The first two issues of Startling Stories in 65 years, courtesy of
Wildside Press and Douglas Draa. Covers: uncredited, and GrandeDuc.
One of the big news stories of last year was the return of Startling Stories, the legendary science fiction pulp mag of the 40s and 50s, which published classic SF by Arthur C. Clarke, Jack Vance, Leigh Brackett, Fletcher Pratt, Henry Kuttner, A.E. van Vogt, Manly Wade Wellman, Edmond Hamilton, Stanley G, Weinbaum, and numerous others. The new venture is the brainchild of John Betancourt at Wildside Press, and at the helm is Douglas Draa, who worked tirelessly to resurrect Weirdbook a few years back.
The first new issue of Startling Stories in 65 years appeared in February of last year, and contained stories by Robert Silverberg, Steve Dilks, Adrian Cole, Cynthia Ward, Ahmed A. Khan, and many others. A second issue arrived in September of this year, with an even more impressive list of contributors, including John Shirley, Darrell Schweitzer, Mike Chin, Adrian Cole, Cynthia Ward, and more.
Douglas Draa understands the true magic of pulp fiction, and I was delighted to see that along with the fiction he has worked hard to bring great art to the pages of Startling Stories — and he has absolutely succeeded, with original black & white art by Vincent Di Fate, Bob Eggleton, Allen Koszowski, and even the MidJourney AI, all packaged under a terrific color cover by GrandeDuc. Startling Stories is one of the most visually impressive print SF mags on the stands. Check out some of the eye-catching art below.
[Click the images for Startling versions.]
Interior art in the 2022 issue of Startling Stories by Allen Koszowski and Vincent Di Fate
The second issue of Startling Stories was made possible through a successful Kickstarter that raised $11,442. Here’s the publisher’s pitch from Kickstarter.
Startling Stories is a revival of the classic science fiction magazine that originally ran from 1939 to 1955. The original Startling Stories was one of the core science fiction magazines that helped establish and propagate the sci-fi genre in the mid 20th century, and the magazine’s new iteration intends to carry on that legacy by publishing the best and most daring, exciting, and innovative sci-fi stories, poetry, and art. The magazine has had a successful launch in 2021, but now we need your help to continue publishing into 2022. Despite the new magazine’s youth, our goal is to build Startling Stories quickly, increasing payment for our contributors and investing in even better cover art and various other improvements that would normally take years to implement. With your help, we can start building the new Startling Stories™ right away, carrying on the legacy of its namesake as a cornerstone of innovative science fiction.
Get more details at Kickstarter here.
Art for Mike Chin’s “The Colour of Nothing.” Artist uncredited
The 2022 issue of Startling Stories includes a Comic Feature by Ron Turner adapting a classic pulp story by John Russell Fearn, a new story by Cynthia Ward featuring John W. Campbell’s The Thing (published with the permission of his heirs), an interview with John Shirley, and much more.
Here’s the complete Table of Contents.
“Out on the Edge,” by Darrell Schweitzer
“A Quickening Tide,” by A.J. McIntosh & Andrew J. Wilson
“Pharmakon, Pharmakon,” by M. Stern
“Rising from the Devil’s Planet,” by Adrian Cole
“Speaking with John Shirley” (Interview), conducted by Darrell Schweitzer
“Through Time and Space with Ferdinand Feghoot: Alpha,” by Grendel Briarton, Jr.
“Hua Gu Quan (Flower Drum Circle),” by Frances Lu-Pai Ippolito
“You’re Sunk!” by Cynthia Ward
“Introduction to Thoughts That Kill,” by Phil Harbottle
“Thoughts That Kill,” by John Russell Fearn and Ron Turner (Comics Feature)
“Sharptooth,” by Lorenzo Crescenti
“Just Like You and Me,” by Stephen Persing
“Tears In My Algabeer,” by Eric Del Carlo
“The Lost City of Los Angeles,” by John Shirley
“The Colour of Nothing,” by Mike Chin
Get all the details here.
Interior art for Startling Stories by the MidJourney AI
As much as I admire the new Startling Stories — and am thrilled to be able to hold a copy in my hands! — it does have a few problems. It could do with a copyeditor, for one thing. The print edition is rife with errors, including misspelling Allen Koszowsk’s name in the Table of Contents, misspelling the title of Mike Chin’s “The Colour of Nothing” on the front cover, and other gaffes.
The new issue of Startling Stories, Volume 34, Number 2, dated “2022 issue,” was published on September 15, 2022 by Wildside Press. It is edited by Douglas Draa, and John Gregory Betancourt is the Executive Editor and Publisher. Darrell Schweitzer is the Contributing Editor.
See all our recent magazine coverage here.