Thoughts . . . by Mark Rich

. . . scribbled . . . scrawled . . . trimmed . . . typewritten . . . grubbed up . . . squeezed from circumstance . . .

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Not the Original Science Fiction Stories

The title I gave here earlier, The Original Science Fiction Stories, turns out to be not quite that -- even though that is how it appears on the cover.

On pages 188-9 of the issue I picked up, Lowndes notes in response to a letter from Edmund Meskys: " ... the title of this magazine is Science Fiction Stories. That phrase 'The Original' is just there to indicate that we were the first to use the title SCIENCE FICTION and SCIENCE FICTION STORIES, whereas all others using this title had preceded the words 'Science Fiction' with some adjective -- Astounding science fiction, etc. But it's no more a part of this magazine's title than is 'The Honorable' before some distinguished person's name actually a part of his name."

To clarify -- this magazine was first to use "Science Fiction" without an adjective ... not the first ever to use the phrase, for its title. Interestingly, the Clute-Nicholls Encyclopedia of Science Fiction notes that John W. Campbell, Jr., nursed the ambition to drop Astounding from his Astounding Science Fiction title -- but was prevented from doing so by the appearance of the magazine entitled simply Science Fiction. The latter stole Campbell's thunder, as it were, even if the thunder was not particularly resounding.

(The Encyclopedia also, very strangely, alphabetizes Lowndes' magazine under the name The Original Science Fiction Stories .... giving the argument that this was, indeed, the way people referred to the title at the time. The magazine's indicia clearly indicates the formal publication, title.)

Cheers ...

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