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Collier's Weekly

Entry updated 7 October 2022. Tagged: Publication.


US news and general interest magazine, noted early in its existence for its investigative journalism; counted as one of the Slicks although for most of its run it was in tabloid format. It was founded by the Irish immigrant Peter Fenelon Collier (1849-1909) as Collier's Once A Week from 28 April 1888, edited by fellow Irishman Nugent Robinson. It became Collier's Weekly in 1895 and simply Collier's from 1905. It remained weekly to 25 July 1953, then fortnightly to 4 January 1957. It had a succession of editors, none of whom had a special interest in science fiction or fantasy, other than John O'Hara Cosgrave, who was the magazine's managing editor but only for three months in 1912. The magazine's strength was that the editors knew what was popular or in vogue.

For many years Collier's Weekly published sf only intermittently, e.g., Jack London's "A Relic of the Pliocene" (12 January 1901), H G Wells's "A Moonlight Fable" (10 April 1909; vt "The Beautiful Suit" in The Country of the Blind, coll 1913) and George Allan England's "June 6, 2016" (22 April 1916), but from 1913 it developed a special relationship with Sax Rohmer and particularly with the stories of his villain Fu-Manchu. The first series began with "The Zayat Kiss" (15 February 1913) and continued through to "The Knocking on the Door" (28 June 1913), the ten stories that make up The Mystery of Dr Fu-Manchu (fixup 1913; vt The Insidious Dr Fu-Manchu 1913). Rohmer appeared in 208 issues of Collier's with either a story or serial episode until his last appearance in the issue for 19 March 1949. One other notable story from this period is "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" (27 May 1922) by F Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940) (see Time in Reverse). Otherwise Rohmer seemed to satisfy Collier's readers' demands for the exotic, although there were occasional stories by James Francis Dwyer, Harold Lamb and even Lord Dunsany.

It was not until after the Second World War that Collier's broadened its interest in sf, starting with Philip Wylie's article "Deliverance or DOOM" (29 September 1945) followed by "Blunder: A Story of the End of the World" (26 January 1946), both inspired by the detonation of the atomic bomb, a focus on nuclear warfare that climaxed with Preview of the War We Do Not Want (27 October 1951), a special issue about World War Three with articles and sf stories by Wylie and others. Further well-remembered individual sf publications were: "There Will Come Soft Rains" (6 May 1950), "A Sound of Thunder" (28 June 1952) and other stories by Ray Bradbury; "Revolt of the Triffids" (6 January-3 February 1951; 1951 as The Day of the Triffids; rev 1951) by John Wyndham; and many early stories by Jack Finney from 1951, including his most famous novel The Body Snatchers (10-24 December 1954; 1955; vt Invasion of the Body Snatchers 1973; rev 1978). Kurt Vonnegut Jr's first story appeared in Collier's, "Report on the Barnhouse Effect" (11 February 1950). Herman Wouk's The "Lomokome" Papers (17 February 1956; 1968) was published complete in one issue.

A 1952-1953 series of space-themed special issues of Collier's included nonfiction by Willy Ley and Wernher von Braun (whom see). [MA/JE/PN/DRL]

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