Amazing Stories: Rising from the Ashes

Few things in science fiction are as iconic as Amazing Stories. When the magazine premiered in 1926, it was the first of its kind to focus solely on science fiction tales.

Its influence is undisputed, helping shape modern-day SF as we know it.

SF juggernauts such as Ursula K. Le Guin (being celebrated this month at The Center For Fiction) Isaac Asimov, and Roger Zelazny had their first stories published in the magazine. Fanzines grew out of the social networking fostered by its letter column. Even Steven Spielberg licensed the name for his 1985 television series. One would think that such an influential and well-known mainstay of science fiction would never, ever die.

But, Amazing Stories amazingly did just that. After nearly eighty years in circulation, it ended.

Now, that’s about to change.

A diligent, lifelong science fiction fan by the name of Steve Davidson (who relied on a trusty ol’ Xerox to duplicate his own fanzine back in the day) discovered that the trademark had lapsed. Rushing out onto the field, he quickly scooped it up and acquired it. Scooooooorrrrrre!

Now, he’s helming an ambitious new project to relaunch Amazing Stories in the form of an online magazine.

I had the opportunity to ask Steve Davidson more information about his news, but first, here’s the official press release:

Amazing Stories Project Announces Editorial Advisory Board; Commissions Cover Art

Steve Davidson (Crotchety Old Fan), who recently acquired the Trademarks for Amazing Stories, has announced the creation of an Editorial Advisory Board to assist in the relaunch of the world’s first science fiction magazine, Amazing Stories.

Currently serving on the board in a voluntary capacity are four former editors of Amazing Stories – Barry Malzberg, Patrick L. Price, Ted White and Joseph Wrzos (who edited under the pen name Joseph Ross). Their tenures as editors of Amazing Stories span nearly three decades and include some of the most volatile, challenging, and innovative periods in the magazine’s history.

Each of the board members has made important contributions to the genre, serving variously as authors, agents, editors, collectors and historians. Their combined experience with the genre provides the Amazing Stories project with access to an unparalleled wealth of information.

Steve has also commissioned Frank Wu, multiple Hugo Award winning artist, to create a re-imagining of  Frank R. Paul’s inaugural cover illustration for the magazine. The cover art will be made available on a variety of different media and will be used as a fundraising and promotional vehicle.

Additional details about the Amazing Stories project can be found in Steve Davidson’s monthly column on the review blog Grasping for the Wind (10/21/11)

Those interested in following the project can visit the magazine’s website at Amazing Stories Mag (sign up for a newsletter is available there) and on its Facebook page.

Steve Davidson is a science fiction fan, blogger, curator of the Classic Science Fiction Channel website, author of several paintball books and currently edits the news and information website for paintball – 68Caliber. He applied for the Amazing Stories trademarks in 2008 and was granted the marks in September 2011.

So that we could learn more about this exciting new project, Steve Davidson kindly answered questions about his endeavor. Specifically, what aspects of Amazing Stories‘ various incarnations does he particularly admire and want to revive?

For me, SF magazines fulfilled two roles. They exposed me to many authors (and artists) who I’d never have run into (you can’t beat spending a buck for five or six new reads) and they brought the wider world of SF fandom into my house. I hope to be able to provide those same two experiences to readers of the new version. For fiction, I’m hoping to work with a wide range of other editors and champions of various sub-genres.

I hope to find ways to encourage readers who might not be particularly interested in this or that to give them a shot.

Additionally, Mr. Davidson’s plan is to “include regular columns similar to those found in previous incarnations. Reviews, certainly, but also a column on fandom, perhaps one on conventions by itself, a fanzine/semi-prozine review column, one on happenings within the industry.”

The publication of the magazine “will also be conducted in a monthly issue manner; each individual week will have its fiction, reviews and columns, but everything will be bundled together as an ‘issue’ at the end of the month.”

Readers can expect the classic “volume and issue numbering” as well as “the ‘look’ of the original.” Mr. Davidson hopes “to do a series of regular reprints of well-respected authors/pieces from throughout the run of the earlier version.”

From how I’m hearing Mr. Davidson describe the Amazing Stories revival project, a particularly exciting aspect of it is the promise of diversity and inclusion. With the flexibility of digital technology and a new, 21st century-enlightened attitude, this e-zine could truly represent All the Wyrs of Pern a wide range of SF subgenres, authors, and niche stories in a variety of mediums (e.g., anime, movies, television, comics, gaming).

In conclusion, Mr. Davidson relayed these thoughts:

I think that no matter what a fan’s particular interest is, at heart they are all in love with the idea of science fiction. For me, the name Amazing Stories is the embodiment of that idea. Seriously. When you hear ‘Amazing Stories,’ something science fiction is going to pop into your head; it will be filtered and colored by your own tastes, but it will be SF.

Now, if that’s not an amazing story, I don’t know what is!

I know all of you have a thought or three about this. What would you like see in this reincarnation?


Heather Massey is a lifelong fan of science fiction romance. She searches for sci-fi romance adventures aboard her blog, The Galaxy Express.

She’s also an author: Her latest sci-fi romance is Queenie’s Brigade from Red Sage Publishing. To learn more about her published work, visit www.heathermassey.com.

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