One Hundred Years of THE THRILL BOOK

Feb 25, 2019 by

A century ago, Edgar Rice Burroughs, George Allan England, A. Merritt, and others were spinning scientific romances and fantasies for the general fiction magazines. THE ALL-STORY editor Robert H. Davis called such tales, “different.”  “Off Trail” was how Arthur Sullivant Hoffman of ADVENTURE described the story type.

In 1919, Street & Smith circulation manager Henry Ralston, decided to launch “a magazine wholly devoted to different stories.” Unfortunately, he also selected the inexperienced and inept Harold Brainerd Hersey to helm his new magazine.

In a 1955 autobiographical essay, Hersey suggested that, “No one, anywhere, had come up with the notion that this kind of story was leading in a definite direction, except Bill Ralston . . . . others like myself were keenly interested in futuristic stories, but none of us visualized a magazine given over to it entirely.” So began the legend that Street & Smith’s THE THRILL BOOK was the world’s first science fiction and fantasy magazine.

Inpatient to get things underway, Hersey mailed a two-page letter to potential writers for THE THRILL BOOK:

“We are strongly desirous of securing strange, bizarre, occult, mysterious tales . . . We are also in the market for clean, swiftly moving adventure serials, novelettes, and short stories . . . In this magazine accent is laid on the curious twist; the strange angles of human nature; the coming into contact with an unseen world; miraculous but logical happenings; thrilling occult stories with any background either here or in foreign lands; adventures of extraordinary speed and absorbing interest; mysterious occurrences; spiritual and ghostly narratives; romantically woven novelettes and serials, and whimsical things. If you have an idea which you have considered too bizarre to write, too weird or strange, let us see it.”

Hersey’s notice left THE THRILL BOOK open to any kind of story — adventure, mystery, fantasy, romance, or whatever — as long as it was unusual. With a limited budget and imagination, the new editor relied on his friends, former dime novelists, untried authors, and his own poetry to fill out the magazine.

The first issue of THE THRILL BOOK carried the date March 1, 1919. Published as a semi-monthly in the dime novel format, it featured “Wolf of the Steppes” as its cover story, It was probably the high point of Hersey’s editorship. Credited to Greye La Spina, this werewolf story was the first published work of Fanny Greye Bragg. The author would later become an important contributor to WEIRD TALES.

After eight issues, THE THRILL BOOK became a pulp. It also had a new editor — Ronald Oliphant — after Hersey was canned. Although he turned toward Hoffman’s ADVENTURE for inspiration, Oliphant would also publish some of the magazine’s best science fiction. He serialized Gertrude M. Barrows’ dystopian “The Heads of Cerberus” over five issues. Published under the author’s Francis Stevens pseudonym, it was probably the best story to appear in THE THRILL BOOK. Oliphant also ran two early Murray Leinster science fiction novellas.

The sixteenth and final issue of THE THRILL BOOK was dated October 15, 1919. Interestingly, it included two science fiction tales, both by female writers: the concluding segment of Francis Stevens’ “The Heads of Cerberus” and Greye La Spina’s “The Ultimate Ingredient.”

If only THE THRILL BOOK had employed an experienced editor from its start and adhered to the Hersey-described visions of Henry Ralston, perhaps its story would have been very much “different.”

(The final issue of THE THRILL BOOK — dated October 15, 1919 — featured cover art by James Reynolds. The cover story — Murray Leinster’s “Juju” — is an adventure tale.

To learn more about THE THRILL BOOK, see Richard Bleiler’s THE ANNOTATED INDEX TO THE THRILL BOOK, published by Borgo Press in 1991; Sam Moskowitz’s description of the magazine in UNDER THE MOONS OF MARS: A HISTORY AND ANTHOLOGY OF “THE SCIENTIFIC ROMANCE” IN THE MUNSEY MAGAZINES, 1920-1920, published by Holt, Rinehart and Winston in 1970; and Will Murray’s “The THRILL BOOK Story,” featured in PULP VAULT #14, still in print from Black Dog Books and available via Amazon.)

Children of the Pulps and Other Stories

Dec 3, 2018 by

About PulpFest!

 

So what’s PulpFest? Is it one of those things where people walk around wearing costumes? Is it a comic book convention? What’s pulp?

Do these questions sound familiar?

Because of their painted covers, people often mistake pulps for comic books. But the two are quite different.

PulpFest is named for pulp magazines — fiction periodicals named after the cheap pulp paper on which they were printed. Frank A. Munsey pioneered the format in 1896 with THE ARGOSY. Stories like Edgar Rice Burroughs’ “Tarzan and the Apes” and Max Brand’s “Destry Rides Again” really got things moving.

The pulps started to flourish following the introduction of genre magazines like DETECTIVE STORY and LOVE STORY. Publishing legends BLACK MASKWEIRD TALES and AMAZING STORIES debuted during the 1920s. The thirties introduced the hero pulps and weird horror magazines. Science fiction exploded as the world went to war in 1939.

By the early fifties, the pulps had essentially disappeared. Although a few continued as digest magazines, most vanished due to competition from paperback books, comics, radio, television, movies, and more. But the fiction and artwork that had appeared in the rough-paper periodicals kept them alive for scattered collectors.

These hearty pulp enthusiasts gradually assembled astounding collections of these rough and ragged magazines. Eventually,  they formed a convention dedicated to the premise that the pulps had a profound effect on popular culture across the globe. The fiction and art of the pulps reverberated through a wide variety of mediums — comic books, movies, paperbacks and genre fiction, television, men’s adventure magazines, radio drama, and even video, anime, and role-playing games. Today, we call this convention, PulpFest.

Programming for PulpFest 2019

PulpFest 2019 postcardPulpFest is the summertime destination for fans and collectors of vintage popular fiction and related materials. It seeks to honor the pulps by drawing attention to the many ways these throwaway magazines have inspired writers, artists, film directors, game designers, and other creators over the years.

Our 2019 convention will focus on the many ways pulp fiction and pulp art have inspired and continue to inspire creators. We’re calling this year’s theme “Children of the Pulps and Other Stories,” an examination of the pervasive influence of pulp magazines on contemporary pop culture. Our planned schedule appears below.

Please join PulpFest 2019 for our celebration of mystery, adventure, science fiction, and more. We’ll be back at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry, just north of Pennsylvania’s “Steel City” in Mars, PA. Click the button below the PulpFest banner to “Book a Room.”

If you enjoy  genre writers such as J. K. Rowling, Lee Child, Michael Connelly, John Scalzi, or Stephen King, you’ll love PulpFest!

 

PulpFest 2019 Schedule

Thursday, August 15

Dealers’ Room

3:00 PM – 10:00 PM — Dealers’ Room Set-Up

4:00 PM – 8:00 PM — Member Registration and Early-Bird Shopping

Evening Programming

8:15 – 9:00 PM — Bob Davis — Grandfather of Science Fiction (Gene Christie)

9:05 – 9:50 PM — A Century of Zorro — (Rich Harvey)

9:55 – 10:40 PM — Hollywood Pulp — From Pulp Page to the Silver Screen (Ed Hulse)

10:45 – 11:30 PM — Two Sought Adventure — 80 Years of Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd & the Gray Mouser (Jason Aiken & Morgan Holmes)

11:40 – 1:00 AM — Fu Manchu Film Fest (William Patrick Maynard)

Friday, August 16

Dealers’ Room

9:00 AM – 10:00 AM — Early Registration and Dealers’ Room Set-Up

10:00 AM – 4:45 PM — Dealers’ Room Open to All

Author Readings — The New Fictioneers

11:00 – 11:55 AMRaw Dog Screaming Press Rapid-Fire Read & Sweet Sixteen Celebration (Publisher Jennifer Barnes)

Readings by Mike Arnzen, James Chambers, Carrie Gessner, John Edward Lawson, Jason Jack Miller, and Stephanie Wytovich, plus coffee, tea, and sweets, compliments of the publisher

12:30 – 1:05 PM — Wayne Carey, author of Quatermain: The New Adventures

1:10 – 1:45 PM — Craig McDonald, author of The Hector Lassiter Series

1:50 – 2:25 PM — Joab Stieglitz, author of The Utgarda Series

2:30 – 3:05 PM — Christopher Paul Carey, The Wild Adventures of Edgar Rice Burroughs Series and The Khokarsa Series author

3:10 – 3:50 PM — William Patrick Maynard, authorized author of Fu Manchu

Afternoon Programming

4:00 – 4:40 PM — Fu Manchu Film Fest (William Patrick Maynard)

Evening Programming

6:55 – 7:00 PM — Welcome to PulpFest (Convention Chairman Jack Cullers)

7:05 – 7:50 PM — ARGOSY, ADVENTURE and BLUE BOOK — Men’s Adventure Pulps (Bob Deis & Wyatt Doyle)

7:55 – 8:40 PM — The Game’s Afoot: Sherlock Holmes and the Pulps (George Vanderburgh & Garyn Roberts)

8:45 – 9:30 PM — The Secret Life of Women Pulp Artists (David Saunders)

9:35 – 10:25 PM — Dashiell Hammett and the Detective Story (John Wooley with John Gunnison)

10:25 – 11:10 PM — The Key of Imagination: THE TWILIGHT ZONE and the Pulps (Nicholas Parisi)

11:15 – 12:45 AM — Charles Beaumont: The Short Life of Twilight Zone’s Magic Man (A film by Jason V. Brock)

Saturday, August 17

Dealers’ Room

10:00 AM – 4:45 PM — Dealers’ Room Open to All

Author Readings — The New Fictioneers

10:20 – 10:55 AM — Popular Fiction from Seton Hill (introduced by Heidi Ruby Miller)

Readings by Jeremiah Dylan Cook, E. C. Skowronski, Sara Tantlinger, and Ralph Weld

11:00 – 11:55 AMDog Star Books Rapid-Fire Read & Sweet Sixteen Celebration (Publisher John Edward Lawson)

Readings by Matt Betts, J. L. Gribble, Heidi Ruby Miller, K. W. Taylor, Albert Wendland, and K. Ceres Wright, plus coffee, tea, and sweets, compliments of the publisher

12:30 – 1:05 PMFlinch Fest, featuring John Bruening, author of The Midnight Guardian Series

1:10 – 1:45 PM — Roger Alford, author of The Black Spectre Series

1:50 – 2:25 PM — Sara Light-Waller, author of ANCHOR and LANDSCAPE OF DARKNESS 

2:30 – 3:05 PM — Christopher Ryan, author of Alex Simmon’s Blackjack and The Mallory and Gunner Series

Afternoon Programming

3:15 – 4:15 PMContemporary Pulp: Writing Genre Fiction (featuring John Bruening, Christopher Paul Carey, and Will Murray, with William Patrick Maynard moderating)

4:15 – 4:45 PM — Auction Preview

Evening Programming

5:00 – 6:45 PM — PulpFest 2019 Group Meal

7:00 – 7:30 PM — PulpFest Annual Business Meeting (meet the convention organizers)

7:30 – 7:40 PM — Munsey Award Presentation (presented by William Lampkin)

7:45 – 8:25 PM — FarmerCon XIV: Farmer of the Pulps: A Harvest of Influences (panel, moderated by Paul Spiteri)

8:30 – 9:30 PM — Born Writing: The Unparalleled Career of Arthur J. Burks (John Locke)

9:30 – 9:45 PM —  Last Minute Auction Viewing

9:45 – 12:00 AM — Saturday Night Auction

12:00 – 1:00 AM — Fu Manchu Film Fest Encore (William Patrick Maynard)

Sunday, August 18

Dealers’ Room

9:00 AM – 2:00 PM — Dealers’ Room Open to All (many dealers will be packing up; buying opportunities may be limited)

Please note that the schedule above is subject to change.

(Every year, PulpFest celebrates mystery, adventure, science fiction, and other forms of genre fiction. The rough paper magazines played a major role in the development of fiction categories. Pulp publisher Street & Smith pioneered the specialized fiction magazine when it introduced DETECTIVE STORY MAGAZINE in late 1915. About ten years later, Hugo Gernsback debuted AMAZING STORIES — the first science fiction magazine.

Leo Morey was AMAZING’s regular cover artist from the beginning of 1930 number until early 1938. A prime example of his work is the May 1931 issue of AMAZING STORIES. It was later featured as the cover art for the first volume in Mike Ashley’s acclaimed “The History of the Science-Fiction Magazine.” Originally published by Liverpool University Press in 2000, Ashley’s book is long out of print. Copies however, can still be located via PulpFest sponsor AbeBooks.com.

Artist Walter M. Baumhofer contributed the first painted image of Doc Savage, “The Man of Bronze.” Called the first superhero, Doc’s adventures were chronicled by Lester Dent. The character debuted in the March 1933 issue of DOC SAVAGE MAGAZINE, published by Street & Smith.

About five years later, Superman made his first appearance in the June 1938 issue of ACTION COMICS. Before long, the Man of Steel was joined by many other superheroes. This is just one example of the many ways pulp fiction and pulp art have influenced writers, artists, film directors, software developers, game designers, and other creators over the decades.

Watch for our post cards featuring Walter Baumhofer’s classic Doc Savage image at book stores, comic shops, collectible conventions, and other venues. With a Superman portrait painted by H. J. Ward on its flip side, our post card is a great collectible in itself. It was designed by PulpFest Advertising Director, William Lampkin.

And watch for more adventures of The Man of Bronze via The All-New Wild Adventures of Doc Savage. They’re written by PulpFest 2019 panelist, Will Murray.)

 

What’s This PulpFest All About?

Apr 27, 2018 by

So what’s this PulpFest that has so many people talking? With almost 3,000 likes on Facebook and nearly 900 followers on Twitter, it certainly has been generating a lot of excitement. But what’s it all about?

PulpFest is named for pulp magazines — fiction periodicals named after the cheap pulp paper on which they were printed. Frank A. Munsey pioneered the format in 1896 with THE ARGOSY. A decade later, pulps began to pick up steam with titles like BLUE BOOK and ADVENTURE. They exploded in 1912 when THE ALL-STORY printed a little yarn by Edgar Rice Burroughs called “Tarzan of the Apes.” Soon thereafter, genre titles began to flourish, among them DETECTIVE STORY, WESTERN STORY, and LOVE STORY. In the twenties, publishing legends such as BLACK MASK, WEIRD TALES and AMAZING STORIES debuted. The following decade saw the advent of the so-called “hero pulps,” with magazines such as THE SHADOW, DOC SAVAGE, and THE SPIDER attracting new readers to the rough paper format. Weird-menace magazines premiered around the same time, scaring the wits out of readers in titles like DIME MYSTERY MAGAZINE, SPICY MYSTERY STORIES, and TERROR TALES. The late thirties saw an explosion of science fiction pulps — led by John W. Campbell’s ASTOUNDING STORIES — with other magazines, such as FANTASTIC ADVENTURES and PLANET STORIES, thrilling readers of all ages.

By the early fifties, the pulps had essentially disappeared. While some continued in the smaller digest format, most were killed by competition from paperback books, comics, radio, television, and movies. But the fiction and artwork that appeared in the rough-paper consumables of the early twentieth century kept them living in the hearts and minds of scattered individuals.

Haunting back-issue magazine shops, flea markets, science fiction conventions, and other venues, these hearty enthusiasts gradually assembled astounding collections of genre fiction, all published in the rough and ragged magazines known as pulps. Eventually, these collectors organized a convention dedicated to the premise that the pulps had a profound effect on American popular culture. The pulps reverberated through a wide variety of mediums — comic books, movies, paperbacks and genre fiction, television, men’s adventure magazines, radio drama, and even video and role-playing games. Today, we call this convention, PulpFest.

The summertime destination for fans and collectors of vintage popular fiction and related materials, PulpFest seeks to honor the pulps by drawing attention to the many ways these throwaway magazines have inspired writers, artists, film directors, software developers, and other creators over the decades.

Why not come see what it’s all about? PulpFest 2018 will honor the 100th anniversary of the armistice that ended the First World War. The convention will focus on the so-called “war pulps” of the early twentieth century and the depiction of war in popular culture. We’ll also salute the centennial of the birth of Grand Master of Science Fiction Philip José FarmerJoin PulpFest 2018 and FarmerCon 100 for panels and presentations on the celebrated author of TARZAN ALIVE: A DEFINITIVE BIOGRAPHY OF LORD GREYSTOKEDOC SAVAGE: HIS APOCALYPTIC LIFE, the Riverworld and World of Tiers series, and many other works.

The convention’s guest of honor will be award-winning author Joe LansdaleThe author of over forty novels and many short stories, Lansdale has also written for comics, television, film, Internet sites, and more. His novella “Bubba Ho-Tep” was adapted to film by Don Coscarelli, starring Bruce Campbell and Ossie Davis. The film adaptation of his novel COLD IN JULY was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, while the Sundance Channel has adapted his Hap & Leonard novels to television. Joe will be talking with Tony Davis on Saturday evening, July 28 and be available at select times during the convention.

We’ll have all this plus a dealers’ room featuring tens of thousands of pulp magazines, vintage paperbacks, digests, genre fiction, men’s adventure and true crime magazines, original art, first edition hardcovers, series books, reference books, dime novels and story papers, Big Little Books, B-Movies, serials and related paper collectibles, old-time radio shows, and Golden and Silver Age comic books, as well as newspaper adventure strips.

The convention will take place from Thursday evening, July 26, through Sunday afternoon, July 29, at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry, just nineteen miles north of the exciting city of Pittsburgh. You can book your room directly through the PulpFest website. Just click one of the links on the PulpFest home page that reads “Book a Room.” Alternately, you can call 1-800-222-8733 to book a room by telephone. When calling, be sure to mention PulpFest to get the special convention rate.

Start planning now to join PulpFest 2018 at the “pop culture center of the universe.” You can do so by clicking one of the Register buttons on our home page. For a look at our planned schedule, please visit our home page and click the Programming button just below our banner.

(Published by the Frank A. Munsey Company, the October 1912 issue of THE ALL-STORY featured Edgar Rice Burroughs’ novel “Tarzan of the Apes,” published in its entirety. Clinton Pettee painted the front cover art for the magazine. Burroughs’ Tarzan is perhaps the most famous character to emerge from the pulps. Others include Zorro, Kull and Conan, Dr. Kildare, The Shadow, Buck Rogers, Sam Spade, and Cthulhu.

In addition to BUBBA HO-TEP, COLD IN JULY, and HAP AND LEONARD, our guest of honor’s story, “Incident On and Off a Mountain Road,” was adapted to film for Showtime’s MASTERS OF HORROR. Lansdale himself also adapted his short story “Christmas with the Dead” to film.)

What’s This PulpFest All About?

Mar 27, 2017 by

So what’s this PulpFest that has so many people talking? With almost 3,000 likes on Facebook and more than 700 followers on Twitter, it certainly has been generating a lot of excitement. But what’s it all about?

All-Story 12-10PulpFest is named for pulp magazines — fiction periodicals named after the cheap paper on which they were printed. Frank A. Munsey pioneered the format in 1896 with THE ARGOSY. A decade later, pulps began to pick up steam with titles like BLUE BOOK and ADVENTURE, then exploded in 1912 when THE ALL-STORY printed a little yarn by Edgar Rice Burroughs called “Tarzan of the Apes.” Soon thereafter, genre titles began to flourish, among them DETECTIVE STORY, WESTERN STORY, and LOVE STORY. In the twenties, publishing legends such as BLACK MASK, WEIRD TALES and AMAZING STORIES debuted. The following decade saw the advent of the so-called “hero pulps” with magazines such as THE SHADOW, DOC SAVAGE, and THE SPIDER attracting new readers to the rough-paper format. Weird-menace magazines premiered around the same time with DIME MYSTERY MAGAZINE, SPICY MYSTERY STORIES, and TERROR TALES scaring the wits out of readers. The late thirties saw an explosion of science fiction pulps — led by John W. Campbell’s ASTOUNDING STORIES — with other titles such as FANTASTIC ADVENTURES and PLANET STORIES thrilling readers of all ages.

By the early fifties, the pulps were gone, killed by competition from paperback books, comic books, radio, television, and movies. But the fiction and artwork that appeared in the rough-paper consumables of the early twentieth century kept them alive in the hearts and minds of countless individuals. Haunting back-issue magazine shops, flea markets, science fiction conventions, and other venues, these hearty souls gradually assembled astounding collections of genre fiction, all published in the rough and ragged magazines known as pulps. Eventually, these collectors organized a convention dedicated to the premise that the pulps had a profound effect on American popular culture that reverberated through a wide variety of mediums — comic books, movies, paperbacks and genre fiction, television, men’s adventure magazines, radio drama, and even video and role-playing games. Today, we call this convention, PulpFest.

The summertime destination for fans and collectors of vintage popular fiction and related materials, PulpFest seeks to honor the pulps by drawing attention to the many ways these throwaway articles have inspired writers, artists, film directors, software developers, and other creators over the decades.

Why not come see what it’s all about? PulpFest 2017 will be paying tribute to the hardboiled dicks, dangerous dames, and a few psychos of the pulps. We’ll be exploring DIME DETECTIVE MAGAZINE — where the hard-boiled detective story developed into an important fiction genre — and Robert Leslie Bellem’s tough-guy detective, Dan Turner; Pat Savage, The Domino Lady, and other dangerous dames of the pulps, the hardboiled ladies who helped pave the way for such modern day gumshoes as Sue Grafton‘s Kinsey Millhone, Marcia Muller‘s Sharon McCone, and Sara Paretsky‘s V. I. Warshawski; and some of the mad scientists, crazed hunchbacks, and foul cultists who decimated American cities on a monthly basis in rough-paper magazines like THE SHADOW. We’ll also be saluting the hundredth anniversary of the birth of Robert Bloch, the author of PSYCHO — later adapted to film by Alfred Hitchcock. Bloch got his start as a writing professional in the pulps.

The convention’s guest of honor will be Pittsburgh artist Gloria Stoll Karn. In a field dominated by men, it was highly unusual for a woman to be painting covers for pulp magazines. But at age seventeen, Gloria Stoll began contributing black and white interior illustrations to pulp magazines. In a few years, the young artist was painting covers. How’s that for a dangerous dame? One of the few surviving contributors to the pulp magazine industry, Ms. Stoll Karn will be joined by pulp art historian David Saunders — winner of our 2016 Lamont Award — to discuss her freelance career in the pulps and much more on Saturday evening, July 29.

We’ll have all this plus a dealers’ room featuring tens of thousands of pulp magazines, vintage paperbacks, digests, men’s adventure and true crime magazines, original art, first edition hardcovers, series books, reference books, dime novels and story papers, Big Little Books, B-Movies, serials and related paper collectibles, old-time radio shows, and Golden and Silver Age comic books, as well as newspaper adventure strips. For a look at our planned schedule, please visit our home page and click the Programming for 2017 button just below our banner.

The convention will take place from Thursday evening, July 27, through Sunday afternoon, July 30, at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry, just nineteen miles north of the exciting city of Pittsburgh. You can book your room directly through the PulpFest website. Just click the “Book a Room for 2017” link on our home page or call 1-800-222-8733. Be sure to mention PulpFest in order to receive the convention rate.

Start making your plans now to join in our exploration of “Hardboiled Dicks, Dangerous Dames, and a Few Psychos” at the “pop culture center of the universe” called PulpFest 2017.

(Published by the Frank A. Munsey Company, the October 1912 issue of THE ALL-STORY featured Edgar Rice Burroughs’ novel “Tarzan of the Apes,” published in its entirety. Clinton Pettee — who illustrated many of the Munsey magazines as well as the pulp, SHORT STORIES — painted the front cover art for the magazine. Burroughs’ Tarzan is perhaps the most famous character to emerge from the pulps.

Over thirty years after the publication of “Tarzan of the Apes,” a young Gloria Stoll Karn contributed the cover art for the November 1943 issue of Popular Publications’ DIME MYSTERY MAGAZINE. The artist would paint more than 100 covers for the pulps of the 1940s.)

THE PULPSTER — Call for submissions

Sep 12, 2016 by

It may seem as if PulpFest 2016 is barely over, but it’s not too early for us to start thinking about PulpFest 2017 and the next issue of THE PULPSTER.

The Pulpster logoEditor Bill Lampkin is looking for a variety of articles on the pulps, and the writers, editors, and illustrators who worked on them. If you have an idea, he’d like to hear about it. You can contact him at bill@pulpfest.com.

Next summer’s issue, #26, will debut at PulpFest 2017, but the magazine must be edited and assembled before the convention. Deadline for submissions is May 1, 2017, but early submissions are encouraged. Our theme for 2017 will be “Hardboiled Dicks, Dangerous Dames, and a Few Psychos,” but any pulp-related article is welcome.

If you’re interested in advertising in THE PULPSTER, please write to PulpFest marketing and programming director Mike Chomko at mike@pulpfest.com. Mike can provide pricing. For publication sizes and specifications, please refer to the detailed advertising information at THE PULPSTER‘s website.

Looking for a copy of the 2016 issue? Mike Chomko, Books has THE PULPSTER #25 available for $10 each, plus $3 postage within the United States.

Cover of THE PULPSTER, No. 25The issue features a cover article tracing 90 years of AMAZING STORIES written by editors Hugo Gernsback, Howard Browne, Joseph Wrzos, Barry N. Malzberg, Ted White, Elinor Mazor, and Patrick L. Price; a study of Philip José Farmer’s stories published in AMAZING, by Art Sippo; J. Randolph Cox and Walker Martin recall two long-running pulps, DETECTIVE STORY MAGAZINE and WESTERN STORY MAGAZINE respectively; David Earle has an article about African-American fictioneers in the pulps, which is paired with a short story by Michael Bittner that originally appeared in HARLEM STORIES; David Smith offers tips to help you plan ahead to ensure your pulp collection is properly taken care of after you’re gone; and Bill Lampkin looks at two of Street & Smith’s second-string hero pulps, THE WHISPERER and THE SKIPPER. Rounding out the issue are Final Chapters, an annual column noting the passing of those involved with the pulps, written by Tony Davis; and columns by publisher Mike Chomko and editor Bill Lampkin.

In addition to #25, you can also order back issues of THE PULPSTER through Mike Chomko, Books. Copies of THE PULPSTER #5, 6, and 23 are available. Issues 5 and 6 cost $10 each, plus $3 postage within the United States. Number 23 is $7, plus $3 postage within the United States. All other issues of THE PULPSTER are out of print. Reduced postage is available on orders for multiple books. These prices are good only in the United States. Buyers from other countries must inquire about shipping charges before ordering. Mike will accept payments made via check or money order or through Paypal. Please write to him at mike@pulpfest.com or 2217 W. Fairview Street, Allentown, PA 18104-6542 for further instructions. Quantities of most issues are very limited.

(THE PULPSTER #25 features a cover by Harold W. McCauley originally for AMAZING STORIES, August 1942. Copies are quickly disappearing. Write to Mike Chomko, Books at mike@pulpfest.com to learn how you can order the issue.)

120 Years of Murray Leinster

Jun 16, 2016 by

Argosy 29-12-28Although magazines have been around since the seventeenth century, it wasn’t until the last month of 1896 that the pulp magazine was born. It was left to Frank A. Munsey – a man about whom it has been suggested, “contributed to the journalism of his day the talent of a meat packer, the morals of a money changer and the manner of an undertaker” – to deliver the first American periodical specifically intended for the common man — THE ARGOSY. In his own words, Munsey decided to create “a magazine of the people and for the people, with pictures and art and good cheer and human interest throughout.”

That same year, on June 16, a child was born who would become one of THE ARGOSY’s regular writers for nearly four decades — William Fitzgerald Jenkins. Best known and remembered under his pseudonym of Murray Leinster, Jenkins wrote and published more than 1,500 short stories and articles, fourteen movie scripts, and hundreds of radio scripts and television plays. Active as a writer for nearly seven decades, Jenkins’ writing career began in early 1916 when his work began to be featured in H. L. Mencken’s and George Jean Nathan’s THE SMART SET.

Although he wrote in a wide range of genres — western, detective, jungle adventure, horror, spicy, and even love — Jenkins is best known for his science fiction. His first story in the field, “The Runaway Skyscraper,” published in February 22, 1919 issue of ARGOSY AND RAILROAD MAN’S MAGAZINE, is considered a science fiction classic. Other greats, including “The Mad Planet” (ARGOSY for June 12, 1920) and “The Red Dust” (ARGOSY ALL-STORY WEEKLY, April 2, 1921) soon followed.

An extremely adaptable writer, Jenkins/Leinster published some remarkably inventive stories during the late twenties and early 1930s including “The Darkness on Fifth Avenue” (ARGOSY ALL-STORY WEEKLY, November 30, 1929), “The City of the Blind” (ARGOSY, December 12, 1928), “Sidewise in Time” (ASTOUNDING STORIES, June 1934) — which introduced the concept of parallel worlds — and “Proxima Centuri” (ASTOUNDING STORIES, March 1935). He would reach his prime as a science fiction writer during the decade following the Second World War. During this period, Jenkins/Leinster penned such classics as “First Contact” (ASTOUNDING SCIENCE FICTION, May 1945 and probably his most highly regarded story), “A Logic Named Joe” (ASTOUNDING SCIENCE FICTION, March 1946) — which anticipated computers and the Internet — and “Exploration Team” (ASTOUNDING SCIENCE FICTION, March 1956) — which won the 1956 Hugo Award for Best Novelette.

Remaining active in the field until about 1970, Will Jenkins/Murray Leinster died on June 8, 1975. A longtime craftsman in the field of magazine fiction writing, Leinster is fondly remembered as “The Dean of Science Fiction.” He would be 120 years old on this very day.

(Although the fiction of Will Jenkins/Murray Leinster appeared in a wide range of magazines — ARGOSY — including the  December 12, 1928 issue with cover art by Howard V. Brown — BLACK BAT DETECTIVE MYSTERIES, BLACK MASK, BLUE BOOK, BREEZY STORIES, COLLIER’S, COWBOY STORIES, DANGER TRAILS, DETECTIVE FICTION WEEKLY, DETECTIVE STORY MAGAZINE, ESQUIRE, FRONTIER STORIES, JUNGLE STORIES, LOVE STORY MAGAZINE, MYSTERY STORIES, RANCH ROMANCES, THE SATURDAY EVENING POST, SHORT STORIES, THE SMART SET, SNAPPY STORIES, THE THRILL BOOK, THRILLING DETECTIVE, TRIPLE-X WESTERN, WEIRD TALES, and WEST — he is primarily remembered for his science fiction. In that genre, he published in an equally wide range of titles, including the first continuing science fiction magazine, AMAZING STORIES.

Amazing Stories 27-01The early issues of Hugo Gernsback’s magazine featured a great deal of material reprinted from other sources. Works by Jules Verne, H. G. Wells, Edgar Allan Poe, and others were regularly featured in the early numbers of the magazine. Another author featured regularly was Murray Leinster. “The Runaway Skyscraper” was reprinted in the third issue, dated June 1926, while “The Mad Planet” found its way into the eighth issue, dated November 1926. Leinster’s name was featured on the cover to the January 1927 number with cover art by Frank R. Paul. “The Red Dust” appeared inside.

PulpFest 2016 will salute both ARGOSY — the first pulp fiction magazine — and AMAZING STORIES — the first continuing science fiction magazine — at this year’s convention. Please join us in the Columbus, Ohio Arena district at the Hyatt Regency hotel and the city’s spacious convention center from July 21 through July 24 for “Summer’s AMAZING Pulp Con!”

Please remember that the Hyatt Regency Columbus is sold out of rooms for July 21 through July 23. At www.columbusconventions.com/thearea.php, you’ll find a list of area hotels courtesy of the Greater Columbus Convention CenterAlternately, you can search for a room at tripadvisor or a similar website to find a hotel near the convention. Thanks so much to everyone who has reserved a room at our host hotel. By staying at the Hyatt Regency, you’ve helped to ensure the convention’s success.)

Traveling through Time with H. G. Wells

Jun 6, 2016 by

Amazing Stories 27-08Just a few days ago, we discussed The Whisperer and The Skipper, two of the “superheroes” of the pulps. Both characters premiered in their own magazines in 1936, eighty years ago. PulpFest will be celebrating a potpourri of anniversaries in 2016, including the 120th anniversary of the first pulp magazine — THE ARGOSY — and the 90th anniversary of the debut of the first continuing science fiction magazine, AMAZING STORIES. We’ll be previewing our programming during this month.

September 21, 2016 marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of H. G. Wells. Along with Jules Verne (1828-1905), Wells is a central pillar to what we today call science fiction. However, Wells was also a multifaceted personality and talent. Educated in the sciences and a literary genius, Herbert George Wells came into prominence during the late nineteenth century. By the turn of the century, he was considered by many to be the world’s most important social thinker.

A prodigious talent, Wells wrote for the popular fiction magazines of his native England during “The Age of the Storytellers,” a period when increasingly urban and literate societies required cheap, entertaining, and easily accessible entertainment to escape the drudgery of the mills and offices. Writing for magazines such as THE STRAND and PEARSON’S MAGAZINE, H. G. Wells delivered countless scientific romances that are enjoyed to this very day. His classic novels “The War of the Worlds” and “The Invisible Man,” were both originally published in PEARSON’S in 1897. His later science fiction, including “The First Men in the Moon” (1900-1901) and “The Country of the Blind” (1904), would run inTHE STRAND.

It would be difficult to deny the importance of 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, Hugo 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 flagship title and its companions.

War of the Worlds

At 10:05 PM on Thursday, July 21 — the opening night of PulpFest 2016 — please join us in the Union Rooms on the second floor of the Hyatt Regency in downtown Columbus, Ohio for “Traveling through Time with H. G. Wells.” Professor Garyn G. Roberts will offer an illustrated presentation regarding Wells that surveys both the better and lesser-known achievements in the man’s life, emphasizing and including his works reprinted in Gernsback’s AMAZING STORIES. Garyn will also explore the author’s many contributions to the early days of pulp magazine speculative fiction.

Garyn Roberts has written extensively about the pulps, both professionally and as a fan, and has edited or co-edited some of the best collections of fiction from the pulps. He is the author/editor of the award-winning THE PRENTICE HALL ANTHOLOGY OF SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASYGaryn was presented with the Munsey Award by PulpFest in 2013 to honor his many contributions to the pulp community.

The summertime destination for fans and collectors of vintage popular fiction and related materials, PulpFest seeks to honor pulp fiction by drawing attention to the many ways it had inspired writers, artists, film directors, software developers, and other creators over the decades. The convention will take place from Thursday evening, July 21st, through Sunday afternoon, July 24th, in the Columbus, Ohio Arena district at the Hyatt Regency hotel and the city’s spacious convention center. Start making your plans to join us at the “pop culture center of the universe” for PulpFest 2016.

Wells War of the Worlds film poster

(Three visions of H. G. Wells’ “The War of the Worlds.” Frank R. Paul, the “grandfather of science-fiction art,” painted the cover for the August 1927 issue of AMAZING STORIES, illustrating the first half of the classic novel, serialized by the magazine in two parts. PulpFest 2016 has used Paul’s cover art throughout the past year to promote our convention at book stores, comic shops, and other conventions and fairs.

“War of the Worlds” was originally serialized in eight parts in PEARSON’S MAGAZINE, running from April through December in the year 1897. It was very well-illustrated by Warwick Goble.

In 1951, film producer George Pal, screenwriter Barré Lyndon, and director Byron Haskin began working to produce a movie that above all, would attempt to portray as realistically as possible the details of an alien invasion. Largely set in the United States and starring Gene Barry and Ann Robinson, Pal’s THE WAR OF THE WORLDS was released in 1953. Although the film now appears somewhat dated, it remains one of the best and most important science fiction movies of the 1950s. Unfortunately, the creator of the film art is not known.)

Please Pass the Orange Juice

Apr 4, 2016 by

So what’s this PulpFest that has so many people talking? With almost 3,000 likes on Facebook and more than 500 followers on Twitter, it certainly has been generating a lot of excitement. But what’s it all about?

All-Story 12-10PulpFest is named for pulp magazines, fiction periodicals named after the cheap paper on which they were printed. Frank A. Munsey pioneered the format in 1896 with THE ARGOSY. A decade later, pulps began to pick up steam with titles like BLUE BOOK and ADVENTURE, then exploded in 1912 when THE ALL-STORY printed a little yarn by Edgar Rice Burroughs called “Tarzan of the Apes.” Soon thereafter, genre titles began to flourish, among them DETECTIVE STORY, WESTERN STORY, and LOVE STORY. In the twenties, publishing legends such as BLACK MASK, WEIRD TALES and AMAZING STORIES debuted. The following decade saw the advent of the so-called “hero pulps” with magazines such as THE SHADOW, DOC SAVAGE, and THE SPIDER attracting new readers to the rough-paper format. Weird-menace magazines premiered around the same time with DIME MYSTERY MAGAZINE, SPICY MYSTERY STORIES, and TERROR TALES scaring the wits out of readers. The late thirties saw an explosion of science fiction pulps — led by John W. Campbell’s ASTOUNDING STORIES — with other titles such as FANTASTIC ADVENTURES and PLANET STORIES thrilling readers of all ages.

By the early fifties, the pulps were gone, killed by competition from paperback books, comic books, radio, television, and movies. But the fiction and artwork that appeared in the rough-paper consumables of the early twentieth century kept them alive in the hearts and minds of countless individuals. Haunting back-issue magazine shops, flea markets, science fiction conventions, and other venues, these hearty souls gradually assembled astounding collections of genre fiction, all published in the rough and ragged magazines known as pulps. Eventually, these collectors organized a convention dedicated to the premise that the pulps had a profound effect on American popular culture that reverberated through a wide variety of mediums — comic books, movies, paperbacks and genre fiction, television, men’s adventure magazines, radio drama, and even video and role-playing games. Today, we call this convention, PulpFest.

The summertime destination for fans and collectors of vintage popular fiction and related materials, PulpFest seeks to honor the pulps by drawing attention to the many ways these throwaway articles have inspired writers, artists, film directors, software developers, and other creators over the decades.

The Skipper 1936-12Why not come see what it’s all about? PulpFest 2016 will be paying tribute to the history of the pulps by saluting the 150th anniversary of the birth of H. G. Wells; the 120th anniversary of the debut of the first pulp magazine, THE ARGOSY; the 100th anniversary of the genre pulps such as DETECTIVE STORY and LOVE STORY; the ninetieth anniversary of the creation of the first science fiction magazine, AMAZING STORIES; the 80th anniversaries of the premieres of two exciting hero pulpsTHE SKIPPER and THE WHISPERER; and the tenth anniversary of Sanctum Books, well known for their reprints of THE SHADOW, DOC SAVAGETHE SPIDER, and other hero pulps. Our Guest of Honor will be author, editor, and pulp fan Ted White, the man who ushered in the Golden Age of AMAZING STORIES and FANTASTIC during the 1970s and wrote the Captain America novel THE GREAT GOLD STEAL and many other books. We’ll have all this plus a dealers’ room featuring tens of thousands of pulp magazines, vintage paperbacks, digests, men’s adventure and true crime magazines, original art, first edition hardcovers, series books, reference books, dime novels and story papers, Big Little Books, B-Movies, serials and related paper collectibles, old-time radio shows, and Golden and Silver Age comic books, as well as newspaper adventure strips. For a look at our planned schedule, please visit http://www.pulpfest.com/2016/01/coming-soon-to-columbus-pulpfest-2016/.

The convention will take place from Thursday evening, July 21st, through Sunday afternoon, July 24th, in the Columbus, Ohio Arena district at the Hyatt Regency hotel and the city’s spacious convention center. Start making your plans to join us at the “pop culture center of the universe” for PulpFest 2016.

(Published by the Frank A. Munsey Company, the October 1912 issue of THE ALL-STORY featured Edgar Rice Burroughs’ novel “Tarzan of the Apes,” published in its entirety. Clinton Pettee — who illustrated many of the Munsey magazines as well as the pulp, SHORT STORIES — painted the front cover art for the magazine. THE SKIPPER, including the first issue dated December 1936, featured cover art by Lawrence Donner Toney, a graduate of the Art Institute of Chicago.)

We Hope that You’ve Enjoyed AMAZING STORIES

Mar 14, 2016 by

Amazing Stories 27-08Over the last month we’ve turned our website over to author, anthologist, and popular culture historian Mike Ashley, running his multi-part history AMAZING STORIES, originally offered in the January through July 1992 issues of TSR’s AMAZING® STORIES. Once again, we’d like to thank Curt Phillips, the moderator of the Yahoo newsgroup PulpMags, for drawing our attention to and providing us with copies of Mike’s exceptional series about the world’s first science fiction magazine.

You’re more than welcome to post your comments about Mike Ashley’s “The AMAZING Story” to our Facebook site at https://www.facebook.com/PulpFest.

Mr. Ashley’s article was a perfect tie-in to one of the major themes of PulpFest 2016, namely, the 90th anniversary of the first continuing science fiction magazine, Hugo Gernsback’s AMAZING STORIESIn addition to the appearance of our Guest of Honor, Ted White — the author and editor who ushered in the Golden Age of AMAZING STORIES and FANTASTIC during the 1970s and wrote the Captain America novel THE GREAT GOLD STEAL and many other books  — we’ll be offering a presentation on the magazine itself, put together by Joseph Coluccio, president of the Pittsburgh Area Fantasy and Science Fiction Club. Mr. Coluccio will discuss the pulp era of AMAZING, the years when Hugo Gernsback, T. O’Conor Sloane, Ray Palmer, William Hamling, and Howard Browne helmed the world’s first science fiction magazine. He’ll also be exploring the digest years of the magazine, when editors such as Cele Goldsmith and Ted White published countless amazing stories and brought the magazine into its golden age.

The 150th anniversary of H. G. Wells‘ birth — another theme of our convention — will likewise tie into our AMAZING story. Herbert George Wells, who came into prominence during the late nineteenth century, was educated in the sciences and was a literary genius. It would be difficult to deny the importance of 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 flagship title and its companions.

Our presentation, “Traveling through Time with H. G. Wells,” will feature Garyn G. Roberts, winner of the 2013 Munsey Award. Professor Roberts has written extensively about the pulps, both professionally and as a fan. His work, THE PRENTICE HALL ANTHOLOGY OF SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY, one of the leading college level textbooks on the subject, is notable for the attention paid to the pulp magazines.

These are just some of the ways that PulpFest 2016 will be celebrating ninety years of AMAZING STORIES. We certainly hope that you’re planning to join us from Thursday evening, July 21st, through Sunday afternoon, July 24th, in the Columbus, Ohio Arena district at the Hyatt Regency hotel and the city’s spacious convention center for “Summer’s AMAZING Pulp Con.” In addition to our presentations on AMAZING — scheduled for July 21st through the 23rd — PulpFest 2016 will also be paying tribute to the history of the pulps by saluting the 120th anniversary of the debut of the first pulp magazine, THE ARGOSY; the 100th anniversary of the genre pulps such as DETECTIVE STORY and LOVE STORY; the 80th anniversaries of the premieres of two exciting hero pulpsTHE SKIPPER and THE WHISPERER; and the tenth anniversary of Sanctum Books, well known for their reprints of DOC SAVAGETHE SHADOW,  and other hero pulps. You’ll find our planned programming schedule at http://www.pulpfest.com/2016/01/coming-soon-to-columbus-pulpfest-2016/.

In addition to a line-up of great programming, PulpFest 2016 will also have a dealers’ room featuring tens of thousands of pulp magazines, vintage paperbacks, digests, men’s adventure and true crime magazines, original art, first edition hardcovers, series books, reference books, dime novels and story papers, Big Little Books, B-Movies, serials and related paper collectibles, old-time radio shows, and Golden and Silver Age comic books, as well as newspaper adventure strips. So what are you waiting for? Start making your plans to join us at the “pop culture center of the universe” for PulpFest 2016.

(Frank R. Paul, the “grandfather of science-fiction art,” painted the cover for the August 1927 issue of AMAZING STORIES, illustrating the first half of the classic H. G. Wells novel, “The War of the Worlds,” serialized by the magazine in two parts. PulpFest 2016 is using Paul’s classic illustration in its promotional efforts for this summer’s convention which promises to be an AMAZING Pulp Con!)

The AMAZING Story: The Eighties — Son of FANTASTIC

Mar 10, 2016 by

Slider AMAZING STORIES 84-01

The FANTASTIC Elinor Mavor & the TSR Years

Amazing Stories 79-05When Sol Cohen passed full ownership of AMAZING STORIES and FANTASTIC to his partner, Arthur Bernhard, the editorial offices of Ultimate Publishing moved to Bernhard’s home base of Scottsdale, Arizona. Ted White chose not to continue as editor, mostly because of the lack of infusion of money into the magazines, and he returned to their authors all of the manuscripts he had accumulated for upcoming issues.

Bernhard was left with no new material, and no editor. He brought in the mother-and-son team of Scott and Elinor Mavor, who ran a graphic design studio in Scottsdale. They became the editorial and production staff. Bernhard felt that a woman’s name as editor might not be well accepted by the readers, and he also wanted to boost the number of names on the magazine’s masthead, so he invented the persona of Omar Gohagen to take over the editorial reins. Considering that AMAZING had enjoyed a golden age under Cele Goldsmith, this deception was not entirely logical thinking on Bernhard’s part. And it meant that the name of AMAZING‘s eleventh editor (twelfth, if you include Hamling) was a fabrication, something that did not help to improve the magazine’s image.

Admittedly Elinor Mavor started with a significant handicap, seeking to put out a magazine in a matter of weeks with no new material. But at the outset there was no evidence that any effort was going into the magazines. The April 1979 issue of FANTASTIC and the May 1979 issue of AMAZING were dreadful. They looked cheap, contained only passable reprints and a couple of amateurish new stories, and gave every indication that the magazines were reverting to the drabness of the reprint issues of the late 1960s. It seemed as if all that White had achieved in the 1970s had been destroyed in one fell swoop. There was also created the impression that the Mavors did not understand their market. They started a reader-participation graphic story called “Mecano Sapiens,” which makes me shudder to even think of it. This kind of feature had cropped up occasionally in sf magazines over the years, and never had worked.

I recall receiving these issues with despair and writing a hasty alarm-bells letter to “Omar Gohagen,” pleading that something be done. I received a pleasant postcard from Omar, acknowledging my views but remarking that most letters the magazine was receiving showed that readers were pleased with what was happening. And indeed, so it seemed from the letters appearing in the letter column. Mind you, I was a little concerned about what some of them were saying:

“The thing about the new AMAZING that strikes me most is the look,” wrote one reader from Sweden in the February 1980 issue. “It’s beautiful!”

Well, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but that opinion amazes me. In that same issue another reader wrote:

“I just picked up a copy of the August AMAZING and was overjoyed. ‘The Council of the Drones’ was one of the best SF stories I have read in years! Yours is the best SF magazine in the business.”

I wonder what else this fan was reading. “Council of the Drones” by W. K. Sonnemann, was a reprint from the October 1936 issue. AMAZING might have been attracting a readership, but it didn’t seem to be one totally au fait with science fiction or its magazines.

Amazing Stories 80-05The evidence of circulation figures might be a better measure of the reception of the magazine. Its newsstand sales dropped from almost 21,000 in White’s last year to around 16,400 in Mavor’s first. While some of this decline may be attributed to a lack of promotion of the magazine and the chronic distribution problems, it must also be true that the magazine just failed to make an impact on the stands, “beautiful” or otherwise.

Nevertheless, I was delighted to find that over the next few issues, both magazines improved. It became clear that Elinor Mavor was making an effort to develop them. She introduced some attractive illustrative features, such as Stephen and Chip Fabian’s graphic story “Daemon” in FANTASTIC, and brought in new artists, of whom the most stunning was Gary Freeman. In fact, within a year, with the artwork of Freeman, Fabian, and (later) Alicia Austin, AMAZING was indeed verging on “beautiful.” The fiction was also looking up. Mavor disposed of the reprints as quickly as possible, although retaining a classic reprint department in which authors provided new introductions to their old stories.

Mavor introduced some talented new writers. It would be no surprise that, having started with an empty inventory, she might have selected some poor early stories, just to get an issue together; and though it might be uncharitable to say so, I think most of the new authors discovered in the first few issues appeared because of these fortuitous circumstances. But among the rocks was the rare glitter. The August 1979 AMAZING carried “The Inevitable Conclusion,” the first published story by Michael Kube-McDowell. He became a regular contributor to the magazine over the next few years before establishing himself in the wider field. His “Antithesis” from the February 1980 AMAZING was highly regarded. It’s a clever piece of scientific double-speak in which a student finds a loophole in Einstein’s theories. The November 1979 AMAZING introduced Wayne Wightman, who would become closely linked with the magazine for some time thereafter. Wightman was a powerful writer and satirist with challenging new ideas. His stories began to set a standard for freshness in the magazine.

Gradually some of the bigger names returned to AMAZING, writers whose individual approaches to fiction suited the flexible policy of the magazine. Writers such as David R. Bunch, Barry Malzberg, Marvin Kaye, Darrell Schweitzer, Garry Kilworth, and Greg Benford were joined by new writers Brad Linaweaver, J. Ray Dettling, and Lawrence Connolly. None of these authors gave AMAZING any clear direction, but they gave the magazine a vitality that it had not seen since the early 1970s.

Amazing Stories 80-11Then a bomb was dropped. Seeking to cut costs, Bernhard decided to merge FANTASTIC with AMAZING STORIES. The last issue of FANTASTIC appeared in October 1980. That magazine had been published for 208 issues over twenty-eight years. If you include its pulp godparent, FANTASTIC ADVENTURES, it had survived for 337 issues. And now, for the first time in forty-one years, AMAZING had no sister publication.

The first combined issue was dated November 1980. The magazine shifted from a quarterly schedule to bimonthly — though this meant only six issues a year compared to eight of the two magazines — and increased slightly in height, adding half an inch to its digest dimensions, presumably so that it would poke above the other magazines on the newsstand rack (a gimmick that only lasted a few issues). With this issue Elinor Mavor was revealed as the true editor, and Omar Gohagen was cast into the pit of oblivion. At last Mavor was receiving personal credit for her hard work.

There was one other change, the logic of which still escapes me. The full title of the magazine, which had reverted to AMAZING STORIES after Ted White left, became AMAZING SCIENCE FICTION STORIES again, even though it also boasted “combined with FANTASTIC.” Why the magazine should choose to promote itself as “science fiction” when, for the first time, it was publishing a fair quota of fantasy remains a mystery. This development underlies a more significant matter, which I shall return to later.

The new combined AMAZING/FANTASTIC had a buzz about it that was thrilling. It was attracting exciting writers — Harlan Ellison, Alan Ryan, Hank Stine, Somtow Sucharitkul, Lisa Tuttle, George R. R. Martin, Jessica Amanda Salmonson, Roger Zelazny, Orson Scott Card, Richard A. Lupoff — all of whom were not afraid to try something new and different. By 1982 the stories in the magazine were once more turning up on the Hugo and Nebula Award ballots. George R. R. Martin’s sf-chess story “Unsound Variations” (January 1982) came in third in the Hugo voting. Brad Linaweaver’s “Moon of Ice” (March 1982), a new twist on the Nazis-won-the-War theme, was likewise highly regarded. No less a luminary than Andre Norton praised the story and urged Linaweaver to expand it into a novel. Ernest Hogan debuted with a controversial story, “The Rape of Things to Come” (March 1982), which elicited much reader reaction to its projection of commercialized rape. There was also John Steakley’s consideration of courage and human dignity in an alien-occupied world, “The Bluenose Limit” (March 1981), which Barry Malzberg commended as “a stunner.”

The fiction, the artwork, and the variety of nonfiction features (from interviews to story analyses) gave a good balance to the magazine and an indication of an editor who was thinking and experimenting. In three years with the magazine, from a standing start, Elinor Mavor had worked miracles.

Amazing Stories 81-11But as 1982 dawned, Arthur Bernhard, now seventy years old, gave notice that he wanted to sell the magazine. Although he had invested no money in promoting the publication, he cared for the venerable old title and wanted it to have a good home. Alas, an experiment in cost-cutting had proved a failure. In 1981 Bernhard had reduced the print run of AMAZING from around 66,000 to 53,000, yet the magazine maintained newsstand sales of 17,000. Thus, Bernhard saved on production costs without suffering a decrease in income. But the next time he tried the same tactic, cutting the number printed to 43,000, there was a savage drop in newsstand sales down to 10,600. AMAZING‘s survival was on the borderline.

By February 1982 Bernhard was in negotiation with a number of potential buyers — one of whom, Jonathan Post, even went so far as to advertise for submissions. The successful purchaser, though, was TSR Hobbies, Inc., the company that had established itself as the producer of the DUNGEONS & DRAGONS® game. The trail that led to TSR began with George Scithers, who had recently stepped down as editor of the successful ISAAC ASIMOV’S SCIENCE FICTION MAGAZINE. Bernhard offered the magazine for sale to Scithers who, although he didn’t have the capital to go through with the purchase himself, told a friend at TSR about the availability of the magazine. During the first week of March 1982, the sale was agreed upon and Scithers was hired as the new editor.

Elinor Mavor’s last issue of AMAZING was dated September 1982. She bowed out gracefully and poignantly, remarking how much she loved the magazine. That sentiment showed. Her style and approach remained evident in the magazine for some time to come, and her love and devotion had given the magazine hope if not certainty.

TSR was already producing a successful gaming periodical, DRAGON® MAGAZINE, which carried a piece of fantasy fiction in each issue. Purchasing AMAZING SCIENCE FICTION STORIES gave the company an opportunity to expand its publishing line in a new direction.

Scithers operated out of Philadelphia, supported by a team of first readers and assistants (known colloquially as “the Zoo”) which at the start included John Ashmead, Darrell Schweitzer, John Sevcik, and Meg Phillips. Thus, AMAZING was being edited long distance (the same circumstance that had ultimately led to Scithers’s departure from ASIMOV’S), while production personnel were based at TSR’s offices in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.

Although Scithers was not nominally involved with production, he was in charge of the magazine’s design. In this respect, the first noticeable feature of his version of the magazine was how much it resembled ASIMOV’S. The similarities could be seen in the design of the contents page, the move to single-column text instead of the traditional two columns, and the cover art. In fact, Scithers acknowledges that the design format form ASIMOV’S as well as his incarnation of AMAZING™ SCIENCE FICTION STORIES was copied from a format that had been devised by Fred Dannay and first used for ELLERY QUEEN’S MYSTERY MAGAZINE — which was, like ASIMOV’S, a Davis publication.

(Editor’s note: The above change in the designation of the magazine’s name came about immediately after TSR Hobbies, Inc., purchased the title, whereupon the company filed for the right to ownership of the title “Amazing” as a trademark. Beginning with the September 1984 issue, at which time the trademark became registered, the magazine was known as AMAZING® SCIENCE FICTION STORIES.)

Less surprising was the editorial similarity between the two magazines. Scithers brought his customary urbane style to bear upon the editorial and nonfiction features. He also purchased material from many of the same authors he had encouraged at ASIMOV’S, and this was most evident in the cases of Somtow Sucharitkul and Avram Davidson. Both of these authors brought with them story series that they had started in the pages of ASIMOV’S, Sucharitkul with his stories about Aquila, set in an amusing alternate reality where the Romans had conquered North America, and Davidson with his ever-indefinable “Adventures in Unhistory.”

Amazing Stories, 82-11What was surprising was that the magazine retained its digest format. There was some speculation among fans of the magazine at the time that TSR might expand AMAZING STORIES into the slick format, matching the presentation of DRAGON® MAGAZINE. That this did not happen was seen as an indication that perhaps not as much money was going to be injected into the magazine as its followers had hoped. But TSR did put out a considerable amount of cash in the early days in paying off all the outstanding manuscript contracts (originally written as “pay on publication” agreements), raising the rates for new material to match what was being paid by ASIMOV’S and ANALOG, and commissioning a cover from Michael Whelan for the first all-Scithers issue, November 1982. (Subsequent issues were a mixture of Mavor-bought and Scithers-bought material, until all of the old inventory had been used up.)

The Scithers-era magazine was ever readable. It had lost some of that excitement that had started to bubble in Mavor’s issues, but it could always be relied upon for solid, dependable fiction. A particularly notable issue was that for November 1983. Its attractive George Barr cover illustrated “Eszterhazy and the Autogóndola-Invention,” one of a series of delightfully unconventional stories set in a world-that-really-should-have-been and featuring the exploits of Dr. Eszterhazy as recounted by Avram Davidson. In the same issue was “Homefaring” by Robert Silverberg, where, in the first time-travel experiment, a man’s mind is projected millions of years into the future. He finds himself coming to terms with the lobsterlike creatures whose society becomes reality to him. Both of these stories were nominated for Nebula Awards. Also in that issue was “Cyberpunk,” a first sale by Bruce Bethke about near-future youths in a world dominated by technology — the story that ultimately gave its title to a whole sub-movement in science fiction.

Amazing Stories, 84-01The potential for wide appeal in AMAZING STORIES was evident from the attention given to William Wu’s story, “Wong’s Lost and Found Emporium,” from the May 1983 issue. This piece was nominated not only for the Hugo and Nebula Awards, but also for the World Fantasy Award. It was also converted into a screenplay and produced as an episode of THE NEW TWILIGHT ZONE television show. Two other stories by Wu set in the Emporium have also appeared in AMAZING STORIES, most recently “Missing Person” in the April 1992 issue.

The magazine was also attracting writers, both new and established. Not only were there stories by Frederik Pohl, Damon Knight, Keith Roberts, Tanith Lee, and Gardner Dozois, but also by developing writers Michael Swanwick, Paul J. McAuley, and Richard Grant. A surprise but welcome visitor was Andrew M. Greeley. This somewhat unorthodox Catholic priest, who had written such best-sellers as THE CARDINAL SINS and THY BROTHER’S WIFE, had only once before stepped into the world of legend, with THE MAGIC CUP (1979), an Irish version of the tradition of the Holy Grail. Now, for the first time, Greeley extended his talents to short fantasy fiction, starting with “The Great Secret” (September 1983), wherein a lord in a timeless world strives to discover the secret of the cosmos without realizing, as love takes control over him, that perhaps he had already found it.

One golden opportunity presented itself in 1984. Universal Studios leased the title of “Amazing Stories” from TSR to use as the name of a science-fiction anthology television series to be produced by Steven Spielberg (although the Spielberg connection was not made public at the time when Universal contacted TSR). The series, launched in the fall of 1985, featured mostly original material directed by many leading names. Yet, despite being able to proclaim “Now a TV series . . .” on the cover, the magazine gained no advantage from this series. Perhaps its only effect was to see the magazine revert to its original title, AMAZING® STORIES, with the March 1986 issue.

Amazing Stories 85-09Regardless of the quality and entertainment value in AMAZING STORIES, its newsstand sales refused to rise appreciably. At the beginning of Scithers’s tenure, newsstand circulation was at around the 11,000 mark. That was only a little behind most of the other digest-sized fiction magazines; and after a time, sales rose to the point where AMAZING STORIES was outselling ASIMOV’S on the newsstand. However, it must be noted that this period was not a good time for any fiction magazine on the newsstands — a situation that has persisted to the present day.

The main reason that the other science-fiction magazines remained far ahead of AMAZING STORIES in overall circulation was that each of them had a substantial subscription base of tens of thousands, whereas, at the time that Scithers took over, subscribers to AMAZING STORIES numbered less than a thousand. During Scithers’s editorship, subscriptions almost tripled. This did not come about through any promotion on TSR’s part (though some readers may have leaked over from DRAGON® MAGAZINE), but was probably caused by the devoted core of active science fiction fans (as distinct from passive readers) who returned to AMAZING STORIES in support of Scithers.

Nevertheless, despite this encouraging increase, the existence of the magazine was always on a knife-edge, and further rationalization took place. It was seen as no longer practical for Scithers to edit the magazine long distance, and in February 1986 he departed. He would soon establish himself as editor of the newly revived WEIRD TALES, thus giving him the unique distinction of having edited both the first fantasy magazine and the first science-fiction magazine.

Scithers’s editorial duties were taken over by Patrick L. Price, who was already experienced with the magazine after having served as an assistant editor (based in Lake Geneva) since the September 1983 issue. There were some superficial changes, including a revamped contents page of which many readers approved but which I found confusing. And there were more solid changes: Martin H. Greenberg, renowned multi-anthologist, came on as editorial consultant, and a new art feature, “On Exhibit,” was established.

Amazing Stories 86-05In the all-important area of fiction, Price wrote in his inaugural issue (September 1986) that he wanted the magazine to return to its origins: “. . . the primary focus of our story selections will be in the areas of hard and speculative science tales, militaristic science fiction, and space fantasy or opera.”

This brings us back to the issue that had surfaced earlier, and that is the extent to which fantasy had begun to dominate AMAZING STORIES. It is a quite fundamental issue. When Hugo Gernsback launched AMAZING STORIES, he was most emphatic in his statement that the magazine would carry stories based on experimental science. It would not feature anything that might not be possible some day through scientific achievement. Any other stories he regarded as “fairy tales.”

Although the science in many of the stories through the years may have been questionable, the magazine remained more or less true to this vision until the moment it was merged with FANTASTIC. In trying to retain the balance of the two magazines, fantasy became a regular feature of AMAZING and, at that point, it ceased to be AMAZING STORIES. It had, in real terms, become FANTASTIC. That latter publication had always had a wide base to its contents, and though its title suggested it was a fantasy magazine, it frequently carried science fiction, usually of a surreal or avant garde nature.

I had noticed this phenomenon at the time it occurred. Whereas my heart sank at the thought that we had lost FANTASTIC, a magazine I had always enjoyed, my mind soon told me that the magazine I was reading was no different from FANTASTIC.

It was a dilemma from which there was no escape. Despite Price’s wish to promote more science fiction in AMAZING STORIES, that turn of events never really came about. To be sure, hard sf stories did appear — Robert Silverberg’s “The Iron Star” (January 1988), John Barnes’s war story “Delicate Stuff” (July 1988), Robert Sawyer’s space adventure “Golden Fleece” (September 1988), and Greg Benford’s superb Venerian expedition “Alphas” (March 1989) — but the bulk of the fiction, and the general overall feel of the magazine, was fantastic. Much of the best fiction being written was not hard sf, which has become a rarity. Most scientific or speculative sf has merged with the fantastic, creating a form of mainstream fantasy.

AMAZING STORIES was not alone in this situation. Only ANALOG remained the one true science-fiction magazine. ASIMOV’S carried a balance of fantasy and sf, as did, most obviously, THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION. In fact, based on fiction alone, it was difficult to tell these magazines apart. ASIMOV’S had higher quality, as a rule, but both AMAZING STORIES and F&SF could be relied upon to produce individualistic and off-trail stories.

For instance, AMAZING STORIES published “Etchings of Her Memories” (March 1987) by Richard A. Lupoff, a quite extraordinary story treating the octopus as an intelligent creature and considering the nature of its civilization. (This was a story I’m sure Gernsback would have admired.) Then there were Paul Di Filippo’s challenging AIDS story, “Kid Charlemagne” (November 1988); Lawrence Watt-Evans’s poignant tale of a search through multiple realities, “An Infinity of Karen” (September 1988); and a whole squad of excellent stories by Kristine Kathryn Rusch.

The magazine could also draw upon its glorious past, not in reprinting stories but in presenting new material by writers whose early works had been part of science fiction’s formative years. It celebrated Jack Williamson’s sixtieth anniversary as a writer with a new story, “The Mental Man” (November 1988), and also presented “Wodan’s Army” (January 1989), a new story by Lloyd A. Eshbach, who was also nearing his sixtieth writing anniversary.

Yet, despite all this potential, the magazine’s circulation failed to rise. Perhaps if TSR had undertaken a direct subscription drive the effort would have had some effect, since subscriptions were continuing to rise (albeit slowly) of their own accord. Instead, most of the company’s promotion for the magazine took indirect forms, through a series of paperback novels published under the AMAZING STORIES banner and two sets of anthologies edited by Martin H. Greenberg that reprinted stories from old issues of the magazine.

Amazing Stories 89-03The absence of a breakthrough in circulation was a source of frustration for Price. In 1988 he discontinued full-time employment with TSR, though he continued to edit the magazine on a freelance basis. Then, toward the end of 1989, a rumor surfaced that AMAZING STORIES would cease publication when the material that Price had already purchased had been used. It was galling, to this and other long-time readers, to think that after all the work that had gone into the magazine in the 1980s to make it an exciting and challenging publication, it would now be left to die.

That you are reading this article (originally published in the July 1992 AMAZING STORIES) is proof that it didn’t. In the summer of 1990, TSR quashed all the rumors by announcing that the magazine would be expanded into a new slick format under a new editor, Kim Mohan.

Price stayed on, managing production of the digest-sized issues until his inventory had been exhausted with the March 1991 magazine. He, like all of his immediate predecessors, had demonstrated a strong commitment to the magazine, producing quality issues despite the hardship of scanty distribution. His issues will be among the least known, since print runs were down to a little more than 30,000, yet they contained more quality than most of the pulp issues in total.

The magazine’s incarnation in slick format under Kim Mohan is a story for another day. It’s to be judged by the historians of the 21st century. (Including Mike Ashley who tells us that he has brought his history of AMAZING STORIES up to date as part of the fourth and fifth volumes of his THE STORY OF THE SCIENCE FICTION MAGAZINES, forthcoming from Liverpool University Press.)

Instead, let us pause to consider the legacy that has come down to us over the last ninety years. Almost the whole of the science-fiction genre that exists today owes its existence to Hugo Gernsback’s launching of AMAZING STORIES in 1926. He created science fiction as a distinct marketable commodity, which other publishers then developed and promoted. Gernsback’s original desire was to create a form of fiction that put entertaining frills on a core of scientific facts and speculation that would inspire its readers to engage in experimentation and invention. Little of that kind of science fiction remains today, although I suspect that most space fiction still inspires the frontier spirit in us all, the desire to explore beyond the realms of our planet.

But the world has changed. When AMAZING STORIES was born, America had not long emerged from the horse-and-buggy days. People were still ignorant of the potential of science, and Gernsback was correct in his missionary devotion to develop an understanding of science so as to build a new and better world.

Amazing Stories 91-05Today we live in a science-fiction world. Just about everything around us would have amazed a reader of 1926 if he were suddenly transplanted to today. That is not to say that science fiction has outgrown its usefulness; it can still inspire and stimulate, just as Gernsback originally intended.

But let us not forget the core of his original purpose: to create a new and better world. There are many who now believe that science is killing this planet and endangering the whole of its flora and fauna. If Gernsback were alive today, he would direct his scientific zeal toward solving that problem. AMAZING STORIES is as pertinent now as it ever was. Its durability over ninety years is a lesson in itself. Its readers are probably more aware of ecological issues than many of their contemporaries. Whereas once science fiction was created to build a new world, it can now work as a force to help save it. That will be the amazing story of the twenty-first century.

“The AMAZING Story: The Eighties — Son of FANTASTIC” is © 2016 by Mike Ashley and appears here with the author’s permission. Notes in italics are by PulpFest and are © 2016 by PulpFest. The original article was published by TSR, Inc. and edited by Kim Mohan for the July 1992 issue of AMAZING STORIES. Many thanks to Curt Phillips, the moderator of the Yahoo newsgroup PulpMags, for drawing our attention to and providing us with copies of Mike Ashley’s exceptional series of articles about the world’s first science-fiction magazine. PulpFest 2016 will be celebrating the 90th anniversary of AMAZING STORIES at this summer’s convention in Columbus, Ohio from July 21st through July 24th.

(Concerning our illustrations . . . . When Arthur Bernhard purchased Sol Cohen’s share of AMAZING STORIES,  he was forced to completely reboot the magazine.  The new owner hired Elinor Mavor to be the magazine’s editor and art director. Aside from a vignette written by Ron Lauten, every other piece of fiction in the May 1979 AMAZING was reprinted from previous issues of the magazine. The front cover was created by Scott Mavor, Elinor’s son. A freelance illustrator, it was his sole cover for AMAZING. He also contributed thirteen interior illustrations to the magazine and its companion, FANTASTIC, all published in 1979 and 1980.

Nine months after assuming the editorship of AMAZING STORIES, Elinor Mavor was publishing all new stories, including works by Michael Kube-McDowell and Wayne Wightman, two of her discoveries. The front cover art had also significantly improved, as exemplified by David Mattingly‘s illustration for the May 1980 issue. At the time a matte artist for the Walt Disney Studios, Mattingly began contributing science fiction cover art to the book industry in 1980. He was one of the dominant science fiction paperback cover artists during the eighties, contributing over 500 covers to the industry. He painted four covers for AMAZING between 1980 and 1992.

Another artist who freelanced for Mavor was Dean Ellis. A graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Art and the Boston Museum School of Fine Art, Ellis contributed a single cover to AMAZING STORIES, the November 1980 number. A commercial and advertising artist, Ellis became involved with science fiction art when Bantam Books asked him to produce cover art for their Ray Bradbury books during the 1960s. Ellis died in 2009.

Other artists who worked for Mavor during her editorship of AMAZING STORIES included Kent Bash, Stephen Fabian, Vincent DiFate, Chris Foss, Ian Miller, and Rowena Morrill, who painted the front cover for the November 1981 issue, her sole cover for the magazine. One of the first women artists to have an impact on paperback cover illustration, Morrell has become one of the best known names in the world of science fiction and fantasy illustration. She has painted hundreds of book covers, calendars, portfolios, trading cards, and magazine covers. Her work has been used by Ace, Avon, Ballantine, Berkley, Dell, Pocket, and many other publishers.

In 1982, Arthur Bernhard sold AMAZING STORIES to TSR Hobbies, Inc., the producer of the DUNGEONS & DRAGONS® game.  Hiring George Scithers to be the magazine’s editor,  the company’s first issue was dated November 1982 and featured front cover art by Michael R. Whelan, one of the science fiction and fantasy industry’s leading artists. The winner of fifteen Hugo Awards, three World Fantasy Awards, and virtually every other award presented by the industry, Whelan is considered one of the world’s premier fantasy and science fiction artists.

A full-time illustrator since the mid-1950s, Jack Gaughan became closely associated with GALAXY SCIENCE FICTION, serving as the magazine’s art editor from 1969 to 1972. He painted 38 covers for GALAXY and also did 29 covers for IF, eleven covers for THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION, seven for ASIMOV’S, and many others including AMAZING STORIES for January 1984. Best known for his black-and-white interior illustrations of the 1960s, Gaughan also created many book covers for the publishing industry, most notably Ace Books.

A few years after discovering science fiction fandom, George Barr sold a pair of paintings to Cele Goldsmith. His first professional sales, they graced the covers of two 1962 issues of FANTASTIC. Unfortunately, it would be many years before he made another sale to the science fiction and fantasy industry. Most of his artwork during this period appeared in fanzines until he won the first of two Hugo Awards for Best Fan Artist in 1968. Not long thereafter, his paintings began to appear on paperbacks published by Ace, Ballantine, DAW, and other companies as well as limited editions produced by Donald A. Grant, Underwood-Miller, and others. During the last quarter of the twentieth century, Barr was particularly prolific, creating cover and interior art for books, convention programs, and magazines such as ISAAC ASIMOV’S SCIENCE FICTION MAGAZINE, MARION ZIMMER BRADLEY’S FANTASY MAGAZINE, WEIRD TALES, and AMAZING STORIES, including the number for September 1985.

During the early years of TSR’s ownership of AMAZING STORIES, Larry Elmore was creating and supervising their game-related art. He continued working for the company until 1987, when he turned to freelancing. Since then, Elmore has produced cover art for many publishers, including Ace, Baen Books, Bantam, Berkley, and Del Rey. He’s also created artwork for the comic book, gaming, motion picture, and toy industries. During his employment by TSR, Elmore created covers for DRAGON® MAGAZINE as well as a pair of covers for AMAZING, including the May 1986 issue.

George Scithers stepped down from editing AMAZING STORIES in early 1986. His position was filled by Patrick L. Price, an assistant editor for the magazine since the September 1983 issue. Price stayed on as the magazine’s editor for the next six years, employing Bob Eggleton as his cover artist for a handful of issues, including the March 1989 number. A commercial artist, Eggleton began working in the science fiction field in 1983. An extremely versatile artist, he has worked in science fiction, fantasy, horror, and as a landscape artist. His illustrations have been featured on magazines, books, posters, trading cards, jigsaw puzzles, and more. He’s also worked as a conceptual artist in the film and amusement park industries. Eggleton has won the Hugo Award for Best Artist eight times.

TSR converted AMAZING STORIES to a slick magazine beginning with the May 1991 number — the first of the Kim Mohan edited issues. It featured front cover art by the late Tim Hildebrandt, best known for the LORD OF THE RINGS calendar art that he created with his twin brother — Greg — in the 1970s. Tim and Greg also painted the original STAR WARS movie posters. After he and his brother decided to pursue separate careers, Tim went on to illustrate many calendars and paint science fiction and fantasy covers for DAW, NAL/Signet, Warner Books, STARLOG, and AMAZING STORIES. When the brothers reunited in later years, they collaborated on a wide array of trading card and comic book projects, film concept work, and much more. Tim Hildebrandt died in 2006.

TSR stopped publishing AMAZING following the Winter 1995 issue. After TSR was acquired by Wizards of the Coast, the magazine was relaunched — again with Mohan as editor. This version lasted for ten more issues, dated Summer 1998 through Summer 2000. The title was next acquired by Paizo Publishing which debuted a new monthly version — edited by Jeff Berkwits — in September 2004. This version lasted for only seven issues. Its final number — in PDF format — was dated March 2005. In July 2012, longtime science fiction fan Steve Davidson revived AMAZING STORIES as an online magazine. Two issues were released in July and August 2012. One additional issue — dated April 2014 and available in print or as an ebook — has also been released. For more information, please visit http://amazingstoriesmag.com/)