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Authentic Science Fiction

Entry updated 16 August 2021. Tagged: Publication.


UK magazine. 85 issues, 1 January 1951 to October 1957, published by Hamilton & Co, Stafford, fortnightly to #8 then monthly, issues numbered consecutively, no volume numbers; edited by L G Holmes (Gordon Landsborough) (January 1951-November 1952), H J Campbell (December 1952-January 1956) and E C Tubb (February 1956-October 1957). Pocketbook-size January 1951-February 1957, Digest-size March-October 1957. #1 and #2 were entitled Authentic Science Fiction Series, #3-#8 Science Fiction Fortnightly, #9-#12 Science Fiction Monthly, #13-#28 Authentic Science Fiction, #29-#68 Authentic Science Fiction Monthly, #69-#77 Authentic Science Fiction again, and finally Authentic Science Fiction Monthly #78-#85.

This SF Magazine began as a novel series, numbered from #3, which quickly gained magazine departments alongside the novel. A serial was begun in #26 and short stories appeared from #29. Full-length novels were phased out and transferred to Hamilton's new paperback line, Panther Books. H J Campbell, under whose editorship the magazine improved considerably, included numerous science articles during his tenure, but E C Tubb swiftly eliminated most of the nonfiction. Generally, all stories were original except for two periods of including reprints, in 1953 and 1956-1957. The covers got off to a bad start, but from #35 many fine covers by "Davis" (art editor John Richards) and others appeared, featuring Space Flight and Astronomy until #78 saw a reversion to action-adventure.

Authentic's rates of payment (£1 per 1000 words) were low even for the time, and although the magazine sold well it seldom published stories of the first rank; an exception was "The Rose" (March 1953) by Charles L Harness. It was never a serious rival to New Worlds or Nebula but nevertheless represented a third tranche of British sf that had emerged from the Pulp paperback jungle of the early 1950s. The magazine never really lost that hard-edged (at times almost "hard-boiled") gritty science-fiction adventure image that drove the early novels and which was a key part of E C Tubb's writing. He was the most prolific contributor under his own name and a battalion of pseudonyms. Various pseudonyms on early Tubb novels were intended as House Names, but only Roy Sheldon really functioned as such; further house names included Jon J Deegan. The mainstay contributors, besides Tubb, under their own and pen names, were Bryan Berry, Sydney J Bounds, Kenneth Bulmer and William F Temple. Robert Presslie was also a regular, and Authentic covers and interior art were among Josh Kirby's earliest professional work (some of it signed "Adash" or "A-"). [FHP/PN/MA/DR]


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