Pearson's Weekly

Tagged: Publication

UK 16pp tabloid magazine published by C A Pearson Ltd, edited by Peter Keary and others. Weekly, 26 July 1890 to 1 April 1939. Retitled The New Pearson and Today from 17 September 1938, and The New Pearson's Weekly from 26 November 1938. Incorporated into Tit-Bits from 8 April 1939.

Pearson's Weekly was the first magazine C Arthur Pearson set up when he left the employ of George Newnes in 1890 and it was notable for its publicity stunts. Right from the first issue, Pearson reprinted Elizabeth Bisland's attempt to recreate Jules Verne's popular novel as a publicity stunt for Cosmopolitan magazine in America. Pearson serialized it as "Round the World in 76 Days" (26 July-25 October 1890; 1891 as In Seven Stages: a Flying Trip Around the World). Soon after Pearson decided to send George Griffith on a similar record-breaking trip, which he achieved in 65 days and which he wrote up for Pearson's Weekly in "How I Broke the Record Round the World" (2 June-1 September 1894; in Around the World in 65 Days coll 2008).

Griffith was Pearson's major contributor of science fiction and Future War serials: the Weekly would run The Angel of the Revolution (21 January-14 October 1893; cut 1893), The Syren of the Skies (30 December 1893-4 August 1894; rev 1894 as Olga Romanoff; or, The Syren of the Skies), Valdar the Oft-Born (2 February-24 August 1895; rev 1895), Briton or Boer? (8 August 1896-9 January 1897; 1897) as well as many short stories, most under the alias Levin Carnac. Louis Tracy took on Griffith's Future-War mantle with The Final War (28 December 1895-1 August 1896), An American Emperor (26 December 1896-24 July 1897; 1897) – M P Shiel helped Tracy out on a couple of episodes for 17 and 24 April; The Lost Provinces (1 January-11 June 1898; 1898) and The Invaders (10 March-11 August; 1901)

During this period Pearson was also fortunate in securing the new H Rider Haggard novel Heart of the World (11 August 1894-26 January 1895) and H G Wells's The Invisible Man (12 June-7 August 1897; exp 1897). This means that during the first decade of Pearson's Weekly there was barely an issue which did not include an episode of a science-fiction/Future War serial, or one of many quirky short stories, usually anonymous – such as "The Finger of Fire" (3 December 1892), where a Scientist discovers how to burn water, and "The Surgeon's Experiment" which, though uncredited, is actually by W C Morrow (15 October 1886 The Argonaut; 11 April 1896): here a man's head is replaced by a metal ball to hold his brain, which somehow gives the resulting Cyborg superhuman strength.

Unfortunately, with the new century the fiction in Pearson's Weekly changed direction and generally became more trivial with far less science fiction. There are odd moments, such as Barry Pain's Robinson Crusoe's Return (15 March-26 April 1906; 1906) in which Defoe's hero wakes up in modern Britain (> Sleeper Awakes), but thereafter the emphasis shifted to crime and mystery stories and the Golden Age of sf in Pearson's Weekly had passed. [MA]

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