Friday, 1 July 2011

THE HISTORY OF THE SCIENCE FICTION MAGAZINE PART 2

NEL hardcover, 1975. Cover illustration by Josh Kirby.

"Part 1 of this history of the science fiction magazine traced the earliest development of pulp and science fiction magazines in the period 1926-35. 
Part II takes up the story after the depression during which period, perhaps surprisingly, these magazines continued to flourish. By 1936 America, the home of science fiction publications, was feeling secure again, and people tended to ignore the gathering clouds of war. The science fiction magazine market became big business, reaching the first of its peaks, only to be matched again in the fifties. The leading magazines were still Amazing, Thrilling Wonder and Astounding, but there were countless others, such as Astonishing Stories, Cosmic Stories, Fanciful Tales, Flash Gordon's Strange Adventures, Stardust, Stirring Science Stories and many more. Magazine publishing in the late thirties also saw the expansion of science fiction into new markets in Britain and other countries outside the United States. 
The main trend in the magazines' content was influenced by the adventure and other pulp creations, so that emphasis was towards action, and less 'thinking' sf. Series were particularly popular such as the brain stealers by John W. Campbell, written under the pen-name of Don Stuart. Many authors who were to become big names appeared regularly in print for the first time, among them A. E. Van Vogt and Robert Heinlein. The juvenilia sf magazines also burgeoned, especially the 'bug-eyed monster- variety. But this high time was interrupted by the second world war, and nearly all the magazines, apart from the old stalwarts such as Amazing, collapsed. 
Included in this volume are extensive appendices covering the frequency of publication of various magazines; magazine editors and cover artists. Also reprinted are ten stories most representative of the writing of the period. These include an early Eric Frank Russell collaboration, Seeker Of Tomorrow; a classic Stanley G. Weinbaum tale, The Circle Of Zero; and a grim piece by Robert Bloch, Almost Human, plus many other delights."

Contents:

The Circle Of Zero by Stanley G. Weinbaum
Seeker Of Tomorrow by Eric Frank Russell and Leslie J. Johnson
The Dead Spot by Jack Williamson
The 4-Sided Triangle By William F. Temple
Hermit Of Saturn's Rings by Neil R. Jones
The Abyss by Robert A. W. Lowndes
Up There by Donald A. Wollheim
Almost Human by Robert Bloch
Wanderer Of Time by John Russell Fearn
The Power by Murray Leinster
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