While Worlds Beyond only lasted for three issues, it is interesting for a number of reasons. First, as digest sf magazines go, it was early - by December 1950, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction had only got four issues under its belt, and Galaxy had only begun in October. Second, it was from a big mass market magazine publisher, Hillman Periodicals, who had been successful with comics like Airboy and some of the earliest pre-code crime titles, and mass circulation magazines like Pageant, Flight and Real Confessions, as well as a line of paperbacks which ran from 1948 to 1961.
Worlds Beyond also had a talented and well-connected editor, Damon Knight, and had a policy, like F&SF, of including interesting "classic reprints" by well-known authors. There were no ads in the 128 pages, except for Hillman's sf paperbacks on the back cover; there was a brief editorial on the inside back cover, while the inside front cover gave details of some of the contributors. Paul Calle provided the cover, and some of the interior illustrations, which were generally small and just alongside a story's title; the other such illustrations were by Harry Harrison.
The 32-page novelette of this first issue was "The Smile of the Sphinx" by William F. Temple, though it didn't lead off the issue; instead, "Six-Legged Svengali" by Mack Reynolds and Fredric Brown had that honour. "An Epistle to the Thessalonians" by Philip Wylie (of When Worlds Collide and The Disappearance fame) came next, then "Simworthy's Circus" by Larry T. Shaw, and then, from the January 1932 London Mercury, "The End of the Party" by Graham Greene. "The Big Contest" by John D. MacDonald was new, while "The Hunter Graccus" by Franz Kafka ("Der Jäger Gracchus" from 1933) followed... and then "The Mindworm" by C. M. Kornbluth, one of his most influential and best remembered stories.
After the novelette there was room for three more stories, as well as the book review column, "The Dissecting Table," ranging from The Green Man of Graypec by Festus Pragnell to the "curiously uneven" The Dreaming Jewels by Theodore Sturgeon. And Damon Knight seemed unconvinced by Dianetics, The Modern Science of Mental Health, by L. Ron Hubbard, concluding that "the reader experiments at his own grave risk." "Invasion Squad" by Batell Loomis, "Wow" by William Seabrook (from 1921), and "The Loom of Darkness" by Jack Vance filled the remaining pages... and that was a convenient tale to end with, as Vance's The Dying Earth is the main Hillman paperback book mentioned on the back cover, and "The Loom of Darkness" is one episode from that book.
So, a very promising start to an all-too-brief run of issues. Hillman were wise to try such a title - if only they had had the confidence to give it more time, it could easily have lasted a lot longer.