On this day in 1884, one of the most influential figures in the history of science fiction, Hugo Gernsback, was born.
How influential? Well, he launched the first fully-dedicated SF magazine, Amazing Stories, first coined the phrase ‘scientifiction‘, which later became the term we know and love; he appended ‘PhD’ to the end of a young Edwin Elmer Smith‘s by line to give us ‘Doc’ Smith, and the premier award of the science fiction field is named after him. Influential enough for ya?
His various SF magazines gave us ‘Doc’ Smith, Jack Williamson and Stanley Weinbaum, and it could be argued that he began the tradition – perhaps unique to the SF field – of the editor as curator and shaper of literature. Certainly, other fields have had their major editorial figures, but we’d argue that there is no lineage in any other area of fiction to match the likes of Gernsback, John W. Campbell, Donald Wollheim, Judith Merril, Michael Moorcock, Judy-Lynn del Rey, Damon Knight, Cele Goldsmith . . .
See what we mean? Happy Birthday, Hugo, and thanks for all the Amazing.