Once the first Gernsback Writing Contest had completed, it was time to “pay the writer”(TM) – (Harlan Ellison, et al.)
The Experimenter Publishing Company had ordered some custom checks featuring four of St. Paul’s original covers (1926-1929) in anticipation of performing the above, but they’d not yet arrived owing to a slight glitch in the red tape: “Experimenter” had been inadvertently (mysteriously?) changed to “Experimental” during the registration of the company (a change that transformed the name from intentional to querulous and a change that does not and did not reflect our beliefs) and we had to wait for that to get sorted out before we could open up the bank account.
The winners – S. A. Barton, Matthew Downer and Sean Monaghan (listed in alphabetical order for convenience) – all agreed that they would much rather wait a bit longer to receive their prizes (pay) if it meant getting a custom check suitable for framing, rather than immediate gratification via a plain-Jane blue security check. We were happy to oblige.
They also all agreed that it would be a pretty cool idea to send in a selfie with said custom check. This serves the dual purpose of giving them some additional and quite personal press and of providing proof-positive to our sponsors that the winners had indeed been paid (as opposed to funding a handful of nice steak dinners for the publisher and his wife).
So forthwith and without much further ado (drum rolls and bleating trumpets please) – the winners and their custom Amazing Stories Prize Money Checks!
The checks were created using four Amazing Stories magazine covers created by Frank R. Paul.
Sean’s is the iconic Saturn – Off on a Comet – cover for the very first issue of the magazine (April, 1926)
S.A.’s is the most sought after issue by collectors, the so-called Buck Rogers cover (it actually illustrates an entirely different story) (August, 1928)
and Matthew’s is the publisher’s personal favorite, the one created for the debut of the serialization of Well’s The War of the Worlds (August, 1927)
Not shown (because we only had three winners) is the fourth design from the October 1926 issue:
All three authors were paid slightly (very slightly) more than the requisite and promised 6 cents per word. (We had the sponsor’s pot and, rather than having a surplus, simply rounded up the pay rate on a proportional basis.)
We’ll be getting around to publishing their stories real soon now. The delay is contractual: we’re modifying the new SFWA model contract and our attorneys have been a bit busy with other things of late.
Regardless, all of our authors (all ten) have been promised pay – and release – if we are unable to bring you these stories by the end of the first quarter of 2016 (a very unlikely outcome).
Which is all of far less importance (and probably far more than you all wanted to know – see what transparency gets you?) than another heartfelt CONGRATULATIONS! to the winners!