Hugo Gernsback

Hugo Gernsback

Infobox Writer
name = Hugo Gernsback


caption =
pseudonym =
birthdate = birth date|1884|8|16
birthplace = Luxembourg City
deathdate = death date and age|1967|8|19|1884|8|16
deathplace = New York City, New York
occupation = Editor, Publisher, Novelist, short story author
genre = Science fiction
influences =
influenced =
website =

Hugo Gernsback (August 16 1884August 19 1967), born Hugo Gernsbacher, was a Luxembourg American inventor, writer and magazine publisher, best remembered for publications that included the first science fiction magazine. His contributions to the genre as publisher were so significant that, along with H.G. Wells and Jules Verne, he is sometimes popularly called "The Father of Science Fiction" [cite book | last= Siegel| first= Mark Richard| authorlink= | year=1988 | title=Hugo Gernsback, Father of Modern Science Fiction: With Essays on Frank Herbert and Bram Stoker | publisher=Borgo Pr | location= | id=ISBN 0-89370-174-2. Others who are popularly called "The Father of Science Fiction" include H.G. Wells and Jules Verne.] ; in his honor, the annual Science Fiction Achievement awards are named the "Hugos".

Career

Born in Luxembourg City, Gernsback emigrated to the United States in 1905 and later became a naturalized citizen. He married three times: to Rose Harvey in 1906, Dorothy Kantrowitz in 1921, and Mary Hancher in 1951. In 1925, Hugo founded radio station WRNY and was involved in the first television broadcasts. He is also considered a pioneer in amateur radio.

Gernsback started the modern genre of science fiction by founding the first magazine dedicated to it, "Amazing Stories", in 1926. He said he became interested in the concept after reading a translation of the work of Percival Lowell as a child. He also played a key role in starting science fiction fandom, by publishing the addresses of people who wrote letters to his magazines. In 1929, he lost ownership of his first magazines after a bankruptcy lawsuit. There is some debate about whether this process was genuine, manipulated by publisher Bernarr Macfadden, or was a Gernsback scheme to begin another company. After losing control of "Amazing Stories", Gernsback founded two new science fiction magazines, "Science Wonder Stories" and "Air Wonder Stories". A year later, due to Depression-era financial troubles, the two were merged together into "Wonder Stories", which Gernsback continued to publish until 1936, when it was sold to Thrilling Publications and renamed "Thrilling Wonder Stories". Gernsback was noted for sharp (and sometimes shady) business practices, [] and for paying his writers extremely low fees. [cite journal
last = Banks
first = Michael A.
title = Hugo Gernsback: The man who invented the future. Part 3. Merging science fiction into science fact.
journal = Society for Amateur Scientists
publisher = Society for Amateur Scientists
date = 1 October 2004
url = http://www.sas.org/tcs/weeklyIssues/2004-10-01/feature1/index.html
accessdate = 2007-02-13
] H. P. Lovecraft and Clark Ashton Smith referred to him as "Hugo the Rat." [, p. 298] Gernsback returned in 1952-53 with "Science-Fiction Plus".

Gernsback wrote some fiction, including the novel "Ralph 124C 41+" in 1911 (the title was a pun of the phrase "one to foresee for one"). Though hugely influential at the time, and filled with numerous science fiction ideas, the plot, characters, and writing strike most modern readers as shallow and old-fashioned.

The Science Fiction Achievement awards, given to various works each year by vote of the members of the World Science Fiction Society, are named the "Hugos" after him. He was one of 1996's inaugural inductees into the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame.

Before creating a literary genre, Gernsback was an entrepreneur in the electronics industry, importing radio parts from Europe to the United States and helping to popularize amateur "wireless". In April 1908 founded "Modern Electrics", the world's first magazine about electronics. Under its auspices, in January 1909, he founded the Wireless Association of America, which had 10,000 members within a year. In 1912, Gernsback said that he estimated 400,000 people in the U.S. were involved in amateur radio. In 1913, he founded a similar magazine, "The Electrical Experimenter", which became "Science and Invention" in 1920. It was in these magazines that he began including scientific fiction stories alongside science journalism.

Gernsback held 80 patents by the time of his death in New York City on August 19, 1967.

See also

* Science fiction editors
* Pulp magazine
* Order of the Oak Crown

Popular culture

* "The Gernsback Continuum", one of William Gibson's first short stories, deals with the difference between the future envisioned in Gernsback's time and the present.
* "M9E Gernsback", an Arm Slave in the popular anime series "Full Metal Panic", is named after Hugo Gernsback.
* The anime series Ergo Proxy features a character named Re-l Mayer, whose manufacture number (124C41+) references Gernsback's novel "Ralph 124C 41+".

Notes

References

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External links

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* [http://www.hugogernsback.com/ "Forecast"] Posthumous issues and other material about Hugo Gernsback
* [http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/rescue/sfeature/wireless.html "Rescue at Sea" "Boys of Wireless"] PBS. Contains information about Gernsback's role in early amateur radio
* [http://library.syr.edu/digital/guides/g/gernsback_h.htm Hugo Gernsback Papers] Description of his papers in the Special Collections Research Center of the Syracuse University Library

Persondata
NAME= Gernsback, Hugo
ALTERNATIVE NAMES=
SHORT DESCRIPTION= Luxembourg American editor, publisher, novelist, and short story author
DATE OF BIRTH= birth date|1884|8|16|mf=y
PLACE OF BIRTH= Luxembourg City
DATE OF DEATH= death date|1967|8|19|mf=y
PLACE OF DEATH= New York City, New York


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