Amazing Stories

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Amazing Stories was founded with the April 1926 issue by Hugo Gernsback and was the first magazine devoted to sf and was published continuously until 2005. Gernsback lost ownership of the magazine in 1929 during a bankruptcy.

Amazing's history is studded with controversy: Gernsback made the books balance by avoiding payments to authors as much as possible; Palmer used the infamous Shaver Mystery to boost circulation; and SFWA threatened to boycott Amazing over non-payment for reprints.

However, Gernsback's practice of giving space to a lettercol and printing the addresses of the letter writers made it possible for readers to write to each other, and that correspondence was the beginnings of fandom. His failure to pay authors led to the founding of the Futurians, after Donald Wollheim and John Michel visited SFL chapters to complain.

Under Cele Goldsmith, Amazing was nominated for the 1961 Best Professional Magazine Hugo, and under Ted White, it was nominated for the 1971 Best Professional Magazine Hugo and the 1972 Best Professional Magazine Hugo.

21st Century Revival[edit]

In 2011, Steve Davidson resurrected the lapsed trademark and launched a new semiprozine Amazing online, recruiting scores of writers to contribute blog entries. Two online issues appeared, in July and August 2012, followed by another in 2014. Davidson relaunched a print publication of Amazing Stories with the Fall 2018 issue as published by Experimenter Publishing Company.

On November 3, 2022, Davidson announced:

I (Steve Davidson) am stepping down as acting Editor of Amazing Stories and stepping away from the Experimenter Publishing Company as Publisher.
Kermit Woodall, long-time Creative Director, will be taking over responsibilities for staffing, payments, and all ongoing creative and management decisions, which include management responsibilities for the website, the current Kickstarter project, and AmazingCon II.
My reasons? In straightforward terms, I’m burnt out, I’m tired and I am feeling physically, medically, mentally and emotionally run down. I have increasing family and financial responsibilities and am finding it increasingly difficult to juggle everything, while also remaining enthusiastic for what Amazing Stories is trying to do.

The next day saw an announcement from Woodall of Lloyd Penney as editor-in-chief.

The Club House[edit]

"The Club House" was a fanzine review column written by Rog Phillips in Amazing from March, 1948, to March, 1953. The column was created in part to reverse the bad image Amazing Stories gained in fandom from Ray Palmer's Shaver Mystery. (A similar column was run by Mari Wolf in Imagination in the 1950s. At the time, Wolf was married to Phillips.)

The column was later revived in other SF prozines edited by Raymond Palmer. In Amazing under Ted White in the 1970s, it became a general column about fandom that brought in many neofans. A version continues today.

Vernon L. McCain described the importance of the original Club House:

'The Club House' had done more to make fandom grow than any other single force in history, and it altered the whole character of fandom by bringing in a different type person. Not that this new type was in any way superior or inferior to the old type, but they were different and they changed fandom. Many of us preferred the old type to the new, which somewhat resembled a combination of the American Legion and the Housewives' Thursday Knitting and Tea Auxiliary. Less publicity is what fandom needs.


Years Editor Publisher Notes
1926 T. O'Connor Sloane Hugo Gernsback Non-payments to authors
1929 Teck Publications
1938 Raymond A. Palmer Ziff Davis The Shaver Mystery
1949 Howard Browne, William Hamling, and Lila Shaffer Attempt to go up-market
1952 Howard Browne
1956 Paul W. Fairman
1958 Cele Goldsmith
1965 Joseph Wrzos Sol Cohen SFWA threatens boycott
1967 Harry Harrison
1968 Barry Malzberg
1969 Ted White
1979 Elinor Mavor
1980 Merges with Fantastic
1982 George Scithers TSR
1986 Patrick Lucien Price
1991 Kim Mohan
1995 Ceases publication
1997 Wizards of the Coast
2000 Ceases publication
2005 Paizo Publishing Acquired, two issues published, ceased publication.
2008 Trademarks lapse.
2011 Steve Davidson Steve Davidson, Experimenter Publishing Co. Steve Davidson starts new Amazing online.
2016 Ira Nayman
2018 Print version resumes
2020 AmazingCon held. Nayman resigns in December.
2022 Steve Davidson Davidson resigns in November. Kermit Woodall is new publisher, and Lloyd Penney, editor.

More Reading[edit]

Publication 1926
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