AskDefine | Define astounding

Dictionary Definition

astounding adj
1 bewildering or striking dumb with wonder [syn: dumbfounding, dumfounding]
2 so surprisingly impressive as to stun or overwhelm; "such an enormous response was astonishing"; "an astounding achievement"; "the amount of money required was staggering"; "suffered a staggering defeat"; "the figure inside the boucle dress was stupefying" [syn: astonishing, staggering, stupefying]

User Contributed Dictionary



Verb form



  1. That astounds or astound.
    astounding success


that astounds

Extensive Definition

Analog Science Fiction and Fact is an American science fiction magazine. As of 2007, it is the longest continually published magazine of that genre. Initially published in 1930 in the United States as Astounding Stories as a pulp magazine, it has undergone several name changes, primarily to Astounding Science-Fiction in 1938, and Analog Science Fact & Fiction in 1960. In November 1992, its logo changed to use the term "Fiction and Fact" rather than "Fact & Fiction".
One of the major publications of what fans and historians call the Golden Age of Science Fiction and afterward, it has published much-reprinted work by such major SF authors as E.E. Smith, Theodore Sturgeon, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, A. E. Van Vogt, Lester del Rey, and many others.

The Clayton Astounding

Astounding Stories of Super-Science was initially published by Publisher's Fiscal Corporation, which later became Clayton Magazines. The first issue appeared in December 1929 (cover date January 1930) under the editorship of Harry Bates. This incarnation of Astounding was a pulp magazine in every sense of the word, printed on thick, poor quality paper with untrimmed edges, adorned by lurid covers, and offering relatively uncomplicated space adventure stories. However, Bates' emphasis on well-constructed stories, with the science being plausible, can be seen as beginning a trend continued in later versions of the magazine. After the first year of publication, the original name Astounding Stories of Super-Science was shortened to Astounding Stories. Clayton went out of business in early 1933, and the last Clayton Astounding was dated March 1933.

F. Orlin Tremaine

Following the demise of Clayton, Astounding Stories was bought by Street & Smith, who started to issue their own version of the magazine in October of 1933 with F. Orlin Tremaine as editor. Under Tremaine's control, Astounding became a much more serious publication than its previous incarnation. Tremaine introduced the concept of the 'thought variant' story, encouraging authors to come up with genuinely new science fiction ideas rather than recycling the old adventure plots. Stories in the Tremaine Astounding include "Old Faithful" by Raymond Z. Gallun, "Parasite Planet" and "The Lotus Eaters" by Stanley G. Weinbaum, "Sidewise in Time" and "Proxima Centauri" by Murray Leinster, and "Minus Planet" by John D. Clark. In 1934, Astounding became one of the first fiction magazines to print a major work of non-fiction, in the form of Charles Fort's Lo!, which was serialized in eight parts between April and November (this was not the first appearance of Lo!, which had been published in book form three years earlier). By the time Tremaine relinquished editorship in 1937 Astounding had gained a reputation in science fiction fandom as the leading magazine of its time.

John W. Campbell

The Golden Age

Following eight years of publication under two editors, John W. Campbell took over from the October 1937 issue. The period of Campbell's editorship between the late 1930s and late 1940s is often referred to as "the golden age of Astounding", or even the "Golden Age of Science Fiction".
One of Campbell's first editorial acts, in March 1938, was to retitle the magazine Astounding Science-Fiction. He brought an unprecedented insistence on placing equal emphasis on both words of "science fiction." No longer satisfied with gadgetry and action alone, Campbell demanded that his writers think out how science and technology might really develop in the future - and, most important, how those changes would affect the lives of human beings.This new sophistication soon made Astounding the undisputed leader in the field.
Perhaps Campbell's most important achievement during the 1940s was to nurture the careers of a number of young and often previously unpublished writers by offering copious amounts of feedback and encouragement, even if accompanied by a rejection slip. Among Campbell's most important "discoveries" of this period were Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein and A. E. Van Vogt.
Campbell revealed a sly sense of humor in the November 1949 issue. He had always encouraged literary criticism by Astounding's readership, and in the November 1948 issue he published a letter to the editor by a reader named Richard A. Hoen that contained a detailed ranking of the contents of an issue one year in the future. Campbell went along with the joke and contracted stories from most of the authors mentioned in the letter that would follow the fan's imaginary story titles. One of the best-known stories from that issue is "Gulf", by Robert A. Heinlein. Other stories and articles were written by a number of the most famous authors of the time: Isaac Asimov, Theodore Sturgeon, Lester del Rey, A. E. van Vogt, L. Sprague de Camp, and the astronomer R. S. Richardson.
In a minor change, in the November issue of 1946 the name of the magazine was changed from Astounding Science-Fiction to Astounding SCIENCE FICTION, with the hyphen missing and the last two words in large block letters. It would retain this logo until January, 1953.

Transitional years

Campbell continued at the helm of Astounding throughout the 1950s, but the magazine's style and reputation altered somewhat during this period. Part of this was due to the emergence of Astoundings first serious competitors like The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction and Galaxy Science Fiction, and the boom in paperback originals, which meant that Astounding was no longer the only place to find top-quality science fiction. A second reason was Campbell's increasing interest in what can be described as fringe science, in particular psionics and antigravity-type devices such as the Dean drive. However, this reflected a shift in subject matter rather than quality, and such topics were always dealt with in a serious and rational way.
Many historically important stories and articles continued to appear in the pages of Astounding during the 1950s. Tom Godwin's "The Cold Equations" - sometimes listed as one of the top dozen or so best science fiction short stories - was published in the August 1954 issue. It generated more response mail than any story the magazine had ever printed. Writer L. Ron Hubbard published the first article on his Dianetics concepts, which would soon expand into Scientology, in the magazine in May 1950.

Birth of Analog

Throughout his editorship of Astounding, Campbell felt the title of the magazine was too "sensational" or "juvenile" to reflect what it was actually doing. He addressed this as far back as 1946 by de-emphasizing the word "Astounding", printing it in narrow script above the bold words "SCIENCE FICTION". However, this was not enough, and he renamed the magazine Analog in 1960. Over the course of eight issues, from February to September 1960, the title logo was changed; the large initial "A" stayed the same while the letters "stounding" were faded down and the letters "nalog" faded up on top of them. Bibliographers often abbreviate the magazine as ASF, which can of course stand for either title. The word "and" was sometimes replaced in the logo by a pseudo-mathematical symbol comprising a horizontal right-pointing arrow piercing an inverted U-shape. The symbol, apparently invented by Campbell, was said to mean "analogous to."

Ben Bova's Analog

After Campbell died suddenly in 1971, Ben Bova took over as editor starting with the January 1972 issue. He remained in this capacity until November 1978. He won the Hugo Award for Best Professional Editor for 5 consecutive years, 1973 through 1978. (The award did not exist before 1973.)

21st century

Bova was succeeded as editor by Stanley Schmidt at the end of 1978. Continuing as editor as of 2007, Schmidt has been nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Professional Editor for 26 consecutive years, 1980 through 2006, without winning. Through his tenure, Analog has been the best-selling English-language SF magazine in the world.
Analog frequently publishes new authors, including then-newcomers such as Orson Scott Card and Joe Haldeman in the 1970s, Harry Turtledove, Timothy Zahn, Greg Bear and Joseph H. Delaney in the 1980s, and Paul Levinson and Michael A. Burstein in the 1990s.
Each year, Analog conducts a readers' poll—called the Analytical Laboratory, or AnLab—to determine the favorite stories, articles and cover art published in the magazine in the previous year. Many recipients of the AnLab Award have gone on to receive the Hugo Award.

British reprint editions

From August 1939 until April 1963, the version of ASF that was sold in the United Kingdom was quite different from the American original. These "British Reprint Editions", as they were known, were published by the Atlas Publishing and Distributing Company under license from Street and Smith. The material in the British editions was a subset of the original magazine contents, in the sense that there was nothing in the British edition that had not previously appeared in the U.S. version, but that parts of the original contents were quite often omitted from the British version. This was particularly true up to October 1953, when the British edition was much slimmer than its American counterpart. For this reason the serials, editorials, factual articles and letter columns that were often the most appealing features of the American version were denied to British readers.
The material appearing in the British reprint was usually taken from the American issue dated three or four months earlier. However, this was never systematic, and cross-reference between U.S. and British editions is a complicated process. A further anomaly occurs because the covers of the British editions were almost always redrawn from the corresponding American edition, possibly for copyright reasons. At first sight the covers often look the same, but closer inspection reveals subtle differences.
Like the American original, the British Reprint Edition underwent a gradual change of title from Astounding to Analog. However, due to the lag in contents and cover image, this process was completed a few months later - the first issue completely devoid of the Astounding logo was February 1961 rather than October 1960. The final British Reprint Edition of Analog appeared in April 1963; after this time the American version published by Condé Nast Publications was imported directly into the UK.


Analogs circulation has fallen from a high of about 115,000 per month in 1983, to 28,319 in 2006.


The magazine is known for focusing on the science and technology aspect of science fiction. Author George R.R. Martin described Analog as having "the reputation of being hard-nosed, steel-clad, scientifically rigorous, and perhaps a bit puritanical".


astounding in German: Astounding
astounding in Spanish: Astounding
astounding in French: Analog Science Fiction and Fact
astounding in Italian: Analog Science Fiction and Fact
astounding in Dutch: Analog Science Fiction and Fact
astounding in Japanese: アスタウンディング
astounding in Polish: Analog Science Fiction and Fact
astounding in Portuguese: Analog Science Fiction and Science Fact
astounding in Russian: Astounding Science Fiction
astounding in Swedish: Analog Science Fiction
astounding in Simple English: Analog Science Fiction and Fact

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