This page is intended to give a little more background on the site, the rationale behind it, and my plans for the future, for those who might be curious about such things. Currently it's divided into five sections:
The idea behind the magazine database started many years ago when I started writing bibliographies for sf authors (such as James Blish and Clifford Simak) who had published extensively outside the genre and realised that, while the world of sf/fantasy/horror magazines was fairly well documented, things were very different in the outside world. Not only were there typically no indexes for other genres (such as westerns or sports magazines), but nobody even seemed to know quite which issues of which magazines existed.
Recent bibliographic efforts by people such as Mike Ashley, Bill Contento, Larry Estep, Steve Miller & Leonard Robbins suggested that it might, one day, be possible to index all these magazines, but I was greatly frustrated at the amount of overlap between the different indexes and the fact that there was still no clear definition of exactly what had not been indexed. This latter has been partially addressed by the sterling efforts of Doug Ellis, John Locke and John Gunnison in The Adventure House Guide to the Pulps but their volume, while admirable, only covers a small fraction of the magazines published.
My ongoing goal is for this site to be a definitive reference to exactly what magazines exist, what issues were published and, by extension, where they are indexed. Because this area is so ill-defined and full of rumour, only a fluid format such as a web site provides scope to update the status of entries as further information comes in. At the same time it, hopefully, provides a central location where fans can easily pass on information they have to be recorded for posterity, without having to write a formal article to be published in one of the many (fine) magazines around or to risk it being buried in the archives of a discussion group such as FictionMags or PulpMags.
There is obvious room to expand the scope of magazines covered almost indefinitely, and this will no doubt happen over time - for example, there are any number of fanzines in the various genres, many of which contain relevant material, only a handful of which are covered. The guiding principle throughout will be that something will only be added if its addition is felt to add value to the content of the site - but if you have an index to the fiction in all issues of Smith's Magazine (or anything else) please let me know and I'd be happy to publicise it.
As you will see when browsing through the magazine lists, there are many worthy magazines that have never been indexed, and many others which have been indexed but for which one or more issues are missing. No matter how modest your collection, please take a moment to scan the separate list of major magazines with some or all issues unindexed and see if you have some of the missing issues. If so, please send an e-mail so that I know, at least, where the issues are held.
One of the issues I had to address when compiling the magazine checklists was
that of how to describe the size of the magazines. At one extreme, I could
have included the physical dimensions in inches or centimetres but, while this
had a certain attraction from a purist standpoint, I soon realised that it actually
conveyed little in the way of useful information to the average reader.
Conversely, it did seem desirable to distinguish between, say, magazines that
were published as mass-market paperbacks and those published as pulps. Fortunately, while I was debating this, I came across the excellent classification
of magazine sizes that Mike Ashley did for the FictionMags
mailing list and, never being slow to steal from the best, I immediately adopted
it for this site. As I usually don't have access to the magazines themselves
I have had to guess at times, but hopefully most of the classifications are
accurate. The full list of terms used (with measurements, width by height,
in inches) is as follows:
In terms of the range of size, from largest to smallest, the terms run:
Large tabloid [folio]
Large pulp [bedsheet]
Quarto [new standard]
B-format [trade paperback]
Vest pocketbook [chapbook]
One of the issues I had to address when compiling the magazine checklists was that of how to describe the size of the magazines. At one extreme, I could have included the physical dimensions in inches or centimetres but, while this had a certain attraction from a purist standpoint, I soon realised that it actually conveyed little in the way of useful information to the average reader. Conversely, it did seem desirable to distinguish between, say, magazines that were published as mass-market paperbacks and those published as pulps.
Fortunately, while I was debating this, I came across the excellent classification of magazine sizes that Mike Ashley did for the FictionMags mailing list and, never being slow to steal from the best, I immediately adopted it for this site. As I usually don't have access to the magazines themselves I have had to guess at times, but hopefully most of the classifications are accurate. The full list of terms used (with measurements, width by height, in inches) is as follows:
In terms of the range of size, from largest to smallest, the terms run:
Author bibliographies are still my real passion, and all else follows from there. However, I am uncomfortably aware of two facts:
As such, I'm desperately keen to encourage as many people as possible to indulge in this exciting hobby (or perverse obsession if you prefer) so please if you have a bibliography you'd like to publish, or a trunkload of information on your favourite author that you'd like to preserve for posterity, or would just like to give a hand in the various projects.
To help avoid duplication I intend to extend the list in due course to cover extensive author bibliographies that have been published in magazines and also to mention projects that are "in progress" - in each case, obviously, I'd welcome any information anyone can give me.
This site was originally constructed using Microsoft FrontPage, using a custom theme purchased from ThemePak (for the princely sum of $5) - the latter can definitely be recommended if you want something slightly more interesting than the standard themes provided by FrontPage. In the time since I have fine-tuned the HTML somewhat by hand to avoid some of the format limitations (and size overheads) of vanilla FrontPage and to remove any Microsoft-specific extensions.
Because of the large amount of information that needs to be displayed (particularly on the magazine pages) I have designed the pages specifically for a screen resolution of 1024x768 pixels, and suspect it will not display very well on a lower-resolution screen. If this causes you hassles, please let me know ASAP, but I am assuming that most/all modern PC's support screens of this resolution. Conversely, I have tried to limit the amount of unnecessary "flash overhead" on the site to minimise access times.
At the moment the site uses vanilla HTML, but I'm continually toying with techniques for improving the layout of some of the pages and from time to time this involves using constructs that are not supported by all browsers (such as <nobr>) and would be interested to hear from anyone for whom this might cause problems - I'm only doing it for cosmetic reasons and don't want to do so if it will have a negative effect on anyone. One day I might drag the whole site into the 21st century by using structured CSS and such-like but it won't happen any time soon.
For those of you who (like me) disable scripting on web pages, feel free to ignore the scripting on these pages. The only purpose of the scripting is to enable the pretty "sliding book" graphics in the header and can safely be forgotten if you don't want to run the risk.
For help with the site itself, I would like to acknowledge the assistance of:
I would also like to thank all of those who have supplied me with cover scans (in some cases hundreds of them):
Erin Ash Larry Estep Don Longmuir Dave Reeder Mike Ashley Ed Farrell John Loyd Roger Robinson Ruben Azcona Mike Feldman Juergen Lull Fred Salter Craig Barnett Richard Fidczuk Joel Lyczak Ben Samuels John Benson Bob Gaines Nick Mamatas David Saunders Scathe meic Beorh Kevin Garrett Louis Mandakis Judith Schwarz Dennis Billows Terry Gibbons James C. Mattson John Squires Dave Borski Geoff Goodman Paul McAlduff Dan Stevenson John Boston Guy Gordon Jan McGregor Tim Stroup Christopher B. Boyko Simon Gosden Joe McLaughlin Bill Thom Ned Brooks Richard Hall Marylouise Meda TJ Brian Earl Brown Jess Harrison Steve Miller Ufikus (Evzen Jindra) Camille Cazedessus Will Hart George Morgan Inam Ulhaq Ben Chapman Monte Herridge Stephen Myall Gary Underwood Mike Christie Miro Hetzel Dorman Nelson Riccardo Valla Beau Collier Maria Huybens David Overett Morgan Wallace Ian Covell Bob Ishmael Susanne Paradis Mike Ward Ron Cook Kent Johnson Chris Parente Chris Warren Tom Daniels Tom Johnson Gregg Parmentier Chad Whicker Steve Davidson Robert Kent Marlene Paterson Glyn Williams Bob Deis Ron Kihara Curt Phillips Peter Williams David Drake Matthew King Richard Polt Matt Willis Alistair Durie Larry Latham Rob Preston Chris Woodman Charles D. Eckhaus Doug Lee Jared Prophet Chris Yates John Eggeling Xavier Legrand-Ferronnière Rick Rann Terry Zobeck Peter Enfantino Denny Lien Douglas Raymond Grant Erickson John Locke James Reasoner the estate of the late Carl Robinson Kim Hull and the team at the Merril Collection in Toronto Public Library Brian Conant, Lynne Thomas and the team at Northern Illinois University