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Hornig, Charles D

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author, Editor, Fan.

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(1916-1999) US editor whose career began in September 1933 when, as a young sf fan, he started a Fanzine called The Fantasy Fan: The Fans' Own Magazine (see Amateur Magazine), and happened to send a copy of it to Hugo Gernsback. By coincidence, Gernsback was at that time looking for a new managing editor for Wonder Stories, and was so impressed by Hornig's editorial that he decided to offer him the post. At seventeen, Hornig became the youngest-ever sf magazine editor, attending evening classes at the same time until he finished high school. He edited Wonder Stories November 1933-April 1936, when the magazine was sold to another publisher and became Thrilling Wonder Stories. During his tenure, he initiated a "new-story" policy in an attempt to emulate the Thought-Variant stories published by F Orlin Tremaine in Astounding; but this did not achieve many notable results – although he did publish Stanley G Weinbaum's first story, "A Martian Odyssey" (July 1934 Wonder Stories) – to great acclaim. He also published one story of his own, "The Fatal Glance" (February 1935 Wonder Stories) as by Derwin Lesser, a pseudonym used again in articles contributed to the magazine Science Fiction Stories, which he edited from its inception as Science Fiction in March 1939. He also edited two companion magazines: Future Fiction and Science Fiction Quarterly. None of these magazines achieved any distinction; they were taken over (and the first two titles amalgamated) by Robert A W Lowndes in 1941.

Hornig did not give up his fan activities during the early 1930s, continuing The Fantasy Fan on a monthly basis until February 1935, and publishing – among other authors who became well-known – original works by H P Lovecraft as well as the revised version of his Supernatural Horror in Literature (1933-1935; left unfinished when the journal terminated). At Gernsback's instigation he also began the Science Fiction League, a club centred on Wonder Stories, which was an important shaper of early sf Fandom. A convinced pacifist, Hornig was a conscientious objector to World War Two, and in 1942 was assigned to a public-service forestry camp. He left in 1943 and was imprisoned later the same year as an absolute objector to all forms of wartime service. [MJE/JC]

Charles Derwin Hornig

born Jersey City, New Jersey: 25 May 1916

died Santa Clara, California: 11 October 1999



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