Amazing Stories

Youtube Video On History of Amazing and Gernsback

A Youtube channel called Extra Credit is offering up a stills-and-voice over exposition on the creation of “sci fi”, Gernsback and Amazing Stories.

Unfortunately, it’s big on the “stories” we’ve heard and a bit short on accuracy.  Among those things we take issue with are:

Gernsback’s supposed “bad businessman” trope, implying that he never paid his authors and went into bankruptcy at least partially as a result; that he couldn’t find any “new” sci fi and so resorted to reprinting Wells and Verne and that, by his third issue he had a cover but no stories and so started a contest; that the long, expository science info dumps in published stories were inaccurate and, perhaps most egregious of all, identifying the FR Paul covers as “retro-future” art.

The facts are available elsewhere, so I’ll not bother to repeat them here, other than to say this:  the bankruptcy was engineered to a large extent;  Gernsback dumped a lot of his money into the development of television and television broadcast;  he paid typical pulp rates;  he had a dispute with Wells (largely responsible for the no-pay accusations) which turned out to be owing to one talking dollars and the other talking pounds; he had a staff of a dozen scientific leaders who vetted the science (and his editorials frequently discussed items that weren’t real science) and

it is IMPOSSIBLE for a Frank R Paul cover, created in the 1920s, to be “retro future”.

So, no extra credit here, but a head pat and thanks for the try.

(Note in red pen on the bottom of the paper: the Trademark and Service Mark status of both the Amazing Stories name and The Hugo Awards (Experimenter Publishing and WSFS respectivelyt) are not listed in the credits.)

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