Rocket to the Morgue is interesting in a number of ways. It gave some clues to Boucher’s interest in Forteana—indeed, it is a very Fortean book. It also gave a glimpse of the science fictioneers at work during the late 1930s. (It was published in 1942 and set in 1941.) It is self-referential: one of the characters is Anthony Boucher, another member of the Society, and his wife. The book also recasts the Sherlock Homes mythos into the world of weird fiction and science fiction tales. It is set in a world where science fiction was given a huge lift by author Fowler Foulkes, who created the character Dr. Derringer. Derringer did for science fiction what Holmes did for mysteries—made them possible, was the epitome of the genre, was so believable that he almost seemed to be alive and, indeed, seemed to come to life in the course of the mystery. At the time the story took place, Fowler Foulkes had died and his literary empire was being run by his son, Hilary. Writing about the all the ways that Hilary frustrated those who hoped to adapt Derringer to different media or to continue his exploits in new stories gave Boucher a chance to comment on the manager of the Holmes character, Adrian Conan Doyle, son of Sir Arthur, who also jealously protected his father’s legacy and often confounded the plans of fans who wanted to use Sherlock Holmes in new ways.
Boucher’s most famous intervention into the world of weird tales, though, was as co-editor of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Originally conceived as only a fantasy magazine, FSF, as the cognoscenti knew it, became the successor to John W. Campbell’s Astounding—even as that magazine continued publishing. It can be arguably said to be the standard-bearer of science fiction magazines during the 1950s, and certainly so of the fantasy—or weird—tale, with Weird Tales itself ceasing publication in the middle 1950s, after years of decline. The magazine published a couple of Bay Area Forteans, Garen Drussai and Miriam Alan de Ford (who published an article on Fort). Toward the end of his life, Clark Ashton Smith had George Haas facilitate correspondence with Boucher; Smith was having trouble finding new markets for his work, and hoped Boucher could help. (Apparently, he couldn’t.) Other Fortean inflected stories also appeared here.
Boucher edited The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction until 1958. He stayed active in the field—and in mystery—up to his death from lung cancer on 29 April 1968.