Saturday, September 24, 2016


Something was going wrong at the Munsey corporation by 1938. Less than a year before, Munsey had launched a new "all stories complete" monthly pulp, All-American Fiction. This was very much an "all-star" title, each issue flaunting the names of contributing authors on the front cover, early on without promoting any individual story. After four issues the 160 page pulp went bimonthly. After the fifth issue it dropped to 144 pages. After the sixth it shrunk to 128, the same size, by that point, of the weekly Argosy. The eighth issue was its last, though Munsey made a point, as you see above, of formally merging it with Argosy. Another Munsey experiment launched at the same time, Double Detective, proved more successful, maintaining a monthly schedule until the fall of 1940. Argosy kept the All-American Fiction name alive until Christmas, though the content most likely was indistinguishable all along. The one arguable concession to the All-American aesthetic was the generic cover of this first merged issue. Unlike All-American, this cover mentions no authors at all. That obscures the presence of novelettes by Donald Barr Chidsey and Luke Short, a Hornblower serial chapter by C. S. Forester, the debut of a new serial by Walter Ripperger and stories by Eustace Cockrell and W. Ryerson Johnson. There's also the rarity of not one but two female contributors, as Frances Shelley Wees continues her serial Lost House and Virginia Dare contributes the short story "Birthday Present." Technically, since Forester was English and Wees Canadian, this issue has no business claiming to be All-American Fiction, but business is business, though it wasn't as good as it used to be for Munsey.

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