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Editor Hugo Gernsback started in publishing by producing a number of different scientific periodicals that dealt with the mysteries of electricity, concentrating mainly on the designs of radio and television receivers and transmitters. By some accounts Gernsback would eventually launch over 50 different publications during his long career. Most of these were dedicated to a specific area of scientific study or as samplers featuring reports of the progress being made within a mixed variety of technological fields. But it is the Gernsback fiction magazines that have proven to be the most desirable to collectors.
Offered here are complete runs of two of his earliest fiction titles: all 11 issues of Air Wonder Stories (V.1 #'s 1-11, running from July, 1929 to May, 1930) and the 10-issue run of Scientific Detective Monthly, which experienced the latter half of its existence under the title of Amazing Detective Tales (first title—V.1 #'s 1-5. running from January, 1930 to May, 1930; second title—V.1 #'s 6-10, running from June, 1930 to October, 1930).
The name change of Scientific Detective Monthly to Amazing Detective Tales corresponded with a logical format change to a standard detective magazine, an obviously unsuccessful attempt to boost sales. Solid condition issues under either title are somewhat difficult to find, indicating that consistently poor sales were probably the rule.
Gernsback's Air Wonder Stories dealt with futuristic aviation tales that included cover subjects which achieved the same classic look of Gernsback's early science fiction pulps. In truth, the internal content of most of this title's 11 issues was largely indiscernible from that of any average issue of its companion magazine, Science Wonder Stories. Some reference works and many collectors believe that this title and Science Wonder Stories combined to become Gernsback's longer running Wonder Stories. But the truth is that Air Wonder Stories was simply discontinued. (Science Wonder Stories' 12-issue lifespan dovetails perfectly with Wonder Stories' numbering, whereas Air Wonder Stories' 11-issue span does not.) The reason for this title's discontinuation may have solely been for its "sameness" to Gernsback's other title. If the number of surviving copies in today's marketplace gives any indication, Air Wonder Stories sold comparably to its "pure sci-fi" sibling.
Please note that only the three first issues in this small collection were given a thorough inspection for internal problems like missing coupons or pages. No problems were found. Due to time constraints, the rest of these issues were given only a quick flip-through to see if any problems were immediately noticeable and to make sure they all had both covers and a complete table of contents page. No problems were seen. Please be aware that these are being sold "as-is," with no guarantee of completeness. We welcome any interested parties to come and view these books at our offices in Burr Ridge, IL.
The condition on the issues of Air Wonder Stories is pretty consistent, initially appearing as VG examples but grading more consistently as a GD/VG run. Most of the numbers have neatly clear-taped spines, chipping of the spine paper by up to 1/2" at the head and/or foot (#5 is missing a 3"-long section at the middle of the spine), the original owner's name penned at the top of each issue's contents page, and/or browning but not brittle page quality (delicate edges that are not yet flaking much). The first issue is missing its rear cover.
For the split run of Scientific Detective Monthly and Amazing Detective Tales, the condition issues are similar. All of the spines demonstrate a clear taping along their entire length and there is comparable chipping at the head and foot of each spine, as well. The two earliest issues have some chipping issues at the edges of their front covers and the pages demonstrate the same browning-but-not-brittle state of those for the companion title (delicate page edges that are not yet flaking much). These also have the original owner's name penned at the top of their contents page. GD/VG condition, overall.