More Incarnations Than Your Average Buddha

You can read the press releases and such here, but the upshot is that a fan has acquired the trademark to Amazing Stories™ that its most recent owner, Hasbro, abandoned. The plan is to revive the magazine in some form which, if it happens, will probably cement Amazing’s record, not only as the oldest, but the most re-incarnated magazine the field has ever seen.

I’m nowhere near old enough to have been around during its original incarnation, the acknowledged first magazine ever devoted to science fiction, but I personally can remember four…no, make that five revivals (six if you count the short-lived TV series), though I’m not sure the most recent version should count. Regardless, it’s safe to say that Amazing has died and been reborn…a lot. I’m not exactly sure why that is, but there’s something about the field, nostalgia or blind optimism, that simply refuses to let it go. You can see some of the same dynamic in place with the venerable Weird Tales, which has gone away and come back almost as many times.

Okay, full disclosure—I can’t be indifferent to this. My very first professional sale was to Amazing Stories™, way back before anyone bothered to stick a ™ on it. It might have been a fluke. I’ve told this story before, but it was thirteen years from the time I sold that first story until I sold another one, to Gardner Dozois at Asimov’s SF. The knowledge that I’d done it once and by all that was holy I was going to do it again someday was one thing that helped keep me going. So I am very fond of Amazing and thrilled that there’s a chance the magazine will be revived. That it won’t be the same magazine I remember is fine—most of the incarnations were not like the others, except for the name. Different editors, different owners, different interests. Nothing survives unchanged; it’s part of the job description. And yet…

Here’s the thing. While it’s accurate to say that Amazing has been resurrected a lot, it’s also accurate to say that some of those resurrections were, to put it mildly, less than successful. I don’t mean in the simple fact that the magazine died again after a bit. Magazines die all the time, and anyone working the field for more than a year or two are going to notice a few. Keeping one going is the hard part. No, it was how the magazine was brought back–as little more than a shambling remnant of itself without proper backing and a long-term strategy in place. I’ve seen that too many times. As someone with an abiding respect and affection for what the magazine once was, I know I don’t want to see that sort of thing happen again. So maybe, this time, if things don’t work out, perhaps the tired old thing could be left to rest in peace?

I think she’s earned it.

Edited to Add: The first link to the  Amazing Stories Revivial website was broken. The new one should work.

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One thought on “More Incarnations Than Your Average Buddha

  1. Hoo boy. I, too, wish they would let this magazine rest in peace. Enough already.

    This saddens me. It really does. I used to love this magazine so much and I’ve watched it decline, die off, be brought back as some rachitic shambing husk, die, resurrected, die, dug out of the loam again…only to die thrashing, and alone. I can’t count how many times that has happened.

    Enough. I don’t know if there are SF fans out there who think this is a great idea, but I am with you. Leave the magazine and its legacy alone.

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