Unknown (magazine)

Unknown (magazine)

Infobox Magazine
title = Unknown
Unknown Fantasy Fiction
Unknown Worlds

image_size = 200px
image_caption ="Sinister Barrier" by Eric Frank Russell
editor = John W. Campbell, Jr.
editor_title =
staff_writer =
frequency = Monthly (March 1939-December 1940)
Bi-monthly (December 1940-October 1943)
circulation =
category = Pulp magazine
company = Street & Smith
publisher =
firstdate = March 1939
country = USA
language = English
website =
issn =
finaldate = October 1943
finalnumber = 40
paid_circulation =
unpaid_circulation =
total_circulation =
circulation_year =

Unknown (also known as Unknown Worlds) was a pulp fantasy fiction magazine, edited by John W. Campbell, that was published from 1939 to 1943. "Unknown" was closely associated with the science fiction magazine "Astounding Science Fiction", which was also edited by Campbell at the time; many authors and illustrators contributed to both magazines.

In keeping with its relation to "Astounding Science Fiction", the style and approach of the stories in "Unknown" was a hybrid between those of fantasy and science fiction. The premises of many of the stories were caused by unexpected, and often humorous, situations in which a traditional fantasy creature or concept is introduced into an otherwise ordinary world. For example, in de Camp’s "Nothing in the Rules", the manager of a swimming team tries to win a race by including a mermaid on the team.

Other stories take the opposite trope of applying a scientific logic in a traditional fantasy setting; the Harold Shea series is based upon the premise that traditional fantasy worlds, such as those in Norse mythology, are based upon the rules of mathematical logic.

"Unknown" also included some science fiction which used the themes of traditional fantasy. For example, "Darker than You Think" uses the premise that werewolves exist, but that they are not supernatural, and explains the traditional beliefs about them without using fantasy.

Publication details

From its first issue until the end of 1940, the magazine was published on a monthly basis. From February 1941 through its demise, "Unknown" came out bi-monthly. From February 1940 through August 1941, the magazine went by the title "Unknown Fantasy Fiction", and for the rest of its publication run, it was known as "Unknown Worlds". Money was saved on the last few issues by printing them without an illustration on the cover. Wartime paper shortages were blamed for the cancellation of the magazine.

In 1948, an anthology called "From Unknown Worlds" was edited by Campbell and published by Street and Smith in an attempt to see whether the market would support a resurrected "Unknown", but nothing came out of it. The anthology collected stories previously published in "Unknown" and was available as a pulp size paperback and as a hardcover.

In 1963, Pyramid Books published a paperback anthology of eleven "Unknown" stories called "The Unknown". It was edited by D. R. Bensen, who also edited a second paperback anthology of five "Unknown" stories for Pyramid called "The Unknown Five" in 1964. The anthologies were reprinted in 1970 and 1978, respectively.

Isaac Asimov's story "Author! Author!" was accepted by Campbell for publication in "Unknown", but the magazine was cancelled before it could appear. It eventually appeared in "The Unknown Five".

Notable contributions

*"The Book of Ptath," by A. E. van Vogt
*"The Castle of Iron," by L. Sprague de Camp and Fletcher Pratt (Harold Shea, or "Incompleat Enchanter" Series)
*"Darker Than Your Think," by Jack Williamson
*"Etaoin Shrdlu," by Fredric Brown
*"Fear," by L. Ron Hubbard
*"The Gnarly Man," by L. Sprague de Camp
*"Lest Darkness Fall," by L. Sprague de Camp
*"Divide And Rule," by L. Sprague de Camp
*"Magic, Inc.," by Robert A. Heinlein
*"The Mathematics of Magic," by L. Sprague de Camp and Fletcher Pratt (Harold Shea, or "Incompleat Enchanter" Series)
*"The Roaring Trumpet," by L. Sprague de Camp and Fletcher Pratt (Harold Shea, or "Incompleat Enchanter" Series)
*"Sinister Barrier," by Eric Frank Russell
*"Slaves of Sleep," by L. Ron Hubbard
*"Snulbug," by Anthony Boucher
*Early Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser stories including the first, "Two Sought Adventure," by Fritz Leiber
*"The Ultimate Egoist," by Theodore Sturgeon
*"It" by Theodore Sturgeon
*"Typewriter in the Sky," by L. Ron Hubbard
*"The Wheels of If," by L. Sprague de Camp
*"Trouble with Water" by Horace Gold"Unknown" also published the first science fiction or fantasy stories by Leiber ("Two Sought Adventure"), Sturgeon ("A God in a Garden"), and James H. Schmitz ("Greenface").

External links

* [http://www.philsp.com/data/data348.html#UNKNOWN Magazine datafile for "Unknown"]

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