The Amazing Years


    This past April, Amazing Stories had a milestone anniversary, that being 90 years since its inception.

    One can arguably state that science fiction fandom began at the same time.  One can certainly say that the fields in which the seeds of fandom would grow were being plowed.  Science Fiction, as a genre called Scientifiction, was aborning.  Like many things new to America’s shores, the genre would change its name before finding true acceptance…and these metaphors are getting a bit strained.

    So, to the point.  We thought it would be interesting to take a look at what Amazing Stories was doing on its anniversaries.  What it looked like and what it was publishing.  We’ll do this every month and look at the magazine on a ten year anniversary cycle, starting with December, the last month of the inaugural year, ninety years ago.

    amazing_stories_192612THE FIRST YEAR

    December 1926   Volume 1, Number 9

    Hugo Gernsback, Editor
    Experimenter Publishing Co, Publisher

    25 cents per copy

    Bedsheet, 104 Pages

    Cover by Frank R. Paul

    First Men in the Moon by H.G. Wells (Serial in 3 parts) Part I
    The Man Higher Up by Edwin Balmer & William B. MacHarg
    The Time Eliminator by Kaw
    Through the Crater’s Rim by H. Hyatt Verrill
    The Lord of the Winds by Augusto Bissiri
    The Telepathic Pick-Up by Samuel M. Sargent, Jr.
    The Educated Harpoon by Charles S. Wolfe
    The Diamond Lens Fitz-James O’Brien
    The Second Deluge by Garrett P. Serviss (A Serial in 3 parts) Part II


    amazing_stories_19361210TH ANNIVERSARY

    December 1936   Volume 10, Number 19

    T. O’Connor Sloane, Editor
    Teck Publications, Inc., Publisher

    25 cents per copy

    Pulp, 148 Pages

    Cover by Leo Morey

    Uncertainty (Part 2 of 2) • serial by John W. Campbell, Jr.
    The Time Control by Philip Jacques Bartel
    The Space Marines and the Slavers by Bob Olsen
    Devolution by Edmond Hamilton
    Death Creeps the Moon by Wede
    When the Earth Stood Still by Arlyn H. Vance


    amazing_stories_19461220TH ANNIVERSARY

    December 1946 Volume 20, Number 9

    Raymond A. Palmer, Editor
    Ziff-Davis Publishing Co., Publishers

    25 cents per copy

    Pulp, 180 Pages

    Cover by Bob Hilbreth

    The Land of Kui by Richard S. Shaver
    Death Sentence by Chester S. Geier
    Giant of Ganymede by Ross Rocklynne
    Echoes of Empire by Jack Sheridan
    Great Gods and Little Termites by Don Wilcox
    Double for Destiny by Leroy Yerxa
    Sentimental Monster as by Lee Francis


    amazing_stories_19561230TH ANNIVERSARY

    December 1956 Volume 30, Number 12

    Paul W. Fairman, Editor
    Ziff-Davis Publishing Co., Publishers

    35 cents per copy

    Cover by Ed Valigursky

    Digest, 132 Pages


    The Galaxy Master by Malcolm Meade
    Repeat Broadcast by Henry Slesar
    Marriages Are Made in Detroit by Henry Slesar
    Death to the Earthman by Randall Garrett
    A World of His Own by Robert Silverberg
    The Great Kladnar Race by Randall Garrett and Robert Silverberg
    Tracking Level by Harlan Ellison


    amazing_stories_19661240TH ANNIVERSARY

    December 1966 Volume 40, Number 9

    Joseph Ross, Editor
    Ultimate Publishing, Publishers

    50 cents per copy

    Digest, 164 Pages

    Cover by Frank R. Paul


    Born Under Mars (Part 1 of 2) by John Brunner
    Vanguard of the Lost by John D. MacDonald (reprint)
    The Revolt of the Pedestrians by David H. Keller, M.D. (reprint)
    Dr. Grimshaw’s Sanitarium by Fletcher Pratt (reprint)
    The Flame from Nowhere by Otto Binder (reprint)
    The Commuter by Philip K. Dick
    He Took It With Him by Mack Reynolds


    amazing_science_fiction_19761250TH ANNIVERSARY

    December 1976 Volume 50, Number 3

    Ted White, Editor
    Ultimate Publishing, Publisher

    $1.00 per copy

    Digest, 134 Pages

    Cover by Barber

    Fundamental Issue by Philip José Farmer
    Patrick Henry, Jupiter, and the Little Red Brick Spaceship by George R. R. Martin
    Flesh Pearl by Ray Nelson
    Martha by Fred Saberhagen
    Tin Woodman by David Bischoff and Dennis R. Bailey
    Search by F. M. Busby
    Everything Is Going to Be All Right by Linda Isaacs
    The Hardship Post by Tom Goodhue


    amazing_stories_19861160TH ANNIVERSARY

    November 1986* Volume 61, Number 4

    Patrick L. Price, Editor
    TSR, Inc., Publisher

    $1.75 per copy

    Digest, 164 Pages

    Cover by Keith Parkinson

    Pleasure Palace by Lillian Stewart Carl
    Fungo the Unrighteous by Reginald Bretnor
    Kleinism by Arthur L. Klein
    Human Affairs by Robert Coulson
    Palaces on Pluto? by Andrew Joron
    Came Up Running by Forest Arthur Ormes
    Lotion Sickness by Bradley Stites
    Third Time Lucky by Tanya Huff
    Yecch! by Morris Liebson
    Godzilla’s Rap by Joe-Bob Caruthers
    And Visions of Sugar Plums … by Sharon N. Farber
    Tremarest by Keith Roberts
    Hollywood Revisited: Nosferatu by Robert Frazier


    amazing_stories_1995win70TH ANNIVERSARY

    Winter 1995* Volume 69, Number 3

    Kim Mohan, Editor
    TSR, Inc., Publisher

    $3.95 per copy

    Digest, 164 Pages

    Cover by Cereulo Cabral

    A Tapestry of Thought by Gregory Benford
    Between the Winds by George Zebrowski
    Tag Line by C. Bruce Hunter
    The Long View by S. Andrew Swann
    The Angel of Marsh End by Michael G. Coney
    Wilmer’s Wrong Turn by Robert Hodge
    Star-Crossed by Robert J. Levy
    The Last Variety of Religious Experience by John Morressy
    The Last Day of the War, With Parrots by James Alan Gardner


    amazing_stories_20050380TH ANNIVERSARY

    March 2005* Volume 74, Number 3

    Jeff Berkwitz, Editor
    Paizo Publishing LLC, Publisher

    $6.00 per copy

    Bedsheet, 84 Pages

    Cover Photo by Unknown

    After the Sabines by Sarah A. Hoyt
    Piker’s Peek by Ben Bova
    A Piano Full of Dead Spiders by George Zebrowski
    Conversation on Mars by Robert Sheckley


    amazing-special-edition-201690TH ANNIVERSARY

    Special Edition, 2016*

    Steve Davidson, Editor
    The Experimenter Publishing Co., Publisher

    $7.99 per copy

    Digest, 164 Pages

    Cover by Duncan Long

    Bob the Hipster Knight by Jeremy Lichtman
    How Gaia and the Guardian Saved the World by Alex Shvartsman
    Parental Guidance Recommended by Vince Liberato
    The Sounding Cataract by Stephen S. Power
    The Mesmerist by Karen Skovmand
    Awake the Snorting Citizens by Trent Walters
    A Clean Start by James Gordon Harper
    The Size of the Fight by Matt Downer
    Lost Phoenixes by Stuart Barton
    Penny of Tharsis Montes by Sean Monaghan
    We’re all Here in the Future by Kermit Woodall


    *are not strictly 10 year anniversary issues, but are the closest we could come given the magazine’s actual publishing history.

    Some interesting notes:

    Amazing Stories has been published in every format used by magazines – Bedsheet, Pulp, Digest and Slick.

    Several times in its history, the publishers have resorted to publishing more non-fiction than fiction in order to more economically fill pages.

    The price per copy has grown from 25 cents (which was a nickel more than standard back in the beginning) to $7.99 per copy, a 3200% increase;  word rates have gone from a quarter a penny per word to 6 cents per word, a 2400% increase.

    Page counts have been as low as 84 pages (Slick/standard modern-day magazine size) and as high as 248 pages (Pulp).  Bedsheet – 9.75 x 12; Slick – 8.5 x 11; Pulp – 7 x 10; Digest – 5.5 x 7.5.

    Page “costs” (cover price divided by page count) over the years:
    1926: .0024
    1936: .0016
    1946: .0014
    1956: .0026
    1966: .0030
    1976: .0074
    1986: .0106
    1996: .0240
    2006: .0714
    2016: .0487

    Perhaps the most interesting statistic is that we’re producing a series of anthologies and facsimile reprint editions, drawn from all of these years of STF goodness and keeping them accessible.

    If art is your thing, take a gander at the posters we’ve got for sale; if fiction is what you’re after, here are the titles we’ve currently got on sale – with more coming every month; (click on any cover to purchase).

    Also note: this article could not have been prepared without the resources of ISFDB.ORG and Galactic Central – We are continually grateful for the work that they do in preserving genre history.



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