'NEW WORLDS' CRISIS
To save 'New Worlds' from the fate of 'Fantasy' following the close-down of Pendulum Publications, British science fiction readers will be invited to participate in a plan to establish a publishing company of their own.
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these had accomplished more than prewar organisations like the Science Fiction Association which held yearly conventions. But if the new generation of fans felt the need of a society to link them together, it was for them to form one. With their new approach to the medium, they would probably be more successful than if it were run by the older enthusiasts with their conservative ideas*.
*The overwhelming majority of fans present were new to such gatherings; many were meeting fellow enthusiasts for the first time. Youngest attendee was 13-year-old Ronald Walter Gillings, taking an active interest in the proceedings, discussing the merits of "Skylark" Smith with his elders.
secretary G. Ken Chapman, whose name was also mentioned in connection with the proposed new publishing company. It was suggested that this might be incorporated in time for New Worlds to resume publication in the autumn.
NOW READ 'WONDER'
In a talk on "Science Fiction and Astronautics," Arthur C. Clarke, Council member of the British Interplanetary Society, considered whether s-f had been a good or bad thing for the space-travel movement. He recalled that the Society was started in '33, by people who were interested in the philosophical aspects of the subject; the first secretary, Leslie J. Johnson, was an active s-f fan. To-day the membership comprised only 20 per cent. of such people.
"There are a small minority of members who will not look at science fiction, a large number who read it surreptitiously and don't talk about it, and many who read and discuss it openly and don't give a damn what the rest think. These s-f fans are to be found among both technical and non-technical members."
He had evidence that many professional scientists in this country as well as America were regular readers of science fiction. In fact, he had just started Thrilling Wonder Stories circulating in the Cavendish Laboratory, which had hitherto been sacrosanct to Astounding.
Verne and Wells had served to spread the early ideas of interplanetary travel, and the theories of Oberth and other pioneers of astronautics were given great play by popular magazines. It was practically a law that people were introduced to the science through science fiction, which had thus been of great service to the movement. He had been more inclined to condemn the medium for some of its poorer specimens, but the fact remained that people had been persuaded to take even Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon seriously by the developments of the past few years.
"So, though we cannot dismiss s-f without a stain on its character, I think astronautics would never have reached the stage it now has if it hadn't been for science fiction, which has done much to break down the psychological barriers which still retard our progress. If it is to assist us further in the future, it will have to be more factual and deal with the sociological problems space-flight will bring, as in Ray Bradbury's latest story, `And the Moon Be Still as Bright.' "
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Following "vociferous complaint" at jibes at science-fantasy and its fans in Arkham Sampler, August Derleth invited "one of most vocal of s-f adherents" to argue "The Case for Science Fiction" in early issue, plans to devote Winter '49 number entirely to s-f . . . Says Derleth in his Introduction to "Strange Ports of Call," collection of s-f masterpieces: "Overwhelming majority of s-f stories are written on an adolescent level . . . Far too much of s-f today suffers from coterie writing . . . Fan letters in magazines he describes as "submoronic," even accuses Astounding Editor Campbell of "writing absurdities" . . . Stephen Grendon, reputed protege of Derleth, author of weird tales, now believed to be pseudonym of Derleth himself . . . Arthur C. Clarke's stories for suspended British Fantasy, still unpublished, may appear instead in U.S. magazines . . .
Unknown annual, due for publication mid-July, titled "From Unknown Worlds," to have 128 pages with cover by Cartier; contents will be reprints . . . Coming up in Startling Stories: "What Mad Universe?" by Fredric Brown, Henry Kuttner's "The Time Axis." October Thrilling Wonder will feature "Moonfire," by Leigh Brackett, William F. Temple's "Miracle Town" . . . Lester del Rey told New Jersey fans why he no longer writes fantasy: "I find Western and sports stories more profitable" . .. Dr. David H. Keller, writing in Fanscient, bemoaned editors' rejection of many of his tales because they were "too beautiful." His detective Taine will reappear in Fantasy Book . . . "A Ship from Nowhere," by Master Mariner A. Bertram Chandler, in American Argosy . . .
New horror film, "The Beast with Five Fingers," with Peter Lorre, reminiscent of William Fryer Harvey's weird tale of dismembered hand . . . "Miranda," with Glynis Johns as seductive mermaid, ditto Wells' "The Sea Lady" . .. London Film Society revived silent classic "Metropolis" . . . Next Tarzan cinemadventure: "Tarzan and the Fountain of Youth" . . . "Atoms, Rockets and the Moon," booklet by Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles, has reference to s-f magazines . . . U.S. Rocket Society' ; R.L. ("Golden Moon") Farnsworth authors "Rockets-New Trail to Empire" (Rocket Associates: $2) . . . "Into the Atomic Age" (Hutchinson: 9/6) is popular atomics textbook by B.I.S. member Chapman Pincher . Francis L. Ashton's second AtIantean novel, "Alas This Great City," forthcoming from Dakers; William F. Temple's "The Four-Sided Triangle" from John Long . . .
Ray Bradbury interviewed by Writers' Markets & Methods: "My stories are imaginative because that's my field. Sincerity is important . . . I never write down, and I'm not ashamed of anything I turn out . . . I don't use pseudonyms, but sometimes editors will insist on one" . . . N. Wesley Firth, "Prince of (British) Pulp Pedlars," sole author of Strange Adventures, Futuristic Stories, owner of 50 pen-names (see this column, last issue), got write-up in men's magazine Stag . .. Clark Ashton Smith. Californian sculptor of weird statuettes, fantasy writer and poet, now carving pipes representing Lovecraft characters . . . Sam Merwin, Wonder editor, and Leo Margulies, Thrilling Publications chief, co-authors of "The Flags Were Three" (Hurst & Brackett: 9/6), story of old New Orleans . . .
Richard Shaver's "racial memory" piece from Amazing, "I Remember Lemuria," published as $3.00,book by Venture Press, Illinois, "particularly recommended to students of the occult" . . . Atlantis Research Centre's Egerton Sykes planning new Lost Continent scouting expedition . . . Explaining fall of green rain, Time belittled Charles Fort and "group of U.S. literary exhibitionists including . .. Tiffany Thayer (who) formed Fortean Society, dedicated to 'the frustration of science' " . . . New Yorker on A. E. van Vogt's "World of Null-A" (reviewed FR last issue): "Interplanetary skullduggery in the year 2650 . . . fine for addicts of science fiction but hardly likely to convert the rest of the public to it" . . .
Author's agent Forrest J. Ackerman offering unpublished Weinbaum novel, "The Mad Brain" (see this column, Aug.-Sep. '47 issue) for sale to highest bidder. Says Weinbaum's widow: "It was hacked out for a newspaper syndicate. We planned on some day rewriting it" . . . L. Ron Hubbard's Unknown tale, "The Case of the Friendly- Corpse," to appear in book form as "The Wizard and the Witch".
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THOMAS SHERIDAN tells
"To those who regard science fiction as screwball literature,' the scientific standing of Astounding Stories may come as a surprise. Although some magazines in this field do cater for juveniles, with cops-and-robbers stories transplanted to Mars . . . Astounding is for the strictly adult mind. Its stories are factually accurate because its contributors are outstanding scientists. Its readers include top men of science who find in science fiction . . . mental relaxation . . . One reason for the following Astounding has . . is that it consistently discusses the social and political aspects of future scientific developments. For example, the implications of atomic energy were discussed in (it) with the utmost intelligence years before the atomic bomb was invented."
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Its full title was Astounding Stories of Super-Science; the accent was on adventure rather than science, with the stories full-blooded and vigorous in the genuine pulp style. The monster-grappling covers, done by Hans Waldemar Wessolowski ("Wesso" of Amazing), reflected the new robustious trend, to which veteran writers like Ray Cummings, Victor Rousseau, Murray Leinster and Harl Vincent responded, to be followed by Arthur J. Burks, Edmond Hamilton, Jack Williamson and others.
John Russell Fearn, the Lancashire writer who, with his remarkable fund of story-ideas, assisted in the development of Street & Smith's Astounding Stories. After making his first appearance in Amazing, he came to the forefront as a producer of "thought-variants" and was featured so prominently by Editor Tremaine that fans referred to him as "Cover-copper" Fearn. His fellow British writers, not so prolific as he, preferred to call him "The Blackpool Wonder."
Other names under which he has appeared in print: Thornton Avre, Polton Cross, Geoffrey Armstrong, Ephraim Winiki . . . He also became a star contributor of Thrilling Wonder, still appears occasionally in Startling Stories.
The flourishing "Readers' Corner," which later became "Brass Tacks," showed general approval of the policy of concentrating on story-interest and taking the science for granted, which undoubtedly came as a relief after Amazing's tedious tales which were often too largely composed of scientific chit-chat. But the new magazine did not do well enough to weather the economic depression, and after thirty-four issues, of which the last few were bimonthly, the Clayton Astounding was suspended with the March, '33, number. A companion magazine, Strange Tales, featuring weird and horror stories, to which much the same coterie of writers contributed, also folded after seven bimonthly issues.
Six months later, however, Astounding reappeared on the stands as a Street and Smith publication-amid wails from its wondering fans. For at
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first it was an odd mixture of weird, science and "pure" fantasy, mostly puerile; the cover was poor, and the inside illustrations quite without atmosphere or artistry of the Wesso Stan- dard But Leinster, Burks and William- son were recognisable among the unfamiliar names on the contents page; and within two or three issues, with monthly publication, the standard vastly improved under the expert editorship of F. Orlin Tremaine. Having announced his intention "to develop a magazine worthy of the best literary traditions," he introduced a new trend of "heavy science" and bold conception without particular regard for plausibility, which with Nat Schachner's "Ancestral Voices" (Dec., '33), Donald Wandrei's "Colossus" (Jan., '34), and Thomas Calvert McClary's "Rebirth" (Feb.-Mar., '34), soon placed Astounding head and shoulders above its dwindling competitors and kept it expanding in circulation as in the scope of its "thought-variant" stories.
(To be concluded)
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The Humanity of Dr. Keller
LIFE EVERLASTING and Other Tales of Science, Fantasy and Horror, by David H. Keller, M.D., collected by Sam Moskowitz and Will Sykora. Avalon, Newark, New Jersey, $3.50.
Reviewed by Thomas Sheridan
When Hugo Gernsback launched Science Wonder Stories in 1929, he issued a long memorandum explaining its editorial policy to would-be contributors, and offering advice to new writers based on his 25 years' experience of science fiction. There was one writer, already well established in the field, whose work he held out as a model when it came to writing about people as distinct from robots and Martians. "When you get through reading one of Dr. Keller's stories," said the man who had started the ball rolling with Amazing Stories, "you almost think you know the characters personally."
*See "Half a Century of Writing" (Fantasy Review, Dec., '47-Jan., '48.)
natural that Dr. Keller should have gravitated to this medium. In a fascinating psycho-analysis of the man and his motives which forms a critical Introduction to this book, Mr. Moskowitz deduces that his early association with mental hospitals is responsible for the "underlying horror and morbidity in much of his writing." But this element of sheer terror seems to have come to the surface only in some of his shorter stories, such as the much-printed "The Thing in the Cellar," which again appears in this cross-section of his extensive contribution to the field. In none of the longer stories he has written in the course of 20 years "has horror pre-dominated over human understanding and humour. It was not in him to maintain the gloomy face overlong or look at the sorry aspect of life forever."
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part Amazing story of 14 years back which comprises half of this bulky volume. It is not, to our mind, one of his best; the latter part is not as convincing or smooth as the first, and the biological basis is hazier than we might reasonably expect a physician to leave it. But it has human interest in plenty, especially in the situation of a planet deprived of babies which has always intrigued Dr. Keller-presumably because, as a country doctor in earlier days, he brought many of them into this imperfect world.
The Flame That Went Out
THE BLACK FLAME, by Stanley G. Weinbaum. Fantasy Press, Reading, Pa. $3.00.
Reviewed by John Beynon
The primary phase of magazine science fiction was already past when, in '34, Stanley G. Weinbaum arrived. The first in the field, the men who enjoyed working out their ideas with enough scientific background to ensure a good story, were going into eclipse, largely because new ideas do not grow on every bush. Many of the writers infiltrating at that time were competent and experienced, and their journalistic sense was shocked by the failure of the older writers to exploit the field fully. Leaping into the medium with all the joy of settlers perceiving a site for a new dustbowl, they ran amok. They seized upon science fictionwhich until then had been proceeding, sometimes extravagantly and sometimes sententiously, but still with a spring of deductive logic as its source-and exuberantly battered it into nonsensibility.
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men slugged their way around space more like supermaniacs. impermeably space-suited heroes cavorted through the cosmos with curvaceous cuties inevitably clad in bathing suits-and all interest departed from the stories. The contemptuous cracks in other periodicals were well deserved as the form which had shown such promise was reduced to moronic levels-from which, in some instances, it has never recovered.
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Better Than The Best
A TREASURY OF SCIENCE FICTION, edited by Groff Conklin. Crown, New York. $3.00.
*Reviewed Feb.-Mar., '47, issue.
imposed duty of casting a wide net could have caused him to choose from the great bulk of better work which van Vogt has to his credit. All these pieces have, if little else, an interesting or surprising culmination, though one which may still be over-fresh in the memory of the reader. In those cases where the culminating point is feeble and the handling equally inferior, as in Polton Cross's "Wings Across the Cosmos," rescuing them from oblivion is an act of cruelty co all concerned.
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None the less, Mr. Conklin is moving in approximately the right direction; and it is tempting, and surely legitimate in this of all fields, to extrapolate into the future from the first two volumes of this hoped-for series. Working from the data already summarised, one may prophesy that the nth collection to come from Crown Publishers will appear between papercovers, have some such title as "The Greatest Classics of Science Fiction," and contain about three superb and extraordinarily diverse stories, all due to appear in Astounding several years in the anthology's own future. More power to Mr. Conklin: this would be well worth the three dollars. But extrapolation is not, the mathematicians tell us, infallible.
Twelve For Your Friends
". . . AND SOME WERE HUMAN," by Lester del Rey. Prime Press, Philadelphia, Pa. $3.00.
Reviewed by Peter Phillips
Take any one of this collection of Lester del Rey's best pieces, put them in the pages of a general magazine in-stead of Astounding or Unknown (from which they came) and they would be properly acclaimed on their merits as stories. Riffle through your fantasy magazines and, being as honestly dispassionate as any fantasy fan can, pick ,out the tales of which you could say the same. Or, as Mr. del Rey himself puts it in his Foreword, that might be "intended for the entertainment of perfect strangers."
Important to Subscribers If a subscription blank is enclosed, you should renew your subscription immediately. Note the new address to which it should be sent:
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Slan With A Typewriter
OUT OF THE UNKNOWN, by A. E. van Vogt & E. Mayne Hull. Fantasy Publishing Co., Los Angeles. $2.50.
Reviewed by John Carnell
Would it be sacrilegious to suggest that the name of van Vogt may tend to become monotonous among the increasing number of titles coming from the fantasy presses of America? Then we will merely state that the legion of his admirers, and of the beloved Unknown Worlds, will heartily welcome this first volume from the publishers of Fantasy Book, which he shares with his wife-and rather overshadows her work with his own three stories. But as she has laboured to some extent on virtually every story he has published, A would seem that an equal share of ihe honours should rightly be hers; especially since one may have too much of a good thing, even of van Vogt, and her own three pieces serve as breathing spaces in between the thought-provoking, chilling tales of her husband.
books for mid-summer moods
WHO GOES THERE? By John W. Campbell
OUT OF THE UNKNOWN By A. E. van Vogt and E. Mayne Hull
IF THIS GOES ON By Robert A. Heinlein
FINAL BLACKOUT By L. Ron Hubbard
READY JULY Eric Frank Russell's fine fantasy
THE SUNKEN WORLD By Stanton A. Coblentz: 16/6
E. J. CARNELL, 17 BURWASH ROAD, PLUMSTEAD, LONDON, S.E. 18
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reached the conclusion that neither editors nor readers, much less his reviewers, can really appreciate van Vogt's writings. All our comments are but vapourings from those who live in the world of to-day and are trying vainly to understand something which belongs at least a little way in the future.
Introduction to a Genius?
THE BEST SHORT STORIES OF M. P. SHIEL, selected by John Gawsworth. Gollancz, 10/6.
Reviewed by Peter Phillips
A Turkish bath can be refreshing, in moderation; in excess, it enervates. So, for me, with the orchidaceous prolixity of Shiel's prose. A few pages at a time are enough; then I need an interval for recovery, digestion and consultation of the S.O.E.D. before plunging again into the leaping torrent of his convolute imagery. For example, this passage from ,Phorphor":
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As Good As New
THE TORCH, by Jack Bechdolt. Prime Press, Philadelphia, Pa. $2.50.
Reviewed by John Carnell
The current reprinting of magazine stories which, with the names of their authors, are within the memory of most fantasy fans, may leave some of us wary of this unfamiliar novel from the files of the American Argosy. But although it appeared in 1920, before the days of the science fiction magazine proper, there is nothing archaic either in theme or the telling of this tale of New York in 3010 A.D., after a major catastrophe has swept away all but the remnants of civilisation.
Box 2019, Middle City Station,
Philadelphia, 3, Pa., U.S.A.
Announce their forthcoming
A collection of the finest work produced by this outstanding writer who has not yet received all the attention he deserves from the anthologists.
LEST DARKNESS FALL
De Camp's best-liked story from the pages of Unknown Worlds. The first edition of this book has long been out of print and vainly sought after by collectors.
Being the first book presentation of the popular serial in Astounding Nov. '44 to Feb. '45, under the pseudonym of Wesley Long.
LORDS OF CREATION
One of the great fantasy serials from the famous Argosy magazine, by the popular author-duo.
A novel by Lester del Rey tentatively titled LUNAR LANDING,
*Sole British Representative:
E. J. CARNELL
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NIGEL LINDSAY & KENNETH SLATER
giving reviews of current issues and news of stories to comeAMONG THE MAGAZINES
Latest frustration for the British fantasy fan is the new dollar-conserving Board of Trade restriction on the importation of foreign publications which makes it impossible to renew subscriptions to the American magazines when they run out-unless you can find a friendly U.S. fan who will place a direct subscription in your name. You can no longer subscribe through an agent here, but there is nothing to prevent issues coming into the country as long as they are paid for in America; and although you cannot send money, an American contact will probably welcome any British publications you send him in return.
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of Rising Winds" was nice work for those who like his style (we do); and we found Ray Cummings more than bearable in "The Simple Life," which had none of the idiocy of the "Tubby" stories and no dimensionalism. But George O. Smith's "Journey" was definitely not one of his best.
(Please turn to Page 19)
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Geoffrey Giles writes
Perhaps you've already spotted the jacket of "Death of a World," by J. Jefferson Farjeon (Collins: 8,6), and discovered that although labelled a "mystery" it is a tale of an attempt to preserve a sample of humanity from the wreckage of World War III, starting off with interplanetary explorers stumbling on the dead planet Earth-and the diary which tells the story. If not, look for a bluish globe floating in a green television screen . . .
Eric Frank Russell, leading British disciple of Charles Fort, whose dictum, "I think we're property," inspired the Liverpool fantasy writer to produce his disturbing "Sinister Barrier," which started off Unknown in '39. Editor John W. Campbell called the novel "epoch-making," the best piece of fantasy written for ten years, which would be referred to for another decade to come. Russell's fans were inclined to agree,. and helped to justify the prediction. In '43, the story saw book presentation. in England. This month, it is due to appear in America from Fantasy Press.
ON THE OTHER SIDE
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Derleth's latest anthology, "Strange Ports of Call: 20 Masterpieces of Science Fiction," Arkham will shortly be distributing a collection of Arthur Machen's novels and shorter pieces assembled by Philip Van Doren Stern under the title, "Tales of Horror & the Supernatural." Later this year Mr. Derleth plans to publish the famous Seabury Quinn story, "Roads," from Weird Tales. Another collection of his own stories from this magazine is also scheduled for Autumn publication under the title, "Not Long for This World."
A WEALTH OF FANTASY
in Four Anthologies Edited by August Derleth
May be ordered from:
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AMONG THE MAGAZINEScontinued from page 16
voted to the defence of reason .. dedicated to the scientific method, to calm analysis of the known and the unknown . . . You might call Fate a 'cosmic reporter.' "
Special Rate to Collectors: 2d. per word (5c. Canada and U.S.A.); minimum 12 words. To Traders and others: 3d.per word (7c. in Canada and U.S.A.). All Advertisements in this section must be prepaid. Box numbers 6d. (15c.) extra.
|FANTASY REVIEW||Volume 2 No. 9||Back Page|
Over a long period we have been urged by many readers to increase the size of
in order to include more of the contents of the
Production difficulties have now been overcome and the AUGUST ISSUE to be published on August 21st will be the FIRST IN THE NEW SIZE.
Owing to paper rationing, the demand cannot be fully met and we therefore recommend you to place a regular order with your newsagent.
Ripley Printing Society Ltd., Ripley, Derbys.
This version of the magazine was assembled by Farrago & Farrago using a copy from the collection of the late Harry Turner, who created the cover artwork for the early issues of Fantasy Review.
All copyrights acknowledged, all articles and artwork remain the intellectual property of their creators.