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Tremaine, F Orlin

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

(1899-1956) US editor and author; his first story was "The Throwback" for Weird Tales in October 1926 as by Orlin Frederick. Already experienced in Pulp-magazine publishing – he had edited various magazines from 1921 onward, including Bernarr Macfadden's Brain Power 1921-1924 and True Story in 1924 – Tremaine assumed the editorship of Astounding Stories (see Astounding Science-Fiction) in October 1933, after it had been taken over by Street & Smith; curiously, although he had been working for Astounding's previous publishers, Clayton Magazines, Tremaine seems to have had no connection with the magazine prior to becoming its editor. He produced 50 issues of Astounding, initially with the assistance of Desmond W Hall, and under his editorship it became unquestionably the pre-eminent sf magazine of its day, featuring all the leading writers of the period and publishing the first stories of such writers as L Sprague de Camp and Eric Frank Russell. He soon instituted a policy of featuring in each issue at least one story described as a Thought-Variant – i.e., a tale which presented a new concept, or a new gloss on a familiar idea. As an attention-attracting device this was an undoubted success, inspiring an imitation "new-story" policy in Wonder Stories. When Tremaine became editorial director of a number of the Street and Smith magazines, he gave up the editorship of Astounding, being followed in December 1937 by his personal choice for the job, John W Campbell Jr, whose stories as by Don A Stuart Tremaine had been publishing for several years; the Golden Age of SF was just around the corner. Tremaine's "thought-variant" notion can be seen as marking an important step in shifting magazine sf from its concentration on pulp adventure to the idea-led sf instituted by his successor.

The next year Tremaine left the company to found his own publishing firm, Orlin Tremaine Co, producing and editing Comet, which lasted only five issues 1940-1941. He wrote a number of stories under his own name, and at least 1 as Warner van Lorne. He worked in non-sf publishing enterprises in later years, before being forced into early retirement through ill health. [MJE]

see also: Robots; SF Magazines.

Frederick Orlin Tremaine

born Harrisonville, New York: 7 January 1899

died New York: 22 October 1956


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