Startling Stories from First to Last

Jul 25, 2014 by

Startling Stories for 09-48Ned Pines’ Thrilling Group entered the science-fiction pulp market after purchasing Wonder Stories from Hugo Gernsback. Early in 1938, editor Mort Weisinger asked his readers for suggestions concerning a companion to the rechristened Thrilling Wonder Stories. The result of Weisinger’s poll was Startling Stories, a new pulp that debuted at the end of 1938.

Startling Stories featured a lead novel, complete in each issue, plus a number of short stories, one a reprint culled from Gernsback’s Wonder magazines. In later years, Thrilling Wonder Stories also became a reprint source for its companion magazine. Many of the novels to appear in Startling Stories were action-packed space operas, while others bordered on the science fantasies of Abraham Merritt.

When Sam Merwin became the editor of Startling in 1945, he began to mix more mature novels into the magazine. Some of the highlights of this period include Fredric Brown’s “What Mad Universe,” Arthur C. Clarke’s “Against the Fall of Night,” and Edmond Hamilton’s “The City at World’s End.” There were also short stories by Ray Bradbury, C. M. Kornbluth, Fritz Leiber, Clifford Simak, and others. In the early fifties, Startling published Philip José Farmer’s “The Lovers,” a short novel that pioneered the intelligent use of sex in science fiction.

On Friday, August 8th, beginning at 8 PM, Ed Hulse, author and publisher of the Murania Press line of books and magazines, will present a slideshow featuring all 99 of the covers from Startling‘s nearly twenty-year run. He’ll touch on the many great yarns published in the magazine over the years. It’s all part of PulpFest‘s salute to science fiction’s Golden Year of 1939 and 75 years of fantastic fiction!

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