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Sloane, T O'Conor

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

(1851-1940) US editor and author of popular scientific works for many years before his direct involvement in sf; in 1914, long before his involvement with Hugo Gernsback began in 1920, his son married Thomas Alva Edison's daughter. He was associate editor (designated managing editor for #1) of Amazing Stories and of Amazing Stories Quarterly from the beginning, and carried much responsibility for the actual running of the magazines, which involved compiling and editing the issues, subject to Gernsback's final approval, and after Gernsback's fall from power that of Arthur Lynch. He succeeded to the editorship of both journals in 1929. Amazing Stories Quarterly ceased publication in 1934, but Sloane retained the editorship of Amazing until June 1938, when the ailing magazine was sold to the Chicago-based Ziff-Davis. Nearing his 80th year when he finally succeeded to the editorship, Sloane had a long white beard and an appropriately Rip Van Winkle-like approach to the job; though he worked for twelve years on SF Magazines, he stated publicly (in a 1929 Amazing editorial) his belief that Man would never achieve Space Flight. Amazing nevertheless bought the first stories of such writers as E E Smith, John W Campbell Jr and Jack Williamson; but the combination of poor payment and slack management made it inevitable that writers of any calibre would soon move to more attractive markets. Sloane actually lost the manuscript of Campbell's first story, and returned Clifford D Simak's first submission after four years' silence, remarking that it was "a bit dated". He was more than once fooled into publishing plagiarisms, though sometimes the truth of the matter could be complicated. On one occasion in February 1933, for instance, he printed a story – "The Ho-Ming Gland" by Malcolm R Afford – which had already appeared in Wonder Stories (January 1931) as "The Gland Men of the Island": the author had submitted the story to Sloane four years earlier but, having heard nothing after a year, had innocently sold it to the rival magazine.

Some of Sloane's technical publications continued to be used as course books or workbooks for years; they included How to Become a Successful Electrician (1903) and his study Liquid Air and the Liquefaction of Gases (1900). [MJE/MA]

Thomas O'Conor Sloane

born New York: 24 November 1851

died South Orange, New Jersey: 7 August 1940


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