US digest magazine, saddle-stapled, 18 issues Summer 1966 to March 1971, published by Health Knowledge Inc, New York; edited by Robert A W Lowndes; 132 pages; quarterly.
Startling Mystery Stories was one of the routine genre magazines added by Robert A W Lowndes to the Health Knowledge Inc list during his time with this publisher, a companion to Magazine of Horror. The idea behind the magazine was to run stories of bizarre and unusual mysteries, typified by the Dr Satan stories by Paul Ernst or the Simon Ark stories by Edward D Hoch, which were only borderline sf at best, and more often supernatural. Contents were chiefly reprints, including three of the Darkness stories by Murray Leinster, but each issue included one, two or (exceptionally) three original short stories. The magazine is of interest for publishing Stephen King's first story "The Glass Floor" (Fall 1967 #6); also, in the final issue, F Paul Wilson's debut "The Cleaning Machine" (March 1971 #18). Other contributors of original work included Terry Carr and Ted White in collaboration with "The Secret of the City" (Fall 1966 #2), L Sprague de Camp (verse) and Henry Slesar. Lowndes revised two of his earlier stories including "The Long Wall" (March 1942 Stirring Science Stories as by Wilfred Owen Morley) as "Settler's Wall" (Fall 1968), a Möbius-themed story of warped Dimensions. [MA/DRL]
Previous versions of this entry