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“To be continued …”

By: Ardis E. Parshall - October 20, 2010

The editors of the church magazines don’t publish fiction these days. Even in the Friend, all stories appear to be either taken from the scriptures or “based on a true story” – regardless of the amount of fictionalization that makes up those tales, the stamp of historicity has been placed upon them.

Earlier incarnations of the church magazines relied heavily on fiction. Within my memory, Jack Weyland got his start with short stories in the New Era. The Improvement Era, Instructor, Children’s Friend, Young Woman’s Journal and Relief Society Magazine published much more. Some of the best, or at least best loved and best remembered, stories were serializations running through a year or more of a magazine, each installment ending with the tantalizing “To be continued.”

Because very few of these earlier magazines and their fiction are easily available to most Church members (they haven’t been digitized in most cases, although the Improvement Era, without illustrations, is available through Deseret Book’s subscription website and a few volumes of the Young Woman’s Journal are posted at Google Books), I’m going to experiment with posting some stories here in addition to Keepa’s regular historical posts. I don’t expect they will get much discussion, but if the stats show that a few people are looking at them, I’ll keep it up.

We’ll start with an 11-part serial, “Enemy’s Son,” that ran in the 1956 Children’s Friend, starting tomorrow. Installments will appear Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, close enough that you might not be tempted to wait until they’re all available before beginning to read, but far enough apart to give you the sense of anticipation that “To be continued …” always brings.



4 Comments »

  1. I remember reading some of those serialized stories in my mother’s old Relief Society Magazines. I seem to remember one story that had to do with the disappearance of Amelia Earhart. And it seems like one of my mother’s magazines containing a segment of the story was missing. It may have even been the conclusion. I probably would have forgotten the story long since if I’d been able to read the entire thing!

    Comment by Researcher — October 20, 2010 @ 4:17 pm

  2. Nice, to meet with you for a short time today. Thanks for taking the time.

    Comment by James L. Tanner — October 20, 2010 @ 5:10 pm

  3. I’ll have to watch for that one, Researcher, and be sure to include it!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — October 20, 2010 @ 5:16 pm

  4. When I was a child visiting my grandmother, I would root through her collection of old Relief Society magazines to read the serialized fiction. I was occasionally frustrated when I couldn’t find the next installment in the series, but it probably wasn’t my grandma who misplaced the issue. I also loved to look at the illustrations that sometimes accompanied the stories. I hope you include scans of them as well. I’ll be reading!

    Comment by Mommie Dearest — October 22, 2010 @ 3:50 am

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