NOVAE TERRAE #11 (April 1937)
Other SFA publications this month:
NOVAE TERRAE...............NEW WORLDSAPRIL.............................1937
VOLUME 1.......................NUMBER 11
Editor: Maurice K. Hanson, 95, Mere Road, Leicester, England.
Associates: Dennis A. Jacques, Maurice T. Crowley.
After glancing through the pages of this issue of NOVAE TERRAE
the reader will doubtless ask himself just what has become of
the promised printed issue of the journal. Our reply that
printing has been delayed he will subject only to withering
scorn. That is, unless the appearance of another issue of the
magazine after its long absence fills him with emotions so deep
that shallow scorn can find no footing. Even if he is impervious
to the shock of the appearance of this issue he cannot fail to be
impressed "by the quality of the duplication, which we confidently
assert is the best so far produced, and for once, more a work of
art than an eyesore. This improvement can, and will be maintained,
together with a regular monthly issue of NOVAE TERRAE, or possibly,
a more frequent appearance until the missing March issue has been
compensated for. The reader may smile at the promise, for he has
read our promises before. But this time, the promise holds.
Finally, remember that printing is on the way.
The Man of the Future
by Festus Pragnell
Perhaps the most interesting question set by science fiction is: What will the man of the future look like? We have evolved very far from the tail-less apes who were our ancestors; what will mankind be like when our race has experienced say, another million years of evolution, assuming that we continue to advance, and there is no reason to think that we shall not.
In trying to answer this question, scientists look at the changes that have taken place in humanity in the last several thousand years and have assumed that those changes will continue to operate. They see that men's brains have become larger, and their limbs feebler than those of wild animals, and also that our teeth, bones and eyes are more liable to weakness and disease than those of wild creatures.
They therefore suggest that the men of the future will have enormous brains and small bodies, with no teeth at all. The question of eyes has received less attention; none has suggested that the man of the future will have no eyes because our eyes are obviously weaker than those of our ancestors.
H. G. Wells has gone so far as to suggest that our remote descendants will have no digestive systems at all, but will take nourishment by bathing in tubs of nutritive fluid, which they will absorb through their skins.
This view of the future has, it seems to me, been rather too slavishly accepted by writers of science fiction, myself amongst them. Again and again we read of this man of the future, with his enormous head and small body, with no teeth but huge eyes, whose chief occupation is the destroying all men of former times (thrown in his path by time-machines, etc.) by means of disintegration rays which are so absurdly and needlessly efficient that they instantaneously annihilate their victims, leaving no trace of
the body but a puff of smoke. They are nearly always
at telepathy, and seem to be always driven by an extraordinary urge for blind destruction;
yet, when it is convenient to the author they are killed with absurd ease by some man of
the present day, often with no nore formidable a weapon than his fists.
The idea that humanity might split into two distinct species of animals seems to have been used in one published story only, "The Time Machine" by H. G. Wells, yet the continual arising of two separate species out of one stock is the most obvious and repeated process of nature to anyone who studies biology, geology, or even agriculture, seeing the new varieties of plants and animals that man is continually producing for his own ends.
Has no one anything to offer in place of these hackneyed conceptions?
Let us examine the question for a few moments with no preconceived notions. Why are men's teeth and eyes so often weak, and why are we so subject to diseases? It is because, by our ignorant methods of feeding our bodies do not obtain sufficient of the necessary materials for the building of healthy bodies. Science is gradually showing us what these materials, apart from carbohydrates, fats, and proteins of which we have known for a long while, are; they are the vitamins A B, C, D, and E, and also calcium, phosphorus, iodine, iron and a few other substances, some of which we probably as yet know nothing about.
As this knowledge increases and becomes available to the general public, we shall find that our descendants, so far from having weak bodies and no teeth, will have perfect healthy bodies, and perfect teeth and eyes. So far from the number of false teeth and spectacles increasing, they will probably disappear almost entirely from the scheme of things, unless we overwork our eyes more than ever, until even perfect eyes cannot stand the strain; which is unlikely, seeing how the ear,
through gramophones and radio, is being
made to help more and more in the spreading of knowledge, and relieving ths strain
on our eyes of continual reading.
The atrophy of the digestive organs is unlikely too, since to a perfectly healthy man or woman there is so much enjoyment in eating and digesting food that artificial concentrates, the food-tablets, so beloved of science fiction writers, are unlikely to be resorted to, except in emergency.
And now, finally, there comes the question of the small body and the huge brain. The point that is overlooked by everybody here is that a huge brain is of little use without a huge supply of blood, which means of food and oxygen and of drainage of waste products, to keep it going, and that means a huge body also.
Now to anybody who looks about him and uses his eyes it is obvious that mankind is already splitting into two distinct species, due to our different ways of living. Generation by generation, those of us who live by our brains are becoming more and more distinct from those who live by the exercise of their muscles. The average clerk, doctor, or brainworker of any profession, is two or three inches taller and more than a stone heavier than the average labourer. These facts are borne out by statistics, and allowance must of course be made for the fact that many men doing labouring work would be much better suited by brain work in some form or other.
(Agriculture seems to be an exception to this; I refer to townsfolk mainly. In any case, machinery is likely before long to make the old forms of agricultural work obsolete.)
There is a definite scientific reason for all this. Smaller men can run about more easily and with less effort than big men, and so tend to find their way into occupations where physical liveliness is the chief requirement; while big men, slower of movement, find their advantages to lie in mental occupations,
where their larger brains can stand greater strains than those
small men, particularly as they are more abundantly supplied with food, oxygen,
More and more, social barriers come to emphasise the distinction, so that clerical and brain workers tend to confine their matings to their class, and Manual workers to theirs, a process quite likely in time, to produce two distinct races of men.
Behold then, the men of the future.
The bulk of mankind are about four feet six inches tall and running about with great liveliness and high spirits tending all manner of machines, thoroughly enjoying themselves but with hardly a serious thought in their minds; while in charge of them are a much smaller number of giants, perhaps nine feet tall, and broad in proportion, sitting about or moving slowly, their minds far away in deep, abstract, peaceful, dreams.
THE SCIENCE FICTION ASSOCIATION
We have pleasure in welcoming five new members, namely: P. W. Berry, Leeds;
B. H. Cohen, Leeds; L. Flood, South Hackney; V. W. Harry, Los Angeles; and
L. Turner, Sheffield.
We have decided that the closing date for information for the British Science
Fiction Bibliography shall be May 31st. A suggestion has been received that
American books should be included in the list. We consider, however, that a
complete bibliography covering small ground is preferable to an incomplete
bibliography covering large ground. Added to this there is the fact that there
We have pleasure in welcoming five new members, namely: P. W. Berry, Leeds; B. H. Cohen, Leeds; L. Flood, South Hackney; V. W. Harry, Los Angeles; and L. Turner, Sheffield.
We have decided that the closing date for information for the British Science Fiction Bibliography shall be May 31st. A suggestion has been received that American books should be included in the list. We consider, however, that a complete bibliography covering small ground is preferable to an incomplete bibliography covering large ground. Added to this there is the fact that there has been
quite sufficient books published on this side of the Atlantic to make the project
no small task, and furthermore, a group of Los Angeles fans are engaged in the
production of an American bibliography. We are endeavoring to come to an exchange
agreement with them, so that purchasers of either will receive both.
The suggestion in the "Science Fiction Gazette" concerning the proposed publication of amateur science fiction stories has evoked much interest. Festus Pragnell writes: "The suggestions about amateur authors and their works are most interesting and worthy of all support. According to their letter to me (and others), one reason why Newnes finally abandoned their projected magazine was 'The impossibility of obtaining a sufficient quantity of available material from a sufficient number of British authors', so that something in the nature of a training-ground for science fiction authors seems to be urgently needed." In view of the importance of finding further British science fiction authors, and of nurturing those who already write to some extent, we propose to defer the matter for the time being, and to make the second issue of the quarterly a special "Amateur Author" number, including advice from professional authors, and possibly some form of story contest. Watch out for more details.
It is with regret that we announce that we shall not be able to issue our first quarterly in printed form. The cost of printing would be between £2-10s. and £3. We have at the time of writing, forty-five members, each paying roughly 1/6 per quarter (5/- per year is merely 1/3 per quarter). Of this sixpence per member goes to pay for the three copies of NOVAE TERRAE that he receives. This leaves a total of only forty-five shillings to pay for secretarial expenses, circulars, .etc., and the quarterly. It is thus quite obviously a financial impossibility to have the quarterly printed at present. There remains three alternatives for the future:
(a) The subscription should be increased. (b). The membership should be increased. (c) The
quarterly should be duplicated. It is to be hoped that (b) will be the one ultimately
followed, but meanwhile, we are acting on (c), and the quarterly in a special
duplicated form (probably with a printed cover) will appear about April 26th.
In a society like the Science Fiction Association it is a great desideratum that there should be an ample interchange of ideas between those who constitute it. With this in mind we suggest that each member should correspond with at least one other, and are taking the opportunity of inaugurating a 'Correspondents Wanted' section in this secretarial department: E. C. Williams, 11, Clowders Road, Catford, London, S.E. desires correspondents who, like him, are interested in "ideas and theories ranging all the way from Astronomy to Relativity and back to religion".
L. Flood, 14, Annis Road, South Hackney, London, S.9. desires correspondents who collect fantasy items from English and American periodicals.
We should like to suggest that all members with correspondents not in the society would materially assist the Association by passing on to their correspondents details of the club, together with a polite hint that it would be in the correspondents' interest to join. Members should endeavor to give the Association all the publicity in their power!
From time to time we have received letters from fans complaining of difficulty in obtaining current issues of science fiction magazines. If any member experiences this difficulty he should write to us at once, sending details of where he usually obtains the books, the price he pays, etc., and we will see what we can do in the matter.
Many members also seem to have difficulty in obtaining back numbers at reasonable prices. We are therefore forming a "Back Number Supply Service".
The main principle of the service is that members should send us a list of the books they
require. We shall then contact numerous distributors and agents in this country and America,
find out where we can obtain these issues and the minimum price for same, and let the member
know. If he wishes to buy, then we can make the necessary arrangements. It is expected that
the prices will range from 6d. to 10d, for monthlies, and 1/- to 1/5 for quarterlies. We
therefore suggest that members should let us have a list of the copies they require at once.
There is no obligation to buy even after the books have been traced.
Points from correspondence: L. Flood (South Hackney) praises SCIENTIFICTION and denounces science fiction cartoons. A. Francis (Birmingham) looks to the day when the GAZETTE will become a newspaper. W. E. Gillings (llford) will publish a full length article on the Association in the June issue of SCIENTIFICTION. P. S. Hetherington (Carlisle) owns a collection only fourteen short of a complete file of science fiction magazines. F. Pragnell (Southampton) advises would-be authors of science fiction for Britain to read and study H. G. Wells rather than the pulp magazines of America.
Space forbids the publishing of other excerpts, but all members are invited to write to the secretary at any time, if only to pass on personal news and opinions. Please enclose a 1 1/2d. stamp when a reply is required.
Leeds Branch: On Saturday, March 27th, a discussion was held on the topic "Intelligence". After many facts had been presented and theories propounded, it was decided that the great difference between man and animals was not intelligence but imagination. The regular monthly meeting was held on Sunday, April 4th. It was decided to hold meetings to discuss scientifictional topics on Tuesday evenings, and to have meetings of the practical science section on Thursday evenings, besides the regular weekend functions.
On Sunday, April 11th, Mr. G. A. Airey gave a lecture on "Atlantis", and outlined the
early fables and the archaeological and geological evidence in its support. A
discussion followed on the subject of "Cremation v. Burial". Future lectures will be
on such topics as "Synthetic Plastics", "Dyes and Dyeing". Chairman: H. Warnes,
5, Florist Street, Leeds, 3.
Nuneaton Branch: The regular monthly meeting was held on March 17th at the house of D. A. Jacques. A newcomer was Miss D. E. Essam, a prospective member of the Association.
Members signed the "Petition for Science" organised by the Glasgow SFL, and a start was made towards the drawing up of a branch constitution, to be completed at the next meeting. It was decided that members should give short papers on scientific and scientifictional subjects at meetings. D. R. Smith will give such a paper on the various metals and alloys used in industry today, at the next meeting.
Chairman: M. K. Hanson, 95, Mere Road, Leicester
The time should soon be ready for the SFA to vote for its President. Suggestions include
Benson Herbert, Festus Pragnell, A. M. Low, John Beynon or some active fan.........
Interchange between the groups of this society has started with the presentation of
"The Strange Papers of Doctor Blayre" to the Nuneaton group, by H. Gottliffe of the Leeds
group....Eric Russell, genial Liverpool fan and author, has delivered the manuscript of
his successful novelletto "The Saga of Pelican West" into the safe keeping of the Leeds
Group. A strange report about this author comes from U.S.A. where "Russell" is said to be
the pseudonym of an oldtimer writer of science fiction......The librarian of the Leeds SFA,
J. Michael Rosenblum, informs us that this group now possesses a library of more than 800
science and science fiction books and magazines, and that tentative plans are being made
for exchanging books between members and groups......
The time should soon be ready for the SFA to vote for its President. Suggestions include Benson Herbert, Festus Pragnell, A. M. Low, John Beynon or some active fan......... Interchange between the groups of this society has started with the presentation of "The Strange Papers of Doctor Blayre" to the Nuneaton group, by H. Gottliffe of the Leeds group....Eric Russell, genial Liverpool fan and author, has delivered the manuscript of his successful novelletto "The Saga of Pelican West" into the safe keeping of the Leeds Group. A strange report about this author comes from U.S.A. where "Russell" is said to be the pseudonym of an oldtimer writer of science fiction......The librarian of the Leeds SFA, J. Michael Rosenblum, informs us that this group now possesses a library of more than 800 science and science fiction books and magazines, and that tentative plans are being made for exchanging books between members and groups......
WEAPONS OF WAR
by D.R. SMITH
Perhaps once every month, on an average, the report of the invention of a death ray appears in the newspapers, and though the reporters wisely abstain from sordid details there is presumably some basis of fact to these reports. It is thus surprising that the death ray is not more popular with scientific fiction authors. Murray Leinster in "Proxima Centauri" introduced 30 cm. radio waves, fatal to the lower forms of animal llfe, and Campbell in "The Black Star Passes" displayed his usual ingenuity in the conception of a ray poisonous to the catalytic reactions of life. Then there was the Adams ray in "The Reign of the Ray" by Fletcher Pratt and Irwin Lester, which was unpleasantly realistic in its gradual development and in the blindness it caused beyond the short lethal range.
"A 20th Century Medusa" owed her power to a ray which solidified the human body, and if we allow this conception of Starzl's we find it easy to imagine that at low power the ray paralysed. The paralysis ray, first cousin to the death ray is very popular, though as Campbell hinted in "Space Rays" in introducing such a ray it might be difficult to ensure that the paralysis does not extend to the muscles of the heart and lungs. Nevertheless a paralysis ray slips in easily in stories concerned more with action than with science, such stories as "Invisible Ships" by Harl Vincent and "Brigands of the Moon" by Ray Cummings. Vincent in "Explorers of Callisto" used a ray which paralysed electrical apparatus, a soothing conception used by other authors too, such as Morrison Colladay in "The Return of the Cosmic Gun".
A disreputable relation of the death ray is the putrefaction ray used by "The Exile of Time" by Cummings, and in "A Visit to Venus" by Festus Pragnell and others, which not only kills, but also
accelerates the decomposition of the flesh enormously. Most people think of putrefaction as due to bacteria,
and a ray which causes it is more spectacular than reallstic. As for the ray seen in
"One Prehistoric Night", an electronic stream which reduced animals to heaps of green
worms, one feels that Barshofsky has carried the craze for originality far beyond the
limits. Bone melting rays, used by Neil R. Jones' amiable "Moon "Pirates" are exceedingly
imaginative, and when Frank Long asks us to imagine his "Cones" emitting ultra violet
light with no other results than to remove the calcium from a man's bones, we just retire
to Wodehouse. Torture rays are hardly necessary, either, Mr. Jones, although the
indefatigable Campbell touches them with his Midas touch in "Space Rays".
Campbell, John W. Jr., of course, has created an almost unfair number of novel methods
of destruction and handles them so entrancingly that rarely does one pause to raise a
sceptical eyebrow. The Arcot series gave us the delightful molecular ray which turned
the random movements of molecules due to the heat of the substance into motion in one
direction only, inevitably breaking any conceivable substance if we except Mr. Campbell's
energetic imagination which easily conceived materials untouchable by the molecular ray.
The same series gave us the gravitational field projector, the magnetic beam and the rays
of twin and triple photons. "Beyond the End of Space" gave us a ray to destroy molecular
adhesion and a green ray which turned matter into a green liquid, at which an unkind,
critic might point the finger of scorn. "The Mightiest Machine" gave us the "Transpon"
ray, a heat ray in effect, but not consisting of pure heat. "Space Rays" produced the
Niller Twins comparable in effect to the transpon ray, a milky white pair of beams whose
ends fused the metal between them on the same principle as an electric arc.
The pistols used in "In the Orbit of Saturn" by Starzl, created twin beams of ionized air
along which a lethal shock could be projected, a notable conception indeed. Schuyler
Miller's ray rifles in "Red Flame of Venus", projected blue fire along ionized tracks.
Jack Williamson gave his "Alien Intellience" orange and green rays described simply as
rays of destruction, to which may be allied the golden wrecking rays out of "Waves of Compulsion"
by R. Z. Gallun and the force rays of Hamilton's "The Universe Wreckers". It is
curious that the latter rays when moderately concentrated should push at both ends,
and when highly concentrated only destroy at one end. This is not so good as the
detonating ray from "The Reign of the Ray", as explosives are usually detonated by
an electric current which makes this idea distinctly feasible. On the other hand
the idea of radio waves in M. C. Sheridan's
"Interference" which increase the surface tension of water to a point where whole
armies could travel on its surface is just daft. "The Discus Men of Etka" used waves
which brought on old age rapidly, an idea hardly worthy of the combined brains of
Doctor Arch Carr and Carl Buchanan. Marius's "Vandals from the Moon" had a more
formidable ageing ray which aged everything, as quaint a conception as the
ether-destroying ray in "Giants On Earth" by S. P. Meek.
An easily pleased person might feel proud that our authors had produced so many assorted ideas. A more thoughtful person will perceive that one author, John W. Campbell, Jr. has done far more than any other five authors, and that apart from most of his rays and a few other notable exceptions, the rays have very little creditable about them. Would it be too much to ask authors to use their imaginations more in the direction of ways and means rather than that of original results?
Seldom has an illusion been more shatteringly dispelled than one of mine in which I
saw myself overwhelmed by a flood of attempts at the recent Character Contest. Instead
of an arduous task in selecting the prizewinners I had the simpler one of awarding
first prize to Mr. Philip S. Hetherington (whom God preserve) the sole competitor!
Seldom has an illusion been more shatteringly dispelled than one of mine in which I saw myself overwhelmed by a flood of attempts at the recent Character Contest. Instead of an arduous task in selecting the prizewinners I had the simpler one of awarding first prize to Mr. Philip S. Hetherington (whom God preserve) the sole competitor!
What was wrong? Was the competition too difficult? Surely not, considering that the
characters were chosen purposely for their prominence. Mr. Hetherington placed all but
one, with very minor flaws, but lost many marks on the essay which would have enabled
a more brilliant essayist to overtake him.
Too long? LOAFERS!
Perhaps someone would be kind enough to write to inform me of his personal reasons for not entering. If so he can have the second prize ("Woman Alive") -— if he wants it. If by some chance more than one write the most satisfactory argument will win. No restrictions, scribble it in pencil on the back of a post card, or fill ten type-written pages if you like. Letters should be posted to me on or before June 1st, 1937.
Rapidly gaining prominence as one of Europe's leading writers of science fiction is the
forty seven year old, Prague author, Journalist and theatrical producer Karel Capek.
In common with W. Olaf Stapledon, author of "Last and First Men", Capek has an imagination
directed by an unusually strong reasoning power, and fed from a large mass of sociological
knowledge. His method, however, is lighter, more humorous and satirical, and he does not
indulge in grand panoramas, or Wellsian dreamscapes of futurity. Readers requiring the
type of science fiction
Rapidly gaining prominence as one of Europe's leading writers of science fiction is the forty seven year old, Prague author, Journalist and theatrical producer Karel Capek.
In common with W. Olaf Stapledon, author of "Last and First Men", Capek has an imagination directed by an unusually strong reasoning power, and fed from a large mass of sociological knowledge. His method, however, is lighter, more humorous and satirical, and he does not indulge in grand panoramas, or Wellsian dreamscapes of futurity. Readers requiring the type of science fiction
which goes beyond
interplanetary adventure, or "ultra-super-thought-variants will find Capek's writings hard
Perhaps his best known work is his play "R.U.R." (Rossum's Universal Robots), dealing with the mass production of robots (the word being used for the first time), human-like in every detail, but without a soul. Glimpses of a robot factory, the problem of the relation between robots and humanity, a revolt of these synthetic beings, together with the other ingredients of a good play, go to make this work a delightful piece of science fiction.
A second science fiction play of Capek is his "The Macropulos Secret", dealing with the theme of eternal life, the play being prompted by Metchnikov's theory that the process of growing old consists of an auto-intoxication of the organism. Although slightly out of the sphere of normal science fiction, the play draws to a brilliant climax, when, in the third act, the alchemist's secret of perpetual youth is discovered, to be followed by a thought-provoking discussion between six characters as to the uses to which this elixir can be put, and concluding with a denunciation of eternal life by Elina Macropulos, an opera singer, who after three hundred years' existence, longs for the death she cannot have.
A more scientific work is his novel "The Absolute at Large", an entertaining satire on religion. The novel makes use of the pantheistic doctrine that God exists in everything, and consequently when an atomic motor or "Karburator", as Capek calls it, is invented, the matter is converted into energy and the God is liberated -— with astounding results!
His most recent book, published in January of this year is entitled "War With the Newts" (Allen and Unwin, 7s. 6d.). The story opens with a cantankerous old sea captain looking for pearling grounds in the Pacific Islands. He comes across a kind of huge newt, a salamander about four feet high. To his amazement it shows intelligence. The plot then sweeps on to describe how, after using these newts in the pearl industry, they are brought into contact with the civilised world, and are at first employed for
building harbours, dams, canals, etc.
The civilisation of the newts increases. Germany evolves a superior and pure Nordic
newt. In France, Dr. Charles Mercier, a very scholarly newt from Toulon harbour,
lectures on conic sections.
In London's Zoo a committee, including Julian Foxley, has a conversation with a newt or salamander which can read newspapers. Part of the report runs as follows:
"What is your name?"After tracing the growth of this amphibian race, with all the social, political, superstitious and irrational inter-relations between it and mankind, Capek plunges humanity into a war with the newts, in which man is defeated, the creatures conquering the world but for the Alps and the Himalayas.
In an epilogue Karel Capek has a conversation with his inner voice, in which he suggests how the newts might fight among themselves, and finally allow man to come back.
RADIO MISCELLANY: "The Purple Pileus", the short story by H. G. Wells, is to be
broadcast in play form in May or June....On April 20th Lord Dunsany read over the air
his own short story "The Sleuthing of Lily Bostun"......"The Second Round", a play
broadcast on the same date had in the cast a genius who synthesized diamonds from a
mixture of thirty seven salts........
ONE HUNDRED YEARS AGO
by Edward J. Carnell the Third
Vision: 45 Mcs. (6.67 M.) 3rd Month. 200 lines.
Good evening, folks. Once again Vacu-Oxygen brings to your video sets a breath of the past, this month, in the form of a Convention Centenary. Looking through the files of my grandfather; old E.J. himself, I came across a yellow and aged newspaper clipping from the "New York Post" dated Monday February 22nd., 1937. The clipping read: "Jules Verne Gyrates in Grave as Pseudo-Scientists Meet" "Young Fiction Fans Have Space and Time Enough to Outdo the Old Master". Followed an account of the meeting in New York City the previous day of some fifty serious young men who talked about interplanetary travel, science fiction and various possibilities of the future.
While the remainder of that article dealt adequately with what these young men visualised would happen in future centuries, I found more intimate details contained in an old fashioned typewritten letter, which depicted the enthusiasm these Men Who Were Born Too Soon had for their meeting with fellow idealists. It seems inconceivable to us today, with our vast strides in science, that such a small body of people scattered round the world should be the only ones to think seriously of mankind's future. The mind of the masses must have been extremely undeveloped, but, perhaps the roar of our space ships vibrated backwards through Time and struck responsive chords in the minds of those chosen few. Who knows?
The letter stated that a Willis Conover, living in Cambridge, Maryland and editor of a magazine entitled FANTASY was the first to arrive, just one week prior to the Convention, and was given accommodation at one of the New Yorker's homes. Two days prior to the meeting other fans arrived
States, notably those from Philadelphia. Others arrived in due course, and were shown some of
the sights of the city.
The afternoon of the Convention arrived and found a record group of science fiction fans and authors gathered together. The Convention was actually sponsored by a group entitled the International Scientific Association who were represented by Donald A. Wolheim, John B. Michel, William S. Sykora, Fred Pohl, Herbert Goudket, Walter Kubilis, Jack Rubinson, George R. Hahn, Robert Thompson, David A. Kyle and a few others. Visiting fans were Robert Madle, John V. Baltadonis, Milton A. Rothman, Willis Conover, John Weir, Raymond van Houten, Harry Dockweiler, Jim Blish, Bill Miller, Warren Woolsey and Richard Wilson. The next group were Milton Kaletsky, Julius Schwarts, Charles D. Hornig, Conrad H. Ruppert, Arthur Leeds, Robert W. (Doc) Lowndes, Otto Binder, Mort Weisinger, Otis Adelbert Kline, Allen Kline, Manley Wade Wellman, Philip Jacques Bartel, Charles Schneeman and Dr. John D. Clark, as well as a number of others whose names are not mentioned.
These names were all quite well known in those days, and to find so many of them grouped together at one meeting must have been a terrific thrill for ordinary fans. The meeting was formally opened by electing William Sykora chairman, and one of the earlier moves was to pass a motion for a World Convention to be held in New York in 1939 in conjunction with the World's Fair there. This was agreed to and a special committee convened to arrange it. Speeches were then made by Bill Sykora, Mort Weisinger, Charles Hornig and others. The next move was the showing of motion pictures made by the ISA., one of which was a Buck Rogers cartoon (animated pictures of fiction) and then a general discussion. After which the gathering appeared to fight for places at the festive board that was spread for supper on the next floor.
Various other accounts of the meeting reached my Grandfather, all of which pointed to the great time that everyone had. The Convention actually lasted three days, on the Saturday a visit was paid to
the Hayden Planetarium and the
Museum of Natural History, and the Monday was spent in sight-seeing.
Strangely enough it was about that time that American scientists first applied the name 'video' to what was termed 'television' in those days, and the name has remained with us ever since.
This brings our quarter hour Centenary to a close. Should you desire one of these vision scrolls for your library you may obtain one from the Bureau of News-Cast Recordings at the usual fee... and remember, every space ship is equipped with Vacu-Oxygen's Company's purified atmosphere, tested and guaranteed......which brings us to our signature tune....
"Air as Sweet as on Earth"
Edward J. Carnell the First, back from visiting his grandson in the Twenty First Century remembers that Harold W. Hirshenblit of Brooklyn, New York, founder of the Independent League for Science Fiction (after the break with the SFL) and editor of ARCTURUS has left the fold of science fiction and sold his magazine to Fred Pohl, also of Brooklyn.
Robert W. Lowndes (called 'Doc' by all who know him) of Connecticut, U.S.A. for many years an ardent fan and renowned for writing his interesting letters to the various magazines, has at last taken to writing science fiction yarns. He has already had several acceptances in some of the smaller magazines.
Much praise from American fans concerning Walter Gillings' fan magazine SCIENTIFICTION has been received. All agree that it reaches a new height in quality of production, even Julius Schwartz agreed it pipped his FANTASY MAGAZINE in that respect. The contents are not so well liked as the material contained in American magazines, but again there is a universal agreement that it is typically British in its outlook. And that, after all, is what is wanted. The loudest wail about the magazine is the fact that it is the highest priced fan magazine yet issued, due, however to the fact that the printing is done by a regular firm, and not on home equipment.
Owing to the fact that it was found practicable to allow this issue of NOVAE TERRAE twenty pages, not the usual twenty-four, several features have been condensed and others dispensed with altogether. Under this heading falls "Reviews -— In A Nutshell" and "This Side of the Atlantic". On this page the more important features from both of these are mentioned.
Of most absorbing interest is the fact that a new scientific novel by H. G. Wells is appearing serially in the April, May, and June issues of "The London Mercury", the novel to be published in book form in June. In the first instalment of "Star-Begotten", the idea that the cosmic rays are projected on to the earth by alien beings in space in order to direct the evolution of the human race towards that of such beings, is put forward. On May 3rd and 5th a play. "We Gave Our Grandmother" is to be broadcast in which the main situation is "three young people giving their reasons for thinking that the grandmother, who doesn't want to, should go as a passenger in a rocket aimed at the moon". A drawing of the rocket enlivens the pages of "The Radio Times".
Festus Pragnell writes saying, "Messrs. Phillip Allen has now made up their acoounts to the end of 1936, and report that the sales of THE GREEN MAN OF KILSONA reached the surprising figure of 1,432 copies within six weeks of publication."
The covers of the February and April issues of "Astounding Stories" were comparable with Brown's usual commendable standard and Wesso's illustrations in all issues are much ahead of those of other artists. Campbell's science articles continue to be good, as was Willy Ley's article. Eric Russell's "The Sage of Police West" was much better than "The Great Radio Peril", the former being very pleasing. P. Schuyler Miller's "Sands of Time" besides possessing the best title of the year was good, the best story in the three issues. "At the Perihelion", "The Saga of Pelican West" and "Fires of Genesis" alone were outstanding amongst the rest of the stories. "Science Discussions" continues in an amiable manner.