Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

The fourteenth magazine

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The first issue of Astounding Stories of Super-Science

William Clayton was the successful publisher of a large group of pulp-paper action-adventure magazines. At the time there were, I think, thirteen. They made a diverse family. Among them were magazines devoted to western, detective, air, war, love, and adventure stories—at least one magazine of just about every popular type. Routinely each month, the editors of these and other magazines bought eye-catching pictures for the covers of their next issues, the engraver made plates for them, and the printer furnished final proofs of them, all thirteen assembled rectangularly on a single large sheet of paper…

Now, there were blank places on this sheet. The proofs occupied places in four rows of four columns each, only thirteen of the sixteen places being filled. This meant that month after month three of the sixteen places would stare empty at Clayton, in effect reproving him for not having three more magazines so that they need not be empty. I venture upon certainty when I say that Clayton on looking at this sheet would often have these particular money-lustful thoughts: “If I had sixteen magazines I’d get the three additional covers cheap…The paper for the covers, now going wasted, would be free…There would be very little added charge for press time…” The empty places would continually have urged him to have one to three more magazines…

I saw that Clayton was not to be stopped from having another magazine…Next morning I pumped myself full of combativeness and charged into Clayton’s office. It was all as easy as pie…There’d be an action-adventure Astounding Stories of Super-Science! I was to get right to work on it.

Harry Bates

Written by nevalalee

August 30, 2015 at 7:29 am

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