TOMORROW #1 (Spring 1937)
TOMORROWVol. 1.No. 1
Glimpses of the Future......................................................................3.
Time, Moon and Mars......................................................................6
Science-fiction comes to Britain........................................................8.
SHOULD BRITISH FANS DENOUNCE "PULPS"?....................10.
Science Marches on.......................................................................17.
Quarterly Balance Sheet.................................................................22.
The Science Fiction Association.....................................................23
Editor:- Douglas W.F. Mayer
Duplicating by: G.A. Airey & D.W.F. Mayer
Cover Printing by:- H.Gottliffe and J.M. Rosenblum
Although tomorrow never comes, "TOMORROW" has arrived! We present to you the first issue of the first quarterly review of science- fiction and scientific progress; a publication which, we hope, will rapidly develop from a duplicated bulletin to a printed, illustated magazine; a journal which, if dreams come true, will be as big an institution of the future as the TIMES of today - TOMORROW!
Readers will look in vain for the two features which custom has decreed shall be present in almost every science-fiction "fan magazine" - scathing comments on the contents of current issues, and a collection of short news items concerniag fans, authors, societies and publications. Although due to a lack of contributions, we have, in one or two cases, been. unable to select quite the type of article we require. we shall try to present to you, each quarter, a review of the progress of British science-fiction, articles, and paragraphs indicating the future of science, science-fiction and civilisation, and a leading article on some outstanding problem of science-fiction in this country.
Contributions on these lines would be most welcome, and fans, who have long desired to air their views, are invited to take this opportunity, and submit articles, etc, for future issues.
Returning to the present...Read on in -- "TOMORROW"!
GLIMPSES OF THE FUTURE.
In his recent book, "After Us, or the World as it Might Be" (Stanley Paul, 18s. net), J. P. Lockhart-Mummery, the distinguished surgeon, forecasts, among other things:
New silver-like government buildings of chromium-quality cement on the south side of the Thames.
Traffic-free, air-conditioned streets, with moving pavements and domed with glass.
Synthetic food factories where liquid cellulose is broken down by bacteria into proteids and sugars, and where proteid food is grown artificially from animal substances by chemical culture.
A world state Where wars, revolutions, strikes and lockouts are things of the past, and where tiger-racing replaces dog-racing.
Mr Lockhart-Mummery goes on to suggest- "The men who first attempt to reach the stratosphere by rocket-plane will probably die within the first few seconds. If their machine succeeds in getting into the stratosphere it will continue to revolve round the earth as a minor satellite forever, or until it disintegrates. For many years afterwards on a fine night it will be possible to see it with a powerful telescope - still revolving in space.
A drought in 1975.
Dr. Charles D. Abbot, secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, estimates the next
drought will occur about 1975.
"It is becoming more and more accepted, I think, by meteorologists and physicists, that I have shown that there is in the weather a 25-year, a 46-year and a 92-year cycle of events", says Dr. J. Abbot.
"Take, for example, the great drought in northwest America. Moderate droughts occur every 23 years ; the great drought occurs every 46 years. In the decade 1840 to 1850 there was a very serious drought. In the decade of the '90's there was another, and now in the decade of the 1930's there is the third, and I suppose there will be another one beginning about 1975.
The fuel of the future.
Dr. Edison Pettit of Mt. Wilson observatory estimates that it would take a half million square miles of grain crop to supply alcohol to replace the petrol now being consumed. He suggests that fertile tropical lands may become increasingly important in the world's future development as producers of sugar-bearing plants. Utilization of sun power will not solve fuel problems, he says, since solar radiation yields only one horse- power per square yard at 100 per cent efficiency, and at current petrol consumption rates motor vehicles would requ.ire all the solar power available in 100 square miles of desert. Dr. Pettit says the world should use coal and save its oil, for the fuel problem must be solved within fifty years.
An age of plastics."It is probable that plastics will be much improved by future research, but it is
most unlikely that they will approach steel in tensile strength, and it is certain that they will not approach it in toughness, hardness or resistance to wear. It is therefore certain that plastics will not replace metals far most engineering purposes. They will, however, very largely replace metal for a great variety of purposes for which great strength and resistance are not required, anq most particularly for a thousand household articles, trays, doorplates, handles, fittings, etc. In the electrical industry bakelite is completely established. An insulator of great strength and capable of most accurate moulding could not be neglected."
"...It may well be that the Age of Iron,
lamented by Hesiod, will give way to the Age
of Plastics, which will not lack poets to
proclaim its further degeneration."
"Tomorrow, perhaps, in a world at peace, we shall have roads made from the re-moulded armaments of yesterday!" - V.L. Carroll.
Dreams of tomorrow.
"True, tomorrow never comes. But tomorrow's
dreams in the laboratories of science
have a way of coming true, and soon become
the commonplace of today. Through the patient
efforts of the research worker, ideas,
born of thinking into the future, slowly but
surely take concrete form . . . one day to
become practical products for all to enjoy."
TIME, MOON AND MARS.
Travelling back in time to 1895, we find that this date marked the beginning of time- travel in science-fiction, when "The Father of modern Science Fiction", H.G. Wells, published his first science-fiction story - "The Time Machine".
The story has an interesting history. In 1886, H.G.Wells, then a third year student at the Normal School of Science, South Kensington, founded a college magazine, the Science School Journal. Between 1887 and 1890 he contributed several articles to this magazine, chief among which was a serial published in the numbers for :April, May and June, 1888, entitled "The Chronic Argonauts" the main idea of which is that of time-travelling. The close resemblance between parts of this story and "The Time Machine" makes it no exaggeration to call it the first version of the story. Copies of the journals containing these contributions are now very rare, for at the beginning of the present century H.G.Wells purchased as many copies as he could obtain, and destroyed them.
Six years later the story was entirely rewritten in everything but the essential idea: some parts of it appeared as a series of articles in "The National Observer" (1894), but "The Time Traveller's Story" was published, almost as it now stands, in the "New Review" (1894-5). The serial version contains at least one episode which is not reprinted in the book. In this the Time Traveller, pausing between the age of the Eloi and Morlocks and that of the giant crabs, finds the dying world inhabited by the last descendents of man, "puny, greyish things, like half-grown kangaroos", and by
great centipedes which prey upon them. One of the latter is described. "It stood about three feet high, and had a long segmented body perhaps 30 feet long, with curiously overlapping greenish-black plates. It seemed to crawl upon a multitude of feet, lifting its body as it advanced, It had a blunt round head, with a polygonal arrangement of black eye-spots.
H.G. Wells' first work to be actually filmed was his "First Men in the Moon", published in 1901. Work on the film commenced in 1914, but owing to the War, the film was not completed until five years later.
The film version mutilates the original story by the introduction of two new characters (a wireless operator with the quite unnecessary and entirely un-Wellsian name of Hannibal Higben, and Susan Cavor, a youthful relative of the inventor), and a "love- interest". The main incidents, briefly, are these; when the scheming Bedford attaches himself to Cavor, the scientist is already assisted by Hannibal, who is in love with Susan. Cavor and Bedford reach the moon, Hannibal absent-mindedly being left behind, are captured by the Selenites, and escape. Bedford stuns Cavor, steals what he incorrectly believes to be the Cavorite formula, returns to earth alone, loses the sphere, then tells Susan that Cavor, dying in his arms, wished her to marry him. Hannibal, however, receives wireless messages from the moon in which the truth is told, and virtue triumphs in the dismissal of Bedford and the marriage of Susan and Hannibal. The film was produced by the Gaumont Film Co.
SCIENCE-FICTION COMES TO BRITAIN.
Flashing into feeble light ten years ago, the spark of desire for science-fiction in this country originated with the formation at Hayes, Middlesex, of the Science Fiction Club. For ten years that spark has glowed and flickered, shining brightly when the hopes of the few eager fans soared to the point of realisation, and vanishing to a wan glow during set-back after set-back.
During these ten years at least three science-fiction organisations came into being, only to fail through lack of support. During these ten years fan after fan has clamoured for a British science-fiction periodical, their hopes being realised with the publication of "SCOOPS", then crashing to despair with its failure.
A few fans, still refusing to be daunted by these set-backs, began to negotiate with an important London firm of publishers, and, thanks to repeated promises, their hopes began to rise once more, to descend to earth in November last, with the announcement that the long awaited magazine "FUTURE FICTION" would not appear. British science-fiction was at a low ebb.
Then came the Conference. Fans began to find that there were kindred-spirits scattered throughout the country. For the first time in history the country's fans spoke with one voice - and THE SCIENCE FICTION ASSOCIATION was born!
The ten-years' awaited organisation had been formed. Fans began to rally to its call, and now, less than four months after its inauguration, we fling down the challenge that it is the largest and most progressive
science-fiction club in existence, excluding the commercially controlled Science Fiction League which, for all the good it is now doing, might well be dead.
THE SCIENCE FICTION ASSOCATION has branches in Leeds and Nuneaton, whilst negotiations are in progress for the formation of branches in London and Barnsley. It has members all over the country, including nearly all British authors who write for the American magazines, a scheme for publishing amateur stories is being considered, a bibliography of British science-fiction is being compiled, and a "Back-number Supply Service" has been inaugurated. Science-fiction has come to Britain.
Science-fiction has come to Britain, BUT - and it is a big BUT- there is still much to be done. There is the problem of "remainder magazines" to solve, there is the problem of the deficit of British science- fiction authors, there is the scarcity of good science-fiction films, there is the need of introducing science-fiction to the "Man-in-the-Street", and above all, there is the need of a science-fiction magazine, publishing British science-fiction to suit British tastes.
A formidable list of problems, no doubt. But rivers were made to cross, hills to climb, space to conquer, and problems to solve. We therefore intend to tackle one problem at a time (not necessarily in the order given), deal with them in leading articles in "TOMORROW", and leave members to do their best to surmount them during the next three months.
This time the topic is "Remainder Magazines". Read on, readers, and let us hope that by the time a half-dozen or so such
SHOULD BRITISH READERS DENOUNCE THE "PULPS"?(This quarter's leading problem.)
Faced with a problem unique in science- fiction history, members are called upon to decide whether they will support or condemn "remainder" magazines.
Into this country, every year, there is dumped 25,000,000 - nearly one per second - slightly out-of-date American pulp magazines; love stories, comics, horror tales, detective stories, film magazines, popular scientific journals, sports periodicals - and science- fiction magazines.
Being bought from the publishers at a very low price, and coming over as ship's ballast, these magazines pay no duty on entering, and are sorted and dispatched to some two or three thousand "remainder" bookstalls throughout the country, where they are sold at the price of 3d. or 4d. each. It is impossible to calculate what percentage of these are science fiction but it is estimated that the amount of science-fiction distributed through these channels might be anything up to 15,000 copies per month.
In contrast to this dumping there is the orthodox source of science-fiction magazines -- in a perfect condition, and as soon as they are publislied - either directly by subscription from the publishers, or via a local newsagent who can obtain them from the British distributors at a price of about 1/- each. In the latter case the publisher receives his percentage of the money paid. In the former case he merely receives a price which is little more than the cost of the paper.
About only one British reader out of twenty buys his magazine through the orthodox channels; the rest buy them from "remainder" stalls, and thus lend no support whatever to the magazine. Based on the estimates already given, it can be seen that the American science-fiction mgazines are loosing about £5,000 per annum due to this practice.
It is useless to expect any magazine to succeed if it is not supported. With this extra financial support, the magazines would be able to make the various improvements for which fans have long been clamouring; the quality of the paper, type and illustrations could be improved and, if the increase in support were great enough, the rate of pay for stories could be raised, thus assisting the author, and ensuring a better quality of story. Furthermore, it would appear that since "charity begins at home" , the least that any fan can do to assist science-fiction is to support those who write and publish it.
However, there are other points to be considered. The very presence of the science- fiction magazines on "remainder" stalls reduces them, in the eyes of the "man-in-the -street", to "Yankee trash". Secondly, while the majority of British readers continue to buy from these stalls, it is impossible to obtain any true idea of the size of the science-fiction public.
Lastly, there is the effect that these low-priced journals have on higher-priced or rather, reasonably priced, science-fiction. One of Newnes' excuses for deciding against their projected science-fiction magazine was this competition, although they have issued three magazines similar to other dumped American pulps.
These arguments, propounded by Gillings and E .F. Russell (who have collaborated in supplying much material for this article) at the Conference, seem to clearly indicate that it is the duty of every true science- fiction fan to endeavour to effect a stoppage to the "remainder" trade in science-fiction magazines. Whether or no, several news- agents' associations have already united in an effort to cut down the entire pulp trade, and some time ago a deputation was made to the Board of Trade, in which it was suggested:-
"In the case of imported magazines and periodicals printed in the english language, those imported should be required to make a declaration as hereunder:-
In 'clue case where the importer does not make this declaration, an import duty 1/- per lb to be imposed. It was stated that the Board of Trade would give every assistance in this matter.
If clause (b) came into operation, AMAZING STORIES would cost about 6d., ASTOUNDING STORIES about 5d, and THRILLING WONDER STORIES about 4d. per copy. An import duty of 1/- per lb. is equivalent to a cost of about 5d. per copy, and. may mean an increase in price of the magazines through ordinary newsagent channels.
When questioned on the subject, Mr. F. Orlin Tremaine, editor of ASTOUNDING STORIES, writes:
"Certain firms in the United States have made it a practice to buy old copies from junk, dealers, gather them from apartment houses and obtaian them by other means which we have considered illegitimate.
Some time ago we discussed the matter with our attorneys and were told that there was no legal way for us to stop this release of magazines. Of course, it hurts us and hurts our circulation for, as you doubtless know, we cannot count such sales as circulation.
A group of the larger American publishers banded together some time since in an attempt to stop or at least to control this traffic in second hand magazines. The United States Federal Trade Commission ordered these publishers to "cease and desist" this activity. The case was carried on an appeal to the united States Circuit Court which upheld the ruling of the Trade Commission and forced the publishers to stop their attempt to prevent such sales.
We deplore it, but the only thing we can do to offset it is to urge people who are really interested in science-fiction to make their purchases from The Atlas Company in London. The Atlas Company imports to England, legitimately, at the full price, the current issues of ASTOUNDING. This is the only firm which deals in the magazine by our authorization.
I have been very much interested in the active work of your society, in the interest which has been shown, and in the growing interest which appears to exist in Great Britain.
I hope that the influence of your society may be such as to bring pressure from within your own country on the importation of "remainder" magazines, Meantime, rest assured that they appear without our consent."
However, in an interview with W. H. Gillings, Mr. K.J.H. Thorn, Assistant Manager of the Atlas Publishing and Distributing Co, which distributes both current issues and "remainder" copies, presented a rather different view of the matter, and stated that the sale of current issues (which, in the ease of ASTOUNDING STORIES, is increasing every month), is not affected to any appreciable extent by the sale of remainder copies as the latter are bought by an entirely different type of reader.
These are the people, such as those in the distressed areas, who cannot afford a shilling for the latest numbers, and who would not buy them if they could not get the remainders, Mr. Gillings adds that this is borne out by several letters he has received.
Of course, Mr. Thorn continues, the supply of "remainders" is often unreliable, and anyone who is really interested in the magazines, and who wants to make sure of getting them, buys them as soon as they are available, providing that he can afford it. In any case, the demand is so great that, in his own words, "we cannot get enough of them".
He cannot place any credence in the arguments of British publishers that "remaindeers" prohibit their publishing similar magazines, but does not welcome any attempt they
might make to cater for the demand existing among science-fiction readers for a home produced publication. His reason being that his firm has created the demand for American magazines by introducing, them over here, although, at the same time, he declares that recent experiments in British specialised magazines ( Newnes "Air Stories", "War Stories", etc,) have not affected them very much.
This, however, does not answer the main argument that fans who rely on "remainder" copies are not really supporting the magazines, although they are always ready to criticise them. It is obvious that the more readers there are to swell the circulations of the magazines, the more chance they have of flourishing and extending the influence of science-fiction.
The conclusion therefore seems to be that although no attempt should be made to boycott "remainder" magazines, as was suggested at the Conference, since these magazines provide a good method of introducing science-fiction to the poorer classes, all true fans should give the magazines the maximum support they can, and should purchase the copies direct.
We leave it to members to act on this decision, and during the next three months to conduct a campaign persuading their friends to do likewise.
"WHAT IS GOOD ENOUGH FOR TO-DAY
IS MUCH TOO BAD FOR
First important event this year was the British Science Fiction Conference, held in Leeds on January 3rd. ------ main result of Conference, formation of THE SCIENCE FICTION ASSOCIATION, officially inaugurated February 1st. ---- Leeds branch formed ----- new British author, E. F. Russell, crashes into science- fiction --- first issue of British fantasy review, SCIENTIFICTION, appeared in February.
Stephen Mitchell and Sons issue "The World of Tomorrow", a series of cigarette cards ---- S.F.A . publishes first copy of THE SCIENCE FICTION GAZETTE, a news supplement ---- first issue of NOVAE TERRAE as official journal of the Association appears ----- Nuneaton branch formed ------ Leeds branch has write-up in "Yorkshire Evening News" ---- announcement that NOVAE TERRAE will henceforth be printed ---- latest Wellsian fantasy, STAR - BEGOTTEN, published ----- other recent books are:-
"Crisis - 1992"......................Benson Herbert
Science-fiction films include "The Walking Dead", "The Man who could work Miracles", "The Man who changed his Mind", "The Devil Doll", "The Man who lived twice". "Hot Money" etc.
Second issues of SCIENTIFICTION and THE SCIENCE FICTION GAZETTE published at beginning of April ------ lastly, but not, we hope, least, we present --------"TOMORROW".
SCIENCE MARCHES ON.
Of increasing importance in recent years is the manner in which the chemist is binding the farm to the city, through the factory, and turning the surplus products and waste of the former into valuable synthetic materials. Out of waste cotton the chemist can now produce a substitute for leather; out of cotton linters he manufactures toilet ware, fountain-pens, motion picture films, smokeless powder, rayon, safety glass and shoe heels. From corn he makes solvents for paints, varnishes, and lacquers. Fifty years ago, coal-tar was just a waste product. Today, there are thousands of substances prepared from it, including high explosives, aspirin, carbolic acid, perfumes and dyes.
Detection of the mysterious enzyme at work is one of the latest accomplishments of science. An enzyme, or "ferment", is one of several complex substances, which produce chemical changes by fermentation, hydrolysis or oxidation. Enzymes include diastase, catalase, invertase, lipase, ptylin, rennin, cellulose, and pepsin. The latter, found in the stomach, is important to man, since it converts proteins into peptone, thus causing the body organs to function, besides being essential in baking bread, making cheese, curing meats, or brewing beer. At death, the decomposition of the body is caused by enzymic action.
Recent research work at Yale University , with the enzyme catalase, which is identical with hemin, the pigment found in blood, has shown that the spectra of
the pigment vanishes during a reaction, but returns at the end. It is hoped that this research will lead to a better understanding of the action of these interesting compounds.
A cheap method of developing voltages for breaking down atoms has been devised at the Carnegie Institution. The apparatus in volves a whirling disc, rotating 1,350 times per minute, which passes through an area of ionized air from a corona discharge and carries the electrical charge to the storing terminal. With this equipment a current of 10 to 30 milliamps at 220,000 volts is produced. For million-volt charges, several disc units could be linked in tandem.
Five hundred million light years away is the limit of the visible universe, according to Dr. E. P. Hubble, of Mount Wilson Observatory. From his measurements of "red-shift", Dr.Hubble discovered that the spectrum lines of distant nebulae are displaced towards the red end, indicating enormous speeds of recession away from the solar system. The fastest nebula retreat measured was 24,000 miles per second. Dr. Hubble suggests that the universe contains 100,000,000 nebulae composed of stars, the average nebula being about 20,000,000,000 times as heavy as the sun and shedding 85 million times more light.
The discovery of several new atmospheric layers between the abnormally low heights of five to seven miles was recently announced. It is believed that these
layers are responsible for the propagation of ultra-short wireless waves to unexpected distances. The fact that they have escaped detection by the instruments of balloons and aeroplanes is attribated to their extreme thinness, but now their presence has been detected, exploration by aeroplane is likely to follow.
In May a nunber of ascents into the stratosphere will be made. Several new types of apparatus will be used, including two new apparatus for the registration of micro- organisms and a new apparatus for the registration of cosmic rays.
A complete laboratory has been moved from Cambridge University to Moscow by the Soviet Government. It is now the nerve cen tre of the huge "Institute of Physical Problems," which is being built at a cost of 5,000,000 roubles.
The Illstitute studies physical phenomena in super-powerful magnetic fields of extremely low temperatures. The equipment includes a gigantic generator and special installations for obtaining liquid hydrogen and helium. The generator develops an energy of 200,000 kilowatts in .01 of a second.
A Hampstead inventor claims to have perfected a simple new process for television in natural colours.
Whilst opinions may differ as to the validity of the statement: "There is nothing new under the sun", cynics seem to agree that; "There is no original plot in science- fiction". To a large extent, it is definitely true, since angles on the space-travel, time-travel, 4th-dimension, atomic energy, sub-atomic universe, invisibility or life-in- the-future themes have been covered time and again, and most stories now printed are merely adventure tales using these themes as a background, in order to warrant their inclusion in science-fiction magazines.
However, plots do appear, from time to time, which are definitely original, and it is this article's duty to review, each quarter, the most outstanding plots of the preceeding three months. Now, orginal plots can be devided into two types; the plot which s 100% original, both in theme and in science, and which, dismissing modern beliefs and conceptions as "commonplace", provides a smashing thought-variant - and - the plot which, although introducing a novel idea, derives the idea, quite logically, from modern science, and presents a theme which the reader feels is not beyond the bounds of probability.
Into the first category there falls "Worlds Within" by John Russell Fearn, (ASTOUNDING STORIES, March 1937). The plot of the story, which, due to its sheer originality, is beyond the pale of criticism, tells how, from a sub-atomic world in the body of a Martian ruler, there comes a race of human- like people. Adventures on Mars follow, during which the bodies of several Martians, infested with "life-energy", are shot into space, to disintegrate into luminous comets, describing elipses round the sun. To complete the story, the face of
Mars is riddled with disintegrating rays, thus producing "canals", then the beings from the sub-atomic world land on the earth, and build the mighty city of Atlantis. Centuries pass - the city is engulfed, but a few scattered inhabitants, now of low intelligence, live on to produce the race of - man!
An entirely different type of "original" plot, which falls into the second category, is the theme of "The Seeing Ear" by John S. Campbell (THRILLING WONDER STORIES, Feb. 37).
The novel idea in the story is that a captured television engineer of the year 2136, merely by listening to the scratches and hums proceeding from the audio-transformer of a television receiver, is able to recognise the picture the receiver is showing, and thus manages to "put one over" on his captors. No great strength of imagination is needed to conceive this happening - modern television engineers can distinguish between the faces of people, or between people and objects, by this method - yet the story is good science fiction, and presents a welcome change to the general torrent of cosmic catastrophes or interplanetary adventures.
The Editor will welcome
suggestions and criticism
in connection with
QUARTERLY BALANCE SHEET.
(Issued 15th. April, 1937)
Income. £- s- d. From subscriptions.......... 5 4 0 Expenditure. £- s- d. Postage on circulars........ 10 6 Postage on letters.......... 9 9 1/2 Postage on GAZETTES ........ 2 3 Envelopes .................. 1 10 1/2 Postal Orders .............. 2 1/2 To publishing of NOVE TERRAE 15 6 Duplicating paper........... 2 6 Printing of circulars and membership cards. 1 2 6 3 5 1 1/2 £- s- d. Balance in hand.................... 1 18 10 1/2 Signed: - G. A. AIREY. (15/4/37) (Hon. Treasurer).
If so, join the world's most progressive
THE SCIENCE FICTION ASSOCIATION.
Publishes for its members three journals:-P.T.O.
Time, Moon and Mars. (Cont. page 7).
Since 1895 H.G. Wells was pubilished some thing like twenty science-fiction novels, his latest being "Star-Begotten", published in April this year. He describes it as a "biological fantasia", and deals with the supposition that highly developed inhabitants of Mars have endeavoured for centuries to influence human life by the action of cosmic-rays, and to-day they are succeeding. The hero seeks to confirm his belief that exceptional human beings are produced by consciously directed disturbances from Mars, his pursuit of the ideas, leading him to the disconcerting conviction that his own wife is one of the "star-begotten".
Science-Fiction comes to Britain
articles have been published, we shall well be able to say: "Science-fiction HAS come to Britain".
THE S. F. A. (Cont. from previous page).
SCIENCE FICTION READERS
For further details, please write to:-