Youtube Video On History of Amazing and Gernsback

Gernsback video kinda sorta almost gets the story straight

A Youtube channel called Extra Credit is offering up a stills-and-voice over exposition on the creation of “sci fi”, Gernsback and Amazing Stories.

Unfortunately, it’s big on the “stories” we’ve heard and a bit short on accuracy.  Among those things we take issue with are:

Gernsback’s supposed “bad businessman” trope, implying that he never paid his authors and went into bankruptcy at least partially as a result; that he couldn’t find any “new” sci fi and so resorted to reprinting Wells and Verne and that, by his third issue he had a cover but no stories and so started a contest; that the long, expository science info dumps in published stories were inaccurate and, perhaps most egregious of all, identifying the FR Paul covers as “retro-future” art.

The facts are available elsewhere, so I’ll not bother to repeat them here, other than to say this:  the bankruptcy was engineered to a large extent;  Gernsback dumped a lot of his money into the development of television and television broadcast;  he paid typical pulp rates;  he had a dispute with Wells (largely responsible for the no-pay accusations) which turned out to be owing to one talking dollars and the other talking pounds; he had a staff of a dozen scientific leaders who vetted the science (and his editorials frequently discussed items that weren’t real science) and

it is IMPOSSIBLE for a Frank R Paul cover, created in the 1920s, to be “retro future”.

So, no extra credit here, but a head pat and thanks for the try.

(Note in red pen on the bottom of the paper: the Trademark and Service Mark status of both the Amazing Stories name and The Hugo Awards (Experimenter Publishing and WSFS respectivelyt) are not listed in the credits.)

Related articles

Novedades de Marzo 3

The Wax magazine number 20 is out; Laura Ponce will give a workshop entitled Latin American Science Fiction: Thinking about the future from here; Cuban painter and cartoonist Cecilio Avilés has passed away, more

Leave a Reply

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