The Thrill Book

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The Thrill Book was a short-lived pulp magazine published by Street & Smith in 1919. The Thrill Book is regarded as the first American pulp to specialise in fantasy and science fiction stories.[1]

Publication history[edit]

The Thrill Book was launched in March 1919; the first editor was Harold Hersey, and the first issues were published in the format of a 48-page dime novel.[2] The first issue contained the werewolf story "Wolf of the Steppes" by Greye La Spina, which had been rejected from The Popular Magazine.[2] About half the content of the magazine was devoted to supernatural fiction; the rest to mainstream fiction. Most of the Hersey's issues contained stories by little known-authors, although Tod Robbins, Seabury Quinn and Fulton Oursler appeared in The Thrill Book during his tenure.[3] After eight issues, Hersey was dismissed and Ronald Oliphant replaced him as the publication's editor; The Thrill Book's format was also changed to that of a regular pulp magazine. Oliphant brought in authors familiar to pulp readers, including H. Bedford-Jones, Murray Leinster, and William Wallace Cook, and began publishing science fiction stories in The Thrill Book.[1] Oliphant also changed the magazine's format to imitate the enormously popular Adventure. The most famous story to appear in The Thrill Book was the science fiction novel "The Heads of Cerebus" by Francis Stevens.[4] Due to poor sales, Street & Smith cancelled the magazine; the October 15th issue was the final one.[3]


Because The Thrill Book was only sold in selected parts of the US, copies of the magazine are very scarce and are highly prized by pulp magazine collectors.[3] For years, The Heads of Cerebus was the only story from the magazine to be reprinted. In 2005, Wildside Press reprinted the September 1 issue of The Thrill Book as part of their "Pulp Classics" series.[5]


  1. ^ a b Richard Bleiler, "Thrill Book", in The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction edited by John Clute and Peter Nicholls. Orbit, 1999, ISBN 1-85723-897-4 (p. 1222)
  2. ^ a b Lee Server, Danger is my business: an illustrated history of the Fabulous Pulp Magazines. Chronicle Books, 1993. ISBN 0-8118-0112-8 (pp. 33-4)
  3. ^ a b c Will Murray, "The Thrill Book Story", in Pulp Vault Magazine, No. 14. Black Dog Books, 2011, ISBN 1-884449-07-7 (pp. 11-28).
  4. ^ Darrell Schweitzer, The Fantastic Horizon: Essays and Reviews. Wildside Press, 2009 ISBN 1-4344-0320-3 (pp. 124-127).
  5. ^ Pulp Classics: The Thrill Book. Wildside Press, LLC, 2005. ISBN 1-59224-198-0 .

Further reading[edit]

The Annotated Index to The Thrill Book by Richard Bleiler. Borgo Press, 1991, ISBN 1-55742-206-0 .