NOVAE TERRAE #7 (October 1936)
Copytyping this issue by Jim Linwood, from scans provided by Alistair Durie.
NOVAE TERRAE...................NEW WORLDSOCTOBER 1936.............VOL 1 NO.7
Editorial for October
Before you, you have this month's issue of NOVAE TERRAE and the purpose of the Editorial perhaps should be to summarize for the discerning reader the activities of the Nuneaton Chapter. But, it was not always so. Many a harassed editor has allowed his fancy free flight in an Editorial, and, abandoning all the accepted rules, expressed himself in language beyond his own expectations. It may be that editorials modeled on third leaders from the “Times", and to be found in any school mag¬azine, are the sine qua non of any effort; yet it must felt that such 'cookery book' works, produced in that paper of high repute, are the mere insipid sustenance of the artisan, while the original dis¬jointed wanderings of the Editor's mind are the figurative apple of the gourmet's eye.
Yet how could one fully appreciate the careful-stated logic of the most expert Editorial unless the reader had the clearest insight into the workings of the writer’s mind. It was often admitted by Socrates that "he did not know", and you my dear reader, have to conclude along with Socrates that you can never understand the clearest Editorial. You are to be forgiven, therefore, for failing to understand one word of this one.
It has just been brought home to me that this article contains no portmanteau words, the bane of Mr. Smith's life, and as this journal professes to deal with scientific fiction it is only right that this topic should be introduced somewhere. For is not science fiction our life blood, or isn't it? In the words of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer -- "Ars Gratia Artis” or indeed 'Science Fiction for the sake of science fiction’ and for, nobody else’s sake.
The Editorial, then, having to some extent commented on the contents of this issue, the issue is commended to the reader with full official blessing.
Hands Off English
What a miserable business it is to be a scientific fiction fan The thousands of words of trash that have to be suffered for every good story; the distortions of scientific theory, the absurd logic, the childish style, the hackneyed plot -- everything that goes to make many a scientific romance. But the latest atrocity is beyond endurance and it is being committed by the very people who supposedly held the honour of scientific fiction in highest esteem.
I refer to this craze for portmanteau words. The scienti-craze began it. "Scientifiction” was allowed. to slip into use and now are now reaping the harvest of our laxity Scientifilm, scientificircle, scientificartoon – clumsy, unnecessary, ugly to read and hideous to pronounce -- are the words that leer at us from the pages of the fan magazines. Why ever did we let "scientifiction" creep into use? Only one syllable shorter than scientific fiction, we did not need it. If "scientific fiction" is clumsy (though not more so than "scientifiction"), "scientific rom¬ance" is surely satisfactory. Though romance seems permanently associated now with the love story, but that is no reason why we should not use it correctly. Anything is better than much of the jargon prevalent today.
One could not dwell on this subject without mention of Ackerman. The apostle of a new, simpler language, he renders English more complex even as he pleads the cause of Esperanto. Esperanto, a pleasing word -- one feels attracted by it -- but how the mind shrinks away from "Universalanguage". This monstrosity is a good example of the ugliness and superfluity of this jargon, for the word it replaces is so much better in every way. On Ackerman, must our attack be chiefly directed for it is he that creates the greater proportion of this "Ackermanese", but there are many others who imitate him slavishly and every one must be suppressed.
Yes, we must declare war. British fans, defend your native tongue against these
trans¬atlantic marauders; American allies, attack them at closer range. Mr. Beck,
you surely disapprove of this mutilation of our language? Hammer them, tear their
tongues out! After ‘fanitascience’ will come ‘Merrittitious’, after that who knows?
If scientific fiction is to prosper, the literary standard must be raised, not lowered.
These words are not amusing, not clever, not needed, they are more repulsive than
rotting fish. Erase them from our thoughts until dislike of them is as distinctive as
dislike of insanity.
Perhaps you will have noticed that this issue of NOVAE TERRAE is dated October and
will remember that the last issue was dated August, 1936. Hitherto NOVAE TERRAE as
appeared monthly and the reason for the non-appearance of a September issue was that
the August issue was not out until the end of that month. It was decided to hold the
September issue for over a week or two until the beginning of October and date it
October. In future we hope to remain strictly on a monthly basis, but if subscribers
fail to receive an issue during the first week or ten days of each month, they may
rest assured it will turn up sooner of later.
The results of the ‘Scientijazz’ contest of the August issue will appear in the next
November issue of NOVAE TERRAE.
Perhaps you will have noticed that this issue of NOVAE TERRAE is dated October and will remember that the last issue was dated August, 1936. Hitherto NOVAE TERRAE as appeared monthly and the reason for the non-appearance of a September issue was that the August issue was not out until the end of that month. It was decided to hold the September issue for over a week or two until the beginning of October and date it October. In future we hope to remain strictly on a monthly basis, but if subscribers fail to receive an issue during the first week or ten days of each month, they may rest assured it will turn up sooner of later.
The results of the ‘Scientijazz’ contest of the August issue will appear in the next November issue of NOVAE TERRAE.
It was in our July issue that Walter H. Gillings appealed for support for his
prospective printed British fan-magazine—“Scientifiction”-- The British Fantasy Review.
The more support is promised the better a production will it be, and the sooner it will
become an actuality. If you have not already done so write to:
Walter H. Gillings, 15 Shore Road, Ilford, Essex.
Though we have not run advertisements in NOVAE TERRAE in the past, in future any reader wishing to use our pages for this purpose may do so. Details of advertising rates appear on page two………
Those science fiction fans who are interested in collecting British examples of that type of literature might do well to watch the fiction publications of Hutchinson’s. These publishers have been responsible for probably fifty per cent of the good science fiction in. book form that has appeared over here in the last twelve months. Similarly, "weird" fans will be interested in the lists of Rider and Co. who publish little beside weird and occult works.
By E. J. Carnell
That the August issue of NOVAE TERRAE was one of the finest issues of any fan mag of recent date. American readers of this may disagree, but, the fact remains, that most fan mags to ay carry 50% material that isn’t worth reading. Work it out for yourselves... take any fan mag that you happen to have and see how many pages you are apt to slim over because the items mentioned wander far from the path of science fiction.
THAT the one note that did not harmonise in the last issue was the “Ackermanuscript" on Esperanto. Coming from America’s ‘ace’ scientifilm expert, I expected something far more interesting than a treatise on what "Man of Mars" might think should he ever visit Earth.
THAT reams can be written for and against Esperanto, but that, after forty-five years of progress there are only twenty five thousand speakers of the uni¬versal language in England - this country is one of the leading sponsors for its promotion. Universal world peace will have to be established before Esperanto or any other language of its kind will get a chance.
THAT it is quite probable that dwellers on Mars, for all their alleged longer existence, speak a variety of languages as we do, so what will it profit us speaking one language, if we have to learn half a dozen more upon arrival on Mars? The only one that I can see is FJA’s own answer…that we shall be able to understand them if they ever visit us. But, how long will it be before we conquer space? Or before Man of Mars visits us? Just about am long as it will take Esperanto to be the one universal language.
THAT if Forrest J. Ackerman can write scientifilm notes for a society calling itself
the World Girdlers International Science League Correspondence Club, surely all the fans
in England are worthy of more than a more Esperanto article. After all, the British
Esperanto Association spreads its propaganda thoroughly over these isles.
THAT because we aren’t a very progressive science fiction country as yet, American fans are apt to treat us too lightly, forgetting that any news of science fiction happenings in their own country is eagerly sought after here, so that we may build this country into as enthusiastic a body as the US.
THAT this country is only waiting for its own prof¬essional science fiction magazine, when it will progress in leaps and. bounds towards that point already reached by the fans and readers of America. This statement may sound an exaggeration but I am in possession of enough facts to be able to prophesy many surprises for British fantasy fans in the near future.
THAT the proposed science fiction Convention at Leeds early next year', by the Leeds SFL Chapter, is a fine idea and should do a deal of good for science fiction in general. It is to be hoped that there won’t be too much dissension over Leeds being the town to be visited.
THAT H.G. Wells’ second film "The Man Who Could Work Miracles” is disappointingly dull and uninteresting, and can in no manner be (hailed a science fiction classic has "Things To Come" undoubtedly was.
THAT Forrest J. Ackerman never writes an article unless he is paid for same...and that fans are already asking how much he received for the one the last issue of NOVAE TERRAE.
A SUGGESTION that. British stfans disassociate themselves from the American SFL and. form a British Science Fiction Association completely independent of any and all pulp magazines…what d’you think fellows?
THAT Philip Allen and Co., London, have just published Festus Pragnell’s "Green Man of' Graypec" at 3/6 under the title of “Green Man of Kilsona". Rally round, cads.
THAT H.G.Wells wrote his own obituary in the "The Listener” of July 15th wherein he reckons to die in Paddington Infirmary at the age of 97, having been assaulted by Fascists in ‘38 and. interned in a Communist Concentration Camp during the short Dictatorship of ’42.
THAT many fans are suggesting that the Convention should be held nearer south than Leeds...Liverpool, Leicester, or London should be more central...as, by far the greater number of enthusiasts live in the southern part of the country. Another suggestion is that it should not be limited to certain individuals only, but, should be as, open to as many as possible…even if they have to listen not do any talking.
THAT the name of Olaf Stapledon’s next stf opus will be “The Star Maker”…and that John Beynon Harris is contemplating a sequel to "Stowaway to Mars".
THAT THRILLING WONDER will go monthly in December, and claims a circulation of 100,000 for the first-issue…said mag is not on sale in England through any of the usual agents, but, the August issue is due on the remainder stands between the time of writing this and the time you read same…………
THIS SIDE OF THE ATLANTIC
There’s a death-ray in "Fear Haunts the Roses", around which an intrigue of its
political implications and mysterious suicides centre. The book is by Charman Edwards,
the publisher is Ward Lock, the price 7/6.
There’s a ray too in “Blind Man’s Bluff”, a Twentieth-Century-British film directed
by Albert Parker, featuring Enid Stamp-Taylor. The film is so named because the ray is
invented to cure a scientist's blindness.
The film version "The Devil Doll" of Merritt's "Burn, Witch, Burn" was at the Empire,
London lately. The players include Lionel Barrymore, Maureen O’Sullivan, and. Frank
Lawton, the director Tod Browning. The film was reasonably well received, much comment
being made on the quality of the trick camera work.
H G, Wells’ second film for Korda experienced a run of several weeks at the Leicester
Square. Roland Young plays the loading role in "The Man Who Could Work Miracles" but
the film has been reported in many quarters to be something of an anticlimax after
"Things To Come". H. G. Wells is working on the scenarios of two more films for London
Films -- "The Food Of the Gods" and "The New Faust".
“War Of Two Worlds" by Professor L. Detre was recently published by Jarrolds at 10/6.
It seems to have caused little stir though the publishers label it as "worthy of H. G.
Wells. Man Versus the Ants. A fearful, yet thrilling glimpse into .the future of the
The producer of recent "Scrapbook" programmes over the air, Leslie Baily is trying his
hand at a similar
There’s a death-ray in "Fear Haunts the Roses", around which an intrigue of its political implications and mysterious suicides centre. The book is by Charman Edwards, the publisher is Ward Lock, the price 7/6.
There’s a ray too in “Blind Man’s Bluff”, a Twentieth-Century-British film directed by Albert Parker, featuring Enid Stamp-Taylor. The film is so named because the ray is invented to cure a scientist's blindness.
The film version "The Devil Doll" of Merritt's "Burn, Witch, Burn" was at the Empire, London lately. The players include Lionel Barrymore, Maureen O’Sullivan, and. Frank Lawton, the director Tod Browning. The film was reasonably well received, much comment being made on the quality of the trick camera work.
H G, Wells’ second film for Korda experienced a run of several weeks at the Leicester Square. Roland Young plays the loading role in "The Man Who Could Work Miracles" but the film has been reported in many quarters to be something of an anticlimax after "Things To Come". H. G. Wells is working on the scenarios of two more films for London Films -- "The Food Of the Gods" and "The New Faust".
“War Of Two Worlds" by Professor L. Detre was recently published by Jarrolds at 10/6. It seems to have caused little stir though the publishers label it as "worthy of H. G. Wells. Man Versus the Ants. A fearful, yet thrilling glimpse into .the future of the race.”
The producer of recent "Scrapbook" programmes over the air, Leslie Baily is trying his hand at a similar
feature dealing with London as it will be a hundred years time. The show should be
heard sometime in the late autumn.
Recent juvenile s-f over here includes “The Terror Of Villadonga” by Geoffrey Household (Hutchinson 3/6) featuring the discovery of a beast off the Spanish coast that is a relic of the Paleozoic Age.
Anthony Baerlein’s new novel, recently published by Arthur Barker, 7/6 “Daze The Magician” has been compared to some of H.G.Wells work, and is in main a light fantasy- for the most promisingly written and in one is based on the wireless transmission of the human body.
H.G.Wells himself, recently celebrating his seventieth birthday, has just had his latest work published though the title, perhaps somewhat deterring to some people, is “The Anatomy Of Frustration” – A Modern Synthesis - published by the Cresset Press at 7/6. In it Mr. Wells follows in style and subject matter several of his more recent works and gives many observations on our race, its past, and its future.
The theories propounded in science fiction explaining the existence of our satellite have been legion, but in orthodox scientific circles a theory very different form that generally accepted during the last few decades has been considered. H.S.Bellamy’s “Moons, Myths and Man” (Faber and Faber 7/6) is the first account in English of this new theory that the moon became a captive satellite to the Earth within the time of human history with terrestrial disturbances that may be at the bottom of innumerable myths.
Beall Cunningham – the pseudonym of a writer distinguished under another name – has written “White Wide Page” (Hutchinson 7/6) around the exploits of an expedition to found
a colony in the Antarctic and the moulding of it into a modern Utopia.
“The Children Of the Pool” by Arthur Machen (Hut¬chinson, 7/6) contains "The Exalted Omega" and five other stories. The story named has a title suggestive of the last days of man on earth and does indeed take one into the far days of the future of this planet. The other stories are mostly of the weird type. Weird fans may be interested to hear of "Witches and Warlocks" by Philip W. Sergeant, (Hutchinson 12/6) to which Mr. Machen (who is regarded as being one of the very best weird story writers over here) has written an introduction.
THE POSITION OF THE SCIENCE FICTION FILM
by Denny Jacques
Today, we are in a position to cast our minds back and see if the more notable science fiction films of recent years have enhanced or damaged the reputation of this type of film.
Among the more outstanding science fiction films have been "Deluge", “The Invisible Man", "The Tunnel”, "Things To Come", "The Invisible Ray" and "The Man. Who Could Work Miracles". These are but a few amongst films that have been circulating during the last three years, but are the most vital since they have been seen by the majority and should, be considered rather than certain obscure films seen only by the indefatigable fan. It is from a consideration of the merits of these that the true position of the s-f film will be judged.
"Deluge", (directed by Felix Feist), contained an interesting seen of the destruction of New York by earthquake and sea the whole of this sequence being convincingly done by Ned Mann, the indispensable adjunct of many a fantasy film. However, after the early scenes, the theme, though nevertheless well acted, developed a strong sex bias. "Deluge” is typical of numerous fantasy films, though bettor than some. "Quite interesting to see Gernsback’s offices annihilated" the fan might say, while ether people might possibly have their aesthetic instincts satisfied.
James Whale’s "The Invisible Man” was characterized by the inspired acting of Claude Rains and some excellent trick-technique. To see the invisible one doing his stuff was delightful not only to the scientific fiction enthusiast but to the uninitiated as well. This film has probably done more than any other in bringing the notice of the general public to this sphere of entertainment.
Then there was “The Tunnel", (Director, Maurice Elvey), which succeeded in giving us a
radioactive drill, some mock heroics and some scientific errors. However the film has its
humourous moments including the instance when an American engineer calls in a very Oxford
accent "Hallo Great Britain" and his British counterpart responds with "Hello, Aurrica".
This seemed little but a praiseworthy attempt at science fiction and calculated to lower
any prestige "The Invisible Man” might have gained.
However, fortunately for everyone, there came “Things To Come" indubitably the piece de resistance as yet. Film goers who were uninterested in science fiction could not fail too be affected by this. The frenzy of the war-scare excellently worked up by gradually quickening the action of the camera, the bombing raid, the world in ruins all convincingly done. Then glimpses of the future in the form of endless complex machines gliding smoothly and efficiently about their business must have made everyone sit back and ask for more. While shot after shot of this was going on it was unfortunately accompanied by Arthur Bliss's ear-splitting comp¬ositions (Perhaps the discordancy was intentional?). All this leading up to the episode of the space-gun - beautifully done to say the least but an event badly connected with the rest of the film, and introduced, it seems, to keep up the interest of the majority at the end. It is an open question if a film like this should dwell on the human interest element, but "Things To Come", except for a flagging effort in this direction at the end seemed worse for a complete disregard of the problem.
The dialogue, it is true, read far better than it spoke - much of it being scarcely worth speaking, and there was an irritating tendency overdo the ground level angle of the camera, which, if it was intended to have any meaning lost it before the film was a third through. In spite of all this
“Things To Come” is a film that stands head and shoulders above the rest.
Soon after “Things To Come” we saw “The Invisible Ray” directed by Lambert Hillyer - a Karloff-Lugosi vehicle. This came as an agreeable surprise in some ways when one considers the usual trash that these two horrifiers give us. The opening of the film embraced very interesting three-dimensional effect shots among the planets and some of the stars, but one was subjected throughout to weird schoolboy science, a criterion of such science being Karloff's ray machine. However, “The Invisible Ray” did strike a very human note which, strangely enough, did not clash with the scientific part of the plot. If it did little else it left intact the reputation that “Things To Come” had built up, in contrast to "The Man Who Could Work Miracles”.
The second opus of H.G.Wells is a disappointing film, although it contains some interesting ‘miraculous’ tricks and sound acting on the part of Roland Young, but lacks the interest and daring of “Things To Come”.
The position of the scientific type of film in the estimation of the general public is greatly influenced by the notorious shortness of memory of that body. A “Things To Come” would make an impression on the mind of an average film goer that would be far deeper than that made by a “Man Who Could Work Miracles”, nevertheless even this former impression would be soon erased by the passage of time unless further science fiction films of equal quality followed it up. It is for this reason that I am tempted to say that the position of the science fiction film is somewhere in the proximity of where it was before “Things To Come”. We must await the coming of yet another classic or two - perhaps Alexander Korda or James Whale will help us.
Concluding E. J. Carnell’s column: (from page 9)
THAT the SCIENCE FICTION NEWS, Oklahoma, U.S.A up to the present privately circulated among the members of the Oklahoma Scientifiction Association will be issued to fans in printed form (price 6d.) in October. The NEWS is an "up and. coming" fan magazine, and I can recommend it to English collectors.
A SCOOP FOR SCIENTIFICTION FANS!!
FOR SALE: Copies of Nos. 1 and. 3 of "SCOOPS" – “Britain’s Only Science Fiction Weekly"
offered, at 4d, per copy post free. Order now before stock is exhausted as these numbers
are almost unobtainable.
ALSO: copies of "Amazing Stories", "Astounding Stories", "Weird Tales", "Wonder Stories"
offered at 8p per copy, post free.
ALSO: many copies of “Amazing Stories Quarterly" and "Wonder Stories Quarterly” offered.
at 1/4 post tree.
ALL YOUR STF. NEEDS CATERED FOR: American fan magazines obtained, magazines bought, sold
and exchanged; we even have a few copies of "Science” and "Air Wonder Stories" in stock
as well as “Scientific Detective Monthly".
Address all enquiries to:
FOR SALE: Copies of Nos. 1 and. 3 of "SCOOPS" – “Britain’s Only Science Fiction Weekly" offered, at 4d, per copy post free. Order now before stock is exhausted as these numbers are almost unobtainable.
ALSO: copies of "Amazing Stories", "Astounding Stories", "Weird Tales", "Wonder Stories" offered at 8p per copy, post free.
ALSO: many copies of “Amazing Stories Quarterly" and "Wonder Stories Quarterly” offered. at 1/4 post tree.
ALL YOUR STF. NEEDS CATERED FOR: American fan magazines obtained, magazines bought, sold and exchanged; we even have a few copies of "Science” and "Air Wonder Stories" in stock as well as “Scientific Detective Monthly".
Address all enquiries to: