1941 Retro Hugo Awards (Part 6: Fanzines)

the-comet-1940(All of our posts & supplements on the 1941 Retro Hugo Awards are indexed here)

The 1940s were a big decade for fanzines.  In fact, the word “Fanzine” is purported to have been created in 1940 within the pages of the fanzine Detours (Russ Chaunvenet)

What had been slowly gathering steam in the mid 1930s through the pages of the letters columns in Wonder Stories and Amazing Stories had broken out into clubs, the first conventions (Philadelphia, New York, & Leeds, UK) and was beginning to coalesce into a coherent, world-wide community (if only historically expressed in anglophonic terms;  no doubt there was activity in Russia, Germany, France and many other non-english speaking countries).

The glue that bound these loose affiliations of small groups of fans (one member club of the short-lived Science Fiction League is believed to have been formed with the minimum of three members – two of whom were fakes!) were extensions of the letter columns.  The fanzines.

TheDamnedThing_2_The first fanzines were club zines;  Ray Palmer (who eventually became editor of Amazing Stories during its most controversial period) is credited with publishing the first one in May of 1930 – The Comet, which was quickly followed by Allen Glasser’s The Planet in July of the same year.  At this time in fannish history, there was a “war” going on over which of the two words that made up the genre’s name – Science Fiction – would be ascendant:  Palmer & Glasser were members of clubs (Science Correspondent Club, Scienceers) that believed that the Science part ought to be emphasized and both of their initial efforts focused primarily on that aspect of their activities.

Others believed that the Fiction part was the more important and this is the side that eventually prevailed in the Fannish World War Part 1.  Because the victors are usually held accountable for writing the history books, our records indicate that the first real fanzine was Schwartz & Weisinger’s The Time Traveller from January of 1932.

Despite these well documented historical facts, it is difficult, if not near impossible to compile a complete (or even near complete) listing of all of the ‘zines that were published in 1940.  This is due to:

ScientiComics1-fclow circulation; cheap methods of reproduction (carbon copies, hectograph, mimeograph); 75 years of floods, fire, well-meaning parents “cleaning out closets while their sons were away at war”, bookworms, mold, Gafiation and death.

This is not a new problem when it comes to fanzines.  Back in the late 30s and early 40s, R.D. Swisher began the very first index of fanzines and was unable to keep pace with the field (Harry Warner Jr. laments the fact that only three times in the history of fandom has anyone attempted this task).  Swisher’s work was built upon by Bill Evans and Bob Pavlat, which in turn was expanded by Harold Palmer PIser.  (I’d have purchased a copy of the Evans-Pavlat index, but near two hundred bucks is a bit much to spend on research for an article like this.)

Bits and pieces of those indexes are available;  a scan of EVans & Pavlat can be found here; a later compilation by Ned Brooks can be found here.  Both of these indexes were used in compiling the partial list of fanzines published in 1940 provided herein.

shangri-laThe following (mostly) alphabetical list of fanzines all had at least one issue published in 1940.  How many copies were printed, what kind of distribution they received and how well read they were at the time remains a complete mystery.  Additionally, the editors name(s) following the title may not be complete (or even correct) in all cases.

Do note however the names that have managed to achieve prominence over the years, either as influential fans, authors and editors in the field.  Notable among these are Bob Tucker, Donald A Wollheim, Ted Dikty, Ted Carnell, Eric Frank Russell. Jack Speer, Ray Bradbury, Morojo and her partner in crime Forrest J. Ackerman, John Michel, Robert Lowndes, James V. Taurasi, Harry Warner Jr., John Baltadonis, Walt Daugherty, Earl Korshak, Damon Knight, Milton A. Rothman, Julius Unger, others.

This is, of course, an incomplete list.  Even in 1939/`1940, those attempting to index the fanzines published up till then despaired of ever being able to compile a complete list.  And, of course, getting a hold of even a tiny fraction of what is listed here is nigh on impossible these days, making the selection of nominees for Best Fanzine of 1940 a particularly problematic task.

[two]Ad Astra: Reinsberg, Meyer
Asteroid, The: Saufert
Austra Fantasy: Hockley & Taylor
Bizarre Series, the: Frank
Blind Awakening: Charles Hornberger
Blitzkreig: Elmer Perdue, MIlton Rothman, Jack Speer
Burpocratic Bulletin: the, Shroyer
California Mercury, the: Fortier
CFS Review: Martin (Colorado Fantasy Society)
Chaos: Miske
Chicon Program Booklet: Hamling & Riensberg
Comet: Wright
Cometeer Monthly: James V. Taurasi
Cosmic Tales: James V Taurasi
Cosmos: Molesworth
Croutch Magazine Mart News: Leslie A. Croutch
Damn Thing! the: Ackerman & Yerke
Dawn Shadows: Rothbone
Detours: Chauvenet
Electron, the: Speer
Epilogue: Dikty
Escape: Wilson
Fanfare: Francois Paro
Fantahash: Lowndes
Fantascience Digest: Robert A Madle
Fantaseer: Groveman
Fantasite: the Bronson
Fantasmagoria: Weir
Fantast: C.S. Youd
Fantasy Amateur, the: Agnew, Perdue
Fantasy Collector, the: L. B. Farsaci
Fantasy Digest: Dikty
Fantasy Fictioneer, the: Roberds
Fantasy Fiction Field: Julius Unger
Fantasy Herald: Jack V Baltadonis
Fantasy War Bulletin: Youd
Final Men, the: Lowndes
Forerunner: McIlwain
Frontier: Don Brazier
Futurian the: J. Michael Rosenblum (formerly Bulletin of the Leeds SFL)
Futuria Fantasia: Ray Bradbury
Futurian Observer: Castellari
Futurian War Digest: J. Michael Rosenblum
Gargoyle D. McIlwain
Gentlest Art, the: Douglas Webster
Golden Atom, the: Larry B. Farsaci
Grotesque: E. A. Martin
Haute Hisoire du Jimmy, the: Elmer Perdue
Hermes: Jack Speer
Hermes: E. F. Russell
Horizons: Harry Warner Jr
Ice: Hal Shapiro
IFA Review: Ted Dikty (Indiana Fantasy assn)
Imag Index: Kuntz, Brady, William H Evans & Julius Unger
Looking Ahead: Jack Robins
Lovecraftian, the: Groveman
Luna: Molesworth
Melbourne Bulletin: Hockley
Mercury: J.J. Fortier
Miwest Fan News: Meyer Reinsberg
Midwest Marky: Mark Reinsberg (in FAPA)
Midwest News and Views: Mark Riensberg, Mel Korshak
Milty’s Mag: Milton A. Rothman
Monsters of the Moon: Forrest J Ackerman
MSA Bulletin: James S Avery (Maine Scientifiction Association)
1940 Chicon Scrapbook: Bob Tucker
Novacious: Forrest J Ackerman & Morojo
Nucleus, the: L & G Kuslan
Ohio Fan, the: Lewandowski[/two]
[two_last]Oklahoma Institute of Private Opinion: Olon F Wiggins
Olympian, the: E. H. Cole
Outre: Litz
Phantagraph, the: Donald A. Wollheim
Pluto: Manning
Polaris: Paul Freehafer
Postal Preview: Ted Carnell
Pseudo-Futurian: J. Michael Rosenblum
Pseudo-Science Romancer: Donald A. Wollheim
PSFS News: Jack Agnew & Robert A. Madle (Philadelphia SF Society)
Putting My Two Cents In: Earl Korshak
Ramblings: Jack Speer
Reader and Collector: H. C. Koenig
Resume of Norwescon Program: Donald B. Day
Rocket, The: Walt Daughterty
Sardonyx: Louis Russell Chauvenet
Satellite, the: F Burke, David McIlwain
SCI: Whiteside
Science-Fantasy Review War Digest: (see Futurian War Digest)
Science Fantasy Review: Les Johnson, L. V. Heald, Holmes & J. F. Burke
Science Fiction Collector, the: Morris Dollens
Science Fiction Debater: John Baltadonis & Milton ROthman
Science Fiction Fan, the: Olon F. Wiggins
Science Fiction Fandom: Larry B. Farsaci
Science Fiction Forward: Duncan, Bart, VanHouten
Science Fiction Misellany, the: R. G. Thompson
Science Fiction Progress: John Michel, Donald A Wollheim
Science Fiction Song Sheet: John Bristol
Science Fiction Weekly: Slowend
Science Fiction Weekly: Robert W Lowndes
Sciential, the: Hoguet, Studley
Scienti-Comics: Phil Bronson
Scientifan, the: Joe Fortier
Scientifiction Scout, the: Allen Moss
Scienti-Snaps: Walter E Marconette
Sci-Fic Variety: Bob Tucker
SF Bolshevik, the: Milton A Rothman
SF Check-List: RD & FN Swisher
Shangri-La: LASFS, Walt Daugherty
Snide: Damon Knight
Solaroid Annual: Solaroid Club
Spaceways: Harry Warner Jr
Special Bulletin: Jim Avery, Norm Stanley (MSA)
Stardust: William Lawrence Hamling
Stars: Larry Farseci
Stf Stickers Stationary Suchstuffery: Forrest J Ackerman
Stylus: James V Taurasi
Sun Spots: Gerry de la Ree, Gaetz, Plotkin
Sustaining Program: Jack Speer
Sweetness and Light: Russ Hodgkins, Henry Kuttner, Fred Shroyer, J. Mooney, A. Barnes
Twentieth Century Unlimited: Donald A. Wollheim
Ultra: Russell (EF?)
Van Houten Says: Raymond Van Houten
Voice of g Worlds: Litz
Voice of the Imagi-Nation: Forrest J. Ackerman, Morojo
Vombiteur, Le: Robert W Lowndes
War Digest: Heald, Ron Holmes
Yearbook of Science, Weird, and Fantasy Fiction: Brady, Kuntz
Zeus: Castellari, Dwyer, Levy, Smith, Veney
Zeus: Noel Dwyer
Zombie, Le: Bob Tucker
Zombie Advertiser, Le: Bob Tucker[/two_last]

Please take a moment to support Amazing Stories with a one-time or recurring donation via Patreon. We rely on donations to keep the site going, and we need your financial support to continue quality coverage of the science fiction, fantasy, and horror genres as well as supply free stories weekly for your reading pleasure. https://www.patreon.com/amazingstoriesmag

Previous Article

AMAZING NEWS! Amazing Stories Acquires Amazing Stories

Next Article

Anime roundup 9/25/2015: At Loose Ends

You might be interested in …


  1. Nearly all of the fanzines you list are negligible. For those who’ve read the fanzines of 1941 there are very few great ones. The best by far was Le ZOMBIE, published by Bob Tucker. Coming in at #2 would be SPACEWAYS, published by Harry Warner, Jr. Everytyhing else was far inferior to these two. I suspect the voters will pounce on Ray Bradbury’s FUTURIA FANTASIA just because Ray *later* became one of the greatest pro writers of all time, but in 1941 his fanzine wasn’t very impressive, and if Ray were here to comment on the question he’d tell you the same thing. The #1 fanzine of 1941 is Bob Tucker’s Le ZOMBIE. No question about it.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.