Saturday, December 01, 2007

Aaron's Magazine of the Week :: Famous Fantastic Mysteries June 1953

Famous Fantastic Mysteries June 1953The Magazine of the Week is one of my recent acquisitions, the June 1953 issue (the final issue) of pulp magazine Famous Fantastic Mysteries, cover art by Lawrence Sterne Stevens. As suggested by the relative sizes of the words on the cover, the emphasis of Famous Fantastic Mysteries was on the fantastic, and the magazine was part of the science fiction and fantasy pulp genre, not the mystery genre.

Recent BOTWs have discussed the unfortunate tendency in the mainstream to be dismissive of anything published in the science fiction and fantasy genre. There is sometimes a corresponding reverse snobbery in the SF/F community toward science fiction penned by mainstream writers. More commonly, however, SF/F readers have welcomed fantastic literature by authors who are not associated with the genre.

Between 1940 and 1953, Famous Fantastic Mysteries found success reprinting older novels and stories in pulp format, and a great many of the stories were written by famous authors not typically thought of as sci-fi writers. (We will have another example next week.) Thus, the cover story of the Magazine of the Week is Anthem by Ayn Rand -- more social science fiction. Also listed on the cover is The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka. The issue also contains stories by SF great Ray Bradbury and by Robert E. Howard, the creator of Conan the Barbarian, yet somehow this diverse group of authors was able to appear in a single magazine without anyone getting hurt.

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