Today’s Favorite Magazine Cover from the V1N1 Collection: Comet Stories of Super Time and Space

Astounding/Analog had two editors before Campbell. They were Harry Bates (Farewell to the Master) and F. Orlin Tremaine, who handed the mag off to Campbell.
Comet is apparently the magazine he went to after the Astounding stint.
The cover is by Morey, thought not his best.  (Compare to the April, 1932 Amazing Stories cover).
Comet didn’t last long, all of five issues, and was regarded as something of a bottom of the heap market.

Tremaine, as mentioned previously, had left Astounding and ended up at Comet.  Writing about the experience in this first issue’s editorial, he says:

“For me, it’s like coming back again into the home circle. There isn’t any other place where the feeling of kinship exists as it does in science-fiction. We have dreamed dreams together and watched them come true. We have seen the New York World’s Fair demonstrate the world of tomorrow as an actuality. We have seen the war in Europe demonstrate the machines of war described in science fiction years ago. We have seen the atom smashed, as science-fiction foretold that it would be.”
Following up, Sam Moskowitz was to write a letter to Tremaine in which he notes the following:

“Dear Mr. Tremaine :
It is indeed a pleasant task to write you telling of my sincere delight at learning of your new post at the head of a new sciencefiction magazine. As usual “ Fantasy News” blared the news out to the fantasy world, but in an unusually large headline.
Upon learning of your position I hotfooted it to New York, accidentally bumped into Jimmy Taurasi, and visited your offices, but unfortunately came on a Tuesday, upon which day, the receptionist informed me, you do not come to the office.
I hope you plan to do what I think you’re going to do. Set a blistering pace for the other science-fiction magazines to follow as you did in 1934, ’35, and ’36. It seems a shame that now, when the fans have what they have been praying for for years a practically unlimited supply of science-fiction, new and old, there should not be one, not even one, out of a score of fantasy magazines that is publishing new stories of even a breathable color.
On every side one sees hack, hack, hack. Editors so infatuated with names that stories do not count. One editor brazenly informed me at an interview, that because he pays a low rate per word he has told numerous scientifiction authors that when their yarns have been rejected by every other fantasy magazine, he would take them sight unseen! !
But that’s not all. There’s more. Not content with getting the most worthless tripe some of these popular hacks are capable of turning out (stuff so terrible that fan mag fiction is beginning to read like polished material to me), he must print these stories under a pen name because the writers do not want the one-cent markets to know that they are selling their stuff at half rates or less!
Now by all that is holy under heaven, why? Why? If after purchasing a prominent author’s most terrible fiction you are not even allowed to use his name — what is the earthly sense in purchasing it? Where is the advantage?
Why not give the new writers a break and purchase good stuff?
So there’s the situation. We have magazines featuring novels. Magazines featuring novelettes. Magazines featuring short stories, or a variety of all lengths. There are magazines featuring straight science-fiction, science fantasy, science adventure, fantasy, fantastic adventure, and weird. But there is no fantasy magazine printing new material, featuring good science-fiction. We are told that “the great mass of unknown readers” whoever they may be will not read good science-fiction. And they must appeal to the great unknown mass of readers who have never written in, yet whom they are so certain would not take kindly to good quality science-fiction.
During 1934, 1935, 1936, and even in 1937, as editor of “Astounding” you printed scores of stories that were out and out classics of science-fiction. I’ll never forget them as long as I live. It isn’t necessary for me to refer to my old issues to remember their titles. Only a scant few of them are “Farewell to Earth,” “Colossus”, “Rebirth”, “Short-Wave Experiment”, “Manna from Mars”, “Succubus”, “Rex”, “Twilight”, “Man of the Ages”, “The Mole Pirate”, “Old Faithful”, “The Lotus Eaters”, “Night”, “The Mad Moon”, “Davey Jones Ambassador”, “The Red Peri”, “The Adaptive Ultimate”, “Alas, All Thinking”, “He_ from Procyon”, “The Far Way”, “Stars”,’ “The Plane People”, etc., etc., etc. You ran anywhere from one to five stories an issue that might be called classics of science-fiction.
Still you found time to discover sciencefiction authors who are among the most prominent of our time. Ross Rocklynne, R. R. Winterbotham, Oliver E. Saari, L. Sprague De Camp, Thornton Ayre, Eric Frank Russell, Willy Ley, Nelson S. Bond, Robert Moore Williams, Harry Walton, John D. Clark, Ph. D., D. L. James, and quite a number of others, not to mention those many obscure authors you developed into big names over a .period of a few years.
And despite the fact that you printed first class fiction and used new authors I have always been under the impression that “ Astounding ” had a pretty nice circulation under your editorship during a time when science-fiction was unpopular.
I guess what I am driving at is fairly clear.
So wishing you luck is quite superfluous unnecessary. I’m almost certain your new magazine will be successful.
To round things up, I wish you’d take this letter as an open invitation to attend the meetings of the Queens chapter of the SFL, We have gatherings averaging about thirty prominent authors, artists, editors and science-fiction fans every month, and I feel certain you would enjoy the meetings, and gain valuable contacts from them also.
Sincerely yours,
Sam Moskowitz,”

If you read between the lines, you’ll find echoes of similar arguments still on-going today!

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

New Releases in Science Fiction/Fantasy/Paranormal Romance for DEC 12

Next Article

AMAZING NEWS FROM FANDOM: December 17, 2023

You might be interested in …

Leave a Reply

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