The first issue of Air Wonder Stories, July 1929. The cover is by
|First issue||July 1929|
|Final issue||January 1955|
Wonder Stories is an early American
Air Wonder Stories and Science Wonder Stories were merged in 1930 as Wonder Stories, and the quarterly was renamed Wonder Stories Quarterly. The magazines were not financially successful, and in 1936 Gernsback sold Wonder Stories to
The editors under Gernsback's ownership were
By the end of the 19th century, stories centered on scientific inventions and set in the future, in the tradition of
|Volume and issue numbers of Air Wonder Stories. The editor was David|
Gernsback's new magazine, Amazing Stories, was successful, but Gernsback lost control of the publisher when it went bankrupt in February 1929. By April he had formed a new company, Gernsback Publications Incorporated, and created two subsidiaries: Techni-Craft Publishing Corporation and Stellar Publishing Corporation. Gernsback sent out letters advertising his plans for new magazines; the mailing lists he used almost certainly were compiled from the subscription lists of Amazing Stories. This would have been illegal, as the lists were owned by Irving Trust, the receiver of the bankruptcy. Gernsback denied using the lists under oath, but historians have generally agreed that he must have done so. The letters also asked potential subscribers to decide the name of the new magazine; they voted for "Science Wonder Stories", which became the name of one of Gernsback's new magazines.
|Volume and issue numbers of Science Wonder Stories. The editor was David|
Gernsback's recovery from the bankruptcy judgment was remarkably quick. By early June he had launched three new magazines, two of which published science fiction. The June 1929 issue of Science Wonder Stories appeared on newsstands on 5 May 1929, and was followed on 5 June by the July 1929 issue of Air Wonder Stories. Both magazines were monthly, with Gernsback as editor-in-chief and
Gernsback claimed that science fiction was educational. He repeatedly made this assertion in Amazing Stories, and continued to do so in his editorials for the new magazines, stating, for example, that "teachers encourage the reading of this fiction because they know that it gives the pupil a fundamental knowledge of science and aviation." He also recruited a panel of "nationally known educators [who] pass upon the scientific principles of all stories". Science fiction historian
|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. The reason for the merger is unknown, although it may have been that he needed the space in the printing schedule for his new Aviation Mechanics magazine. Bleiler has suggested that the merger was caused by poor sales and a consequent need to downsize. In addition, Air Wonder Stories was probably focused on too specialized a niche to succeed. In an editorial just before Science Wonder Stories changed its name, Gernsback commented that the word "Science" in the title "has tended to retard the progress of the magazine, because many people had the impression that it is a sort of scientific periodical rather than a fiction magazine". Ironically, the inclusion of "science" in the title was the reason that science fiction writer
The first issue of the merged magazine appeared in June 1930, still on a monthly schedule, with Lasser as editor. The volume numbering continued that of Science Wonder Stories, therefore Wonder Stories is sometimes regarded as a retitling of Science Wonder Stories. Gernsback had also produced a companion magazine for Science Wonder Stories, titled Science Wonder Quarterly, the first issue of which was published in the fall of 1929. Three issues were produced under this title, but after the merger Gernsback changed the companion magazine's title to Wonder Stories Quarterly, and produced a further eleven issues under that title.
|Science Wonder Quarterly (first three issues) and|
Wonder Stories Quarterly (all subsequent issues). The
editor was David Lasser throughout.
In July 1933, Gernsback dismissed Lasser as editor. Lasser had become active in promoting workers' rights and was spending less time on his editorial duties. According to Lasser, Gernsback told him "if you like working with the unemployed so much, I suggest you go and join them". It is likely that cost-cutting was also a consideration, as Lasser was paid $65 per week, a substantial salary in those days. Soon after Lasser was let go, Gernsback received a
Wonder Stories had a circulation of about 25,000 in 1934, comparable to that of Amazing Stories, which had declined from an early peak of about 100,000. Gernsback considered issuing a reprint magazine in 1934, Wonder Stories Reprint Annual, but it never appeared. That year he experimented with other fiction magazines—Pirate Stories and High Seas Adventures—but neither was successful. Wonder Stories was also failing, and in November 1935 it started publishing bimonthly instead of monthly. Gernsback had a reputation for paying slowly and was therefore unpopular with many authors; by 1936 he was even failing to pay
|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. These were run by
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. Wonder Stories had been monthly until the last few Gernsback issues; Thrilling Wonder was launched on a bimonthly schedule. In February 1938 Weisinger asked for reader feedback regarding the idea of a companion magazine; the response was positive, and in January 1939 the first issue of
The Thrilling Wonder logo, a winged man against the background of a glass mountain was taken from the
|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.
By the summer of 1949
After the demise of Thrilling Wonder Stories the old Wonder Stories title was revived for two issues, published in 1957 and 1963. These were both edited by Jim Hendryx Jr. They were numbered vol. 45, no. 1 and 2, continuing the volume numbering of Thrilling Wonder. Both were selections from past issues of Thrilling Wonder; the second one convinced Ned Pines, the publisher who had bought Wonder Stories from Gernsback in 1936 and who still owned the rights to the stories, to start a reprint magazine called Treasury of Great Science Fiction Stories in 1964; a companion, Treasury of Great Western Stories, was added the next year.
In 2007, Winston Engle published a new magazine in book format, titled Thrilling Wonder Stories, with a cover date of Summer 2007. Engle commented that it was "not a pastiche or nostalgia exercise as much as modern SF with the entertainment, inspirational value, and excitement of the golden age". A second volume appeared in 2009.
Six months after the debut of Thrilling Wonder Stories, its June 1937 issue contained a picture feature by Jack Binder entitled IF —!. Binder's earlier training as a fine artist helped him create detailed renderings of space ships, lost cities, future cities, landscapes, indigenous peoples, and even ancient