The Future's Astounding Past

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An astounding Internet resource, analogous to a treasure trove for fans of science fiction, magazines, 20th century American pop culture history, or freakin' cool images. Find here an introductory page with links to nearly every single cover, organized by year, from the past 76 years of America's most honored and beloved, and still surviving, SF magazine.

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  1. As a current subscriber, I can say it still packs quite a punch. Sturgeon’s Revelation still holds true, but Analog skims off that good 10% quite well.

  2. OK, is anyone else a Chesley Bonestell fan? The future envisioned in “The Conquest Of Space” is the sort of “future” I wished would have happened.

  3. I’m a fan of the genre. Strange how science fiction and mystery are the only form of short story left that really have any kind of market. Well, sci-fi, mystery, and Penthouse Forum.

  4. Penthouse Forum still has a market? Really? huh

  5. You know Warren, I never thought I’d be writing about this, but something really amazing happened to me and I thought I’d tell you about it. I’m 6’0″, sandy-blond hair and…

  6. OK, is anyone else a Chesley Bonestell fan? The future envisioned in “The Conquest Of Space” is the sort of “future” I wished would have happened.

    Right here, dude! Fantastic landscapes. And I too would have like to have seen those big-winged Mars-ships happen.

  7. I’ve got the last 30 years of these. About 10 years ago one of the local comic stores got in a bunch from the 50s and 60s which lasted until I discovered them.

  8. My dad subscribed from the very beginning. As a kid, despite reading all the other science fiction books on his shelves, I always found the stories inside of the magazine to be disappointing compared to the cover art.

  9. Thanks for the link. It’s perfect because whenever I talk to not-Libertarians, they dismiss me by saying I base my politics on Science Fiction Novels.

    Now I actually can base my opinions on science fiction!

  10. Also, every libertatian should watch Joss Whedon’s Firefly. Anti-government themes galore.

  11. Akira: Check this out
    http://manconquersspace.com/
    It’s a mock documentary-in-progress about the history of space exploration if all that stuff in Colliers had happened.

  12. Actually, Warren, I have no idea–I was in my 20s the last time I even saw the magazine. I’d tell you about this really wild experience I had while posting to Hit & Run, but Sandy beat me to that joke 🙂

  13. This is fantastic. Of course, it’s only going to piss me off that I can’t actually read them.

    Strange how science fiction and mystery are the only form of short story left that really have any kind of market.

    And the Sci-Fi market isn’t doing so well. The short story is truly a disappearing medium in the mass market which is a real shame. It’ll be around for a long time, but it used to be THE way for writers to get published. I think most people view the short story as a sort of “lesser” form compared to the novel or even the novella, when actually it’s quite distinct, just as rich and requires great skill to write effectively.

    Of course, this is probably part of the general lengthening of most forms of entertainment including movies and video games. Even regualar novels are being pushed into extra pages by publishers, I think to their detriment. And don’t even get me started on the fact that fantasy writers apparently aren’t allowed to write discrete books any more…they all have to be trilogies and you’ll get no resolution for three years.

    There is a ray of hope, however, as there seems to be a downward trend beginning in the length of movies and, to a lesser extent, video games. And Jim Baen (owner of Baen Sci-Fi and Fantasy publishing, natch) is starting a new e-magazine designed to resurrect the ailing short story genre. And he’s paying pretty well too.

  14. I agree that the short story market is not as good as it once was. My explanation? Greater diversity of consumer choice.
    Take, for example, the ‘pulps’ from the 30s to the 50s. People would buy these at the stand for about a dime and read it on the train to work. I have read some reprints of these pulps–there is a craft to this kind of writing, and those writers knew how to keep your attention.
    But now, instead of reading short stories on the train to work, people listen to their iPods or play video games on their lap top computer.
    But I think the fantastic has triumphed at the movies. Many of the top grossing films in the past few years are in the fantastic vein (King Kong, Chronicles of Narnia, Harry Potter, Star Wars, The Matrix etc) The fantatic triumphs on TV also: The X Files, Lost, the new Battlestar Galactica.
    To sum up, in terms of satisfiying consumer’s desires to stimulate the imagination, the short story has declined because there are substitute goods: music, video games, movies, tc shows.

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