Monday, January 15, 2007

Startling The Third Time Around

The May, 1939, issue of Startling Stories featured a cover by H. V. Brown illustrating Edmond Hamilton's novel "The Prisoners Of Mars". Brown certainly utilized several Sci Fi motifs such as ray guns and robots. Interestingly, in the upper right corner, just under the Stories of the title are three disc-shaped craft. These guys would come into vogue in just under 10 years after Kenneth Arnold had his Washington siting of "Flying Saucers". The mechanical worms are new, however.
This issues guest editorial was "This Atom-Earth" by Ray Cummings, complete with a photo of the author. It's certainly enjoyable to be able to put a face with the name. Then we have Edmond Hamilton's novel, "The Prisoner Of Mars" with illustrations by H. W. Wesso. (Hans Waldemar Wesso, 1894-1961.) "A Mighty Martian Race Bridges Starless Space To Steal The Oceans Of Earth". Here Hamilton gives us a Sci-Fi take on The Prisoner Of Zenda with an Earth man discovering his Martian origins. The worms featured on the cover are used as transport in the deep sands of Mars. This story also features the earliest version I have yet encountered of a teleportation device.
Next we have Jack Binder's illustrated feature, "They Changed The World". This installment features Robert A. Millikin, the man who discovered the Cosmic Ray. His 1928 "Theory Of Cosmic Ray" formation provided more material for Science Fiction stories.
Scientifiction's Hall Of Fame story this time around is "Pygmalion's Spectacles" by Stanley G. Weinbaum. I believe I discussed this in an earlier posting. The illustrations are by Schomburg.
Mort Weisinger's feature, "Thrills In Science" features John Logie Baird, an early experimenter in television; Thomas Davenport, who invented an early electric motor: and astronomer Edmund Halley, of comet fame.
Next comes the "Science Question Box" fielding questions from the readers. Then, another short story, "The Lost Hour" by Alexander Samalman. "Earth's speed changes and the result is--The Lost Hour". It's an interesting take on the effects of time.
Next we come to the fan's domain, The Ether Vibrates. Letters in this issue are from Thomas S. Gardner, Harry Warner, Jr., George V. Calvert, Ralph C. Hamilton (plugging art by Finlay), Forrest J. Ackerman (as enthusiastic now as he was then, 68 years ago), Charles B. Hidley, Henry Boernstein, Seymour Kapetansky, Dewey V. Hale, Langley Searlws, J. Harvey Haggard, Jack Darrow, Richard Frank, Francis J. Litz, John A. Bristol, S. S. Sowers, Paul M'Cleave, G. W. Fensler and Sam Simpson.
Someone actually worked this issue's crossword. Better than I could do, looking at the clues.
"Meet The Author" features Edmond Hamilton, complete with photograph. He writes that as of this time he has written "close to two hundred stories, including a good many detective and mystery tales."
Finally, "Reviewing The Science Fiction Fan Publications" covers "The Satellite" (Organ of the Liverpool Science Fiction Association); "Yearbook Of Science, Weird and Fantasy Fiction" by our old friend Bob Tucker; "The Science Fiction News Letter" from Richard Wilson, Jr.; "Fantasy News" by Jamve V. Taurasi; and "The Science Fiction Fan" edited by Olon F. Wiggins, Donald A. Wollheim, Hayward S. Kirby and James M. Rogers.
"Forecast For The Next Issue" plugs a new novel by Manly Wade Wellman (who later wrote the first book devoted to the battle of the Alamo, and some other history works).
So, into the third issue Startling Stories continued with the promise of the first issue and it was obviously developing a good following.


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