(1912-1979) UK journalist and editor, active in Fandom (where he was usually known as Wally Gillings) from the early 1930s; he published (1937-1938) seven issues of an historic Fanzine, Scientifiction. This activity led to his editing the first true UK sf magazine, Tales of Wonder (1937-1942); his use of the term "science fiction" on the cover of issue number one for June 1937 may mark the first appearance of that term to designate as a whole the contents of a UK professional magazine or book. Immediately after World War Two he joined the author Benson Herbert to create the Utopian Publications imprint, which issued sf, fantasy and some soft-core pornography in cheap paperback format; this included the American Fiction and Strange Tales series. Gillings then edited the three issues of Fantasy (1946-1947). After its demise he produced the professional-looking fanzine Fantasy Review (1947-1950); when, in 1950, he was given the editorship of the new professional magazine Science Fantasy, the fanzine was incorporated as a section of the first two issues. John Carnell took over editorship of Science Fantasy with #3 (Winter 1951/2), and Gillings dropped out of sf activities for some years.
After this hiatus, Gillings produced another fanzine, Cosmos, for three issues in 1969, and also appeared regularly in Vision of Tomorrow (1969-1970) with a series about the History of SF in the UK, and again as a columnist in Science Fiction Monthly (1974-1976), where he also had a column as Thomas Sheridan – the pseudonym under which he had years earlier published the first of his three sf stories, "The Midget from Mars" for Tales of Wonder in Summer 1938. Another story, "Lost Planet" (December 1946 Fantasy), was published as by Geoffrey Giles. [PN]
see also: British Science Fiction Association; First Fandom Hall of Fame; SF Magazines.
Walter Herbert Gillings
born London: 19 February 1912
died Ilford, Essex: 17 July 1979
Previous versions of this entry