Steve Davidson (The Crotchety Old Fan/The Classic Science Fiction Channel) today received notice that his application for a trademark for AMAZING STORIES has been granted.
Amazing Stories was science fiction’s original pulp magazine, first brought to the stands in April of 1926 by the ‘Father of Science Fiction’, Hugo Gernsback. In fact, it was within the pages of Amazing Stories that Gernsback’s portmanteau word ‘scientification’ was transformed into today’s more familiar Science Fiction.
Amazing Stories has had a rocky history, stumbling along through bankruptcy (when Gernsback lost ownership), through a series of publishers and editors – Teck Publications, Ziff-Davis, Ultimate (where it enjoyed a brief and all too short resurgence under the tutelage of Ted White), Dragon Publications and, through a series of corporate buy-outs, ended up as a Hasbro (toys) property and licensed to Paizo Publications, which re-introduced it as a mass-media/geek culture mag until its demise in 2005.
By 2007, Hasbro had abandoned the trademark. Davidson, who was managing the intellectual property department of an R&D firm at the time, routinely reviewed the status of some favorite marks. Noting the lapse for Amazing Stories, he filed an application for the Mark in 2008.
The trademark granted is for “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“, and is for both print and electronic publications.
“I’m totally jazzed – it’s AMAZING!”, LOL’d Davidson, “Amazing Stories has long been my favorite SF pulp. I can’t say exactly why, but perhaps it is because in many ways Amazing’s story parallels and defines the history of the genre itself.”
Davidson’s original intent was to develop an online fiction magazine with social networking components – a concept still being worked on. Under that conceptualization, the online contents would be bundled together at regular intervals into print anthologies (Amazing Stories Annual, Amazing Stories Quarterly). The online magazine itself would engage in a variety of different publishing activities – reprints, new fiction, guest editors choosing content, tapping in to the scholarly works of the SFRA, having multiple illustrators provide art for a single story and allowing readers to choose which ones accompany the text. All online contents would be free of charge, with subscribers receiving a variety of premiums (early access to new content, exclusive private chats, discounts on printed matter, etc); funding is based on a combination of advertising revenue and subscription (with subscription costs commensurate with other genre publications).
Consultation with social networking developers is next on the agenda for the implementation of that plan.
The former is only one of several possibilities. Over the course of the more than three years required to obtain the mark, a variety of other options have been floated, ranging from reproducing original issues on pulp paper, licensing the brand, producing a series of reprint classics under the imprint, and more.
In the meantime, Davidson has registered www.AmazingStoriesmag.com
for future use. He also intends to make the entire process a regular subject of his Crotchety Old Fan blog.
“My over-riding vision, regardless of the form it takes, is to bring the magazine back into publication, with an eye towards making it a market for the short story, novella and novelette lengths, strongly supported with illustration. I’ve been looking at Kickstarter as one way to go, but I’m totally open to talking to anyone with an interest or an idea. You can restate that as – any help is welcome, any concept will be considered and I work better in a group environment, so don’t hesitate to get in touch if you are interested.” With particular emphasis on wanting to hear from social networking developers working in the field.
Davidson also stated that there are a couple of hard and fasts for the future of Amazing Stories: “I intend to continue the volume and whole numbers of the original, which means that the next issue of the magazine you see will be Volume 75, #1, whole number 610; I intend to utilize the original typographic form of the magazine’s title (the block letters and vanishing perspective); *and I plan on naming the parent company Experimenter Publishing in honor of Hugo Gernsback’s original publishing venture.”
Those wishing to discuss the title and future plans for it are encouraged to contact Steve at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org. Contact information is also available on his blogs The Crotchety Old Fan & The Classic Science Fiction Channel. “I am particularly interested in hearing from those who have a history with the title, social networking gurus, under or out of work editors, potential slush pile readers, publicists, marketing gurus…you get the idea.”