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Ace Books Ace Books i(A53631 works by) (Organisation) assertion
Born: Established: 1952 New York (City), New York (State),
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United States of America (USA),
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Americas,
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BiographyHistory

Ace Books was founded in 1952 by Aaron A. Wyn (1898-1967) and is the oldest continuously operating science fiction publisher in the United States. During the 1920s Wyn had edited pulp magazines for Harold Hersey's Magazine Publishers. Shortly after Hersey departed in 1929, Wyn took control of the company and subsequently renamed it Ace Magazines (while also replacing the previous company's swastika logo with an ace symbol). Ace Magazine's main pulp titles during the 1930s and 1940s included Detective-Dragnet (later changed to Ten Detective Aces), Western Trails, Secret Agent X and Love Fiction Monthly. The company also published comics under the Ace Comics name.

In 1945 Wyn branched out into book publishing, and eight years later established Ace Books as a specialist publisher of popular paperback books. The company's founding editor was Donald A. Wollheim. During Ace Books' first year of operations it innovatively published a two titles in one paperback format, but in 1954 switched back to single-title paperbacks. Under Wollheim's guidance Ace published some of the most significant science fiction writers of the 1950s and 1960s, including Samuel R. Delany, Philip K. Dick, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Robert Silverberg. Ace was also became known for such marketing innovations such as the Ace Doubles, a format comprising two short novels bound back to back ('Ace,' Penguin.com).

In 1964 science fiction author Terry Carr joined the company as editor. Four years later he initiated the Ace Science Fiction Specials line, publishing critically-acclaimed original novels by such authors as Alexei Panshin, R. A. Lafferty, Joanna Russ and Ursula K. Le Guin. Carr and Wollheim also co-edited an annual Year's Best Science Fiction anthology series; while Carr edited another Ace anthology series Universe. Wollheim and Carr both left Ace in 1971, with Wollheim going on to set up DAW Books (in conjunction with New American Library), while Carr became a freelance editor.

Following the death of A. A. Wyn in 1967 and the departure of Wollheim and Carr, Ace was acquired in 1972 by Grosset and Dunlap. Three years later Tom Doherty was engaged by Grosset and Dunlap to oversee the imprint, and under his management Ace produced books in all genres, though science fiction remained a specialty. Doherty left in 1980 to set up his own publishing company Tor, and in 1982 Grosset and Dunlap was acquired by G. P. Putnam's Sons (later known as The Putnam Berkley Group). Ace subsequently became Berkley's science fiction imprint. The combined backlists of Ace and Berkley made a powerful presence in the science fiction field. Among the leading authors to be published were Frank Herbert (Dune series), T. H. White (The Once and Future King), Robert A. Heinlein (including Stranger in a Strange Land) and William Gibson (including Neuromancer).

In 1996 the Penguin Group (USA) acquired the Putnam Berkley Group, retaining Ace as its science fiction imprint. Since 1953 Ace-published novels have nominated for more than 140 major science fiction and fantasy awards, winning at least 26 to 2010 ('Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishers').

Among the Australian authors to be published by Ace Books are Jennifer Ames (aka Maysie Greig), Bertram A. Chandler, Mark McShane, Andrew Offutt, Keith Taylor, Wynne Whiteford, Sean Williams and Glenda Larke.

Most Referenced Works

Notes

  • Wyn was famous for paying his authors as little as he could get away with, which prompted David McDaniel to encode a comment about him within one of his novelisations of the TV series The Man from U.N.C.L.E. The first letters of each chapter's title in The Monster Wheel Affair when lined up read 'A.A. Wyn is a tightwad' (Tuck, p.471).

  • Further Reference:

    • 'Ace Books.' In Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 46 - American Literary Publishing Houses, 1900-1980: Trade and Paperback.' Ed. Peter Dzwonkoski. Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1986, 507.
    • 'Ace Books.' Penguin.com - online (sighted 14/10/2010).
    • 'Ace Books' Wikipedia - online (sighted 14/10/2010).
    • 'Donald A. Wollheim - Summary Bibliography' Internet Speculative Fiction Database - online (sighted 14/10/2010).
    • Lee, Billy C. 'Interview with Donald A. Wollheim.' Paperback Quarterly 1 (Fall 1978), pp. 23-27.
    • 'Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishers' World Without End.com - online (sighted 14/10/2010).
    • Thiessen, J. Grant. 'Ace Books Checklist.' Science Fiction Collector No 1 (Fall 1976), pp. 5-47.
    • Tuck, Donald H. The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy: Volume 2 (1978), Chicago: Advent: Publishers, Inc, p. 471.
Last amended 23 Apr 2011 14:24:52
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