With the autumn pulp con season in full swing, it’s the perfect time to announce that PulpFest 2014 will be returning to the Hyatt Regency hotel in downtown Columbus, Ohio. Summer’s must-attend event for fans, scholars, and collectors of pulp fiction will take place from Thursday, August 7th, through Sunday, August 10th with its acclaimed dealers’ room and packed programming schedule.
2014 marks the seventy-fifth anniversary of what many scholars have labeled the dawn of science fiction’s Golden Age. As Alva Rogers wrote in his classic 1964 study of Astounding Stories, the leading science-fiction pulp of that long-gone era:
We now come to the beginning of what is generally known as the Golden Age of science fiction as a genre . . . These next few years are the high-water mark of Astounding and of magazine science fiction. It is true that today we have men and women of considerable talent writing for the field . . . However, the magic, that hard to define Sense of Wonder, the excitement that surrounded Astounding in the years of the Golden Age (and, in fact, the entire field) seems to be sadly lacking these days . . . No longer is there that unbearable and interminable wait between issues; the thrill of a beautiful Rogers cover standing out like a diamond surrounded by paste as you approach the newsstand; the rush home and the hungry devouring of the entire contents at one sitting; the promise to yourself not to start the latest Heinlein or van Vogt or Smith serial until all the parts are at hand . . . the immediate breaking of that promise, and once again the interminable wait.
As Rogers states, 1939 was not only a golden year for Astounding–publishing the first science-fiction stories of Robert E. Heinlein, Theodore Sturgeon, and A. E. Van Vogt, as well as Isaac Asimov’s first story for the magazine and Hubert Rogers’ first cover–it also witnessed a blossoming of magazine science fiction and fantasy. Following the introduction of Startling Stories at the end of 1938, no less than eight pulps featuring fantastic fiction debuted in 1939–Dynamic Science Stories, Strange Stories, Science Fiction, Unknown, Fantastic Adventures, Future Fiction, Famous Fantastic Mysteries, and Planet Stories. Three other science-fiction pulps were also in preparation during the year–Astonishing Stories, Captain Future, and Super Science Stories. The first World Science Fiction Convention was also held in New York City that year, home to the World’s Fair and its “World of Tomorrow” theme.
PulpFest 2014 will also be celebrating the eightieth anniversary of Popular Publications’ shudder pulp trio of Dime Mystery Magazine, Terror Tales, and Horror Stories. The ashcan edition of Spicy Mystery Stories was also released during the summer of 1934. Although the first weird-menace tales appeared in Dime Mystery in the fall of 1933, it was not until the debut of Terror Tales and later, Horror Stories and Spicy Mystery, that the genre began to flourish. In just a few years, additional magazines–Star Detective, Thrilling Mystery, Eerie Mysteries, and others–would find space on America’s newsstands, hoping to scare the dickens out of their readers.
So start planning now to join PulpFest‘s celebration of science fiction’s Golden Age and the weird-menace pulps of 1934! And to keep up with all the latest news, please subscribe to our email updates via the gray box labeled “E-mail List” at the top of our home page. While you’re at it, “like” us on Facebook and “follow” us on Twitter.
Graves Gladney, best remembered today for his covers for The Shadow Magazine, contributed the cover art to the July 1939 Astounding Science Fiction, considered by many longtime science-fiction fans to be the true beginning of the genre’s Golden Age. Isaac Asimov’s first story for the magazine, “Trends,” and A. E. Van Vogt’s first story, “Black Destroyer” (thought by some to be an inspiration for the Ridley Scott film Alien), appeared in the issue. One month later, Robert Heinlein’s first story, “Life-Line,” ran in the magazine.
The photograph depicting the New York World’s Fair of 1939 is from Jon Snyder’s article “1939′s ‘World of Tomorrow’ Shaped Our Today,” appearing in the April 29, 2010 online edition of Wired.
Alva Rogers’ A Requiem for Astounding was published in 1964 by Advent Publishers of Chicago, Illinois.