Among the oldest Science Fiction magazine, Analog has been around since January 1930, making it Older Than Television. Under its original title, Astounding Stories of Super-Science, it was designed as a rival to Amazing Stories. It remains one of the only Pulp Fiction magazines to have survived multiple transitions, such as moving from newsstands to big bookstore magazine racks, and the arrival of the internet: https://www.analogsf.com/
For most of its history, the magazine has been digest-sized.note Since The New '10s, the magazine has been a bit larger, but still usually under 500 pages per volume. When John W. Campbell was Chief Editor, Analog led America in what fans and historians call the Golden Age Of Science Fiction. Even today, the magazine is popular enough to distribute copies throughout the international anglosphere.
The magazine, in an effort to stay fresh for new audiences, is always looking for new authors, including then-newcomers such as Orson Scott Card and Joe Haldeman in the 1970s, Greg Bear and Timothy Zahn in the 1980s, and Michael A Burstein and Rajnar Vajra in the 1990s.
Campbell changed the magazine's name to Astounding Science-Fiction in the March 1939 issue and launched a UK version of the magazine in August that year. Then, in the February 1960 issue, he changed the name (again) to Astounding Science Fact & fiction (note the lowercase) and spent the next several months fading down Astounding and fading up Analog over a 12-month period while retaining the initial "A". Legally speaking, both names are used by the magazine (check the index page), but the cover has been Analog ever since (with occasional tweaks to the subtitle).
Campbell's last issue as Chief Editor was in 1971.
- Collected Editorials From Analog by John W. Campbell, Jr.
- Analog Anthology anthology series by John W. Campbell, Jr.
- Analog Annual (1976) by Ben Bova
- Analog Yearbook (1978) by Ben Bova
- The Best Of Analog (1978) by Ben Bova
- The Analog Anthology (1980) anthology series by Stanley Schmidt
- Analog Yearbook II (1981) by Stanley Schmidt
- 6 Decades: The Best of Analog (1986) by Stanley Schmidt
Analog provides examples of:
- Anti-Advice: One story from the 1970s featured an Obstructive Bureaucrat type who has been asked to consult on a project. He's pretty clearly suffering from cranial-recto inversion, but the project personnel seem to be taking him dead seriously. It turns out that the bureaucrat has been scientifically identified as someone who is always, always wrongheaded and therefore the project personnel know to do the exact opposite of his suggestions. Now that he and the other "canaries" have been identified and isolated in similar jobs, human progress is taking off like a rocket.
- Artistic License Physics: The magazine has a long-running, but sporadic, series of short-short stories with the series title of "Probability Zero", stories which sound plausible but aren't, because of deliberate (and usually subtle) scientific errors, ones that are required to make the story interesting.
- Audience Participation: Several columns were developed that include unpaid reader submissions. The "Analytical Laboratory" is a tally of reader votes for the best stories of previous issues. "Brass Tacks" is a column where readers share their opinions on the magazine's quality (often praising/bashing specific stories), while "Science Discussions" is usually more of a direct back-and-forth about Non-Fiction things, such as one of the essays in the magazine from half a year ago. %[invoked]%
- Everybody Smokes: Because the magazine began in the 1930s, smoking ads were a common component, advertising for their ability to "keep out throat dangers".
- Floating Head Syndrome:
- The cover of the April 1944 issue, advertising A. E. van Vogt's "The Changeling", has a central face/head with normal colouration for a caucasion, and six others heads that are monochrome imitations of the central face with slight changes, implying the ability to change shape.
- The cover of the June 1951 issue, advertising Eric Frank Russell's ". . .And Then There Were None", had seven floating heads and a floating bicycle above a landscape of a lake and mountains.
- The cover of the July 1951 issue, advertising James Schmitz's "The End Of The Line", has a male and female face floating in front of a vertical cigar-shaped silver rocket where people were in line to board.
- The cover of the August 1951 issue, advertising MC Pease's "City Of The Phoenix", has a disembodied head and two disembodied hands that overlook a spiral galaxy.
- The cover of the April 1952 issue, advertising Walter M. Miller, Jr.'s "Dumb Waiter", has the heads of a man and woman staring imperiously down at a boy on a bicycle.
- The cover of the September 1960 issue, advertising David Gordon's "By Proxy", shows a human face floating in front of a blue-skinned alien face, both above a horizontal cigar-shaped white and red rocket on stilts like a boat.
- The cover of the May 1970 issue, advertising John Dalmas's "But Mainly By Cunning", has the floating heads of a wolf and a woman in the background sky above a viking-inspired knight on horseback.
- The cover of the March 1974 issue, advertising Jerry Pournelle's "High Justice", had a female face with a blue-green tint in the background.
- Humanity Is Superior: John W. Campbell had Enforced this idea while Chief Editor of the magazine. He required that any story involving aliens must show them to be inferior to humans and this was often assumed to reflect his personal bias that white men were superior to other races.
- Letters to the Editor: In April 1930, the magazine began publishing letters that had been sent in by fans. Fans such as, Isaac Asimov, Lester del Rey, Damon Knight, and Donald A Wollheim. They were often used as a way to correspond with people you had never met and included your address so that private correspondences could occur as well. This culture of communication in magazines like Astounding Stories were the source of mailing lists.
- Long-Runners: This magazine has remained in print since January 1930, with monthly or semi-monthly issues every year.
- Lucky Charms Title: The magazine was (relatively briefly) officially known as Analog Science Fiction [symbol] Science Fact. The symbol, resembling a right-pointing arrow superimposed on a ⋂ (inverted U), was invented by editor John W. Campbell to represent "Analogous to", because they were changing the name.
- Motion Blur:
- The cover of the January 1934 issue, advertising Donald Wandrei's "Colossus", has a foreground ship with blur and lines indicating that it is moving from the lower right to upper left of the page. In the background, many other ships are shown to be moving in the opposite direction based on the way their lines fade out and the presence of a blob at the forefront of the line.
- The cover of the May 1935 issue, advertising John Russell Fearn's "Earths Mausoleum", has a yellow cigar-shaped rocket with lines and blurring to indicate that it is moving quickly to the tower in the background.
- The cover of the September 1935 issue, advertising John Russell Fearn's "The Blue Infinity", gives motion lines to the earth, implying that it is getting towed through the yellow tunnel by the purple ray, leaving the stars in the background motionless.
- The cover of the October 1935 issue, advertising Nat Schachmer's "I Am Not God", has a Swirly Energy Thingy with motion lines, both behind and in front of the foreground figure in a deep-sea diving suit.
- The cover of the November 1935 issue, advertising Stanley G Weinbaum's "The Red Peri" and Charles Willard Diffin's Blue Magic, has two rockets shown to be moving in opposite directions by using blur and motion lines going in opposite directions.
- New Season, New Name: As a long-time member of the same magazine racks as comic books, Analog has changed names several times over the decades. It began in 1930 as Astounding Stories of Super-Science, but was shortened to Astounding Stories starting with the February 1931 issue. Later on, the name changed slightly to Astounding Science-Fiction for the March 1939 issue. Many years later, the name was changed to Astounding Science Fact & fiction (the lowercase is used to emphasize Fact in the magazine) in the February 1960 issue, and spent the next several months fading down Astounding and fading up with its replacement Analog. Legally speaking, the magazine has both names (check the index page), but the cover has been Analog ever since (with occasional tweaks to the subtitle).
- Ominous Message from the Future: The November 1948 issue published a reader's letter reviewing the stories in the November 1949 issue. Chief Editor John W. Campbell went along with the joke by commissioning the authors mentioned to write stories under the titles given in the letter, thus making the actual November 1949 magazine resemble the imaginary one as closely as possible.
- One-Word Title:
- Given how large the original title made Astounding compared to the rest of the title (Astounding Stories), you could be forgiven for assuming the title was simply one word. The changes to the title only reinforce the idea that the magazine is simply Astounding.
- Analog still sometimes shows up with a subtitle (such as Analog Science Fiction and Fact), but the cover usually shows only the one word prominently enough to be associated with a title.
- On the Next: To fill space at the end of stories, early issues of the magazine would include self-advertisements, such as "Send your letters to Amazing Stories" or "IN THE NEXT ISSUE", to entice the readers to pick up the next issue with Taglines and personal investment. This type of self-advertising developed into a dedicated column called "In Times To Come", informing readers what would be included in upcoming issues.
- Pen Name: Edward E. Smith, PhD. was the name used for E. E. Doc Smith when publishing Galactic Patrol, as well as other Lensman stories.
- Please Subscribe to Our Channel: At the end of each issue is a reminder to subscribe to the magazine, offering a discount for subscriptions instead of full newsstand price. Some issues would have more advertising than just the end-of-issue reminder.
- Raygun Gothic: Many early covers of the magazine featured silver rocketships with sleek designs, space stations with clear domes to see the planet they orbit, and people standing next to round doors with shiny metallic spacesuits.
- Schizo Tech: One very representative example is a short story in an issue of Analog, in which the most advanced two species in the universe can use black holes as a source of energy and have more Wave Motion Guns than you can imagine, but are surprised and, for one of the two species (both flew around in gigantic spaceships), destroyed by a lucky shot from a device consisting of a long tube, a titanium coated projectile, and an explosive, i.e., a gun. Apparently, only humans are brutish enough to come up with the idea.
- Serial Novel:
- Tagline: Some of the covers contain the following self-advertising; "The Largest Circulation of any Science-Fiction Magazine".
- Thinker Pose: The October 1957 issue has this cover. The subversion is that the Master Computer is implied to be doing the thinking for the white-labcoated scientist with their head upon their fist.
- Trope Codifier: In his role as Chief Editor for the magazine, John W. Campbell became the major codifier for Golden Age Science Fiction as a genre. His editorship standardized the use of tropes such as Humanity Is Superior (and specifically the White Male Lead), Humans Are Psychic in the Future and a certain mandatory hardness, and the authors he nurtured retained his influence long after his death.
- White Male Lead: John W. Campbell Enforced this idea while Chief Editor of the magazine. He was very clear in his opinion that the Northern European male was the pinnacle of all beings, and rarely accepted a story with any other kind of lead.