INERTIA is a funny thing. It is inertia that makes it difficult to trundle a roller or start a train, for the old Vis Inertiae of the Newtonian physicists is that mysterious property of matter which makes it stubbornly resist every alteration to its state of rest or of uniform motion. No one who has contacted a flying cricket ball with the head will deny that a body in motion resists being stopped, and no one who has spent a pleasant Sunday afternoon heaving on a garden roller will deny that a body at rest resists being started.
Without inertia, of course, there would be no continued motion after the impulse had been removed. In plain language, this means that the earth would halt in its annual tail-chasing round the sun and pitch Homo Sapiens into a better inferno than Dante's by doing a power dive into the solar furnace. Maybe it would be as well, since the abolishment of mechanical inertia would destroy one of man's favourite ipastimes by putting an end to all cannon, rifle or revolver shooting.
But rest assured. Inertia appears to be one of the fundamental properties of the universe, and armament shares are still safe. And in this enlightened day and age, it no longer gives engineers a pain in the neck. By a little squandering of the power resources of the earth it is an easy matter to set wheels a-spinning, pistons a-throbbing or shells a-hurtling.
BACK TO TARZAN
Nevertheless, there is one inertia that requires more than a few "Queen Mary" engines for its conquest: an insidious resistance to progress of which most people are unaware - the inertia of the human mind.
History is full of examples of this inertia of all inertias, and Homo Sapiens must feel very proud of himself when he reflects that were it not for the darned doggedness of certain individuals in the past, who had bees in their bonnets that progress was better than stagnation, he would still be swinging from branch to branch in the manner of a Tarzan. It is these persons, who have secured progress in spite of the threat of contempt torture, or death, that man must thank for the civilisation he now possesses and for which he claims credit.
Even in the 20th century, the prejudice that progress arouses is still sufficient to fog the imagination and dull the thinking powers of those who ought to know a little better. It is not long since H. G. Wells. now credited with being one of the most advanced thinkers of the age, said of the submarine: "I must confess my imagination refuses to see a submarine doing anything but suffocating its crew and foundering at sea."
During the past few decades, Edison's invention of electric light was condemned as a "conspicuous failure": when rayon was first put on the market an industrial committee declared it a "transient fad": a prominent American editor refused to ride in a motor-car shortly after their introduction, claiming it was "incompatible with the dignity of his position": De Forest could not sell the patent of his perfected radio valve, and many public speakers stated that the feminine constitution would break down under the strain of driving a car or operating a typewriter.
It is an interesting problem in mass psychology as to what causes this anti- change reaction, which is often so violent as to lead prominent scientists to forget their customary caution, and to advance as serious arguments wild notions which time proves hopelessly inaccurate.
For years men insisted that iron ships would not float, until some crank thought of putting the idea to the test. Galileo's falling weights are another classical example. But even after such obvious warnings as these, German experts calmly stated that no human constitution could survive speeds of 40 miles per hour!
Today, however, there exists a class of people who, instead of opposing progress, actually support it. They realise that nothing is permanent, and that everything must change. They look back at the history of the past thousand years, and picture the civilisation we might now have had if only progress had been encouraged in the past. They remember that the future is governed by our actions of today, and that our modern inventions and institutions. however good they may seem now will, when tomorrow comes, be as useless and archaic as Edison's first phonograph or Baird'S first television transmitter. They read tales of the future based on scientific extrapolation, and from the title of these stories-"science- fiction" - they are known as "science-fiction fans."
THE NEW "TOMORROW"
Linking together these fans is the world-wide Science-Fiction Association, and one year ago, under the auspices of this organisation, was published in a modest mimeographed form, the world's one scientific magazine that looked ahead - TOMORROW, The Magazine of the Future.
Fully awake to the fact that as time marches on, progress must keep pace, it adopted as its motto "What is good enough for today is much too bad for tomorrow," and this issue proves the point. The mimeographed issues of 1937 are "much too bad" for 1938 and, following a recent amalgamation with Walter H. Gillings' British Fantasy Review Scientifiction, we present our first printed issue.
Incorporating the best features or its two predecessors. Tomorrow will bring to its readers new, vigorous articles on all aspects of science-fiction, science-progress, the future, rocketry, and of all progressive movements tending to improve this present world, a world which will undoubtedly prove "much too bad for tomorrow."
WHY NOT A MINISTER FOR THE FUTURE?Prof. A.M. Low, D.Sc.
The author of several books on things to come stresses the importance of preparing for the future.
FORECASTING the future, still considered as an unimportant subject by a large number of brilliant men who retain their noses in close contact with the academic grindstone, is essential to civilisation. The savage never worries about tomorrow. He bridges a river without a thought of what will happen in time of flood. Modern man demands weather forecasts, which are now built up on scientific lines. If we want to know whether it will be safe to harvest a crop tomorrow, we do not look at a magpie and say: "Ah, he is on the left side of the road, so it is going to rain." We do not even pay much attention to the cat that is washing behind its ears. We look at the paper and find an estimate, constructed from reports received from hundreds of observers scattered over many thousand square miles. We take it that the result will be reasonably accurate - and generally we are not deceived.
If the same attention had been given to the forecasting of the general future as has been given to the weather, many of the mistakes of civilisation would have been avoided. There would have been no "economic blizzard," and although we should be poorer by the loss of a picturesque phrase, we might be the richer in peace of mind.
LIKE A SPIDER
I can conceive the day when there will be a Ministry of the Future, an institution which will be far more useful than many of the Ministries which have been created recently. It will be the duty of the Minister to collect data from all over the world, to tabulate, correlate, compare and calculate. He will be like a spider sitting in a web, drawing towards him all knowledge, and working out, on scientific lines, the effect that the latest developments and discoveries will probably have upon the human race.
He might find, for example, that while our methods of producing coffee were in- creasing the yield 100 per cent., our distribution for consumption was increasing only 50 per cent. It would not take him long to forecast that, in the future, coffee farmers would find themselves with huge stocks on their hands. He would not, of course, be so foolish as to suggest their limiting production - that is the way of the coward and the ostrich. He would suggest means of increasing transport facilities in relation to coffee, and thus ensure that the crop was properly employed.
GOODBYE TO WHISKY
This is a very simple instance of how forecasting the future may be useful. Again, suppose our Minister of the Future finds that a German chemist has produced a pill which has all the benefits of alcohol without any of its ill effects, he would immediately, should he be able to define the meaning of evil, procure a large number of samples, test them on typical men and women and note reactions. If they were favourable, he would announce that in so many years the consumption of whisky would be almost nothing, and all the millionaires with their money invested in the liquor trade would prepare their plans. Without this forecast, the pill might be thrust on the world and result in wholesale unemployment and unhappi ness amongst the thousands engaged in the distilling.
Our Minister will have to be a superman, of course, but he will possess the facts and figures necessary to make his forecasts figures necessary to make his forecasts convincing. Scientists have many times warned the world that it is exhausting its supplies of potash, and that in the near future there will be a real shortage. But the world has taken no notice and continues its wasteful methods. Our Minister of the Future will see that phosphates are not wasted. or that coal is not dissipated into the atmosphere. Matter is indestructible; it is therefore not a question of a shortage in the world, but of shortage in the particular forms necessary for nourishment or energy to plant and animal life. Our Minister will take steps to readjust the matter through the usual channels.
It has been suggested that the ancients, when they evolved the well-known symbol of the serpent with its tail in its mouth, had in mind the lesson to be learned from the fact that all matter is indestructible. Matter and energy cannot be destroyed. they can be converted into other forms, including, of course, energy in another form perhaps, such as light and heat. In the far distant future, I can see our international, or interplanetary, Minister, who will, of course, be controlling the whole world, announcing the future distribution of this matter and energy. The world will be far more densely populated. It may be one gigantic city, and it will be essential to maintain the balance of existence.
A Minister of the Future would never have allowed the slums which disgrace the world today. He would have foreseen the effect of motor travel on roads and there would have been no need to remake roads every few years to cope with an increasing flow of traffic. He would have demanded grounds for aerodromes within five minutes of reading a report of the Wright Brothers' flight and he would have abolished coal fires, having forecast that they would result in disgusting fog, a colossal waste of energy and the eventual exhaustion of our coal mines.
The appointment of the right man to the job of Minister of the Future a hundred years ago would have made the world richer by millions of pounds. And although we have no such Minister at present, it should always be remembered that the future, far from being "boy's stuff," to be dismissed with a smile and a shrug, is the only important subject in the world.
(Adapted from Prof. Low's book, "Our Wonderful World of Tomorrow," by kind permission of the author, and the publishers, Messrs. Ward, Lock and Co.)
QUARTERLY CAVALCADEA dynamic review of the important scientifictional events of the past three months.
CASUAL American bookstall browsers way back in April 1926 were startled to see glaring at them the Paul-drawn cover of publisher Hugo Gernsback's latest addition to the world of pulps- Amazing Stories. Even the early science- fiction authors themselves could not have foretold the amazing future that the magazine and the ideas it stood for were destined to experience. Well-known to most present day science-fiction fans is the early history of the magazine, how 42 years old Gernsback passed from reprints of Wells and Verne to new, vigorous stories by earnest writers, and how, by story contests, mottoes, emblems, editorials and readers' columns aroused enthusiasm for this fiction with a purpose. "Extravagant Fiction Today-Cold Fact Tomorrow" he claimed, and to reflect the spirit of the magazine adopted the now familiar symbol of Jules Verne's tomb at Amiens, portraying his immortality.
Soon co-opted as Literary Editor was C. A. Brandt, a German immigrant who Gernsback contacted through a local book-seller, and who was reported to be the world's largest collector of science-fiction books, until he sold 500 volumes a few years back.
Born in 1879, Brandt was educated at Heidelburg University, where he gained a degree in chemistry. He has served as an apprentice in pharmacy, and later travelled in South America collecting orchids and butterflies. He was responsible for the translation of Kurt Siodmark's "Eggs from Lake Tanganyka" which appeared in the July 1926 issue. H's favourite science- fiction authors are: Keller. Starzl, Manning, Dominik, Hamilton and Balmer and Wylie.
But following the April 1929 issue, Amazing Stories was sold to the Teck Publishing Company, whilst Gernsback launched a second offensive with Science Wonder Stories. Stepping into the breach, the former Associate Editor, grey-bearded Thomas O'Conor Sloane, Ph.D., then 77 years old, became Editor-in-Chief, and thus added another accomplishment to an already full life, his previous activities having included inventing a self-recording photometer; devising a new method (1877) for determining the sulphur content of gas; being Professor of Natural Science (1888-9) at Seton Hall College. New Jersey; being a member of the New York Electrical Society, the American Chemical Society, the New Jersey State Board of Education, and a director of the Chemical Institute of New York, in addition to being on the staff of The Sanitary Plumber and Engineer, Scientific American, Youths Companion, Everyday Engineering and some of Gernsback's magazines, and to having been author of over a score of text books, handbooks and translations!
To the position of Managing Editor came Miriam Bourne, only to leave in 1932, her place being taken by charming Florence Bothner, who joined the staff of Amazing Stories in 1931. Although not responsible for selecting from the fifteen to twenty manuscripts that poured into the offices each week the one or two required, most of the actual work of editing the magazine, including the choice of the stories for each issue, and the handling of the readers' letters, was under her control.
Since that time Amazing Stories has been noted for (1) accumulating masses of stories which they have never published; (2) adhering solely to artist Leo Morey for the covers and interior illustrations; (3) a complete lack of pep in its editorial method: (4) the fact that Dr. Sloane is no believer in the possibilities of interplanetary flight.
Whilst rival magazines forged ahead. Amazing lagged behind, and a month or two ago, many disappointed authors received back stories which had been accepted several years previously, with a polite note to the effect that Amazing Stories had been sold to the Ziff-Davis Publishing Company of Chicago, publisher's of Popular Photography, Popular Aviation and Radio News, And whilst the April issue appeared in the old style with the new owners' name gracing the title page, rumours in science-fiction circles indicated that the June issue would herald better things to come. The rumours were confirmed on April 9th, when the issue. under the editorship of veteran fan and author Raymond A. Palmer, made science- fiction history by appearing with a coloured photograph by Horace Hine as its cover design, illustrating a scene from Robert Moore Williams' "Man who Ruled the World," the scene being posed by models Fred Johnson and Naomi Anderson.
In new type and illustrated by new artists Jay Jackson, Harold Welch and Herman R. Bollin, other stories were "Escape Through Space" by Ross Rocklynne, `The Master of Golden City" by Polton Cross, "Vanishing Diamonds" by Charles E. Tanner, "A Summons from Mars" by John Russell Fearn, "The Space Pirates" by Eando Binder and "The Invisible Bomber" by Lieut. John Pease. New features, giving a 15 per cent, increase in content, included "Amazing Facts of Science" (an illustrated story of Helium), "This Amazing Universe" (an article on the back-cover illustration) and a science quiz entitled "Measuring your Mind."
EIGHT years after the launching of Gernsback's first science-fiction magazine there appeared on British news-stands its 2d. weekly imitator, Scoops. Although supported by most science-fiction and rocketry fans, the magazine expired after a short life of twenty weeks, its failure being largely due to the poor quality, adventurous "Buck Rogers" type of science- fiction it contained, and to its rather lurid covers and general make-up.
But its passing only served to reawaken in British fans a deep yearning for a high class science-fiction magazine of their own. One fan in particular, Walter H. Gillings, already possessing much literary and journalistic experience, canvassed publishers time after time, receiving valuable support from Britain's authors, who showered upon him numerous synopsises and manuscripts. Many publishers showed interest at first, but later abandoned projected magazines for one reason or another. Finally, however, after several years of false hopes and set-backs. Gillings induced one company, World's Work, Ltd., to publish a trial issue of a new magazine, containing first-class science-fiction to suit British tastes.
Entitled Tales of Wonder, and selling at 1/-, the magazine appeared on June 29th last. Claimed energetic Walter Gillings. who edited the issue: "This long awaited event should convince the most mournful sceptic that the day of scientiliction has indeed dawned in Britain . . . " and fans, seeing the goal in sight, energetically played their part in ensuring that the circulation would reach the required value of 20,000, then showered letters of praise on Gillings and the publishers.
For six months, all the fans wondered. Then with the January issue of Gillings' bi-monthly "British Fantasy Review," Scientifiction (recently combined with Tomorrow to provide this present magazine), came the news that virtue would be rewarded, and that the publishers had agreed to continue to issue the magazine at quarterly intervals.
And on April 5th, the second issue itself appeared. Its cover, drawn by "Nick" (John Nicholson), and claimed by many to be the finest ever to grace a science-fiction magazine, illustrated an incident in John Beynon's "Sleepers of Mars," written as a sequel to his "Stowaway to Mars." the latter being first published two years ago in Passing Show. Other stories were "Invaders from Venus" by 25-year-old school-master Benson Herbert, M.Sc.; "Super Senses" by 17-stone Maurice ("Tubby") G. Hugi: "Through Earth's Core" by veteran author and film-fan John Russell Fearn; "Lunar Lilliput" by energetic London SFA member, William F. Temple, and a reprint of Dr. David H. Keller's classic story "Stenographers' Hands."
Requested Editor Gillings in an enthusiastic editorial: "Do not keep a good thing like science-fiction to yourself. Whether you are a confirmed reader, or whether you have only just discovered what delights it holds, let others share in your enjoyment of this new literature by introducing them to Tales of Wonder." New features in this issue were small illustrations to the stories, and a readers' column containing a selection of letters expressing unanimous approval of the new magazine, the nextr issue of which is scheduled to appear on June 21st.
A FEW hours after the introduction of Summer Time on April 10, forty active science-fiction enthusiasts, authors and distributors, gathered together in the A.O.D. Memorial Institute, off Holborn. London, for the Science-Fiction Association's Second Annual General Meeting and Convention. "Good Luck, and Good Science-Fiction" was the message of the London Branch in the official programme and agenda, and at 4 p.m., those present quickly settled down to the brief opening address by London Branch, SFA Council, and Convention Chairman Kenneth G. Chapman.
In rapid succession came the Annual Reports. First, that of the Executive Committee, delivered by ginger-haired, retiring General Executive Secretary Douglas W. F. Mayer; secondly. the Financial Report presented by black-moustached Treasurer Edward J. Carnell; to be followed by a Library report from tall and dark Librarian Eric C. Williams, a brief Leeds Branch report by Branch Chairman Herbert Warnes, and an account of the six-months- old London Branch by Chairman Chapman.
PICKING A PRESIDENT
Next came the discussion and adoption, with a few amendments, of the proposed Association Constitution, and a consideration of suggested emblem designs for the society, it being eventually decided to refer the question of the desirability of adopting any emblem to members by a postal vote, and then, if necessary, appointing a committee to choose an appropriate design. Bringing the afternoon session to a close was the ballot for Association President. Out of the nominations of John Russell Fearn, Walter H. Gillings, John Beynon Harris, and Prof. A. M. Low, Prof. Low was elected with a large majority.
After a short interval for refreshments, handshakes and reunions, the company reassembled for the evening session to listen- following a reading of greetings from all arts of the world, including a cablegram room the Los Angeles Branch - to interesting, thought-provoking speeches by prominent authors and fans. First on his feet was Liverpool author and British Interplanetary Society Vice-President Leslie J. Johnson, whose speech, "Search for Tomorrow," is reprinted below. He was followed by Welsh-accented author Benson Herbert, who suggested that science-fiction was a type of reaction from Victorianism and explained how it fitted in with other post-war movements.
Then came the new President, scientist and science-fiction author Prof. A. M. Low who, in the course of an interesting and humorous speech, discussed various aspects of the science-fiction movement. Included in his speech was reference to the fact that in 1914, after demonstrating an early television machine he had constructed, he received a score or so letters pointing out that television was, and always would be, a sheer impossibility!
EVANS ON EVOLUTION
In another interesting speech, veteran Surrey author and lecturer I. O. Evans gave an account of the evolution and development of science-fiction from the early folk-lore onwards, then prolific Blackpool author John Russell Fearn described the relation of an author to the American science-ftction magazines and mentioned some of the difficulties and changes of editorial requirement which he encountered. In turn. Tales of Wonder Editor Walter H. Gillings described the situation from an editor's point of view, and outlined his struggles and work in the creation of Tales of Wonder. Finally, Leeds Branch Secretary, Douglas W. F. Mayer, rose to say a few words about the new sociological movement recently developed in science-fiction circles and indicated what he considered to be the real purpose and object of worth-while science-fiction.
To conclude the meeting. Mr. Mayer thanked all members and supporters of the Science-Fiction Association on behalf of the retiring Executive Committee consisting of himself as General Executive Secretary. Herbert Warnes as Assistant Executive Secretary. and G. Alwyn Airey as Financial Secretary, and with the words "Carry on, London!" formally handed over to the new Executive Committee, Messrs. Kenneth G. Chapman, Eric C. Williams and Sydney L. Birchby. The company then retired to have supper provided by the London Branch, and this, followed by three hours' cheery and informal discussion. brought to a close a memorable event in the history of the Association.
THE SEARCH FOR TOMORROW
by Leslie J. Johnson
LEGEND has it that a cat died of curiosity. I submit that Felix died in a worthy cause, for it is just that prerequisite that has raised humanity to its present level. and that appears to be the major ingredient of science-fiction enthusiasts. And as every fan knows he is without doubt safely installed in the van of progress, whatever his critics - science-fiction and otherwise - may say.
But curiosity manifests itself in various ways. A desire to see beyond the next hill may be exemplified in membership of the British Interplanetary Society, for instance. In general, though, it is a wish to penetrate the Unknown; to venture forth into regions as yet undefiled by the hand of man; to peer beyond the veil; to see that which should not be seen; to do that which, perhaps, should not be done; but possibly greatest of them all is the desire to penetrate that most mysterious, most unknowable of all unknowns - the secrets that Time holds for Tomorrow!
Thus we have the epitomisation of the science-fiction fan: Seeker of Tomorrow. The possessor of a mania, if you like, to wander continually, unceasingly, throughout the aeons of Time, opening one door to reveal another, and that, too. to find still more and more that are a challenge to him to continue.
But he ventures on, further and further into the Unknown, forever seeking the Final Tomorrow that map not exist, growing old and grey in the process, and finally dying with the same knowledge with which he started: the knowledge that just as tomorrow never comes, neither can he go forth to meet it . . .
He is in fact rainbow-chasing, and the thrill is in the chase more than in the final triumph. Better to die in harness seeking that which cannot be found than to achieve a hollow triumph.
Therefore, Glyn Weston - Seeker of Tomorrow - in his restless wanderings in Time signifies the endless search of the science-fiction fan after that which he can never find, and as his pleasure is derived from the hunt, not from the quarry, we can only assume that all fans are comparatively happy creatures-even if they don't know it!
All angles of our search after Truth and Knowledge, in analysis, can be boiled down to the pursuit of happiness, which the science-fiction enthusiast seeks in his own peculiar fashion. Human nature, I am having borne into me more and more as we advance in Time, is a most complex and irrational subject, that requires considerable study and more tolerance.
In search of Tomorrow our natural subject is Mankind himself. Will he continue in existence - a relevant question in view of present enthusiastic preparations for universal destruction? If so, in what form will he survive? Will his evolution always be upward, or will he yield place to a race more fitted to exist? If his progress continues or, better, accelerates, are his possible achievements capable of limitation or will he venture forth into outer space: to have the whole universe as his playground and thus realise his dfstiny among the stars of the void . . ?
Such questions could be asked forever and, in fact, are asked of all science-fiction fans, who are inevitably denied an answer. But the search for Tomorrow can be of great practical interest apart from purely academic consideration. There has been in the past - and still is, to a large extent - a great tendency to under-estimate consideration of what the future holds. The doctrine of "sufficient
CHARLOTTE BRONTE: SCIENCE FICTION WRITER
by Benson Herbert, M.Sc.
IN the fairy-tales of Charlotte Bronte, edited by Clement Shorter in 1925, we find many vivid passages of fantastic description, which lead me to believe that had Charlotte lived a century later, she might have developed into a "scientifictioneer."
In "The Twelve Adventurers," for example - written when the authoress was 12 years of age (1829), we have a wild and weird tale of the discovery of "Colossal Skeletons," belonging to gigantic men who lived in ancient Britain. New land is discovered in the South Atlantic, ultimately named "The Kingdom of Angria," where "grain of a peculiar sort grew in abundance ... We were greatly surprised at these marks of the land being inhabited. It seemed to be part of an immense continent." These passages are regular fantasy. A city is built with a "Hall of Justice," a "Grand Inn," and a "Great Tower." Later tales deal with a prodigious city situated in Africa, named "Verdopolis," or "Glass Town."
(Curiously enough, many years ago I planned a novel concerning an African city of the future, called "Heliopolis," and provided with a glass roof).
Take the following tremendous passage from another tale, also written in 1829, "printed by herseif and sold by NOBODY" - as the title-page asserts.
"In a short time they came to the end of the passage, and entered a new world.
"They were, at first, so much bewildered by the different objects which struck their senses that they almost fainted; but, at length recovering, they had time to see everything around them. They were upon the top of a rock which was more than a thousand fathoms high. All beneath them were liquid mountains tossed to and fro with horrible confusion, roaring and raging with a tremendous noise, and crowned with waves of foam. All above them was a mighty firmament, in one part covered with black clouds from which darted. huge and terrible sheets of lightning. In another part an immense globe of light, like silver, was hanging in the sky; and several smaller globes, which sparkled exceedingly, surrounded it.
"The silver globes vanished, and another globe whose light was of a gold colour, appeared. It was far larger than the former, and, in a little time, it became so intensely bright, that they could no longer gaze upon it . . . They had travelled a long way when they came to an immense forest, the trees of which bore a large fruit of a deep purple colour, of which they tasted and found that it was fit for food. On the third day they entered a deep glen, surrounded on each side by tremendous rocks whose tops were lost in the clouds: (Later). Except for trees nothing was to be seen but black forests and huge rocks rising out of a wilderness which bore the terrible aspect of devastation, and Which stretched as far as the eye could reach. . ."
What price Clark Ashton Smith? The following appears in the same story:
"Far off, to the westward rose two tremendous rocks whose summits were enveloped with black clouds rolling one above another with an awful magnificence well- suited to the land of wilderness and mountain which they canopied.
"Gliding along in the air between these two rocks was a chariot of light. In the chariot sat the figure of an old man . ."
With an insignificant change in terminology, this might have been lifted from an early American fantasymag.
The next piece I select, from "The Adventures of Ernest Alembert," was penned at the age of thirteen.
"The wild air roared round the mighty building, which shook and trembled to its centre. On looking out, Ernest was bewildered by the scene which presented itself to his view. Nothing was visible beneath but billowy clouds, black as midnight, rolling around a tower a thousand feet in height, on whose terrible summit he stood."
Later an "aerial city" appears, consisting of huge buildings, arches and palaces. Ernest is borne by unseen powers into the bowels of the earth. "At length, leagues beneath, a new realm dawned upon Ernest's astonished sight. His speed now accelerated, and soon he arrived at the abode of the king." Over the summit of a dome is suspended a sun in the air, with a hundred subsidiary suns.
"Verdopolis" is described at length in "Albion and Marina," a story of 3,200 words which was completed within four hours - and the authoress fourteen years old!
"A few months afterwards the Duke of Strathelleraye determined to visit that wonder of the world, the great city of Africa: the "Glass Town," of whose splendour, magnificence, and extent, strength and riches, occasional tidings came from afar, wafted by breezes of the ocean to Merry England.
"But to most of the inhabitants of that little isle it bore the character of a dream or gorgeous fiction. They were unable to comprehend how mere human beings could construct fabrics of such a marvellous size and grandeur as many of the public buildings were represented to be; and as to the 'Tower of all the Nations,' few believed in its existence."
Charlotte produced her most mature descriptions of the alien social life of Angria in "Love and Jealousy," written when sixteen years of age.
Parts of this interesting story greatly resemble the style of Samuel Butler's "Erewhon," which tells of a race cut off from the rest of the world by a range of mountains.
Charlotte in her letters gives enthusiastic accounts of the Zoological Gardens in London and the Great Exhibition at the Crystal Palace: in connection with the latter, she writes:
"Whatever human industry has created, you find there . . . Great compartments filled with railway engines and boilers, with mill-machinery in full work . . . " (1851).
In a letter dated 1850, she tells of a visit to the Royal Academy, where she inspected "a grand, wonderful picture of Martin's, from Campbell's poem of the 'Last Man,' showing the red sun fading out of the sky, and all the soil and the foreground made up-of bones and skulls".
An anonymous visit to a phrenologist yielded the information that she possessed "fertility, originality, and tendency to speculate" - an estimate that is everywhere confirmed in her work. Of all the Bronties, Charlotte strikes me as the most scientific in tone, with her precision, prodigious intellect, and ever searching curiosity. She approaches nearest, to science-fiction in her powerful novel "Shirley," dealing with the strife caused by the (then) new invention of the mechanical mill.
BRING UP A CHILD...
by Festus Pragnell
THE world we live in is changing rapidly, not only with regard to the new inventions and machines that are becoming more and more part of our lives every day, but with regard to the quality of the men and women who live in it.
One has only to read such books as Dickens' "David Copperfield" and "Oliver Twist to realise how enormous this change has been. It is like reading of another world. a world of hatred and bitterness, compared to what we know today. The hell that David and Oliver went through seems to us now to he exaggerated and overdrawn: surely we think nobody could have ill-treated helpless children so: yet I know that it is a true picture of the times, for my own childhood was very similar to these.
My mother, and my grandmother more so, were intensely religious. All forms of amusement were to them inventions of the devil, provided for the purpose of luring men's souls to Hell. Practically every day for about six months when I was ten years old my grandmother would make me stand up before her while she shouted and raved at me at the top of her voice with the most insane excitement about the Lord and the Devil. the necessity of being "Saved." everlasting fire and torment, and all the rest of it. I was a very sensitive child, and I was terrified by this: my mind was damaged to an extent from which I know it can never properly recover.
FESTUS, FRIEND OF FELIX
Such was a religious upbringing. Today we are slowly discarding pseudo-religion for science in the training of children, and such terror as I suffered is seldom the lot of any child today.
But such things do an enormous amount of damage to the minds of young and growing children: I am a "peculiar" fellow, different in my ways and outlook from others I meet, and I know that it is because at the bottom I am not quite sane: I was driven mad by that fiendish woman, and by her daughter, my mother, and I know that I shall always be so. That is why insanity plays so large a part in some of my stories.
My name. Festus, is an example of this crazy religipn: in case vou do not know it was taken out of the Bible, and you will find it in the Acts of the Apostles. Festus was a Roman governor who tried Paul.
But my ways, my peculiarities, made me a misfit in life. I succeeded at nothing, and made enemies everywhere. After trying many things, I became a policeman in London, but my unpopularity and the continual bullying of Sergeants and higher officers made this life unbearable to me, until I resigned and became a clerk in the service of the Racecourse Betting Control Board when it was first started.
After nearly three years in the service of the Tote, there came a time when it was decided to cut the staff by a third in the interests of "economy." It was the time of economy madness that accompanied the fall of the Labour Government in 1931. Those to go were picked out, I firmiy believe, in favouritism. and I was one, although there had been not the slightest thing wrong with my work for at least two years.
ALL WORK, NO PAY
Before I left that job I had written my first science-fiction story, "The Essence of Life," which, after a silence of eighteen months was accepted, and paid for, by Amazing Stories, the only story I have ever been paid for in full, up to the present. However, the rate of pay was so low that it was obvious that I could never hope to make a living by writing for that particular magazine.
I then tried Wonder Stories, and sold them quite a lot of work, only to find that they paid nothing at all as a rule, and when they did pay I was swindled out of nearly all of it by the agent I asked to collect the money for me.
I think that up to date I can safely say that I have paid out more in postage and stationery than I have yet received back for all my work published in America. Astounding Science-Fiction and Thrilling Wonder Stories, I might remark, seem to trust authors fairly well, but I could never understand what the former meant by thought-variants, and when Thrilling Wonder Stories appeared I had got my first novel published in England, and was fed up with American magazines altogether.
Henceforth it is going to be novels for me all the time, where at least an author is his own master, and not tied to the whims and fancies of some misguided editor. With the one exception, that now that Tales of Wonder is to appear regularly in this country, if my help is needed, I shall certainly do my utmost to get it going.
As to whether the move so courageously started by Messrs. Philip Allen to publish science-fiction novels in England at 2/6 each will be a success it is impossible yet to say; but even if it is not, and the door is closed, I shall write adventure novels with a dash of science in them, so as to educate the public up to it gradually.
That I can do good work I know: I put on paper the dreams and fancies of my childhood, in which I sought to escape from the horrible terrors of my real life. I have one bad handicap and that is if I do not school myself carefully I find myself forgetting that my job is to amuse, and begin instead to preach and lecture. It is my grandmother coming out in me.
I regard science-fiction as a holy crusade to spread scientific ideas, and to save other children from the hell I suffered.
EDMOND HAMILTON in TALES OF WONDER
A NEW story by Edmond Hamilton, entitled "The Horror in the Telescope." based on an idea which is claimed to be absolutely new to science-fiction, will be among the contents of the third issue of Tales of Wonder, due to appear June 21st.
Eric F. Russell will be featured with another amusing story, "The World's Eighth Wonder," which may well prove more popular than "The Prr-r-eet." H.O. Dickinson, author of "The Sex Serum" of three years ago, makes his reappearance with "The Giant Bacillus" -which Editor Gillings describes as also being of an unusual type, appealing both to fantasy fans and ordinary readers.
A new British author whose work promises to be immediately popular appears in the person of C. F. Hall, a member of the B.I.S., who contributes "The Man Who Lived Backwards" as his first published story. Another B.I.S. and S.F.A. stalwart, L.J. Johnson, also makes his debut as an individual writer with a story of rocketry experiment entitled "Satellites of Death."
The rest of the issue had not been prepared by the time we went to Press, but the Editor informs us that it will probably comprise at least three more stories and - a new feature - a science article, besides "Readers' Reactions." Amongst other contributors will be John Beynon and Geoffrey Armstrong.
ROCKETRY NEWSA digest of events in the realm of rockets.
The first issue of the Journal to be produced by the society since the transference of Headquarters to London was published at the beginning, of March, and contained more technical information than its predecessor. Of especial interest was a report of the Technical Committee, mentioning the new "cellular rocket" principle which it had evolved, and an account of the Astronautical Display at last year's Paris Exhibition.
Fired, no doubt. by its initial literary efforts. the Technical Committee has also recently produced a non-technical article entitled "Can we be Men in the Moon," which was featured in Armchair Science for April.
At the meeting of the Society on March 1st. it was decided to utilise the new Research Fund and commence experimental work. The following research programme was accordingly devised:
(1) Altimeter - The development of an altimeter working on inertia alone and thus not limited to the atmosphere nor affected by variations in the latter.
(2) Speedometer - To same specification as altimeter.
(3) Primary Battery. - The development of a high-power primary battery, using a high energy metal such as Magnesium, Aluminium or Sodium, and light enough to he used to supply the power needed for running the electric apparatus of spaceships.
(4) Coleostat. - A scanning device to enable a stationary view of the sky to be obtained when the space-ship is rotating.
MANCHESTER INTERPLANETARY SOCIETY
THE fifth issue of The Astronaut, the official journal of the Manchester Interplanetary Society, appeared at the beginning of March, it being the, first publication of the society to be issued in printed form. Its principal content was an article by P. E. Cleator, entitled "The Rocket Ban," which strongly condemned legal restrictions against practical astronautical experiments in this country. The journal will he followed by other issues at frequent intervals. In addition, the society commenced in April the publication of a small, mimeographed Bulletin.
The society is at present considering affiliation with the British Interplanetary Society. Affiliation would enable members of either society to receive publications of both.
The society is shortly expecting a visit from the German rocket expert, Dr. Steinitz. An article by Dr. Steinitz on rotating space-ships appeared in Armchair Science for March. Dr. Otto Steinitz. M. Esnault- Pelterie. and G. Edward Pendray were recently welcomed as Honorary Members.
PAISLEY ROCKETEERS' SOCIETY
THE Paisley Rocketeers' Society, one of the lesser known of the five British rocket societies, was formed on February 27th. 1936. by John D. Stewart. Its twenty members have, since then, fired over 125 powder-fuel rocket models. The object of the society is to carry out experiments with rockcts for the transportation of mail, etc., and to arouse public interest in the possibilities of jet propulsion. Its publications have included two issues of The Report, three issues of The Rocketeer, and three issues of The Rocket.
Its most recent publication, issued at the beginning of March, is entitled Conclusions of the Paisley Rocketeers' Society. and is an account of numerous experimental facts deduced from the society's practical work. The first conclusions deal with the results obtained by varying the relative positions of the centre of gravity, centre or reaction, and centre of pressure of rockets. Following this, there are some remarks un the limitations of fins for steering and stabilising. and a general consideration of the question of stabilisers. It is recommended that longitudinal spin, achieved by means of curved plates in the exhaust, or by a number of auxiliary rockets set at all angle round the axis, offer the best method of stabilisation, and remarks follow on the placing of such auxiliary rockets. Other conclusions deal with thrust augmentors and powder fuels.
At the present time, the society is investigating the possibilities of "rotation stabilised" models. A recent model, R.R. 48, which was propelled by four rockets set at angles round the longitudinal axis. successfully travelled 150 feet stabilised solely by its rotation. The first part of the flight was irregular, but quickly straightened out as the model's speed of rotation increased.
In the near future the society hopes to fire another three-step rocket in an attempt to raise its long distance record of 800 feet, the distance travelled by the second step of its previous 3-step model. The third step travelled further, but could not be found.
"In No. 38 of Astronatics, Mr Carver reports one of the Greenwood Lake tubes as follows: Throat diameter 1/2 inch; Lip Diameter 3/4 inch; Tank Pressure 150 lbs. per sq. inch; Reaction 40 lbs.
"Assuming no drop in pressure between the tank and the chamber, 150 lbs. per sq. inch gives a theoretical reaction of 40.8 to 41.2 lbs., thus the total loss of thrust due to eddies, nozzle angle and external air pressure is only 2 to 3 per cent. It is only fair to the American Rocket Society to say that they do not vouch for the accuracy of Mr. Carver's figures." - Bulletin of the British Interplanetary Society.
[The Editor would welcome short paragraphs on rocket or astronautical activity in any part of the world. Contributions for the next issue should be submitted before July 1st.]
'SCIENTIFICTION' IS DEAD: LONG LIVE 'TOMORROW - AND SCIENTIFICTION'
by Walter H. Gillings***
It is with somewhat mixed feelings that I take this opportunity, afforded me by the Editor of TOMORROW, to inform those interested that Scientifiction, The British Fantasy Review, is - alas! - no more. That is, as a separate entity; for, as you will see from the title-page of the new TOMORROW, it has been incorporated in this magazine, in order that it may not descend into that obscurity which overtakes so many of our science-fictioon fan magazines.
Henceforth, Scientifiction will be part and parcel of this magazine, which will retain some of its most popular features, including its book reviews, interviews with a authors, and "Fantasia's" Story of Science Fiction, a further instalment of which will be found on this page. By arrangement with the publishers of TOMORROW, existing subscriptions to Scientifiction will be transferred to this magazine, which subscribers will continue to receive in lieu of the other, and, I trust, find in it an equal interest.
I have been compelled to discontinue the separate publication of Scientifiction, following the seventh issue, not so much through lack of sufficient support - though this was not forthcoming to the extent that I had hoped - as because of my inability to devote the attention to it which was necessary for its development, while at the same time fulfilling my duties as Editor of Tales of Wonder. Now that Britain's science-fiction magazine has become a quarterly publication, it is evident that I cannot find the time to edit Scientifiction as well; and if it came to a choice between the two, nobody would deny that Tales of Wonder is deserving of first consideration.
I am therefore obliged, in order to be able to give my full attention to the proper development of the more important magazine, to relinquish - though reluctantly - my active interest in Scientifiction; and I hope my readers will approve the course I have been compelled to take, with all due regard to their interests.
Scientifiction's career, though comparatively short, has been accompanied by many interesting developments, which it has served to reflect and encourage. It has been favoured with constant expressions of keen appreciation in all quarters, and assisted in many different ways by well- wishers to whom I am profoundly grateful, since without their help and encouragement it might have succumbed long ago. It has been a success, too, if only by reason of the fact that it has drawn attention to the potentialities of a literature that has been too long neglected in this country, and contributed in no small measure to the interest in Tales of Wonder which has caused the publishers to establish it as a permanent magazine.
It only remains for me to thank all those who have interested themselves in Scientifiction and its mission, both readers and contributors, and to hope that their interest and enthusiastic support will be extended in equal measure to the new TOMORROW.
ALTHOUGH the first Amazing Stories Quarterly, like the first few issues of the monthly magazine, was composed largely of reprinted stories, this was not the case with the second issue, which appeared in the Spring of 1928 - just ten years ago. The whole of the contents was original material, a fact which provided Editor Hugo Gernsback with the cue for an editorial entitled. "The Rise of Scientifiction," in which he harped upon the increasing number of new stories that were being submitted and published in his two magazines.
"Scientifiction," he declared, "may now be said to have arrived with a bang. More and more authors of the better kind are taking to scientifiction as the proverbial duck takes to water. It is a great source of satisfaction to us, and we point to it with pride, that 90 per cent. of the really good scientifiction authors are Americans, the rest being scattered over the world. We believe that America will in time become known as the hotbed of scientifiction, and that more excellent scientifiction will be turned out in this country than anywhere else. Already, in our editorial opinion, our modern authors have far eclipsed both Jules Verne and H. G. Wells . . . It takes time for a new art to develop, and while we are not as yet at the top, we are slowly getting there, certainly, and the movement of scientifiction will sooner or later assume proportions far exceeding the expectations of most of us."
IF HE BUT KNEW!
Including Gernsback himself, who little knew how true were those words he was writing, and yet so far short of the mark! If he could have seen what was going to take place within the next decade, he would doubtless have dismissed his vision of the future as the most fantastic of all imaginative romances, quite devoid of scientific reasoning. Though he was dead right about America, except that perhaps, in the opinion of some, he need not have used the word "excellent". . .
The stories in this second Quarterly were "A Modern Atlantis," by Frederick Arthur Hodge, based on the idea of the floating airport; "The Nth Man," by Homer Eon Flint, one of the best giantism tales ever written; A. Hyatt Verrill's "King of the Monkey Men," and what was then a remarkable interplanetary story - "The Second Swarm," by J. Schlossel, who later wrote more tales of this type. The third issue was even better, presenting as it did that unforgettable Atlantis story by Stanton A. Coblentz, "The Sunken World," and the group of short stories by Dr. Keller entitled "The Menace," which introduced Detective Taine. Both Keller's and Coblentz's stories were reprinted in special editions of the Quarterly in later years.
R. F. Starzl also made his first appearance in this issue, in which Gernsback once more offered prizes to his readers, this time for the best editorial submitted by them for publication in the Quarterly. The first prizewinner was Jack Williamson, later to become a prominent author; his first story. "The Metal Man," appeared shortly afterwards in the Amazing monthly, and he had already had several letters printed in "Discussions."
By the middle of 1928, following the serialising of Wells' "Story of the Days to Come" and "The Invisible Man," reprints had practically disappeared from the monthly, as well as the Quarterly, and the August issue brought the first instalment of Edward E. Smith's now famous story, "The Skylark of Space." Another significant tale in this issues was "Armageddon -2419 A.D.," by Philip Francis Nowlan, who followed it up with a sequel, "Airlords of Han," some time later, and also appeared under the name of Frank Phillips.
(To be Continued)
SCIENCE-FICTIONby Albert Griffiths
An outline of the movement for those to whom the term "science-fiction" is new.
If an ordinary person were asked "what is science-fiction?" he would simply look puzzled and slightly hurt, or, if he were intelligent, and quick-witted enough, would comment on the apparent paradox contained in the phrase. But if the same person were asked if he had ever read Jules Verne's "20.000 Leagues under the Sea," or H. G. Wells' "Time Machine," or "First Men in the Moon," then perhaps a slight glimmer of understanding would appear. For it is these two authors who are the best known to the general public as writers of highly imaginative romances against a more or less scientific back- ground. These two were the originators of this new type of fiction - more especially Mr. Wells.
"The Time 'Machine," - Mr. Wells' first published venture in this new writing, and perhaps his best-known work amongst his imaginative fiction, at least - was printed in the New Review (1894-5). Incidently, this was the first "time-travel" story to be published, and in its period, a masterpiece. In pre-war years, Mr. Wells' prolific pen and ingenious imagination accounted for most of the science-fiction published. It is a compliment to his work that, even today, the hardened science- fiction reader can read with pleasure such stories as "The Food of the Gods" and "The New Accelerator."
Soon, however. Mr. Wells began to forsake this writing for his sociological, historical and scientific works. Indeed, for a time, he seemed to have deserted his first-love altogether, until last year. when he came to the fore with a smashing new concept - a concept destined to bring about far-reaching upheavals in the science-fiction world.
Meanwhile, in America, an Editor and proprietor of a class of magazines catering for amateur scientists and dabblers, Hugo Gernsback, was already beginning to publish in his Modern Electrics and his Science and Invention, stories which are the true forerunners of present-day science- fiction. To Mr. Gernsback must go the credit of coining the word "scientifiction," which has for long been synonymous with the term "science-fiction. So great was the demand in less-conservative America for this "scientifiction." that Mr. Gernsback found it possible to publish a magazine devoted entirely to writings of this kind. In April 1926 appeared Amazing Stories (superlatives have a peculiar charm to science-fiction editors!), a pulp magazine selling at 25 cents, containing work by Jules Verne. H. G. Wells and Edgar Allen Poe.
From this date, science-fiction can be said to have attained childhood. Passing through the foetal stages as unconnected stories and dim fantasies in scattered magazines and book, it was now a connected whole, and already had promise of a bright future.
This science-fiction of some ten years ago was a strange child, and its ideals were in many ways infantile, although they did not appear so at the time. The stories of that day were often very simple - the authors were a little afraid of the medium with which they were working, and experiments were cautious and few. A new, scientitic theory or fact (more often a theory - facts are harder to deal with!) was almost always made the basis of their stories. Thus, Dr. D. H. Keller, after reading Maeterlinck's book, "The White Ant," wrote one of his stories, "The Human Termites," in which the human race was very ingeniously likened to a huge termitary. Perhaps a better example was "Into Plutonian Depths" by Stanton A. Coblentz, which followed immediately upon the discovery in 1930 of the planet Pluto.
EINSTEIN'S MAGIC WAND
Einstein's Theory of Relativity and the various theories regardiug the structure of the atom were also introduced, in some cases very successfully, although one might add that Prof. Einstein would be dumbfounded at the fertility with which his theories were applied. It may be said that, in formulating his "Theory of Relativity," Prof. Einstein. rendered science-fiction a signal service, for he placed in its authors' hands a veritable magic wand. Alongside these were the less radical, but none the less interesting, themes of interplanetary travel, lost civilisations, time-travel, and various other odds and ends.
But the things we notice most, on examining the science-fiction of the late 'twenties and early 'thirties are: the tenacity with which authors and publishers alike clung to the idea, brought forward by Hugo Gernsback as an excuse for publishing it, that science-fiction was a means of reaching science, and of fostering an interest in things scientific; whilst on the other hand, we notice that strange but exceedingly interesting growth - the "fan."
Reasons why the fan movement grew as it did are worthy of notice. Readers of science-fiction were unlike readers of most other types of fiction. They were mostly young men, between the ages of 16 and 25, and all had their fair share of the enthusiasm and radicalism so common to young men of their ages. This enthusiasm manifested itself in apparently endless numbers of letters to the editors of the various science-fiction magazines (there were now three upon the market), whilst their radicalism was the reason why they avidly ate up this new "science-fiction." It appealed to them as no other thing had done. Most of them were keenly interested in science: indeed, many of them were actual experimenters and possessed their own small laboratories. In this new literature they found that science was given due prominence, whilst the "newness" appealed to others not so keenly scientific in outlook or trend. But perhaps one of the greatest forces tending to link them together was the comparative scarcity of science-fiction, for apart from the magazines, there was little published. The editors themselves played no small part in the development of the fan movement by publishing the fans' letters and, in many cases, encouraging the views presented. Fans then began to band together. From these first letters, and from the embryonic "Associations" and "Societies" has grown up the great fan movement which to-day is the very iife-blood of science-fiction.
"STAR MAKER" A STAR
In the science-fiction published in bound books, a great advance was being made. In 1930. Olaf Stapledon published his monumental "Last and First Men." Believed by many to be his finest work. it was, however, not at first regarded as science-fiction, but rather as a sociological essay. It was followed by "Last Men in London," in which the "Last Men" criticised the modern world. "Odd John," published in 1935, was a more "human" book, not so gigantic in scope as Olaf Stapleon's former works. "Star Maker," appearing in 1937, as a sequel to "Last and First Men," enabled its writer to take his place amongst the finest modern authors of science-fiction.
H. G. Wells, too, was doing valuable work. He wrote the scenarios and script for "Things to Come." thereby making possible the only true science-fiction film since "Metropolis" and "The Girl in the Moon."
Unheralded and with no pep-talking trailer, one of the major events of 1937 was the publication of H. G. Wells' novel "Star-Begotten." Although only a short novel, this work was instrumental in bringing to the fore, and crystallising, some ideas which had previously been merely hazy and ill-depicted. Fans read "Star-Begotten," and the very nature of the book, particularly the description of the "Star-Begotten" people figuring in it so prominently, caused them to think. With an amazing unanimity, fans in America and England came to the conclusion that they were - "star-begotten"! Those who have read the novel and have also been in close contact with the average fan, will easily see the similarity between Wells' characters, or rather, the ideas underlying, his characters, and the fans.
The ideas brought into the limelight by this opus of Mr. Wells were that science- fiction is nothing - worse than nothing - if it does not present ideas worthy of attention. Science-fiction, these new exponents of it say, is not merely all attempt to "foster interest in science," but an attempt to picture the effect upon society of science and its achievements.
Upon this basis of "science-fiction with a purpose," a whole new philosophy has been built. Maurice K. Hanson. Douglas W. F. Mayer, and the writer, here in England, fostered this growth, whilst in
America. John B. Michel. Donald A. Wollheim, F. J. Ackerman and others followed up their own ideas and theories in this direction. The various "fan-magazines" - healthy off-shoots of the great fan movement - helped enormously with the spread of this new philosophy. In fact, without these "fan-mags" there could have been no linking up of ideas or fans, and consequently., no "spreading the light."
In America, three magazines, two of them bi-monthly, the other monthly, supply a constant stream of science-fiction. Whilst it is admiitted that much of it does not come up to the rather high standard set by the followers of the "purposeful science-fiction movement, it must likewise be admitted that some exceptionally fine work is turned out, and it is upon this fine work that the value of science-fiction rests.
England, always slow to take to things novel and new, did not have its first science-fiction magazine until last year. when Tales of Wonder appeared. True, there had been some three years earlier, that ill-fated venture Scoops, which was of a rather too juveuile trend to warrant much attention. However, in Tales of Wonder, Britain has its first true science-fiction magazine, and its editor, Walter H. Gillings, is pursuing a policy which, from the point of view of "publicising" science- fiction, is particularly suitable to the English temperament. Mr. Gillings believes in "breaking in" the general public slowly. To this end. the material selected for his mngazine contains none of the extremes to which the reader of American science- fiction is accustomed. It might be added. that no praise is too high for Mr. Gillings for his valuable work in the magazine field.
The English fan movement resembles the proverbial "green bay tree." So much so, in fact. that in January 1937 was formed The Science-Fiction Association with Headquarters at Leeds. The "SFA," as it is known was from the start distinguished by its supreme ability to get things done. With a prodigious zeal its officers indefattigably built up the Association until now, after just over a year of existence, it is the most progressive and most active group of fans in the world. Numbering most of fandom's best known personalities amongst its members, it has at present Headquarters in London, and several active branches. Its services to members inclucle a "Back Number Supply Service," through which they may obtain copies of magazines to fill up the gaps in their collections a "Publications Department," with three issues of Amateur Science Stories, four issues of TOMORROW, a British Science-Fiction Bibliography, and several issues of The Science-Fiction Gazette to its credit. Its official monthly organ Novae Terrae (New Worlds), edited by Maurice K. Hanson, is one of the best examples of contemporary fan-magazines, and is well known for its publication of essays and articles of outstanding worth.
Such is the position to-day. The writer had hoped to cover all fields and all activities, but has only been able to describe those of importance. He has said little in regard to the very many minor branches, of the extensive correspondence between the fans, or of the Interplanetary Societies, of which a large number of supporters are science-fiction fans or readers.
We have seen a new literature - for at its best, science-fiction is literature - arise from lowly pulps. We have seen great ideas born from mere masses of words. We have seen, rising like a Phoenix from the ashes of many previous petty organisations, The Science-Fiction Association,. breeder of idealists and foster parent of ideas.
And tomorrow - who shall say what it will bring? Who shall dare, remembering the motto of this magazine, to say that we have reached the peak?
Perhaps it is an omen of the bright future ahead, that of the three American magazines, two have recently acquired new editors, both of them keen and energetic men who. moreover, have been active participants in this great and growing new literature.
So - on to the future. To the future when science-fiction will no longer be looked upon with ridicule and laughter. When it shall no longer be considered as the legitimate playground of escapists and futile dreamers. When it shall instead be recognised for the greatness it contains and for the breadth and scope of its ideas.
GLIMPSES OF THE FUTURE
TOWERING above what, two years ago, was a marshy dump surmounted by fifty million cubic feet of ashes, on Flushing Meadows near New York, a new super-city is rapidly taking form - a city of futuristic buildings which. commencing April 30th, 1939, will constitute in exhibition form a glimpse of the "World of To-morrow - the New York World Fair of 1939, commemorating the 150th anniversary of the U.S. Government. Embodying and containing all the latest and most up-to-date mechanical, scientific and architectural marvels, the Fair will hold much of interest to readers of this magazine. and we are able to announce for forthcoming issues, an exclusive series of articles containing intimate details of this vast project, written by the well- known New York "fan," Donald A. Wollheim.
Other special items we hope to feature in future issues of TOMORROW include an exclusive article by Olaf Stapledon and, to revive the popular series of interviews which ran in Scientifiction, we shall publish in our Summer issue, an interview with Scientifiction's creator, SFA Councillor, Tales of Wonder Editor and Associate Editor of TOMORROW, Walter H. Gillings, to be followed by other interviews with numerous outstanding science-fiction personalities.
WORLD OF TO-MORROWby I.O. Evans
An account of the book, talk and cigarette-card series.
"THE WORLD OF TOMORROW" is a subject which has long interested me. From my schoolboy enjoyment, of Wells' science-fiction yarns I passed to his serious sociological yarns - I well remember the inspiration I got, when I first read it, during the war, from his "Modern Utopia"! After the war I for some time less inspired by his ideas.
So you can imagine my delight when an enterprising firm of publishers, Messrs. Denis Archer, who wanted to try out a new method of printing illustrations on transparent cellophane, suggested that an appropriate subject would be "The World of Tomorrow - a book that I had long had in mind. I spent much time in the British Library and elsewhere; I consulted with scientists on the possibility of space-travel and with engineers on improved methods of winning coal; and a keen science-fiction "fan," 'Mr. A. C. Garrad, gave me the run of his fine collection of the American magazines.
THE PROBLEM OF POWER
In "Anticipations," H. G. Wells had used as his starting point mechanical methods of transport and their effects on life. I began, or so it seemed to me, a little further back than this. After a preliminary chapter in which I showed that we need hardly fear a shortage of material, I pointed out that the great mechanical problem of the future will be a sufficient source of power. Supplies of coal and oil will fail us within the next four hundred years - and what will our machinery be driven by then?
I discussed the possibility of drawing power from the boundless energies of nature, from sunshine, tides, wind, water- falls, from the internal heat of the earth, and the differential heat of the deep sea. I glanced at the possibility of releasing atomic energy - but urged that this would be undesirable until world peace is attained.
Now it was appropriate to deal with travel and communication on land and sea and in the air, with a special chapter on space flight. The rebuilding of the towns, on the lines possibly of Le Corbusier's cross-shaped sky-scrapers, also followed. In this connection I was careful to stress the need. too, for preserving the countryside and utilising it to best advantage not only as a source of food but also as a refuge from the mechanised life of the towns.
New types of food and clothing, new methods of fighting disease, led on to a consideration of social development, new ideas in law and government, the threat of future war, the need for a constructive and progressive world peace. This, after all, is the aim of science-fiction and of serious forecasts alike, to give to the world, and especially to the coming generation. the ideal, which alone can use mechanical invention not for the enslavement but for the freedom of man. So I finally glanced at future possibilities in their bearing on personal life.
The book, with its highly original format, attracted a certain attention and sold reasonably well. Imagine my delightful surprise when, Some years later. I was approached by Messrs. Mardon, Son and Hall, who, as the printing, branch of the Imperial Tobacco Co.. Ltd, are probably the largest firm of cigarette-card printers in the world, suggesting a set of "stiffeners"* on the subject.
* The trade term for cigarette cards, originally blank slips used to strengthen paper packets.
For this purpose I had to concentrate on illustrations - pictures, and mostly photographs at that, of machines not yet invented, devices not yet made! Fortunately, it was agreed that we should illustrate a few inventions at present only in experimental or local use which may in course of time become common features of everyday life. Se we could keep the set in touch with reality and avoid any risk of its being merely fantastic or queer. Here railplanes, gyrotillers, and a Californian sun-motor were appropriate, as well as a revolving house in Italy and a church in Denmark resembling an organ.
For this I had to consult the folk who store photographs of everything under the sun - the Press agencies. All around Fleet Street I had to wander, upstairs and downstairs and in the filing chambers, among millions of photos in thousands of boxes elaborately sorted and stored. It was not just a matter of taking what came first among the "Inventions," most of which were mere household gadgets, patent apple-peelers and the like, and some too fantastic for words.
PHOTOS FROM FILMS
Some "Inventions" were suitable; for others I had to rummage among "Models," "Engineering." "Architecture," "Wars" and I don't know where else. This was rather a tiring job; in the best Fleet Street tradition I had to knock off every now and again and revive myself with cups of black coffee or the strongest tea. Yet it was amply rewarded; I found devices more interesting than I could have imagined, just the very thing for the firm and for myself: "Good! Mardons'll like that!"
Still, I was on the track not only of current inventions but of future devices. Some also I got from the agencies, photos of models or imaginative drawings of. for ex- ample, a mammoth Gibraltar dam. For others I had to turn again to the films.
Here I was fortunate indeed. Wells' epic "Things to Come" was then on view, with its stirring forecasts of a civilisation finer than ours. By courtesy of London Film Productions I was able to use some striking "stills" - the huge Space Gun, the mechanical excavator, and the house builder that in one motion slaps on the side of a dwelling. Gaumont British, too, let me use a still of a transatlantic tunnel.
Also, of course, I turned anew to the science-fiction magazines. Through their files I skimmed, rejecting all pictures that seemed merely fantastic - such as the semi-human, semi-bestial hypothetical inhabitants of other planets in which they abound, and one squat visitor from the stars whose general appearance suggested that some misguided scientist had invented a talking doughnut - and selecting those that seemed to forecast reasonable future developments. Immense towers emitting dischargcs of high tension electricity to control the weather formed the sort of subject that I chose.
These pictures I sent off for Messrs. Mardon to make the final selection and where necessary to have them redrawn. I wrote the captions, each a hundred or so words in length - the cards are a form of literature that lends itself to terseness - and corrected them in the ordinary way. So at last I had the pleasure of seeing my ideas embodied in a series of well-produced cards that are, I am told, much sought after by "cartophilists."
When compiling the cards, I also had made a number of lantern-slides of my subjects, illustrating a lecture which roughly followed both book and series. This lecture I have had the pleasure of giving at Public Libraries and Church Institutes, and even at a prison - and it always seems to be well received.
Several criticisms of the book have deplored the over-mechanisation of my world of tomorrow, which seemed to be regarded as nothing but a robot's paradise of engineering gadgets. My stressing of the need for protecting nature had apparently gone unread! For the lecture I emphaise it by borrowing three slides of fine scenery from that excellent body, the National Trust, showing woodland (illustrating re-afforestation), cliffs (coastal protection). and mountains (national parks). So I try to side-track that amiable person who expresses despair at my ideas of a future world, and piously thanks heaven he will never live to see it.
THE CRYPT of CIVILISATIONEDITORIALLY WRITTEN FROM DATA KINDLY SUPPLIED BY DR. T. JACOBS, PRESIDENT OF OGLETHORPE UNIVERSITY
IN his stories "A Voyage to the Moon" and "The Purchase of the North Pole," Jules Verne humorously introduced the legendary "progressiveness" of citizens of the United States, which led certain American savants into making a flight to the moon, and into attempting to alter the axis of the earth's rotation. But, there is one vast project which Jules Verne - or any other science-fiction author - has never suggested, and yet which has been inaugurated by a few Americans with the same air of determination as that of Jules Verne's historic characters. In brief, the project is to seal in a crypt below Oglethorpe University, near Atlanta, in Georgia, extensive and complete records of this day and age, the crypt remaining sealed until 8113 A.D.
Before the scheme is described in detail, it is well worth reflecting that in the immediate past twenty-five years more important discoveries have been made than in all the six thousand years that have gone before. At present, a new world is being created to replace the old; we are on the threshold of a new era of invention and scientific progress. New plastics, new fabrics, new means of locomotion, of entertainment, of oblaining power and of spreading culture, are coming into use. Whether or not the close of the present century sees a Wellsian world-state or a humanity decimated by a world-war, there is little doubt that man of the future will look back at this day and say of it that it was the golden age of discovery.
ASHES TO ASHES . . .
But let us call to mind Shelley's famous sonnet, "Ozymandias":
I met a traveller from an antique land
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare. The lone and level sands stretch far away.
It is a tragic fact that in the past, mighty civilisations have flourished. yet have left for our historians of today only a crumbling mass of broken stones and bits of pottery. The mighty city of Anuradhapura, which covered an area of 256 square miles - nearly half the area of Greater London - and flourished from the fifth Century B.C. until 1109 A.D, is now a scene of desolation, overrun with shrubs. Will our own cities crumble and perish, and our civilisation be forgotten?
With this question in mind, Dr. Thornwell Jacobs, President of Oglethorpe University, suggested, in Scientific American for November 1936 that a complete and imperishable record of our modern life should be stored away in a sealed chamber, marked "not to he opened Until A.D. 8113."
Why 8113? A peculiar date, but one by no means chosen at random. The first fixed date of history, as we at present know it, is that of the establishment of the Egyptian calendar in 4241 B.C. From 4241 B.C. to 1936 A.D. was 6,177 years, so Dr. Jacobs suggested allowing another such interval of 6177 years to elapse until A.D. 8113.
The publishers of Scientific American promptly promised their co-operation, as did numerous American manufacturers, scientists, publishers, sociologists, hisiorians and philanthropists.
BATTLE OF THE MILLENNIUMS
At no time in the history of the world up to now has it been possible for as complete a deposit to be made as at the present day, and Dr. Thornwell Jacobs - the first man in history, as far as we know, to attempt the recording of all our essential knowledge for posterity - promptly began the collection of the actual material and the investigation of the best way of preserving the material when collected.
To assist him with the latter problem, he co-opted the assistance of K. T. Peters, veteran photographer and world traveller, and inventor of a process for the preservation of printed material and photographs by impressing the images by photography on to a metal strip so thin that it resembles tissue paper. Peters welcomed the challenge "to fight with time and dissolution in this battle of the milleniums."
Peters was also the possessor of an extensive collection of photographs covering every phase of life in all its aspects since the birth of photography in 1837. Taking this, year by year, beginning with 1837, each year's progress in art, the mechanial arts, costumes, customs, fads. crazes, capital, labour, living conditions among all classes, great men and their achievements, sports, pastimes and recreations, wars and skirmishes, races and immigrants, transportation, communications, industries and their development, medical and clinical discoveries, mining booms, depressions and every other salient feature having to do with modern life is represented. This material is now at Oglethorpe and is being added to daily from hundreds of sources.
The main crypt where the collection will be housed is beneath the administration building at Oglethorpe. The walls and ceiling will be lined with chromium; and metal shelves will hold the receptacles to contain the deposits of various kinds. These various metal receptacles will be seamless and will house first, a transite or asbestos lining, then one of glass, containing the actual material deposited. This will be filled with an inert gas and sealed off before being placed in the stainless steel receptacle. The stainless steel receptacle will, in turn, be enclosed in a ribbed casting of monel metal or Everdur which will resist a crushing strength of thousands of pounds.
The crypt will be sealed by a large stainless steel door, inscribed with the following message, signed by the President of the United States, the Governor of Georgia and Dr. Jacobs:
"This crypt contains memorials of the civilisation which existed in the United States and in the world at large during the first half of the Twentieth Century. In receptacles of stainless steel, in which the air has been replaced by inert gases are encyclopedias, histories, scientific works, special editions of newspapers, travelogues, travel talks, cinema reels, models, phonograph records, and similar materials from which an adequate idea of the state and nature of the civilisation of 1900 and 1950 can be ascertained. No jewels or precious metals are included.
"We depend upon the laws of the County of Dekalb, the State of Georgia and the Government of the United States, and of their heirs, assigns and successors, and upon the sense of sportsmanship of posterity for the continued preservation of this vault until the year 8113 at which time we direct that it shall be opened by authorities representing the above governmental agencies and the administration of Oglethorpe University. Until that time, we beg of all persons that this sealed door and the contents of the crypt within may remain inviolate."
The receptacles for the micro-books will be twelve inches long by four inches in overall diameter, and each receptacle will contain 8.000 pages of material. Three such receptacles will hold the entire 25 volumes of the Encyclopedia Britannica. The pages can easily be read by means of a seven power magnifying glass, or by use of the special automatic projectors which will be provided.
PEEPSHOW WITH A PURPOSE
To overcome the language difficulty, a mutoscope with a phonograph attachment has been designed in which the leaves containing successive phases of motion on them are flipped over on turning a crank, the phonograph speaking at the same time. The leaves in the machine are of metal, hence indestructible. Upon turning the crank a motion picture of a man will appear which will hold up an object such as an apple, pronouncing the name, and the name will appear beneath, in printed letters. The machine will hold records containing three thousand common English words, their pronunciation and their spelling. The machine will also serve to give instructions as to the setting up and operating of the various mechanisms deposited, such as the wind generator, etc.
It should be noted that the machine requires no mechanical or electrical force other than the turning of the crank. It will be placed just inside the vault, so that it will be the first machine to be inspected. In addition, it will have the symbol of a key and the number 1 inscribed above it. With a hand pointing down to the machine.
In addition to ordinary travel, news and amusement films (specially printed on thin metal bands), the micro-books and photographs. and records of music, art, architecture, and poetry, the crypt will contain:
1-Hand viewing machines for the micro-book film. By mens of these the micro-book records may be read in ordinary light, the pages being fed forward by hand.
2.-Automatic micro-book machine for reading the books. In these the film is carried forward at intervals governed by a device set prior to reading.
3.-The mutoscope machine. This, as explained above, will serve as the Rosetta stone to the English language if it is no longer extant.
4.-An ordinary 35 m.m. motion picture projector with sound head operated by electricity, and with metal film threaded in.
5.-A 16 m.m. projector with film threaded.
6.-An opaque projector to project the large metal photographs.
7.-A generator specially made of permalloy and operated by a wind-mill which will develop sufficient energy to drive the motion picture machine and other electrical apparatus.
8.-A complete set of modern scientific instruments, aviation instruments, and instruments used in everyday industry.
9.- Models of every kind of essential modern machine.
10.-Visuals of people in costume, miniature men and women in every walk of life and in various trades and occupations.
11.-Dioramas of important historical events.
12-Models to scale of the great works of man such as Mt. Rushmore, The Sphinx. The Pyramids, The Great Wall of China, The Eiffel Tower, The Empire State Building, etc.
13-Models to scale of the great engineering feats: The Panama Canal, Boulder Dam, The filling of the Zuyder Zee. etc.
WORK AND PLAY
14.-Tools and appliances for work.
15.-A complete set of costumes for men and women, preserved in helium.
16-Samples of representative textiles.
17.-Paper books, magazines. etc.. which may or may not survive.
18.-Artificial limbs and teeth: spectacles and a contact lens for the eye; hearing aids: pictures showing their use. Braille book.
19.-Articles of personal adornment.
20-Toilet articles, cosmetics. razors. etc.
21-Habits: chewing gum, tobacco, pipes, cigarettes, snuff, opium. hashish, liquor and illustrations of their use.
22.-Illumination from its earliest form to the sodium lamp.
23.-Fire and cooking appliances from the cave man to the latest high-frequency cooker.
24.-Electronics, radio and power valves. thyrotron tubes, grid glow tubes. cathode tubes, neon and rare gas tubes.
25.-Chemistry and metallurgy, plastics, artificial textiles, alloys, etc., in small samples.
26.--Food products in everyday use.
28.-Play and recreation implements, golf sticks, football, baseball, gloves, balls, masks. etc. All sports will be represented with pictures showing their use.
29.-Household utensils, tableware glass and china.
30-Reproductions, in miniature of the greatest sculptures.
37.---An orthoephonic sound dictionary of the English language.
ESPERANTO AND ASSYRIAN
Esperanto enthusiasts will be interested to learn that the crypt will contain a word for word translation of a composition of 3,000 words in all modern languages, including Ido and Esperanto, in addition to such ancient tongues as Coptic, Hebrew, Phoenecian, Assyria, Persian, Accadian, Greek, Latin, Aztec, Sanscrit, Chinese and Hieroglyphics.
To guard against the fact that in years to come the crypt may pass from the memory of man, a description on metal of the deposit will be placed in all the great libraries and museums of the world, and in such out of the way places as monastries in Tibet, temples in China and in India, etc.
A year ago, on April 18th. 1937, Dr. Jacobs broadcast a messnge to the future which Was carefully recorded to be stored away in the crypt. It ran:
"Greetings, to those of you who are within sound of my voice - you of the year 8113.
"We of THIS age know the difficulty of digging up secrets of civilisations, long since dead. We take this means of aiding YOUR historical search.
"My voice is now being recorded at 23 1/2 minutes past five o'clock on a Sunday afternoon of the 18th of April, Anno Domini 1931.
"We chose the year 8113, as the time for this crypt to be opened, because recorded history, to our knowledge, is now just 6,177 years old. We chose the year 1936, therefore, as a middle point of calendar reckoning. We added ANOTHER 6,177 years and thus determined that the year 8113 should mark the opening of this crypt which contains a survey of our present- day American life.
"We have included in the crypt many things which go to make up our life at this time.
"There are descriptions of what we eat and drink, of how we work, and what we do in our leisure time. We have left examples of our systems of transportation, communication, and housing.
"We have submitted information about diseases, and the points at which we have arrived in curing them. We have included records of our religions, and customs.
"We of the year 1937, looked back upon our remote ancestors as being savages and barbarians. Yet, we too, had wars among nations. We thought at the time that the principles for which we fought were important and yet as you look back through the centuries you will perhaps in turn call us savages and believe that we lived in an uncivilised world.
"And so, I say to those of you who hear this voice - the voice of one who has been silent thousands of years and whose civilisation has been buried in the dust of cen- turies - consider kindly the life we led in 1937 as revealed in this, the first conscious attempt of any generation in history to fulfil its archaeological duty to those who follow after.
"Now - as this record is being made - there are gathered here in this radio broadcasting studio, some 250 people, and some three million people are listening over their radios.
"We of 1937 speak to you of 8113. We offer you our blessing and we repeat for you the Lord's Prayer, the everyday prayer of our present day civilisation."
MUSEUM OR MONUMENT?
And so, the trivial months quickly ebb ebb away until next year or the year later, when the crypt will be ready to be sealed. And then, in the granite bed-rock of the Appalachian Mountains, the relic of our civilisation will remain, until - when?
Will the crypt be opened with pomp and ceremony six thousand years hence by people of a civilisation as far removed from ours as ours is from Hammurabi's? Or will it outlive the human race, unopened and forgotten, the strange letters on its rustless door shining in the light of the stars as a monument to man? Or will some decadent civilisation. before six thousand years have passed, fling open the door in desperation to seek the treasure of accumulated knowledge that may free the world?
It seems that the only way anyone could obtain an answer to these questions is for him to persuade the Oglethorpe authorities to carefully preserve him - after he is dead, and if his body is physically sound in an intact condition, by the most up-to.- date methods of science, then to seal his body in some sterilised container in the manner of a mummy and to leave him in the crypt in the hope that by 8113 A.D., medical science will have progressed sufficiently to revive him - to brinq him back to life in a world going crazy, perhaps, over the newly found chewing gum, Mickey Mouse and Shirley Temple! The theme is one which could well be developed by some science-fiction author.
THE SEARCH FOR TOMORROW
unto the day . . " while experiencing a steady loss of support, nevertheless. still holds those who for many reasons cannot or will not look ahead.
Hence we realise that science-fiction has one great purpose, that purpose being to encourage mankind to seek Tomorrow, and so live today that as Time goes by he will one day awaken to see that his new, constructive consideration for Today has opened up visions of a cleaner, saner, more desirable Tomorrow.
In the meantime, however, we must continue our propaganda and increase the number of those who are searching with us in the hope, if not in the belief, that Man, in spite of his follies, in spite of his petty selfishness and inherent lack of foresight, will realise his early promise, and will take up his pack with new strength and greater determination and, leaving his bad tradition behind, will set out for the unrevealed promise of the far horizon - for his Shangri-la . . .
CANDID COMMENTSFROM OUR READERS
We welcome letters on any topic of interest to readers. They should be as concise as possible, and must bear the sender's name and address.
ARE YOU HAPPY?
THE article on the Felicitometer calls to mind the item in TOMORROW some time back - that someday science will discover how to cause a person to be always happy - and that thereupon the people would become utterly unfit for any kind of work. Which inspires an essay on The Variance of Objectives Between the State and the Indivdual:
The sole object of every individual is happiness. The difference in people is the difference in what brings them happiness. Actually there is no such thing as altruism: if a person is unselfish it is because it makes him happy to be so. At every moment of an individual's conscious life he is doing the thing which he is happier doing at the moment. True, often he will thus be led into situations less pleasing to him than if he had for the moment sacrificed his pleasure. If he forsees this, he is happier sacrificing his momentary pleasure. And so on. The single aim of the individual is happiness. If he makes a mistake - what matter? There are other people on whom the responsibility for the welfare of the whole rests.
Actually, it does not. The responsibility rests on the State. Perhaps, discounting conscience. a single generation will be happier wasting the natural resources of the world. It is then the duty Of the state to restrain them. Thus the Columbia Encyclopedia writer who jeered at the Fascists' "almost mystical conception of the State" was making the same mistake as any other person who feels that, the rights of the individual come ahead of the rights of society. The few men who are happier working for the interests of the State are not themselves the State, for they can be overthrown and the State will still remain. But such men are nevertheless the ones who should control the State.
The Endless Quest took too much time for discussion and gave too little information.
The Hiking and Camping in 20,000 A.D. reprint was excellent.
Unification of Progress tempts me to again essay, but I shall resist the impulse. It is not proven, however, that the advocate of one reform, as simplified speling. would necessaril advocate someone else's reform, such as the abolition of captal punishment. It is generally true, however, that reformers work in the same direction. I wish Gillard had given us the 500 word Basis of Wells-Stapledon-Huxley, or at least summarised each point for us. In short. this issue of TOMORROW was good, but it could have been easily much better.
The article on Mitogenetic Rays was very interesting. The use of the phrase "Vital Force." however, again raises the oratorical blood in me. I personally hold to the strictly materialistic conception of life and thought: life, as I see it, is simply a chemical function, rather than the result of as yet undiscovered vibrations. You may have heard what happened when some scientists whirled a bit of protoplasm apart on a cyclotron. Here, biology had always said, is life. Protoplasm is the really living thing, in all life. Here was the residence of that mysterious force called Life. The bit of protoplasm was whirled apart. It turned out to be composed of nothing more than threads of fat, bits of vurious chemicals, and stuff. No shriek as Nature gave up the secret - no momentary blur as the life force escaped - just bits of fat.
And I herewith grant you immunity from me for another three months.
[We question reader Speer's statement that "at every moment of an individual's life he is doing the thing which he is happier doing at the moment." Owing to starvation, sickness, or the brutal "restraining" methods of those who are "happier working for the interests of the State," there are hundreds Of thousands of people today who are emphatically unhappy. Then again. there are millions of others who, whilst not strictly unhappy, could be much happier. Although the rights of the individual may not come ahead of the rights of society, the best society is surely the one whlich affords the individual the greatest happiness and freedom consistent with the general welfare. It is doubtful if the totalitarian state satisfies this criterion.
We presume that the protoplasm was whirled apart in a "centrifuge." A "cyclotron" is a high-voltage generator used in atomic experiments. - Ed.]
WHAT IS A FANTASY FILM?
WHAT exactly is a fantasy film? This sounds an idiotic question, I know, but I'm stirred to it by Mr. H. D. Wilson's highly commendable article in Scientifiction for August, taking my own views into account.
Much that Mr. Wilson states is, unhappily, only too true. My own article was written some little time ago when the science-fiction film outlook was fairly good. Now it is terrible. But I still do not agree that fantasy films have not a future.
It mainly depends, perhaps, on one's individual idea of what comprises a fantasy. Clearly, the most perfect example, of such a film can be found in James Hilton's "Lost Horizon," living up to the finer traditions of fantasy as opposed to the absolute science fantasy of `Things to Come." I believe that in the "Lost Horizon" type of film we have the key to real fantasy films, and the type which producers will consider making, whereas they rightly turn up their noses at Flash Gordon, Werewolf, and King Kong ideas. Horror is dead; we all know it, and thank Heaven for it, but out of it has emerged the finer, more ennobling type of film.
Consider other fantasy films that have been a terrific success and it will be found that hardly a mention of science or horror creeps into them. As examples - back in 1921 or thereabouts, "Earthbound" with Wyndham Standing wiped the floor clean; I have records of its success right before me now. A few of you may remember it. I was only 13 then, but it impressed me enormously.
Remember "Dusk to Dawn" With Florence Vidor, in 1933? No? Well, more recently, remember "Outward Bound," "One Way Passage," "Death Takes a Holiday"? Even "Green Pastures"! All pure fantasy, and every one a floor sweeper. In 1924 a film called "The Other" was a terrific success. In theme it was "Dr. Mabusish," a story of a dead man's hypnotism.
Mr. Wilson himself cites the first class German efforts, but some of the films I've mentioned are equal with them. If we are to get fantasy films on a thorough footing we have manifestly to direct producers' attention away from the horror rubbish to the type of films I've outlined, and if, as is common, "Lost Horizon" starts a cycle, we may well expect something, fantastic but not scientific, brewing in the future. Science, as yet, is not for the masses, but the outlook for the fantasy film still remains a bright one. I for one am convinced of it, and even if I'm alone in that view I'll stick to it. The definite establishment of even a modicum of fantasy films will produce scientifilms in their train of a better, more "Things to Come"- ish quality.
If only some producer would think of filming some of the late Weinbaum's yarns! Then we might see fantasy and science as they should be seen, though what would happen in the scenario department is a matter for conjecture!
JOHN RUSSELL FEARN.
164 Abbey Road.
I THINK that science-fiction has a future in the sense that fairy tales always have a future. I will go so far as to say that I think science-fiction has a useful future - in the sense that anything which entertains thereby performs a useful function. But I fail to see how science-fiction as published in the "pulps," can serve any other useful purpose apart from that of providing publishers, authors and artists with the means to eat. Science- fiction, as turned out by the masters such as Wells, Stapledon and Fort, is in quite a different category, for these people have not only a tale to tell but also something to say - a "something" which gives one furiously to think. Science-fiction yarns of this latter class are written with a sociological purpose, and perform the useful and necessary function of goading lazy minds into activity. Science-fiction, in magazine form, has never pretended to any under- lying motive other than that of giving the public what it wants as far as it is possible to do so. I don't blame anybody for this - editors are editors, not missionaries.
All the same, I think "pulp" science-fiction leaves much room for improvement. And I fancy that the reason why it falls short of what it could be, and ought to be, is that everybody's been in such a devil of a hurry to capitalise the fact that there are no limits to human imagination that they've been tripped up by the equally blatant fact that there are very definite limits to human credulity. The cry is, "Plot, plot, plot! We want plots with action - and to hell with unimportant trimmings such as literary style, good characterisation, and strong atmosphere."
What is the result? As I see it, the result is a series of astounding conceptions. well- written as far as fluency is concerned, but so lacking in all the other requisites of good writing that the reader becomes satiated with a rapid succession of drab opium dreams presented with such a sameness that often the authors' names could be swapped around and nobody would know the difference.
How frequently must some of us yearn for a plot that is not too dumbfounding for words, and which features characters having some resemblance to ourselves. I feel sure that the understanding of this need was the secret of Weinbaum's success. Anybody who has the interest of science-fiction at heart would do it a good turn by offering a sizeable prize for the author who made the least use of words like immense, mighty, stupendous, colossal and gargantuan, and who managed to get along without such threadbare cliches as "a veritable holocaust," "leaping, lambent flames," "racked by unendurable force," etc.
Whenever I get the gripes after reading through several thousand words of stuff which has "flabbergasting" as its only claim to merit. I can't help thinking of the ancient saw: "A country gets the government it deserves." Verb sap!
ERIC FRANK RUSSELL.
44 Orrell Road.
[Author Russell's reference to the late Stanley G. Weinbaum brings to mind the recent remark of an American editor, that so much has his style been imitated since his death, were he at present living, he would be unable to sell his own stories! - Ed.]
MAKERS OF "METROPOLIS"
A BRIEF survey of science-fiction in this country brings one to the realisation that it is an almost untried field of literature. That there can he science-fiction literature has been proved by those masters of science-fiction: H. G. Wells, Conan Doyle, and Thea Von Harbou. The work of H. G. Wells needs no remarking, as everyone with the slightest interest in science-fiction will have read at least one of his science stories. Conan Doyle will be remembered by fans for his masterly "Poison Belt." And those fans who have read any of the work of Thea Von Harbou will never forget its brilliance. Who, having read that classic, "The Girl in the Moon," can forget that masterly passage dealing with the adventure of Professor Manfeldt in the caverns of the Moon? To me, this story will live as the classic example of science fiction.
Nor can we afford to ignore her earlier story, "Metropolis." Most science-fiction fans will have seen the film version (silent) of this story. And though most people will disagree with this vision of a city of the future, they can not fail to be impressed by the sheer genius of her work.
I have not been able to obtain copies of her earlier novels, "The Indian Tomb" and "The Isle of Immortals." It is a regretable fact that her stories have not received the recognition and acclamation which they deserve.
Nor is writing her only field, By lovers of fantasy she will be remembered for her scenario work in the films, "Metropolis." "The Nibelungs," and "The Testament of Doctor Mabuse."
I might mention here that I personally prefer stories with more fantasy than science. "The Girl in the Moon" is a magnificent combination of both.
Thea Vou Harbou is married to Fritz Lang, the German film director. It was he who directed "Metropolis" and other famous German films. Like his wife, he is a master in his field. To me, the name of Fritz Lang or Thea von Harbou is a far greater draw than the name of the latest Hollywood discovery. Science-fiction fans owe a lot to the work of these two great artists. They have shown the way to a new era of science-fiction.
For science-fiction is young and virile when compared with any other type of fiction. One might almost say that science- fiction is an era in fiction, an era that follows commonplace fiction as the dawn follows night. Man has conquered and subjugated the world. He must turn his mind to other worlds. So it is with fiction. For sciencc-fiction is new, and it has no history. Romance has been written for ages. So has comedy. So has tragedy. But science-fiction - no. It has a history to start.
WILFRED P. COCKROFT.
32 Park View.
[Thea vou Harbou and Fritz Lang were divorced a few years ago.-Ed.]
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