Thursday, January 25, 2007

A Startlingly Good Year

Startling Stories rounded out its first year with the issue dated November, 1939, and sporting its most famous cover of that year. Howard V. Brown's cover was reprinted in all its glory in Science Fiction Art, The Fantasies of SF by Brian Aldiss.
This issue opens with "Meet The Author", featuring Jack Williamson (1908-2006), which leads into the issues novel, The Fortress Of Utopia by Williamson. "On A Lifeless Mystery Satellite, Five Lone Mortals Summon Secret Forces of the Citadel of Science to Free the Earth From the Doom of the Dark Nebula." (Weisinger could certainly write a blurb that grabs the reader.) The excellent illustrations are by Wesso.
The guest editorial, titled "The Conquest Of The Impossible" is by Ralph Milne Farley, MA (Roger Sherman Hoar, 1887-1963). Among the "Impossibles" to be conquered are Perpetual Motion and Time Travel.
Jack Binder's feature "They Changed the World" is "The Life Story Of Heinrich R. Hertz Who Discovered Radio Waves."
The issue's first short story is "Three Wise Men" by Lloyd Arthur Eschbach (1910-2003). "A Time-Traveling Machine Explodes on a Millionaire's Doorstep." The illustration is unsigned.
"Thrills In Science" by Mort Weisinger offers "Thumbnail Sketches of Great Men and Achievements." This issue features Galileo, Allesandro Volta and Albert Abraham Michelson.
This issue's Scientifiction Hall of Fame Story certainly deserves inclusion; Stanley G. Weinbaum's "A Martian Odyssey". "A Dying Orb Yields Its Eternal Secret". The illustration looks like Paul.
The Science Question Box deals with such issues as X-Rays, Future Evolution, Giant Insects and Synthetic Pearls.
The Ether Vibrates plugs the upcoming novel by Edmond Hamilton, The Three Planeteers, as the genial hack continues to plunder classic literature for plots. Letters this time are by Gene Thornton Newsome, Louis Goldstone, Jr., Issac Asimov, Ray E. Gower, James E. Wilson, Donald Wandrei and August Derleth (announcing the publication of their first Lovecraft collection The Outsider and Others), Art R. Sehnert, and Samuel Simpson. The Scientific Crossword Puzzle is also found her.
Finally we have the Review of the Science Fiction Fan Publications. Fanzines covered this issue are "New Fandom" from Moskowitz, Sykora, Racic, Taurasi and Van Houten; "Ad Astra" from Mark Reinsberg, W. Lawrence Hamling, Henry Bott, Julian S. Krupa and Richard I. Meyer; "Spaceways" from Harry Warner, Jr.; "Science Fiction Fan" by Olin F. Wiggins; "Science Fantasy Review" out of England by L. V. Heald, A. Bloom, J. F. Burke, Ron Holmes, E. G. Ducker, L. I. Johnson and E. L. Gabrielson; "Fantasy News" by James V. Taurasi, John Giunta, Sam Moskowitz and Mario Racic; "The Satellite" out of England by John F. Burke and David McIlwain; and "Future Fantasia" edited by Ray D. Bradbury.
As a side note, this issue has trimmed edges. Was it distributed that way or did a previous owner take a paper cutter to it?
As usual, comments, corrections and additions are welcome. Next posting we'll venture off to another topic for a while.


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