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Weird Menaces: The Shudder Pulps

July 6, 2014 / 1 comment

Not only will we be celebrating science fiction’s “Golden Year of 1939″ and “75 Years of Fantastic Fiction,” PulpFest 2014 intends to pay homage to “The Weird-Menace Magazines of 1934.” Called shudder pulps, these magazines experienced a brief period of popularity that began in late 1933 and ran until 1941, when a concerted reform movement brought…

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To Infinity and Beyond

June 15, 2014 / 2 comments

A lengthy period of contraction followed the science-fiction and fantasy pulp boom of 1939. With the United States about to enter the Second World War and paper rationing limiting magazine production, the only new magazines to appear before the conflict’s end were the short-lived Comet, Cosmic Stories and Stirring Science Stories, plus rebound copies of Amazing Stories and Fantastic Adventures….

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Frederik Pohl & Fictioneers, Inc.

June 12, 2014 / 0 comments

In October 1939, acting on a tip that Popular Publications was starting a new pulp line, a young author and literary agent found himself trying to convince the company to hire him to start a pair of science-fiction pulps. Soon thereafter, the freshly hired editor was seated with publisher Harry Steeger, discussing the financial needs…

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Captain Future, Man of Tomorrow

June 9, 2014 / 0 comments

In addition to the explosive growth of the science-fiction pulp market, 1939 was also the year of the first World Science Fiction Convention. According to a story related by science-fiction scholar Sam Moskowitz, Standard Magazines’ editor-in-chief, Leo Margulies and Mort Weisinger came up with “a new idea in fantasy magazines” at the convention. It was…

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Space Operas in the Sky

June 6, 2014 / 2 comments

Although Fiction House had been around since the 1920s, it waited until 1939 to enter the science-fiction field. A year before, it had joined the comic book industry with Jumbo Comics, home to Sheena, “Queen of the Jungle.” Perhaps trying to hedge its bets, Fiction House launched a science-fiction pulp, Planet Stories, and a science-fiction…

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Aristocrats of the Pulps

June 3, 2014 / 0 comments

In a letter published in “The Readers’ Viewpoint” column in its June 1948 issue, Robert Boyer labeled Famous Fantastic Mysteries as “. . . the Aristocrat of the Pulps, the acme of stf perfection,” a title that can likewise be conferred upon the magazine’s later companions, Fantastic Novels and A. Merritt’s Fantasy Magazine. Started by the Frank A. Munsey…

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Ray Palmer’s Fantastic Adventure

May 30, 2014 / 0 comments

The blossoming of the science-fiction and fantasy genres gathered more steam when Ziff-Davis premiered Fantastic Adventures in March 1939 with Ray Palmer editing. “Fantastic Adventures gives you the best in fantasy and off-trail science fiction . . . . Everyone likes to think and ponder and wonder at times. But these stories must necessarily be in…

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Science Fiction and Archie Comics

May 27, 2014 / 0 comments

Before he helped found MLJ Comics–later Archie Comics–Louis Silberkleit published pulp magazines. The mentor of Martin Goodman, Silberkleit was a follower of trends, hoping to obtain a quick profit through the magazines he published. Noting the growing science-fiction market in 1939, Silberkleit issued a pair of magazines. First to the gate was Science Fiction, released in…

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Unknown Worlds of John Campbell

May 24, 2014 / 0 comments

In the February 1939 Astounding Science-Fiction, John W. Campbell announced, “. . . the second Friday of every month, a new magazine will appear. Unknown will be to fantasy what Astounding has made itself represent to science fiction. It will offer fantasy of a quality so far different from that which has appeared in the…

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Thrilling Science Fiction & Fantasy

May 21, 2014 / 0 comments

Ned 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…

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