Your Last Chance to Guess Our Guest’s Identity

Jan 10, 2016 by

Amazing Stories 26-04On Thursday evening, we drew your attention to the fact that we are planning to announce our convention’s 2016 guest of honor on Monday, January 11th. The news will be released here and on our social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. We also mentioned that we’re planning to offer a wide array of programming at PulpFest 2016, including salutes to the 150th anniversary of the birth of H. G. Wells — author of “The Time Machine,” “War of the Worlds,” and other classic science-fiction novels — and the 90th anniversary of the first science-fiction pulp, AMAZING STORIES.

As we mentioned in our post concerning THE ARGOSY  the first American periodical specifically designed for the common man — pulp magazines were named for the cheap paper on which they were printed. Nearly two decades after Frank A. Munsey pioneered the format in late 1896, the rough-paper periodicals began to specialize with the introduction of DETECTIVE STORY MAGAZINE by Street & Smith. During the 1920s more magazines geared toward specific genres were introduced: LOVE STORY, SEA STORIES, SPORT STORY MAGAZINE, GHOST STORIES, WAR STORIES, and others. The movement would culminate in single-character magazines such as THE SHADOW or DOC SAVAGE MAGAZINE.

It was hard to miss the inaugural issue of AMAZING STORIES — the first magazine to be geared toward the science-fiction reader. Larger than the typical pulp magazine with three-dimensional block letters trailing across its masthead, with a bright yellow backdrop that framed an alien landscape, a ringed planet and small moon, the magazine certainly stood out on the sales rack.

The names on the front cover of the early issues of AMAZING STORIES were also major selling points for the magazine: Edgar Rice Burroughs, A. Merritt, Edgar Allan Poe, Garrett P. Serviss, Jules Verne, H. G. Wells, and others. Using stories drawn from the Munsey magazines, BLUE BOOK, THE STRAND, and other sources, Gernsback offered reprints of science-fiction classics, eventually coupling these with new stories generated through contests. It was just as Gernsback wrote in his editorial for the pulp’s first issue: “By ‘scientifiction’ I mean the Jules Verne, H. G. Wells, and Edgar Allan Poe type story — a charming romance intermingled with scientific fact and prophetic vision.”

Amazing Stories 27-08It would be difficult to deny the importance of Herbert George Wells to the development of both science fiction and AMAZING STORIES. During his three years as editor and publisher of the first science-fiction magazine, Gernsback turned to Wells’ fictional output for nearly thirty stories, reprinting such tales as “The Country of the Blind,” “The Crystal Egg,” “The Empire of the Ants,” “The First Men in the Moon,” “The Invisible Man,” “The Island of Dr. Moreau,” “The Man Who Could Work Miracles,” “A Story of the Days to Come,” “The Time Machine,” “The Valley of the Spiders,” “The War of the Worlds,” and “When the Sleeper Wakes” in his magazine and its companion titles.

PulpFest 2016 will be celebrating both H. G. Wells and AMAZING STORIES at its convention in July. Please join us at “the pop culture center of the universe” for “Summer’s AMAZING Pulp Con,” from July 21st through July 24th in the Columbus, Ohio Arena district at the Hyatt Regency hotel and the city’s spacious convention center.

Here’s our final clue to the identity of our PulpFest 2016 guest of honor: in 1926, Hugo Gernsback introduced the reading public to the first science-fiction magazine, AMAZING STORIES. Since then, Gernsback’s magazine has inspired countless imitators. During our 2016 guest of honor’s career, he or she has also been associated with the science-fiction genre. Here’s your last chance to leave your guess to our special guest’s identity on our Facebook page. If you haven’t done so already, be sure to “like” us. We’ll provide a free membership to PulpFest 2016 to the first person who guesses the identity of this year’s honored guest. And remember to visit www.pulpfest.com on Monday, January 11th when we will reveal the identity of the PulpFest 2016 Guest of Honor.

(Frank R. Paul, the “grandfather of science-fiction art,” painted the covers to both the inaugural issue of AMAZING STORIES — dated April 1926 — and the August 1927 number of the magazine. The latter issue of the rough-paper periodical featured the first half of the classic H. G. Wells novel, “The War of the Worlds,” serialized by the magazine in two parts. Wells’ story of an alien invasion of planet Earth — originally published in PEARSON’S MAGAZINE in 1897 — is still enjoyed to this very day.)