a story characterized by a focus on significant ideas rather than action
Typically associated with the 1930s.
1933 Brass Tacks (editorial) in Astounding Stories Dec. 139
Our purpose is to bring to you each month one story carrying a new and unexplored ‘thought-variant’ in the field of scientific fiction.
1934 The Eyrie in Weird Tales Sept. 397/1
Through the Gates of the Silver Key is a thought-variant story of the highest degree.
The first story of travel between the planets was a true thought-variant. It was something never used before, it opened a field in which innumerable tales could follow.
True Thought Variants in Science Fiction Fan Sept. in Alchemist (Dec. 1940) 39
Stanley G. Weinbaum’s death sorrowed the entire Stf world. His loss is and will continue to be deeply felt. Let’s hope that he’s happy, turning out thought variants for ‘Heavenly Stories’, wherever he is.
STF in International Observer (#12) Winter 5
I should say that the first strong indication was in the ‘thought-variant’ (sicken you?) ‘ANCESTRAL VOICES’, featuring Mrs. Murphy and her famous children and baked beans. Then, with the first issue of 1934, came ‘COLOSSUS’, another ‘thought-variant’, and the rush was on.
It’s Astounding in Fantascience Digest (vol. 2, iss. 5) July–Sept. 25
There would be the ‘thought-variant’ stories and authors who consistently wrote stories of this type in which all that was important was a new idea of the universe or of cosmic implications, with just enough build of characters that you might sense the marvel with them.
A Collector Speaks in Spaceways (vol. 3, iss. 6, whole no. 22) Aug. 4
The cover of the February [sc. 1935 Astounding] number was striking, if not artistic, a criticism which also applied to ‘The Ultimate Metal’ of Nat Schachner, the ‘thought-variant’ it illustrated.
Past Decades in Science-Fiction in Fantasy Commentator (vol. 1, iss. 5) Winter 87
The type of science fiction published in the first years of the Tremaine Astounding was not, actually, too much different from that presented by Bates. In spite of the thought variant policy, action was still very much in evidence.
Requiem for Astounding xiv. 182
Tremaine, in the ‘thought variant’ era, maintained Bates’s gains and pushed for genuinely imaginative concepts.
Letter in Aboriginal Science Fiction July–Aug. 39/2
Research HistorySuggested by Ben Ostrowsky.
Last modified 2021-04-28 18:03:26
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.