Amazing Stories was the first magazine devoted solely to science fiction, or “scientifiction” as Gernsback called the genre. It helped define the field, launched an entirely new brand of pulp fiction, and led to the formation of science fiction fandom as a semi-formal association of people. The magazine began as a bed-sheet format publication, rather than the pulp it would become, and it would go through many incarnations and publishers over the years. In time it would be one of the most famous of the pulp magazines of the early twentieth-century.
The first issue of the magazine collected reprints of fiction Gernsback deemed fit into his new category of fiction. This includes three reprints of nineteenth century scientific romances: Jules Verne’s “Off on a Comet” (the first part of a serialisation), H. G. Wells’ “The New Accelerator” and Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar” (both complete). Newer material was reprinted from other magazines. Austin Hall’s “The Man Who Saved the Earth” had been published in All-Story Weekly, while G. Peyton Wertenbaker’s “The Man from the Atom” and George Allan England’s “The Thing from—’Outside’” had both previously appeared in Science and Invention, one of Gernsback’s existing magazines.
This month’s featured text was timed to coincide with the Nebula Awards. The awards are given by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America to recognise the best works of science fiction or fantasy published in the United States in the last year. This year’s awards will be presented on 18 May in San Jose, California.
Another fiction magazine!
At first thought it does seem impossible that there could be room for another fiction magazine in this country. The reader may well wonder, “Aren’t there enough already, with the several hundreds now being published?” True. But this is not “another fiction magazine,” Amazing Stories is a new kind of fiction magazine! It is entirely new—entirely different—something that has never been done before in this country. Therefore, Amazing Stories deserves your attention and interest.
There is the usual fiction magazine, the love story and the sex-appeal type of magazine, the adventure type, and so on, but a magazine of “Scientifiction” is a pioneer in its field in America.
By “scientifiction” I mean the Jules Verne, H. G. Wells, and Edgar Allan Poe type of story—a charming romance intermingled with scientific fact and prophetic vision. For many years stories of this nature were published in the sister magazines of Amazing Stories—”Science & Invention” and “Radio News.”
But with the ever increasing demands on us for this sort of story, and more of it, there was only one thing to do—publish a magazine in which the scientific fiction type of story will hold forth exclusively. Toward that end we have laid elaborate plans, sparing neither time nor money.