A lot can happen in three months. Obvious though this fact may at first might seem, it is one that should be pasted inside the hats of all persons who either a) make prophecies, or (b) edit quarterly magazines.
As we come under the latter category, we have had the full truth of the statement brought home to us during the past thirteen weeks, when our ever watchful eye has been sharply focussed on matters of importance at home and abroad.
WINGS OVER THE WORLD
First came the Cambridge meeting of the British association. (See "Revolt of the Scientists," last issue). Scientists remembered the old fable of Daedalus and Icarus. Daedalus, the story informs us, was a kind of glorified combination of Edison and Heath-Robinson, who constructed a pair of wings, held together by wax, for the benefit of young Icarus. With the aid of the wings, this latter young forerunner of Professor Picard soared off up toward the stratosphere, but the heat of the sun, melting the wax, caused the wings to fall apart, and poor Icarus hurtled downwards to destruction.
Some scientists believed that modern science was rapidly becoming another Daedalus, which was giving marvellous inventions and devices to the world. Icarus, only to find that the world was using the devices for its own self-destruction. In his Presidential Address to the British Association, Lord Rayleigh stressed the fact that the scientists themselves were not responsible for the mis-application of their disoveries. Nevertheless, the social conscience of the scientists had at last been aroused, and the Division for the Social and International Relations of Science came into being.
Then came the International Situation. Europe - the whole world, in fact - trembled an the brink of war. At one time we seriously wondered if these words of wisdom would ever be written. At the last moment, however, by the simple process of sacrificing large quantities of Czechoslovakia to the demands of a dictator, Chamberlain Saved Peace!
And so, at the time of writing, all is quiet (comparatively) on the eastern front. But for how long? Again we remind readers that a lot can happen in three months. Whatever does occur before the next issue of TOMORROW sees the light of day, there seems to be little doubt that the expectations of the Pessimists (see "Candid Comments") are more and more likely to be realised as time marches on.
That is why we applaud the step the scientists have taken. May their academical musings rapidly give way to determined action! In this country, we have as an example the activities of Prof. Haldane in connection with air-raid protection, and on page 15, we quote Prof. Einstein, who says: "people living in different countries kill each other at different time intervals, so that . . . anyone who thinks about the future must live in fear or terror."
Why should this crazy killing continue? Why should dictators be allowed to terrorise the world? We might add here that we hold allegiance to no particular system of politics, but we violently oppose any creed or "ism," of the Left or of the Right, purple or pink, swastika or sickle, which, in the name of unity, suppresses intellectual freedom.
A co-operating planet of peace and prosperity will never be realised until our present social and economic evils are eradicated. And so, to the scientists who are at last attempting to "do something," and to all other workers for the cause of humanity and progress, we say "Good Luck!" confident that in so doing we echo the wishes of every progressive reader of this magazine.
THE policy of this publication is to present news and views on various aspects of science-fiction, science-progress, the possibility of Interplanetary travel, and of probable future developments.
NEITHER the Science-Fiction Association as a body, nor the editors of TOMORROW, can accept responsibility for the views expressed by contributors.
CONTRIBUTIONS, long or short, suitable for publication, are always welcome.
QUARTERLY CAVALCADEA dynamic review of the important scientifictional events of the past three months.
IN the train of recent film revivals, when startled exhibitors hastily unearthed forgotten masterpieces and earned greater profits than after their initial showings, came a gratifying percentage of resurrected fantasy films. Gladdening the hearts of film-starved science-fiction fans, these resurrections proved the view which fans had long supported, that science-fiction films, whilst not always possessing a strong box-office appeal, contain far more intrinsic merit than the average "super attraction" of sex, song or silliness.
Heading the list of the revived science- fiction films was the screen adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's well-known novel "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde." Produced in 1931, the film achieved prominence owing to the high-standard of both its "straight" and "trick" photography, and to the brilliant acting of Frederic March. Taking the leading role, March plays the part of the brilliant Dr. Jekyll who, by means of a powerful drug (and some amazing camera effects) is able to transform himself into the hideous personification of evil, Mr. Hyde. With the leading feminine role played by Miriam Hopkins, the revival is marred only by a long drawn-out "parting-lovers" scene (with a tremendous deluge of tears) which, whilst acceptable perhaps to 1931 audiences, might well have been re-edited prior to re-issue.
In the wake of "Dr. Jekyll" came "King Kong," a cacophonous confusion of monsters roaring, tom-toms beating and Fay Wray screaming, from a scenario by the late Edgar Wallace. Issued originally in 1933, strong entertainment value is still to be found in the almost-perfect animations of prehistoric monsters, and in the world-famous finale with the beauty and the beast stop the Empire State Building.
Appearing inevitably in any representative collection of science- fiction films, Boris Karloff made his revival debut in the film that made him famous, "Frankenstein." In this adaptation of Mary W. Shelley's bizaare story, Karloff, whose real name is William Henry Pratt, takes the part of a synthetic, monstrous man. For three weeks after the making of the film he was blind, due to the after effect of a powerful drug used to paralyse an optic nerve and hold one eye in a fixed position throughout the picture.
Showing at the Leicester Square Theatre, London, at the same time as "Frankenstein" was "The Invisible Man," the first "talkie" to be made from a Wellsian novel. Both films were labelled "Horrific," were produced by Universal, and were directed by James Whale.
Although undoubtedly of a Wellsian theme, the latter film, featuring Claude Rains in his first screen "appearance," is scarcely Wellsian in construction or dialogue, as the scenario was written by R, C. Sheriff, author of "Journey's End," who increased its popular appeal by the introduction of comic policemen, landlords and yokels.
But eclipsing all others in its interest to the science-fiction fan was the revival of the truly Wellsian epic "Things to Come." Mindful of its financial failure during its first showing in 1936, yet hoping to "cash in" on the present public interest in air-raids, the owners of the film completely re-edited it prior to reissue, cutting out much of the lengthy dialogue, of interest to fans, but not to the public. Initially 9,700 feet in length, the re-editing reduced the length by 2,500 feet.
Despite its former failure, critics still gave it the support worthy of such a magnificent production. Quoth one: "'Things to Come' still holds the record as the most ambitious picture, in scope and cost, ever made in this country. From a scenario by H. G. Wells, it presents a vivid forecast of the future which will probably make a deeper impression now, in view of present-day events, than when the film was first shown."
A sixth revival was the second Wells masterpiece, "The Man who could Work Miracles," featuring Roland ("Topper") Young as Mr. Fatheringay. Much more modest in theme than "Things to Come," the film still covers a tremendous fleld, ranging from the Gods in Olympus to the stopping of the earth. The trick photography and Wellsian dialogue offer another treat to the science-fiction fan, who is left in the. hope that further science-fiction film revivals will follow.
AS recorded in the last issue of TOMORROW, Tales of Wonder editor Walter H. Gillings had, prior to his appointment to that position, long been an advocator of the publishing of a British science-fiction magazine. Learning, in September, 1935, that G. Newnes Ltd., of London, were contemplating following their newly launched Air Stories and War Stories with a magazine devoted to science-fiction, Gillings got in touch with the proposed editor, 35 years-old aeroplane enthusiast T. Stanhope Sprigg, editor since 1924 of Air and Airways.
Invited by Sprigg to supply him with data on British science-fiction, Gillings put him in touch with numerous British authors, releasing a deluge of long-hoarded manuscripts, most of which were returned as unsuitable. Many were later submitted again, having been rewritten according to the specified requirements of the editor, who issued a statement deflning what types of story he intended to use.
Also submitted were manuscripts from U.S. authors Raymond Z. Gallun, Joe W. Skidmore, Lilith Lorraine, J, Harvey Haggard, Ed. Earl Repp, etc., which, on the whole, did not meet with approval.
Nor were the British efforts entirely satisfactory, and for twelve months interviews and correspondence took place between Sprigg and the authors, the latter submitting numerous synopses, and making every effort to fulfill the Editor's requirements to supply him with enough material to launch the publication. With the claim that the magazine would appear when a sufficient supply of acceptable material had been obtained, throughout 1936 provisional dates for the publication of the magazine were fixed, only to be postponed time and time again.
SPRIGG SPRINGS SURPRISE
Declaring that the magazine would be a 1/- monthly, illustrated by Fortunino Matania (who has illustrated science-fiction serials in Passing Show), and entitled Astonishing Stories, Sprigg stated that the first issue would appear in October, but publication was later suspended until January, 1937. Renewed enquiries into the sales of American fantasy magazines in England, however, lead to
the announcement that the
outlook was not sufficiently promising to
justify the experiment, and that all further
development of the project had been abandoned.
In returning authors' manuscripts, Editor Sprigg thanked them for their co-operation, regretted the disappointment caused, and held out no hope of the scheme being revived in the future.
Further recorded in the last issue of TOMORROW was how Gillings finally persuaded World's Work, Ltd., to take an interest in matters scientifictional, culminating in the publication, in June, 1937, of a trial issue of Tales of Wonder. For six months, British fans, authors and publishers waited for news of its progress ...
Then, in the January 1938 issue of Scientifiction, came the announcement that Tales of Wonder would henceforth appear quarterly. Newnes' plans were immediately revived, and to startled British authors went another request for manuscripts, announcing that a trial issue of a magazine entitled 'Astonishing Tales of Science- Fiction' was being prepared. Manuscripts again poured in, and as these were read and selected, the name of the magazine was altered to the more modest Fantasy.
For illustrations Sprigg contacted S. R. Drigin, who was responsible for many of the covers and interior illustrations in the 2d weekly, 1934, science-fiction periodical Scoops, published by Pearsons, an affiliated company with Newnes. Drigin was asked to do the magazine's cover, and the interior illustrations for the cover story. Other interior artists were G. Blow, R. H. Evens and P. Knott.
In an account of its features and policy, in the last issue of TOMORROW, Sprigg announced that Fantasy would seek to supply the British demand for a science- fiction magazine comparable to those published in America, and declared that his aim had been to present a collection of well-written science-fiction stories whose themes were neither too advanced to be understood by the average magazine reader, nor too elementary to be appreciated by the science-fiction connoisseur.
Eagerly awaited by curious British fans, the magazine, priced 1/-, appeared on bookstalls on July 29th, being well-advertised in other Newnes' publications. Drigin's cover was based on a scene in "The Menace of the Metal Men," a "robot" story by the Italian engineering expert A. Prestigiacomo. The story was written in English upon the suggestion of British novelist Compton Mackenzie, recently famed for the publication of his "Windsor Tapestry."
Two prominent "novelettes" featured were "The Red Magician;" by prolific 30- years old Blackpool author John Russell Fearn, and considered by many fans to be one of his best stories to date: and "Beyond the Screen." by "John Beynon," the pen-name of 35-years-old author John Beynon Harris, also considered by fans to be an excellent story.
Short stories in the issue were "Shadow- Man," by 33-years old Liverpool commercial traveller Eric Frank Russell; "Leashed Lightning" by veteran aviation expert J. E. Gurdon; and "San of Space" by Francis H. Sibson, rumoured to be a pseudonym.
Also included was a rocketry article by British Interplanetary Society Vice-President P. E. Cleator, entitled "By Rocket Ship to the Planets," with an illustration by George Blow adapted from the cover of Scoops No. 18.
Wrote Sprigg in a brief editorial: "What man will actually achieve tomorrow, the imagination of a gifted writer may forsee to-day. So comes Fantasy which, right or wrong in its visions of the future, is a new magazine of entertainment and high- adventure, more up-to-date than today's newspaper and containing, may be, the greatest news-stories of tomorrow."
Warned by TOMORROW'S last editorial that they should ask themselves "Is it Progress?" when passing their opinions on the latest additions to the realm of science-fiction magazines, fans unhesitatingly declared Fantasy to be a welcome newcomer, and showered letters of praise on the gratified editor.
LIVERPOOL LEADS LEEDS
AN inevitable accomplishment of any local science-fiction group is the publication of a "fan magazine." With the formation of the Science Fiction League in 1934, all its important chapters eventually commenced to issue publications, usually mimeographed, containing a variety of types of scientifictional news and views. One exception was the Leeds Chapter, the first overseas Chapter of the League. Although the possibilities of issuing a Chapter publication were investigated following its formation in April, 1935, no action was taken.
Then came the inauguration of the Science-Fiction Association in January 1937, and new groups were formed, being branches of the Association. The principle of issuing publications was still observed. From Nuneaton came the Bulletin of the Nuneaton Branch, together with Novae Terrae, the official monthly journal of the SFA. From Los Angeles came Imagination:- 'The Fanmag of the Future with a Future." But from Leeds came no publication: only the official publications and gazettes for the SFA.
Deciding in July, however, to scrap its year-old policy of weekly meetings in favour of a new, advanced programme on a monthly basis, Britain's oldest branch decided that the time had come when it, too, should issue a monthly news-sheet, designed primarily to keep local fans in contact with branch activities. Adopted as its title was the inspired Scientifictionaleodensian, roughly meaning "the inhabitant of Leeds who reads science-flction." To edit "Leo" was chosen cynical Bradford research chemist Albert Griffiths, with Branch Chairman Douglas William Frank Mayer as production manager, and Branch Secretary Frederick Victor Gillard as Circulation Manager and Stencil Cutter.
Appearing on September 20th, dated October, the issue, consisting of a single foolscap sheet mimeographed on both sides, contained an introductory editorial, a report of branch activities, an article on "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" by film-fan, Mayer, a forecast of forthcoming activities, and the first of a series of articles entitled "Who's Who in the Leeds Branch," featuring George Alwyn Airey.
Having taken three and a half years to issue its publication, the Leeds Branch was easily outpaced by the Liverpool Branch, which took about three and a half weeks. Holding its official inaugural meeting on August 26th, the Branch immediately set to work on its own publication, which was published in September, dated October.
Entitled Satellite, and edited and produced by clarinet player John F. Burke and tall and fair Wesso-worshipper David McIlwain, the magazine really originated prior to the branch's formation.
Some time ago, to Eastleigh fan Sam Youd was sent by Burke a large typed one-copy magazine entitled Cosmos, containing stories by Charles B. Maine, Dave McIlwain, and John Burke. Youd passed the publication on to SFA Librarian Eric C. Williams, who suggested to Burke and McIlwain that they should issue a duplicated publication of some sort. Their decision to do something about the matter coincided with the Liverpool Branch's decision to issue a periodical, and so originated Satellite.
Consisting of 24 half-foolscap pages, hectographed in red and purple, the magazine was produced in a room of Burke's, decorated with weird drawings by Virgil Finlay, and by paintings of witches by a friend of Burke's, who thinks science-fiction is crazy, but who plays the drums, and consequently frequently joins clarinet blower Burke and piano batterer McIlwain in holding "jam sessions."
With a cover by "Mack" (i.e. McIlwain); the issue contains short science-fiction stories by Guy Allen and Charles E. Maine, poems by "John Gabriel" (E. L. Gabrielson) and Sam Youd, a branch report by Secretary J. Allison Free, and articles by D. McIlwain and "Astra."
ARE you a society secretary? Have you something to sell? Is there something you want? Then advertise in TOMORROW, which has the largest circulation of any "fan-mag."- 20 Hollin Park Road, Roundhay, Leeds 8.
THE SCIENCE-FICTION FAN was the only American "fan-mag" to receive specific praise at the recent British Convention. It is a regular monthly hectographed publication containing full science-flction news and numerous interesting articles. Subscription $1 per year,- Olon F. Wiggins, 512-29th Street, Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.
READ science-fiction's only weekly Publication-The Science-Fiction News letter-for the latest up-to-date news on all aspects of science-fiction. Five cents a copy, six for 25 cents.-R. Wilson, Junr, 86-10, 117 Street, Richmond I3111, N.Y., U.S.A.
WANTED Amazing, Astounding, Wonder Stories. Also Weird and Strange Tales. 5/- for certain numbers. Also good science-fiction books.. Highest prices. All wanted for science-fiction library.- Evans, 101 Church-Street, London, N.W.8.
THE PLANETS AND MANby MAURICE K. HANSON
A Review of Certain Aspects of Interplanetary Travel..
With the rocket fuels now in his possession man may expect to land on the Moon within a score of years; with those same fuels his conquest of the solar system will proceed at an impressive though by no means meteoric speed. Yet if the claims that John W. Campbell makes for the atomic physicists are valid we shall be enjoying the fruits of atomic power before we cross space. If this is so the conquest of the solar system should go on at a greatly accelerated rate, for it seems likely that if we are clever enough to utilise the power of the atom at all, we shall know how to apply it to the propulsion of space-vessels.
With today's fuels it is possible to travel to the moon at a cost of less than 10/- a mile, a cost per mile considerably less than that of Howard Hughes' round the world flight of a few months ago. Powered by the atom, however, there seems no reason why travel through the solar system should be as costly as travel by bus today, on a mile for a mile basis. Atomic power will change interplanetary travel from a possible procedure to a commonplace one. Indeed, the whole history of the exploration of space will be sharply divided into the eras of the pre-atomic and the atomic.
We are at the moment more concerned with the former since it seems likely that space will first be crossed without the aid of the atom. The first objective will be the moon and the ship that goes there will differ rather considerably from the variety generally pictured in fiction. The astronauts will probably remain on the moon for a fortnight and then return with their data to a fairly lengthy spell of newspaper notoriety and adulation. But more will happen than that.
The public will become space-minded; Britain will no longer fancy herself the most air-minded nation but will turn her attention to the space beyond the skies. Assuming that there is still need for such organisations, A.R.P. will become S.R.P. Leading editorials will be written around the names of Jules Verne and H. G. Wells. Advertisements will announce that the astronauts breathed the National oxygen Co.'s air, that they were insured by the Jewel Assurance Society, and that they steadied their nerves with "Nervo." The Daily Express, then probably in its fifth million, will interview them and give a glowing description of the moon as a refuge for the isolationist. The films of the moon that the travellers bring back will attract huge audiences in cinema and television theatres.
The Government will set about the business of annexing the moon to the British Empire, for it is doubtful whether at that date there will have been any great steps towards the cultivation of a spirit of internationalism, and no one dare impute that the first men on the moon will be other than British! Other nations may claim a share of the booty but it is probable that no-one will be sufficiently desirous of acquiring the barren rock of the moon to go the length of waging war for it. It is possible, however, that the colonisation of the solar system will be controlled by an international commission which may perhaps be more successful than our present League of Nations. At any rate it is not likely that the technicians and scientists in whose keeping the possibility of the journey will rest will allow the exploitation of the moon to proceed in a haphazard manner.
The entire question of the colonisation of the solar system is an extremely difficult one. It is certain that to-day's totalitarian states would not be content to tolerate the development of the solar system by other states. By the time the question arises, however, it is quite possible that these states will not be as belligerent as they are at present and that the prejudices of nationalism though by no means extinct will be more amenable to reason. Insofar as they are at all habitable and useful to man it seems probable that the planets will be developed by the concerted efforts of the more enterprising . nations of the earth.
It might perhaps be as well to add that I have assumed that scientific progress and indeed, European civilisation itself, will not be seriously affected by any major war during the next two or three decades, an assumption which at the moment seems more than a little optimistic. If the assumption is not justified it does not necessarily invalidate the value of the article, for the arguments will apply to some extent at to whatever date interplanetary travel is postponed.
TRADE IN TREASURES
The resources of the planets will remain much the same, and may include much that it will be worth while to trade with Earth. The first fragments of the moon brought back to Earth will have an immense souvenir value and will be displayed by museums and hoarded as gems by the fatuous people who like to possess such things. But with rocket fuel at the price it is today there are comparatively few commodities that it would pay to trade regularly. Rare minerals, some new narcotic in which the dull-witted can lose their troubles, or some fantastic substance with properties we cannot imagine, to be employed in a manner equally unknown. In the preatomic era few other things could be worth transporting hundreds of thousands of miles.
If atomic power were available the difference in cost of terrestrial and interplanetary transport would be sufficiently small to enable less valuable goods to be freely traded between the planets - perhaps Venerian food and wines, treasures of Martian culture, amazing biological specimens from the outer planets for zoos and dissection, lunar lichens for sale to horticultural enthusiasts whose interest has been transferred from rock-gardens to mock lunar-gardens. Nor will human freight be neglected.
Until the days of atomic power interplanetary passenger services will not greatly flourish. The only humans to travel to the planets will be explorers and scientists with a sprinkling of the idle rich or that section of it that is far more rich that it is idle. A return ticket to the moon costing tens of thousands of pounds will not be an everyday investment. The public will have to rely upon the cinema and radio and the written word for its enjoyment of whatever delights the planets may have to offer. In view of the fact that most of its pleasures today are vicarious, this will be no very great privation. When the atom is tapped, however, their will be profound changes in this state of affairs; the luxury liners of space will appear and the fairly well-off will be able to cruise among the asteroids as today they cruise among the islands of the Mediterranean. The bank clerk and Government official, successful novelist and popular song-writer, will set foot upon the barren rocks of the moon, the rufous wastes of Mars. They may well venture further afield to the darkness of outer planets or the torrid Mercurian furnace.
The solar system will be under the
thumb of man. He is not likely to encounter
opposition from races with superior
knowledge. If such do in fact exist and
were interested in Man it is reasonable to
assume that they would have made his
acquaintance. Man will colonise the majority
of the planets with some difficulty
and by his conquest make his mark upon
the solar system. But the process will be
mutual and the solar system will make its
mark upon man.
GOOD FOR PHILOSOPHERS
No longer held by the gravitational apron strings of Mother Earth he will survive any cosmic disaster that may happen to his native planet. As the sun cools he can move to Venus, then Mercury and by that time he should know enough to take him to the system of another sun, a younger one. He can repeat the process until he is restricted by the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics and a run-down universe. Possibly he will out-manoeuvre even those. All this is possible once he has bridged the gulf between Earth and Moon. The realisation of what he has done will gradually be forced upon the most moronic of minds. Science will study a huge amount of new data and phenomena and will profit thereby; artists will discover new fields of experience on which to exercise their talents; and even philosophers will find something new upon which to equivocate.
Most of all, religion will be profoundly affected. To the average man Heaven is situated somewhere amongst the stars and his belief in it is strengthened by its physical inaccessibility. When he can travel through space to those very "stars," and when he can find no physical trace of the divine region, he may modify his religious views to some extent. It is possible, as has been pointed out more than once, that the ecclesiastics will view space- travel with disfavour for that reason, but there are so many things flourishing today which they criticise, that it does not seem that this will be a formidable deterrent. Familiarity with the planets should, on the other hand, tend to foster a religious spirit of another kind. Confronted by all the mysteries and alien beauty of other planets, the grandeur of the empty leagues of interplanetary space, and perhaps intoxicated by his own intrepidity in venturing amongst them, man will be inclined to see reflected in it all the existence of a Creator, a Star-Maker. It might be possible to prove him wrong, but if not, his cosmic religious feelings will at least be an advance upon his present rather petty and academic ones.
MICROBES FOR POSTERITY
"Six cultures of Bacteria, sealed in glass test-tubes, have been deposited in the corner-stone of the new biology building to remain there until the building is torn down. According to present building statistics the structure should last at least 150 or 200 years.
"The object of the experiment is to determine how long this type of microbe can exist outside of bodies. Sealed with the test-tubes is a statement typed on linen paper which reads.
"`These cultures are being sealed June 6, 1936. They have been taken from the culture library of the bacteriological laboratories at the University of Notre Dame. They have been examined micro- scopically and they have been shown to be in the spore state. They were viable when sealed.
"'To the one that opens them it is suggested that they be cultured on the medium on which they have been grown. The medium is veal infusion sugar. (Signed): James A. Reyniers, head of Laboratories of Bacteriology.'
"Spores are the resistant form of microbes and can withstand extremely high temperatures. They have been known to exist for years without food of any type. Stories have been reported of their being found in mummies taken from old Egyptian tombs, but these reports have never been scientifically substantiated.
"Among the six cultures were the germ which causes lockjaw, another which for the most part is harmless, and one which eventually becomes food for protozoa."-
A FORGOTTEN SCIENTIFILM.
by FRANK E. ARNOLD
This is "High Treason," the 1940 epic of 1930, and a genuine, 100 per cent. drama of the future. It was the second British- made talking-film and the first large- scale spectacle in sound made in any country. Its scope was not quite equal to that of "Things to Come," nevertheless it would be an astonishing achievement even today.
The story was a very strong one, based on 1930 topicalities that are still vitally important, despite the changed aspect of the world. Tension exists between the United States of Europe (dream of the late M. Briand, then living) and America on the Canadian frontier and elsewhere. It is fostered by a stop-at-nothing gang of anarchists, controlled and financed by arms-magnates. The Council of Nations wavers. The President of the League of Peace and his beautiful daughter strive to avert the threatened war, and the heroine finds herself in conflict with the opinions of her own fiancee, a Major in the Air Navy.
The excitements promised by such situations are obvious, and the producers gave them to us in full measure. They pictured the World of 1940 as one of gigantic buildings, large-scale television, high- speed motoring, flying with gigantic aerodromes (on which were staged some wonderful crowd scenes), the Channel Tunnel and superpowered armaments.
In this respect the film was criticised, and rightly, as time has shown, for being too much in advance for 1940. 1980 or so would have been a better date, but in so good a film it is a small point.
Through all this exciting spectacle there ran such drama-packed scenes as frontier gunfights, great air-raids, the mining of the Channel Tunnel, the panic of mass mobilisation, a dramatic assassination seen over television by the whole world, and the subsequent trial to bring the story to its powerful climax.
It seems amazing that so ambitious a film could have been made in those early days of sound, and almost incredible that it should have been forgotten so quickly. Yet fanmag critics hardly ever mention it, let alone describe and criticise it. Maybe the movement was too small and scattered in those days to give it much notice.
No film from America ever equalled it. There was a footling comedy called "Just Imagine," current about a year later, and M.G.M. made a weak echo of "High Treason" about four years back entitled "Men Must Fight."
CREDIBLE AND COHERENT
"High Treason" was much more credible and intelligent than "King Kong" or "The Invisible Man." It was more coherent and dramatic than "The Tunnel" and "F.P.1." made by the same firm a few years later. Even the never-to-be-forgotten "Things to Come" did not have the same quality of human interest.
All in all, the first talking scientifilm was a splendid achievement and deserves much more attention than it has received.
Exhibitors are giving "Things to Come" another run, cashing in on A.R.P. topicality. In a year's time the older epic will have considerable topicality and curiosity interest. What about shouting for it, fans?
GODS DO NOT DIE
by GERALD EVANS
In the first place, the dread of death is an inherent quality of self-preservation, and any man who wishes to die, obviously dislikes living. Even a bishop, despite his belief in a wonderful hereafter, will spend hundreds of pounds in consulting the giants of the medical world to delay his threatened extermination.
Scientists are doing great things, and are going to achieve yet greater things, but society, or democracy, or whatever else you like to name it, is very reluctant to encourage biologists to fight death. After all, it is a biological problem, and I write this in all truth, a problem capable of solution.
The irony is, that the world's treasuries pour out rivers of gold to wash the feet of grisly death by the production of armaments. Biologists can earn stupendous rewards by inventing processes for spreading infection; indeed, a scientist who could resurrect the Plague, and control it, so that it could be transmitted to an "enemy" community, would receive a knighthood, and a monument after his demise!
Why does Death hold such dominion over the reason of men? Death already commands such agents as cancer, tuberculosis, infantile paralysis, and that other horror-senile decay! Is death making microbes of men, to destroy mankind?
But Death is not even good enough for today, even our scientists could battle it, were they encouraged to do so. I believe it was Prof. J. B. S. Haldane who wrote, that if he was granted the money spent on one battle cruiser, he could add ten years to the expected span of a Britisher's life! And Haldane meant that!
It would seem however, that our leading biologists are burdened with a Professorship as well, trapped in an economic quandary, to teach rich men's sons, irrespective of whether they possess the necessary mental wherewithal, the rudiments of biology.
BEATEN BY BEASTS
In times of yore, when men walked the jungles, a long life was unnecessary, for man was then but a hairy beast, but when his intelligence dawned, he began to claim distinction over his simian cousins. He was a semi-god, and yet today, after many decades of civilisation, the lowly tortoise can live for over two centuries! Beasts can live far centuries, yet loftier beings die!
The greatest tragedy of all, however, is death's complete disregard for men whom the world can ill afford to lose. Even Julian Huxley, H. G. Wells, Prof. J. B. S. Haldane and a host of other super-intellectuals; men, who could, if they had the time, conquer death itself, must perish. At seventy a modern scientist is just beginning to grasp a glimmering of the scheme of things, but at eighty, his brain is disintegrating, preparatory to his extermination. If only these men had the time, what might they accomplish?
The stupidity, and the petty sneering of little men, is a deterrent to science, but death is ten thousand times worse. Indeed, a crisis has arisen. Certain scientists are recognising, that there is no room for death and Progress. One must go. Which shall it be?
Were it not for my belief that science- fiction, which one writer recently described as a holy crusade, will eventually stimulate people to loftier thinking, I should be very pessimistic about the future of man.
We are on the brink of journeying to the planets, and of the general control of primitive elemental forces, but death will laugh at these clever men to be; oceans of tears are yet to be shed, a trillion trillion hearts are going to ache for loved ones, but degree by degree, upon the granite heights of life, man is cutting those niches, wherein to place his feet, to hoist him higher, until one day instead of cowing before the grim reaper he will look down upon it.
Tomorrow's greatest achievement will be human immortality, and no invention, either now, of the past, or in the future, will ever surpass it. For come what may, if men are to be gods, death must go, for gods do not die.
`WHEN MAN BEGAN'
"A STRIKING new departure in screen drama is promised with the announcement by Hal Roach that 'When Man Began' has been scheduled for production. The announcement follows six months of extensive experimentation by the studio's special effects department under Roy Seawright and Frank Young. Seawright and Young are finally satisfied that they can bring to the screen the animal and reptilian specimens with which the earth was populated at the time on man's beginning.
"To ensure authenticity, the studio is in consultation with Ales-Krdlicken, curator of the Anthropological Division of the United States National Museum at Washington, D.C., for assistance on the preparation of the film story. No big film names will be used in the cast. Roach plans to cast his players on the basis of their physique, and will select them from among leading athletes. 'When Man Began' will be released by United Artists."
THE DOOMSDAY MENby J.B. Priestly (Heinemann 7/6)
The three find they are looking for the same persons, who are three brothers. These three brothers, who are apparently quite mad, have determined to destroy the earth, or at least its inhabitants, by the disintegration of a large deposit of a new element, "Paulium," by means of high speed particles - "dynatrons" - both discovered by Prof. Englefield, who is one of the brothers. However, the experiment is a failure, the three brothers being killed in the ensuing explosion.
A weak thriller, faintly scientifictional at the climax.
Mr. Priestley has recently written two quite successful plays, "Time and the Conways" and "I Have Been Here Before," both of a mildly scientifictional trend, so his latest novel is not surprising. What is surprising is that the novel is so poor.
With very pleasant, memories of "I Have Been Here Before" in my mind, it was in anticipation that I began reading. The first chapter completely killed these anticipations, for after several hundred words about an unbelievably dull game of tennis, the author lands into an equally dull and equally banal love affair which would not be out of place in any of the score or so women's weeklies. Numbed, but determined, I waded through to the obvious ending and, closing the book thankfully, sorrowfully wondered what had become of the Priestley whose sparkling plays and gift of sound characterisation have made him deservedly famous.
The novel is ridiculous and the characters more so. There is no excuse for such cheap rubbish from an author of Mr. Priestley's standing, for it is the sort of stuff one finds among so-called "thrillers." Even a "pulp" writer would have made a better job of it.
FULL CIRCLEBy EDWARD LANG
A survey of two books by J. Leslie Mitchell
The habit of blaming primitive man for our present troubles is rather wide-spread; the writings of J. Leslie Mitchell (who died in 1935) put forward very effectively another point of view. These two fantasies are no exception, but they are good stories in themselves, and the "message" is not unduly obtrusive.
"Three Go Back" (Jarrolds, 7/6, 1932) tells of the airship "Magellan's Cloud" which, while crossing the Atlantic, strikes a mountain that has risen mysteriously from the sea. The airship is destroyed and the three survivors - an armaments manufacturer, a "militant pacifist" and a woman novelist - exist precariousiy on the mysterious land which should not be there, getting disturbing hints that something is very much wrong. There's a sabre-tooth tiger, a mammoth, and presently the hunters come, and the three are obliged to accept the fact that they have been thrown back 20,000 years, and are on a long-vanished continent in mid-Atlantic.
Expecting savages and finding human beings, they go with the hunters eastwards, for the land is already sinking, and from here to its splendid conclusion the book is a vivid and exciting portrayal of life before any civilisation existed.
The people are the ancestors of the Cro-Magnons who will later reach Spain - "men as nature intended them to be. So they will continue for thousands of years, till by an accident in the Nile valley agriculture and its attendant rites will be evolved. And from that accident in 4000 B.C. will rise transforming the world-the castes and gods, the warrior and slave, the cruelties and cannibalisms . . ."
"Gay Hunter" (Heinemann, 7/6, 1934), though not a sequel, might be called "Three Go Forward." The method of the transition, this time to the future, is even slighter, but the story is at least as good as its predecessor.
The scene is Southern England, long after the complex civilisation of the "Hierarchs" has been overthrown. Man has returned to the happy primitive, recovering from civilisation as from a disease.
A machine in a ruined tower speaks in the long-dead voices of the Hierarchs telling of their triumphs ...
"We have prolonged life and mitigated death, created new life in the test-tubes of our laboratories, altered the periodicity of the seasons, reached in the arts the verge of a world that marks a new and subtle transformation in the human mind.
Now London is a gigantic ruin, where presently two of the three time travellers attempt to impose their brand of civilisation on the people, and annihilate themselves and the city while using the remaining power of the Hierarchs.
Through all the book, as through its companion, the author's sense of atmosphere in his descriptions of a world without cities and machines, and a life all but devoid of possessions but lived to the full, induces in the reader almost a nostalgia, and perhaps a question whether the amenities of modern life are worth all their attendant complications.
The pictured unspoilt humanity of the proto-Cro-magnons, very much at variance with popular ideas of the "cave man," may be thought unfounded, but I believe that the more recent doctrines of the "Diffusionists" contradict the old school of anthropology, which insisted on the warlike and bloodthirsty instincts of primitive man. So these fantasies seem to me to ask a question of some importance - are we on the right path, or must we find a third way between "the tyranny of nature and the tyranny of the state"?
THE TIME CAPSULEA glimpse of a new project for burying the present
Tired of the old cliche of "burying the past," other Americans have decided to adapt the practice of "burying the present," and the organisers of the New York World's Fair, which opens next April, have arranged that they, too, shall leave some gift to posterity. More modest in scope than the Oglethorpe project, the scheme provides for the burying of a "time capsule," addressed to the scientists of 6939 AD.
Eight feet tall and eight inches wide, the "time capsule" was manufactured by Westinghouse at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, who construced it out of seven sections of their newly discovered "hard copper," and lined it with an inner envelope of Pyrex glass. The "hard copper," or "Cupaloy," is expected to grow harder with time, and to remain unaffected even by sea water seeping through New York's foundation soil.
Buried fifty feet below the ground-level, the streamlined "tomb" will contain all manner of records and oddments of our civilisation, from electric-light bulbs to coughdrops, and from women's hats to gas-masks.
If the habit of "burying the present" catches on as a publicity stunt, we can foresee the time when there will be crypts and capsules all over the place, addressed to every conceivable year in future, culminating, perhaps, in a few thousand years' time, with the formation of an international body of "crypt openers."
Model of the car of the future, designed by Raymond Loewe, to be exhibited in the Transportation Section of the New York World's Fair.
BACK NUMBERS of Scientifiction obtainable price 7d. each from W. H. Gillings, 15 Shere Road, Ilford, Essex. Back Numbers of TOMORROW (excluding first two issues) obtainable, price 6d. each, from 20 Hollin Park Road, Leeds, 8.
by P.E. CLEATOR***
IN the course of the past few weeks I have been almost swamped out of house and home by a sudden flood of Society publications. There have arrived, in quick succession, no less than three printed Journals-Astronautics (NO. 41) of the American Rocket Society, Astronomische Rundschau (NO. 2) of the new German Society, and The Astronaut (No.2 Vol. 2) of the Manchester Interplanetary Society - and a nondescript assortment of duplicated Bulletins from sources both variated and numerous. The journals are admirable - and the Bulletins execrable!
It has always been, and it will probably ever remain, my firm conviction that mimeographed reports are not worth one tenth of the time and trouble their preparation involves. Aesthetically, they are an eyesore. As a permanent record, they are hardly worth the slight effort of preserving. And for the purpose of propagandism, they are worse than useless. For the defence, I am aware, it is urged that whereas the question of cost seriously restricts the output of printed Journals, monthly Bulletins provide an inexpensive means of keeping Society members and others in reasonably close touch with events, and that as such, they are necessary. In my time, I have prayerfully perused the contents of dozens of these slovenly sheets. I dispute the necessity. ...What in actual fact do they contain? For the most part, the veriest twaddle - words to the effect that at a recent meeting a good time was had by all; demands that recalcitrant members remit their subscriptions instanter - or else; and clarion calls to readers for God's sake to send in some suggestions. And so on. And so on and so on and so on. Here, I heave no bricks at the heads of the perspiring compilers of these inane reports. They surely face a Herculean task - the making of sense out of nonsense, the creating of something out of nothing. No wonder the result of their labours, intellectually, is on a level with a Parish Magazine!
What, then, is the remedy? A constructive mood being miraculously upon me, I advocate the total abolition of the duplicated Bulletin in favour of a quarterly printed Journal. Do I hear it objected that three months is a long time to wait for news? With the greatest of respect, what news? The stock banalities aforementioned? Or is there, perchance, a danger that someone will abscond to the moon three days after an issue of a Journal has appeared? Such a calamity, it seems to me, could be averted by the simple expedient of producing a special edition. A far-seeing Editor, indeed, might prepare such an edition in advance ...
A curse, then, on Bulletins. Let them be anathema!
TELEPHONIC CONVERSATION PIECE
MR. CLEATOR? This is the Daily Wail, Mr. Cleator. I wonder if you could give me some information about your proposed trip to the moon? ... Who said you were proposing to visit the moon? Why, I ... Never mind who said it? Just as you wish, Mr. Cleator, just as you wish. You are at all events interested in the possibilities of reaching the moon, are you not? ... You are? Then perhaps you can tell me how long it will be before such a journey is successfully accomplished? . Certainly I'm aware that you are not God Almighty, Mr. Cleatar! I merely thought
... At the present rate of progress it may be five hundred years? Or maybe five thousand? Or even ten? Thank you, Mr. Cleator! ... Public apathy, you say? And lack of funds? And Governmental interference? ... Certainly I understand the position. And of course I'll be glad to inform our readers ...
BRITISH SCIENTISTS MAKING
FOR MARS: THE MOON SHORTLY
TO BE ANNEXED TO THE
L. S. DEUS
NEVER-ENDING collections for un-married mothers, inebriated clergymen, cannibalistic negroes, and others deserted by God. Backsheesh for bishops. Unlimited funds for spreading the Gospel, Holy Truths, and other lies. Money for the building of churches, and similar monuments to the superstitions of man. Largesse for lay-brothers. Princely endowments for monastries, nunneries, and other such kennels of virginity. Vast sums for the purpose of convincing the 1,149,500,000 non-Christians who infest this ball that they are wrong about God. Cash for the clergy. Remuneration for rain-making, the curing of cancer, and similar manifestations of ecclesiastical magic. Untold millions for rearmanent in preparation for the next Holy War to end war - but not a red cent for legitimate rocket research.
MY chief complaint against the French is that they neither speak nor understand plain English. This is surely an intolerable state of affairs. Yet worse, they seem inexplicably to prefer some un- intelligible jargon of their own, thereby adding insult to injury. Do they themselves really comprehend this gibberish? There are times when I wonder. There are times, indeed, when I ponder if God Himself can make head or tail of it. That He understands Hebrew, and possibly Latin, I do not presume to question. For aught I know to the contrary, He may even possess a smattering of Welsh. But that He could have located the "Palais de la Decouverte" at the Paris Exhibition in less than a week I incline to doubt. It took me the best part of a day and a half to find it myself ...
What lured me to Paris, causing me to forsake the natural delights of the Bavarian Alps and the Austrian Tyrol? The city of scarlet itself? Bah! The Huns have my permission to cleanse it with fire anytime they so desire. The Exhibition, perchance? Yes and no - mostly no. Actually, one room of one building of the Exhibition - a room in the aforementioned "Palais." And what did this Holy of Holies contain? It contained a model rocket, a rocket motor, some photographs, and a number of diagrams. Did I, then, journey half across Europe for nothing? Alas, not so! The railway officials insisted that I paid my fare . . .
And now I see that the American Rocket Society is co-operating with the authorities of the coming New York World's Fair with a view to arranging a rocket display thereat. Lead us not again into temptation, O Lord!
ENQUIRIES regarding the probable height of up, and the possible depth of down. Enquiries as to whether it is anticipated that the Martians will turn out to be Christians, or merely Baptists. Enquiries in connection with the approaching end of this ball, now long overdue. Enquiries concerning the effects of swallowing a dose of disdiazoamidobenzene mixed with o-nitrophenyl-hydroxy-ethyl-methyl ketone. Enquiries as to whether the Second Coming will be accomplished by rocket. Enquiries about the surface temperature of the sun 40,000,000,000 years ago. Enquiries regarding the aether, the Angels of Mons, and the location of Heaven. Enquiries concerning the precise nature of a mysterious object supposedly observed in the sky one night last June by a Girl Guide who is shortly to be married and plans to visit India in the event of her husband-to-be not losing his job. And sometimes, enquiries which I can answer ...
VISITORS who can only stay for five minutes and stay for five hours. Visitors who suck their teeth. Visitors who make jokes about Mars Bars. Visitors who perpetually sniff. Visitors who quote Dickens, the sayings of Pastor Chillingham, and passages from Holy Writ. Visitors
(Continued on Page 13)
THE SMILE OF THE SPHINXby WILLIAM F. TEMPLE
Believing that our readers would be interested to learn how such an unusual story as"The Smile of the Sphinx" published in the September issue of "Tales of Wonder," came to be written, we invited the author, William F. Temple, to tell us the "Story Behind the Story." Here it is.
When the Reader's eye alighted on the Editor's panel of praise, he said "Bah!" emphatically. And again when he had read the story. "You seem to have got hold of an original idea, all right," he remarked to the Author, "but the so-called story is just a mass of explanation; the plot is non-existent."
Replied the Author indignantly: "All that explanation was necessary to put over the idea. It was sales-talk. The idea would simply not have been accepted without it. There was no room left for much of a plot."
"Bad construction," murmured the Reader, and the Author exploded. "What kind of a plot could there be?" he demanded. "The whole point of the thing is the doubt about the cats. A more elaborate plot would have to assume that either the cats were the villains of the piece, which would have been too steep for you to swallow; or else that they were just cats after all - in which case the story falls flat."
"I don't like stories that leave things up in the air," asserted the Reader, doggedly. "I like all the ends tucked in . . "
The conflict waged on, and went whirling away down into the subconscious. I reflected on how the Author had come to write the story. He had been searching for a new science-fiction theme, and had been pondering vaguely on a "things-are-not-always-what-they- seem" notion. He thought the world took too much for granted from the external evidence. Might not some very familiar and solid-seeming things be only shams, bluffs, mere facade? Concealing what?
In this frame of mind he went down to Ted Carnell's house at Plumstead on the eve of the SFA London Convention, to help plan that affair. There was a cheerful company in the front room - Ted, Les Johnson, Maurice Hanson, Eric Williams, Ken Chapman, Arthur Clarke, and Wally Gillings. Plenty of beer and talk. Fans aired their views on every conceivable subject under the sun - and above it.
Ted's big fat cat, a wise old animal in his late 'teens, sat half-dozing and purring benignly on a chair in the middle of the room, "a look of complacent felicity about him." The Author regarded him, and was suddenly struck with the idea: Suppose he can understand what we are saying, and is only pretending indifference? Suppose he has a greater mind than we give him credit for? Our estimate of his intelligence is only based on his behaviour. Suppose that is just "acting?"
CATS AND CATAPHYSICS
The Author voiced this thought to certain of the company. Les, Eric, Maurice, and Arthur sat around the cat, stroked and prodded and discussed it, and all the time it behaved just like a normal cat. The Author ventured that this behaviour was actually covering a profound chagrin and annoyance at being suspected, but that the cat's superb acting was preventing us from taking our own theory very seriously. And in fact the cat triumphed eventually, and the whole thing passed off as a joke.
The Author thought it was too preposterous an idea to use for a story, and it was not considered again until one evening some time later, during a discussion with Eric Williams in a homeward-bound suburban train. The arguments which came to light in that discussion persuaded the Author that the idea might after all be put over with a fair amount of credibility, but it depended upon the presentation. He decided to have a go at it, eventually producing "The Smile of the Sphinx."
Personally, without false modesty, I think he was only indifferently successful.
MORE NEW WRITERS FOR 'TALES OF WONDER'
The other new transatlantic contributor will be Francis Flagg, who will be represented with a short story of a robot, entitled "The Chemical Brain." Edmond Hamilton again appears with "The Space Beings," telling of how super-beings from space trawled Earth's sea of atmosphere. Charles F. Hall, author of the popular "Man Who Lived Backwards," makes his second appearance with another ingenious Time-tale, "The Time-Drug." John Edwards also reappears with a short story entitled, "Universe of Babel," while the noted mystery and science-fiction author, J. M. Walsh, remembered for his "Vandals of the Void," makes a come-back with "When The Earth Tilted."
Another well-known British novelist - Alfred Gordon Bennett - will be represented in the issue with a short story, "The Ego of The Ant," and it is hoped to include an original story by Geo. C. Wallis, one of the famous combination who wrote "The World at Bay," which will present a new idea for travelling to the planets.
Finally, Arthur C. Clarke, BIS and SFA enthusiast, will describe in an article the nature and possibilities of "Man's Empire of Tomorrow."
WANTED: copy of "20th Century Inventions - a Forecast," by Geo. Sutherland, published by Longmans in March, 1901 at 4/6. Also illustrated edition of "Etidorpha; or The End of Earth," by John Uri Lloyd, published in 1901 by Dodd, Dodd, Mead and Co., at $2.50. - D. W. F. Mayer, 20 Hollin Park Road, Leeds 8.
WOULD like to correspond with English science-fiction collectors. Would also like to buy or trade science-fiction. What have you? - E. E. Weinmann, 57J Lyndhurst Street, Rochester, N.Y., U.S.A.
IN good condition, one copy each Astounding Stories, April 1932, and Amazing Stories Quarterly, Winter 1932. What offers? - Taylor, 4 Bridge Road, Litherland, Liverpool 21.
WELLS STARTED ITby ALLEN GLASSER
For prologue to this article see "Candid Comments"
CREDIT TO CREATOR
Practically every story that has appeared in the various science-fiction magazines which have sprung up during the past few years can be traced directly back to one or another of Wells's fantastic tales. While it is true that Jules Verne preceded Wells in the writing of this type of work, the English author really deserves the credit - or blame - for founding modern science-fiction. Verne touched on comparatively few subjects, and most of them are now outmoded and commonplace. But the fertile imagination of Wells knew no bounds, and many of his daring concepts are yet to be realised. Thus, his ideas may still be used - and used they are!
Perhaps the most popular form of science-fiction is the interplanetary yarn, dealing with trips through space to other worlds, and adventures thereon. Although Wells was not the originator of this this particular kind of story, his fantastic novel, "The First Men in the Moon," has become a standard guide for all writers of interplanetary tales. It was in this book that Wells devised a "gravity-nullifier" to facilitate space travel, a convenient invention that has since been employed by scores of science-fiction authors.
In "The War of the Worlds," Wells not only introduced the idea of an attack on earth by creatures of another planet, but describes a weapon that spread death and destruction by generating "heat rays." In his "Plattner Story," the Fourth Dimension made its first appearance in fiction. In "The New Accelerator," he discovered a drug that could greatly increase a person's rate of existence. In "The World Set Free" he presented the possibilities of atomic energy ... All these stories have served as prototypes for modern science-fiction yarns.
But it is "The Time Machine" that has inspired the greatest number of Wells's literary disciples to go and do likewise. Before that classic fantasy was written, the idea of travelling in time - that is, transporting oneself bodily by mechanical means into the past or future - had never appeared in print. Today, "time travelling" is a stock subject in science-fiction.
It is no exaggeration to say that the basic idea, if not the entire plot, of each and every fantastic story that Wells ever wrote has been utilised by writers for current science-fiction periodicals. Even a casual examination of these magazines will reveal the truth of this statement. In fact, Wells's highly original themes have been reworked so many times in the past few years that by now they have become stereotyped formulas, familiar to every reader, writer and editor of scientific fantasy.
But apparently the public still likes them - which is a good thing for the authors and publishers, and a splendid tribute to H. G. Wells.
Science-Fiction's Story - Continued
THE ADVENT OF 'WONDER'by "FANTASIA"
The seventh article in the series describing the development of science-fiction in America
Though, over there, the circumstances were somewhat different. For reasons which do not concern us, Hugo Gernsback, who first launched Amazing under the aegis of the Experimenter Publishing Co., suddenly left them to their own devices and formed the Stellar Publishing Corporation,. for the purpose of producing Science Wonder Stories and other magazines. So, in June, 1929, appeared what was to become, a year later, just Wonder Stories, and later still, Thrilling Wonder Stories.
In the first issue of his new magazine, as Editor-in-Chief (which position he had occupied with Amazing), the indomitable Hugo described how he had started the movement of science-fiction in America in 1908, through his first magazine, Modern Electrics; how he had gradually grouped about him an enlarging circle of authors, whose work improved as the years went by; how that everybody who had any imagination at all was now clamouring for science fiction "a tremendous new force in America." These potential readers had themselves decided what the new magazine should be called, by means of popular vote. "Many thousands were circularised . . . The result was truly amazing." They had also told him what type of stories they wanted, which he pledged himself to publish.
A novel feature of Science Wonder was the "imposing array" of scientific authorities and educators who comprised its Board of Associate Science Editors, whose function it was (so Gernsback said) to "pass upon the scientific correctness of stories," and "be of the greatest aid in mapping the future course of science-fiction. There has been altogether too much pseudo-science-fiction of a questionable quality in the past. Over-enthusiastic authors with little scientific training have rushed into print and unconsciously misled the reader by the distortion of scientific facts to achieve results that are clearly impossible . . .
As Literary Editor, Gernsback appointed David Lasser, later president of the American Interplanetary Society, and author of "The Conquest of Space." Frank R. Paul - better known as "artist Paul" - appeared as Art Director, and illustrated the new magazine instead of Amazing. Amongst the contributors to the first issue were Irvin Lester and Fletcher Pratt, Dr. David H. Keller and Stanton A. Coblentz. One of Wells' short stories was reprinted, and sketches accompanying each story enabled the reader to see exactly what the author looked like. "Science News of the Month" was featured, and correspondence columns were immediately introduced under the heading, "The Reader Speaks," while the motto adopted for the magazine proclaimed that "Prophetic Fiction is the Mother of Scientific Fact." Readers were also invited to send in letters on the subject of "What Science-Fiction Means to Me," for the best of which a monthly 50. dollar prize was offered.
In the second issue, Jack Williamson and Harl Vincent were well to the fore, while in the third, Ed Earl Repp and D.D. Sharp made their bow. An important development, which was later to give rise to the "science article" idea, was the printing of Capt. Hermann Noordung's consideration of "The Problems of Space Flying," which lasted for three issues, and proved immensely popular. Simultaneously, Gernsback commenced a series of editorials on the "Wonders" of this, that and the other, which went on for years afterwards.
(To be continued)
TIME-TRAVELLINGBy M. P. SHIEL
The author of "The Young Men Are Coming", etc., discusses
But for Mr. H. G. Wells' Time and Time-Machine there was an excuse: somewhere in the nineties of another century a person named Wells thought that "a cube has length, breadth, thickness and Duration!" with a capital D (I hope); but it was not the present Mr. Wells who said that, it was another person who did not know what species of thing an atom is: for, of course, a person who knows something is not the same person as a person who does not know it, since knowledge is a part of personality. The present. Mr. Wells knows, and doubtless smiles at the idea of a cube having duration, or at a person, or anything, having duration - save One, save Force. A cube, a person, anything, is made of atoms - partly, anyway; atoms are moving systems; and, of course, a moving system is at every instant a new thing.
Suppose that after a million ages the parts (electrons) of an atom got back by chance to the exact arrangement which the atom's parts had at some instant a million ages before, still we should not have the same atom back again, for though the parts' positions are again the same, the parts themselves are not the same, as we might be sure without the wave-mechanics of Schrodinger or de Broglie, by which an electron's existence, like that of everything else, is only momentary, electrons being waves, and, evidently, a wave is at every instant another wave: so that the Victorian "Brook" that sang "I go on for ever" was hardly reflective. "I" ... what? Obviously a brook is ever being another brook. And all things are brooks.
When Mungo Park asked his Africans "Is it the same sun that comes up every morning, or another sun?" he probably thought that the true answer is "it is the same;" but, of course, the true answer is "it is another": for though it occupies the same space which yesterday's sun would have occupied, if it had undergone no change, yesterday's sun has undergone changes, has become different, and a different thing is another thing: to fancy any longer that it is the same thing hardly seems strong in the head. The Tuesday sun would be another than the Monday sun, if it were different in one atom; but it is different in every atom; and when we say "look, new moon," that is just the truth.
DUNNE, DYNES AND DIMENSIONS
However, Mr. Lang, in rejecting Mr. Wells, falls back upon Mr. J. W. Dunne: in rejecting Time-Machines, falls back upon Dreams, for it appears that in dreams one may travel on a Time-Machine not made with steel. Mr. Dunne's explanation being that Time is a "dimension" - of something! - to which dimension one is in a special relation in sleep. That it is a dimension was likewise Mr. Wells' idea, is likewise Einstein's, for whom the universe is four-dimensional, is Space-Time, a "Continuum" of length; breadth, depth, and-Time.
This, though, as Spencer used to say, "cannot be imagined." When the good Einstein says to me "Try to imagine it," my reply is "You try, then come and let me know how you got on." If it were true, Mind would be a foreigner in the cosmos - which, however, is not to say that it is untrue, but only to say that it can never be science, since we can never know what we are fundamentally powerless to imagine.
"Dimension" indeed is a space-term, inapplicable to Time, which is not, like Space, an existence, but is just a ratio of Force to the product of Space and Mass.
Suppose that once upon a time the force of a dyne was applied an instant to the mass of a gram, then the mass, encountering no resistence, moved, is for ever moving on; not infinitely quickly, not infinitely slowly; how quickly, how slowly, is an inherence in Being, every movement in the universe taking place at the same ratio, the ratio or "rate" at which children grow, frogs hop, sceptics and inventors cogitate, clocks' hands revolve, meteors pitch, suns rush and shout; that ratio is Time, so t=C(sm/f), where t is the time, s the distance done to date, m the mass, f the force, C a constant; t varying as s and m, varying inversely as f, having no existence except as a ratio between existences: as there may be a ratio between a cheese and a chisel, but no such existence as cheese-chisel.
TIME AND TOM
But in Mr. Dunne's fancy not only is nine an existence, a fourth "dimension," but, as though four were not one too many, there are more than four; there is fifth, sixth, and so on, and there is Observer Two (after Death One!) to be aware of Time Two, as there is Observer Three (after Death Two?) to be aware of Time Three, and so on: so in dreams (since sleep is something like death) "we," being then something like Observer Two, see the future a little, and then "we" die, "we" are Observers Two, and see it clearly. But the fact that there is some distinction between Observer One and Observer Two certainly means that "we" can't be both, for, if Observer Two is different, is another, is not "we"; so when someone named Tom is resurrected by the arch-angel's trump, it is someone immortal who is resurrected; but that is not the Tom who was buried: that Tom was mortal: so how can a different Tom be the same Tom, an immortal Tom the same Tom as a mortal Tom? To think this does not seem reasonable.
It appears indeed that people in sleep do (inexactly) see "future" happenings, i.e. see happenings belonging to a farther- on point of the progress of the gram- mass struck by the dyne: for this is the horologe of the universe, the distance, the length, the space-measurement, which a
unit of mass once struck in eternity by a
unit of force has travelled, or would have
travelled, if struck. But such "future"
dreams do not need speculations so quaint
as "Time One," "Time Two," to explain
We have a hint for their explanation in the fact that the Time Travelling in them is never far, never farther than the lifetime of the dreamer; and always the dreamer is in the dream. This merely means that what we call "I" is a series of millions of persons (who occupy spaces continuous with the space occupied by the first of these persons in a mother's womb). Now, each of these persons, though different by billions of changes from all the others, is still very like some of the others; if, then, one of these persons while asleep happens to be very like another of them who will be turning up tomorrow, next week, next year, then the person asleep will almost be that future person, and will experience (inexactly) the circumstances which will be the environment, will be part and parcel, of that future person.
For, if "I" am eating, "I" am an eater person, eating is part and parcel of "me": and, if "I" am dancing, "I" am a dancer person; dancing is part and parcel of another "me." So the sleeper sees (inexactly) the circumstances of the person who he almost is; and he had better be asleep to see them, for then he has no circumstances of his own (of which he is conscious) to distract his attention, so that he may now have an inexact, an "almost" exact, vision of the future person who, for a moment, he almost is - for a moment, I say, for even long dreams endure only a moment, and during the millionth of a second while one of his present selves is very like one of his future selves, he has dreamt a landscape and a story.
If the dreamer dreams of circumstances which never occurred, nor will ever occur, he is then a person whom he would have been very like, who he would "almost" have been, if he had not fallen asleep. If the dreamer's dream is incoherent, mixed-up, unreasonable, the person he then is, is very like two, or more, persons to whom different circumstances corresponded, or will correspond, and he observes the different circumstances belonging to these persons jostling in a hotch-potch.
Reprinted by kind permission of the Editor,
from "Sunday Referee" of October 24th, 1937.
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.
HOME, SWEET HOME
OUR article by Mr. Chibbett in the summer issue of TOMORROW proved to be of particular interest to me, as for several years now I have been making a study of the literature of Spiritualism and its related phenomena, certainly not miraculous, but merely a section of the natural world that has not so far received the attention it deserves. Whether the explanation of these phenomena lies in "Serialism" or a series of interpenetrating worlds of any other of the many scientifictional types I am not prepared to say. It certainly appears to me that the position of the hard and fast materialist is daily becoming more and more untenable. I shall just conclude this paragraph by saying that to condemn without investigation cannot under any circumstances be called a scientific attitude.
With Mr. Gabriel I would agree as to the reality of thought, and with Mr. Gabriel I would say that as regards the progress of the human race I am an unrepentant optimist. As regards the method of mending this so very ill world, my own view is that any attempt to mend it by force would be worse than the disease. The disease to me is only the usual sickness caused in many people by a change of dwelling. The world has left its old house of the Feudal system and moved to a new house in the town of scientific democracy.
As a result of the change of air the world is ill, but it is gradually becoming used to the new conditions, and in a short time will be well again. I do not consider the present so-called capitalist system as having any of the essentials of a permanent system; it changes too rapidly for that.
To continue my simile, perhaps the world is staying in a boarding house until its new house is ready. Its old house was not any too comfortable, but naturally the boarding house, as is their way, is less comfortable than either home.
The problems of the world will gradually settle themselves. If the world likes it can be thrown out by its landlady and have to go into a house needing still much done to it; or it can amicably leave its lodgings taking with it the goodwill of its landlady and her aid in settling in the new house. Capitalism has prepared the way by starting to accustom the world to its new conditions. Science-fiction can perhaps play its part as the Estate-Agent's prospectus of the new house, but not as a series of poison-pen letters trying to make trouble between the world, its landlady, capitalism, and its estate agent, the scientists.
PHILIP S. HETHERINGTON,
p.p. "Optimism, Ltd."
THANK you very much for sending me a copy of TOMORROW. I want to congratulate you on turning out, to my mind, the finest of all fan magazines. It's far superior to anything that has ever been done any place. Keep up the good work. You have my best wishes. If at any time I can be of assistance to you, on this side, you have only to call on me.
I am gratified over the activity of science-fiction fans in England. I am only sorry that I do not see enough science- fiction material from English authors. British writers have contributed magnificently in the past, especially in book form. There's no reason why they should ignore the American market. Thrilling Wonder Stories is quite anxious to get a look at material from English writers. We do not mind previous publication in England. I'd prefer, however, to be able to publish simultaneously with any of the English science-fiction magazines. I'd appreciate it if you would pass this information around.
Thrilling Wonder Stories,
I WAS interested in a letter in the last issue of TOMORROW, touching as it did upon pessimism. Although not a strict adherent to the doctrine of Schopenhauer, who states as a maxim that the sole reality of existence is misery, I am inclined to take a somewhat pessimistic view. In this, I am not alone.
(Continued on Opposite Page)
'STARTLING STORIES' THAT WILL STARTLE
by LEO MARGULIES
(Continued from page 14)
This pessimism is not altogether the product of the "insanity of modern statesmanship" or the immensity of science, but of something inherent in our minds. We of today live in an age of tantalisation. We have been given visions of superb beauty and have seen in our minds what might so easily be. Yet, these things, so near to us, have been distorted and wiped out, displaced by an overwhelming disgust. We have realised that to produce the civilisations of which we dream, something more than mere scientific achievement is required.
There is required a certain spirit - an idealism - a faith in humanity - a spirit of reason, and we have found that this `spirit' is precisely the element that is lacking in this age. We young men possessed it once, but as we grow older we lose it in the constant scramble to live.
Idealism and a faith in humanity are not possessions calculated to equip one for a life in this world. They have been replaced by something which, for want of a better name, we term "pessimism" - a supreme disgust and a hatred of this empty existence we are pleased to think is life. And our "Science" doesn't help us ...
34 Reginald Street,
JUST saw the recent issue of your magazine. CONGRATULATIONS! WILLY LEY.
Long Island, N.Y.,
TURNING to the recent TOMORROW which I greatly enjoyed, "Interplanetary Parade" was amusing but far from informative. While I am not yet tired of Cleator's atheistic witticisms I can foresee a time when I may be. I was amused by a letter that appeared in The Literary Guide a year or two ago, regarding an article by Cleator on hells that appeared in the B.I.S. Journal. The writer ended by remarking that the worst torment of all might be an eternal reading of Cleator's stuff.
There must be few people in Britain's s-f world with more cheek than T. Stanhope Sprigg. "British publishers' lack of enterprise in the science-fiction field has often been deplored . . . In Fantasy a leading British house now seeks to supply that demand . . . " But what was the leading British publishing house doing a couple of years ago? Where did the leading British publishing house suddenly raise a fund of sufficient courage to take this unprecedented step? Did the leading British publishing house notice the successful efforts of a rival publication whose instigator the leading British publishing house had previously turned down?
The cover was very impressive. It was a pleasure to see a picture of Lloyd George in a fan magazine; our interests are becoming more catholic every day. "Cosmivox" and Chibbett managed to say less than they ought to have done with the space at their disposal, but the photograph of Wally is worth the price of the issue alone.
I liked very much "The Revolt of the Scientists." As regards I. O. Evans' article, don't you think it rather a pity to have reprints in TOMORROW? One of the best things in the issue was Gernsback's letter which seemed very sound; especially the last paragraph about there not being enough good writers who can write really interesting stories.
MAURICE K. HANSON
88 Gray's Inn Road,
[Our policy with reprints is to reprint only items that are of definite interest to our readers, and which the majority of our readers are not likely to have read originally.- Ed.]
CREDIT TO CREATOR
MANY thanks for the copy of TOMORROW which you sent me. Although I am not taking part in science-fiction fan activities at present, I found the magazine of great interest
I was especially pleased to note that one of your contributors, Mr. Griffiths, gives due credit to H. G. Wells as the real originator of modern science-fiction. While Wells' early fantasies are still popular over here, their importance in relation to present-day science-fiction is not generally realised by American readers. Since I once wrote an article on this particular subject for The Author and Journalist, I an sending along a copy which you may reprint if you wish - although, to be sure, Wells is in little need of added laurels.
1192 Walton Avenue,
[Many thanks to reader Glasser for his article from the September, 1933, issue of The Author and Journalist. We are glad to reprint this on page 11.-Ed.]
THE MYSTERY OF PENTON AND BLAKE
THE last issue of TOMORROW was, of course, good, except for the I. O. Evans article on hiking, which was awful. I think there are too many "histories of Science-fiction" in each issue. You seem to be forever telling us all about how Amazing started and then went to Sloane, how Wonder came along, and how things are faring today.
The little passage about having a Penton and Blake film with Laurel and Hardy was good; you may be interested to know that when I related this to a fellow at the Liverpool meeting, he asked me who Penton and Blake were.
JOHN F. BURKE
57 Beauclair Drive,
[For the information of any readers who are as baffled as Satellite editor Burke's Liverpool colleague, Penton and Blake are the leading characters in a series of much-praised yarns by John W. Campbell, Junr, which appear from time to time in Thrilling Wonder Stories.-Ed.]
SCIENCE AND THE FAN
PLEASE receive my belated thanks for the latest copy of your science-fiction commentator. Your editorial was as interesting as Doc. Sloane's.
After your "dynamic review" I'm sitting on a knife-edge waiting for Marvel Science Stories.
Thanks a million! Yours was the first news I received of Fantasy. A swell mag., that!
I certainly like Cleater's out-spoken articles.
Maybe Amazing Stories will be good again.
The article was Wollheim's "Towards a
New Science-Fiction." He claims that
science is distasteful to an s-f fan because
his dreams do not descend to practical levels;
he works for science, not in it. Before
this I had attributed my lack of scientific
experimentation to lack of finance, time
and a deficit of practical knowledge. But
now I wonder!
Personally, I am doing a B.Sc. (Honours Chemistry) course at Glasgow University, and my reading of science-fiction has been increased since I started. Beware of science in politics, for science must remain emote from worldly jealousies and intrigues.
PETER G. SHERRY
16 Myrtle Park.
YOUR Associate, Walter Gillings, has brought your paper to my notice by sending me the summer issue. I must say that it is a pleasant surprise to find a fan mag. so ably produced in this country and I enclose P.O, for 1/9 for one year's subscription, commencing with your No. 3 of this volume.
I regret to say that the falling-off in the American mags caused me to lose interest in their brand of science-fiction, with the result that I have become rusty, both as a reader and a writer of science-fiction. Getting into touch with Gillings and reading your paper has revived my interest. and I hope to contribute some new efforts in the little spare time I have these days.
I wish you every success with your interesting journal, which must be a boon to all s-f fans over here.
[Our subscribers now include every British author who has contributed more than one story to the science-fiction magazines. ---Ed.]
(Rates: Two words, one penny. Minimum, twelve words)
AMATEUR STARGAZERS! Join the JUNIOR ASTRONOMICAL ASSOCITATION! Local groups are being formed. An interesting programme of research is carried on. A monthly journal reports all activities. We want new members and new helpers. Write NOW for particulars and specimen journal to Marion Eadie, 60 Burnbank Terrace, Glasgow, N.W.
THE SATELLITE. Liverpool SFA magazine. 24 pages of short stories, articles, etc. 3 1/2d. post free. - John Burke, 57 Beauclair Drive, Liverpool, 15.
READ The Scientifictionaleodensian and keep in touch with the activities of the Leeds SEA Branch. Published monthly. Annual subscription 1/6. (1/- to SFA members). - F. V. Gillard, 49 Sholebroke Avenue, Leeds, 7.
SOCIETY SECRETARIES! Magazine distributors! Fan-mag. editors! Science-fiction collectors! Advertise regularly in TOMORROW, the worlds best and most widely read medium for contacting persons interested in science-fiction, science progress, rocketry, the future, etc. Space-rates supplied on request - 20 Hollin Park Road, Leeds, 8.
WE can supply any previous issue of TOMORROW (excepting the first two issues), price 6d. each, post free . A limited supply of the first two issues is also available. Prices on request. - 20 Hollin Park Road, Roundhay, Leeds, 8.