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Dead medium: Popular fiction formats
From: (Bruce Sterling)
Source(s): THE NEW YORK REVIEW OF SCIENCE FICTION Feb 1997 Number 102 NYRSF P. O. Box 78, Pleasantville NY 10570 page 17

(((David Pringle is the editor of INTERZONE, a British science fiction and fantasy monthly magazine (INTERZONE, 217 Preston Drove, Brighton BN1 6FL. L30/yr). In the following analysis, published in NYRSF, a science fiction review magazine, David Pringle suggests that printed popular-fiction paper periodicals may be dying as a medium. Recent grim statistics on the dwindling circulations of American science fiction magazines such as ANALOG, ASIMOV'S and F&SF seem to be bearing him out. While printed pop fiction per se is obviously not a "dead medium," there are some interesting dead formats here, and possibly some underlying and poorly explored sine-wave of media development -- bruces )))

"Twenty- Year Pulp Cycles? Mass-Market Popular Fiction: A Timeline of Formats in the U.S."

by David Pringle

1830s: Steam-driven printing processes lead to the first penny newspapers and the first "story papers" dedicated to fiction.

1840s-1850s: Heyday of the story papers (paralleled by the feuilleton in France, the "penny dreadful" part-work in Britain).

1860s-1870s: Heyday of the dime novel; Beadle & Adams, etc.

1880s-1890s: Heyday of the cheap weekly "libraries"; Nick Carter, Frank Merriwell, Frank Reade, Jr., etc.

1900s-1910s: Heyday of the general pulp magazines; Argosy, Blue Book, All-Story, Adventure, etc.

1920s-1930s: Heyday of the specialized pulp magazines; Black Mask, Weird Tales, Amazing Stories, the hero pulps, etc.

1940s-1950s: Heyday of the mass-market paperback book: Pocket, Avon, Signet, Dell, Gold Medal, Ace, Ballantine, etc.

1960s-1970s: Relative decline of the mass-market paperback and rise of trade paperbacks ("snob-backs"); increasing influence of non-literary forms, especially television.

1980s-1990s: Heyday of spin-offs from other media: film and TV novelizations, gaming novels, sequels-by-other- hands, etc.

2000s-2010s: The death of printed popular fiction? To be replaced by various multimedia formats, high-definition TV, virtual-reality systems and who-knows-what...?