The Essence was a science fiction fanzine by James Shull and Jay Zaremba.
The Essence was published in California, U.S.A.
Issue 2 was released in 1970, and reviewed by John D. Berry in Amazing, who writes, " Quite a few new faneditors are having their fanzines printed offset or multilith these days; very few have succeeded in producing as attractive a package as THE ESSENCE. This is no clumsily-laid-out, messily-typed crudzine with ill-matched paste-ups and a generally scruffy air. This fanzine is beautiful...The fanzine has style; it’s a joy to behold. And, unlike some of the fanzines that have been produced by art-oriented editors, THE ESSENCE is readable, too."
Four issues were released, the last in June 1973.
Contributors of artwork included Tim Kirk, with a feature art portfolio, "Lords of the Starship"; as well as Vaughn Bode, Steve Fabian, Mike Gilbert, Bill Rotsler, and James Shull.
Contributors of writing included Richard Delap, David Gerrold, Andrew Offutt, and the editors.
Writing in So It Goes #18 (2009), Tim Marion's article "The Ghost of Fanzines Past" talks about The Essence; "Shull was Severely Underrated, in my opinion. Or at the very least, not given much attention in fanzines, other than the article in Outworlds by Barry Gilliam...Shull himself actually addressed the issue of not very much criticism (or comment) being given toward fanart in the first issue of his and Jay Zaremba’s The Essence...Although The Essence quickly evolved into an elaborately mimeographed fanzine, using much blank space very artistically (perhaps even more artistically than Gregg Calkins!), the first couple of issues are small, wraparound, offset digest affairs...Also of note is a piece by Andy Offutt talking about letters from editors, in other words, the rejection letters he has received in the course of his career so far at that time of writing. It made surprisingly amusing reading."
According to David Emerson, writing in Rune #48, ..."Alpajpuri's CARANDAITH and Jay Zaremba 's THE ESSENCE (were) leading the cause of graphic experimentation..."