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January 1, 2012

AKICIF: old Analogs and Astoundings
Posted by Teresa at 03:16 PM * 48 comments

Pat McGee has posted a query in the forums at

I’ve got several boxes of old Analog (and Astounding) magazines, with about a quarter of the ones from the ’50s, most of the ones from the ’60s, and almost all of the ’70s forward. I’m moving to a smaller space and won’t have room for them.

What might I do with them?

What I care most about: getting them into the hands of people who might read them.

What I don’t care about: getting paid for them, throwing them away, giving them to the local library (which I see as just a long way of throwing them away), getting a tax deduction (I don’t itemize).


What do we know, or can suggest?
Comments on AKICIF: old Analogs and Astoundings:
#1 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 01, 2012, 03:38 PM:

Science fiction club? Book dealer?

#2 ::: Elaine Richards ::: (view all by) ::: January 01, 2012, 03:49 PM:

You might check into your local college or university library. Two years ago I disposed of 6 boxes of comic book/strip related literature. Here in Ohio the local University of Dayton has a wonderful collection of SF. And The Ohio State University has a great collection of comic strip/book oddities. The educational institution may not be able to keep the collection together, but may be able to barter..

#3 ::: Carol Witt ::: (view all by) ::: January 01, 2012, 04:21 PM:

Personally, I would contact the Merril Collection of Science Fiction, Speculation & Fantasy. Even if they don't need them or if they're not in a convenient location for making such a donation, they may be able to help locate another collection that would take them. But I live very close to them.

A quick search online comes up with SFWA's list of US Libraries with Relatively Large SF Collections, and that site has a link to Research Library Collections of SF, including non-US sites. Perhaps Pat could contact the closest collection for assistance with finding a home for them.

#4 ::: Edd Vick ::: (view all by) ::: January 01, 2012, 04:21 PM:

At Orycon this year, the family of a pulp collector gave his collection to a local SF club to sell at their table for a dollar a copy to benefit the club. I know your magazines aren't as old as the ones they had, but most of them went quickly.

#5 ::: Carol Witt ::: (view all by) ::: January 01, 2012, 04:30 PM:

Also, I should point out that I understand Pat's point about donating them to libraries, but I made the comment anyway since I don't believe a specialized SF research collection housed by a library is the same as a donation to a local library. Pat's mileage may vary.

#6 ::: grackle ::: (view all by) ::: January 01, 2012, 04:47 PM:

In defense of libraries, our local friends-of-the-library runs a bookstore in the library and recently sold quite a lot of similar Analogs,Isaac Asimov's etc. at a quarter a piece. They went quickly, mostly in large lots, all proceeds to the library, to readers who were glad to have them.

Also most places Craig's list might find eager SF fans.

#7 ::: Pat (not that Pat) ::: (view all by) ::: January 01, 2012, 04:51 PM:

Delurking to suggest inquiring with the MIT Science Fiction Society (on the assumption, with Carol Witt #5, that some people may consider an SF library different from a general library). I live near MIT and may be able to help in some way if you decide to go this route.

A quick look at their index shows some anthology and index holdings; I don't know their system well enough to know how or whether magazines per se are indexed.

#8 ::: Adam Lipkin ::: (view all by) ::: January 01, 2012, 05:03 PM:

Most of the cons I go to have freebie tables, and I regularly see old SF magazines at Readercon's tables, for one.

#9 ::: 'As You Know' Bob ::: (view all by) ::: January 01, 2012, 05:24 PM:

Seconding "a convention freebie table". (I wound up disposing of a box of '50s Galaxies at last year's Readercon.)

The magazines are getting nearly unmarketable, but people at cons will appreciate them, and snap them up.

#10 ::: mike shupp ::: (view all by) ::: January 01, 2012, 06:22 PM:

Just a casual thought, but perhaps the people at Analog itself might be interested. Old magazines are exactly the sort of thing that penny-pinching corporate managers will have thrown away, even at magazine publishing companies.

#11 ::: Pat McGee ::: (view all by) ::: January 01, 2012, 06:26 PM:

Hi all, Pat the OP here. Thanks much for the great suggestions. Right now, the idea of giving them to an SF or university library is most attractive, followed by giving them to an SF club for them to sell / give away at a Con.

Right now, I'm in Dallas, TX (not by choice), but will be moving in a year or so to somewhere between Nashville and DC.

If anyone knows of a specific library or Con that would be interested, please contact me. My address is my three initials (for James Patrick McGee), at the domain xorandor which is a com. I'll research some myself, but if you email me specifics, then I won't overlook anyone.

Thanks much, Pat

#12 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: January 01, 2012, 06:33 PM:

Pat, 11: Check with the A&M library--they've got a pretty good F/SF department.

#13 ::: Pat McGee ::: (view all by) ::: January 01, 2012, 06:44 PM:

Pat the OP here. Sigh, it would have to be the Aggies that have the good SF library. I spent several years in College Station one summer. I'm sure things have improved, but there were only two radio stations then and they broadcast the same stuff on both AM and FM. I woke up to the same Jax Beer commercial every morning for half the summer. Then one day, it changed to Pearl and they did that one the rest of the summer.

I'll check with them first. Thanks.

#14 ::: Pat McGee ::: (view all by) ::: January 01, 2012, 06:49 PM:

Wow! According to the Cushing Library web page, they've got over 90% of the pre-1980 pulp magazines, including a complete run of Astounding / Analog. I'll ask if they want them for trading material, but I think that's not very likely.

#15 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: January 01, 2012, 07:03 PM:

The ones that are worth selling are the "bedsheet" Analogs - the 8.5x11" slick ones from 1963 to 1965. They have value on (e.g.) eBay. Unless the 1950 ones include the original appearances of Hubbard's Dianetics (one article in 1950, one in 1951), they don't have a lot of value. EBay is another route to go: bundle them by single years (12 issues) for the digests, and don't expect much. They're still likely to go to people who want to read them.

We recommended (at The Other Change of Hobbit) giving them to senior centers and nursing homes, where a lot of the older folks still want to read that crazy Buck Rogers stuff. Digests are very hard to sell at this point.

#16 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: January 01, 2012, 07:52 PM:

Pat, when Tom Whitmore says "they don't have a lot of value," I believe he means something like "you won't cover your labor costs, let alone your other expenses," not that they're intrinsically worthless.

Tom, tell me if I'm wrong.

#17 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: January 01, 2012, 08:16 PM:

True, T. The content is worth far more than anyone will pay for them, right now. Most dealers have too many copies of most issues from that period. I marked the exceptions. There is a great deal of excellent reading to be had there, if that's your measure of value -- but monetarily, not at all easy to sell for anything like the value of time used to catalog them, even at minimum wage.

#18 ::: Lisa Spangenberg ::: (view all by) ::: January 01, 2012, 09:47 PM:

I'd try some of the SF archives first, personally.

Cushing Library at Texas A and M

University of California at Riverside Eaton SF Collection

The French SF archive here, which also preserves English materials

#19 ::: Jim Meadows ::: (view all by) ::: January 01, 2012, 10:29 PM:

When I wanted to find new homes for the combined science fiction magazine collection of my late father and I, I went to an Indiana dealer who advertises in Analog. I was able to negotiate a sale, but he confided that the market for old sf magazines was fading, because people could read a lot of the fiction they sought online --- he said the sale of magazines as physical objects was more and more for the artwork. Nevertheless, he bought the somewhat battered collection I had to offer.

I'm curious to what degree university collections have an interest in the best known magazines like Astounding/Analog. I'd think they're already likely to have those issues. A set of, say, New Worlds or Weird Tales might be more of a rarity. Also, they may be content with, and even prefer, a digital collection.

I'd like to ask another version of Pat McGee's question, namely, how can I find new homes for my old fanzines from the 1970s and 80s?

#20 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: January 01, 2012, 11:22 PM:

Jim @19: I'd like to ask another version of Pat McGee's question, namely, how can I find new homes for my old fanzines from the 1970s and 80s?

Perhaps the Wathne Fanzine Archive at the University of Iowa?

#21 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: January 01, 2012, 11:37 PM:

Most places that have large collections already have a lot of what any collector is going to have. They'll probably discard what they already have. And they're unlikely to accept large collections of stuff because cataloguing is expensive. In most cases, a large bequest of material has to come with a large amount of money to pay for accessioning (dreadful word, IMO) the material. I'd guess that less than 1% of what I have would be something that a library collection would be interested in (but that 1% would be very, very interesting to them, because it's stuff they don't already have).

Hating to be a wet blanket, but having some experience....

#22 ::: FaultyMemory ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2012, 01:37 AM:

Spending some quality time with a flatbed scanner, before the paper yellows or disintegrates further, might be a good idea. The copyrights might last forever, but paper media don't.

#23 ::: Glenn Hauman ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2012, 02:41 AM:

The Science Fiction Forum Library at SUNY/Stony Brook.

#24 ::: Jordin ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2012, 03:34 AM:

Pat (not that Pat) @#7: MITSFS has a very complete collection of Analog/Astounding, and indeed got rid of a bunch of older duplicate bound sets* some years ago, so I doubt they'd want any more.

*Someplace upstairs I have a box full of bound volumes of 1940's Astoundings acquired from MITSFS. I couldn't resist: they were the ones that John W. Campbell himself donated to MITSFS, and are stamped (as I recall) "Property of J. W. Campbell" Not actually signed, alas, and not in very good shape after handling by umpteen generations of MIT students, but still...

#25 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2012, 09:21 AM:

Jim @19, the fanzines might actually be easier to place, being more likely to be uncollected elsewhere. I'd try the academic library collections above. Also Bowling Green State University in Ohio is the epicenter of popular culture studies, so while it doesn't concentrate on SF, it's a good place for fanzines to live and get used. Just to put it out there for the record, if you have Tolkien or Lewis or other high fantasy fanzines, the Wade Center at Wheaton College near Chicago is probably the best place for them, with Marquette another possibility for the Tolkien material.

#26 ::: mike shupp ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2012, 09:36 AM:

And another possibility: Tor Books itself, or someone they nominate, Jo Walton say or Leigh Butler or (my choice) TNH herself.

The notion being Yet Another Reread, this one in the guise of "Astounding / Analog since 1950 for the first time", in which some compulsively disordered narrator describes once or twice a week the contents of a particular magazine -- not just to say "there's a readable novella by Patricia Maclean" but to actually read the full magazine, summarize the contents in fair detail (including the JWC editorials! and the lettercol and The Reference Library), bestow praise and brickbats and generally express his/her reactions on freshly encountering these contents while trying to fit things into historical context ("Here's a Piper CrossTime serial which never made it to book publication. The weakenesses are ... The strengths are .... A new idea to me was ....")

The point being another Tor Reread, this time of something with historical significance for SF readers, by someone who can recognize the significance of particular stories or articles and put things in context -- a "reader as expert" rather than "reader as newby" approach. The thought that such a "reader" might actually be an editor herself, who might occasionally comment on how she might have edited some of these yarns, is .... well, not just-like-sex, but still awfully engrossing.

Anyhow, the more I think about an ASF/Analog Reread, the more I like the idea. Say "Yes", Teresa, pretty please!

#27 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2012, 10:32 AM:

And at some point along the line - probably very early 60s - I'd start running into stories I've read but have forgotten everything but a few bits of story.

#28 ::: Cindy ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2012, 10:33 AM:

Another places where you might find a welcome home for your collection is juvenile detention centers/jails/prison for the libraries: there is a great hunger for reading material and in most places, no budget to acquire the same; usually you have to contact the facility warden and ask for permission to send a package (and what staff member to send it to)

Nursing homes, domestic violence shelters, homeless shelters also all sometimes welcome donations of books & magazines, especially if you don't have too too many to give at once. It's nice to give people a way to escape (at least temporarily) from life circumstances that are not so wonderful.

#29 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2012, 11:58 AM:

came to say what cindy did: for example

#30 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2012, 01:22 PM:

I actually took a lot of SF ephemera to Worldcon in Reno because I vaguely remembered that there had been an auction of things like that at the 2008 Worldcon in Denver. Turns out that was the Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund, which pays for one fan to come across the water to each Worldcon (direction depending upon location, of course.) They were very happy to take my bags of old convention booklets, magazines, and book duplicates to be sold at auction. I'd figured that if I didn't find them, I could just leave the stuff on the freebie table as described above.

I'm going to do this at the next Worldcon I attend, because like you, I've got old magazines. On that note, we *do* have a first edition Asimov's which we may need to pay more attention to...

#31 ::: Neil in Chicago ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2012, 01:39 PM:

I have the same problem in a couple of other areas. I have some boxes of print with tremendous (imnsho) intrinsic value, but negligible resale value.
How do I find an appreciative home? About the only constraint is that it not cost me much. I have been wishing, and mildly searching, for a good search strategy for quite a while, with no leads.
So, for instance, how would I go about finding a good home for a complete run of Whole Earth Review/Co-Evolution Quarterly? I'm pretty sure my Gnosis is complete, too. And I have quite a collection of Native American, anarchist, and sufi books . . .

#32 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2012, 01:59 PM:

Neil in Chicago (and anyone else in the Chicago area): Not too long ago, I discovered that the Hines Veterans Hospital in Maywood (it's right behind Loyola University Medical Center, if you don't know the area) was so desperate for recreational reading for long-term patients that they were grateful for stripped romance novels and back issues of Good Housekeeping. There's also the Illinois Veterans Home out in Manteno; might be worth giving them a call. Both institutions have web pages that might direct you to the right person to ask about donating books and periodicals.

#33 ::: Magenta Griffith ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2012, 04:49 PM:

Neil in Chicago - I may have a home for the Gnosis magazines. Email me at magenta dot mn at gmail.

#34 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2012, 07:30 PM:

Neil in Chicago @31, echoing what I said above -- try Bowling Green State University in Ohio. They love pop culture ephemera like that, and will treat it right and make it available to researchers. Browne Popular Culture Library

#35 ::: mike shupp ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2012, 07:39 PM:

P J Evans @ 27

But that'd be fine, y'know. What makes those re-reads work is seeing these fictional things, already familiar to us to some extent in our own roles as readers, being focused on by some particular individual, creating ideosyncratic reactions. They'd make dull reading indeed if Tor's people wiped all evidence of personality from their postings.

#36 ::: Marc Mielke ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2012, 03:38 PM:

When I was a child, a friend of my dad gave me a stack of old SF mags when he was going through a messy divorce and needed to move out fast. I learned about a LOT of writers I later sought out on my own, and more that I learned to avoid. It might be a nice gift if you know any children who like to read.

#37 ::: Ken Josenhans ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2012, 06:00 PM:

I've been meaning to ask a similar question about fanzines & apa mailings from the mid-70s through maybe 1990, since we were taught never to throw the things away. On the other hand, Leslie & I are on the verge of a major de-junking.

Making my pile less interesting to a professional/library collection is my desire to keep the best stuff... We don't go to conventions any more, so unless the local university library is interested, paper recycling is starting to loom as an option. :-( Maybe I can find a home for the two years of FAPA mailings from my brief membership? Bowling Green suggestion above is noted, that location is within driving distance and I actually know a pop culture academic there.

Thanks for the info about 1970s prozines being monetarily worthless. I have some cartons of those too and will look into some sort of freecycling.

#38 ::: Kevin Marks ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2012, 03:53 AM:

Mike #37: I had the same experience - a friend of my father gave me a near complete 1960s run of analog when I was about 15, and I loved them; as other have said, it's not just the stories (though Piers Anthony had some cracking ones before he became a full time punster) , but also the slice of cultural history reflected in the editorials and letters.

#39 ::: Torrilin ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2012, 10:11 AM:

I know some darling obsessives at Project Gutenberg have been tracking down the copyrights of SF during the period where you had to reregister copyright, and a lot have lapsed. It might be worth finding out who is doing it, and what libraries have been helping with the project. This pile of magazines is right in the relevant time period, so it might be they could hook you up with a library that wants the collection and could help get the out of copyright stuff digitized. That's the best way I can think of to both preserve the collection and ensure that more people get to read it.

I know University of Dayton does not have a magazine collection shelved with the rest of their SF reference collection, and they do have chunks of Robert Jordan in galleys only and on the regular shelves. I didn't dig through the catalogue at the time to see if SF magazines were in another area. But if you want the magazines to get read, that is a contender. (their SF collection is actually catalogued as the SFWA collection, and I really wish I knew who to thank for it... did a lot for my sanity)

#40 ::: Bill Altreuter ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2012, 10:54 AM:

The library at the University at Buffalo might be interested- they have a collection of this sort of thing...

#41 ::: Kevin Marks ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2012, 12:50 PM:

The Internet Archive's book digitization program might also be interested.

#42 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2012, 10:46 PM:

Hi, Ken J.

If you still happen to have any of Apa-50 mailings 1–20, I am willing to pay twice your shipping and handling costs for them. I see from an archived table of contents that you had a few contributions that always got collated right before zines from somebody named Patrick Hayden. (Although I suppose if your stuff has been stashed in boxes for years, it may be tedious to find specific items.)

#43 ::: Branko Collin ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2012, 12:32 PM:

@Torrilin, Greg Weeks used to do a lot of SF 'clearances' for Project Gutenberg. You can find him through

#44 ::: Ken Brown ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2012, 10:55 AM:

@mike shupp:

> The notion being Yet Another Reread, this one in the guise of
> "Astounding / Analog since 1950 for the first time", in which some
> compulsively disordered narrator describes once or twice a week
> the contents of a particular magazine

That's a massively interesting idea. (And almost even more for F&SF or Galaxy!) At least to me it is. I would read those comments online. But its not one reader's work to write it. It would have to be a co-operative effort. Lets say you wanted to catalogue and annotate Astounding/Analog from the JWC tenure. That's what, maybe around 400 issues? If you did two a week it would take four years and be a huge burden on the reviewer/re-reader. (Once upon a time I did read for review about a hundred books a year - not sure I would want to do it again - though maybe hard-boiled New York publishers are used to it!)

On the other hand, if someone could farm the duties out among ten or a dozen trusted readers, you could get through the whole thing in a year or so without ruining anyone's life. And if done well, maybe produce one of the most valuable and interesting bits of sf comment ever. There would have to be some intelligence in the distribution of work so as to avoid breaking up three-parters and so on. But it might be done...

#45 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2012, 11:39 AM:

On the other hand, there are a couple of magazines that it would be fairly easy to do that with: I could pull out my bound collection of UNKNOWN (39 issues, classic Campbell fantasy), or find all 10 issues of BEYOND (Gold's attempt to revive UNKNOWN from the 50s, also an important short-run magazine)....

#46 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2012, 10:03 PM:

Interesting ideas and advice. I have a 1964 to present day set myself that needs to move along. (And yes, I have the bedsheets.) Bedsheets coming soon to eBay.

I remember, circa 1975, crossing metro Toronto by bus and subway (from Mississauga to Scarborough) to get those bedsheet issues. It was a lengthy round trip, occupying most of the day.

Copyright status means that most of this can't go to Project Gutenberg yet.

#47 ::: Catherine Crockett ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2012, 05:35 PM:

Ken @37: Please don't throw out your fanzines, I can arrange to donate them to a fan-fund auction. Also, I am running the fanzine lounge at Worldcon this year, and reading copies are always useful. Your zines are not unwanted. [Please email me at]

#48 ::: Colin Hinz ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2012, 01:08 AM:

mike shupp @ 26

To a certain extent this has already been done by Alva Rogers. See A REQUIEM FOR ASTOUNDING:

It covers the first 30 years of the magazine, until its name change.

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