A. Merritt's Fantasy Magazine

A. Merritt's Fantasy Magazine was an American pulp magazine which published five issues from December 1949 to October 1950. It took its name from fantasy writer A. Merritt, who had died in 1943, and it aimed to capitalize on Merritt's popularity. It was published by Popular Publications, alternating months with Fantastic Novels, another title of theirs. It may have been edited by Mary Gnaedinger, who also edited Fantastic Novels and Famous Fantastic Mysteries. It was a companion to Famous Fantastic Mysteries, and like that magazine mostly reprinted science-fiction and fantasy classics from earlier decades.

A. Merrit's Fantasy Magazine December 1949
The December 1949 issue of A. Merritt's Fantasy Magazine; cover art by Peter Stevens.

Publication history and contents

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
1949 1/1
1950 1/2 1/3 1/4 2/1
Issues of A. Merritt's Fantasy Magazine from 1949 to 1950, showing volume and
issue numbers. The editor was not identified but may have been Mary Gnaedinger.

In 1942, Popular Publications acquired Famous Fantastic Mysteries and Fantastic Novels, both of them pulp magazines specializing in reprints of fantasy, from the Munsey Company. Fantastic Novels had ceased publication in April 1941, but was relaunched by Popular in early 1948 as a companion to Famous Fantastic Mysteries, which was still being published.[1][2] The following year Popular decided to add another fantasy reprint magazine to their line-up: the title they chose was A. Merritt's Fantasy Magazine, and the first issue was dated December 1949.[3] Abraham Merritt (usually known as A. Merritt), after whom the magazine was named, was one of the most popular fantasy authors of the pulp era:[4] the magazine was intended to take advantage of his popularity,[3] but only five issues appeared, over a period of just under a year, before the magazine was cancelled.[3]

In addition to Merritt's novel Creep, Shadow!, which appeared in the first issue, the magazine printed several well-received stories. These included "The Smoking Land", a novel by Frederick Faust, under the pseudonym George Challis, and a detective novel by Jack Mann, The Ninth Life. A letter to the magazine from a young Robert Silverberg appeared in one of the letter columns.[3]

Different theories have been offered as to why the magazine failed. Editor and science fiction historian Malcolm Edwards suggests that Merritt's death six years earlier, in 1943, made the magazine a risky proposition, despite Merritt's continuing popularity in the late 1940s. Science fiction historian and critic Sam Moskowitz suggests that, conversely, the magazine did not go far enough in depending on Merritt's popularity, as it only printed three works of his during its run. This may have been because Merritt was sufficiently popular that it was not easy for the magazine to obtain reprint rights to his stories.[3]

Bibliographic details

The editor was not announced in the magazine. Mary Gnaedinger was the editor for the two companion magazines, Famous Fantastic Mysteries and Fantastic Novels, but Sam Moskowitz has suggested that it was unlikely Gnaedinger was the editor for A. Merritt's Fantasy Magazine. The magazine remained in pulp format throughout its short run. It was 132 pages and priced at 25 cents for all five issues. A Canadian edition of all five issues appeared; these were identical to the originals in every way except for the back cover advertisement and the format—the Canadian issues were half an inch longer.[3]


  1. ^ Clareson (1985a), p. 216.
  2. ^ Clareson (1985b), p. 244.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Sanders (1985), pp. 3–6.
  4. ^ Stableford (1993), p. 639.


  • Clareson, Thomas D. (1985a). "Famous Fantastic Mysteries". In Tymn, Marshall B.; Ashley, Mike. Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Weird Fiction Magazines. Westport CT: Greenwood Press. pp. 211–216. ISBN 0-313-21221-X.
  • Clareson, Thomas D. (1985b). "Fantastic Novels". In Tymn, Marshall B.; Ashley, Mike. Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Weird Fiction Magazines. Westport CT: Greenwood Press. pp. 241–244. ISBN 0-313-21221-X.
  • Sanders, Joe (1985). "A. Merritt's Fantasy Magazine". In Tymn, Marshall B.; Ashley, Mike. Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Weird Fiction Magazines. Westport CT: Greenwood Press. pp. 3–6. ISBN 0-313-21221-X.
  • Stableford, Brian (1993). "Merritt, A.". In Clute, John; Nicholls, Peter. The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction. New York: St. Martin's Press, Inc. pp. 639–640. ISBN 0-312-09618-6.

External links

A. Merritt

Abraham Grace Merritt (January 20, 1884 – August 21, 1943) – known by his byline, A. Merritt – was an American Sunday magazine editor and a writer of fantastic fiction.The Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame inducted him in 1999, its fourth class of two deceased and two living writers.

Argosy (magazine)

Argosy, later titled The Argosy and Argosy All-Story Weekly, was an American pulp magazine from 1882 through 1978, published by Frank Munsey. It is the first American pulp magazine. The magazine began as a children's weekly story–paper entitled The Golden Argosy.

Bernard Cronin

Bernard Cronin (18 March 1884 – 9 June 1968) was an Australian author and journalist.

Cronin was born in Ealing, Middlesex, England, second son of Charles Frederick Cronin (1859–1887), an auctioneer, and Laura née Marshall (1850–1934). His father was advised to go to Australia for the sake of his health. Charles and his wife set off in 1886, leaving Bernard and his brother in England in the care of their grandmother and aunts. In Mitcham, South Australia, Bernard's father succumbed to his illness and died. Laura returned to London and in 1889 married Frederick Cecil Browne, who had taken her under his wing during her husband's illness and accompanied her back to England, and the two of them returned to Australia in the same year, accompanied by Bernard's brother Laurence Kimberley. Bernard himself followed them to Australia at the age of six in 1890 in the care of the captain of RMS Austral. During the voyage the young Bernard nearly accidentally killed an able seaman who was painting the ship's side whilst holding on to the deck with one hand. Young Bernard jumped on the man's hand 'just to see what happened'. The man let go, but, happily, was rescued.He emerged from his education in 1901 with a diploma in agriculture, and is the first recipient of the Gold Medal, from the Dookie Agricultural College, now part of the Goulburn Ovens Institute of Technical and Further Education in Victoria and still Australia's premier agricultural college. In 1908 he joined his brother Laurie (also a graduate of Dookie Agricultural College) in a cattle-farming venture in Tasmania which, due to the forestation and other natural conditions which had defeated many settlers before them, was not successful.

He married a farmer's daughter, Victoria Maud Ferres, on 11 March 1908. In 1913 he went back to Melbourne, where he worked as a salesman before getting a job as a clerk in the Department of the Navy and began to devote his spare time to writing. He published his first novel The Coastlanders, set in Tasmania, in 1918. He went on to write numerous novels, short stories, poems and a radio play, Stampede (1937), using his own name and a number of pseudonyms, such as Dennis Adair, Hugh Bohun, Wallace Dixon, Tas East and Eric North. He also jointly used the pseudonym Stephen Grey when writing with Capel Boake (the pseudonym of Doris Boake Kerr).

In the 1920s Cronin worked for the Melbourne Herald and in the 1950s he was a contributor to the Melbourne Sun. During World War II he worked as a publicity censor in Victoria and Western Australia.

In 1920 Cronin was one of the co-founders of the Old Derelicts' Club for struggling authors and writers. This in turn became the Society of Australian Authors in 1927, of which Cronin was its first president. This society was wound up in 1936 because, in Cronin's words, it was becoming 'infiltrated by politics'. In 1933 he founded the Quill Club, and was a long term member of the International PEN Club (Melbourne) and was granted life membership in 1961.

He was a keen student of the Bible and supporter of the British-Israelist movement. In his later life he took up woodcarving and painting. He died at his home in East Camberwell, Victoria on 9 June 1968 and was buried in Springvale Cemetery.

Cronin Street in McKellar, a suburb of Canberra, is named after him and is one of a number of streets in the area named after Australian authors.

E. C. Vivian

Evelyn Charles Henry Vivian (( 1882-10-19)19 October 1882 – ( 1947-05-21)21 May 1947) was the pseudonym of Charles Henry Cannell, a British editor and writer of fantasy and supernatural, detective novels and stories.

George Allan England

George Allan England (9 February 1877 - 26 June 1936) was an American writer and explorer, best known for his speculative and science fiction. He attended Harvard University and later in life unsuccessfully ran for Governor of Maine. England was a socialist and many of his works have socialist themes.

George Kelley Paperback and Pulp Fiction Collection

The George Kelley Paperback and Pulp Fiction Collection is a collection of over 25,000 pulp magazine and fiction works that is housed in the Special Collections unit, in the University at Buffalo Libraries at State University of New York at Buffalo. Noted as one of the best preserved collections of pulp material in modern times, it was donated to UB Libraries in 1994 by Dr. George Kelley, a professor at Erie Community College in Buffalo, New York.The collection spans genres from adventure, crime and horror to Westerns, fantasy and science fiction, including books, pulp magazines, fanzines and other literature. According to UB Libraries, there are hundreds of paperbacks from the 1940s, thousands from the 1950s and 1960s and more from the 1970s and 1980s. Many of these are paperback originals which have never appeared in hardcover editions.

History of US science fiction and fantasy magazines to 1950

Science fiction and fantasy magazines began to be published in the United States in the 1920s. Stories with science fiction themes had been appearing for decades in pulp magazines such as Argosy, but there were no magazines that specialized in a single genre until 1915, when Street & Smith, one of the major pulp publishers, brought out Detective Story Magazine. The first magazine to focus solely on fantasy and horror was Weird Tales, which was launched in 1923, and established itself as the leading weird fiction magazine over the next two decades; writers such as H.P. Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith and Robert E. Howard became regular contributors. In 1926 Weird Tales was joined by Amazing Stories, published by Hugo Gernsback; Amazing printed only science fiction, and no fantasy. Gernsback included a letter column in Amazing Stories, and this led to the creation of organized science fiction fandom, as fans contacted each other using the addresses published with the letters. Gernsback wanted the fiction he printed to be scientifically accurate, and educational, as well as entertaining, but found it difficult to obtain stories that met his goals; he printed "The Moon Pool" by Abraham Merritt in 1927, despite it being completely unscientific. Gernsback lost control of Amazing Stories in 1929, but quickly started several new magazines. Wonder Stories, one of Gernsback's titles, was edited by David Lasser, who worked to improve the quality of the fiction he received. Another early competitor was Astounding Stories of Super-Science, which appeared in 1930, edited by Harry Bates, but Bates printed only the most basic adventure stories with minimal scientific content, and little of the material from his era is now remembered.

In 1933 Astounding was acquired by Street & Smith, and it soon became the leading magazine in the new genre, publishing early classics such as Murray Leinster's "Sidewise in Time" in 1934. A couple of competitors to Weird Tales for fantasy and weird fiction appeared, but none lasted, and the 1930s is regarded as Weird Tales' heyday. Between 1939 and 1941 there was a boom in science fiction and fantasy magazines: several publishers entered the field, including Standard Magazines, with Startling Stories and Thrilling Wonder Stories (a retitling of Wonder Stories); Popular Publications, with Astonishing Stories and Super Science Stories; and Fiction House, with Planet Stories, which focused on melodramatic tales of interplanetary adventure. Ziff-Davis launched Fantastic Adventures, a fantasy companion to Amazing. Astounding extended its pre-eminence in the field during the boom: the editor, John W. Campbell, developed a stable of young writers that included Robert A. Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, and A.E. van Vogt. The period starting in 1938, when Campbell took control of Astounding, is often referred to as the Golden Age of Science Fiction. Well-known stories from this era include Slan, by van Vogt, and "Nightfall", by Asimov. Campbell also launched Unknown, a fantasy companion to Astounding, in 1939; this was the first serious competitor for Weird Tales. Although wartime paper shortages forced Unknown's cancellation in 1943, it is now regarded as one of the most influential pulp magazines.

Only eight science fiction and fantasy magazines survived World War II. All were still in pulp magazine format except for Astounding, which had switched to a digest format in 1943. Astounding continued to publish popular stories, including "Vintage Season" by C. L. Moore, and "With Folded Hands ..." by Jack Williamson. The quality of the fiction in the other magazines improved over the decade: Startling Stories and Thrilling Wonder in particular published some excellent material and challenged Astounding for the leadership of the field. A few more pulps were launched in the late 1940s, but almost all were intended as vehicles to reprint old classics. One exception, Out of This World Adventures, was an experiment by Avon, combining fiction with some pages of comics. It was a failure and lasted only two issues. Magazines in digest format began to appear towards the end of the decade, including Other Worlds, edited by Raymond Palmer. In 1949, the first issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction appeared, followed in October 1950 by the first issue of Galaxy Science Fiction; both were digests, and between them soon dominated the field. Very few science fiction or fantasy pulps were launched after this date; the 1950s was the beginning of the era of digest magazines, though the leading pulps continued until the mid-1950s, and authors began selling to mainstream magazines and large book publishers.

Lawrence Sterne Stevens

Lawrence Sterne Stevens (December 4, 1884 – 1960) was an American pulp fantasy and science fiction illustrator.He is known for his interior story illustrations for Argosy and cover paintings for Amazing, A. Merritt's Fantasy Magazine, Famous Fantastic Mysteries, and Fantastic Novels.

List of defunct American magazines

This is a list of American magazines that are no longer published.

Mary Gnaedinger

Mary C. Gnaedinger (September 28, 1897 – July 31, 1976) was an American editor of pulp magazines.

Born Mary Catherine Jacobson, she attended the Columbia University School of Journalism. After stints as a society reporter for the Brooklyn Eagle and work for E. P. Dutton, she became editor of the Frank Munsey Company's Famous Fantastic Mysteries in 1939, Fantastic Novels in 1940, and possibly A. Merritt's Fantasy Magazine.Gnaedinger was known for ardently interacting with readers, basing the stories she printed in the magazine on their requests and commonly praising their knowledge of Science Fiction.

Popular Publications

Popular Publications was one of the largest publishers of pulp magazines during its existence, at one point publishing 42 different titles per month. Company titles included detective, adventure, romance, and Western fiction. They were also known for the several 'weird menace' titles. They also published several pulp hero or character pulps.

The company was formed in 1930 by Henry "Harry" Steeger. It was the time of the Great Depression, and Steeger had just read The Hound of the Baskervilles. Steeger realized that people wanted escapist fiction, allowing them to forget the difficulties of daily life. Steeger wrote "I realised that a great deal of money could be made with that kind of material. It was not long before I was at it, inventing one pulp magazine after another, until my firm had originated over 300 of them."

In the late 1930s Steeger was under pressure to lower his rate of pay to below one cent a word, which he felt was the minimum decent rate he could offer. He didn't want to have Popular pay less than one cent per word, so a new company, Fictioneers, was started; it was essentially a fictional company, with an address (205 East 42nd St) that corresponded to the rear entrance of Popular's offices at 210 East 43rd St. It was given a separate phone number, and the switchboard girl was instructed to put calls through to staff working on Fictioneers titles only if the calls came to the Fictioneers number. Many staff were working on magazines for both companies at the same time, which made it difficult to maintain the pretense of separation. Science fiction writer Frederik Pohl, on the other hand, was hired specifically to edit two Fictioneers titles: Astonishing Stories and Super Science Stories.In 1934, Popular acquired Adventure from the Butterick Company. Around the same time, the purchased a number of titles from Clayton Publications such as Ace-High Magazine and Complete Adventure Novelettes. In 1940, they purchased Black Mask from The Pro-Distributors, Inc. In 1942 the firm acquired the properties of the Frank A. Munsey Company In 1949, they acquired all of the pulp titles Street & Smith had recently cancelled, with the exceptions of The Shadow (due to the radio show) and their other hero pulps, and Astounding, although Popular did not publish revivals of them all.

Other imprints used included Fictioneers, Inc. (1939–58), All-Fiction Field, Inc. (1942–58), New Publications, Inc. (1936–60), Recreational Reading (1936–60), and Post Periodicals, Inc. (1936–60).

In 1972, the company was sold to Brookside Publications, a company owned by advertising magnate David Geller. At the time it was still publishing Argosy, Railroad, recently ending Adventure and True Adventure. A handful of years later, Geller sold Popular to French publisher Hachette. In 1981, they sold the rights to Joel Frieman who established Blazing Publications, which in 1988 renamed itself Argosy Communications, Inc. Under those names, it published a few comic book version of characters, as well as allowed the reprinting of several of their properties. In 2014 most of its titles–including all copyrights and associated intellectual property–were acquired by Steeger Properties, LLC, with Argosy Communications retaining only a few pulp heroes such as The Spider, G-8, and Operator #5.

Science fiction magazine

A science fiction magazine is a publication that offers primarily science fiction, either in a hard copy periodical format or on the Internet.

Science fiction magazines traditionally featured speculative fiction in short story, novelette, novella or (usually serialized) novel form, a format that continues into the present day. Many also contain editorials, book reviews or articles, and some also include stories in the fantasy and horror genres.

Unknown (magazine)

Unknown (also known as Unknown Worlds) was an American pulp fantasy fiction magazine, published from 1939 to 1943 by Street & Smith, and edited by John W. Campbell. Unknown was a companion to Street & Smith's science fiction pulp, Astounding Science Fiction, which was also edited by Campbell at the time; many authors and illustrators contributed to both magazines. The leading fantasy magazine in the 1930s was Weird Tales, which focused on shock and horror. Campbell wanted to publish a fantasy magazine with more finesse and humor than Weird Tales, and put his plans into action when Eric Frank Russell sent him the manuscript of his novel Sinister Barrier, about aliens who own the human race. Unknown's first issue appeared in March 1939; in addition to Sinister Barrier, it included H. L. Gold's "Trouble With Water", a humorous fantasy about a New Yorker who meets a water gnome. Gold's story was the first of many in Unknown to combine commonplace reality with the fantastic.

Campbell required his authors to avoid simplistic horror fiction and insisted that the fantasy elements in a story be developed logically: for example, Jack Williamson's "Darker Than You Think" describes a world in which there is a scientific explanation for the existence of werewolves. Similarly, L. Sprague de Camp and Fletcher Pratt's Harold Shea series, about a modern American who finds himself in the worlds of various mythologies, depicts a system of magic based on mathematical logic. Other notable stories included several well-received novels by L. Ron Hubbard and short stories such as Manly Wade Wellman's "When It Was Moonlight" and Fritz Leiber's "Two Sought Adventure", the first in his Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser series.

Unknown was forced to a bimonthly schedule in 1941 by poor sales, and cancelled in 1943 when wartime paper shortages became so acute that Campbell had to choose between turning Astounding into a bimonthly or ending Unknown. The magazine is generally regarded as the finest fantasy fiction magazine ever published, despite the fact that it was not commercially successful, and in the opinion of science fiction historian Mike Ashley it was responsible for the creation of the modern fantasy publishing genre.

Weird Tales

Weird Tales is an American fantasy and horror fiction pulp magazine founded by J. C. Henneberger and J. M. Lansinger in late 1922. The first issue, dated March 1923, appeared on newsstands February 18th. The first editor, Edwin Baird, printed early work by H. P. Lovecraft, Seabury Quinn, and Clark Ashton Smith, all of whom would go on to be popular writers, but within a year the magazine was in financial trouble. Henneberger sold his interest in the publisher, Rural Publishing Corporation, to Lansinger and refinanced Weird Tales, with Farnsworth Wright as the new editor. The first issue under Wright's control was dated November 1924. The magazine was more successful under Wright, and despite occasional financial setbacks it prospered over the next fifteen years. Under Wright's control the magazine lived up to its subtitle, "The Unique Magazine", and published a wide range of unusual fiction.

Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos stories first appeared in Weird Tales, starting with "The Call of Cthulhu" in 1928. These were well-received, and a group of writers associated with Lovecraft wrote other stories set in the same milieu. Robert E. Howard was a regular contributor, and published several of his Conan the Barbarian stories in the magazine, and Seabury Quinn's series of stories about Jules de Grandin, a detective who specialized in cases involving the supernatural, was very popular with the readers. Other well-liked authors included Nictzin Dyalhis, E. Hoffmann Price, Robert Bloch, and H. Warner Munn. Wright published some science fiction, along with the fantasy and horror, partly because when Weird Tales was launched there were no magazines specializing in science fiction, but he continued this policy even after the launch of magazines such as Amazing Stories in 1926. Edmond Hamilton wrote a good deal of science fiction for Weird Tales, though after a few years he used the magazine for his more fantastic stories, and submitted his space operas elsewhere.

In 1938 the magazine was sold to William Delaney, the publisher of Short Stories, and within two years Wright, who was ill, was replaced by Dorothy McIlwraith as editor. Although some successful new authors and artists, such as Ray Bradbury and Hannes Bok, continued to appear, the magazine is considered by critics to have declined under McIlwraith from its heyday in the 1930s. Weird Tales ceased publication in 1954, but since then numerous attempts have been made to relaunch the magazine, starting in 1973. The longest-lasting version began in 1988 and ran with an occasional hiatus for over 20 years under an assortment of publishers. In the mid-1990s the title was changed to Worlds of Fantasy & Horror because of licensing issues, with the original title returning in 1998. As of 2018, the most recent published issue was dated Spring 2014.

The magazine is regarded by historians of fantasy and science fiction as a legend in the field, with Robert Weinberg, author of a history of the magazine, considering it "the most important and influential of all fantasy magazines". Weinberg's fellow historian, Mike Ashley, is more cautious, describing it as "second only to Unknown in significance and influence", adding that "somewhere in the imagination reservoir of all U.S. (and many non-U.S.) genre-fantasy and horror writers is part of the spirit of Weird Tales".

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