Posted by: Morgan Hubbard | November 10, 2010

Some things are too good not to share.

One of my ongoing projects is a statistical analysis of themes in American science fiction magazines between the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and Kennedy’s assassination. At the moment, this means I’m plowing through hundreds of pulpy mags from the early- and mid-fifties. Lots are unremarkable, in terms of stories and art.

But some are PURE WIN.

Amazing Stories, December 1955

The cool backdrop to this is that this type of cover art represented one side of a fierce debate among science fiction publishers and readers about the genre. Some magazine editors saw their genre as noble, and potentially as sophisticated as any other kind of fiction. Science fiction, for them, was more than just “kids’ stuff.” Others believed, maybe rightly, that nothing moved units like laser blasts, aliens, and a dose of T&A.

The whole debate–highbrow literature or Saturday morning escapism?–ended up being moot. By the mid-fifties, after science fiction moved to the paperback format, it found readers enough to be both things. Works for me.

-morgan

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