WILLY LEY recalls
A. REYNOLDS MORSE on
M. P. SHIEL, MASTER
GEOFFREY GILES and
The First Voyagers
to the Moon
THOMAS SHERIDAN on
THE END OF ' WONDER
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In the early months of World War I, when I was still quite a small boy, the German Government issued a list of some 200 titles of "dime novels" which were verboten for the expressly stated reason of saving paper. On that list were the Captain Mors stories, which, if they are not entirely forgotten by now, live only as a dim memory in the minds of a few Germans old enough to have made their acquaintance as young men. It is doubtful if a file of them exists anywhere; and since I have only my own memory to rely on, I can give no precise details concerning their publication for those who may try to seek out any copies that have survived.
1908; and from what I remember of the style and printing technique of the covers on the early issues I suspect the longer run. It is even possible that the publication began as a monthly and accelerated later.
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Berlin-born WILLY LEY, expert on astronautics, was one of the founders of the German Rocket Society in the days before it was dissolved by the Nazis. He went to America in 1935, to make his name as a writer of scientific monographs, popular science articles (especially in Astounding Science Fiction), and text-books such as "The Days of Creation," "The Lungfish and the Unicorn," and "Rockets and Space Travel," which tells the whole story of the theory of space-flight. Having studied astronomy and paleontology at university, he became a specialist in the history of these subjects and of science generally. Always a great reader, he discovered the germs of many inventions and scientific ideas in old specimens of science fiction which had been all but forgotten. In this article, specially written for Fantasy Review, he recalls the only German science fiction periodical comparable to to-day's magazines, which related the adventures of a space-travelling hero who preceded Captain Future by three decades.
stories were outright science fiction. Probably they were not much better in literary style than the rest, but they showed evidence of wide reading and even research on the part of their author. The influence of some popular books on astronomy by Dr. M. Wilhelm Meyer, the director of the Urania Observatory in Berlin, was unmistakable. Each issue comprised 32 pages in the usual German small magazine size of
about six by nine and a half inches. There were no illustrations inside, but coloured covers front and back. The front cover always portrayed a scene from the story, while the back cover showed plans of Captain Mors' airship and space ship, with a short explanation of the working principles. The plot of each story was as simple as possible, usually consisting of a task to be performed and the adventures inherent in the performance.
*His modern American counterpart, Captain Future (who monopolised a companion magazine to Thrilling Wonder Stories between 1940-45 and finished up in Startling Stories), went one better with three henchmen, collectively described as the Futuremen. They consisted of "a rubbery white android" or synthetic man named Otho, a seven-foot metal robot called Grag, and Simon Wright, the Brain, a former scientist whose brain had been preserved after death.
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the first stories he had only his airship, built secretly in the foothills of the Himalaya range. His early experiences compelled him to seek out an island base, an ancient volcano ringed by heavy surf, its interior accessible only by air; and there he began to plan his space - vessel. The author stated specifically that much machinery and equipment was bought from British and German firms, with the explanation that it was to serve for ship repair yards. What he did not explain was how Mors and his men managed to cope with inches and centimetres sitting on a mixed pile of English and German equipment.
This ship is also pictured on the back cover of a clumsy German science fiction novel by Oskar Hoffman which appeared in 1911. I wonder who stole from whom; but while the Mors stories made reference to the mechanism of the vessel, Mr. Hoffman's novel did not.W.L.
The astronomical facts were in accord with popular science texts of the time. Both Mars and Venus were inhabited by native races, each of which knew space-travel. The ships of the Venusians were like large, silver fish and had heat-beams as weapons; they did not permit other ships to approach Venus if they could spot them, but did not attack Earth themselves. The Martians' vessels were birdlike in shape, were painted black, and always on the attack. Their weapon was the sudden release of accumulated solar energy, which manifested itself in the form of lightning bolts.
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Walter Gillings' FANTASIA
Publisher's Weekly "Books into Films" columnist Paul S. Nathan thought science fiction, now "enjoying such a terrific cycle vogue," might "constitute the next film cycle . . . A leading s-f writer . . . after years of being ignored . . . had been approached by a television station with a request for a radio series . . . and besieged for manuscripts by the story editors of several big picture companies . . . There is plenty of other evidence that the interest in s-f is genuine, widespread, and intense, (with) publishing houses . . . vying for such material (and) Hollywood . . . making preliminary gestures toward the field" . . . "Destination Moon," based on Heinlein's "Rocket Ship Galileo" (see Book Reviews, Feb.-Mar. '49 issue), now being filmed in Technicolour . . "King of the Rocket Men" and "The Disc-Men are Coming!" to be screened as 12-part serials . . . Also filming: "Morning Star," tale of cosmic catastrophe based on Satevepost novelette by Robert Carr . . . Now showing: "Mighty Joe Young,' King Kong-ish thriller of giant ape tamed as night club star . . .
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|MASTERS OF FANTASY
The Magnificent Shiel
By A. REYNOLDS MORSE*
Matthew Phipps Shiel, the unsung "Lord of Our Language," has been dead less than three years. It is still too early to attempt any final appraisal of his work; nor is it possible to estimate the sphere of his influence. Many of his followers are ashamed to admit the real extent of their fascination, because they are conscious of his inconsistencies, his unlimited bravura, his almost naive addiction to the utterly superhuman coincidence. But when reading Shiel I find myself in an enchanted world of refulgent, semi-scientific fantasy.
*Condensed from The Works of M. P. Shiel, by A. Reynolds Morse (Fantasy Publishing Co., Los Angeles. $6.00).
In "The Young Men are Coming!" is a sentence which runs over nearly two pages, comprising 56 lines. It is made up of 545 words, punctuated by 68 commas, eleven semi-colons, three colons and six dashes, besides containing six sets of quotation marks. Another sentence occupying 52 lines contains 513 words, 56 commas, 13 semi-colons and seven dashes.
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unlimited vocabulary, and all the other stylistic and literary problems he poses, there is the disturbing fact that his mind-wrenching stories often end not with a bang but a Whimper. His characters often expound an infinite wisdom, and then act as if they had none at all; and he is apt to try one's patience by having them overlook the obvious, or one's credulity with the self-immolation of his heroes. The end, the Overman concept that Shiel has in mind for his people is admirable, but the other way thither is strewn with thorns.
*An autobiographical sketch which first appeared in The Candid Friend (1901), and later in an advertising brochure issued by Victor Gollancz in '29.
M. P SHEIL, as pictured by Neil Austin for Famous Fantastic Mysteries. Born in the West Indies, he was the son of a Methodist preacher, and on his 15th birthday was crowned "King of Redonda," an island of which his father was unofficial governor. At 12, influenced by early reading of Rider Haggard, he wrote a novel which he called "an imbroglio of phantasms"; at 15, a serial for the St. Kitt's Observer. After completing his education in London he taught mathematics in Derbyshire, started to study for the medical profession and gave it up to write "Prince Zaleski," which showed his passion for Poe's mystery tales. Before long he was writing a serial, "The Empress of the Earth," for Short Stories; this became the novel, "The Yellow Danger" (1898), which was followed by "The Lord of the Sea" (1901), "The Isle of Lies" ('09), and other novels, magazine stories and short story collections, until 1913. For ten years afterwards nothing came from his pen; then "The Children of the Wind" ('23) ushered in a second period of productivity. He was finally "rediscovered" in '29, and in the next eight years wrote several more novels, including "This Above All" ('33) and "The Young Men are Coming!" ('37), his last work. Besides his horror stories, which have been included in anthologies, his detective tales of Prince Zaleski and Cummings King Monk are considered classics of their kind. When he died, he was working on a life of Christ which he intended should be his masterpiece.
admitted to me that he had heard of Korzybski but had never read him, I sent him a copy of Korzybski's monumental
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treatise, "Science and Sanity," and the novelist replied that he had to cut the book in two before he could hold it. "As for the contents, the author certainly has something to say; but oh, the number of his words! He should have written a pamphlet, and has written a library."
Announces that, as the result of a slight variation of policy in its Library, subscribers may now avail themselves of this service at a flat monthly rate of 2/6. This entitles you to borrow as many books as you can read, one at a time, in a month. Full details are available from the Librarian: M. Tealby, 8 Bur-field Avenue, Loughborough, Leics. Latest additions include S. Fowler Wright's The World Below, L. Ron Hubbard's Triton and George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-four.
Available in September will be OPERATION FANTAST No. 2 (New Series), containing three stories, three articles and the usual departments. Subscription rates: 3/- for six issues; single copies, 7d.
CAPT. K. F. SLATER,
Shiel's last years were full of projects. His faculties and his mind undimmed, he was loath to admit the limitations of age. He died at the age of 81, on February 17, 1947, at Chichester Hospital, and only thirteen lonely mourners gathered to hear Edward Shanks' moving oration at Golders Green Crematorium on the bleak snow-bound morning of February 24, and to pay tribute to "one of the most remarkable minds and imaginations of all time" whose best-known work was "a legend, an apocalypse, out of space, out of time."
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THE END OF THE STORY
To Charles Derwin Hornig, the new 17-year-old Managing Editor of Wonder Stories, a "radical revolution" in science fiction was long overdue. Explaining the new editorial policy on which the magazine embarked immediately following his appointment at the end of 1933, he expressed the hope that '34 would go down as the year of the Great Change, when "premature and adolescent" s-f gave way before NEW stories with NEW ideas, NEW plots and NEW development. It was a NEW broom with a vengeance. There was no room for the "old-fashioned story . . . that would have been accepted . . . five years ago." As a consequence: "Our authors are working harder now than everfor they are starting to realise that we attach our choicest rejection slips to stories that are not NEW!"
*See "The Story of Astounding": FR Jun.-Jul. '48.
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they had ever written before," but who could not expect to reap the same rewards for it as were available from Astounding.
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"it seems almost impossible to get out a magazine of a high type because readers are so few." The result of the effort to keep Wonder rolling had proved discouraging, the number of postage-paid blanks returned having "conclusively revealed the apathetic attitude of s-f readers." As for the fans whose activities he had encouraged through the Science Fiction League, he had only feelings of regret at their "continuous squabbling" and the fact that "most of (them) were bent upon destroying s-f rather than building it up. This was particularly apparent in . . . readers' letters . . . there was entirely too much fault-finding and too little propaganda between s-f fans and the rest of the public."
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TWO NEWCOMERS : 'FANTASY'
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to the Editor on a really slick trick.
CAPTAIN FUTURE RETURNS
|SCIENCE-FANTASY REVIEW||Volume 3 No. 16||page 14|
get? What the artist is painting purports to be a mummy, but it turns out to be a robotwho is one of a gang of robots, equipped with flying saucers, whose intention is to take over the Earth! The author, Robert Fleming Fitzpatrick, and cover artist Arnold Kohn should get together some time.
Theodore Sturgeon fans, having had their fill of "Without Sorcery" (reviewed last issue), will still enjoy his latest piece of whimsy, "One Foot and the Grave," which leads off September Weird Tales. When a lady of your acquaintance grows a cloven hoof, what should you do .. ? By comparison, the rest of the stories are only mediocre, though scientifictionists will find three pieces to interest them: "The Rainbow Jade," by Gardner F. Fox, concerning the conquest of super-beings who want to destroy Earth; "The Deep Drowse," by Allison F. Harding, in which mankind is put to sleep by an atmospheric change which enables the animals to surpass him; and Malcolm Kenneth Murchie's "Thinker," in which man passes out againand the world falls to bits and vanishes altogether.
|B.I.S. TO DEBATE|
A consideration of the medical aspects of space-travel, including psychological problems, is in the new lecture programme of the British Interplanetary Society, which opens with a conversazione on October 1st. Photographs of recent rocket experiments, models and drawings will be on show at this meeting, which is designed as a get-together between members. Lantern slides of early rocket experiments and recent researches will also be shown.
"The Effects of Interplanetary Flight" will be the theme for a general discussion evening in February. A film show and a lecture on the project of a man-carrying rocket to circumnavigate the Moon are also on the programme for the new session, which will wind up in April with a survey by Arthur C. Clarke of space-travel in fact and fiction.
The North-Western District Branch of the Society, which meets in Manchester, has arranged a syllabus which includes a lecture on the conditions and possibilities of life on other planets, by J. C. Farrer. President of Manchester Astronomical Society, and a talk on "Space Stations" by Eric Burgess: The session opens on October 22nd with a general discussion of the possibilities of interplanetary travel.
Finlay pics are new. Next (Nov.) issue brings "Minos of Sardanes," second in Charles B. Stilson's trilogy concerning "Polaris of the Snows." Just arrived is October Famous Fantastic, featuring "The Starkenden Quest," by Gilbert Collins, salvaged from '25: a new one on me: Promised for December is "Ogden's Strange Story," by Edison Marshall, whose "Dian of the Lost Land" was reprinted not long ago.
|SCIENCE-FANTASY REVIEW||Volume 3 No. 16||page 15|
THE NEW CULT
If any further indication was needed of the fact, which has become increasingly evident, that the book trade of America is thoroughly sold on fantasy-fiction, there is no doubt of it now. Last month, bookshop browsers all over U.S. picking up the August issue of Bookshop News, a trade giveaway, learned that "a new reading cult is rapidly developing, which may become even larger (than the detective story field) in the number of its devotees. This is fantasy-science fiction."
*"Deadline" (Astounding: Mar. '44), which predicted the atomic bomb so accurately that "within a few days (of its publication) agents of the Military Intelligence approached the author and the office of the magazine demanding to know who, on the Manhattan Project, had been talking." See "The Best in Science Fiction" (Crown, New York: '46), and practically any article on science fiction which has been published since.
begin withit's as good sport as you'll find."
[Please turn to page 19
|SCIENCE-FANTASY REVIEW||Volume 3 No. 16||page 16|
A fascinating new book traces the ancient tradition
THE FIRST SPACE-VOYAGERS
Then we upon our globe's last voyage shall go,
John Dryden: Annus Mirabilis
Whoever it was said there is no new thing under the sun must, I think, have learned the lesson from much reading of the literature from which has developed the interplanetary story. Since the second century, when the sailors of Lucian's "True History" were carried to the Moon by a whirlwind, numberless writers have played with the theme of the cosmic voyage, especially during the period which marks the dawning of the aviation age. Before that, philosophers who were fascinated by the problem of "other earths" and the possibility of making contact with their inhabitants were inclined to indulge their fancies in this way. The idea of space-travel is probably as ancient as the study of the stars themselves; and although the devices conceived by the chroniclers of such voyages were invariably so quaint as to seem ridiculous to us, much less to their contemporaries, at times they were surprisingly prophetic.
*"The Voyage to the Moon" and "The Voyage to the Sun" were written and published separately. An English edition of the combined works appeared in 1687 as "The Comical History of the States and Empires of the Worlds of the Moon and the Sun," and is available in a modern translation by Richard Aldington (Routledge, London: 1923).
space-explorers had relied on wings, either natural or artificial, to sustain them, if they had not been transported by spirits like the hero of Kepler's "Somnium" (1634). But in spite of the atmosphere of superstition attaching to the great astronomer's famous fantasy, it too contains the germs of some pretty problems which have come to be associated with the science of space-flight, such as the effect of gravity changes upon the human body and the question of respiration.
|SCIENCE-FANTASY REVIEW||Volume 3 No. 16||page 17|
literature, suggests that the initial experiments in flight which took place at this time, and which were largely inspired by the accounts of imaginary voyages she has studied through the years, were actually precipitated by the growing belief that the first nation to discover the principles of aviation would be the first to plant its flag on the Moon and even on the planets. She thinks that Cromwell himself may have had a hand in Wilkins' dissemination of these lofty ideals among his contemporaries of the Royal Society, and that even after the death of the dictator the Royalists had notions of adding Luna to the British Empire. As indicated by Samuel Butler's satirical poem concerning what might well have been the first of all scientific hoaxes, "The Elephant in the Moon," in which a learned society makes a telescopic survey of the satellite
T'observe her Country, how 'twas planted;
But Britain and Germany were not the only claimants, any more than America is now. There was quite a rivalry between the nations reflected in Moon-voyaging stories and poems as the literature boomed in the 1630's. In the same year that Wilkins' masterpiece appeared Francis Godwin's "The Man in the Moone" was published, though it was probably written much earlier. Relating the adventures of a shipwrecked mariner who trained a flight of migratory swans to carry him aloft and thence, unexpectedly, to the Moon, Godwin took the cue from Kepler to depict a lunar world of giantism, inhabited by men whose language consisted of "tunes and uncouth sounds" but whose innate decency had enabled them to achieve a blissful Utopia from which they departed painlessly at a ripe old age. The story was so popular that it was translated into four languages and ran into 25 editions, and it not only inspired other exponents of the imaginary
Voyages to the Moon, by Marjorie Hope Nicolson. Macmillan, New York: $4.00 (Macmillan, London: 20/-).
Cyrano's Voyage to the Sun, from the frontispiece of the English edition of 1687.
voyage but the writers of plays and comic operas.
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of gravity, they might complete the journey without need of food or sleep.
Fallacious as his conclusions were, all these arguments he advanced from the standpoint of current scientific knowledge, and established a trend which was gradually to undermine the uncertain basis of supernaturalism which often inspired such writings. The new tradition was strengthened by Christian Huygens' "Celestial Worlds" (1698), in which this noted scientist considered in detail the question of life on other planets. And Bernard de Fontenelle's "Conversations on the Plurality of Worlds" (1686), which became an astronomical best-seller, popularised the idea of spatial exploration even among the gentlewomen of the period, by taking a Lady on imaginary voyages in company with a Philosopher guide without their leaving the security of the drawing-room.
Which include "A World in the Moon," issued (1936) in the Smith College Studies in Modern Languages. Miss Nicolson was Dean of Smith College before she became the first woman Professor of English in the Graduate School of Columbia University, U.S.A.
daring astronauts all around the Solar System as early as 1744. There is even one which, in 1775, was electrical in nature, if Mercurian in origin.
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plausible and realistic than any I have related . . . They have gained verisimilitude, but they have lost the excitement of breathless discovery. The poetry of true belief is mute. Most of all is gone something else that made these earlier tales . . . a rich literary heritage. Our modern pulp and movie and comics writers who deal with the theme have lost the delicacy and the subtlety of humour, conscious and unconscious . . .
BIGGER AND BETTER!
The next issue of SCIENCE-FANTASY REVIEW will consist of 36 pages
About Bookscontinued from page 15
humour in it. Also to appear this month is Murray Leinster's "The Last Space Ship" actually one which, in an era of interstellar teleportation, the hero steals from a museum in order to escape political persecution In October "John Carstairs: Space Detective," presenting the botanical sleuth of Frank Belknap Long's Thrilling Wonder stories. Finally, in November, Edmond Hamilton's Amazing story of "The Star Kings" will be published in a new, extended version. All these books are priced at $2.50.
FROM THE HALL OF FAME
|SCIENCE-FANTASY REVIEW||Volume 3 No. 16||page 20|
The Eternal Triangle
FOUR-SIDED TRIANGLE, by William F. Temple. John Long, London. 9/6.
Reviewed by Thomas Sheridan
Gunner William F. Temple, ex-fantasy writer, sat in a troopship bound for the Middle East, and thought. He tried not to think of the wife and daughter he had left behind. Instead, he tried to think of something he could bring back; something he could createa novel, for instance. There was a short story he had had published in Amazing Stories [In the Nov. '39 issue.]. Willy Ley had commented: "That story would have needed a good novelist." Tne comment was sound; he'd thrown away a good idea. So, Gunner Temple began to write a novel with the same title as the original short story, "The Four-Sided Triangle."
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development (and, as one would expect, in the writing), they will probably have encountered the basic idea before: that of the duplication, atom by atom, of any object, inanimate or otherwise. But this book version, labelled "A Romance," is designed for a reading audience which might well gasp at the idea of actually duplicating a human being after exhausting the possibilities of the Tate Gallery or the British Museum. Especially such a perfectly-formed, desirable creature as Lena . . .
The Memory of Weinbaum
A MARTIAN ODYSSEY and Others, by Stanley G. Weinbaum. Fantasy Press, Reading, Pa. $3.00.
Reviewed by Arthur F. Hillman
I well remember the occasion, in 1934, when I first read "A Martian Odyssey." At that time the great depression in America was in full swing and, in a sort of unhappy kinship, science fiction had sunk to the bottom. Wonder Stories seemed on the point of expiring, and had turned in desperation to heavy Continental imports; Amazing had fallen back on Poe and Verne. Only Astounding was struggling to break the monotony with its "thought variant" stories. Then, in the July Wonder, came the first of Weinbaum's stories. which was sufficient in itself to catapult him into the front rank of fantasy writers. [See "The Admirable Weinbaum": Fantasy Review, Apr.May '48.]
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So rapid was Weinbaum's rise to fame, so meteoric his brief career, that his admirers had hardly visualised the far-reaching effects of his humanised science fiction when they were shocked by the news of his tragic passing, in December '35, at the age of thirty-three. It was not until some years later that the significance of his novel stories was fully recognised and considered; and as his last pieces became exhausted, the debate on the merits and lost possibilities of his work became more and more intense. There were some who, to add fuel to the argument, dared to question his greatness, maintaining that it was only the dullness of his contemporaries that emphasised his comparative brilliance, To-day such controversies seem beside the point; but the observation of Gerry de la Ree in his "Tribute to Weinbaum" ('45) seems particularly apt: "When, after a thousand debates, readers still seek out and read his work in preference to currently available material, fully realising Weinbaum's faults as they did his virtues, then he will be great." Can any deny that such a time has arrived?
*The rest will be presented in another volume in preparation by Fantasy Press.
Slave New World
NINETEEN EIGHTY-FOUR, by George Orwell. Secker & Warburg, London, 10/-; Harcourt, Brace, New York, $3.00.
Reviewed by Forrest J. Ackerman
Although Mr. Orwell's previous excursion into the imaginative, "Animal Farm," [Secker, London: '46.] passed almost unnoticed in the United States, his new novel of the future has taken America by storm. Every review I have seen has praised it to the skies; it is a Book of the Month Club selection; Life has devoted eight pages to it, and the Reader's Digest intends to condense it in its September issue, I should not be surprised to see it filmed.
|SCIENCE-FANTASY REVIEW||Volume 3 No. 16||page 23|
Oceania, one-third of the world-power: Eurasia and Eastasia make up the other two-thirds. It is a No Man's Land, a land fit for no man, where war is unending, sanity undone, hope unimaginable; where one must say no to sex, no to beauty, no to science, no to pleasure, no to progressno, no, no! This is the nauseating nadir of nonsense to which a perverted Socialism (called Ingsoc) has dragged down society. Eighty-five per cent of the people are brainless "proles," victims of the Inner Party's thought-controls, dumb brutes without dreams. It is the occasional Outer Party member with an atavistic streak of sensitivity (and sensibility) that suffers most acutely in this totalitarian tyranny. Such a pair are Winston and Julia.
|SCIENCE-FANTASY REVIEW||Volume 3 No. 16||page 24|
Weasel-Men and Furry Women
PLANETS OF ADVENTURE, by Basil Wells, Fantasy Publishing Co., Los Angeles, $3.00.
Reviewed by John K. Aiken
It is difficult to know where to begin with Mr. Wells, save perhaps to express a mild wonder that his publishers could not have found some better use for their paper and ink; for there is not one story in this collection worth a literate reader's most casual attention. Clearly, the majority of Mr. Wells' tales must have been writtenand very hastilywith a certain market in view: a market which does not demand plot, character, style, scientific background or any other stimulus to thought, but only a kind of papier-mache novelty of detail and unlimited quantities of action. [Mr. Wells has contributed mostly to Planet Stories, from which three of the items in this collection have been reprinted.] Perhaps the intended audience was juvenile; but if a twelve-year-old boy will swallow this stuff, then twelve-year-old boys are not what they were, for the naivete of most of Mr. Wells' work is inconceivable, How his great namesake must have turned in his grave!
|SCIENCE-FANTASY REVIEW||Volume 3 No. 16||page 25|
heroine escape from the mad dictator no less than four times; but, aided by recreant golons, lizard-men, an oxymixer, parablasts and dynatom, he always recaptures them. The poor fellow has, of course, to obey the rules and refrain from killing them, demented though he is, so inevitably he goes down for the count at last. If Mr. Wells' villains did not conform to this merciful regulation, his stories would never exceed 500 words in length.
But Nelson's eyes were not on Marta's pouting, slowly believing features.
Just occasionally Mr. Wells shows traces of a personal way of looking at things which, if left to himself, he might possibly develop into a talent. But having in mind the care and hard work involved, the colossal mass of cliché and shoddy to be jettisoned, and the uncertainty of the outcome, it is doubtful if it would be worth trying. Meanwhile, by conferring comparative permanence on the kind of material which derisive outsiders will be only too ready to take as typical of the whole field, the publishers of this volume have only done science fiction a disservice.
A Stringer of Beads
THE PORCELAIN MAGICIAN, by Frank Owen, Gnome Press, New York, $3.00
Reviewed by Arthur F. Hillman
One of the benefits of time's passage is that it throws a merciful veil over authors whose work deserves to be forgotten. More rarely, it brings to light those who merit a new and greater audience. In this category is Frank Owen, whose delicate Chinese prose-pastels have been a feature of Weird Tales for many years. [His work also appeared in the short-lived Oriental Stories and Magic Carpet magazines, companions of Weird Tales, during '31-34.] The story that brought him instant popularity, "The Wind That Tramps the World" (Apr, '25), captivated its readers with its charming theme and soft lyrical language, "Its ethereal sweetness still thrills me as I recall it to mind," wrote one of them, "It should be bound in a dainty cover and placed . . . with the world's classics."
Notably, "Della-Wu, Chinese Courtezan" (Lantern, New York: '31); "A Husband for Kutani" (Furman, New York: '38); "The Scarlet Hill" (Carlyle House, New York: '41).
|SCIENCE-FANTASY REVIEW||Volume 3 No. 16||page 26|
imitations as those of Ernest Bramah and Sax Rohmer, Not only does he make full use of colour in the genuine Chinese tradition, but the whole of his outlook and philosophy are typically Oriental. His scorn of education, his contempt for Western worship of materialism, the unhurried tranquility of his thoughts: all are the true essence of the East.
TRITON, by L. Ron Hubbard. Fantasy Publishing Co., Los Angeles, $3.00.
Reviewed by Terence Overton
In the early days of the war, the bitter irony and desolation of "Final Blackout"* stamped Mr. Hubbard's name into the memory of Astounding's readers. It is only lately that we have come to realise that "The Indigestible Triton," which appeared in Unknown at about the same time (Apr, '40), and for which he first used his pseudonym of Rene Lafayette, was the work of the same author in quite a different mood. Both stories tend towards hero worship, but they have little else in common.
* Reviewed FR Aug.-Sep, '48.
"The outstanding science fiction novel of our time."
Everett F. Blieler.
S. Fowler Wright's
"The strength of this book lies in the adventures, related with a combination of extravagant imagination and sober verisimilitude which makes Mr. Wright unique."
Saturday Review of Literature.
Price 9/6 Net
BOOKS FOR TODAY, LTD.
The U.S, edition will be published
simultaneously by Shasta of Chicago.
some quite ordinary human desires, but once he is married to Priscilla, who is all the name conveys, the family will have him under their thumbs for life. Just before the fatal day he meets an enticing piece of femininity named Ginger, who urges him to revolt. To avoid open warfare he feigns insanity, and so gets locked up. But, obtaining his release for a few hours, he goes deep-sea fishing and catches Triton, nephew of Neptune, Lord of the Ocean. Being wanted under the water for certain misdeeds, Triton uses his magical powers to invade Bill's body, and from that point we are treated to a whole series of crazy episodes that wind up in Neptune's court.
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THE THIRTY-FIRST OF FEBRUARY, by Nelson Bond, Gnome Press, New York, $3.00.
Reviewed by John Starrett
Although a true definition of fantasy-fiction has defied even the experts, nowadays we recognise its broader meaning. The term, most of its adherents will agree, embraces three main tributariesscience fiction, the weird tale, and pure fantasy (we will not attempt the explication of these terms, for fear of further argument). Of the last of the three categories we find all too few exponents; for to write in a zany style without descending to burlesque one must walk on a literary tightrope.
* "Mr. Mergenthwirker's Lobblies": reviewed FR, Apr.-May '47.
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Esquire and Blue Book, as well as from Unknown and Fantastic Adventures. But there is none that has the human appeal of the famed "Mr. Mergenthwirker's Lobblies," and at least two which show signs of hurried writing. To offset which, we have in "The Five Lives of Robert Jordan" a hero whose Danny Kaye-ish transitions of personality set the seal on all time-travel epics.
Who was going to use it as a chapter-heading in one of his own fantasies, which remains unfinished, Fellow Virginian Cabell also returns the author's compliments by declaring: "To my judgment, Mr. Bond has genius."
FANTASY CONVENTION ON TELEVISION
John Carnell, Editor of New Worlds, who has returned from the U.S, after attending the Seventh World Science Fiction Convention as the first representative of British fandom to make contact with its Transatlantic fellows.
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May I get into the Clarke-Cooper argument about the BolkhovitinovZakharchenko diatribe against science fiction?* Mr. Cooper seems to have swallowed the Communist cliches about life in the U.S. as truly descriptive thereof, which they are not. His phrase "saturated with sex, dazzled by the almighty dollar . . ." is pure rhetoric, signifying nothing, How do you measure sex-saturation, and how does he know Americans have more sex per cubic-inch than, say, Hungarians or Japanese? His use of the term "American monopoly-capitalist culture" shows lack of knowledge of the American economic system. American capitalism is actually less monopolistic than that of Britain and other Western European countries, For instance: cartels, which are common in Europe, are forbidden by laws rigorously enforced in America.
* See "The World's Nightmare," FR Dec, '49; "The Lackeys of Wall Street," Feb.-Mar, '49; "The Iron Corset," Apr.-May '49.
two-thirds of the characters in stories of future world civilisations should be of Asiatic origin, Finally, if the Poles want to start an s-f magazine wherein the heroes are all named Wisnjewecki and Szczebrzeszinski, I'm sure we Americans could bear it with equanimity.
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"comic" magazinesCaptain Marvel, Robotman, et al. It's surprising how many of these stories are fantasy, written for the juvenile group. I fondly believe that the comics are building up an interest among the small fry for future graduation into prose fantasy, Captain Marvel, for instance, has had adventures on many other worlds, and often takes Time trips or duels with mad scientists and their super-science machines. All strictly juvenile; but the seed, so to speak, is being sown.
NO SUPERMAN HE
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I'm sorry to see FR go quarterly. Though I don't object to the increased sizeand you were giving a good-sized magazine for the money under your bimonthly scheduleI prefer a bi-monthly with fewer pages to a quarterly the size of a telephone book. Your interviews with authors, your column "Fantasia," histories of the magazines, and special features like the Soviet attack, are all top-notch stuff, and I hope you will add to it; but your reviews of books published on both sides of the Pond are the best feature of all, hands down!Erle Korshak, Chicago, Ill., U.S.A.
THE QUERY BOX
THE DEAR DEPARTED
|SCIENCE-FANTASY REVIEW||Volume 3 No. 16||Back Page|
SCIENCE-FANTASY REVIEW, 115 Wanstead Park Road, Ilford, Essex. Published by
Walter Gillings. Printed by 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 and middle issues of Fantasy Review.
All copyrights acknowledged, all articles and artwork remain the intellectual property of their creators.