PULP COVER FRIDAY PRESENTS SCIENCE FICTION (WHAT ELSE?)
It took awhile, but 1939 saw the debut of a science fiction magazine called SCIENCE FICTION. You’d think they would have thought of that title a little earlier.
Apparently it lasted only until 1941, for a total of 12 issues, but appearances are deceiving. The publisher had another zine imaginatively called FUTURE and for a number of years they combined, split, changed titles, recombined, in a bewildering array of changes that you’d need a PhD to understand (or even care about). Though it did disappear occasionaly, sometimes for a number of years, it had a long run in the 1950s as a digest magazine. They added “The Original” to the title, so it became THE ORIGINAL SCIENCE FICTION STORIES (STORIES had also been added at some point in its tortured history).
I’m more familiar with its 1950’s incarnation (though, upon seeing these covers I immediately ran out and bid on two issues from the 1939-1941 run), which was edited by Robert “Doc” Lowndes, who seems to have been a kindly and likeable guy who did a remarkable job with a budget that wasn’t exactly generous.
The early covers are pretty interesting, and I’ve reproduced most of the 1939-1941 run below. Some are outright weird. So weird, in fact, that I will shower a free something (book, movie, comic, or whatever, after consultation with the winner) on the best explanation for what the heck is going on in one (or both) covers indicated below. I hope to acquire the magazines and report back on what really happened in the stories depicted. For now, its got me beat.
Special Plea For Help: I’m running a little short on ideas for this feature, so please feel free to chime in with an idea, plea, or demand. What other genres would you like to see covered? Westerns? Romance? More detective? I’ve already wrung the zeppelin ‘zines dry, so no luck there. Let me know. Thanks.