That’s right! It’s Two-Fer Thursday and we bring you not one, not two but MULTIPLE titles today (which is NOT what “Two-Fer” means but ignore that for now) with two magazines that are intimately tied to Amazing Stories, Greenleaf Classics, First Fandom, Incarcerated Fans and what is perhaps the origin of the concept that SF authors in financial straits could always write porn to help them get by, Imagnation and Imaginative Tales –
Neither of these magazines made much of a mark in the publication of quality SF department, but they are both fraught with science fiction history.
Imagination (Stories of Science and Fantasy) was launched by Ray Palmer after he had left working on Amazing Stories and Fantastic Adventures to establish his own publishing empire (Clark Publishing, which would eventually publish Fate and Flying Saucers magazine among others).
Imagination was sold, after only a few issues, to one William Hamling, a member of First Fandom, and publisher of Greenleaf Classics. Hamling had previously worked with Palmer at Ziff-Davis.
Greenleaf Classics also published Rogue, a men’s magazine that printed a fair amount of SF, and several imprints of pornographic novels. Hamling, along with Earl Kemp (publisher of the famous “Who Killed Science Fiction?” fanzine) produced an illustrated publication of a Congressional hearing on pornography and both were eventually jailed for mailing obscene materials, serving three months of a one year sentence. (Kemp also published gay porn at Greenleaf and is considered by some to be the “GodFather” of gay publishing”.)
And here you thought SF was this quiet little niche genre of nerds and geeks who liked to read stories with mathematical formulas in the footnotes.
As noted, neither magazine was hailed as a font of great SF and Fantasy literature, publishing mostly light space opera content. Imagination: Stories of Science and Fantasy ran from 1950 to 1958, producing some 63 issues, retaining the same title throughout.
Imaginative Tales was introduced in 1954, ending at the same time as its companion, and managing to produce 26 issues.
I imagine that both magazines were used to experiment with trying to appeal to an “adult” market: Imaginative Tales, during its first few issues, featured “Toffe” on its cover (and a complete “novel” of her adventures inside), depictions a bit more suggestive and risque than most (even despite scaly brass brassieres in abundance):
While, during the same period of time, Imagination went with the following:
Somewhat of a Norman Rockwell vibe going on there I think. Hamling apparently felt that there was little point to the “educational” aspects of SF and focused on “entertainment”.
Imaginative Tales would get a name change with its final three issues, switching to Space Travel, a title that would hopefully attract those interested in the then current “space race”.
Toffe, Imagination Stories of Science and Fantasy, Imaginative Tales and Space Travel are all in the V1N1 collection.