Today’s Favorite Cover from the V1N1 Collection

Today’s favorite magazine from my V1N1 collection:
Fantasy – Thrilling Science Fiction, a UK publication from 1938.
The combination of title and subtitle always make me think “Make up your mind” whenever I see it.
This is, other than perhaps some fanzines, the first publication bearing the title “Fantasy”. There would be many, many, many more with that word in their title in times to come. Some 42, in fact.
Fantasy [1938]
Fantasy, The Magazine of Science Fiction [1946]
Fantasy Adventures 2001 –
Fantasy & Fear 2010 –
Fantasy and Science Fiction
Fantasy and Terror 1984 –
Fantasy Annual [1948]
Fantasy Annual [1997]
Fantasy Book [1947]
Fantasy Book [1981]
Fantasy Booklet 1991
Fantasy Classics 1973
Fantasy Collector’s Annual 1970s
Fantasy Crossroads 1974
Fantasy Crossroads Special Edition 1976
Fantasy Crosswinds 1977 –
Fantasy Digest 1939
The Fantasy Fan 1933 (fanzine)
Fantasy Fiction [1949]
Fantasy Fiction [1950]
Fantasy Fiction Digest 1937 (fanzine)
Fantasy Fictioneer 1940s
Fantasy Fiction Field 1940s
Fantasy Fiction Telegram 1930s (fanzine)
Fantasy Jackpot 1940s
Fantasy Macabre 1980 –
Fantasy Magazine [1953]
Fantasy Fiction 1953
Fantasy Magazine [2005]
Fantasy Magazine 2005
Fantasy Magazine [1934]
Fantasy Post 1941
Fantasy Quarterly 2001
Fantasy Reader 1974
Fantasy Readers Guide 1979
Fantasy-Scope 1990s
Fantasy Scroll Magazine 2014
Fantasy Short Stories 2012
Fantasy Stories
Fantasy Tales 1977
Fantasy Times 1940s
Fantasy World Geographic Magazine 2005
Seems folks have appended just about anything to that word (including “Science Fiction”, lol). (Prepended too. There’ve also been 11 “Science Fantasy” titles.), although magazines and fanzines with “Science Fiction” in the title are represented some 47 times.
The magazine itself is not noted for exceptional illustration or fiction content, being mostly typical pulp fare of the day, although it did contain stories by John Wyndham, Eric Frank Russell and John Russell Fearn.
All three of its covers were by “Dirgin”, who I think has something of a “Paul” feeling to them. (The first issue cover, featuring a “metal man” also depicts what I can only imagine is Doc Brown. Apparently he dabbled in androids before getting into time machines.)

The three Dirgin covers
Interestingly, this title was on my list of wants for quite a while, always either unavailable or prohibitively priced. Shortly after I purchased my copy, a number of them began to appear on Ebay; four are currently listed, ranging in price from under $100 to just under $500.
The magazine ceased publication mostly owing to WWII and the paper shortage that accompanied it.

This also figures as the third magazine devoted to SF to be published in the UK.  It had been preceded by Scoops (1934), a “boy’s adventure magazine” (that I passed on spending about 10k on the entire run a few years back…that one is very hard to find) and by Tales of Wonder (1937), another difficult to find title.

Scoops was published by Pearson’s, who some in the UK like to credit as the first magazine devoted to SF (english language/professional) because they published a Christmas Annual issue in 1919.  Those Brits!  Always trying to claim SF firsts…first convention (not), first magazine (not).  Why, they even claim to have owned ‘merika at one point, often going so far as to say that they “let” us win that dispute over taxes because they were “busy” with other things.  Riiiiight. 
Scoops (1934) and Tales of Wonder (1937)

You can make the argument, but a Holiday Marketing Special created to sell soap around the holidays does not a science fiction magazine make – unless of course the soap is  rocket-shaped.  If that had been the case, we might be able to have a discussion.  (And as for the convention claim:  it’s a “Con” when officers are designated, someone takes notes and they call it such.  At least in this biased Patriot’s opinion.)

But enough of stoking international rivalries, as it looks like Scotland may be stealing a march on both the US and UK when it comes to being a home for science fiction.  (Check out the Dublin Worldcon coming in 2024.)

Actually, no, I’m not done with international rivalries.  Look at these two covers and you tell me which one is for a “Science Fiction” magazine:

Pearson’s Annual Christmas 1919 and Amazing Stories 1926

I mean, one’s got Saturn, square riggers and ice skaters on one of Saturn’s moons, the other looks like two rivals squaring off against each other in an old English sitting room.  If you captioned them, those captions might read something like “Before we duel over the young lady’s affections (who has no agency), how about a spot of tea?” and “Man, the lower gravity on this extraterrestrial body really alters the coefficient of drag!  Good thing there’s a fully breathable atmosphere!”).

I promise you, no 12 year old  on the verge of discovering science fiction and with a quarter in their pocket, perusing newsstands of their day is going to buy that Pearson’s.  Not a one.  And with that being the case – where’s your first con now, huh?  In bloody Scotland, that’s where!


While you’re in an SFnal frame of mind, why not pop on over to our store and pick up an SF100 T-shirt to help support our Centennial Celebration, coming at you in 2026!

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