Free on the Internet Archive: 255 issues of Galaxy Magazines, 1950-1976

Galaxy was one of the first pulps to explicitly bill itself as a magazine for "adults," in 1950 under founding editor HL Gold. Read the rest

5 things you know about pulp science fiction are wrong, or at least not always true

Vintage Geek offers a list of miscconceptions people have about pulp-era science fiction, whose legacy has warped in the public imagination moreso even than Captain James T. Kirk's. [via MeFi]

“Pulp-Era Science Fiction was about optimistic futures.” “Pulp scifi often featured muscular, large-chinned, womanizing main characters.” “Pulp Era Scifi were mainly action/adventure stories with good vs. evil.” “Racism was endemic to the pulps.” “Pulp scifi writers in the early days were indifferent to scientific reality and played fast and loose with science.”

All these things are true, of course, but what better time to search for counterexamples than now?

To be fair, science fiction was not a monolith on this. One of the earliest division in science fiction was between the Astounding Science Fiction writers based in New York, who often had engineering and scientific backgrounds and had left-wing (in some cases, literally Communist) politics, and the Amazing Stories writers based in the Midwest, who were usually self taught, and had right-wing, heartland politics. Because the Midwestern writers in Amazing Stories were often self-taught, they had a huge authority problem with science and played as fast and loose as you could get. While this is true, it’s worth noting science fiction fandom absolutely turned on Amazing Stories for this, especially when the writers started dabbling with spiritualism and other weirdness like the Shaver Mystery. And to this day, it’s impossible to find many Amazing Stories tales published elsewhere.
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Sci-Fi Sundays: Worlds Of If, January 1964

April '67 issue

This issue of Worlds of IF, Science Fiction, commonly just referred to as IF Magazine has a peculiar cover. The white space almost makes this look like a reprint of some kind, however, it isn't. This is how they chose to deliver this one issue. Most issues during the 60's have a simple white band across the top, with full width art. I haven't been able to find any explanation as to why this cover has peculiar use of the white space.  Here is an image of a typical cover from the 60's for comparison.

IF Magazine has a tendency to list only the last name of their illustrators. This can cause quite a bit of confusion if you're researching. For example, the cover for this issue is simply labelled as McKenna. As it turns out, that is Richard McKenna. That same year another Richard McKenna, the author Richard (M) McKenna, illustrated one of his own stories: When the Stars Answer, in another publication. This is confusing!

Virgil Finlay is an easy one to sort out, but what about Nodel? Is that Norman Nodel the comic book artist? I don't see this publication listed anywhere in his works, and I did manage to find one of his signatures somewhere and it doesn't quite match up to the ones in the illustrations below. Then again, that N does look quite similar. I have no idea.

Publication: Worlds of IF Science Fiction

Issue: January 1964, Volume 13, Number 6

cover: McKenna

by Nodel for The Competitors

by Finlay for Waterspider

Every time I look at this one, my mind immediately sees Atlas, holding the earth on his shoulders. Read the rest

Sci-Fi Sundays: Analog Science Fiction, February 1970

Welcome to Sci-Fi Sundays! I'm in my mid 30s and grew up steeped in science fiction. From as far back as I can remember, the books on my family bookshelf bore the names of Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Arthur C. Clarke, H.G Wells, and the like. The books seemed, to my immature eyes, like such odd and frustrating things. They had these enticing and rich illustrations on their covers, but inside, mostly only walls of text that I wouldn't learn to appreciate till my age hit double digits.

Occasionally I'd stumble upon something like Analog, and be delighted to find illustrations inside, sparse as they may be. Something about this experience left a permanent mark on me, and the illustrations of science fiction pulp has always seemed somewhat magical. It isn't usually the highest quality art work, but it was always something new and interesting, either some imaginary creature or piece of machinery.

About 10 years ago, I was given a treasure; boxes and boxes of science fiction pulp. I have tons of Analog, some Perry Rhodan, Worlds of If, Galaxy, and a few others with publication dates ranging from the late 50s through the 80s.  While each issue should, in my opinion, be scanned page by page and preserved forever, I'm only setting out to do so with the illustrations. In this series, I'll scan an issue (or two or 3 if they only have cover art),  and share the illustrations with you. Sadly, I can't share the musty smell of the pages, but I may share some of my observations and thoughts on the issue, and I'd love to hear yours. Read the rest

Gorgeous pulp-fiction editions of Gaiman's Anansi Boys, Neverwhere and American Gods

Now there are three: Neil Gaiman's best-loved novels are being re-released with gorgeous pulp covers; back in August, it was American Gods, in a month you'll be able to marry it up with the stupendous Anansi Boys, to be followed in November by Neverwhere (painted by Robert E McGinnis, lettering by Todd Klein). (via Neil Gaiman)

Update: Ooh, Stardust, too! Read the rest

Hugo Gernsback's introduction to the first issue of Amazing Stories, 1926

When Hugo "Award" Gernsback launched Volume 1, Number 1 of Amazing Stories in April, 1926, he created the first magazine in the world solely devoted to science fiction stories: on the magazine's editorial page, Gernsback laid out his vision for the genre. Read the rest

Remembering the golden age of pulps with Robert Silverberg

A reader writes, "An original interview with Robert Silverberg on the subject of his early work as a pulp writer and editor for Amazing magazine. Posted yesterday, for Poulpe Pulps: A Silly Website, which features pictures of the octopus in pulp art. Silverberg: what an elegant and gracious writer!"
RS: Back in my pulp-mag days I worked from about 8:30 to noon, took an hour off for lunch, and worked again from one to three, for a work day of five and a half hours or so. I wrote 20 to 30 pages of copy in that time, doing it all first draft, so that I was able to produce a short story of 5000-7500 words in a single day. If I had 3000-worders to do, I usually wrote one before lunch and one after lunch. At three o'clock I poured myself a shot of rum or mixed a martini, put a record on, and sat down to relax until dinnertime, reading and perhaps sketching out the next day's work on a scrap of paper. This was the Tuesday-to-Friday routine. I never worked on Saturday or Sunday.

On Monday I made the rounds of the editorial offices to visit some mix of John Campbell, Howard Browne, Larry Shaw, W.W. Scott, and Bob Lowndes--editors of Astounding, Amazing, Infinity/Science Fiction Adventures, Super Science Fiction, and the various Lowndes titles--to deliver the previous week's work. Sometimes I stopped off at my agent's Fifth Avenue office to pick up checks, also. (I took the subway downtown from my apartment on West End Avenue in Manhattan.)

In weeks when I was writing a novel, I followed a five-day schedule, doing about thirty pages a day, so a typical Ace novel would take me six or seven days to write.

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Video magazine recounts the history of the pulps

Steve sends us "The premiere episode of Electro-Pulp Video Magazine, a visual history of pulp science fiction magazines. The premiere episode covers the inaugural issue of Startling Stories from January, 1939. Features Stanley G. Weinbaum's novel The Black Plague, a short story by Eando Binder, the first ever SF story to be inducted into the Scientifiction Hall of Fame (D D Sharp's The Eternal Man), an editorial by Otis Adelbert Kline and a letter column featuring Isaac Asimov."

Startling Stories on the Premiere of Electro-Pulp Video Magazine! (Thanks, Steve!) Previously:PBS on science fiction pulps vs. the web - Boing Boing Kirk/Spock cartoon video / Pulp's "Common People" mashup - Boing Boing Great collection of SF pulps - Boing Boing Boing Boing: The Pulp Zone: covers, stories, Classic pulp mag replicas - Boing Boing Pulp and Archie détournement - Boing Boing Hugo Gernsback explains gadgets, 1935 - Boing Boing Boing Boing: Futuro House: better living from the Gernsback Continuum Hugo Gernsback: father of sf and early WiFi nut - Boing Boing Retro-futuristic designs by the bushel - Boing Boing Atomic Punk hotrod video - Boing Boing Futuristic movie-prop bus from 1935 - Boing Boing Read the rest