Future Fiction O.K. Now
FROM FORREST J. ACKERMAN
The recent tendency towards science fiction in the "slicks," such as Robert Heinlein's space-travel stories in Satevepost, may only be a flash in the pan. Although the general magazines are now prepared to entertain tales with futuristic settings, the accent must still be on the story rather than the setting. In this respect, the editorial attitude hasn't changed, according to Peter Granger, who devoted his Review Page in the March Writers' Markets and Methods to "Unusual Fiction."
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|The Admirable Weinbaum|
By D. R. SMITH
The name of Stanley G. Weinbaum is one which may have, little significance for many of to-day's readers, in spite of its inclusion in the Hall of Fame which science-fantasy has built for itself.
jaded readers who greeted it with rapturous praise and as an inspiration to many writers who sought to emulate his example if riot actually imitate his style. It was the new approach, the fresh touch science fiction needed . . .
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came "Parasite Planet" (Feb.), "The Lotus Eaters" (Apr.), "The Planet of Doubt" (Oct.), "The Red Peri" (Nov.), and "The Mad Moon" (Dec. 35); all interplanetary stories in which his fertile imagination peopled the Solar System with equally fascinating forms of life.
* "Dawn of Flame" was first published in the Weinbaum Memorial Volume (Milwaukee Fictioneers, '36), "The Black Flame" being the longer novel which develops from it and which gives its title to the book combining both stories, just published by Fantasy Press, U.S.A. A book of Weinbaum's short stories, "A Martian Odyssey & Others," will follow next year.
autocracy lacked his usual originality, it was irradiated in new and glowing colours by Weinbaum's spark of genius.
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DR. E. E. SMITH talks about the famous "Skylark" tales and the "Lensmen" series, in an interview with THOMAS SHERIDAN.
Just 20 years ago, when Hugo Gernsback's Amazing Stories was in its third year of pioneering in the science fiction medium, it featured on the cover of its August issue three names: H. G. Wells, Edward Elmer Smith and Philip Francis Nowlan. Wells' piece was one of the famous short stories the magazine was busy reprinting. Nowlan's was a tale of one Anthony Rogers, an adventurer in the 25th century who was destined to be better-known, years later, as Buck Rogers of the comic strips. But Amazing was more certain of Mr. Smith's rosy future than of Buck's yet unsuspected potentialities. Though his contribution had been rejected by practically every other story magazine in America before Gernsback accepted it, the pioneer blurbed: "It is one of the outstanding scientifiction stories of the decade . . . it will be referred to by fans for years to come."
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FURTHER AND FASTER
THE MAD ARISIAN
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pains in writing his stories, which mostly run to 100,000 words. He believes in portraying as faithfully as he can his human and superman characters, as well as the alien beings of his powerful imagination. Invariably he plots a graph to help him develop his plot, to show the progress of events, the reaction of the characters to the bizarre situations they encounter, and the background atmosphere he has to work into the story. "Beautiful things, these graphs. But although I can't seem to get along without one of them, I've never yet managed to stick to one properly. Somehow or other my characters break loose and take the yarn out of my hands—which is a good thing, I guess."
Writing Contest on Space Conquest
Different, journal of the Avalon World Arts Academy, Rogers, Arkansas, whose founder-director is Lilith Lorraine, one-time contiibutor to American science-fantasy magazines, will devote its Sept.-Oct. '48 issue to "The Conquest of Space." Poets and writers throughout the world are invited "to divert the minds of our readers from the minor dissensions that lead to war on this little planet by submitting poems and stories" on this theme.
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Incensed by piece in Lilliput by novelist Margot Bennett chivvying "incredible-science writers," A. Bertram Chandler (for one) wrote protesting: "You've taken inferior rubbish as representative of science fiction . .. " Article, titled "Space-Ships also Leak," burlesqued work of Western story writer N. Wesley Firth, alias Rice Ackman, alias Leslie Halward, in British Strange Adventures, Futuristic Stories; also poked fun at New Worlds, Astounding Science Fiction, with "green mammoth egg-headed statues and an intrepid pilot on the cover . . . Moral of this scientific pulp seems to be to keep the future with its fatal exaggeration of the present away from your door . . . As for the ice-men, metal-men, fish-men, space-jelly and incredible-writers, a bottle of Martian Sitch would probably keep them all quiet for a small part of the future, at least" . . .
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NIGEL LINDSAY & KENNETH SLATER
First issue of The Arkham Sampler (Winter '48), which was announced some months ago, has now arrived from Sauk City. For the serious fantasy fan who appreciates literate material, especially "background" material, presented without any fancy wrappings, this will be of absorbing interest. But we doubt if it will appeal very strongly to the not-so-studious reader of science fiction at its price of $1 per issue; for there is little story-content in it compared with the non-fiction items, which are of significance only to the genuine student of the field for whom the magazine was primarily designed.
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be a Martian!). "Mistake Inside," by James Blish, which might have fitted Unknown; "Climate—Disordered," by Carter Sprague (de Camp?), and "The Penultimate Trump," by R. C. W. Ettinger, with Weinbaum's "Hall of Fame" reprint, round off the 148 pages.
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The Null-A Mystery
THE WORLD OF A, by A. E. van Vogt. Simon and Schuster, New York. $2.50.
* Of Worlds Beyond, a symposium edited by Lloyd Arthur Eshbach (Fantasy Press, $2.00).
his characters, however dumb Mr. Derleth may find them, always seem to us to have a close affinity with their creator; to actually express his thoughts, either in their dialogue or their attempts to find a way out of the bewildering mazes he constructs for them.
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Astounding version and entirely rewritten the ending to make it—presumably—less disconcerting to ordinary readers, to whom it is offered as "A Science Fiction Adventure"; the word "swashbuckling" even being employed to lure them into coping with its denials of the underlying credo of null - A philosophy, that no two objects in the universe can be identical. There are, of course, the omniscient Machine and the threat to the Solar System to attract them—and the tantalising Mystery. But we'd give our copy of "Slan!" for a sight of some of the postcards which the publishers have issued with the volume, inviting the casual buyer to let them know if it comes up to their expectations, and if not, why not?
Ptath Without A Tightrope
THE BOOK OF PTATH, by A. E, van Vogt. Fantasy Press, Reading, Pa. $3.00.
Reviewed by John K. Aitken
A good stage or screen thriller does not need a flawless plot. The Great Detective need not, in his stage appearances, reason with absolute logic; the villain's alibi, riddled with holes though it be, will seem cast-iron; the hero's escape from the coiners' den can defy the laws of probability—just so long as the speed is kept up. By piling event on event so that the audience has no time to reflect, one can contrive good drama from a situation which would be out of the question in a sedate novel.
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of vast powers of mind and body. He is, though he does not know it, Ptath, the king, the god.
In the Next Issue
The Horrors Around Us
NIGHT'S BLACK AGENTS, by Fritz Leiber, Jr. Arkham House, Sauk City, Wis. $3.00.
Reviewed by Arthur F. Hillman
The most striking feature of this first collection of stories by yet another writer with whose work we have become familiar through the fantasy magazines is the versatility of Mr. Leiber. Though perhaps it is to be expected of one who has written with equal facility for Astounding Science Fiction, Unknown Worlds and Weird Tales (and who, incidentally, is an associate editor of Science Digest), he changes his style with the agility of a chameleon. The novel and novelette which form the bulk of the volume have the colour and charm—and the irresponsibility—of Dunsany and Cabell; while "The Dreams of Albert Moreland" are recounted in solemn, Lovecraftian vein, and the gangsters in "The Automatic Pistol" are sketched with the staccato brusqueness of Hemingway.
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She - Who - Must - Be - Avoided
THE CALL OF PETER GASKELL, by George C. Wallis, World's Work, Kingswood. 5/-.
sibly have enlivened our school hours with adventures "In Trackless Space" or on "Aerial Island," had either escaped our notice or faded from memory. There was even one called "The World Wreckers" which ran, appropriately enough, in Scraps. This was long before Mr. Hamilton went into the wreckage business . . .
*Some appeared under the pseudonym John Stanton. Most of his American work carries the by-line of B. & George C. Wallis, in acknowledgment of a Canadian cousin's assistance in placing his manuscripts.
the prime press
WITHOUT SORCERY By Theodore Sturgeon
A collection of thirteen stories from the pen of this popular author, embracing both fantasy and science fiction. Contents include: ''Brat, "Shottle Bop," "Microcosmic God," "Poker Face," "Artnan Process," "Maturity," "Cargo," ''Ether Breather," "It," "The Ultimate Egoist," etc.
" . . . AND SOME WERE HUMAN" By Lester del Rey
Twelve fantasy and science fiction stories: " Hereafter Inc.," "The Day Is Done," "The Stars Look Down," "The Coppersmith," "Luck of Ignatz," and others. 16/6d.
VENUS EQUILATERAL By George 0. Smith
A popular anthology to which all the book reviewers are giving credit. 16/ 6d.
THE TORCH—Jack Bechdolt. The Argosy classic. 13/6
Sole British Representative:
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jungle, who aims to rule the world and snares in her seductive web (by hypnotic powers, of course) a young English farmer, handsome as a Greek god. And while we are playing with the capital letters, let it be known that Queen Xia must always be referred to as She by Her lowly servants.
ARKHAM HOUSE BOOKS
SOMETHING ABOUT CATS & OTHER PIECES By H. P. Lovecraft
GENIUS LOCI & OTHER TALES By Clark Ashton Smith
THE WEB OF EASTER ISLAND By Donald Wandrei
STRANGE PORTS OF CALL Edited by August Derleth
SELECTED LETTERS By H. P. Lovecraft
G. KEN CHAPMAN (British Sales Representative), 23 Farnley Road, South Norwood, London, S.E.25
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The Dunsany Touch
THE FOURTH BOOK OF JORKENS, by Lord Dunsany. Jarrolds, London. 9/6.
Reviewed by A. Bertram Chandler
The fantasy field is overpopulated with assorted Supermen and those who, at the drop of a Bergenholm, sally forth to save civilisation from a fate worse than death. (It may be Fifth Columnry, but the dreadful thought has occurred to me of late that it might be better for all concerned if Boskone won).
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Hope Hodgson's Psychic Sleuth
CARNACKI, THE GHOST-FINDER, by William Hope Hodgson. Mycroft, Sauk City, Wis. $3.00
Reviewed by Arthur F. Hillman
Psychic detectives, like their more mundane brethren, have their admiring followers; and a generation ago the exploits of Hodgson's Carnacki earned him a place with Blackwood's John Silence and LeFanu's Dr. Hesselius. Mycroft & Moran, with whom Arkham House are associated, are to be commended for bringing once again to public notice the half-dozen Carnacki adventures published here in 1910, together with three hitherto undiscovered episodes, thus making available the first complete collection of Carnacki stories.
Titles That Speak Volumes
Out of the Unknown By A. E. van Vogt and E. M. Hull: an anthology. 14/6.
Final Blackout By L. Ron Hubbard. 16/6
World of Null-A By A. E. van Vogt. 14!6
Beyond This Horizon By Robert A. Heinlein. 16/6
The Sunken World By Stanton A. Coblentz. 16/6
Triplanetary—E. E. Smith: 16/6
The Black Flame — Weinbaum: 16/6
The Book of Ptath — van Vogt: 16/6
The Skylark of Space— E. E. Smith. 16/6
The Mightiest Machine—Campbell. 16/6
Edison's Conquest of Mars— Serviss. 19/6
The Forbidden Garden — Taine: 16/6
A Treasury of Science Fiction— 17/6
SINISTER BARRIER — Russell: Ready June. 16/6
E. J. CARNELL 17 BURWASH ROAD, PLUMSTEAD, LONDON, S.E. 18
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Geoffrey Giles writes
Reviewers have been in rhapsodies over T. H. White's new fantasy, "The Elephant and the Kangaroo" ( Cape, 8/6), which tells of a visiting archangel who brings warning of a second Flood to the inhabitants of an Irish village, and of their complicated efforts to build an ark to save themselves from the deluge. Those who enjoyed the delightful "Mistress Masham's Repose," which was just as highly praised not many months ago, won't want to miss this one.
MORE FROM MR. HEARD
which is a tale of underground terrors; another deals with a strange world of the future. Also from New York comes "The Well of the Unicorn," by George
U. Fletcher (Sloane, 4,3.50), which, dealing with a mythical world that acknowledges magic as a profession, is strikingly similar to the stories of L. Sprague de Camp and Fletcher Pratt in the halcyon days of Unknown.
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fantasy fiction which would be published in yearly sections and run to a total of 6,000 pages.
NEW TAINE NOVEL
WEIRD vs. SCIENCE - FANTASY
It is evident from his criticism of my article that Mr. August Derleth is severely prejudiced in favour of the weird tale and that his opinion of science fiction is none too high. Bearing in mind that he publishes books predominantly of "weird" appeal, he would not, therefore, care for my suggestion that the recent spate of weird anthologies was due to the paradoxical situation of science fiction fans buying them as the alternative to poor s-f magazines. The foundation of his arguments lies in the information with which he supplies us that his book "Sleep No More" has sold upwards of 155,000 copies; and he suggests that if the science fictionists were responsible for that truly phenomenal sale, the sales of "Adventures in Time and Space" and "The Best in Science Fiction" should also have approached that figure.
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years to sell out an edition of 2,000, despite the fact they appeared during a war boom. The same ready sale has also awaited the appearance of s-f books from other publishers such as Fantasy Press, who sold out 3,000 copies of E. E. Smith's "Spacehounds of IPC" in nine months. And now Mr. Derleth himself has edited a science fiction anthology, "Strange Ports of Call," which he has justified by thinly disguising it as a collection of "literary" s-f. What better verification could he provide for my statement that these s-f books are crowding the weirds into the background? Indeed, the weird cycle appears to have ended, with such books being remaindered in large numbers; while science fiction seems to be in for a run of prosperity, with three anthologies scheduled and Simon & Schuster inaugurating a series of s-f titles.—Sam Moskowitz, Newark, N.J.
MR. BROCH'S NOVEL
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