(*now that I’ve figured out which link to use for posting images, I’ve gone back and added pics to some of the earlier entries. You might want to check them out.)
One of my oldest and most enduring hobbies is collecting science fiction and fantasy magazines (even a little horror manages to creep in there from time to time). I say magazines because the focus of my collection encompasses pulps, digest and the more modern forms as well.
I’ve got a pretty good collection, although not complete (I don’t think it will ever be complete – there’s always an excuse to expand). The collection focuses on Volume 1, Number 1 (english language) Science Fiction and Fantasy magazines.
And now that I’ve figured out how to get images up here, I can share some of them. Doing so will become my ‘subject to write about when I’ve got nothing else to write about’.
All of the images that are presented here come from either my own collection or from several sites that are invaluable resources of information and scans for those interested in collecting. Those sites are:
Philip Stevenson-Payne’s index; Jacque Hamon’s index of American magazines (most of the site is in French, but don’t let that stop you); Terry Gibbon’s VISCO site, and of course the Miller-Contento index to pulp magazines at Locus Mag. Its a text index but excellent for double-checking.
My site is designed to let me access the collection and quickly determine whether I have a particular magazine and, if so, what the condition is. With a cell phone or laptop handy, I can quickly check something I’m considering buying against what I already have. My ‘magazine rack’ display image can be found here.
Today we’re going to look at the SF/F magazine prior to 1930.
In 1913, Hugo Gernsback, an inventor and one of the original popularizers of radio and electronics in the USA, debuted a magazine devoted to the new science.
Which was eventually re-titled in 1920 as:
It frequently featured fantastical stories that attempted to speculate on the future of various technologies. One such was Gernsback’s own ‘Ralph 124C41+’, which was more a travelogue of future tech than story. However, readers responded well and this enthusiasm caused Gernsback to experiment.
However, before that experiment reached the news stands, The Thrill Book was published in 1919:
Had Thrill book continued and actually devoted itself to its original intent (heavy emphasis on fantasy), it might have become known as the first magazine devoted exclusively to fantasy (and perhaps SF). Unfortunately, the market was apparently not yet ready and Thrill Book folded the same year it began.
Then, in 1923, another near-miss occurred. Weird Tales hit the stands.
Fortunately for Gernsback’s future plans, WT – justly famous in its own right – stuck to horror, fantasy and the ‘weird’ genres, including HP Lovecraft, and author who has become synonymous with this magazine.
In August of 1923, Gernsback published the first of the ‘all scientific fiction’ issues of Science and Invention:
Hugo would have had enough lead time to see the debut issue of Weird Tales and get this issue of S&I onto the stands by August, although this is speculation on my part. He repeated this experiment in 1924 and both experiments were very well received.
In 1926 he launched Amazing Stories, the first magazine devoted exclusively to the publishing of what Gernsback had titled ‘scientificfiction’ and later ‘scientification’.
Amazing Stories was quickly followed by an Annual compilation magazine and then a quarterly compilation magazine -
Then, during 1927, Hugo lost most of his media empire to a forced bankruptcy. He quickly recovered and introduced Science Wonder Stories, Air Wonder Stories (later combined as Thrilling Wonder Stories) along with a quarterly edition:
Next time – Astounding Stories of Super Science and the Golden Age of Science Fiction.