Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/History of US science fiction and fantasy magazines to 1950/archive1

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The following is an archived discussion of a featured article nomination. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the article's talk page or in Wikipedia talk:Featured article candidates. No further edits should be made to this page.

The article was promoted by Sarastro1 via FACBot (talk) 21:28, 13 February 2017 [1].


History of US science fiction and fantasy magazines to 1950

Nominator(s): Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 12:37, 16 January 2017 (UTC)

This article tells the story of the early US science fiction and fantasy magazines, up to 1950. I originally planned to include non-US magazines, but the article is very long as it stands, and I think it would be unacceptably long without restricting the scope. Many of the magazines discussed have either been through FAC and are FAs, or are GAs if too short; I hope to plug the few remaining holes this year. A note to whoever does the source review: the sources for the list are given at the top of the list without page numbers, since those three sources are used for almost every line, and there would have to be scores of cited page ranges. It seemed easier to give the books as a reference -- any reader who wanted to verify anything in the list would find it easy to do so with those three books in hand. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 12:37, 16 January 2017 (UTC)

Support - Absolute impeccable prose and quality. However, may I draw attention to the sentence "In 1919, Street & Smith launched The Thrill Book, a magazine that was intended to publish "different" stories: "different" meant stories that were unusual or unclassifiable in some way, which in most cases meant that they included either fantasy or science fiction elements."; I feel like this could be combined into one shorter sentence to get the same point across. Good luck! Regards, Carbrera (talk) 04:26, 20 January 2017 (UTC).
I changed it to "In 1919, Street & Smith launched The Thrill Book, a magazine that was intended to publish stories that were unusual or unclassifiable in some way, which in most cases meant that they included either fantasy or science fiction elements" -- I don't think it's necessary to tell the reader that they used "different" to describe these stories; the point is just that they were sometimes sf or fantasy. Thanks for the review and support. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 13:36, 20 January 2017 (UTC)

Image review

  • File:Astounding_Stories_of_Super_Science_(1930-01).djvu needs a US PD tag, and what is the author's date of death? Nikkimaria (talk) 01:10, 22 January 2017 (UTC)
    Done; thanks for the review. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 13:38, 22 January 2017 (UTC)

Comments, close to Support -- recusing from coord duties as I generally do when one of Mike's sf mag articles comes up for review... as ever, pls feel free to discuss any of my copyediting, much of which was aimed at trimming wordage where possible; other points:

  • "By the end of the 19th century, stories with recognizably science fictional content were appearing regularly in American and British magazines." -- I know the original plan for this article was to include UK and European sf mags; is the British ref a hangover from that or deliberate here?
    Yes, it's left over. I thought about leaving it in to avoid the impression that early sf was a US-only phenomenon, but if I do that I should mention other countries too, so I took it out. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 11:25, 27 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Note 1 states "The term "science fiction" would not be coined until 1929, but there were other terms used: "scientific romance" and "scientific fiction", for example" -- there was also Gernsback's own "scientification"; you quote him using this later but is it worth adding to the footnote?
    I don't think so -- the footnote is attached to a sentence that specifically talks about the 19th century; "scientifiction" isn't coined until 1916 (see here, a site I used to run for the OED that captured sf citations). Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 11:25, 27 January 2017 (UTC)
    You're right of course, I'd overlooked the timeframe you were speaking of there. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 12:41, 27 January 2017 (UTC)
  • "As Campbell began to hit his stride as editor of Astounding, the first major boom in science fiction magazine publishing took off" -- I like the informality of "hit his stride" although some may not; my main reason for highlighting the sentence is to question whether we need to qualify the boom as "major" -- are there "minor" booms?
    No, that's just my usual overuse of qualifiers. Cut. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 11:25, 27 January 2017 (UTC)
  • "...logical rigor that Campbell demanded even of a fantasy plot. Frequent contributors included L. Ron Hubbard, Theodore Sturgeon, and L. Sprague de Camp, who, in collaboration with Fletcher Pratt, contributed three stories about a world where magic operates by rigorous rules." -- any chance we could avoid the "rigor"/"rigorous" repetition, perhaps just "logic" for the first instance?
    I went with "rigor" and "logical rules". Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 11:25, 27 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Moving on to images, I've been bold and reworked things to give The Golden Age what I think is an appropriate one, and to try and reduce a fair bit of sandwiching; I also trimmed some captions. The only net loss of this exercise was Strange Tales, which I know gets a fair bit of space in the text, but OTOH it's not the only Wesso cover... Anyway I only commented out that one and the others that I moved. Sandwiching isn't exactly a stopper for me but best avoided if possible I think, and my feeling is better to lose an image than reduce the size of the remainder -- happy to discuss of course. My last comment on the covers is whether we need two of Fantastic Adventures and both SF and SF Quarterly -- could we lose one of each and substitute say Startling and FFM, to highlight some other important mags?
    I'm open to picking more important magazines (Out of this World Adventures wouldn't be my first choice) but I don't think I can justify fair use here, given that these images are decorative. Fair use would apply in the magazine articles, but not here. FFM and Startling both have every cover copyrighted, otherwise I'd agree that they'd be good choices. I'd have picked F&SF or Galaxy or ASF but they're all copyrighted too. Any other suggestions? Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 11:25, 27 January 2017 (UTC)
    Fair enough, I'd assumed without checking that all the defunct mags had copyright-free images. Do you think we could justify a Startling cover to illustrate the implausible spacesuits mentioned in The war years? Nikki might have to adjudicate... ;-) Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 12:41, 27 January 2017 (UTC)
    Nikki, do you think this Bergey cover could be justified as fair use? The sentence in the article that would support it is 'the covers, often by Earle K. Bergey, reinforced the editorial policy: they frequently included women in implausibly revealing spacesuits or wearing Bergey's trademark "brass brassières".' Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 12:59, 27 January 2017 (UTC)
    Potentially, but I'd suggest using a generic template rather than {{Non-free magazine cover}}. Nikkimaria (talk) 13:07, 27 January 2017 (UTC)
    Thanks, Nikki. Ian, I've added the image. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 10:48, 28 January 2017 (UTC)
    Great, as long as it passes muster licence-wise I think it definitely adds something (well, two things actually...) Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 05:37, 30 January 2017 (UTC)
  • One other thing that came to mind: do you think it might be worth providing a brief epilogue mentioning the fate of the classic magazines that survived the war only to go in 1953-55? I realise it would repeat info in the opening portion of a potential History of US science fiction and fantasy magazines from 1950, and the end dates are given in the table, but perhaps worth a few lines given so many went virtually together, and so soon after the end of the period covered by this article -- WDYT?
    This is foreshadowed a bit in the opening paragraph of "Beginning of the digest era"; do you think more is needed? I could add a sentence there listing the most important pulps that died over the next five years -- that would be Fantastic Adventures, FFM, Thrilling Wonder, Startling, Planet, Weird, and FSQ. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 11:25, 27 January 2017 (UTC)
    Yeah, that list is pretty much what I had in mind, to go with the prime cause, i.e. the general demise of the pulps. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 12:41, 27 January 2017 (UTC)
    Done -- how does that look? Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 12:59, 27 January 2017 (UTC)
    Works for me, tks Mike. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 05:37, 30 January 2017 (UTC)

I'll leave it there for the moment -- sorry it's taken so long since I started copyediting but it's a busy time of year and an advantage of knowing a bit about the subject is I can stop and start without losing the plot so to speak... ;-) I'll come back to check over the table at the end and give a source review. Well done as always. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 04:46, 27 January 2017 (UTC)

Thanks very much for the review, and the usual precise copyedits; I've started looking at my own prose with "what would Ian cut" in the back of my mind, but I'm evidently not looking hard enough yet. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 11:25, 27 January 2017 (UTC)
Heh, well it is a fairly long article, but the level of detail is entirely appropriate IMO, just worth trimming a few words here and there if it didn't affect clarity... Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 12:41, 27 January 2017 (UTC)

Resuming to look over the table and content in general, basing it on my copy of Mike Ashley's essay in Robert Holdstock's Encyclopedia of Science Fiction...

  • In Early magazines, is it worth introducing All-Story as companion to Argosy and origin of Burroughs' first Mars (and Tarzan) stories? Ashley seems to give them equal weight in the essay I have...
    Done. The link to All-Story redirects to Argosy; it really should have its own article, but that's a problem for another day. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 11:51, 30 January 2017 (UTC)
  • In From Gernsback to Campbell, is it worth adding that another reason for Astounding's early leadership in the field was its value for money compared to Amazing and Wonder? Ashley quotes 144 pages at 20¢ per issue as against Amazing's 144 pages and Wonder's 128 pages, both at 25¢?
    Done. I had a bit of trouble figuring out where to slot this in. I've put it in just before the article mentions the merger of Science Wonder and Air Wonder, because that sentence leads away from Astounding, but since Ashley is talking about Wonder and Amazing he's clearly referring to the point just after the merger. I got around this by not mentioning Wonder specifically. Does that work? Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 11:44, 30 January 2017 (UTC)
    I think it does the trick, tks Mike. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 14:23, 30 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Re. the table, Ashley in my source mentions the following "North American" magazines (meaning perhaps some are Canadian, not US, and therefore not in scope; note also I've only listed ones that Ashley describes as predominantly SF, he lists others that are primarily horror or fantasy with some sf):
    • Les Adventures Futuristes with 10 issues in 1949 (French Canadian?)
      Out of scope since it's not US. I'd never heard of this one; it's listed in the 1985 Tymn/Ashley but not in SFE3. From the Tymn/Ashley entry it appears none of the compilers were able to actually see a copy. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 12:20, 30 January 2017 (UTC)
    • Captain Hazzard with 1 issue in 1938
      I didn't include this because it appears to be basically a hero pulp, and going that route would mean including Doc Savage and The Shadow, and probably a few others. The only real mention of sf in other magazines is in the "Early magazines" section, which says sf appeared in "(especially) the hero pulps". There should probably be a separate article for hero pulp at some point. I thought about noting somewhere in the article that sf does continue to appear elsewhere, but the article topic is about the magazines, not about the history of sf, which is where I think that observation would need to be made. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 12:20, 30 January 2017 (UTC)
      Fair enough. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 14:23, 30 January 2017 (UTC)
    • Imagination with 63 issues from Oct 1950 to Oct 1958 (if Galaxy makes the cut then I guess this should too -- could even use the nice lead image from the WP article in Beginning of the digest era)
      Oops; missed this one. Will add it shortly, and that's a good idea re the image. By the way, I saw you added this to the navbox. That was built for pulps, rather than for pre-1950 magazines -- it contains some post-1950 pulps such as Science-Fiction Plus. I was originally planning to write the article on the history of sf pulps, but I found it too difficult to separate the pulps from the other magazines -- e.g. it made no sense to stop mentioning Campbell in 1943. Do you think it would be better to switch the template to be "Pre-1950 sf magazines" and make the contents match the list in the article? Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 12:20, 30 January 2017 (UTC)
      Heh, my turn to "oops"...! It might make sense to change the name and scope of such a navbox, but not in scope of this review -- I've self-reverted to keep the content consistent with the title for now. Yeah, I was thinking that as well as listing Imagination in the table you could briefly mention it in the last section of the main body, along with a cover shot. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 14:23, 30 January 2017 (UTC)
      Done. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 23:50, 30 January 2017 (UTC)
    • Marvel Tales with 5 issues from May 1934 to Summer 1935
      This (and Unusual Stories) were both semiprozines, and I think would be better covered in an article about early fandom. I'm not being entirely consistent here, because I do include Fantasy Book, which SFE3 also describes as a semiprozine. I kept it in because of "Scanners Live in Vain", which is often mentioned in magazine histories. I'm open to persuasion on these two. I think if I do include them I'd also have to include [Fanciful Tales], and possibly others. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 12:20, 30 January 2017 (UTC)
      Perhaps best keep it simple and leave as is -- quite happy to go with your rationale for inclusion/exclusion, the check was more to ensure nothing was missed inadvertently. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 14:23, 30 January 2017 (UTC)
    • Stardust with 5 issues from Mar to Nov 1940
      Also excluded as a semiprozine per my comments above. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 12:20, 30 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Also a couple of discrepancies:

Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 05:37, 30 January 2017 (UTC)

Source review

  • Reliability-wise, no concerns -- Mike Ashley has a finger in practically every pie but that means you have the expert, and there are several other notable sf personalities among the authors in any case.
  • All external links check out.
  • Format-wise:
    • You could spell out yyyy-mm-dd dates for consistency and user-friendliness.
      Done. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 11:02, 30 January 2017 (UTC)
    • It looks to me that FN3 and FN4 are the same target and could be combined (to FN4's format, for consistency)
      Done. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 11:02, 30 January 2017 (UTC)
    • Bleiler (1991) has ISSN as well as ISBN -- is the former necessary in this case? Conversely Murray, which I gather is a journal, has no ISSN.
      Murray just gives an ISBN; it's perfect bound and looks like a coffee table book, but inside is organized like a magazine. I would guess they treated it like a book for publishing purposes. I think someone else must have added the ISSN for Bleiler -- at least I don't recall doing it. That ISSN takes you to a Worldcat page for Starmont reference guides, which seems like a reasonable place to go, but I agree it's inconsistent. Do you think it should go? Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 11:10, 30 January 2017 (UTC)
      I think I've seen some publications with both ISBNs and ISSNs in my usual military field too. I always go with ISBN if available, and OCLC if there's no ISBN, but keep it to one. To be fair, I don't think it's against MOS to include more than one identifier, but I find it neater to stick to one, so I think we can afford to lose the ISSN on Bleiler. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 14:23, 30 January 2017 (UTC)

I think that's about it. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 09:31, 30 January 2017 (UTC)

I think I've caught up; let me know if you see anything else. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 23:50, 30 January 2017 (UTC)
I think that's everything... I wouldn't have a prob with retaining the Out of This World cover -- in the bottom right of the section, where there seems to be room -- but will leave to you. Thanks for all your quick action on the comments, I daresay other reviewers might suggest further tweaks to prose but I'm quite happy with it and the article overall, which was a great undertaking -- happy to support. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 00:18, 31 January 2017 (UTC)
P.S. Not affecting my support but I was just browsing Ashley's Book of SF Lists (for fun, not with a view to further critiques!) and I noticed he characterised the period 1926-37 as the "wonder" era of SF, partly in tribute to Wonder Stories but also because a great many classic space operas and other tales evoking a "sense of wonder" were published. Does he describe the pre-Campbell era as such in any of your sources? Perhaps worth a mention here if he did... Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 09:25, 31 January 2017 (UTC)
I don't think there's anything to that effect in The Time Machines, which is where it would be, but I'll scan through again and see. Thanks again for the review(s); it's a real benefit to have someone who knows the subject look over these articles. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 12:08, 31 January 2017 (UTC)
Heh, just enough knowledge to be dangerous... ;-) Don't sweat the "wonder" thing, it kind of came from wanting to know more about how Ashley briefly distinguished the style of the various pulps the way he does (in my essay at least) the big three (F&SF, Galaxy, Astounding/Analog) in the 1950s/60s, but you do mention Amazing's "new policy" and Astounding's "though variants", which helps. One thing the "wonder" bit brought into sharp relief was that we don't say anything about E.E. Smith in the early sections and, although I'm not a fan, I would've thought he was at least as important to the formative years of the sf pulps as say Edmund Hamilton, who is mentioned there... WDYT? Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 23:27, 31 January 2017 (UTC)
I belatedly scanned Trillion Year Spree and, while I don't think it adds much overall to what you already have, it does emphasise Smith's contribution in the 1930s: "Within SF fandom -- that is the coterie of readers to whom science fiction virtually meant the magazines -- E.E. Smith, PhD (known as 'Doc' Smith), was one of the greatest names, if not the greatest of all." Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 01:54, 1 February 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for finding that quote; I went ahead and used it, and I agree he should be mentioned -- I looked in Ashley's The Gernsback Days and his language is not quite a strong as Aldiss's, but he does make the point. I was going to attribute it inline -- it's almost certainly Aldiss, and that's worth mentioning -- but with Wingrove as co-author I'd really have to credit him too, and attributing two authors inline can be clumsy. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 02:47, 1 February 2017 (UTC)
I agree, I guess we won't know for sure unless we find a copy of Aldiss' solo Billion Year Spree and see what it says... ;-) Yeah, generally I believe quotes should be attributed inline but I think this is a reasonable exception -- I'd leave as is unless anyone raises a concern. Tks/cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 03:43, 1 February 2017 (UTC)

Comments by Bruce1ee

  • Categories: Given that this article covers US SF & F magazines, should Category:Science fiction magazines not be Category:American science fiction magazines; and what about a category for fantasy? – the closest I can come up with is Category:Fantasy fiction magazines
    Done. I looked for something like a "History of publishing" or "History of magazines" category, but I didn't find anything. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 23:09, 8 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Sources: Some entries have "orig-year=First edition yyyy", others have "orig-year=yyyy". I don't think "First edition" is necessary, but either way, there should consistency.
    Fixed. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 23:09, 8 February 2017 (UTC)
  • List of magazines table: Thrilling Wonder Stories and Fantasy Book don't give the number of issues after 1950 in the Notes column; is this information not available?
    Just an omission; now fixed. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 23:09, 8 February 2017 (UTC)
  • The war years: I take it this refers to World War II. Only at the start of the "Post-war" section is World War II explicitly mentioned. Should this not be mentioned in the previous "war years" section, and in the lead ("eight science fiction and fantasy magazines survived the war")?
    I tweaked a couple of things. I couldn't find an obvious place to say "World War II" at the top of the "war years" section, so I just changed "war" to "World War II" at first mention. Is that enough? Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 23:09, 8 February 2017 (UTC)
    I think that's fine, thanks. —Bruce1eetalk 06:12, 9 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Otherwise it's looking good. —Bruce1eetalk 13:52, 8 February 2017 (UTC)
    Thanks for the review. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 23:09, 8 February 2017 (UTC)
    Support the prose and MOS. Thanks for the fixes and for all your hard work on SF & F magazines. —Bruce1eetalk 06:12, 9 February 2017 (UTC)
    Thanks! And thanks for the support. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 22:57, 10 February 2017 (UTC)


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