Free Stuff at PulpFest 2015

Jul 4, 2015 by

Fighting Yank 44-02Bring on the fireworks! It’s time to celebrate our nation’s freedom. What better time for PulpFest 2015 to offer our thanks for some of the donated material that our members will receive free of charge when they join our convention at the Hyatt Regency in the heart of downtown Columbus, Ohio from August 13th through the 16th?

Thanks are owed to the Catalyst Game Labs‘ demonstration team who will not only show our gamers a fun time through their SHADOWRUN adventures, but will also be offering adventure modules and rule books as game prizes.

We’d like to offer many thanks to Chaosium, a publisher of books and games and the creator of CALL OF CTHULHU, one of the most recognized role playing games in the world. Chaosim has donated a selection of books and role playing game supplements to be used as prizes for PulpFest‘s new gaming track.

Likewise, Engle Publishing has generously offered to provide copies of THE PAPER & ADVERTISING COLLECTORS’ MARKETPLACE for distribution free of charge at PulpFest. They’ve been doing so since the first PulpFest in 2009.

Gordon Van Gelder and FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION, the award-winning magazine that is celebrating its 66th anniversary in 2015, will again be offering copies of back issues for our members. Gordon’s magazine has been supporting PulpFest — and Pulpcon before it — for many years. We’re extremely grateful for its longstanding support.

Feral House has generously offered us a pair of exciting new books: PULP MACABRE: THE ART OF LEE BOWN COYE’S FINAL AND DARKEST ERA and a new and expanded edition of IT’S A MAN’S WORLD: MEN’S ADVENTURE MAGAZINES, THE POST-WAR PULPS. Attend our evening programming on Friday or Saturday night and you’ll have a chance to win a copy of one of these two fine books.

Paizo Inc., a leading publisher of fantasy role-playing games, accessories, board games, and novels, will be providing adventure modules and rule books for gaming track prizes. A number of Paizo’s PATHFINDER games will be played at PulpFest 2015run by the Columbus chapter of the Ohio Pathfinder Society.

Another strong supporter of our new gaming track has been Pelgrane Press. publisher of Kenneth Hite’s award-winning TRAIL OF CTHULHU — a role playing game based on the creatures, cults, and gods found in the work of H. P. Lovecraft and other writers — Pelgrane has donated six game modules and several specialty dice that will be used as prizes during PulpFest’s new gaming track. They’ve also provided a couple of game master screens that will be used by those running this year’s games.

Tom Brown and Radio Archives, the leading producer of old-time radio collections and pulp audiobooks, for sending a pair of Will Murray’s DOC SAVAGE audiobooks that will be awarded as door prizes for our members who attend our evening programming on Friday or Saturday.

Finally, we’ll also have a selection of LOCUS MAGAZINE back issues, reporting on the science-fiction and fantasy fields since 1968. These were donated to the convention by our guest of honor, writer Chet Williamson.

We’d also like to thank the many bookstores and comic shops throughout Ohio and other states, as well as the many book fairs and conventions that have helped to promote “Summer’s Great Pulp Con” all through the past year. We couldn’t do it without you. Thanks so much!

(The Fighting Yank first appeared in STARTLING COMICS #10, dated September 1941. The character was given its own book in the fall of 1942, only one of two Standard Comics super heroes to be so honored. A supernaturally created character, he was Standard’s answer to Timely’s Captain America and the many other mainstream Golden Age patriotic heroes. The Yank also appeared in AMERICA’S BEST COMICS. Created by Richard Hughes and artist Jon Blummer, the series ended in 1949.

Many covers for THE FIGHTING YANK — including the 7th issue, dated February 1944 — were drawn by Alex Schomburg, an artist who began contributing covers and interior art to the Thrilling pulp line during the 1930s. Later, he began working for Ned Pines’ Standard Comics, the parent company of Better Publications and Nedor Publishing. He would produce about three hundred covers for Standard Comics as well as two hundred for Timely/Marvel. His best remembered works are his covers for the Timely superheroes Captain America, the Human Torch, and Sub-Mariner.)

To Infinity and Beyond

Jun 15, 2014 by

Comet 1940-12A 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.

A British magazine entitled New Worlds was the first new science-fiction magazine to appear following World War II. Although it first appeared in 1946, it didn’t come into its glory until Michael Moorcock became editor in 1964. New Worlds would run for 222 issues and become the focus of science fiction’s “New Wave.” A companion magazine, Science Fantasy (later titled Impulse), premiered in 1950.

F&SF 49-FThe first U. S. magazine to appear after the war was Avon Fantasy Reader. Edited by Donald A. Wollheim, it was primarily a reprint magazine. The first new fantastic magazine would wait until 1949 when The Magazine of Fantasy–the “and Science Fiction” was added later–premiered in the fall. Originally edited by Anthony Boucher and J. Francis McComas and published by Lawrence Spivak, its founders sought to move away from pulp concepts, asking its writers for stylish fiction “that was up to the literary standards of the slick magazines.” Still published today, F&SF–as it has become known–has greatly helped both science fiction and fantasy to mature as genres. It is still published today.

Ray Palmer, most remembered today for his trumpeting of the Shaver Mystery in Amazing Stories and Fantastic Adventures, began publishing a couple of fantastic magazines around 1950. Although his first, Other Worlds, would publish a number of top-notch stories by Ray Bradbury, Gordon Dickson, Wilson Tucker, and others, Palmer would eventually convert it into a magazine about flying saucers. His other magazine was Imagination. It was sold to another publisher following its second number. Lasting for over sixty issues, Imagination published hurriedly written hack fiction by Randall Garrett, John Jakes, Frank M. Robinson and Robert Silverberg, all hiding behind pseudonyms.

Galaxy 50-10In the fall of 1950, World Editions introduced Galaxy Science Fiction, a digest magazine that paid its authors a minimum of three cents a word. Edited by H. L. Gold, the magazine serialized Alfred Bester’s “The Demolished Man” and Robert A. Heinlein’s “The Puppet Masters,” and published shorter works such as Ray Bradbury’s “The Fireman” (later expanded to become Fahrenheit 451), Damon Knight’s “To Serve Man,” and Fritz Leiber’s “Coming Attraction,” all in its first year. In 1953, Galaxy shared the first Hugo for Best Magazine with Campbell’s Analog. Later edited by Frederik Pohl, Jim Baen, and others, Galaxy ran for a total of 254 issues with its final issue appearing in 1980. Like F&SF, Galaxy was a leader in the movement to bring a more human element to science fiction.

Given the success of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction and Galaxy Science Fiction, other publishers tried to cash in on the growing market. Most of them quickly folded. Some of the more notable magazines introduced during the fifites included If—particularly when it was edited by Frederik Pohl; Nebula Science Fiction—a Scottish magazine; Fantastic—started by Howard Browne for Ziff-Davis; Fantastic Universe—nicknamed “the poor man’s” F&SFBeyond Fantasy Fiction—a short-lived fantasy companion to Galaxy Science Fiction; and Imaginative Tales—a companion to Imagination.

Inifinity 55-11At the dawn of the space race, ten new science-fiction magazines entered the market. The best was Infinity Science Fiction. Edited by Larry Shaw, it published some good stories by authors such as Isaac Asimov, James Blish, Arthur C. Clarke, Damon Knight and C. M. Kornbluth. Other longer-lived magazines to premier during this time included Infinity Science Fiction, Satellite Science Fiction, and Super-Science Fiction. Although nearly fifty British and American science-fiction and fantasy magazines were introduced during the fifties, only four of the fifty–Galaxy Science Fiction, Science Fantasy, If, and Fantastic—lasted beyond 1960.

Omni 78-10Although science fiction continued to mature after 1960, the genre increasingly turned to low-priced and portable paperback books to extend its reach. Except for the reprint digests—Magazine of Horror and Startling Mystery Stories—little of note appeared in the form of a new magazine until Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine debuted in the spring of 1977. Still running today, it will soon publish its 463rd issue. Other notable magazines from the last quarter of the twentieth century are Omni—a slick companion to Penthouse that sometimes topped a million in circulation and published science articles alongside science-fiction stories; Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone Magazine—a companion to the men’s magazine Gallery, it sometimes sold more than 125,000 copies and featured a mix of traditional supernatural fiction and movie and television features; Interzone—a British magazine started in the spring of 1982 and originally modeled after Michael Moorcock’s New Worlds, it continues to be published today; Aboriginal Science Fiction—a magazine that debuted in 1986 and published many new writers; and Absolute Magnitude (originally entitled Harsh Mistress)—a semiprofessional magazine that debuted in the spring of 1993 and published “hard science fiction with a strong human element.”

Asimov's Science Fiction 2014-08Today, science fiction and fantasy have, by and large, achieved the respectability they long sought. At the same time, competition from a range of media including paperback books, movies, television, video games, e-books, and the Internet, has vastly diminished the scope of magazine fantasy and science fiction. The major science-fiction and fantasy magazines in the print format–Analog Science Fiction and Fact, Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, Interzone, and The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction–have seen their circulations shrink tremendously.  Nevertheless, it cannot be denied that contemporary science fiction and fantasy owe a great deal to the magazines of the past—The Strand, Pearson’s Magazine, Argosy, The All-Story, Weird Tales, Amazing Stories, Astounding Science-Fiction, Galaxy Science Fiction, and countless others. Without them, where would science fiction and fantasy be today?

To learn more about the images used in this post, click on the illustrations. Click here for references consulted for this article.

The cover for Asimov’s Science Fiction is copyright © 2014 by Penny Publications LLC/Dell Magazines.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this discussion of magazine science fiction. If you’d like to read the unabridged version of the article–entitled “Science Fiction and the Pulps: A Genre Evolves”–it will be appearing in the PulpFest 2014 program book, The Pulpster. All you have to do to get a copy of the book is to become a member of the convention. It will take place from August 7 – 10 in Columbus, Ohio.

For those who cannot get to Columbus in August–although we’d love to see you–a supporting membership will be available that will entitle you to a copy of The Pulpster. You can register to become a regular or supporting member of the convention by visiting our registration page.

If copies are still available after the conclusion of the convention–quantities are limited–they will be available for purchase from Mike Chomko, Books. Visit our program book page to learn how to place your order.