In 1976 the only magazine devoted to science fiction in Australia was SF Commentary, but little space was given to sustained literary analysis. Aiming to demonstrate that science fiction could stand as literature, Van Ikin, then a young academic at Sydney University, established Science Fiction: A Review of Speculative Literature in 1977.
Co-edited with Terry Dowling, Science Fiction eventually replaced SF Commentary as the prominent Australian journal of science fiction, hosting the latter's final issue in 1983. When Ikin moved to Western Australia to pursue his academic career, the editorial duties moved with him and Dowling's influence subsided. However, he and a board of editors continue to play an advisory role in the production of the magazine.
Contributors to Science Fiction have been primarily, but not exclusively, academics. Early issues included discussion on Australian authors such as Damien Broderick, Peter Carey, Lee Harding, Frank Bryning, George Turner and film-maker Peter Weir. Interviews and analyses of the work of international authors such as Roger Zelazny, Stanislaw Len and Frank Herbert were also included. Subsequent issues have maintained the early aims of Science Fiction, but exploration of new areas such as gender have been encouraged in recent years.
Although the frequency of Science Fiction has decreased to its annual appearances since 1999, it remains one of the most significant contributors to current debates on Australian science fiction.