Today is the late Isaac Asimov's birthday and a growing group of fans have unofficially named it "Science Fiction Day."

While there is no huge national observance scheduled, I thought that we needed to reflect on how all this "sci-fi" got so popular.

Most people will point back to Jules Verne and H.G. Wells and authors of that time as the birth of science fiction, which is just fine, but ...

Isaac Asimov owes his start, as do many of the "golden age" authors, to the thriving pulp magazines of 30s and 40s. These magazines, with their racy covers and over-the-top story titles, provided an entry for unpublished writers to earn some credibility.

The publishers and editors, such as Hugo Gernsback and John W. Campbell, understood the allure of imaginative stories and new inventions. They were instrumental in popularizing the genre.

The film industry has always been a great place for science fiction, including last year's "Guardians of the Galaxy."

Science fiction and fantasy have been lumped together, with continuing interest in Middle Earth and imaginary worlds of sword and dragons such as "Game of Thrones" on television.

So, hail to the pulp magazine! Without them, authors like Isaac Asimov would not have had successful careers. In fact, rumors have it that Asimov's "Foundation" trilogy will be filmed.

Check out some of the "not necessarily for prime time" covers here.