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Reference Books: Astounding & SF Magazines

These are the best resources for learning more about the history of Astounding Science Fiction, and early SF pulp magazines in general.

You might also enjoy my short article about the first few issues of Astounding.

A narrative survey of Astounding up until 1960, and illustrated throughout with covers and interior artwork from the magazine’s history.

Informative, affectionate, and nostalgic.

Notable for containing pieces by Harry Bates, F. Orlin Tremaine, and John W. Campbell, Jr., speaking about their respective tenures as editor

The Complete Index to Astounding / Analog

Mike Ashley & Terry Jeeves

A breathtakingly exhaustive book detailing just about every conceivable aspect of the magazine from January 1930 to December 1979.

Contains numerous cross-referenced indices by Author, Artist, Title, etc., as well as a wealth of other statistics and miscellaneous information.

The Time Machines

Mike Ashley

Ashley’s classic history of the early SF pulps, from their beginnings in 1926 up until 1950.

Followed by two sequels covering different time periods:

Transformations (1950-1970)
Gateways to Forever (1970-1980)

These were originally published as a series of anthologies with historical notes, entitled The History of the Science Fiction Magazine. They were revised and considerably expanded as this trio of books.

Science Fiction: The Gernsback Years

Everett F. Bleiler & Richard J. Bleiler

Its main feature is detailed plot summaries for all SF stories published between 1926 and 1936. Also includes lengthy sections about each magazine, as well as numerous indices.

Possibly the single greatest work of SF scholarship ever produced.

Preceded by another mammoth volume: Science Fiction: The Early Years.

Detailed content listings for Astounding (and numerous other magazines), along with cover scans.

About Isaac Walwyn

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2 responses »

  1. A few other reference sources for information on Astounding and related pulp era stuff that might be of interest:

    Astounding: A John W Campbell Memorial Anthology (reprises and sequels and reminisces by major contributors to the magazine)

    Astounding Days A Science Fiction Autobiography by Arthur C. Clarke

    Phil Stephenson-Payne’s Galactic Central press/visual index of the issues (all cover images from 1/30 to almost present)

    The Contento index

  2. Thanks for sharing those! Lots of good material there.

    I remember that Astounding anthology well. For one thing, Cogswell’s “Population Implosion” is my all-time favorite short-short story. But I had forgotten that the book also contained some reminiscences. I’ll have to go back and read some of those.

    (Sorry about taking so long for your comment to show up, by the way. I have the moderation settings on, but I often don’t check my email and do my usual internet stuff until the afternoon…)


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