ASTOUNDING SCIENCE FICTION

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Astounding Stories Analog Science Fiction and Fact is an American science fiction magazine. As of 2015, it is the longest continually published magazine of that genre. Initially published in 1930 in the United States as Astounding Stories as a pulp magazine, it has undergone several name changes, primarily to Astounding Science-Fiction in 1938, and Analog Science Fact & Fiction in 1960. In November 1992, its logo changed to use the term "Fiction and Fact" rather than "Fact & Fiction".

One of the major publications of what fans and historians call the Golden Age of Science Fiction and afterward, it has published much-reprinted work by such major SF authors as E.E. Smith, Theodore Sturgeon, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, A. E. van Vogt, Lester del Rey, and many others.

In 1926, Hugo Gernsback launched Amazing Stories, the first science fiction magazine. Gernsback had been printing scientific fiction stories for some time in his hobbyist magazines, such as Modern Electrics and Electrical Experimenter, but decided that there was enough interest in the genre to justify a monthly magazine. Amazing was very successful, quickly reaching a circulation of over 100,000. William Clayton, a successful and well-respected publisher of several pulp titles, considered starting a competitive title in 1928: according to Harold Hersey, one of his editors at the time, Hersey had "discussed plans with Clayton to launch a pseudo-science fantasy sheet". Clayton was unconvinced. The following year, however, Clayton decided to launch a new magazine, mainly because the sheet on which the color covers of his magazines were printed had a space for one more cover. He suggested to Harry Bates, a newly hired editor, that they start a magazine of period adventure stories. Bates proposed instead a science fiction pulp, to be titled Astounding Stories of Super Science, and Clayton agreed.

Astounding was initially published by Publisher's Fiscal Corporation, which became Clayton Magazines in March 1931. The first issue appeared in January 1930, with Bates as editor. Bates aimed for straightforward action-adventure stories, with scientific elements only present to provide minimal plausibility. Clayton paid much better rates than Amazing and Wonder Stories—two cents a word on acceptance, rather than half a cent a word, on publication (or sometimes later)—and consequently Astounding attracted some of the better-known pulp writers, such as Murray Leinster, Victor Rousseau, and Jack Williamson.[4][3] In February 1931, the original name Astounding Stories of Super-Science was shortened to Astounding Stories.

The magazine was profitable, but the Depression caused Clayton problems. Normally a publisher would pay a printer three months in arrears, but when a credit squeeze began in May 1931, it led to pressure to reduce this delay. The financial difficulties led Clayton to start alternating the publication of his magazines, and he switched Astounding to a bimonthly schedule with the June 1932 issue. Some printers bought the magazines which were indebted to them: Clayton decided to buy his printer to prevent this from happening. This proved a disastrous move. Clayton did not have the money to complete the transaction, and in October 1932 Clayton decided to cease publication of Astounding, with the expectation that the January 1933 issue would be the last one. As it turned out, there were enough stories in inventory, and enough paper, to publish one further issue, so the last Clayton Astounding was dated March 1933.[8] In April Clayton went bankrupt, and sold his magazine titles; the buyer quickly resold the titles to Street & Smith, a well-established publisher. Science fiction was not an entirely new departure for Street & Smith. They already possessed two pulp titles that occasionally ventured into the field: The Shadow, which had begun in 1931 and was tremendously successful, with a circulation over 300,000; and Doc Savage, which had been launched in March 1933. They gave the post of editor of Astounding to F. Orlin Tremaine, an experienced editor who had been working for Clayton as the editor of Clues, and who had come to Street & Smith as part of the transfer of titles after Clayton's bankruptcy. Desmond Hall, who had also come from Clayton, was made assistant editor; because Tremaine was editor of Clue and Top-Notch, as well as Astounding, Hall did a lot of the editorial work, though Tremaine retained final control over the contents. The first Street & Smith issue was dated October 1933; it was not until the third issue, in December 1933, that the editorial team was named on the masthead.[11] Street & Smith had an excellent distribution network, and they were able to get Astounding's circulation up to an estimated 50,000 by the middle of 1934. The two main rival science fiction magazines of the day, Wonder Stories and Amazing Stories, each had a circulation of about half that. Astounding was the leading science fiction magazine by the end of 1934; and it was also the largest, at 160 pages, and the cheapest, at 20 cents. Street & Smith's rates of one cent per word (sometimes more) on acceptance were not as good as the rates paid by Bates for the Clayton Astounding, but they were still better than those of the other magazines.

Hall left Astounding in 1934 to become editor of Street & Smith's new slick magazine, Mademoiselle, and was replaced by R.V. Happel. Tremaine remained in control of story selection.[14] Writer Frank Gruber described Tremaine's editorial selection process in his book, The Pulp Jungle:

As the stories came in Tremaine piled them up on a stack. All the stories intended for Clues in this pile, all those for Astounding in that stack. Two days before press time of each magazine, Tremaine would start reading. He would start at the top of the pile and read stories until he had found enough to fill the issue. Now, to be perfectly fair, Tremaine would take the stack of remaining stories and turn it upside down, so next month he would start with the stories that had been on the bottom this month. Gruber pointed out that stories in the middle might go many months before Tremaine read them; the result was erratic response times which sometimes stretched to over eighteen months.

Tremaine was promoted to assistant editorial director in 1937. His replacement as editor of Astounding (though not of Clues) was John W. Campbell, Jr.. Campbell had made his name in the early 1930s as a writer, publishing space opera under his own name, and more thoughtful stories under the pseudonym "Don A. Stuart". He started working for Street & Smith in October 1937, so his first editorial influence appeared in the issue dated December 1937. The March 1938 issue was the first that was fully his responsibility. In early 1938, Street & Smith abandoned its policy of having editors-in-chief, with the result that Tremaine was made redundant. He left on May 1, 1938, reducing Street & Smith's oversight of Campbell and giving him a freer rein.

One of Campbell's first acts was to change the title from Astounding Stories to Astounding Science-Fiction with the March 1938 issue. Campbell editorial policy was targeted at the more mature readers of science fiction, and he felt that "Astounding Stories" did not convey the right image.[19] He intended to subsequently drop the "Astounding" part of the title as well, leaving the magazine titled Science Fiction, but in 1939 a new magazine with that title appeared. "Astounding" was retained, though thereafter it was often printed in a color that made it much less visible than the "Science-Fiction" part of the title. At the start of 1942 the price was increased, for the first time, to 25 cents; the magazine simultaneously switched to the larger bedsheet format, but this did not last. Astounding returned to pulp-size in mid 1943 for six issues, and then became the first science fiction magazine to switch to digest size in November 1943, increasing the number of pages to maintain the same total wordcount. The price remained at 25 cents through these changes in format.

The price increased again, to 35 cents, in August 1951.[5] In the late 1950s it became apparent to Street & Smith that they were going to have to raise prices again. During 1959, Astounding was priced at 50 cents in some areas to find out what the impact would be on circulation. The results were apparently satisfactory, and the price was raised with the November 1959 issue.[21] The following year Campbell finally achieved his goal of getting rid of the word "Astounding" in the magazine's title, changing it to Analog Science Fact/Science Fiction. The change began with the February 1960 issue, and was complete by October; for several issues both "Analog" and "Astounding" could be seen on the cover, with "Analog" becoming bolder and "Astounding" fading with each issue.

Condé Nast bought Street & Smith in August 1959,[23] though the change was not reflected in Analog's masthead until February 1962.[4] Analog was the only digest-sized magazine in Condé Nast's inventory—all the others were slicks, such as Vogue and Vanity Fair. All the advertisers in these magazines had plates made up to take advantage of this size, and Condé Nast changed Analog to the larger size from the March 1963 issue in order to conform. The front and back signatures were changed to glossy paper, to carry both advertisements and scientific features. The change did not attract advertising support, however, and from the April 1965 issue Analog reverted to digest size once again. Circulation, which had been increasing before the change, was not harmed, and in fact continued to increase while Analog was in slick format.

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