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//Unknown// (later known as //Unknown Worlds//) is one of the most fondly-remembered of the [[FantasyGenre fantasy pulps]], perhaps rivaled in this only by the first incarnation of //[[WeirdTales Weird Tales]]//. Edited by [[CampbellJohnW John W. Campbell Jr.]], it published a wide array of much-reprinted and influential [[FantasyGenre fantasy fiction]] in its four and a half year run, much of the fiction notable for a "logical" approach to fantastic events.

>>{{image class="center" alt=Unknown" url="images/wiki-images/unknownpulp.jpg" }}**//Unknown//**
**Publisher:** [[StreetandSmith Street and Smith]]
**Publication range:** March 1939-October 1943>>Founded in 1939, //Unknown// (later //Unknown Worlds//) was an indication of the faith publishers [[StreetandSmith Street and Smith]] were ready to place in their young editor of //[[AstoundingStories Astounding]]//, [[CampbellJohnW John W. Campbell Jr.]]

Despite the rather rocky history of [[FantasyGenre fantasy fiction pulps]], with the failures of largely-fantasy //[[ThrillBook The Thrill Book]]// and //[[AstoundingStories Astounding]]//'s former Clayton stablemate //[[StrangeTales Strange Tales]]//, along with the continuing marginal commercial status of //[[WeirdTales Weird Tales]]//, Campbell apparently made the argument that work such as Eric Frank Russell's //Sinister Barrier//, the lead novel in the first issue (dated March), would be better presented in a fantasy setting rather than as [[FantasyGenre science fiction]] in //[[AstoundingStories Astounding]]//. Considering the thread of fantasy and near-fantasy Campbell would continue to publish in //[[AstoundingStories Astounding]]// after //Unknown//'s folding in 1943, it was clear that his heart was at least as much with the kind of "rational fantasy" he published in //Unknown// as with the "hard" [[FantasyGenre science fiction]] he is best-remembered for.

//Sinister Barrier// wouldn't have been too out of place in //[[AstoundingStories Astounding]]//, but the first issue also boasted a fine grim [[WellmanManlyWade Manly Wade Wellman]] [[HorrorGenre horror]] story, "Where Angels Fear," and [[GoldHL H.L. Gold]]'s "Trouble with Water," a fresh variation on the kind of humorous fantasy Thorne Smith was publishing to great success in book form. This last vein was probably the mode //Unknown// has been best remembered for, stories which followed H.G. Wells's dictum that a fantastic story should have only one miraculous situation in it and retain as much realism as possible around that miracle; Campbell published a number of similar works, particularly by [[DeCampLSprague L. Sprague de Camp]] alone and in collaboration, which featured a fairly rigoruous working-out of the limits of the fantasy devices employed.

Rather more straightforward exotic-adventure fantasy, by the likes of [[HubbardLRon L. Ron Hubbard]] and [[PageNorvell Norvell Page]], was also a staple of the magazine, which was the first to publish both [[LeiberFritz Fritz Leiber]] and his [[FantasyGenre sword and sorcery]] heroes [[FafhrdandtheGreyMouser Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser]] (stories which Campbell supposedly consistently suggested would be better suited to [[WeirdTales Weird Tales]], where editor [[WrightFarnsworth Farnsworth Wright]] seemed more interested in Leiber's [[HorrorGenre horror fiction]]).

Leiber's groundbreaking "urban horror" story "Smoke Ghost" and first novel //Conjure Wife// were among the most important examples of the macabre //Unknown// would publish; like Leiber, another new Campbell star, [[SturgeonTheodore Theodore Sturgeon]] was also publishing in //[[AstoundingStories Astounding]]// but seemed at least as much at home in //Unknown//, offering among many others such influential [[HorrorGenre horror stories]] as "It" and "Shottle Bop," and slightly more surreal exercises such as "The Ultimate Egoist" and "Yesterday was Monday." In fact, most of Campbell's favorites in //[[AstoundingStories Astounding]]//, including [[HeinleinRobert Robert Heinlein]], [[VanVogtAE A. E. van Vogt]], [[CartmillCleve Cleve Cartmill]], [[KuttnerHenry Henry Kuttner]] and others, would also publish in //Unknown//.

The magazine gave up on cover paintings with the 17th issue, July 1940, opting instead for a rather reserved cover template, with several story titles and their authors listed with a small spot illustration next to each title; the magazine also went at this point from standard "pulp" size to "bedsheet" size. With the 27th issue, October 1941, a title change to //Unknown Worlds// was effected, perhaps in hopes of drawing more [[FantasyGenre science fiction]]-oriented readers; apparently, sales didn't warrant its continuation during World War II's paper shortages, and it folded with the October 1943 issue, its 39th.

[[StreetandSmith Street and Smith]] tested the market again in 1948, with an all-reprint special annual titled //From Unknown Worlds//, but did not pursue the project further.

Many stories published in the magazine have been very widely reprinted since, and several further anthologies have been drawn from its pages, most influentially D.R. Bensen's //The Unknown// and its sequel, //The Unknown Five,// which printed for the first time an [[AsimovIsaac Isaac Asimov]] story that had been in //UW//'s inventory when it folded.

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