Gruber pointed out that stories in the middle might go many months before Tremaine read them; the result was erratic response times that sometimes stretched to over 18 months. In the magazine switched from untrimmed to trimmed edges; Brian Stableford comments that this was "an important symbolic" step, as the other sf pulps were still untrimmed, making Astounding smarter-looking than its competitors.
His replacement as editor of Astounding was 27 year-old John W.
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Campbell, Jr. Campbell had made his name in the early s as a writer, publishing space opera under his own name, and more thoughtful stories under the pseudonym "Don A. The March issue was the first that was fully his responsibility.
His departure, on May 1, , gave Campbell a freer rein with the magazine. One of Campbell's first acts was to change the title from Astounding Stories to Astounding Science-Fiction , starting with the March issue. Campbell's editorial policy was targeted at the more mature readers of science fiction, and he felt that " Astounding Stories " did not convey the right image. Although "Astounding" was retained in the title, thereafter it was often printed in a color that made it much less visible than "Science-Fiction". Astounding returned to pulp-size in mid for six issues, and then became the first science fiction magazine to switch to digest size in November , increasing the number of pages to maintain the same total wordcount.
The price remained at 25 cents through these changes in format. The price increased again, to 35 cents, in August During , Astounding was priced at 50 cents in some areas to find out what the impact would be on circulation. The results were apparently satisfactory, and the price was raised with the November issue. The change began with the February issue, and was complete by October; for several issues both "Analog" and "Astounding" could be seen on the cover, with "Analog" becoming bolder and "Astounding" fading with each issue.
The front and back signatures were changed to glossy paper, to carry both advertisements and scientific features. The change did not attract advertising support, however, and from the April issue Analog reverted to digest size once again. Circulation, which had been increasing before the change, was not harmed, and continued to increase while Analog was in slick format.
Campbell died suddenly in July , but there was enough material in Analog ' s inventory to allow the remaining staff to put together issues for the rest of the year. They asked Kay Tarrant , who had been Campbell's assistant, to help them find a replacement: she contacted regular contributors to ask for suggestions. Several well-known writers turned down the job; Poul Anderson did not want to leave California, and neither did Jerry Pournelle , who also felt the salary was too small.
Before he died, Campbell had talked to Harry Harrison about taking over as editor, but Harrison did not want to live in New York. Lester del Rey and Clifford D. He chose Ben Bova , afterwards telling Bova that his stories and articles "were the only ones I could understand". Bova planned to stay for five years, to ensure a smooth transition after Campbell's sudden death; the salary was too low for him to consider remaining indefinitely.
Bova resigned in June , having stayed for a little longer than he had planned, and recommended Stanley Schmidt to succeed him. Schmidt's first issue was December , though material purchased by Bova continued to appear for several months. The first issue published by Davis was dated September Starting with the first issue, Davis switched Analog to a four-weekly schedule, rather than monthly, to align the production schedule with a weekly calendar.
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Instead of being dated "January ", the first issue under the new regime was dated "January 5, ", but this approach led to newsstands removing the magazine much more quickly, since the date gave the impression that it was a weekly magazine. The cover date was changed back to the current month starting with the April issue, but the new schedule remained in place, with a "Mid-September" issue in and , and "Mid-December" issues for more than a decade thereafter. Having just surpassed John W. Campbell's tenure of 34 years, Schmidt retired in August His place was taken by Trevor Quachri , who continues to edit Analog as of The first incarnation of Astounding was an adventure-oriented magazine: unlike Gernsback, Bates had no interest in educating his readership through science.
The covers were all painted by Wesso and similarly action-filled; the first issue showed a giant beetle attacking a man. Bates would not accept any experimental stories, relying mostly on formulaic plots. In the eyes of Mike Ashley , a science fiction historian, Bates was "destroying the ideals of science fiction". Smith 's Triplanetary , which Bates would have published had Astounding not folded in early The cover Wesso had painted for the story appeared on the March issue, the last to be published by Clayton. The policy was probably worked out between Tremaine and Desmond Hall, his assistant editor, in an attempt to give Astounding a clear identity in the market that would distinguish it from both the existing science fiction magazines and the hero pulps, such as The Shadow , that frequently used sf ideas.
The "thought variant" policy may have been introduced for publicity, rather than as a real attempt to define the sort of fiction Tremaine was looking for;  the early "thought variant" stories were not always very original or well executed. Over the succeeding issues, it became apparent that Tremaine was genuinely willing to publish material that would have fallen foul of editorial taboos elsewhere. He serialized Charles Fort 's Lo! Moore , and " Twilight ", by John W. Campbell, writing as Don A. One such was Raymond Z. Gallun 's "Old Faithful", which appeared in the December issue and was sufficiently popular that Gallun wrote a sequel, "Son of Old Faithful", published the following July.
Smith, and The Mightiest Machine , by Campbell. By the end of the year, Astounding was the clear leader of the small field of sf magazines. Astounding ' s readership was more knowledgeable and more mature than the readers of the other magazines, and this was reflected in the cover artwork, almost entirely by Howard V.
Brown , which was less garish than at Wonder Stories or Amazing Stories. Ashley describes the interior artwork as "entrancing, giving hints of higher technology without ignoring the human element", and singles out the work of Elliot Dold as particularly impressive. Tremaine's policy of printing material that he liked without staying too strictly within the bounds of the genre led him to serialize H. Lovecraft 's novel At the Mountains of Madness in early He followed this with Lovecraft's " The Shadow Out of Time " in June , though protests from science fiction purists occurred.
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Generally, however, Tremaine was unable to maintain the high standard he had set in the first few years, perhaps because his workload was high. Tremaine's slow responses to submissions discouraged new authors, although he could rely on regular contributors such as Jack Williamson, Murray Leinster, Raymond Gallun, Nat Schachner, and Frank Belknap Long. New writers who did appear during the latter half of Tremaine's tenure included Ross Rocklynne , Nelson S. Bond , and L. Sprague de Camp , whose first appearance was in September with " The Isolinguals ".
Although he did not gain full editorial control of Astounding until the March issue, Campbell was able to introduce some new features before then. In January , he began to include a short description of stories in the next issue, titled "In Times To Come"; and in March, he began "The Analytical Laboratory", which compiled votes from readers and ranked the stories in order.
Campbell wanted his writers to provide action and excitement, but he also wanted the stories to appeal to a readership that had matured over the first decade of the science fiction genre. He asked his writers to write stories that felt as though they could have been published as non-science fiction stories in a magazine of the future; a reader of the future would not need long explanations for the gadgets in their lives, so Campbell asked his writers to find ways of naturally introducing technology to their stories. The main contributors of these were R. Richardson , L.
Sprague de Camp, and Willy Ley. Campbell changed the approach to the magazine's cover art, hoping that more mature artwork would attract more adult readers and enable them to carry the magazine without embarrassment. Howard V. He also introduced Charles Schneeman as a cover artist, starting with the May issue, and Hubert Rogers in February ; Rogers quickly became a regular, painting all but four of the covers between September and August Algis Budrys recalled that " Astounding was the last magazine I picked up" as a child because, without covers showing men with ray guns and women with large breasts, "it didn't look like an SF magazine".
The period beginning with Campbell's editorship of Astounding is usually referred to as the Golden Age of Science Fiction , because of the immense influence he had on the genre. Within two years of becoming editor, he had published stories by many of the writers who would become central figures in science fiction. The list of names included established authors like L. Sprague de Camp , Henry Kuttner , and C. Moore , who became regulars in either Astounding or its sister magazine, Unknown , and new writers who published some of their first stories in Astounding , such as Lester del Rey , Theodore Sturgeon , Isaac Asimov , A.
The April issue included the first story by del Rey, "The Faithful", and de Camp's second sale, " Hyperpilosity ". De Camp contributed a nonfiction article, "Language for Time Travelers", in the July issue, which also contained Hubbard's first science fiction sale, "The Dangerous Dimension".
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Hubbard had been selling genre fiction to the pulps for several years by that time. The same issue contained Clifford Simak's "Rule 18"; Simak had more-or-less abandoned science fiction within a year after breaking into the field in , but he was drawn back by Campbell's editorial approach. The next issue featured one of Campbell's best-known stories, " Who Goes There? The market for science fiction expanded dramatically the following year; several new magazines were launched, including Startling Stories in January , Unknown in March a fantasy companion to Astounding , also edited by Campbell , Fantastic Adventures in May, and Planet Stories in December.
All of the competing magazines, including the two main extant titles, Wonder Stories and Amazing Stories , were publishing space opera, stories of interplanetary adventure, or other well-worn ideas from the early days of the genre. Campbell's attempts to make science fiction more mature led to a natural division of the writers: those who were unable to write to his standards continued to sell to other magazines; and those who could sell to Campbell quickly focused their attention on Astounding and sold relatively little to the other magazines.
The expansion of the market also benefited Campbell because writers knew that if he rejected their submissions, they could resubmit those stories elsewhere; this freed them to try to write to his standards. In July , the lead story was " Black Destroyer ", the first sale by van Vogt; the issue also included " Trends ", Asimov's first sale to Campbell and his second story to see print.
Later fans identified the issue as the start of the Golden Age. Smith, reappeared in October, with the first installment of Gray Lensman.