The Amazing Years

This December marks the end of Amazing Stories first year of publication…90 years later we’re still in the game!

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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