Wonder Stories

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Wonder Stories
The first issue of Air Wonder Stories, July 1929. The cover is by Frank R. Paul.
FounderHugo Gernsback
First issueJuly 1929; 90 years ago (1929-07)
Final issueJanuary 1955; 64 years ago (1955-01)
CountryUSA
LanguageEnglish

Wonder Stories is an early American science fiction magazine. It was published under several titles from 1929 to 1955. Hugo Gernsback started the magazine after he had lost control of his first science fiction magazine, Amazing Stories.

Air Wonder Stories and Science Wonder Stories were merged in 1930 as Wonder Stories. The magazines were not financially successful, and in 1936 Gernsback sold Wonder Stories to Ned Pines at Beacon Publications, where, retitled Thrilling Wonder Stories, it continued for nearly 20 years. The last issue was dated Winter 1955, and the title was then merged with Startling Stories, another of Pines' science fiction magazines.

The editors under Gernsback's ownership were David Lasser, who worked hard to improve the quality of the fiction, and, from mid-1933, Charles Hornig.

Publication history[change | change source]

Gernsback era[change | change source]

Air Wonder Stories
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
1929 1/1 1/2 1/3 1/4 1/5 1/6
1930 1/7 1/8 1/9 1/10 1/11
Volume and issue numbers of Air Wonder Stories. The editor was David
Lasser throughout.

Gernsback's new magazine, Amazing Stories, was successful, but Gernsback lost control of the publisher when it went bankrupt in February 1929.

Science Wonder Stories
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
1929 1/1 1/2 1/3 1/4 1/5 1/6 1/7
1930 1/8 1/9 1/10 1/11 1/12
Volume and issue numbers of Science Wonder Stories. The editor was David
Lasser throughout.

Gernsback claimed that science fiction was educational.[1]

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
1930 2/1 2/2 2/3 2/4 2/5 2/6 2/7
1931 2/8 2/9 2/10 2/11 2/12 3/1 3/2 3/3 3/4 3/5 3/6 3/7
1932 3/8 3/9 3/10 3/11 3/12 4/1 4/2 4/3 4/4 4/5 4/6 4/7
1933 4/8 4/9 4/10 4/11 4/12 5/1 5/2 5/3 5/4 5/5
1934 5/6 5/7 5/8 5/9 5/10 6/1 6/2 6/3 6/4 6/5 6/6 6/7
1935 6/8 6/9 6/10 6/11 6/12 7/1 7/2 7/3 7/4 7/5 7/6
1936 7/7 7/8
Issues of Wonder Stories from the merger of Science Wonder and Air
Wonder
to the acquisition by Beacon Publications, indicating editors: Lasser
(blue, 1930–1933), and Hornig (yellow, 1933–1936)

In 1930, Gernsback decided to merge Science Wonder Stories and Air Wonder Stories into Wonder Stories. [2]

The first issue of the merged magazine appeared in June 1930, still on a monthly schedule, with Lasser as editor.[3][4]

Science Wonder Quarterly and
Wonder Stories Quarterly
Winter Spring Summer Fall
1929 1/1
1930 1/2 1/3 1/4 2/1
1931 2/2 2/3 2/4 3/1
1932 3/2 3/3 3/4 4/1
1933 4/2
Science Wonder Quarterly (first three issues) and
Wonder Stories Quarterly (all subsequent issues). The
editor was David Lasser throughout.

Wonder Stories had a circulation of about 25,000 in 1934.[5][6]

Thrilling Wonder Stories[change | change source]

Spring Summer Fall Winter
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
1936 8/1 8/2 8/3
1937 9/1 9/2 9/3 10/1 10/2 10/3
1938 11/1 11/2 11/3 12/1 12/2 12/3
1939 13/1 13/2 13/3 14/1 14/2 14/3
1940 15/1 15/2 15/3 16/1 16/2 16/3 17/1 17/2 17/3 18/1 18/2 18/3
1941 19/1 19/2 19/3 20/1 20/2 20/3 21/1 21/2
1942 21/3 22/1 22/2 22/3 23/1 23/2
1943 23/3 24/1 24/2 24/3 25/1
1944 25/2 25/3 26/1 26/2
1945 26/3 27/1 27/2 27/3
Issues of Thrilling Wonder Stories from 1936 to 1945. Editors are Mort Weisinger
(green, 1936–1941), Oscar Friend (pink, 1941–1944), and Sam Merwin (purple,
1945). Underlining indicates that an issue was titled as a quarterly (e.g. "Winter
1944") rather than as a monthly.

Pines' magazines included several with "Thrilling" in the title, such as Thrilling Detective and Thrilling Love Stories.[7]

The title was changed to Thrilling Wonder Stories to match the rest of the "Thrilling" line. The first issue appeared in August 1936—four months after the last Gernsback Wonder Stories appeared.[4][7]

Spring Summer Fall Winter
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
1946 28/1 28/2 28/3 29/1 29/2
1947 29/3 30/1 30/2 30/3 31/1 31/2
1948 31/3 32/1 32/2 32/3 33/1 33/2
1949 33/3 34/1 34/2 34/3 35/1 35/2
1950 35/3 36/1 36/2 36/3 37/1 37/2
1951 37/3 38/1 38/2 38/3 39/1 39/2
1952 39/3 40/1 40/2 40/3 41/1 41/2
1953 41/3 42/1 42/2 42/3 43/1
1954 43/2 43/3 44/1 44/2
1955 44/3
Issues of Thrilling Wonder Stories from 1946 to 1955. Editors are Sam Merwin
(purple, 1946–1951), Samuel Mines (orange, 1951–1954), and Alexander Samalman
(gray, 1954–1955). Underlining indicates that an issue was titled as a quarterly
(e.g. "Winter 1946") rather than as a monthly.

Publication details[change | change source]

Air Wonder Stories
  • David Lasser (July 1929 – May 1930)[8]
Science Wonder Stories
  • David Lasser (June 1929 – May 1930)[9]
Science Wonder Quarterly
  • David Lasser (Fall 1929 – Spring 1930)[10]
Wonder Stories
  • David Lasser (June 1930 – October 1933)[11]
  • Charles Hornig (November 1933 – March–April 1936)[11]
Wonder Stories Quarterly
  • David Lasser (Summer 1930 – Winter 1933)[12]
Thrilling Wonder Stories
  • Mort Weisinger (August 1936 – April 1941)[4]
  • Oscar Friend (August 1941 – Fall 1944)[4]
  • Sam Merwin (Winter 1945 – October 1951)[4]
  • Samuel Mines (December 1951 – Summer 1954)[4]
  • Alexander Samalman (Fall 1954 – Winter 1955)[4]

References[change | change source]

  1. Gernsback, editorial in Air Wonder Stories, July 1929, p. 5, quoted in Bleiler, Gernsback Years, p. 542.
  2. Ashley, Time Machines, pp. 70–71.
  3. Ashley, Time Machines, p. 237.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 Ashley, Time Machines, p. 254.
  5. Ashley, Time Machines, p. 51.
  6. Ashley, Time Machines, pp. 85–86.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Ashley, Time Machines, p. 100.
  8. Bleiler, Gernsback Years, p. 543.
  9. Bleiler, Gernsback Years, p. 581.
  10. Bleiler, Gernsback Years, pp. 578–579.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Bleiler, Gernsback Years, p. 589.
  12. Bleiler, Gernsback Years, pp. 595–596.

Sources[change | change source]

  • Asimov, Isaac (1978), Before the Golden Age: Volume One, London: Orbit, ISBN 978-0-86007-803-6
  • Ashley, Mike (2000), The Time Machines:The Story of the Science-Fiction Pulp Magazines from the beginning to 1950, Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, ISBN 978-0-85323-865-2
  • Ashley, Mike (2005), Transformations:The Story of the Science-Fiction Magazines from 1950 to 1970, Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, ISBN 978-0-85323-779-2
  • Bleiler, Everett F. (1998), Science-Fiction: The Gernsback Years: A complete coverage of the genre magazines Amazing, Astounding, Wonder, and others from 1926 through 1936, Kent, Ohio: The Kent State University Press, ISBN 978-0-87338-604-3
  • Carter, Paul A. (1977), The Creation of Tomorrow: Fifty Years of Magazine Science Fiction, New York: Columbia University Press, ISBN 978-0-231-04211-6
  • Clute, John (1981), "Sex", in Nicholls, Peter (ed.), The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, London: Granada, ISBN 978-0-586-05380-5
  • Clute, John (1993), "Nat Schachner", in Clute, John; Nicholls, Peter (eds.), The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, New York: St. Martin's Press, Inc., ISBN 978-0-312-09618-2
  • Clute, John; Edwards, Malcolm (1993), "Oscar J. Friend", in Clute, John; Nicholls, Peter (eds.), The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, New York: St. Martin's Press, Inc., ISBN 978-0-312-09618-2
  • Davin, Erik Leif (1999), Pioneers of Wonder, Prometheus Books, ISBN 978-1-57392-702-4
  • Edwards, Malcolm (1993), "Sam Merwin Jr.", in Clute, John; Nicholls, Peter (eds.), The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, New York: St. Martin's Press, Inc., ISBN 978-0-312-09618-2
  • Edwards, Malcolm (1993), "Samuel Mines", in Clute, John; Nicholls, Peter (eds.), The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, New York: St. Martin's Press, Inc., ISBN 978-0-312-09618-2
  • Edwards, Malcolm (1993), "Thrilling Wonder Stories", in Clute, John; Nicholls, Peter (eds.), The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, New York: St. Martin's Press, Inc., ISBN 978-0-312-09618-2
  • Edwards, Malcolm; Nicholls, Peter (1993), "SF Magazines", in Clute, John; Nicholls, Peter (eds.), The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, New York: St. Martin's Press, Inc., ISBN 978-0-312-09618-2
  • Engle, Winston (2007), Thrilling Wonder Stories Summer 2007, Thrilling Wonder LLC, ISBN 978-0-9796718-0-7
  • Engle, Winston (2009), Thrilling Wonder Stories Volume 2, Thrilling Wonder LLC, ISBN 978-0-9796718-1-4
  • Nicholls, Peter (1981), "Golden Age of SF", in Nicholls, Peter (ed.), The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, London: Granada, ISBN 978-0-586-05380-5
  • Nicholls, Peter; Stableford, Brian (1993), "Wonder Stories", in Clute, John; Nicholls, Peter (eds.), The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, New York: St. Martin's Press, Inc., ISBN 978-0-312-09618-2
  • Perry, Tom "An Amazing Story: Experiment in Bankruptcy" in Amazing Science Fiction vol. 51, no 3 (May 1978)
  • Roberts, Peter (1993), "Science Fiction League", in Clute, John; Nicholls, Peter (eds.), The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, New York: St. Martin's Press, Inc., ISBN 978-0-312-09618-2
  • Stableford, Brian (1981), "Amazing Stories", in Nicholls, Peter (ed.), The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, London: Granada, ISBN 978-0-586-05380-5
  • Tuck, Donald H. (1982), The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy: Volume 3, Chicago: Advent: Publishers, Inc., ISBN 978-0-911682-26-7

Other websites[change | change source]