Author analysis from Astounding/Analog through the decades

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I have started a bit of a project on my website: see here.

This is a decade-by-decade analysis of which authors had stories published in Astounding Science Fiction magazine, to collate 'league tables' of the highest contributors by era. It's an interesting history lesson for me, and it might be of some small interest to others.

Astounding was of course the top SF magazine for decades, and though Campbell's influence it was singularly important in redefining and and improving the genre, especially in the US. Analysis of the magazine's contributing authors over time, is I think instructive in seeing how the genre evolved, and it's also interesting to me to see who was popular once, but who has left the collective consciousness since their day in the sun.

It's quite a bit of work to do this for each decade, and I will get up to modern times, eventually. However, for now I've only completed the 1930's and 1940's. On my website, I've broken the analysis down to 5-year periods, i.e. 1930-34, 1935-39, etc. The half-decade assessment seems to tell us much more than the full decade assessment and I've tried to do a bit of research on some of the less well known authors. But for those who don't wish to read the feature article on the site and just want the bottom line by decade, here are the top 10 ranking contributors to Astounding for the 1930's and the 1940's:

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I'll be getting on with a 1950's and 1960's analysis as soon as I find a spare 10-12 hours ;) and will update this accordingly. But if anyone has any comments on the less well-known authors in the top 10 lists (or from the half-decade lists on the website), please comment below. Cheers!
 
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Hmmmmm ... Maybe I should dig out The Best of Raymond Z. Gallun and finally read it.
 
I must confess, Nat Schachner is a name I've never come across before. I wonder why I've never seen a collection of his works.
I have two of his books, Space Lawyer, an sf novel, and Thomas Jefferson: A Biography, non sf I think.

Guess Space Lawyer was a fix-up novel:
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The 1930s was the period of the "thought variant" stories, right? I think Schachner wrote one or two of those perhaps.
 
Does this take into account the habit of a lot of the pulp writers to use multiple pen-names? Robert L Fanthorpe, for instance, was also published as Leo Brett, Bron Fane, Robert Lionel Fanhope, Mel Jay, Marston Johns, Victor La Salle, Oben Lerteth, Robert Lionel, John E. Muller, Elton T. Neef(e), Phil Nobel, Peter O'Flinn, Peter O'Flynn, John Raymond, Lionel Roberts, Rene Rolant, Deutero Spartacus, Trebor Thorpe, Pel Torro and Karl Ziegfreid...
 
It is interesting how I have read all but two from the 1940s ( ok, admit I have never actually read Hubbard, but he sort of counts) probably because they were all widely published in paperback in the 60/70/80s.

In contrast I have only heard of 3 of the 30s crowd (Jack Williamson, JRF, John Campbell) again probably because they had some success in the mid-late 20th century paperback market. Curious to know if the others distinguished themselves beyond the rest of the run of the mill hacks.

I will be interested to see if Christopher Anvil shows up in lists from the 50s and 60s.
 
Does this take into account the habit of a lot of the pulp writers to use multiple pen-names? Robert L Fanthorpe, for instance, was also published as Leo Brett, Bron Fane, Robert Lionel Fanhope, Mel Jay, Marston Johns, Victor La Salle, Oben Lerteth, Robert Lionel, John E. Muller, Elton T. Neef(e), Phil Nobel, Peter O'Flinn, Peter O'Flynn, John Raymond, Lionel Roberts, Rene Rolant, Deutero Spartacus, Trebor Thorpe, Pel Torro and Karl Ziegfreid...
Pel Torro and Deutero Spartacus are two of my favourite SF pseudonyms. Up there with Ray Cosmic, Volsted Gridban, and Vargo Statten. I think some of these may also have been RLF.
 
Does this take into account the habit of a lot of the pulp writers to use multiple pen-names? Robert L Fanthorpe, for instance, was also published as Leo Brett, Bron Fane, Robert Lionel Fanhope, Mel Jay, Marston Johns, Victor La Salle, Oben Lerteth, Robert Lionel, John E. Muller, Elton T. Neef(e), Phil Nobel, Peter O'Flinn, Peter O'Flynn, John Raymond, Lionel Roberts, Rene Rolant, Deutero Spartacus, Trebor Thorpe, Pel Torro and Karl Ziegfreid...
Yes, it captures all pseudonyms.
 
I've not completed the website feature write up on the 1960's, but I have collated the final table, so here you go.

Most prolific authors in Astounding/Analog in the 1960's were:

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I'm intrigued by the appearance in the list of Leigh Richmond, a female writer I know nothing about.
 
Yes, loads of Anvil in the 50’s - he’s up in the top 10 list for the decade.

He actually has a story in February 1988 (the year that I am steadily working through in another thread). Doc's Legacy. According to Wikipedia, Christopher Anvil was a pseudonym used by Harry Christopher Crosby.

Inspired by this thread, I've been looking up the bibliographies of the 1988 Analog writers. I've never heard of Christopher Anvil, and was quite surprised to see the huge number of stories that he has written over the years. His Colonization Series series looks interesting.
 
The 1970's saw the influx of many great authors, notably, Orson Scott Card, Spider Robinson, Jerry Pournelle, Joe Haldeman, George Martin, Joan Vinge (who didn't make the full decade table, but had several covers and was prominent), and future editor, Stanley Schmidt:

1970s overall.jpg


As always - for full write up on the '70's in Analog see here. If you're wondering what happened to the likes of Niven and Greg Benford - they didn't publish quite enough to make the top table, but they were publishing in Analog then.

Note - far fewer stories at the top - Ben Bova seemed to dispense with maintaining a stable of 'go-to' writers to fill copy, and instead drew on a much larger group of writers.
 
In relation to the number of authors per decade, I think this is interesting.

I think Campbell (perhaps lazily, perhaps pragmatically), requested certain authors in each decade to submit on a regular basis to fill the magazine. This led to relatively second-string authors coming out very high up in the ranking tables here (e.g. H. B. Fyfe, George O. Smith, Malcom Jameson, Randall Garrett, Mack Reynolds, Christopher Anvil). These guys were competent artisans, who wrote the occasional cracker, but they are hardly giants of the genre. Their prolific output gives the impression of cranking a handle for 5-10 years for Campbell, and then giving it up, perhaps exhausted. The truly great writers tended to produce fewer stories but over longer sustained periods. Interesting, A. E. van Vogt seemed to provide this function for Campbell in the '40's and he's an interesting writer. I'm not sure if he proves my point by being an example or an exception! He was a scribbler and a bit of a hack. He also wrote stories with ideas and imagery above the baseline of most artisans - perhaps he had a foot in both camps?

The number of different authors who were published in each decade are as follows:

1930's (Bates, Tremaine, Campbell) - 159
1940's (Campbell) - 130
1950's (Campbell) - 195
1960's (Campbell) - 153
1970's (largely Bova) - 267

So, Bova seemed to dispense with the author-stable model, at least from the stats.
 
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The 1970's saw the influx of many great authors, notably, Orson Scott Card, Spider Robinson, Jerry Pournelle, Joe Haldeman, George Martin, Joan Vinge (who didn't make the full decade table, but had several covers and was prominent), and future editor, Stanley Schmidt:

View attachment 75936

As always - for full write up on the '70's in Analog see here. If you're wondering what happened to the likes of Niven and Greg Benford - they didn't publish quite enough to make the top table, but they were publishing in Analog then.

Note - far fewer stories at the top - Ben Bova seemed to dispense with maintaining a stable of 'go-to' writers to fill copy, and instead drew on a much larger group of writers.
Great collection of writers. Remember especially enjoying Bob Buckley an Jack Wodhams.
 
Great collection of writers. Remember especially enjoying Bob Buckley an Jack Wodhams.
I'm not familiar with Wodhams, but I've read good things about him. I'm thinking i need to try and find a collection of his work. Or just browse through my many 1970's Analog's and read all the Wodhams - that would be easier! In fact that sounds like a project plan...
 
So, Bova seemed to dispense with the author-stable model, at least from the stats.

I think there's a need for more context.

Bova probably profited from an increase in interest in s.f. due to 2001 and especially Star Wars. Plus, by the '60s Campbell's taste in fiction was no longer cutting edge, his ability to make choices somewhat calcified. By the '50s there was more competition, most of the better writers publishing in Galaxy and The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction as well as in Astounding/Analog because there was greater leeway in topic and approach. And later, with the paperback boom, writers' focus was shifting from the short story to the novel. The money was better.
 
I think there's a need for more context.

Bova probably profited from an increase in interest in s.f. due to 2001 and especially Star Wars. Plus, by the '60s Campbell's taste in fiction was no longer cutting edge, his ability to make choices somewhat calcified. By the '50s there was more competition, most of the better writers publishing in Galaxy and The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction as well as in Astounding/Analog because there was greater leeway in topic and approach. And later, with the paperback boom, writers' focus was shifting from the short story to the novel. The money was better.
Yes, you're quite right that the idea needs some context. Additional context such as you suggest explains the phenomena but I don't think it changes the facts. Bova published far more new authors than Campbell at any time. During Bova's 'reign' there were probably the fewest magazines in which to publish in the history of SF, so he could perhaps have published more from established authors if he'd chosen. Asimov's hadn't started, Galaxy and If had folded, only F&SF probably offered real competition in the years 72-78. This was also before the Star Wars uptick in interest, so that doesn't account for all the new authors published.

I think your suggestion of the paperback boom may have a lot to do with it though - that's a good call. Many major writers in the 70's onward were stepping up to novels far sooner, and giving up short story writing. Niven is an example - he doesn't feature in the lists as he as was too busy on his Known Space novels. Likewise, Orson Scott Card was prolific in the 70's but then nothing much in the 80's, as he was flying with Ender's Game and ploughed that furrow from thereon. In Campbell's time, top authors published novels, but still continued to publish short fiction in Astounding, e.g. Simak, Asimov, Williamson, Leinster (the exception being Heinlein, who stuck with novels almost exclusively as soon as he made it big after 1941).
 
Okay, I've finished my analysis of the 1950's. The full feature write up and half-decade ('50-'54 & '55-'59) assessments are on my website StarfarerSF.

The top 10 for the full decade for those who want the broad bottom-line, comes out like this:

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I had no idea Budrys wrote so many short stories. He's an uneven writer for my taste, author of two of my all-time favorites ("Rogue Moon" and Who?) and of things I had to push myself to finish (or didn't).
 

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