Amazing Stories Quarterly

Amazing Stories Quarterly was a U.S. science fiction pulp magazine that was published between 1928 and 1934. It was launched by Hugo Gernsback as a companion to his Amazing Stories, the first science fiction magazine, which had begun publishing in April 1926. Amazing Stories had been successful enough for Gernsback to try a single issue of an Amazing Stories Annual in 1927, which had sold well, and he decided to follow it up with a quarterly magazine. The first issue of Amazing Stories Quarterly was dated Winter 1928 and carried a reprint of the 1899 version of H.G. Wells' When the Sleeper Wakes. Gernsback's policy of running a novel in each issue was popular with his readership, though the choice of Wells' novel was less so. Over the next five issues, only one more reprint appeared: Gernsback's own novel Ralph 124C 41+, in the Winter 1929 issue. Gernsback went bankrupt in early 1929, and lost control of both Amazing Stories and Amazing Stories Quarterly; his assistant, T. O'Conor Sloane, took over as editor. The magazine began to run into financial difficulties in 1932, and the schedule became irregular; the last issue was dated Fall 1934.

Authors whose work appeared in Amazing Stories Quarterly include Stanton A. Coblentz, Miles J. Breuer, A. Hyatt Verrill, and Jack Williamson. Critical opinions differ on the quality of the fiction Gernsback and Sloane printed: Brian Stableford regards several of the novels as being important early science fiction, but Everett Bleiler comments that few of the stories were of acceptable quality. Milton Wolf and Mike Ashley are more positive in their assessment; they consider the work Sloane published in the early 1930s to be some of the best in the new genre.

Amazing stories quarterly 1928win
The first issue of Amazing Stories Quarterly, dated Winter 1928. The cover art is by Frank R. Paul[1] for H.G. Wells' story When the Sleeper Wakes.[note 1]

Publication history

Winter Spring Summer Fall Winter
1928 1/1 1/2 1/3 1/4
1929 2/1 2/2 2/3 2/4
1930 3/1 3/2 3/3 3/4
1931 4/1 4/2 4/3 4/4
1932 5/1 5/2 5/3
1933 6/4 7/1
1934 7/2
Issues of Amazing Stories Quarterly from 1928 to 1934, showing issue numbers, and
indicating editors: Gernsback (blue, first six issues), and Sloane (yellow,
remaining sixteen issues). Note that the apparent error in numbering starting
in 1933 is in fact shown correctly.[2]

Although science fiction (sf) had been published before the 1920s, it did not begin to coalesce into a separately marketed genre until the appearance in 1926 of Amazing Stories, a U.S. pulp magazine published by Hugo Gernsback.[3] The new magazine was successful, and in 1927 Gernsback brought out a double-sized Amazing Stories Annual, which also sold well. These successes convinced him to start a companion magazine to Amazing Stories, titled Amazing Stories Quarterly.[4] The first issue, dated Winter 1928, appeared on newsstands on January 5 that year.[5]

Gernsback went bankrupt in early 1929, and lost control of both Amazing Stories and Amazing Stories Quarterly. After a short period in receivership, they were acquired by Bergan Mackinnon, who sold them on to Bernarr Macfadden's Teck Publications. T. O'Conor Sloane, who had worked on both magazines for Gernsback, took over as editor. In 1932 the magazine, which was probably never very profitable, began to suffer from financial problems, and the quarterly schedule became irregular after the Winter 1932 issue. The last two issues were filled completely with reprints from early issues and from Amazing Stories. The last issue was dated Fall 1934, though the decision to discontinue the magazine was not taken until some time later, as an editorial comment in the May 1935 issue of Amazing Stories mentioned that further issues might still appear.[1][2]


Amazing stories quarterly 1930win
The Winter 1930 issue of Amazing Stories Quarterly. The cover art is by Wesso.[1]

The first issue of Amazing Stories Quarterly contained a reprint of H. G. Wells' novel When the Sleeper Wakes, though for some reason Wells did not provide Gernsback with the revised text published in 1910 under the title The Sleeper Awakes; the text printed was that of the original 1899 edition.[1] The other material in the issue was original, and the following issues included material by Edmond Hamilton, Stanton A. Coblentz, R.F. Starzl, David H. Keller, S.P. Meek, J. Schlossel, and Clare Winger Harris, one of the earliest women writers of sf.[2][6] Although readers' reactions to the Wells novel were negative, they approved of Gernsback's policy of publishing a novel in each issue. The only other reprint in the early days of the magazine was Gernsback's own novel Ralph 124C 41+, which appeared in the Winter 1929 issue.[1][2] The novel, set in the year 2660, was little more than a series of predictions about the future tied together by a minor plot.[7] Gernsback included a letter column, and began a competition for the best editorials submitted by readers; the first prize was awarded to Jack Williamson, later to become a successful science fiction writer but at that time just starting his career. Gernsback also started other departments to engage the readers, including book reviews, science quizzes, and science news. The last issue under Gernsback's control was dated Spring 1929;[1][2] under Sloane's editorship, most of these nonfiction departments ceased.[1]

According to Milton Wolf and Mike Ashley, historians of science fiction, over the next two years Sloane published some of the best sf of the early years of the field in Amazing Stories Quarterly. Wolf and Ashley cite "Paradox", by Charles Cloukey, an early time-travel story; The Bridge of Light, by A. Hyatt Verrill, a novel about a lost civilization in South America; The Birth of a New Republic, by Miles J. Breuer and Jack Williamson, in which a man of the 24th century reminisces about a revolt by the inhabitants of the Moon against the Earth; "Paradise and Iron", by Breuer; and White Lily, by Eric Temple Bell, under the pseudonym John Taine, about a form of crystal life that endangers the planet.[1][2] After 1931, according to Wolf and Ashley, the fiction in Amazing Stories Quarterly became less entertaining.[2] Everett Bleiler, the author of a detailed review of the first ten years of science fiction magazines, is less complimentary, describing John W. Campbell, Jr.'s space operas, which appeared from 1930 to 1932, as "turgid", and commenting that only a dozen or so of the stories in the magazine's entire run "might have been considered worth reading if one could put oneself back in the 1930s, accepting the standards of the time".[1][2] Bleiler mentions three authors, Coblentz, Taine, and Breuer, as having produced notably original material, but adds that their work was "not strong enough for mainstream fiction" and had "too little action and too much sophistication for pulp". Bleiler does however agree with Wolf and Ashley that the magazine's quality declined over time.[1] Brian Stableford, in the Science Fiction Encyclopedia, also highlights Coblentz, Taine and Breuer, along with Williamson and Verrill, among the magazine's contributors; Stableford regards their contributions as being among "the most important early pulp sf novels".[8]

Bibliographic details

Amazing Stories Quarterly was published by Gernsback's Experimenter Publishing until Spring 1929. A single issue appeared from Irving Trust, the trustee in Gernsback's bankruptcy; then four issues, from Fall 1929 to Summer 1930, again under the Experimenter Publishing imprint, and then four more from Radio-Science Publications. The last ten issues, from Fall 1931 to Fall 1934, were published by Teck Publishing, of Washington and Dunellen. The magazine was in large pulp format throughout, and was 144 pages long, except for the last two issues, which were 128 pages. It was priced at 50 cents. The first six issues were edited by Gernsback; from the Summer 1929 issue on, the editor was Sloane.[2] There was a Canadian reprint of the final issue, Fall 1934.[9]

Another 27 issues of Amazing Stories Quarterly appeared from Ziff-Davis from 1940 to 1943, and also from 1949 to 1951, but these were not original magazines, only rebound issues of Amazing Stories.[2]


  1. ^ This cover art closely follows an 1899 illustration by Henri Lanos for the story's original publication.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Bleiler & Bleiler (1998), pp. 561–564.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Wolf & Ashley (1985), pp. 51–57.
  3. ^ Edwards & Nicholls (1993), pp. 1066–1067.
  4. ^ Ashley (2000), p. 54.
  5. ^ Ashley (2004), p. 267.
  6. ^ Donawerth, Jane. "Authors : Harris, Clare Winger : SFE : Science Fiction Encyclopedia". Retrieved 2016-05-28.
  7. ^ Bleiler & Bleiler (1998), p. 146.
  8. ^ Brian, Stableford. "Culture : Amazing Stories Quarterly : SFE : Science Fiction Encyclopedia". Retrieved 2016-05-28.
  9. ^ Stephensen-Payne, Phil. "Amazing Stories". Retrieved 2016-06-09.


  • Ashley, Mike (2000). The Time Machines: The Story of the Science-Fiction Pulp Magazines from the Beginning to 1950. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press. ISBN 0-85323-865-0.
  • Ashley, Mike (2004). "The Gernsback Days". In Ashley, Mike; Lowndes, Robert A.W. The Gernsback Days: A Study of the Evolution of Modern Science Fiction From 1911 to 1936. Holicong, Pennsylvania: Wildside. ISBN 0-8095-1055-3.
  • Bleiler, Everett F.; Bleiler, Richard J. (1998). Science-Fiction: The Gernsback Years. Westport CT: Kent State University Press. ISBN 0-87338-604-3.
  • Edwards, Malcolm; Nicholls, Peter (1993). "SF Magazines". In Clute, John; Nicholls, Peter. The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction. New York: St. Martin's Press, Inc. pp. 1066–1068. ISBN 0-312-09618-6.
  • Wolfe, Milton; Ashley, Mike (1985). "Amazing Stories Quarterly". In Tymn, Marshall B.; Ashley, Mike. Science Fiction, Fantasy and Weird Fiction Magazines. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. pp. 51–57. ISBN 0-313-21221-X.
After 12,000 Years

After 12,000 Years is a science fiction novel by Stanton A. Coblentz. It was first published in book form in 1950 by Fantasy Publishing Company, Inc. (FPCI) in an edition of 1,000 copies, of which 750 were hardback. Lloyd Arthur Eshbach regarded this as one of the stronger titles published by FPCI. Considered one of the author's most bizarre and most interesting futuristic fantasies, the novel originally appeared in the Spring 1929 issue of the magazine Amazing Stories Quarterly. The novel was abridged for the FPCI publication. E. F. Bleiler considered the unabridged version to be superior.

Alpheus Hyatt Verrill

Alpheus Hyatt Verrill, known as Hyatt Verrill, (23 July 1871 – 14 November 1954) was an American zoologist, explorer, inventor, illustrator and author. He was the son of Addison Emery Verrill, the first professor of zoology at Yale University.

He authored many books on natural history and science fiction works.

Amazing Stories

Amazing Stories is an American science fiction magazine launched in April 1926 by Hugo Gernsback's Experimenter Publishing. It was the first magazine devoted solely to science fiction. Science fiction stories had made regular appearances in other magazines, including some published by Gernsback, but Amazing helped define and launch a new genre of pulp fiction.

As of 2018, Amazing has been published, with some interruptions, for ninety-two years, going through a half-dozen owners and many editors as it struggled to be profitable. Gernsback was forced into bankruptcy and lost control of the magazine in 1929. In 1938 it was purchased by Ziff-Davis, who hired Raymond A. Palmer as editor. Palmer made the magazine successful though it was not regarded as a quality magazine within the science fiction community. In the late 1940s Amazing presented as fact stories about the Shaver Mystery, a lurid mythos that explained accidents and disaster as the work of robots named deros, which led to dramatically increased circulation but widespread ridicule. Amazing switched to a digest size format in 1953, shortly before the end of the pulp-magazine era. It was sold to Sol Cohen's Universal Publishing Company in 1965, which filled it with reprinted stories but did not pay a reprint fee to the authors, creating a conflict with the newly formed Science Fiction Writers of America. Ted White took over as editor in 1969, eliminated the reprints and made the magazine respected again: Amazing was nominated for the prestigious Hugo Award three times during his tenure in the 1970s. Several other owners attempted to create a modern incarnation of the magazine in the following decades, but publication was suspended after the March 2005 issue. A new incarnation appeared in July 2012 as an online magazine. Print publication resumed with the Fall 2018 issue.

Gernsback's initial editorial approach was to blend instruction with entertainment; he believed science fiction could educate readers. His audience rapidly showed a preference for implausible adventures, and the movement away from Gernsback's idealism accelerated when the magazine changed hands in 1929. Despite this, Gernsback had an enormous impact on the field: the creation of a specialist magazine for science fiction spawned an entire genre publishing industry. The letter columns in Amazing, where fans could make contact with each other, led to the formation of science fiction fandom, which in turn had a strong influence on the development of the field. Writers whose first story was published in the magazine include John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Howard Fast, Ursula K. Le Guin, Roger Zelazny, and Thomas M. Disch. Overall, though, Amazing itself was rarely an influential magazine within the genre after the 1920s. Some critics have commented that by "ghettoizing" science fiction, Gernsback harmed its literary growth, but this viewpoint has been countered by the argument that science fiction needed an independent market to develop in to reach its potential.

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.

Bob Olsen

Alfred Johannes Olsen (April 12, 1884– May 20, 1956), better known under his pen name Bob Olsen, was an American science fiction writer.

Cyril G. Wates

Cyril G. Wates (18 July 1883 – 2 February 1946) was an author, mountain climber, and amateur astronomer who lived in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

David H. Keller

David Henry Keller (December 23, 1880 – July 13, 1966) was an American writer who worked for pulp magazines in the mid-twentieth century, in the science fiction, fantasy and horror genres. He was the first psychiatrist to write for the genre, and was most often published as David H. Keller, MD, but also known by the pseudonyms Monk Smith, Matthew Smith, Amy Worth, Henry Cecil, Cecilia Henry, and Jacobus Hubelaire.

John Clute has written, "It is clear enough that Keller's conceptual inventiveness, and his cultural gloom, are worth more attention than they have received; it is also clear that he fatally scanted the actual craft of writing, and that therefore he is likely never to be fully appreciated."

Harl Vincent

Harl Vincent (October 19, 1893 – May 5, 1968) was the publication name of Harold Vincent Schoepflin, an American mechanical engineer and science fiction author. He was published regularly in science fiction "pulp" magazines.

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.

Invaders from the Infinite

Invaders from the Infinite is a science fiction novel by American writer John W. Campbell, Jr.. It was simultaneously published in 1961 by Gnome Press in an edition of 4,000 copies and by Fantasy Press in an edition of 100 copies. The book was originally intended to be published by Fantasy Press, but was handed over to Gnome Press when Fantasy Press folded. Lloyd Eshbach, of Fantasy Press, who was responsible for the printing of both editions, printed the extra copies for his longtime customers. The Fantasy Press edition was issued without a dust-jacket. Eshbach eventually did produce a jacket in 1990 at the urging of George Zebrowski. The novel is an expansion of stories that originally appeared in the magazine Amazing Stories Quarterly.

E. F. Bleiler described the novel as "the early John W. Campbell story par excellence: weak novelistic skills combined with very strong speculative, imaginative theoretical physics. While one may be bored with [the] interminable lectures and rendered drowsy by the repeated space battles, but one must also admire Campbell's ingenuity in creating novel artifacts".

Islands of Space

Islands of Space is a science fiction novel by American writer John W. Campbell, Jr. It was first published in book form in 1957 by Fantasy Press in an edition of 1,417 copies. The novel originally appeared in the magazine Amazing Stories Quarterly; the text was "extensively edited" for book publication, with Campbell's approval, by Lloyd Arthur Eshbach. A paperback edition was published by Ace Books in 1966. In 1973, Islands was included in a Doubleday omnibus of all three "Arcot, Wade, and Morey" novels. A German translation appeared in 1967 as Kosmische Kreuzfahrt, and an Italian translation was published in 1976 as Isole nello spazio.Islands of Space is generally credited with introducing the concepts of hyperspace and the warp drive to science fiction.

L. Taylor Hansen

L. (Lucile) Taylor Hansen (November 30, 1897 – May 1976) was a writer of science fiction popular science articles and books who used a male writing persona for the early part of her career. She is the author of eight short stories, nearly sixty nonfiction articles popularizing anthropology and geology, and three nonfiction books.

Miles J. Breuer

Miles John Breuer (January 3, 1889 – October 14, 1945) was an American physician and science fiction writer. He was part of the first generation of writers to appear regularly in the pulp science fiction magazines, publishing his first story, "The Man with the Strange Head", in the January 1927 issue of Amazing Stories. His best known works are "The Gostak and the Doshes" (1930) and two stories written jointly with Jack Williamson, "The Girl from Mars" (1929) and The Birth of a New Republic (1931).

Seeds of Life

Seeds of Life is a science fiction novel by American writer John Taine (pseudonym of Eric Temple Bell). It was first published in 1951 by Fantasy Press in an edition of 2,991 copies. The novel originally appeared in the magazine Amazing Stories Quarterly in October 1931.

Stanton A. Coblentz

Stanton Arthur Coblentz (August 24, 1896 – September 6, 1982) was an American author and poet. He received a Master's Degree in English literature and then began publishing poetry during the early 1920s. His first published science fiction was The Sunken World, a satire about Atlantis, in Amazing Stories Quarterly for July, 1928. The next year, he published his first novel, The Wonder Stick. But poetry and history were his greatest strengths. Coblentz tended to write satirically.

He also wrote books of literary criticism and nonfiction concerning historical subjects. Adventures of a Freelancer: The Literary Exploits and Autobiography of Stanton A. Coblentz was published the year after his death.

The Black Star Passes

The Black Star Passes is a collection of science fiction short stories by American author John W. Campbell, Jr.. It was first published in 1953 by Fantasy Press in an edition of 2,951 copies. The book is the first in Campbell's Arcot, Morey and Wade series. The stories originally appeared in the magazines Amazing Stories and Amazing Stories Quarterly, and were "extensively edited" for book publication, with Campbell's approval, by Lloyd Arthur Eshbach.Galaxy reviewer Groff Conklin described the stories as "three creaking classics . . . fun to read, [but] rococo antiques [without] believable characters, human relations, even logical plots." Boucher and McComas dismissed the book as "a hopelessly outdated set of novelets . . . of concern only to those who wish to observe the awkward larval stage of a major figure in science fiction." P. Schuyler Miller described the stories as "old-fashioned fun which [Campbell] no longer takes any more seriously than you need to."

The Bridge of Light

The Bridge of Light is a science fiction novel by author A. Hyatt Verrill. It was originally published in the Fall 1929 edition of the pulp magazine Amazing Stories Quarterly. It was subsequently republished in book form in 1950 by Fantasy Press in an edition of 2,556 copies. In all, A. Hyatt Verrill published 26 tales in Amazing Stories during the years 1926 to 1935.

The Crystal Horde

The Crystal Horde is a science fiction novel by American writer John Taine (pseudonym of Eric Temple Bell). It was first published in book form in 1952 by Fantasy Press in an edition of 2,328 copies. The novel is substantially rewritten from a version that originally appeared in the magazine Amazing Stories Quarterly in 1930 under the title White Lily.

The Sunken World

The Sunken World is a science fiction novel by American writer Stanton A. Coblentz. It was first published in book form in 1948 by Fantasy Publishing Company, Inc. in an edition of 1,000 copies. The novel originally appeared in the Summer 1928 issue of the magazine Amazing Stories Quarterly. It was Coblentz's first published science fiction novel.

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