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Street & Smith

Entry updated 9 January 2023. Tagged: Publisher.

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Important US Magazine publisher, established in the nineteenth century with various dime-novel series like Good News and The Nugget Library, and publishing early juvenile sf in the Tom Edison Jr. and Electric Bob series. The general-fiction The Popular Magazine (1903-1931) published a good few sf stories too. S&S was particularly famous for its Westerns, including Ned Buntline's deeply influential Buffalo Bill Cody stories, which helped mythologize the West. S&S were prominent in the splitting of Pulp magazines into various genres, each aiming to have a market leader, one example being Detective Story Magazine. S&S was also the first to carry over from dime-novel publishing the idea of a pulp magazine devoted to a single character, with the very successful The Shadow (1931-1949), whose adventures bordered sometimes on sf (see Walter B Gibson; The Shadow), The Avenger (see Paul Ernst) and, rather closer to sf, Doc Savage magazine (1933-1949).

When Clayton Publishing Company, publishers of Astounding Stories (see Astounding Science-Fiction) began to flounder in 1933, S&S bought the magazine in order to fill yet another market niche. S&S's considerable financial backing meant that Astounding could pay quite good rates, get good stories, and compete strongly in the market, which it did. Later, S&S (and editor John W Campbell Jr) added a fantasy companion magazine, Unknown (later Unknown Worlds). S&S's period of power coincided with the pulp boom; from 1948 the firm was phasing out its pulp publication and, with paperback books and television increasingly threatening the dominance of the magazines, declining in importance (see Publishing). S&S expired in 1961; its only remaining sf title, Analog, was sold to Condé Nast, the last S&S issue being January 1961. [PN]

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