Bradley wrote a number of letters which were published in Thrilling Wonder Stories.
The letter below comes from the June 1953 issue of Thrilling Wonder Stories. In it, Bradley says that her complaint about sex in a recent story in the magazine isn't the "shrieking of an outraged prude." Instead, she complains about using poor science to set up what is essential a "sex fiction" story. Bradley adds she is okay with sex in SF stories when it's integral to the story's plot, as in Philip Jose Farmer's famous story "The Lovers." Otherwise, she doesn't want it in her SF.
In light of Bradley's later abusive and criminal acts, the letter can't help but be read today in an extremely disturbing manner. That said, the letter also opens a window into her mindset at the start of her writing career while also demonstrating a good bit of insight into the gender-norms and beliefs which saturated the SF/F genre in the early 1950s.
To open the letter as a PDF, go here.