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Entry updated 21 August 2012. Tagged: Publication.


US Digest-size magazine which ran for 63 issues from October 1950 to October 1958. Its first two issues were published by the Clark Publishing Co, and were edited by Raymond A Palmer; from the third issue, February 1951, it was acquired by William L Hamling's Greenleaf Publishing Co, and continued with Hamling as editor until October 1958. Beginning as a bimonthly, it operated a six-weekly and then briefly a monthly schedule September 1952-July 1955. Until July 1955 its full title was Imagination: Stories of Science and Fantasy; from October 1955 it became Imagination Science Fiction.

Imagination was really a slimmed-down version of Amazing Stories with more than a hint of Fantastic Adventures. It ran a short novel in each issue and dealt primarily in routine Space Opera, featuring an unusually high number of titles ending in exclamation marks. Among its most frequent contributors were Kris Neville and Daniel F Galouye, both of whom published much of their early work in Imagination; plus Milton Lesser, Dwight V Swain and, towards the end of Imagination's career, Edmond Hamilton. Tucked away within Imagination, however, are some surprising stories. Ray Bradbury's "The Fire Balloons" first appeared here under the title "In This Sign" (April 1951), one of his later Martian Chronicles stories. Robert Sheckley debuted here with "Final Examination" (May 1952). "The Lonely" (July 1955) by William F Temple turns on the idea that the last man on Earth might be gay.

Imagination never really built upon its potential and despite running some innovative material, especially the work of Daniel F Galouye, relied on the old regulars. Hamling even brought over with him from Ziff-Davis some of the House Names such as his own S M Tenneshaw, under which he continued to write, sharing the name with Randall Garrett, John Jakes, Frank M Robinson and Robert Silverberg. The magazine thus felt like just more of the same. [MA/BS]

see also: Leroy Yerxa.


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