Posted in books, Science fiction

Amazing Stories

Amazing Stories Quarterly was a U.S. science fiction pulp magazine that was published between 1928 and 1934. It was launched by Hugo Gernsback as a companion to his Amazing Stories, the first science fiction magazine, which had begun publishing in April 1926. Amazing Stories had been successful enough for Gernsback to try a single issue of an Amazing Stories Annual in 1927, which had sold well, and he decided to follow it up with a quarterly magazine. The first issue of Amazing Stories Quarterly was dated Winter 1928 and carried a reprint of the 1899 version of H.G. Wells’ When the Sleeper Wakes.

Gernsback’s policy of running a novel in each issue was popular with his readership, though the choice of Wells’ novel was less so. A reprint of Gernsback’s own novel Ralph 124C 41+, was published. Unfortunately Gernsback went bankrupt in early 1929, and lost control of both Amazing Stories and Amazing Stories Quarterly; however his assistant, T. O’Conor Sloane, took over as editor. Despite this The magazine began to run into financial difficulties in 1932, and the schedule became irregular; the last issue was dated Autumn 1934. Authors whose work appeared in Amazing Stories Quarterly include Stanton A. Coblentz, Miles J. Breuer, A. Hyatt Verrill, and Jack Williamson.

The first issue of Amazing Stories Quarterly contained a reprint of H. G. Wells’ novel When the Sleeper Wakes, though for some reason Wells did not provide Gernsback with the revised text published in 1910 under the title The Sleeper Awakes; the text printed was that of the original 1899 edition. The other material in the issue was original, and the following issues included material by Edmond Hamilton, Stanton A. Coblentz, R.F. Starzl, David H. Keller, S.P. Meek, J. Schlossel, and Clare Winger Harris, one of the earliest women writers of sf. Although readers’ reactions to the Wells novel were negative, they approved of Gernsback’s policy of publishing a novel in each issue. The only other reprint in the early days of the magazine was Gernsback’s own novel Ralph 124C 41+, which appeared in the Winter 1929 issue. The novel, set in the year 2660, was little more than a series of predictions about the future tied together by a minor plot. Gernsback included a letter column, and began a competition for the best editorials submitted by readers; the first prize was awarded to Jack Williamson, who later became a successful science fiction writer but was just starting his career at that point.

Gernsback added other features to the magazine in order to engage readers, including book reviews, science quizzes, and science news. The last issue under Gernsback’s control was dated Spring 1929 when Sloane took over. over the next two years Sloane published some of the best science fiction of the early years of the field in Amazing Stories Quarterly. Wolf and Ashley cite “Paradox”, by Charles Cloukey, an early time-travel story; The Bridge of Light, by A. Hyatt Verrill, a novel about a lost civilization in South America; The Birth of a New Republic, by Miles J. Breuer and Jack Williamson, in which a man of the 24th century reminisces about a revolt by the inhabitants of the Moon rebel against the Earth; “Paradise and Iron”, by Breuer; and White Lily, by Eric Temple Bell, under the pseudonym John Taine, about a form of crystal life that endangers the planet.

Sadly after 1931 the fiction in Amazing Stories Quarterly became less entertaining. John W. Campbell, Jr.’s space operas, which appeared from 1930 to 1932, were described as “turgid”. Many authors including Jack Williamson, A.Hyatt Verrill, Coblentz, Taine, and Miles J. Breuer, produced original material for Amazing Stories Which Brian Stableford, in the Science Fiction Encyclopedia, regards their contributions as being among “the most important early pulp sf novels”.

Posted in computers, Internet

National Mario Day

National Mario Day takes place annually on March 10, (as the date MAR 10 resembles the name MARIO). Mario (マリオ) is a fictional character in the Mario video game franchise, owned by Nintendo and created by Japanese video game designer Shigeru Miyamoto who created Mario while developing Donkey Kong in an attempt to produce a best-selling video game for Nintendo. Originally, Miyamoto wanted to create a video game that used the characters Popeye, Bluto, and Olive Oyl At the time, however, Miyamoto was unable to acquire a license to use the characters (and would not until 1982 with Popeye), so he ended up making an unnamed player character’ which became Mario alongside, Donkey Kong, and Lady (later known as Pauline).

Mario is Depicted as a short, pudgy, Italian plumber who resides in the Mushroom Kingdom, his adventures generally center upon rescuing Princess Peach from the Koopa villain Bowser. His younger brother and sidekick is Luigi. The Mario franchise is the best-selling video game franchise of all time. Mario has appeared in over 200 video games since his creation. Outside of the Super Mario platform series, other Mario genres include the Mario Kart racing series, sports games such as the Mario Tennis and Mario Golf series, role-playing games such as Super Mario RPG and Paper Mario, and educational games such as Mario Is Missing!, Mario’s Time Machine and Mario Teaches Typing. Mario has also appeared in television shows, film, comics, and licensed merchandise. Since 1990, Mario has been voiced by Charles Martinet.

Mario was originally named Jumpman in the game’s English instructions and Mario in the sales brochure. Miyamoto originally named the character “Mr. Video” he was eventually named Mario after American warehouse landlord Mario Segale who owned the premesis where Nintendo was based, when he confronted then-president Minoru Arakawa, demanding back rent. Following a heated argument, the Nintendo employees eventually convinced Segale he would be paid, and opted to name the character in the game Mario after him.

Mario’s profession was chosen to fit with the game design. Since Donkey Kong was set on a construction site, Mario was made into a carpenter. When he appeared again in Mario Bros., it was decided he should be a plumber, since a lot of the game is played in underground settings. Mario’s appearance was dictated in part by the graphical limitations of arcade hardware at the time, Miyamoto clothed the character in red overalls and a blue shirt to contrast against each other and the background and added A red cap. Over time, Mario’s appearance has become more defined; blue eyes, white gloves, brown shoes, a red “M” in a white circle on the front of his hat and gold buttons on his overalls have been added. The colors of his shirt and overalls were also reversed from a blue shirt with red overalls to a red shirt with blue overall. Then To make him appear human onscreen despite his small size, Mario was given distinct features, prominently a large nose and a mustache, which avoided the need to draw a mouth and facial expressions. Nintendo did not initially reveal Mario’s full name. However Miyamoto eventually confirmed that his name was indeed Mario Mario at the September 2015 at the Super Mario Bros. 30th Anniversary festival.