Planet Stories No. 1
Planet Stories was an American pulp science fiction magazine, published by Fiction House between 1939 and 1955. It featured interplanetary adventures, both in space and on other planets, and was initially focused on a young readership. Malcolm Reiss was editor or editor-in-chief for all of its 71 issues. Planet Stories was launched at the same time as Planet Comics, the success of which probably helped to fund the early issues of Planet Stories. Planet did not pay well enough to regularly attract the leading science fiction writers of the day, but did manage to obtain work from well-known names on occasion, including Isaac Asimov and Clifford Simak. In 1952 Planet published Philip K. Dick’s first sale, and went on to print four more of his stories over the next three years.
The two writers most identified with Planet Stories are Leigh Brackett and Ray Bradbury, both of whom set many of their stories on a romanticized version of Mars that owed much to the depiction of Barsoom in the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs. Bradbury’s work for Planet included an early story in his Martian Chronicles sequence. Brackett’s best-known work for the magazine was a series of adventures featuring Eric John Stark, which began in the summer of 1949. Brackett and Bradbury collaborated on one story, “Lorelei of the Red Mist”, which appeared in 1946; it was generally well-received, although one letter to the magazine complained that the story’s treatment of sex, though mild by modern standards, was too explicit. The artwork also emphasized attractive women, with scantily clad damsels in distress or alien princesses on almost every cover.