Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Lusty Month Of May-Startling Style

In Europe the Sitzkrieg was coming to an end and Holland, Luxemburg, Belgium and France would soon be under the heel of Hitler's Wermacht and the Miracle of Dunkirk would take place. But in the snug world of pulps reality was not yet allowed to poke its head up. That would soon change.
H. V. Brown based his cover for the May, 1940, issue of Startling Stories on Manly Wade Wellman's novel, Twice In Time. Leading off this issue (other than the usual advertisements) is "Review Of The Science Fiction Fan Publications". Titles this time around are "Spaceways" by James Avery and Harry Warner, Jr.; "Golden Atom" by Larry B. Farsaci; "Ad Astra" from the team of Mark Reinsberg, Richard I. Meyer and Erle Korshak; "Stardust" by Hogie Carmichael and Johnny Mercer... excuse me, that should be W. L. Hamling. I was thinking of the other "Stardust". "Science Fiction Collector made its way from Philadelphia, Pa., courtesy of John V. Baltadonis. "The Scientale", by Thomas Hoquet and Bob Studley rounds out this column for the month. It contained material by Malcolm Jameson, Harry Warner, Jr., and W. L. Hamling. It also contained a piece by Mort Weisinger. Bob Studley also has a letter in this issue's "The Ether Vibrates". Could editor Weisinger be repaying a favor here?
"Meet The Author" features Manly Wade Wellman commenting on his novel for this issue. And, a quick turn of the page brings us to a very impressive Virgil Finlay two-page spread and starts Wellman's novel Twice In Time. Fact is, the illustration by Finlay and the cover by Brown look amazingly (or should that be Startlingly) alike. I won't try to guess who copied whom this time around. (Whom copied whom? Whom copied who? Whom cares?) "Leo Thrasher embarks on a thrilling excursion into the centuries of yesteryear when a time projector hurls him into the realm of the forgotten past!" He also encounters Mona Lisa and other notables of the Renaissance.
Jack Binder's illustrated feature "They Changed The World" is "The Life Story Of Thomas Alva Edison, The Greatest Inventor Of All Time." Omitted are the motion picture patent wars and the persecution of Tesla, but he only had two pages to work with.
The Scientifiction Hall Of Fame Story is Stanley G. Weinbaum's novelet "Valley Of Dreams". The only blurb it has (and needs) is "The Famous Sequal to 'A Martian Odyssey'". It originally appeared in Wonder Stories for November, 1934. The illustration is by Paul.
Next comes Mort Weisinger's "Thrills In Science. Thumbnail Sketches of Great Men and Achievements." The first tale is of Dr. Joseph Goldberger's experiments on 12 convicts, attempting to find a cure for the disease pellagra. Next Archimedes uncovers an attempt to counterfeit a crown. Finally Weisinger presents the story of Charles Goodyear and his experiments with India Rubber.
Oscar J. Friend contributes the next short story, "Glamour Girl--2040". "Tru-Depth Pictures combs the cosmos for a star--and a star is born!" The illustration is unsigned.
Dr. Miles J. Breuer contributes the guest editorial "The New Frontier", equating Science Fiction and Man's urge to explore.
The feature "science Question Box" deals with questions on Perpetual Motion, the Earth's rotation and chemical analysis.
"Nemesis From Lilliput" by Raymond Z. Gallun is the next short story. "Countless living worlds hang in the balance when an unearthly menace reaches from beyond the atom!" The illustration is signed with an indecipherable squiggle, possibly Wesso.
"The Ether Vibrates" a few pages later. The editor promotes the upcoming issues of Startling Stories, Thrilling Wonder Stories and Captain Future. Letters are from Dom Passante, Bob Studley, Harry Nowakowski, Wallace Riley, D. B. Thompson and Allan Keniston, Jr. This is followed by the final feature, the Scientific Crossword Puzzle.
Another good issue from the folks at Better Publications. Of course a quiet revolution was taking place at Astounding, but it wasn't spreading throughout the field, yet. Next time we'll look at the July issue.


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