Monday, August 20, 2007

Somewhere in Time

The November issue of Startling Stories rolled around, signaling the end of its second year. So far they had published some pretty good material and looked set to keep improving. Bergey once again did the cover, this time illustrating the issue's novel. This number opened with several pages of the usual ads and made its way to "The Ether Vibrates", again demonstrating a lack of consistency issue to issue. Letters time time around were by D. B. Thompson of Lincoln, Nebraska; Frank E. Lunn, Jr. from Wellsville, NY; Walter C. Liebacher of Chicago, who noted that a couple of character names in Oscar Friend's story of the previous issue were not-so-hidden names, Kcud Dlanod being Donald Duck backwards for example, and a popular show "Hades, with Popcorn" was a thinly veiled "Hellzapoppin"; Charles Hidley wrote from NY, NY; Jack Rabnelt popped in from Ontario; and Harry Schmarje of Muscatine, Iowa finished off the column.

We now leap to this issue's novel, A Million Years To Conquer by Henry Kuttner (1915-1958). "Earth's Second Satellite Harbors the Amazing Secret of an Eternal Quest." Or, to put it another way, an alien attempts to manipulate the development of human life on Earth. The illustrations are by Wesso. According to Wikipedia Kutner had stories published under at least 17 pen names, including shared house names.

Next comes Jack Binder's illustrated feature "They Changed The World". This issue is devoted to "The Life Story of Sir William Perkin Who Discovered the First Coal-Tar Dye!" The first short story is "Island In The Marsh" by Thornton Ayre (John Russell Fearn, 1908-1960). ""Hart Crozier Uses Earthman's Science to Solve a Venusian Mystery!" The illustration is by Morey.

"Thrills In Science" by Mort Weisinger features Sir Issac Newton, Henry Bessemer (steel production) and Fred Banting (the development of insulin).

The "Scientifiction Hall of Fame" for this issue is the first to be selected by a well-known fan. In this case it's Sam Moskowitz (1920-1997) who chose "The Man Who Evolved" by Edmond Hamilton, originally printed in the April, 1931, issue of Wonder Stories. "Men of Today Glimpse Humanity's Future and Behold a Wondrous Cycle With No End". The illustration is unsigned, but looks like Paul.

Following is "Science Question Box" fielding questions about age and mental efficiency, Grylloblatta (a 'living fossil insect') and Phosphorescence. Turning the page we come to the "Scientific Crossword Puzzle" and then comes "Review of the Science Fiction Fan Publications". 'Zines this time around are Stardust by William Lawrence Hamling, Neil DeJack, Howard Funk, Harry Warner, Jr., and Chester S. Geier; Spaceways by Harry Warner, Jr., James S. Avery and Walter E. Marconette; Pluto published by the Literature, Science and Hobbies Club of Decker, Indiana, edited by Marvis Manning, Vincent Manning, Maurice Paul, Claude E. Davis, Jr., and William A. Sisson (see Harry Warner, Jr.'s All Our Yesterdays pp 232-233 for more about the Decker Dillies); Science Fiction Forward by R. Van Houten, P. Duncan and Max Bart; Stars with verse by Lovecraft, Lowndes and C. A. Smith; Frontier, Official Bulletin of the Frontier Society by Donn Brazier; Horizons by H. Warner, Jr.; Voice of the Imagi-Nation from Los Angeles fandom; Le Zombie, edited by the legendary Bob Tucker; Ultra by Eric F. Russell, Edward H. Russe, Vel Molesworth and Ralph A. Smith, coming from Australia; and Fantasy News by Will Sykora.

Last and not least we have "Meet The Author" with Henry Kuttner on Time Travel stories.

Startling Stories wrapped up its second year in style but not really hinting at what was soon to come. We have not yet been introduced to Sgt. Saturn and the inanities that threatened Startling's stature as a respectable magazine. But that is still a few months away.


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