*Amazing Stories was an American science fiction magazine launched in April 1926 by Hugo Gernsback’s Experimenter Publishing. It was the first magazine devoted solely to science fiction. Before Amazing Stories, science fiction stories had made regular appearances in other magazines, including some published by Gernsback, but Amazing helped define and launch a new genre of pulp fiction.
Amazing Stories was published, with some interruptions, for almost eighty years. The title first changed hands in 1929, when Gernsback was forced into bankruptcy and lost control of the magazine. Amazing Stories became unprofitable during the 1930s and in 1938 was purchased by Ziff-Davis, who hired Raymond A. Palmer as editor.
Palmer made the magazine successful though it was not regarded as a quality magazine within the science fiction community.
In the late 1940s Amazing began to print stories about the Shaver Mystery, a lurid mythos which explained accidents and disaster as the work of robots named “deros”; the stories were presented as fact, and led to dramatically increased circulation but also widespread ridicule.Palmer was replaced by Howard Browne in 1949, who briefly entertained plans of taking Amazing upmarket. These plans came to nothing, though Amazing did switch to a digest format in 1953, shortly before the end of the pulp-magazine era. A brief period under the editorship of Paul W. Fairman was followed, at the end of 1958, by the leadership of Cele Goldsmith.Despite her lack of experience she was able to bring new life to the magazine, and her years are regarded as one of Amazing’s most creative eras.
She was unable to arrest the declining circulation, though, and the magazine was sold to Sol Cohen’s Universal Publishing Company in 1965.*