Talk:Amazing Stories

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Featured article Amazing Stories is a featured article; it (or a previous version of it) has been identified as one of the best articles produced by the Wikipedia community. Even so, if you can update or improve it, please do so.
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Date Process Result
September 30, 2008 Good article nominee Listed
October 31, 2008 Featured article candidate Promoted
Current status: Featured article
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Reprints ?[edit]

The article mentions that quite a few stories printed in Amazing stories have been republished over the years. What about the other contents of the magazine? Specifically I'd be interested to learn whether the reviews published in the very early issues Strange Adventures have been reprinted anywhere? Or, alternatively, does anyone know whether the old issues of SA have been collected by some libraries, where one can look them up? (I'm searching for the issue of Amazing Stories cover-dated December 1932, which contains a review about a book written by a journalist named Bochow whom I'm interested in with regard to my doctoral thesis).93.206.41.98 (talk) 01:12, 29 January 2011 (UTC)

I don't have a copy of that issue so I can't help you there. The Tymn/Ashley encyclopedia lists several sources that have partial or complete collections. Universities are BYU, Florida International, Harvard, Indiana (Lilly Library), MSU, MIT SF library, Northern Illinois, Penn State, Sarah Lawrence College, SUNY-Albany, Syracuse, Texas A&M, Tulane, U of Arizona, U of California Riverside, U of Maryland Baltimore, U of Montana, U of New Brunswick, U of New Mexico, UT Austin, U of Winnipeg, U of Wisconsin Milwaukee. Public Libraries listed are Dallas, NY, San Francisco, Red Wing MN. It's a 1985 reference so some of those institutions may no longer have the magazine.
I don't follow your comments about Strange Adventures; there was a magazine called that but it was quite unrelated to Amazing. I don't know of any reprint source for 1932 non-fiction from Amazing, I'm afraid. Mike Christie (talklibrary) 01:19, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
Thank you very much indeed, the above-posted information is a tremendous help! Of course, I was referring to Amazing Stories when I wrote "Strange Adventures" (I mixed up the two publications in a moment of absent-mindedness).93.206.41.98 (talk) 06:19, 29 January 2011 (UTC)

Infobox[edit]

An infobox was recently added; I don't think it benefits the article, and per User talk:Shortride#Infoboxes for Wonder Stories and Amazing Stories I'm not the only one. I'll leave this notice here for a day to see if anyone else comments before removing it. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 12:01, 23 October 2011 (UTC)

The 80 year publishing history of Amazing Stories is too complex for the Infobox magazine template. I have used it on a few magazines with a short and simple lifetime but it does not do well for long run magazines with multiple owners and editors. For example, how many times a year was it published? These details are covered with charts and tables in the article. Eliminate the infobox in this article. -- SWTPC6800 (talk) 21:50, 23 October 2011 (UTC)
  • I am flabbergasted that a featured article like this has no infobox. Infoboxes are not designed to represent the whole complex history of a topic. Instead, it is intended to provide a rapid overview of basic current information. When was it established? That's in the first sentence of the lead. When did it stop publishing? Sorry, no infobox, you'll have to search through the article. What's it's ISSN or OCLC number? Sorry, not in the article at all. Very unhelpful! --Randykitty (talk) 19:05, 18 February 2015 (UTC)
    I guess we'll have to agree to disagree; though if there's a consensus here to add an infobox of course we can do that. I'd really rather not until others chime in, though. There are articles where infoboxes are helpful, and there may be magazine articles for which the same is true, but in this case there's just too little that can be put in an infobox that is accurate and useful. Who's the publisher? Well, there were several. When did it stop publishing? It stopped at least twice, and depending on how you count the online version it may or may not be stopped now. Editor? Too many to put in an single infobox field. The genre and the launch date are simple to state, and both are in the lead sentence. Is there something else you think the infobox could convey that would be useful? Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 01:16, 19 February 2015 (UTC)
    Amazing Stories has an amazing number of publishers. I think only showing two is a bigger omission than the ISSN. Much of the history of Amazing Stories happens before the ISSN was created in 1975. Maybe that is why it is not at the top of the article. Amazing Stories stopped publishing numerous times, should they all be in the infobox? I think the infobox should be fully populated or removed. Update: There are at least four ISSN numbers for Amazing, ISSN: 0002-6891, ISSN: 0164-7687, ISSN: 0279-1706, and ISSN: 1058-0751. Which one do we use? There may be more. -- SWTPC6800 (talk) 00:07, 22 March 2015 (UTC)
Agreed that partial is worse than nothing; a compromise could be to put text (such as "see below") linked to the relevant section. ‑‑xensyriaT 22:28, 22 March 2015 (UTC)

Amazing Stories was published monthly, bimonthly, quarterly and sporadically over its 90 year history. There have been about a dozen publishers and at least four ISDN numbers. It has died and has been resurrected multiple times in the last 30 years. The infobox wants a frequency of publication, a publisher, a first issue, last issue and an ISDN. Amazing Stories is far too complex for that. One of Randykitty complants was the ISDN and OCLC numbers were not found in the article. This information could be added to the text. I am planning to remove the infobox in the next few days. -- SWTPC6800 (talk) 20:55, 23 March 2015 (UTC)

Nobody says that each and every line of an infobox should be filled in. If it's inconvenient, leave it empty. Having ISSN and OCLC numbers is quite useful, though. When you click on them, you'll go to WorldCat, which will tell you what libraries hold the magazine. First issue and final issue can be in there, as well as the country. The cover image looks a lot better in the infobox than it does as a thumb. An easy to see link to the magazine's website, which is still up, is handy, too. I really don't see any unsurmountable problems. --Randykitty (talk) 22:13, 23 March 2015 (UTC)
Amazing Stories was promoted to a Feature Article without an infobox. The magazine ended around 1995 and the trademarks have been acquired by several new owners who have tried to restart the brand several times with limited success. The current owner's website states: "The World's First Science Fiction Magazine returns as a Social Magazine for FANS!" The website is published by "The Experimenter Publishing Company". The infobox does not provide useful information for the magazine's most notable period. -- SWTPC6800 (talk) 23:32, 23 March 2015 (UTC)
There's no reason why featured articles should be kept in stasis once promoted. If the end date is unclear, again: leave it blank. The start date is not disputed. As for the ISSN, if there is more than one, there's a number of solutions: 1/ list the most recent one (which is what we usually, but not always, do). 2/ List the one that was in use longest. 3/ Modify the infobox so that it can accommodate multiple ISSNs, like the {{Infobox journal}} does. I think the WorldCat links are very important, because they help our readers localize the magazine in a local library. --Randykitty (talk) 10:22, 24 March 2015 (UTC)
Articles are not static after reaching feature status. My issue is the severe limitations in the infobox template and the complicated history of Amazing Stories magazine. The magazine was published monthly, bimonthly, quarterly by a dozen different publishers. It stopped publishing several times. The web site listed is a fan site and blog. The website owner grabbed the Amazing Stories trademark after Wizards of the Coast abandoned it in March 2007. The web site is first rate but I doubt it has any formal relationship with the magazine. I have added a link to WorldCat with the OCLC and ISDN numbers. -- SWTPC6800 (talk) 22:19, 24 March 2015 (UTC)
Agreed; articles should continue to improve where possible. I agree with SWTPC6800; now that everything that gives an incomplete picture of the magazine has been removed, the only items left in the infobox that are not stated in the first sentence of the lead are the ISSN and OCLC, and as discussed above the ISSN is arguably incomplete too. I would prefer to see the infobox removed. Randykitty, do you really think such an abbreviated infobox helps the reader? You're right that the OCLC is important, but it's now linked at the end of the article. I'm not trying to remove any information from the article; I just don't see what a reader gets from an infobox on this article other than the appearance of uniformity with other magazine articles with infoboxes. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 22:43, 26 March 2015 (UTC)
"The use of infoboxes is neither required nor prohibited for any article. Whether to include an infobox, which infobox to include, and which parts of the infobox to use, is determined through discussion and consensus among the editors at each individual article." WP:INFOBOXUSE I have used infoboxes on Electronics Illustrated, Model Rocketry (magazine) and Modern Electronics. I don't think it would be possible to construct an infobox for Electrician and Mechanic. Amazing Stories publishing frequency and editors are clearly shown in the tables for each decade. This method is far superior to the limited features of the infobox. I am removing the infobox. -- SWTPC6800 (talk) 01:13, 27 March 2015 (UTC)
I don't think that at this point you have consensus to remove the infobox. The information in the current box is correct and not misleading. I understand you are not in favor of an infobox. I have yet to hear an argument how this infobox is detrimental to the article. Until a convincing argument is brought forward, I think the box should stay. --Randykitty (talk) 10:14, 27 March 2015 (UTC)
I don't get involved in this sort of discussion very often, so I'd like to ask for some clarification. There are three of us discussing this; two are regular editors of the article, and those two think the infobox is a bad idea; the third editor thinks it should stay. It was added by an IP who has not stayed to participate in the discussion. Would that really be characterized by most editors as "no consensus"? I'm not trying to be antagonistic, but it does look to me as if that would be good enough to remove the infobox in most editors' eyes. I'd also add that the usual cycle is bold/revert/discuss, which if followed here would have left us with no infobox. I dislike even single reverts if a discussion can do the job instead, but the result is that the bold edit becomes the status quo, which is not the intent of that guideline. If you don't agree we have consensus to remove it, how can we resolve this? Can we bring in a third party to assess consensus? I hate to do an RfC on this because I have heard that infoboxes draw partisans (on both sides); I'm not a partisan against infoboxes, though I use them sparingly, and I don't want to make this article a debating area for that disagreement. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 11:32, 27 March 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Tell me why the current infobox is so bad for the article... --Randykitty (talk) 12:14, 27 March 2015 (UTC)

I'm about to go to work, but here's a quick comment; more tonight, if you'd like to continue the discussion. Infoboxes are good when they succinctly summarize key information about the subject of the article. Those three words -- succinct, summarize, and key -- are important; there's no value to a non-succinct infobox, nor to one that is no more succinct than than the article itself, nor to one that doesn't contain the most important information. This one is succinct, but it doesn't summarize, and it omits key information that can't be easily placed in this format. It gives the reader the impression that this is the key information about the magazine, but that's not the case. The reader's eye is drawn away from the accurate, complete information to the infobox. That's my primary objection. A separate issue is that the infobox format also tends to encourage other editors to add more fields to a thinly populated infobox, so in a case like this where there are several fields that can't easily be populated it leads to additional maintenance work to clean up good faith edits adding incomplete data. That last point applies to all infoboxes, and isn't an argument to omit an infobox in a case where it adds value, but in a marginal case I think it's an argument against adding one. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 12:32, 27 March 2015 (UTC)
I'm far from convinced and don't see any of the disadvantages you describe. However, it's two against one, so in the absence of consensus I have removed the infobox. --Randykitty (talk) 13:04, 27 March 2015 (UTC)
Thank you -- I appreciate it. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 13:27, 27 March 2015 (UTC)

Online versions[edit]

The link to University of Wisconsin–Parkside archives is odd; the collection is offline (so why a specific link?). A few websites do have scanned online versions however:

If anyone finds more sources, please add them here (and or update the main article if it's a comprehensive batch)! --xensyriaT 19:55, 20 April 2012 (UTC)

Copyright and Trademark[edit]

A search of the US Copyright records show that copyright for "Amazing & 29 other titles" was transferred from Arthur Bernhard & Ultimate Publishing Company, Inc. to TSR Hobbies, Inc. on 11 May 1982. Copyright Document Number V1912P303. This was the latest entry I found. The entire assets of to TSR Hobbies could have been transferred to another party. It was common for writers to maintain an individual copyright on their stories and grant a onetime use to a magazine. Reprints of science fiction magazines would be a copyright nightmare.

The current trademark for "Amazing Stories" is held by Steve J. Davidson, PO Box 1068, Hillsboro, New Hampshire 03244. Serial Number 77422636, Registration Number 4237952, Filing Date March 14, 2008, Registration Date November 6, 2012. The Goods and Services covered are "Electronic publications, namely, periodical magazines featuring fictional pieces, articles, interviews, illustrations, photographs, imagery, animation, digital video, digital audio and other information in the fields of science fiction, fantasy and horror in popular culture recorded on computer media." And "Publications, namely, periodical magazines featuring fictional pieces, articles, interviews, illustrations, photographs, imagery and other information in the fields of science fiction, fantasy and horror in popular culture."

A trademark expires if it is not used in commerce for a period of time. Someone else can start using it then register a new trademark. Wizards of the Coast held the trademark from 2003 to 2007 (Serial Number 76534774). -- SWTPC6800 (talk) 19:28, 24 March 2015 (UTC)

Influence on the field[edit]

I've reverted the recent changes by an IP to the "Influence on the field" section. The additional material looks reasonable, but it's not sourced, and I don't have my copy of Trillion Year Spree handy to check if it supports it. My recollection is that it does not support the new wording. If we can find a reliable source that gives this opinion we can re-add it. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 02:23, 10 January 2016 (UTC)

Reverted changes to the lead[edit]

The lead was recently cut quite a bit; I've reverted the changes. The edit summary was "Way too much material irrelevant to a lede. Removed stuff like SFWA contract disputes and the like from the start to boil it down to a proper intro." The lead is long, but it's a long article, and I don't think the lead was inappropriately long. The lead should summarize the article, but the cuts removed discussion of most of the publication history. The SFWA dispute led to the loss of two editors, and was a significant event in the life of the magazine. If anyone thinks the lead should be cut let's talk about it, but I'm not convinced -- and it should be mentioned that this is the version of the lead that was in the article when it was promoted to featured status, so there is some consensus behind it. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 18:12, 19 February 2016 (UTC)

I agree with Mike Christie, a significant change to a long standing feature article should first be discussed on the talk page. -- SWTPC6800 (talk) 19:02, 19 February 2016 (UTC)
I also think that lead is way too long and detailed. [[1]] notes that intros should be "concise" - and while this lead does contain four paragraphs, which is the general rule of thumb for intro size, a couple are huge and should really be broken into several smaller paragraphs. A casual reader coming to this article for a quick sense of Amazing Stories' history would, I think, find it overwhelming and intimidating - the intro should be for the casual reader, with details below for the more interested reader.
Compare the intro for Time (magazine), which is 12 lines long in my browser configuration yet covers all the important details. Amazing Stories' lead, by contrast, is 30 lines long (actually more, because it goes below the illustration and thus half the lines are full width) and delves into (IMHO) excessive detail about every editor.
I would suggest first creating an infobox, as with Time, and then trimming the intro a bit at a time, moving information down if needed (much of it is duplicated). - DavidWBrooks (talk) 12:25, 20 February 2016 (UTC)
I'm not a fan of infoboxes, as I think they tend to oversimplify, but we can add one if there's consensus to do so. I'm not clear what information you're saying is duplicated -- do you mean duplicated between the lead and the body? That's a requirement; there shouldn't be anything in the lead that's not in the body. Or do you mean something else? Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 12:30, 20 February 2016 (UTC)
David, I see you've just added an infobox. There's a discussion further up this page about it which (with only three participants) did not result in adding an infobox. Could we wait to add it until there's a consensus? I'd be fine with bringing in more editors, perhaps from the sf WikiProject, to get a broader discussion. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 12:49, 20 February 2016 (UTC)

EDIT CONFLICT - I've added an infobox (didn't see your comment, sorry) with very rudimentary information - the form has lots of spaces for more info if people see fit, if we want to keep it.

Yeah, "duplication" wasn't the right word - what I meant was excessive detail. The intro doesn't need, I think, names of eight different editors or discussion of McFadden/Tek and Brown's plans that didn't go through or many other details - those are of interest to some readers but really bog down a first quick introduction.
I think the two middle paragraphs of the intro could be distilled into a single paragraph roughly the size of the current fourth paragraph. It should convey to the casual reader the that the magazine went through a number of owners, editors, styles and approaches over the decades as it struggled to be profitable, with a sentence or two about interesting moments - the Shaver Mystery, the fight with the SFWA, the Hugo Award era.
The final paragraph is good for context and importance. - DavidWBrooks (talk) 13:04, 20 February 2016 (UTC)
POST EDIT CONFLICT (this gets a bit confusing) - we can certainly remove the infobox for discussion. - DavidWBrooks (talk) 13:05, 20 February 2016 (UTC)
It might be easier for you to do the trimming, since in my head all the information is interesting and important. Would you mind making the edit, and then we can discuss what's left out and see how it looks? And the very simple infobox you've added is OK with me; it doesn't have the numerous fields that are likely to be inaccurate, like "last year published". If we can leave a comment in the article telling editors not to add fields to the infobox without discusson, I'd be OK with leaving it in. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 13:08, 20 February 2016 (UTC)

I just removed the infobox and then came here and remembered this discussion. I took it out because it duplicated the picture below, which had a caption pointing out Gernsback's signature; I think that's a nice touch. I suppose it could be combined with the infobox; that didn't occur to me. If someone wants to put it back, I'd suggest including the caption to the existing picture. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 11:24, 28 May 2016 (UTC)

Suggested intro rewrite[edit]

I'd replace the second and third paragraph of the intro with this:

Amazing was published, with some interruptions, for almost eighty years, going through a half-dozen owners and many editors as it struggled to be profitable. Gernsback was forced into bankruptcy and lost control of the magazine in 1929, and by 1938 it was purchased by Ziff-Davis, who hired Raymond A. Palmer as editor. Palmer made the magazine successful though it was not regarded as a quality magazine within the science fiction community. In the late 1940s Amazing presented as fact stories about the Shaver Mystery, a lurid mythos that explained accidents and disaster as the work of robots named deros, which led to dramatically increased circulation but also widespread ridicule. Amazing switched to a digest format in 1953, shortly before the end of the pulp-magazine era. It was sold to Sol Cohen's Universal Publishing Company in 1965, which filled it with reprinted stories but did not pay a reprint fee to the authors, creating a conflict with the newly formed Science Fiction Writers of America. Ted White took over as editor in 1969, eliminated the reprints and made the magazine respected again: Amazing was nominated for the prestigious Hugo award three times during his tenure in the 1970s. Several other owners attempted to create a modern incarnation of the magazine in the following decades, but publication was suspended after the March 2005 issue. A new incarnation appeared in July 2012 as an online magazine.

- DavidWBrooks (talk) 13:40, 20 February 2016 (UTC)

  • As a casual reader, this looks good. My only question in comparison to the current lead is whether Cele Goldsmith deserves a mention. ‑‑YodinT 13:57, 20 February 2016 (UTC)
  • I agree; this looks good, and my only concern would be the omission of a mention of Goldsmith. I might copyedit a touch, but that can wait. SWTPC6800, what do you think? Re the infobox, I'd rather remove the "frequency"; it was bimonthly too, and quite irregular at other times -- not something summarizable in an infobox. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 16:21, 20 February 2016 (UTC)