Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Famous Fantastic Mysteries

US pulp Magazine, 81 issues, September/October 1939-June 1953; published originally by Frank A Munsey (1854-1925), then from March 1943 by Popular Publications ed Mary Gnaedinger (1898-1976).

Primarily a reprint magazine, FFM presented stories from the early Munsey pulps (especially All-Story Weekly, Argosy and Cavalier). Although FFM was aimed at the growing sf readership, it also reprinted stories drawing on the occult and "borderland science". It placed special emphasis on the lost-world stories (see Lost Races) and Planetary Romances of J U Giesy, Abraham Merritt and Charles B Stilson (1880-1932) and the scientific romances of Ray Cummings (1887-1957), George Allan England (1877-1936), Homer Eon Flint (1888-1924) and Austin Hall (1880-1933). When FFM was taken over by Popular Publications the policy switched to reprinting stories that had previously been published only in book form. This resulted in the appearance of many UK authors, especially E F Benson, Algernon Blackwood, G K Chesterton, Lord Dunsany, H Rider Haggard, C J Cutcliffe Hyne (1866-1944), Arthur Machen, Sax Rohmer, E C Vivian and, through arrangements with August W Derleth, William Hope Hodgson, which was the first US popularization of his work. The new policy also resulted in the appearance of names normally unknown to fantasy magazines, like Warwick Deeping (1877-1950), C S Forester (1899-1966), Franz Kafka, Ayn Rand (1905-1982) and Edward Shanks (1892-1953). Under Popular's regime FFM also included the occasional original story by Ray Bradbury, Henry Kuttner, C L Moore and others. The magazine's artwork, especially that by Virgil Finlay and Lawrence Sterne Stevens (1886-1960), was notable. Despite a brief flirtation with a large-digest format in 1951, FFM remained a pulp to the end. A representative anthology is Famous Fantastic Mysteries (anth 1991) ed Stefan Dziemianowicz, Robert Weinberg and Martin H Greenberg.

FFM had two similar companions, Fantastic Novels (2 series: 5 issues July 1940-April 1941; 20 issues March 1948-June 1951) and A. Merritt's Fantasy Magazine (5 issues December 1949-October 1950). [MA]


This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.