Originally conceived as a trilogy, this is the first of five volumes that chart the history of the science fiction magazine from the earliest days to the present. This first volume looks at the exuberant years of the pulp magazines. It traces the growth and development of the science fiction magazines from when Hugo Gernsback launched the very first, Amazing Stories, in 1926 through to the birth of the atomic age and the death of the pulps in the early 1950s. These were the days of the youth of science fiction, when it was brash, raw and exciting: the days of the first great space operas by Edward Elmer Smith and Edmond Hamilton, through the cosmic thought variants by Murray Leinster, Jack Williamson and others to the early 1940s when John W. Campbell at Astounding did his best to nurture the infant genre into adulthood. Under him such major names as Robert A. Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, A. E. van Vogt and Theodore Sturgeon emerged who, along with other such new talents as Ray Bradbury and Arthur C. Clarke, helped create modern science fiction. For over forty years magazines were at the heart of science fiction and this book considers how the magazines, and their publishers, editors and authors influenced the growth and perception of this fascinating genre.
Ashley's study of hacks pounding away at typewriters, bullying editors and money-pinching publishers is a rich mine of information. When complete, his trilogy will undoubtedly form the definitive history of SF from the pulp to the paperback.