Saturday, January 20, 2007

It was Startling that Fall

The September issue of Startling Stories features a cover by Alex Schomberg, identified for me by Ed Hulse. This is either his first Sci Fi pulp cover or his first cover altogether. Thanks, Ed. The cover does not illustrate any particular story but is the subject of a story contest, "details on page 97".
This issue leaps to the Science Question Box with questions concerning meteors, perpetual motion and the discovery of radioactivity.
Next we leap to the "Review Of The Science Fiction Fan Publications". Titles reviewed here are "Yearbook Of Science, Weird And Fantasy Fiction" from Bob and Judith M. Tucker; "Fantascience Digest" by Robert A. Madle and Jack Agnew; "Spaceways" from the Hermit of Hagerstown, Harry Warner, Jr., with James S. Avery; "The Futurian" from England's J. Michael Rosenblum, H. Gottlife and E. Moss; "New Worlds", again from England, edited by Ted Carnell, Ken G. Chapman, Maurice K. Hanson, Frank Edward Arnold, Arthur C. Clarke, William F. Temple and Harold Kay; "The Fantast" (yet another from Olde Blighty) by C. S. Youd; "Voice Of The Imagi-Nation" from the Los Angeles chapter of the Science Fiction League; and "Fantasy News" by James V. Taurasi, Sam Moskowitz and Mario Racic. Shortly England would be at war with the Axis powers and British fanac would become unimportant in the war for national survival.
This issue's guest editorial is "Vanguard Of Science" by Jack Williamson (1908-2006), "Famous Scientifiction Novelist." (It is interesting to notice how both Science Fiction and Scientifiction are both in use throught the pages of Startling during 1939.) This is quite an interesting article that points out that atomic engines or time travel could not be patented in the U. S. since they have previously been described in Science Fiction novels and stories. As an example he uses Morgan Robertson, the inventor of the submarine periscope. His patent application was refused because Jules Verne had "already described exactly such a right-angeled rotating spy-glass."
The novel for this issue is The Bridge To Earth by Robert Moore Williams (1907-1977). "A Mysterious Blue Flash of Light is the Harbinger of a Doom that Ushers Men Out of the Confines of the World into the Unknown". Illustrations are by Wesso.
Jack Binder's feature, They Changed The World features "The Life Story Of Alfred Bernhard Nobel Who Invented Dynamite".
The first short story this issue is "Cosmic Stage" by Robert Arthur (1909-1969), illustrated by Virgal Finlay (1914-1971). "They Understand Einstein--but Cardante Baffles Them! A Great Illusion Unlocks the Gateway to Another World." The magician's name appears to be a blend of to popular magicians of the era, Cardini and Dante.
"BIG CASH PRIZES Awarded for the Most Interesting Letters Based on this Issue's Cover." Top prize was $25.00, good money for the time. The entrants had to write a letter of no more than 1500 words, with the winner getting the big cash prize and his story would be published in the pages of Startling Stories.
"Thrills In Science" by Mort Weisinger 1915-1978) covers Paul Ehrlich played by Edward G. Robinson in the film biography), Pierre de Fermat's theorum, and Louis Daguerre, inventor of the first practical photographic process.
The next short Story is "The Misty Wilderness" by John Russell Fearn (1908-1960). "Selton of the Spaceways Dares Uranus' Trackless Trails to Hunt Down Eboni, the Planetary Buccaneer." The illustration is by Wesso (at least that looks like his scribbled signature).
The Ether Vibrates has letters from Lawrence Hamling, George Aylesworth, Katherine Marcusson, Herbert Vincent Ross, Martin F. Bass, L. J. Stanton, James D. Tillman, Jr., Leonard Ramonette, Martin Alger and Allen R. Baker (plugging the newly-formed Cleveland S-F Club).
The Scientifiction Hall of Fame entry is by Edmond Hamilton (1904-1977). "A Sword of Damocles Hangs Over Earth". The illustration is unsigned.
The issue closes with the Scientific Crossword Puzzle, Forecast For the Next Issue and Meet The Author, this time Robert Moore Williams.
All in all, another good issue.


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