PulpMags

The official blog for the Pulp Magazines Project, an open-access digital archive of early twentieth-century pulp magazines

Archive for the month “February, 2012”

History of Astounding Stories now available (2/21/2012)

Inspired by the success of Hugo Gernsback’s Amazing Stories, Clayton Publishing Co. released, in January of 1930, the first issue of Astounding Stories. Early issues lacked much of Gernsback’s attention to the scientific and extrapolative possibilities of the SF genre, and instead featured many instances of stock, pulp adventure yarns simply transplanted into exotic or alien environments. While possibly a travesty in the eyes of SF purists, it attracted many SF fans and general pulp readers, and aided Astounding‘s first three years of survival, until its cancellation during the height of the Great Depression in March of 1933.

Thankfully, the departure was short-lived; the pulp industry giant Street & Smith Corp. purchased the title, and in October 1933 Astounding Stories returned. The stock adventure stories that had appeared previously were replaced, with what editor F. Orlin Tremaine dubbed “thought-variants:” stories that were just as interesting and exciting, but also held some scientific or technological truth at their core. This approach—combining the adventure of the pulps with the ideas of Gernsbackian extrapolation—in addition to the social, political and introspective elements increasingly incorporated by its authors into their stories, would help define Astounding in the coming years…

Read the fuller history of this title here at the Pulp Magazines Project.

New Issues/ Histories (2/18/2012)

Due to an overwhelmingly positive response received last weekend to the posting of issues 1-6 (over 4,000 new visits in just three days), we’ve added two more issues from Volume 1 of Amazing Stories, those of October and November. This rounds out the year 1926 for Hugo Gernsback’s seminal science-fiction magazine.

Also available now at the Pulp Magazines Project, from Andrew Ferguson (University of Virginia) a history of Amazing Stories; and from Jeremy Larance (West Liberty University) a history of Fiction House’s Fight Stories, the first all-fiction pulp magazine dedicated entirely to a single sport. Take that, baseball.

New Issues (2/10/2012): Hugo Gernsback’s Amazing Stories 1-6

We’ve added yet another significant milestone to the Pulp Magazines Project website: issues #1-6 of Hugo Gernsback’s Amazing Stories (April-Sept. 1926), the first periodical of any kind devoted solely to science fiction, or, as Gernsback coined the term, “scientifiction.”

Publisher of over 50 magazines during his lifetime, Gernsback is considered by many to be “The Father of Magazine Science Fiction.” In 1923, when a special all-fiction issue of Science and Invention (which Gernsback edited, 1920-29) received an overwhelmingly positive response from its readers, Gernsback realized the market potential for an all-fiction scientific magazine.

Three years later, Gernsback launched Amazing Stories, which remains to this day one of the most highly respected and collectible pulps of any genre. In its inaugural issue, Gernsback explained his aim for the magazine:

By ‘scientifiction’ I mean the Jules Verne, H.G. Wells and Edgar Alan Poe type of story—a charming romance intermingled with scientific fact and prophetic vision. […] Not only do these amazing tales make tremendously interesting reading—they are also always instructive.  They supply knowledge that we might not otherwise obtain—and they supply it in a very palatable form. For the best of these modern writers of scientifiction have the knack of imparting knowledge and even inspiration without once making us aware that we are being taught (“A New Sort of Magazine,” Vol. 1, No. 1, April 1926, p.3).

A hearty thanks to Beau Collier, Pulpscans, and the Pulps Preservation Project for making these issues available. Enjoy.

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