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1946 Project Wrap-Up: We Had Fun!

During Chicon 8, First Fandom Experience had the privilege of organizing the 1946 Project. The program track encompassed sixteen panels and presentations:

  • 1946: A Year in the Life of a Fan
  • The Life and Impact of C.L. Moore
  • The Life and Work of A.E. van Vogt and E. Mayne Hull
  • Titus Groan: Genre or Not?
    (Click for a great summary by moderator Dave Hook.)
  • 1940: The First Chicon
  • Undiscovered and Forgotten Gems of 1946
  • Remembering Erle Melvin Korshak
  • Leading Ladies: Women in Fandom in 1946
  • How Did Atomic Weapons Change Science Fiction?
  • The SFF Art and Artists of 1946
  • Extinction and Evolution: The 1946 SFF Book Publishing Boom
  • Science in Science Fiction: The Guesswork of 1946
  • James Kepner and Edythe Eyde:
    Pioneering LGBTQ+ Activism in 1940s Los Angeles Fandom
  • The Likely Hugo Nominees From 1946
  • Ray Bradbury’s Preposterously Productive 1946
  • How the 1946 Pacificon Saved Post-War Worldcons
David Ritter, Peter Balestieri, Jerry Kaufman and Joe Siclari discussing “1946: A Year in the Life of a Fan”

Thanks up front to the First Fandom Experience team, without whom we couldn’t do any of what we do. John L. Coker III and Sam McDonald act as principle historians, supported by Doug Ellis. We’re proud to have been recognized by the Chicon organizers as Heroes of the Convention.

Fan Guests of Honor Joe Siclari and Edie Stern, curators of the remarkable Fanac.org archive, provided invaluable guidance and material in support of the project. Mark Olson, shepherd of Fancyclopedia, worked with us to create a display of fanzines distributed at the 1940 Chicon.

We’d like to thank all of the terrific panelists who lent their expertise and insight to one or more of these sessions:

TrishEMAlec Nevala-LeeJoe Siclari
Peter BalestrieriRich HortonDr. Bradford Lyau
John HertzConnie WillisJohn E. Stith
Helen MontgomeryJerry KaufmanSue Burke
Kate HeffnerDr. Lisa YaszekTom Whitmore
Dr. Jason AukermanCarrie CooperGary K. Wolfe
Doug EllisDave HookTad Daley
Orton OrtweinBrendan DetznerRebecca Campbell
Travis CreasonG. David NordleyHenry Spencer
James L. CambiasMichael HaynesJane Frank

Extra special thanks to Convention Chair Helen Montgomery, Program Division Head Nchanter, Exhibits Division Head Benjamin Levy, and their great teams — for their outstanding collaboration and support.

Also, we offer deep appreciation to Stephen Korshak, the son of Erle Korshak, Fan Guest of Honor (sadly departed prior to the con), and Dean Ziff, nephew of Mark Reinsberg. As high school students, Erle and Mark were the co-organizers of the 1940 Chicon. The presence of their descendants at the panel discussing that first Chicago convention added a moving sense of history.

A last-minute surprise addition to the 1940 Chicon panel was a showing of recovered sections of the assumed-lost film, “The Monsters of the Moon.” A version of this 1930s stop-motion monstrosity was viewed by attendees of the first Chicon. Restored by “Dr. Film” Eric Greyson and hot off the presses, special guests Bruce Lee and Mindy Grayson shared the six-minute space opera with an amused and appreciative audience. (The film is available as part of a collection offered on DrFilm.net.)

Title screen of “Monsters of the Moon,” restored by Eric Grayson.

To inform our program, we published a series of blog posts with historical context on SFF and fandom in 1940:

In addition, we assembled an exhibit representing the den of an active fan from the 1940s, drawn from fans’ published descriptions of the period — perhaps most directly, Bob Tucker’s essay from Le Zombie in June 1940.

A Fan’s Den, c1940s at Chicon 8

The star of the den exhibit was an (almost) functional 1920s A.B. Dick Number 77 Model A mimeograph machine. This particular make and model was common among fan publishers of the day, including Tucker. Also featured were full facsimiles of 1940s fanzines and a collection of reading pulps. The (mostly) working period typewriter and the guestbook tempted some visitors to leave thoughtful messages.

At the show, we introduced a new book: The First Chicon is an excerpt from The Visual History of Science Fiction Fandom, Volume Two: 1940. This slim-but-rich 9×12 softcover includes the key chapters from the full volume that cover the 1940 Chicon in depth. (The book will be available soon for order on this site.)

First but not least, at the Opening Ceremonies David was honored to accept the First Fandom Posthumous Hall of Fame Award on behalf of August Derleth, founder of Arkham House.

We now turn our attention back to our core mission: the completion of The Visual History of Science Fiction Fandom. We hope to have Volume Three out in the first half of next year, with a focus on the very-important year of 1941. The series will (may) conclude with Volume Four, covering 1942 – 1946. Our work on the 1946 Project has already set us up with a rich base of research and material regarding that also-very-important year.

Thanks for all of the great conversations and support at Chicon 8. We had fun!

Spaceways, v2n8, October 1940

Ray Bradbury’s Preposterously Productive 1946

In 1946, Ray Bradbury — then age 26 — saw seventeen of his stories in print. His tales appeared in ten different professional magazines. Six were genre pulps. Four were mainstream “slicks.”

Ray Bradbury, 1947. From the collection of John L. Coker III

Weird Tales4
Planet Stories4
Amazing Stories2
Thrilling Wonder Stories1
New Detective Magazine1
Dime Mystery Magazine1
Collier’s1
Charm1
Mademoiselle1
The Californian1

At the same time, Bradbury was deep into writing new stories, revising old stories and collaborating with publisher Arkham House to prepare for the release of his first collection: Dark Carnival, issued in 1947.

Dark Carnival by Ray Bradbury, Arkham House, 1947. Jacket design by George Barrows
Amazing Stories, February 1946:
“Final Victim” by Henry Hasse and Ray Bradbury
Amazing Stories, v20n1, February 1946. Art by Malcolm Hadden Smith

Bradbury’s collaboration with fellow Los Angeles author Henry Hasse dates back to his first professionally published story, “The Pendulum” (Super Science Stories, November 1941).

Weird Tales
v39n4
March 1946
“The Traveller”
by Ray Bradbury

Art by Boris Dolgov

Collier’s
April 1946
“One Timeless Spring”
by Ray Bradbury

Art by Vincent Guise

Planet Stories, Spring 1946:
“Defense Mech” by Ray Bradbury
Planet Stories, v3n2, Spring 1946. Art by Joseph Doolin
Thrilling Wonder Stories
v28n2
Spring 1946
“Rocket Skin”
by Ray Bradbury

Art by Marco Enrico Marchioni

Weird Tales
v39n5
May 1946
“The Smiling People”
by Ray Bradbury

Art by A.R. Tilburne

Weird Tales
v39n6
July 1946
“The Night”
by Ray Bradbury

Art by Boris Dolgov

Amazing Stories, July 1946:
“Chrysalis” by Ray Bradbury
Amazing Stories, v20n4, July 1946. Art by Clifford McClish
Planet Stories, Summer 1946:
“Lorelei of the Red Mist” by Leigh Brackett and Ray Bradbury
Planet Stories, v3n3, Summer 1946. Art by Rube Moore

“Leigh Brackett came into the (Los Angeles Science Fiction League) around 1939-1940. I started going down to Muscle Beach in Santa Monica every Sunday.”

Cover art by Chester Martin

“For five years Leigh Brackett taught me to write stories for PLANET STORIES.  These were terrible, wretched stories – imitation Leigh Brackett.  Then she got the job of writing a film – The Big Sleep – at Warner Brothers.  She said that she was writing a story for PLANET STORIES that she would be unable to finish and she asked me to take over and finish writing it for her. “

“So, I wrote the last half of “Lorelei of the Red Mist” and it was published with our names on it.  You can’t tell where Leigh Brackett ends and Ray Bradbury begins.  She was such a teacher and she influenced me deeply.”

Ray Bradbury, from an interview conducted by John L. Coker III, Archon 20, Collinsville, IL, October 4 1996

Leigh Brackett, Ray Bradbury, Ed Hamilton, Hamilton’s sister, c1948. From the collection of Donn Albright. Provided by John L. Coker III
Planet Stories
v3n3
Summer 1946
“The Million Year Picnic”
by Ray Bradbury

Art by Alexander Leydenfrost

Mademoiselle, October 1946:
“Homecoming” by Ray Bradbury
Mademoiselle, November 1946. Art by Charles Aadams. Image provided by Sam Weller

“Bradbury had submitted ‘The Homecoming’ to Mademoiselle… but it languished without a reader for months. Bradbury was not surprised – he was beginning to send his remaining weirds to magazines that were publishing his fantasies – but the story was saved by a most unlikely chain of events. Truman Capote, who was then as editorial apprentice at Mademoiselle, was at loose ends one day in the late winter of 1946 and found the story on the floor of the fiction editor’s office. He read it, loved it, and recommended it to Rita Smith, his editor. Soon Bradbury found himself working closely with the magazine’s staff as his story became the centerpiece of a ghoulish October 1946 issue complete with a Charles Addams illustration.”

From Ray Bradbury, The Life of Fiction by Jonathan R. Eller and William F. Touponce, The Kent State University Press, 2004

George Davis of Mademoiselle to “Ray Bardbury,” March 27 1946. Image provided by Sam Weller

“In 1946, I wrote a short story called “Homecoming” and I sent it to Weird Tales, but they sent it back to me.  They refused to give me fifteen dollars for it.  I had a hunch that I should try a big magazine like Mademoiselle.  So, I sent it off and they held it for two or three months, not knowing what to do with it, because I had created this vampire family, which was very strange.  ‘Homecoming’ was about a big celebration of all of these vampires.  They finally bought the story, and they got Charles Addams to illustrate it.  I was beginning to create my family and Charles Addams was starting to create his family.  I went to New York, this time on the train.  I arrived in New York City and met the editors at Mademoiselle Magazine.

“I saw the wonderful illustration by Charles Addams for ‘Homecoming,’ which was a double page spread.  I loved it so much that I bought it from him.  It was three hundred dollars.  I didn’t have it, so I bought it on time.  I gave Charles Addams twenty dollars a month and bought that painting.  So, when my novel From the Dust Returned came out two years ago, I had that cover which I bought fifty years ago and kept all that time and finally gave it to my publisher and you see it on my book.  Charles Addams and I planned to do a book together.  But, nobody wanted the idea, so we separated.  He went his way with his family and I went my way with my family, and we had two separate careers.”

Ray Bradbury, from the Introduction to TALES OF THE TIME TRAVELERS, 2009, edited by John L. Coker III

From the Dust Returned by Ray Bradbury, William Morrow and Company, 2001. Art by Charles Aadams
Planet Stories, Fall 1946:
“The Creatures That Time Forgot” by Ray Bradbury
Planet Stories, v3n4, Fall 1946. Art by Rube Moore

“The Creatures That Time Forgot” was later published with the title “Frost and Fire.”

Weird Tales
v39n8
November 1946
“Let’s Play ‘Poison'”
by Ray Bradbury

Art by Lee Brown Coye

Dime Mystery Magazine, November 1946
“The Small Assassin”
by Ray Bradbury
And… these for which we cannot find copies

New Detective Magazine, November 1946:
“A Careful Man Dies” by Ray Bradbury

The Californian, 1946 (month unknown):
“The Electrocution” by Ray Bradbury, as by “William Elliot”

Simply… preposterous.

A Year In the Life of a Fan: Joe Kennedy in 1946

In our series of posts in support of the 1946 Project at Chicon 8, we’ve already explored the year in fandom. We also want to understand what it was like to spend that year as an active fan.

One of the most prolific and well-regarded fans was Joseph Charles “Joe” Kennedy. His remarkable 1946 is worthy of note, if not entirely representative of how most fans passed their year. Born August 21 1929, he turned just 17 in the Fall of 1946 — but ranked among the most accomplished fans of the period.

In January 1946, Milton A. Rothman provided a guide to fannish activities, intended to provide something of a “Fandom 101” for new adherents. Originally published in The National Fantasy Fan (v5n1, January 1946), the essay identified eight primary activities in which serious fans engage.

The Life of the Fan by Milton A. Rothman, January 1946

Kennedy pursued all of these to some degree, but he was most prolific in writing and publishing for the fan community. His primary effort, Vampire, had run for four issues in 1945 and was already recognized as a leading fan publication. The full extent of his output throughout 1946 is, to us, impressive.

January

January 1 — the very dawn of 1946 — Kennedy joined a gathering at the New Jersey home of Sam Moskowitz. This was the second meeting of the self-designated “Null-A Men,” satirically named after the controversial novel by A.E. van Vogt. As Moskowitz noted in The 1946-47 Fantasy Review, “The initial idea of a loosely knit, social group was abandoned when 10 fans showed up… The idea of an organizational meeting was expanded into a full-fledged convention.” This was the origin of the “First Post-War Eastern Science Fiction Convention,” which would convene in March of that year.

Atres Artes, v1n3, 1946. “Ergerzerp” may be Ron Christensen

Also at the start of 1946, Kennedy issued the first of his ambitious yearbooks, The 1945-46 Fantasy Review. Weighing in at 48 dense pages, this review of the field and fandom included a rich summary of fan events during the year, as well as poll results ranking books, stories published in the pulps, professional authors and fan journalists.

The 1945-46 Fantasy Review, edited by Joe Kennedy, January 1946

As a member of the Vanguard Amateur Press Association (VAPA), Kennedy published Joe’s Jottings. This ‘zine primarily featured commentary on VAPA and the contents of the mailings, with occasional poetry and short fiction by Kennedy and others. The January issue was sparse — unsurprising given Kennedy’s other activities.

From Joe’s Jottings for VAPA, n3, January 1946

February

Kennedy and his frequent collaborator George R. Fox published Speculations, a fanzine that lasted only a single issue. It featured articles by Sam Moskowitz, an original radio play by John H. Cooper, and a “Composite Readers Report on TTTT Number Three.” This last was a summary of reviews of Fox & Kennedy’s humor fanzine Terrible Test Tube Tales that ran for three issues in 1944 and 1945.

Speculations, n1, February 1946. Art by George R. Fox, silkscreen by John H. Cooper

March

On March 3, Kennedy attended the First Post-War Eastern Science Fiction Convention at the Slovak Sokol Hall in Newark, New Jersey.

From the Official Program of the First Post-War Eastern Science Fiction Convention, March 3 1946

April

Vampire, Kennedy’s primary and most ambitious fanzine, saw its fifth issue in April 1946. Most dramatic was a to-and-fro between Sam Moskowitz and August Derleth concerning the publication of The Outsider and Others.

The fourth issue of Joe’s Jottings boldly proclaimed itself as “The Magazine of Cultural Americana” — but delivered only more commentary on VAPA and an odd poem by Dale Hart.

June

The sixth issue of Vampire appeared in June 1946 with a stunning cover by fan-artist John Cockroft.

September

On top of all his activities in fandom, Kennedy began his higher education in Fall 1946, attending Seton Hall.

Kennedy also attended the September 8 meeting of the newly-revived Queens Science Fiction League in 1946, and submitted this article on the club to Fantasy Times.

The fifth issue of Joe’s Jottings also appeared in September, featuring more of Kennedy’s cartoon rendering.

Last but not least, the seventh issue of Vampire was issued in September. The macabre cover by Walt Kessel was titled “Morning After the Convention.”

October – November

For the October 1946 mailing of the Fantasy Amateur Press Association (FAPA), Kennedy inaugurated his membership in the Association with the first issue of his fanzine Grulzak. With minor exceptions, the 18 pages were entirely written and illustrated by the editor.

On October 27, Kennedy attended the Philadelphia Conference, a revival of the annual event that had been on hold since 1941. He quickly penned and published his account of the proceedings, issuing his Expose!! A Kennedy’s-eye View of the Philly Conference dated November 2.

In the November 1946 issue of The Scientifictionist, Kennedy contributed a four-page article titled “Utopias Made to Order.” He poses the eternal question facing fans of speculative fiction:

“So we have, in fandom, two seemingly opposing schools of thought: one which foresees a bright future for the human race, and recommends that fandom do everything within its power to aid social and scientific progress; and the other, which adopts a sort of philosophical resignation to the aimlessness of life and the utter lack of meaning of the universe. Which, then, to choose?”

December

The final 1946 issue of Vampire featured a remarkable cover by St. Louis fan-artist Van Splawn.

In addition, Kennedy cooked up another offering — though we’ve been unable to track down any copies. In 1950, he wrote:

Spacewarp, n42, September 1950. From Fanac.org

January 1947

At the dawn of 1947, Kennedy delivered his 77-page omnibus, The 1946-47 Fantasy Review, cited throughout our work on the 1946 Project.

Reputation Realized

Kennedy was recognized at the time by his fellow fans. In a poll published in July, Kennedy ranked fifth as Top Fan Poet and fourth as Top Fan Editor. His fanzine Vampire placed fourth among its peers.

Shangri-L’Affaires, n31, July 1946

In Kennedy’s own poll published in The 1946-47 Fantasy Review, Vampire was ranked tops of the fanzine pantheon.

Recognition, well deserved.

Kennedy’s later career was (is) impressive as well. As “X.J. Kennedy,” he is a widely-read and much-awarded poet and author. As with other prominent fans, his early days as an active amateur publisher helped to prepare him for a prominent life in letters.

What are your thoughts on Joe Kennedy and his contributions to fandom? Please drop us a note!

What Can We Learn From the 1946 Pacificon Program Book?

The next in our series of posts in support of the 1946 Project at Chicon 8.

The Front Cover
Front cover of the Pacificon Program Booklet, July 1946

The Los Angeles fan community in 1946 boasted an impressive range of talent, and lead the way in innovative publishing. The landscape format of the 8.5×5.5-inch program was novel. Fan-Artist Lou Goldstone designed the book overall and rendered the striking lithographed cover.

Goldstone was a regular contributor of art to fanzines. His own 1941 title, Fantasia, featured his illustrations, fiction and poetry. His jacket design for the 1948 Fantasy Publishing Company’s volume Death’s Deputy by L. Ron Hubbard bears macabre resemblance to the Pacificon program cover.

The Membership List

One hundred and fifty-eight (158) fans are noted as contributing the $1 membership fee to the convention. (This isn’t an attendee list. Later accounts indicate actual attendance at about 120.)

The roster primarily includes fans from across the United States, as well as a smattering of family members and other adjunct supporters. We count 23 women. Notable professionals include Leigh Brackett, David H. Keller MD, Robert Bloch, Robert Heinlein, J. Harvey Haggard and Jack Williamson. Perhaps the most surprising: Fritz Lang, director of the iconic fan-favorite Metropolis (1927). Forrest J Ackerman described Lang’s 1944 visit to his home:

Shangri-L’Affaires, n21, December 1944
The Welcome Page

The membership fees covered “over 50% of the expenses” — implying the the event cost something around $300 to put on.

The Philadelphia Science-Fiction Society Announced Their Bid

(The PSFS Conference held in October 1946 was a highlight of the year for East Coast fans. We now know that Philadelphia was awarded and hosted the fifth World Science Fiction Convention in 1947, the first Philcon. There was no opposition to their bid.)

The Ackerman Family Ads

The Ackerman family supported their own. Full-page ads in the program cost $4, so this was another way to fund the convention. Forry’s quirky sense of humor seems genetic. Forrest’s brother Alden was killed in action in January 1945. We have no idea why his father would refer to Alden as “one of the cleanest boys I have ever known.”

The International Shout-Out

Ackerman maintained ties with fans overseas through regular correspondence. His tribute to foreign fans includes a greeting in his beloved Esperanto.

The First Two Days

The Fourth of July in 1946 fell on Thursday. The four-day program concluded on Sunday, July 7.

A single program track, like the previous three Worldcons. Distribution of badges. Welcome from Russ Hodgkins. The Guests of Honor address. The inevitable auction, inevitably run by Erle Korshak. A presentation of a recording of Robert Bloch’s radio show, “Stay Tuned For Terror.”

(What’s not revealed by the Program: the “Special Session” presented by Ackerman and Laney was a pitch for the Fantasy Foundation (working code name: “Operation Futurian”). This was intended as something of a “Master Library of Fantasy Fiction,” mostly comprised of Ackerman’s collection. The idea never took root. Sadly, following this presentation, Ackerman nearly collapsed from exhaustion and the flu, and missed the rest of the convention.)

On Day Two, an offsite visit to the “Ackerman Museum” (prior to its designation as the “Ackermansion”)… (was cancelled due to Ackerman’s illness.)

A “Weird Session,” in honor of the fans of fantasy and horror — a growing cadre in fandom, with Francis T. Laney’s impressive fanzine The Acolyte as a rallying point. A one-man show by stage personality “Brother Theodore.”

An ad for “Brother Theodore” in his one-man show, from the Pacificon program book.
The Last Two Days

Fun at Westlake Park (now MacArthur Park), but no baseball game. The National Fantasy Fan Federation (NFFF). The masquerade. Impromptu music and dancing. (Rothman, Leibscher and Perdue at the piano. Liebscher’s performance was dubbed the “Pacificoncerto.” Rothman played “Ritual Fire Dance.” Tigrina sang her original, “The Sabbath Summons.”)

Day Four: Another offsite at the West Coast reincarnation of Michigan’s Slan Shack. Bidding for the next convention (Philadelphia won; see above). The “Fanquet.”

On Sunday, the afternoon session featured a presentation not on the program, a sobering speech by a representative of the Federation of Pasadena Scientists on civilian control of atomic energy.

H.P. Lovecraft’s “The Dunwich Horror” was delivered via a recording of the radio drama aired on November 1 1945 by the CBS Radio series, “Suspense.” (This was actually played on Saturday the 6th, rather than Sunday the 7th. Audio is available here.)

(The “Surprise Fantasy Film” was to have been “Turnabout,” but the film was unavailable. “One Million BC” was substituted.)

(We’re unsure of the identity of the woman with the tall headdress mostly hidden behind Dale Hart. Cay Forester was an actress hired to portray “the girl we’d most like to be wrecked on the moon with.” Jack Speer described her as “unutterably bored to everyone except the photographer.”)

The Guests of Honor Took the Centerfold

Why van Vogt and Hull in ’46? The husband and wife were having a capstone year. Ackerman later recalled:

Something happened prior to the convention that is not known.  We had a committee of five fans, and it was our duty to decide who should be the guest of honor.  I had a novel notion and said that, for the first time, we should make the guest of honor a woman — Catherine Moore.  She was a very well-known author in science fiction. I said we should also get Margaret Brundage, the popular artist for Weird Tales.  I said we should get a major female fantasy fan and a female fantasy fanzine publisher and a female assistant to one of the professional magazines.  Someone spoke-up and said that we couldn’t have Catherine Moore by herself without her husband, Henry Kuttner.  I said that Kuttner should be proud that his wife was the professional guest of honor.  Three votes were needed to vote in favor of my idea, but it lost.  There were only two votes to see it my way.  In the end, A. E. Van Vogt and his original wife Edna Mayne Hull were made the guests of honor.

From the 2006 Worldcon in Anaheim. Recorded and transcribed by John L. Coker III.

Support Came From Across the Land
The “Null-A Men” organized the “First Post War Eastern Science Fiction Convention” held on March 3 1946 in Newark.
The “Hyperborean Society of Detroit” filled a void left when several Michigan fans migrated to Los Angeles…
…and established a new West Coast version of their former shared residence in Michigan.
The Pro Mags Chimed In
Ackerman Still Held a Torch

In 1945, Forrest J Ackerman proposed marriage to fellow fan Tigrina (Edythe Eyde) by posting an open letter in a fanzine (FANews, n166, June 19 1945). Tigrina rejected the proposal in equal measure in the same publication (FANews, n170, July 3 1945). Despite this very public and embarrassing exchange, Forry and Tigrina remained friends. For Ackerman, it seems perhaps there was still hope. One key reason for Tigrina’s rejection became clear in 1947 when she began publishing the first Lesbian magazine in the country, Vice-Versa.

Aspirations Were Put Forth, But Not Achieved
Fandom Remembered

Well-regarded Los Angeles fan Paul Freehafer joined the Science Fiction League in 1937. He published the fanzine Polaris and served as Treasurer for the Pacificon. Freehafer passed away from a heart condition in 1947 at age 27. By tradition, the LASFS Clubhouse is known as “Freehafer Hall.”

One Ad Was the Coolest

…though it’s not entirely clear what this group was advertising.

What can we learn from the 1946 Pacificon Program Book? Please drop us a note with your thoughts:

info@firstfandomexperience.org

A Vote for van Vogt in ’46

The next in our series of posts in support of the 1946 Project at Chicon 8.

As part of the 1946 Project, we’ll focus on the work of Alfred Elton “A.E.” van Vogt and his fellow author (also spouse) Edna Mayne Hull. Why so?

van Vogt is recognized as a Grand Master, having received the fourteenth instance of the Damon Knight Memorial award in 1996. He’s also regarded as something of an odd-duck, his work drawing a wide range of reactions.

Phillip K. Dick and Harlan Ellison credited van Vogt’s The World of Null-A as an early inspiration. In contrast, Damon Knight tore all aspects of that same novel to shreds, writing, “[van Vogt] is no giant; he is a pygmy who has learned to operate an overgrown typewriter.” (From the fanzine Destiny’s Child, November 1945).

In van Vogt’s 1975 autobiography (assembled from interviews he gave in the 1960s), he wrote: But then again, Knight later wrote: “Other writers may be able to work on intuition, but I can’t. In other words, here I am living on things. One is that there are methods for doing things and the other is that I dream my story ideas in my sleep.”

Responding to this revelation, Knight reconsidered his perspective on the author, writing: “van Vogt has just revealed, for the first time as far as I know, that he made a practice of dreaming about his stories and waking himself up every ninety minutes to take notes. This explains a good deal about his stories, and suggests that it is really useless to attack them by conventional standards. If the stories have a dream consistency which affects readers powerfully, it is probably irrelevant that they lack ordinary consistency.” (Science-Fiction Studies, v1n3, Spring 1974)

We submit that 1946 was a capstone year for the authors, where their prominence and influence on the genre and fandom may have been at its peak. What supports this assertion?

  • van Vogt’s prominence had been growing since he captured the front cover of Astounding with his first published science fiction story, “Black Destroyer” in July 1939. John W. Campbell, Jr. chose to lead with this tale over Isaac Asimov’s first Astounding appearance in that same issue.
Astounding Science-Fiction, v23n5, July 1939. Art by Graves Gladney
  • The novel Slan, first serialized in Astounding beginning in September 1940, made a major impression on fans of the day. The sympathetic portrayal of a persecuted race of human mutants with extraordinary powers caused fans to ask the question, “Are fans Slans?” In the post-war publishing science fiction boom that began in 1946, van Vogt’s Slan was issued in book form by Arkham House. The novel was rated third in Joe Kennedy’s fan poll from January 1947.
Slan by A.E. van Vogt, Arkham House, 1946. Jacker design by Robert F. Hubbell
  • van Vogt’s second novel, The Weapon Makers, was widely praised by fans after its serialization in Astounding in 1943. That same year, the author ventured into the fantasy genre with The Book of Ptath, appearing in Unknown Worlds in October. Plans were announced in 1946 for the publication of The Book of Ptath by Fantasy Press (1947) and The Weapon Makers by the Hadley Publishing Company (1947).
The Weapon Makers by A.E. van Vogt, The Hadley Publishing Co., 1947
  • Kennedy’s 1946 fan poll rated van Vogt second among favorite authors, following only Henry Kuttner in popularity. “The Chronicler” (Astounding, October 1946) was ranked ninth among stories published in magazines.
Top author poll results from Joe Kennedy’s 1946-1947 Fantasy Review
  • Hull had appeared regularly in Astounding under her own name (“E.M. Hull”) beginning in December 1942 (“The Flight That Failed”). She captured her first cover in the December 1943 issue with “The Debt,” part of a series featuring rapacious future businessman Artur Blord. Her work also appeared in Campbell’s Unknown Worlds, sometimes alongside that of her husband.
Astounding Science-Fiction, v32n4, December 1943. Art by William Timmins
Unknown Worlds, v6n5, February 194
  • van Vogt’s The World of Null-A appeared in Astounding beginning in August 1945. The controversial novel was much-discussed among fans for its embrace of “non-aristotalian philosophy,” sometimes described as “fuzzy logic.” It was ranked first in Kennedy’s fan poll for 1945.
Astounding Science-Fiction, v35v6, August 1945
  • Following their move to Hollywood in November 1944, van Vogt and Hull became involved with the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society (LASFS). van Vogt regularly attended meetings of the group and spoke at several events in 1946.
Shangri-L’Affaires, n21, December 1944
  • van Vogt was a Guest Speaker at the January 10 1946 “Atomicon,” a gathering of the LASFS to discuss the beginning of the “Atomic Age.” He offered a novel idea regarding the potential benefits of atomic energy.
Forrest J Ackerman in Shangri-L’Affaires, n28, February 1946
  • van Vogt and Hull appeared at the 1946 World Science Fiction Convention in Los Angeles (the first Pacificon) as the Guests of Honor.
A.E. van Vogt presenting as Guest of Honor at the 1946 Pacficon. Photo by Milton A. Rothman. From the collection of John L. Coker III

What works of van Vogt or Hull stand out for you? Which have best stood the test of time? How have these writings influenced the genre? Please drop us a note with your thoughts:

info@firstfandomexperience.org

(The title of this post is informed by the best analysis we’ve seen of the proper pronunciation of “van Vogt.”)

A Year in Fandom: 1946

The next in our series of posts in support of the 1946 Project at Chicon 8.

What was it like to be a science fiction fan in 1946?

There was a lot of new material to read. With the end of the war, Science fiction and fantasy pulps had proliferated. Classics genre novels from pulps of prior years were issued in book form. Just keeping up was a challenge.

Fan activity was also resurgent. The club scene remained most active in Los Angeles and New York, but fans from other corners also made their voices heard. Several clubs formed prior to the war resumed meeting in 1946, often attracting a mix of old and new members.

The timeline presented here is drawn from a variety of sources. Primary among them is Joe Kennedy’s 1946-1947 Fantasy Review, the second in his series of yearbooks covering the field. Eleven pages were dedicated to the doings of fans.

DateFan event
Jan 1Ten fans gather at Sam Moskowitz’s house in New Jersey, dub themselves the “Null-A Men” and begin planning what would become the First Post-War Eastern Science Fiction Convention.
Jan 10The “Atomic Conference” convenes, sponsored by the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society (LASFS) and attended by 35 local fans and authors. A.E. van Vogt speaks on the application of atomic power.
JanRuss Hodgkins is elected as the new Director of the LASFS.
JanThe article “Ten Cent Ivory Tower” appears in Esquire, a detailed account of the early history of publishing the stories of H.P. Lovecraft.
JanThe National Fantasy Fan reports that the National Fantasy Fan Federation (NFFF or N3F) has 184 members. Walter Dunkelberger is the new President.
Jan 26Leading fan Sgt. Forrest J Ackerman leaves the Army for civilian life.
Jan 26Philip Wylie’s atomic-Armageddon story “Blunder: A Story of the End of the World” appears in Collier’s.
FebJack Speer’s poll in Stefnews reveals that the average fan among his readers reads two pro genre magazines per month, receives ten fanzines per month and writes forty-three letters per month.
FebLeading Philadelphia fan Milton A. Rothman is released from military service. Captain David A. Kyle is discharged from the Air Force.
FebLong-standing UK fan Walter Gillings issues Strange Tales, a short-lived pulp.
Mar 3The First Post-War Science Fiction Convention convenes in Newark, attended by as many as 100 fans and pros. The theme: “Is science catching up to science fiction?” A. Langley Searles, L. Sprague de Camp and Sam Merwin, Jr. speak.
Mar 31Sam Moskowitz reads the first two chapters of “The Immortal Storm” at a meeting of the Philadelphia Science Fiction Society (PSFS). Chapters of this detailed history of early fandom would continue to appear in Fantasy Commentator over the next five years.
AprTurmoil at the LASFS leads to factions and a new constitution.
Apr 6Sixteen mid-west fans attend the First Post-Radar-Contact-With-the-Moon Conference in Chicago.
Apr 21Los Angeles fan Abby Lu Ashley wins on the “Carnival of Cash” radio program and promotes the upcoming World Science Fiction Convention — the “Pacificon” — on the air.
Apr 28Organization meeting of the Eastern Science Fiction Association (ESFA), led by Moskowitz..
MayEdward J. “Ted” Carnell launches the pro pulp New Worlds in the UK.
MayGerry de la Ree’s poll on the future of space flight reveals that 66 of the 67 respondents believe that interplanetary travel will eventually happen. The lone skeptic: Raymond A. Palmer. The average estimated date for the first moon rocket is August 18 1976 — but guesses range from 1948 to 2145.
May 17Prolific early science fiction author Francis Flagg dies.
May 30Los Angeles fan Tigrina (Edythe Eyde) promotes the Pacificon on the national “Queen for a Day” radio broadcast.
Jun 16Quoting Ackerman who cites a letter from William L. Hamling, Jack Speer announces in Stefnews that Raymond A. Palmer is confined to the Dunning Asylum in Chicago due to “a mental crack-up.”
JunThe PSFS establishes a new clubroom at the southeast corner of 56th and Pine Streets, Philadelphia.
Jul
4-7
The Fourth World Science Fiction Convention — the Pacificon — convenes in Los Angeles. Kennedy writes: “Consensus of opinion was that the affair as a whole was enjoyable if somewhat slowly-paced. It did serve, at any rate, to show that enough cooperation could be obtained for many more Worldcons in the future.”
Jul 27Jack Speer hosts the “Third Seattle Confabulation” at his home. Four fans attend.
AugThe Fantasy Amateur Press Association (FAPA) elects Milton A. Rothman as President, Norman F. Stanley as Vice-President, Art Widner as Secretary-Treasurer and Elmer Perdue as Editor.
Aug 11The Golden Gate Fantasy Society meets at the San Francisco home of Aubrey McDermott, (arguably) founder of the first-ever science fiction fan club in 1929.
Aug 13Seminal science fiction master H.G. Wells dies at his home in London.
AugGerry de la Ree’s fourth “Beowulf” poll reveals that respondent’s favorite authors are A. Merritt (still), H.P. Lovecraft, A.E. van Vogt, John W. Campbell, Jr., L. Sprague de Camp and John Taine. Top fans are Kennedy, Ackerman, Tucker, Speer, Laney, Moskowitz, de la Ree, Dunkleberger, E.E. Evans and Searles.
Sep 8First meeting of the “New Queens Science Fiction League” takes place at the home of William S. Sykora.
SepHarper’s Magazine publishes “Little Superman, What Now?” by William S. Baring-Gould — a revelatory article about science fiction focused on fandom.
SepThe PSFS begins planning for the 1947 Worldcon in Philadelphia, with Milton A, Rothman and Oswald Train leading the effort.
Oct 6The Strangers Club of Boston holds its first post-war meeting.
Oct 17R.W. MacCarthy, secretary of the Pacific Rocket Society, addresses 34 members attending a meeting of the LASFS.
Oct 20William S. Baring-Gould and 28 others attend the October meeting of the Queens SFL. The groups votes to oppose the publication of works by Richard Shaver in Amazing Stories as fact rather than fiction.
Oct 24Prominent science fiction author Otis Adelbert Kline dies at age 55.
Oct 27About 70 fans attend the Philadelphia Conference, revived after a six-year lapse. Attendees include delegations from the ESFA and the Queens Science Fiction League.
NovIn Amazing Stories, Raymond A. Palmer denies that he’s ever been mentally ill. Hamling writes to Fantasy Times describing the Palmer mental breakdown as a hoax. Some remain skeptical. Palmer is promoted to Editor of all Ziff-Davis pulps.
Nov 9About 25 fans and pros gather at “Centracon” in Chicago, including Robert Bloch, E.E. Smith and Cyril Kornbluth. Attendees spend the night at the home of Erle Korshak.
Nov 10The monthly meeting of the PSFS draws 29 fans to hear L. Sprague de Camp’s address on “extra dimensions and various concepts of time travel.”
Dec 1At their meeting, members of the Eastern Science Fiction Association join the protest against Amazing Stories representation of the Shaver stories as fact.
Dec 12The Colorado Science-Fantasy Society re-forms at the home of Roy Hunt in Denver. Thirteen fans attend.
DecThe National Fantasy Fan Federation elects Art Widner as President and Walter A. Coslet as Vice President.
DecThe Minneapolis Fantasy Society re-forms under the leadership of Clifford D. Simak.
Dec 26The LASFS elects E. Everett Evans as Director at their annual Christmas party.
Dec 31Leigh Brackett and Edmond Hamilton are married in Los Angeles. Ray Bradbury serves as “First Man.”

One event to which fans ascribed importance bears further exposition: the September 1946 article in Harper’s Magazine by William S. Baring-Gould titled “Little Superman, What Now?” Baring Gould had been corresponding with fans for some time, reading fanzines, and attending gatherings. Most importantly, he joined the First Post-War Eastern Science Fiction Convention in March as part of his research, and commented on the meeting in his article. This was the most accurate and deep portrayal of organized fandom to have appeared in the mainstream press to that point. We provide the full piece here.

Fans published extensively in 1946. Core members of the community returned from service to find a wide range of fanzines, many with heightened standards for prose, fiction and art. We’ve tabulated the most notable titles, omitting some one-shots and likely missing a number of more obscure publications (especially from VAPA). For these 69 fanzines, we count approximately 316 total issues for the year.

(Titles in bold italic debuted in 1946. Titles followed by Roman numerals provide disambiguation per the Pavlat-Evans Fanzine Index.)

TitleEditor(s)Issues in 1946
aSwisher2
The AcolyteLaney, Rimel2
The AlchemistHansen, Martin1
Atres ArtesCheney3
Black FlamesV. Daugherty1
Bloomington News LetterTucker3
B.T. – His MagTucker1
Bulletin of the British Interplanetary Societyunknown
Canadian FandomTaylor3
ChanticleerLiebscher1
Cosmic CutsBritish; Tucker2
EmberBrazier20
En GardeAshley3
Falling PetalsFarsaci1
FanW. Daugherty3
Fan-DangoLaney4
FANewscard / FANewsDunkelberger60
Fantasy AdvertiserWillmorth, Squires5
Fantasy CommentatorSearles4
Fantasy ReviewKennedy1
Fantasy Times (II)Taurasi20
Fan-TodsStanley3
Full-Length ArticlesSpeer1
GlomAckerman3
The Grotesque (IV)Christensen4
GrulzakKennedy1
GutetoMorojo2
HorizonsWarner4
“I Bequeath”Ackerman1
In Memorian, H.G. WellsAckerman1
InspirationBridges2
Joe’s JottingsKennedy3
The Kay-Mar TraderCarlson1
Le ZombieTucker1
LetheSmith, Riggs3
The Life of the FanRothman1
LightCroutch4
Milty’s MagRothman1
MoonshineMoffatt2
National Fantasy Fanseveral10
The PhantagraphWollheim2
PlenumRothman4
PSFS NewsTrain5
Matters of OpinionSpeer2
The Reader and CollectorKoenig3
RenascenceBlish2
The RiderHevelin9
Science*FictionZissman (Merril)1
The Science Fiction SavantWashington2
The Science Fiction World (II)Tarr2
The ScientifictionistElsner5
Shangri-L’AffairesJoquel, Burbee9
Space Flight… When?de la Ree1
SparxSpelman2
The Star RoverSplawn2
StefNewsSpeer, Hevelin46
Sun Spotsde la Ree2
Sustaining ProgramSpeer4
A Tale of the ‘EvansEvans3
TemperMerrill1
The Time BinderEvans4
Tomorrow in the MarchEvans1
Vadjong (II)Sykora2
VampireKennedy4
VenalLowndes2
The VoiceCrouch2
Voice of the Imagi-NationAckerman2
Without GleeMoro, Rehm4

Stay tuned for more highlights from our exploration of science fiction and fandom in the very busy year of 1946.

The Fan Cave, c1940s

The next in a series of posts in support of the 1946 Project at Chicon 8.

The “experience” component of “First Fandom Experience” conveys our desire to capture what it was like to be an early fan. To date we’ve dedicated the most space to fannish interactions — clubs, correspondence, conventions, conflicts. But fans spent most of their time at home. Those fortunate enough to have even a semi-permanent residence literally papered their walls with the accumulated evidence of their devotion to science fiction.

Walter J. Daugherty, c1946. From the collection of John L. Coker III

A few prominent fans allowed us to peek into their sanctum sanctori. The earliest narrative tour we’ve found came from Wilson “Bob” Tucker in his fanzine Le Zombie from June 1940.

Tucker aspired to create a décor in which one could “picture yourself out in space.” Other inspirational adornments were more terrestrial. Common to all the accounts we’ve encountered, he cites “the ever-present desk, bookcase, table, mimeograph…”

As to the mimeograph: most fans that published had one, or access to one. By 1940, the arcane and messy chemistry-project of hectography had generally given way to the more-predictable and mostly-monochrome stencil-and-crank world of the mimeo.

Bob Tucker and his mimeograph machine, c1947. From the collection of John L. Coker III

Tucker’s essay inevitably sparked responses. Joe Gilbert of Columbia, South Carolina shared his “proletarian” retreat in the September-October 1940 issue of Le Zombie.

Joe Gilbert in Le Zombie, n32-33, September-October 1940

In the May 1941 issue of The Science Fiction Fan, prolific fan publisher Harry Warner, Jr. provided a detailed inventory of the “business part” of his workshop.

Then and now, fans have surrounded themselves with their closest “friends” — the books and magazines that offer escape from the confines of their room, their house and their planet.

Library of the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society, c1945. From the collection of John L. Coker III

In stylish contrast, British fan Ron Holmes presented the astonishing notion that a collection isn’t something a true fan actually requires.

What would you have expected to see if you’d visited the home of a fan in 1946? What adorns your fannish shrine? Please drop us a note with your thoughts:

info@firstfandomexperience.org

Science Fiction and Fantasy in Books: 1946

Continuing our series of posts in preparation for the 1946 Project at Chicon 8.

In the aftermath of the war, an explosion of genre book publishing brought science fiction and fantasy closer to the mainstream. However, new novel-length fiction was scarce, so the vast majority of titles issued in 1946 looked back, republishing material from prior years.

Thanks to one prolific fan, we have a contemporaneous view of fandom’s favorites from this period. In January 1947, New Jersey’s Joseph Charles (“Joe”) Kennedy published the 1946-1947 Fantasy Review, the second in his series of yearbooks covering the field. Along with his own perspective, Kennedy presented the results of a survey that captured the opinions of 78 fans of the day. Caveats apply; e.g. the sample appears to be entirely from the United States and Canada — but the poll offers at least one window into sentiments at the time.

(Joe Kennedy went on to a notable career as an author and poet, writing under the name X.J. Kennedy.)

Survey respondents, from Joe Kennedy’s 1946-1947 Fantasy Review

The scoring system for fans’ favorites weighted the results based on respondent’s rank-ordered choices.

Poll scoring approach, from Joe Kennedy’s 1946-1947 Fantasy Review

The results are presented below. From Kennedy’s notes, those marked with (*) weren’t actually published in 1946 but are included to reflect the fans’ full responses.

Book poll results, from Joe Kennedy’s 1946-1947 Fantasy Review

The runaway first and second place finishers were representative of the dominant trend in genre books issued in 1946 — they’re anthologies of short stories. Adventures in Time and Space received more first-place votes (39) than all of the other titles combined.

Front cover, spine and front leaf, Adventures in Time and Space, Random House, 1946
Jacket design by George Salter

In 1946, Random House was already a leading mainstream publisher. The omnibus Adventures featured 35 stories, mostly by current leading authors from both North America and the United Kingdom.

The mention of science fiction fan clubs in the jacket notes would seem to indicate that the publishers hoped to reach both established and new readers of the genre. Regarding the latter group, Kennedy opined that there was “public demand for escape literature in the face of the grim reality of the atomic age.”

Back leaf, Adventures in Time and Space, Random House, 1946

From Crown Publishers came The Best of Science Fiction, with a preface by John W. Campbell, Jr. This 785-page tome included “40 wonderful stories, unlike any other kind of stories you have ever read.” Did established fans take offense at the implication that nobody knew of science fiction prior to this book? Were they prepared to welcome novice readers into the sanctum of their speculative refuge? It’s easy to imagine both reactions.

The Crown title presented a wider historical sampling of the field than the Random House anthology, including stories by Edgar Allan Poe, H.G. Wells and John Taine, as well as then-recent works by Robert Heinlein and Isaac Asimov.

Established fantasy publisher Arkham House scored three titles in the top ten in Kennedy’s poll. Two were anthologies: the first collection of Robert E. Howard’s fantasy stories, Skull-Face and Others, and The House on the Borderland and Other Novels, the first American book publication of William Hope Hodgson’s imaginative fantasy. Both volumes featured striking covers by Hannes Bok.

Spine, front cover and front leaf, Skull-Face and Others by Robert E. Howard, Arkham House, 1946
Spine, front cover and front leaf, The House on the Borderland and Other Novels by William Hope Hodgson, Arkham House, 1946

Arkham House had a busy 1946, also releasing The Hounds of Tindalos, an anthology of Frank Belknap Long’s stories from Weird Tales; The Doll and One Other by Algernon Blackwood; Fearful Pleasures by A.E. Coppard; and West India Lights by Henry S. Whitehead.

Arkham’s third top-ten book represented another category with multiple examples in 1946. Slan by A.E. van Vogt was a re-publication of the author’s novel originally serialized in Astounding Science-Fiction beginning in December 1939. The tale of a superior mutant sub-species of humans, hunted for their difference — the “X-Men” of its day — spurred the meme “Are fans Slans?” that has persisted in fandom to present times. Van Vogt was particularly visible to the fan community in 1946 as the Guest of Honor at the first Pacificon held that year.

Similarly, the newly-formed Buffalo Book Company’s The Skylark of Space presented the epic E.E. “Doc” Smith space opera from 1928, updated by Smith from its premier run in Amazing Stories. The same publisher also issued the collected installments of John Taine’s 1931 Wonder Stories serial The Time Stream.

Reprints of “classic” genre novels also gained attention from the fans who responded to Kennedy’s poll. Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World reached a new audience through a 1946 edition from Harper & Row. Abraham Merritt’s The Ship of Ishtar made the list based on a 1945 Avon Book Company digest of the 1924 fantasy novel.

Some classics reappeared in paperback, reflecting the rapid expansion of that format. A new edition of James Branch Cabell’s Jurgen, A Comedy of Justice from 1919 appeared as a paperback from Penguin Books. Abraham Merritt’s epic 1920 fantasy The Metal Monster received a reboot as a title in the “Murder Mystery Monthly” series from the Avon Book Company.

The Fox Woman and The Blue Pagoda from the New Collector’s Group was in the vanguard of a wave of fan-lead publishing efforts that grew in 1946. Artist Hannes Bok (Wayne Francis Woodward) and Paul Dennis O’Connor orchestrated this volume collecting an unfinished story by Abraham Merritt and Bok’s attempt to finish the tale.

Title page from The Fox Woman and The Blue Pagoda. Art by Hannes Bok

Appropriately rounding out Kennedy’s top ten, Avon Ghost Reader is the fan-favored example of the dominant sub-genre for books issued in 1946 — anthologies of ghost stories. Titles abounded, including And the Darkness Falls from World Publishing Company, containing 59 stories and ostensibly edited by Boris Karloff.

Wholly new novel-length genre titles were scarce in 1946. A notable exception was The Murder of the USA by Murray Leinster, writing as Will F. Jenkins. Published in book form by Crown Publishers with a preface by John W. Campbell, Jr., the tale also appeared in the June 1946 issue of Argosy as Atoms Over America.

Atoms Over America by Murray Leinster (as by Will F. Jenkins), Argosy, June 1946

Also new in 1946 was the dark comedic novel Mr. Adam by Pat Frank. The original J.B. Lippincott edition ran for thirteen printings. The cover of the 1948 Pocket Books reprint revealed the book’s sardonic take on post-nuclear dystopia.

In 1959, Frank would pen a less humorous portrayal of atomic aftermath: Alas, Babylon.

Prominent science fiction fan Wilson “Bob” Tucker’s debut as a novelist appeared in 1946 — but not as a genre title. The Chinese Doll was the first of Tucker’s mystery novels. Despite the departure in subject matter, his fellow fans recognized his success with two first-place votes.

Peabody’s Mermaid by Guy and Constance Jones (Random House) merits a mention as the basis for the 1948 film “Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid,” starring William Powell and Ann Blyth.

Notably absent from Kennedy’s poll results are two important fantasy works issued in 1946. Mervyn Peake’s Titus Groan, first of the Gormenghast series, has since been recognized as a highlight of the genre. Fans in North America may not have seen this work due to its initial publication in the UK by Eyre and Spottiswoode. The allegorical Mistress Masham’s Repose by T.H. White (Putnams) examines authoritarianism through the tale of a girl’s encounter with Lilliputians.

Not widely available to fans in North America were two paperbacks from London’s Pendulum Publications LTD, issued as entries in their “Popular Spacetime Series.” Wings Across Time by Frank Edward Arnold was a reprint of a story that originally appeared in Science Fiction Quarterly in 1942. Other Eyes Watching by John Russell Fearn (writing as Polton Cross) was new in 1946.

Also below fans’ radar was the Junior Literary Guild’s publication of The Angry Planet by John Keir Cross. “Living creatures — individuals — Martians!” Blatant indoctrination of youth into fanciful speculation!

Title pages from The Angry Planet by John Keir Ross, The Junior Literary Guild and Coward-McCann, 1946

Which science fiction and fantasy books from 1946 have you encountered? Which left an impression? Please send your thoughts to:
info@firstfandomexperience.org

Science Fiction and Fantasy in the Pulps: 1946

As part of the program for Chicon 8, FFE is orchestrating the “1946 Project” to recall and highlight science fiction and fandom from that important just-post-War year.

Presented here for your perusal and possible amusement is a fiction bibliography for science fiction and fantasy pulps issued in 1946. The list includes magazines that primarily published new works. Excluded are reprints of works published in prior years (most of Famous Fantastic Mysteries, all of Strange Tales). Non-fiction articles and editorials are also omitted. For brevity, we didn’t cite specific issue dates. For richness, we’ve transcribed the introductory blurbs that appeared in the Table of Contents or masthead for each story.

We’d love to hear your reflections on works from 1946 that you might have had occasion to read. Which stories were notable to you, and why? Which have stood the test of time? Which are ‘undiscovered gems?’ Which stories reflected the times in particularly compelling or unique ways?

Please drop us a note with your thoughts at:
info@firstfandomexperience.org

Isaac Asimov chose sixteen of these tales for inclusion in his anthology, “The Great SF Stories 8: 1946” (edited by Asimov and Martin H. Greenberg, DAW Books, Inc., 1982). We offer this list as his point-of-view, possibly influenced by copyright restrictions, and without endorsement or dismissal:

“A Logic Named Joe” by Will F. Jenkins (Murray Leinster)
“Memorial” by Theodore Sturgeon
“Loophole” by Arthur C. Clarke
“The Nightmare” by Chan Davis
“Rescue Party” by Arthur C. Clarke
“Placet is a Crazy Place” by Fredric Brown
“Conqueror’s Isle” by Nelson S. Bond
“Lorelei of the Mist” by Ray Bradbury and Leigh Brackett
“The Million Year Picnic” by Ray Bradbury
“The Last Objective” by Paul A. Carter
“Meihem in ce Klasrum” by Dolton Edwards
“Vintage Season” by Lawrence O’Donnell (C.L. Moore)
“Evidence” by Isaac Asimov
“Absalom” by Henry Kuttner
“Mewhu’s Jet” by Theodore Sturgeon
“Technical Error” by Arthur C. Clarke

A contemporaneous view of fan favorites from the year was compiled by Joe Kennedy in his the 1946-1947 Fantasy Review, the second in his series of yearbooks covering the field. Kennedy’s survey captured the opinions of 78 fans of the day. (For details on the poll participants and methods, see this post: Science Fiction and Fantasy in Books: 1946.) Here are the top 25:

From The 1946-47 Fantasy Review, compiled and published by Joe Kennedy in 1947

Science Fiction and Fantasy in the Pulps: 1946

Amazing Stories (Raymond A. Palmer)

Invasion of the Micro-MenRichard S. ShaverA terrible plague came to Nor, and Elder Goddess Vanue lost her crown. A story of Mutan Mion.
“Anything You Say, Dear”Leroy YerxaHe was just a mouse of a man until he got the hypnotic tube–then he became master in his home.
The Huntress of AkkanRobert Moore WilliamsShe was lovely beyond all compare, but she was a huntress–and a huntress to chill one’s blood!
Final VictimHenry Hasse & Ray BradburyWho was it that lost out in the end? Pursued, or pursuer, on this hideous little rock in space?
Little Drops of WaterFrances M. DeeganAlmost anything might be expected to show up in a microscope–except the experimenter himself!
Four Who ReturnedChester S. GeierThe world waited breathlessly for the return of the four survivors of the first voyage to Mars…
The Masked WorldRichard S. ShaverUnder New York lies the cavern city, Ontal, ruled by the most murderous cutthroat gang of all time.
Atom WarRog PhilipsYears in the future Chicago had become the World Capital, and it was first target for atomic bombs.
Bridge of LifeRobert Moore WilliamsMaybe a walkie-talkie isn’t the thing to put in a call to a dead man, but at least you can try
The Affair of Matthew EldonMillen CookeWhen we get to monkeying around in the electronic bands, there is no telling what we’ll discover!
A Room with a ViewDavid Wright O’BrienThe things one says in this room! Characters from a masque ball who claimed they weren’t from one.
Don’t Mention It!John & Dorothy de CourcyThe invention was vital–and there was opposition from another dimension. Then came a “Helper”…
The Perfect ImitationH. B. HickeyDon’t go around aping people, even if they are good examples; maybe you’ll imitate them too well!
AghartiHeinrich HauserA super atomic bomb, carried by rocket, launched itself from the Harz Mountains–and Satan died!
The Brothers ShenaniganDavid V. ReedWhen these brothers go into business on the Moon, the looney Luna business really begins to boom!
Luder ValleyRichard S. ShaverIf any man saw it fall, he called it another meteor; but it wasn’t a meteor that crashed to earth…
To Whome It May ConcernMillicent HolmbergPeople with strange new senses, and with strange plans for the future, lived in this western town.
Cult of the Witch QueenRichard S. Shaver & Bob McKennaHecate was her name, an immortal goddess–but her subjects called her the Limping Hag
The MutantsRog PhillipsArny wasn’t like other boys–he was the result of the Atom War, a mutant human…
ChrysalisRay BradburySmith was dead–or was he? Maybe he was only dead as a butterfly larvae is dead!
The Man with Two MindsLeroy YerxaOne way to discover the workings of the mind of a murderer is to be in his mind…
Heart of LightGardner F. FoxThe diamond had a heart–of light. And the light was also the light of life…
Scar TissueHenry S. WhiteheadThousands of years in the Past he died, but the scars remained even in a new life.
The Man Next DoorRobert Moore WilliamsWhat about the man next door? Do you know anything about him, really? Do you?
The Sea PeopleRichard S. ShaverThe Limping Hag, having been beaten on Venus, fled to Earth to set up her empire on the sea bottom.
March of the Mercury MenDon WilcoxDeath and destruction loomed as the Mercury Men set out on their monstrous steeds to do battle…
The GiftBerkeley LivingstonPrecious indeed was the gift from the world’s greatest artist–but a curse went with its misuse.
Some Are Not MenJohn & Dorothy de CourcyYou see them on the street every day, but do not recognize them–these creates who are not men.
BothonHenry S. WhiteheadOf what importance was one wronged man in a world rent apart by the dying convulsion of a continent?
Earth Slaves to SpaceRichard S. ShaverThe Darkspear came to Earth and picked up a load of slaves–but Earther’s other people never knew it!
The Cosmic SistersLeroy YerxaWomen tall as trees, female counterparts of the legendary giant man, Paul Bunyan–and very lovely.
Battle of the GodsRog PhillipsThe final showdown between the rival mutant humans who were born of the atom war; what would happen?
Morton’s ForkJack & Dorothy de CourcySo there are no such things as demons? Of course not, if you’re looking for horns and a tail!
The Green ManHarold M. ShermanHe came from the planet Talamaya bearing a vitally important message for the inhabitants of Earth!
The Caduceus of HermesGeorge TashmanThere it was: the caduceus used by Hemes himself. And it turned out to be a powerful gadget!
GetawayChester S. GeierIt was a way of escape never used before–to elude capture by police by taking off in a spaceship!
M-M-M-M-M-M!Millen CookeShe came through a Time Warp, from a world where kisses were unknown–and became an atavist!
The Return of SathanasRichard S. Shaver & Bob McKennaMankind has long abhorred the devil, but regard him as a myth. Mutan Mion met him and fought him!
Haunted MetropolisChester S. GeierFar away on a planet unknown a city became haunted–and terror stalked its darkened streets!
The Secret of Lord FennelFrank G. HeinerWhat was going on in Lord Fennel’s castle? Who–what–was his lovely oriental wife and he slave?
The Man Who Went NowhereJohn & Dorothy de CourcySo you don’t think it’s possible to keep on the move and not go anywhere? Well, for instance…
Side StreetLeroy YerxaSide streets have a peculiar fascination for some people, and they can’t resist exploring them!
Atala RimJ. S. HarrisonThere in the old Mexican church he stood, a man named Atala Rim… and there was the unknown in him!
Command PerformanceBerkeley LivingstonWhat if there was a gadget that could really “command” a performance? You’d be its utter slave!
The Land of KuiRichard S. ShaverDeep beneath Kui was a machine that ate rock–and it left Kui perched on a precarious pillar.
Death SentenceChester S. GeierWhat out of the ordinary could there possibly be concerning the death sentence of two rabbits?
Giant of GanymedeRoss RocklynneThe most peaceful, gentle business of all seems to be that of a florist–but not on Ganymede!
Great Gods and Little TermitesDon WilcoxDown into the tiny world of the Termites they went–or was it really a giant world of Termites?
Double for DestinyLeroy YerxaDestiny played a dual role, a sort of Jekyll and Hyde split personality–and Fate went hog-wild
Sentimental MonsterLee FrancisSentiment in a machine–don’t be ridiculous; or perhaps it’s just in the way you look at things…

Astounding Science-Fiction (John W. Campbell, Jr.)

The Fairy ChessmenLewis Padgett (Kuttner / Moore)The weirdest weapon ever conceived attacked not the mighty defensive screens, but the defending technical minds. It was a simple idea–but simply devastating. All it did was deny the basis of the scientific method!
Veiled IslandEmmett McDowellA new author presents a tale of a new kind of superman, a cannibalistic, savage, dirty barbarian. But it isn’t what a race knows that counts; it’s what that race is.
Fine FeathersGeorge O. SmithIt’s an old, old, human urge to join the “get-rich-quick” boys. But with the educator machine that one man had invented, another man decided it was even better to join the “get-smart-quick” bandwagon. But as no man is ever quite rich enough, no man ever feels he’s quite smart enough–and both lead to trouble.
N DayPhilip Latham
(R.S. Richardson)
There have been many tales of the terror and riots that precede the end of the Earth, when some scientist accurately predicts its doom. But now let’s see–would men react quite that way…
A Matter of LengthRoss Rocklynne“How long is a minute?” doesn’t ordinarily make much sense–but on that strange planet, a minute was the wrong length. The oxygen in the air was the wrong length, too–but they were the right length to take the measure of Joe Henderson’s deadly little problem!
The PlantsMurray LeinsterIt should be axiomatic that the dominant life-form on any planet is a dangerous, powerful species–or it wouldn’t be dominant. But of course, no one will be much bothered by a pretty little flower, even if it is dominant–
Special KnowledgeA. Bertram ChandlerA good officer on a modern merchant marine ship has a great deal of highly specialized knowledge. But if that man somehow found himself an officer on a merchant spaceship, his special knowledge would seem pretty useless–ordinarily. But not that trip!
This is the HouseLawrence O’Donnell (C.L. Moore)A house, it has been said, is a machine for living. The house they bought from its previous occupant had, very definitely, been made just that. But–not for human living!
The Fairy ChessmenLewis Padgett (Kuttner / Moore)Concluding Padgett’s novel of a strange but very terrible sort of weapon–the concept that truth, like all other things, might be variable, and our most basic laws but one of many possible aspects.
Pattern for ConquestGeorge O. SmithFirst of three parts. The Earth has been menaced by galactic conquerors before, in science-fiction. But not quite this way–and not with quite these results. For instance, consider: What is the purpose of war? How determine the winner?
We Kill PeopleLewis Padgett (Kuttner / Moore)It was quite a business, too… and it wasn’t anything you could prove murder. Murder, after all, is strictly a human affair; this was, on the contrary, an inhuman sort of business!
Lady DogA. Bertram ChandlerThe more complex, sensitive, and responsive a machine becomes, the more closely it approaches a living organism. Fine — but what if the darned thing begins to believe it is a living organism…?
DepthG. N. HowardA new author presents a new picture of a ship of–not space, yet space for all that. But the space hundreds of miles within the Earth!
AdapterMurray LeinsterThe Ethical Equation were a curious sort of business. For instance, the only ethical thing to do might turn out to be insubordination!
Guest in the HouseFrank Belknap LongThe guest wasn’t invited, but then, the house was really a guest–in the time era of the intruder. The guest’s great trouble was he didn’t know the difference between knowledge and mental agility–
A Logic Named JoeWill F. Jenkins (Murray Leinster)Joe was a machine, and Joe wanted to be helpful. Joe was immensely helpful. So horribly helpful he very nearly destroyed civilization with his accurate answers!
Pattern for ConquestGeorge O. SmithSecond of Three Parts. With the aid of the Little People, Earth had developed new and mighty powers–but Earth remained one planet, and one people, opposing a quarter of a galaxy. The end was foredoomed–but the meaning was not so clear!
SwamperJerry SheltonThe peasant type clings to old ways in the face of any new advance–and, in time, there will be the dull, unchanging peasant type even on other worlds. Like the Swamper–
Black MarketRaymond F. JonesAn O.P.A agent’s job is to stop black market operations–but the job that faced him was something no ordinary measure could handle. Targ advertised his Black Market Emporium–but not the source of his strange and wonderfully efficient goods!
LoopholeArthur C. ClarkeThe Martians knew when Man developed the atomic bomb–and they knew Man’s warring character. So they took steps to see that Man stayed on his own home planet. That was a serious error–
MemorialTheodore SturgeonHis plan was to create a crater than would warn all men to avoid atomic war for five thousand years to come, memorial that would spit lava and deadly rays for five millenniums. Part of his plan was fulfilled–the wrong part.
The NightmareChan DavisThis is a story of the immediate tomorrow–and of civilization headed down the inescapable road to destruction–down the road that we have, already, selected–and its nightmare end.
Rescue PartyArthur C. ClarkeThe mission was to rescue a fraction of a population–because the Galactic Union hadn’t known that the Earth’s Sun had inhabited planets until too late. But they did know it was going Nova!
The CureLewis Padgett (Kuttner / Moore)The simplest way to drive a sane man mad is to face him with an absolutely insolvable dilemma. There are more complex ways, of course–but the cure gets complicated, too, and sometimes fails–
A Son Is BornA. E. van VogtVan Vogt starts a new series, of a world where atomic energy is old–and science forgotten, debased to ritual. A world into which a child touched by atomic rays is born–
Alexander the BaitWilliam TennA new author presents an ingenious new idea on how to get interplanetary travel started. It’s done with a Moon-radar system. But not quite as the world thought–
Placet is a Crazy PlaceFrederic BrownIt wasn’t that Placet itself was so crazy; it was just that the things Placet’s gravitic situation did to human sensory organs was really remarkable. You could even solve impossible problems quite unintentionally–
Pattern for ConquestGeorge O. SmithConclusion. The true nature of conquest isn’t always easy to determine–as a completely overwhelmed and conquered Earth had to demonstrate. It’s so impractical to enslave a man brighter than you are–
ForecastRaymond F. JonesEven if you can control the weather–the weather won’t satisfy everyone. And if someone’s dissatisfied, that means a fight–
The Bottled MenRoss RocklynneTwo men–hunter and hunted–were trapped in that natural battle. One started digging his way out, but it was a trickier problem than he guessed–
The Chromium HelmetTheodor SturgeonThis isn’t the best of all possible worlds–but it was no help to five reasonably comfortable people to encounter the strange effects of the “cromium hemlet[sic].”
ParadiseClifford D. SimakThe Mutants had solved the secret of the philosophy that would give men peace–but the man who returned from Jupiter offered Paradise with a price tag; the oblivion of mankind.
The Chronokinesis of Jonathan HullAnthony BoucherTime travel might make murder easy–but time travel itself, even though accomplished, might not be any easy thing to bear–
Cold FrontHal ClementThe Master Salesman’s job was to find out what the people of that new world wanted and needed, and how best to supply it. What they needed was easy; decent weather. But supplying it–even though Earth knew how to control weather–wasn’t so easy!
TroubleGeorge O. Smith“It takes two to make a quarrel” doesn’t mean two different people, really–just two different viewpoints!
The BlindnessPhilip Latham
(R.S. Richardson)
If, by some miracle, the full light of the Day Star could shine on man and his works–
Rain CheckLewis Padgett (Kuttner / Moore)It wasn’t human, or even remotely human. The race that created it had given it great powers. But one power it desperately wanted was denied it–
StabilityA. Bertram ChandlerBalance is important in modern planes–but a serious misbalance in something trying to balance on a jet of flaming gas could be more than merely annoying!
Film LibraryA. E. van VogtTheir novelty films were remarkable–but no novelties. Not, that is, at the time they were filmed–
Slaves of the LampArthur Leo ZagotIf greed were the only feature of human psychology men had to fear, we might cure the problem. But sometimes even worse is a man’s determination to improve his fellow man…
The Last ObjectivePaul CarterThe only way to avoid atomic bombs is to be where they ain’t–and for an army, that meant tunneling underground in a really all-out way!
Bankruptcy ProceedingsE. Mayne HullArtur Blord had been in trouble–of his own doing–before. He knew how to protect himself against enemies. But it was his friends who were really dangerous!
Child of the GodsA. E. van VogtIn a world of war, assassination, and violence there seemed no place for the psychopathically shy and timid Clane. He could never appear in public, or rule as was his right–it seemed.
The Cat and the KingRaymond F. JonesA cat can, of course, look. But this was a remarkable cat: it didn’t look. It watched. There’s a rather important difference–
The ToymakerRaymond F. JonesThe Imaginos were silly, lumpy little dolls–but the kids were crazy about them. In fact–they were so crazy about them that the destiny of the planet hung on them!
Vintage SeasonLawrence O’Donnell
(C.L. Moore)
Everybody seemed to want the old house during May–and seemed willing to pay fantastic prices for the privilege. Strange tourists they were, too. The Cafe Society of another time.
Blind TimeGeorge O. SmithThe real problem of the missing link–missing because displaced a few hours in time–was how to prevent an accident that had already happened!
EvidenceIsaac AsimovYou know, it would be mighty hard to get evidence that a robot claiming it was a man, was not. As a man, he’d have rights of privacy, and until you proved otherwise–
Slaves of the LampArthur Leo ZagotSometimes the finest motives are the deadliest, the kindliest acts, the stupidest–and an idealist can kill a city!
The ChroniclerA. E. van VogtThere was a third eye in his skull–but it was more than a third path for vision. It was the key to a new, and terror-ridden world. A world of savages in a city, and philosophers in caves–and of a spaceship. First of two parts.
Chaos, Co-OrdinatedJohn MacDougal
(James Blish, R.W. Lowndes)
Earth didn’t stand much chance of winning against a galaxy, when the multitude of races was co-ordinated by a perfect thinking machine/ But machines have their limitations. No imagination–no soul, no poetry in ’em!
Assumption UnjustifiedHal ClementIt was an easy error to make. To an alien being, a man is a man is a human being. Even human beings have trouble, sometimes, telling one man from another. The alien’s assumption–
False DawnA. Bertram ChandlerA tale of very long ago, before man had descended (sic) from the “apes,” and a time when the Moon was not an airless, scarred glove in the night skies.
AlienGeorge O. SmithThis is not a logical, probably, or scientific story. It’s a bit of insanity about a barroom brawl over a man with feathers where his hair should have been–
To Still the DrumsChan DavisSome men ask only peace, and a chance to do their work; to some, a mighty weapon is an irresistible temptation to power, with or without the consent of a nation. And such must be watched.
Mewhu’s JetTheodore SturgeonMewhu came from–somewhere. He wrecked his spaceship on landing, but the “parachute” he had was something decidedly super–an atomic jet job! The problem was to get into communication–they thought.
HobbiesClifford D. SimakThe cities were deserted, save for one. The men and women of that city had hobbies–but no accomplishments. The robots they had left behind were doing better…
The UnforeseenMark ChampionA prison break is successful only when it employs some factor which neither foresight nor past experience has called to the attention of the guards. They key to freedom is–the unforeseen.
Tower of DarknessA. Bertram ChandlerThe planet was a deadly place–deadly not to men, but to their ambition. It seemed to be cursed by the Tower, and against the Tower neither strong will, courage, not the flame of human ambition succeeded. It took something quite different–and unanswerable.
The ChroniclerA. E. van VogtConcluding the story of a man thrown into a strange world of highly civilized barbarians, and a decaying city–
MetamorphositeEric Frank RussellBuilding a galactic empire takes time–a very long time. And it may not be the same people who started the job when they finish–
For the PublicBernard I. KahnThe story of a doctor of the Lunar Quarantine Station and his routine job. And the routine was death–
Hand of the GodsA. E. van VogtClane, the Child of the Gods, might be loved by the Atom Gods, but not by the sharp-minded old woman who ruled the Empire–and that was a very practical and dangerous matter indeed!
The Impossible PirateGeorge O. SmithPrecisely so–impossible. Which was what made it so hard to catch him! There wasn’t any possible way he could escape–
Time EnoughLewis Padgett (Kuttner / Moore)The Old ‘Uns lived in secret–not quite immortal, but for five hundred years or more they’d lived. But nevertheless they’d all died at about one century!

Famous Fantastic Mysteries (Mary Gnaedinger)

While Famous Fantastic Mysteries generally ran reprints, there were two notable exceptions in 1946.

DaemonC. L. MooreFor such as Luiz o Bob the powers of ancient earth will gather when his cry for help is heard… but only for such as he, who have no souls–who can see the dainty hoofs of Pan and can hear the strange and terrible music of his pipes…
And Not in PeaceGeorge Whitley
(A. Bertram Chandler)
He laughed at devils and vampires and wasn’t afraid, because they belonged to the world of fantasy–forgetting that it is sometimes the realest world of all…

Fantastic Adventures (Raymond A. Palmer)

Moon SlaveLeroy YerxaMany things happen under the moon, and because of the moon; was that why these graves were opened?
Vacation in ShastaRog PhillipsMt. Shasta is supposed to be the home of weird underground dwellers. What is its deep-hidden secret?
The Life SymbolRichard CaseyNoah, a modern one, boards an ark of space, and the old story takes on a few new, and funny, angles!
Siren SongLester BarclayModern soldiers and sailors engaged in a war can’t expect sirens to sing to them–or can they?
Toka and the Man BatsJ. W. PelkieOut of the sky came the greatest of all dangers for Sandcliff–and Toka took his axe into the air.
The Land of Big Blue ApplesDon WilcoxIn this country you ate apples–and you caught them on your horns. Saved trouble picking them up.
Christopher Crissom’s CravatDavid Wright O’BrienIt was a lovely tie–if you had an eye for color. And this one demanded that it be noticed…
An Adam From the SixthRichard S. ShaverAdam hung himself in despair; then he got another chance to live, all memory of the past erased.
A Crystal and a SpellChester S. GeierThere was magic in the crystal; it could cast spells. But a piece of gas pipe complicated things.
The Sword and the PoolBerkeley LivingstonOut of the pool came a pair of hands bearing aloft a shining beauty of a sword dedicated to freedom.
Finished by HandH. B. HickeyNever throw stones if you live in a glass house; and also, never yell thief if you are one too!
To Watch by NightRobert Moore WilliamsEyes that watch in the night sometimes see things that are not suspected during the daylight…
Tree’s a CrowdRobert BlochLefty Feep found himself unpopular in ordinary company–his bark was worse than his bite…
He Who Saw TomorrowThomas P. KelleyOrdinarily no man can see the future, lease of all his own. But tomorrow he would live again!
Jimmy Takes a TripWilliam Lawrence HamlingJimmy liked trains, especially this one that he saw at the station where nobody else saw trains.
The Softly Silken WalletDavid Wright O’BrienA wallet is for one purpose only, to carry money–but it can be made of a variety of materials…
The Tale of the Last ManRichard S. ShaverOnly one man left on earth; the whole world was his, to do with as he liked. What would he do?
Cult of the EagleBerkeley LivingstonThey were the most fearsome creatures on the planet–eagles as big as men, and as dangerous!
Minions of the TigerChester S. GeierHis eyes had one peculiarity when they looked at you: They were the eyes of a tiger…
The MirrorWilliam Lawrence HamlingIt was just a plain mirror, and an old one. But it showed you the strangest things…
A Voice From BeyondJohn P. LenahanWhen he walked over the X-ray cables, something happened to him. A voice called out…
I’ll Take the SubwayBerkeley LivingstonIf you owned a subway system you’d be a rich man. But can a dead man spend his money?
Taming of the TyrantLeroy YerxaIt was a world where women were forgotten. Teena set out to make the tyrants remember
Dual PersonalityRog PhillipsHe was perfectly content to stay single. But then somebody doubled up inside him…
Shadow of the SphinxWilliam Lawrence HamlingThe sphinx stands patiently in the sands of Egypt–waiting–for someone…
Rocket to LimboMargaret St. ClairMillie wanted to get rid of her husband, so she bought him a one-way ticket to limbo…
The CounterfeiterRobert Moore WilliamsThe little man didn’t want to be a counterfeiter–it was the machine he built…
The Moving FingerBerkeley LivingstonWhen the old man pointed his finger and prophesied death, people laughed–and died…
Happiness is NowhereChester S. GeierMan’s quest for happiness in this world is futile–but there are other worlds…
The Smiling WifeH. B. HickeyThe Norsemen have many strange legends. One of them concerns a smiling woman…
The Red DoorDon WilcoxThere were many doors in Askandia, and all of them had been opened–except one…

Fantasy (UK) (Walter Gillings)

Last ConflictJohn Russel FearnTo men to ruthless ambition, Science can be a very powerful ally. But too much power is dangerous for those who can’t control it…
SupernovaP. E. CleatorAll the evidence pointed to a sudden, catastrophic end for Man and his planet. But only one man knew, and denied the world the knowledge. Fortunately…
The Worlds of IfStanley G. WeinbaumTo travel into the future or the past? Pfui! But to explore the might-have-beens — that was easy to a genius like van Manderpoots.
Technical ErrorArthur C. ClarkeThe Chief Physicist has a problem… How to keep a starving man alive when it would cost two millions a year to feed him?
The Pain MachineL. V. HealdTurning pain into pleasure seemed a good idea — and the machine did just that. But sometimes machines can work too well…
A Matter of SizeNorman LazenbyBigness isn’t everything… And a man deprived of his sense of proportion is apt to overlook the compensations of smallness — even when he wants to hide.

Futuristic Stories (UK) (Dennis H. Pratt)

The Lords of ZormN. Wesley Firth(no blurb)
Laughter of the GodsEarl EllisonMister Seedly’s Impulsator
The Timeless DimensionRice AckmanMike Owens stepped into trouble when he stepped into the Vanishing Cabinet of Calgary. Through a timeless dimension to a dying, twilight world, alien and deserted, except for two beautiful girls — and the CRAKES!

New Worlds (UK) (Edward John Carnell)

The Mill of the GodsMaurice G. HugiWorld markets were being flooded with cheap merchandise, but nobody knew where the goods were manufactured. Until Intelligence officers stumbled upon the fantastic answer…
The Three PylonsWilliam F. TempleA fantasy of long ago. King Fero left his son a hard task — the riddle of the three pylons. When Rodan solved the problem it altered history.
Solar AssignmentMark DenholmTwo news reporters tangle with a mystery on Pluto–and find the answer to an age-old Earth mystery.
Knowledge Without LearningK. Thomas
(R.W. Fearn)
A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. A lot, when stolen from other people, can be more than dangerous–for some.
Sweet Mystery of LifeJohn Russel FearnA strange plant grew from a rose cutting–and Man learned the secret of space travel. There was a snag, however
White MouseThornton Ayre
(J.R. Fearn)
If an Earthman married a girl from another planet an brought her to earth, how would she fit into her new environment?
The Living LiesJohn BeynonVenus, as a colony of Earth, had a highly specialised system for keeping the balance of power in the White’s hands. It was a problem of racial colour–but not to the Venusians
Lunar ConcessionThornton Ayre
(J.R. Fearn)
Mining on the Moon might be fun–for some–if the stakes were not so high.
Space Ship 13Patrick S. SelbyWith all interplanetary space to travel in, the Rapier had to be on another spaceship’s course.
Vicious CirclePolton CrossTime runs in a straight line=–but what if one man’s Time Line is circular? He’d see the Past, the Present and the Future
Foreign BodyJohn BrodyIf, long years ago, a visitor from space crashed on Earth–where would be the logical place to find traces?
The Micro ManAlden LorraineA fantasy of a little man who visited the Gods–but the Gods were not amused–only careless
Green SpheresW. P. CockcroftIf Earth is ever invaded from Outer Space, the first arrivals might not be the invaders–but merely their softening-up process.

Outlands (UK) (Leslie J. Johnson)

Pre-NatalJohn Russel FearnThe “searchlights” from Outer Space were in search of something — someone — on the Earth. When they found what they sought, one man “died” — only to live again…
Strange PortraitSydney J. Bounds(no blurb)
Bird of TimeJohn GabrielThe Bird of Time has but a little way
To fly — and Lo! The Bird is on the Wing.
Omar Khayyam
Undying FaithCharnock WalsbyDowater was a confirmed Atheist, but he was not without Faith — in his own disbeliefs!
Rival CreatorsGeorge G. WallisA story of the Ages after the Earth’s End.
The Opaque WordAnthony CotrionSeptimus Hudd had not been invited to attend at the Brain’s Trust, but he turned up just the same — and made “light” of some of the questions…

Planet Stories (Chester Whitehorn, Paul L. Payne)

Engines of the GodsGardner F. FoxThe engines were the wealth of Mars–but they could not be used until their secret was solved. Kortha and the evil Guantra fought and schemed for the knowledge–and the planet lay on the bring of destruction.
The Blue VenusEmmett McDowellThe Renegade’s men swept through the valleys of Venus, seeking a greed-maddened slaver who planned an experiment so cruel and barbaric it would crumble the very foundation of mankind.
What Hath Me?Henry KuttnerThe thousand tiny eyes raced past him, glittering with alien ecstasy, shining bright, ever brighter as they fed. He felt the life blood being sucked out of him.
SurvivalBasil WellsMen found themselves suddenly in the swampy hell of Venus, fighting a weird battle for existence.
Defense MechRay BradburyMan, man, how’d you get in a mess like this, in a rocket a million miles past the moon, shooting for Mars and danger and terror and maybe death.
Electron Eat ElectronNoel Loomis(Editor’s note: When we had read through this in-a-class-by-itself story, we exclaimed “Here’s PLANET’S scoop on the world!”)
Crisis on TitanJames R. AdamsHere they were, about to be blasted out of existence by strange inhabitants of a weird planet–and Staley was making like a baseball player!
Lorelei of the Red MistLeigh Brackett, Ray BradburyHe died–and then awakened in a new body. It was a good body, and he took pleasure in it… until he discovered that it was hated by all on Venus–and that his soul was owned by Rann, devil-goddess of Falga.
Captives of the Weir-WindRoss RocklynneTheir objective–if they lived to reach it–was a world beyond all worlds… a planet where howling winds could kill and lakes of radium acted as graves.
The Shadow-GodsVaseleos GarsonCurt watched them die, crushed and seared by the spreading blue flower, and he cursed himself. With all his knowledge and strength he could not save his people.
The Pumpkin EaterCarlton SmithEd shook the kid’s hand and smiled–and said to himself: “I got to kill this guy! Before he gets inside me! Before he finds out what I am!”
Space-Lane of No-ReturnGeorge A. WhittingtonIt came suddenly–the excitement you yearned for–and you found yourself being blasted out of the void…
Prisoner of the Brain-MistressBryce Walton“I became part of it, part of the heat and brightness and whirling, and I could feel myself melting away–until I became nothing…”
The Million Year PicnicRay BradburyJust behind the veil of the vacation–instead of the soft face of laughter–there was something hard and bony and terrifying…
Dread-Flame of M’TonakHenry HasseGrimly the outlaw Ketrik slogged toward the proud Martian city… behind him the gibbering mindless wrecks of Terra’s shrewdest intelligence men… ahead a ghastly green glow in the sky that waited for him as it had for them–hungrily!
The Creatures That Time ForgotRay BradburyMad, impossible world! Sun-blasted by day, cold-wracked by night–and life condensed by radiation into eight days! Sim eyed the ship–if he only dared reach it and escape! … But it was more than half an hour distant–the limit of life itself!
Enter the NebulaCarl JacobiThe greatest cracksman of the Galaxy–the Nebula… mocked by a gay voice that called herself Andromeda, who led him into danger–into the hands of his enemy!
The DerelictWilliam J. MatthewsDying, castaway Jeff Thorne stumbled across the pitiless desert… was Death awaiting him in this sudden vision of the crumbling towers–the dry-rotted hulks of an ancient Martian seaport?
Total RecallLarry SternigThe armada from outer space was attacking–Roger Kay had thirty minutes to wrench the secret of victory from the old scientist’s brain where it lay buried in horror!
Through the Asteroids–To Hell!Leroy YerxaBlair Freedman had torn that tunnel through the grinding asteroid wall–with the might Cutter… he’d die now to keep it open–but not with the girl he loved!
Six TuesdaysRoss RocklynneNot six Tuesdays in as many weeks, but the same Tuesday, over and over! Ivan wondered what he’d gotten the universe into–with this crazy time-machine of his!
The Man the Sun-Gods MadeGardner F. FoxThe Tryllans worshipped him as god. Yet grief bowed those superbly-muscled shoulders, for Tyr knew he was no more divine than the lowest ray-gunner of the invader hordes.
The Sven Jewels of ChamarRaymond F. JonesScattered, the jewels were maddening. Held in a grasping palm they bestowed power enough to rile the System. But space-roving Nathan and the deadly Firebird learned the terrible price of that power.
Love Among the RobotsEmmett McDowellHenry Ohm found his robots hard to control–with that girl around. There was something about her–ah–personality!
TepondiconCarl JacobiThere was treasure beyond price in those plague-darkened cities of Ganymede, provided the seeker, too, had no price.
Space BatCarl SelwynOut of the caves of space it flew–huge, rapacious, terrifying. But Lou Flint wanted it more than he wanted the luscious Karen.
Fog of the ForgottenBasil WellsRebelling against science, his people had thrust themselves down into the ancient mists. Now Ho Dyak wanted light.
ExampleTom PaceFrantically, the space-liner called Commander Gray: “Disaster ahead–you can save us!” He smiled grimly; he knew the only way.
Breath of BeelzebubLarry SternigOnly half an ounce of the liquor from Planetoid Y-145 had been distilled. But that was enough to drive the universe mad!

Startling Stories (Sam Merwin, Jr.)

Outlaw WorldEdmond HamiltonOn the trail of malevolent space pirates, Curt Newton and the Futuremen combat the evil machinations of the Uranian Ru Ghur, who plans the total destruction of the Universe!
The Forgotton Man of SpaceP. Schuyler MillerA Hall of Fame Classic reprinted by popular demand
The Jimson Island GiantSam Merwin, Jr.Duplex had a formula–but could not foresee its consequences
Valley of the FlameKeith HammondFar from civilization, Brian Raft and Parror, the cat-man, grapple in a fight to the finish–while a breathless girl looks on and the destiny of a race totters in the balance!
Shadow Over VenusFrank Belknap LongCommand James Elwood battles against the Venusian gules
Twelve Hours to Live!Jack WilliamsonA Hall of Fame Classic reprinted by popular demand
The Dark AngelHenry KuttnerTim Hathaway sensed that his wife was growing different, but–
The Dark WorldHenry KuttnerEdward Bond enters a twin universe of black sorcery, where his evil replica, Ganelon, fights for a kingdom of slaves, infinite power, and two alluring women–Arles and Medea!
The Man With X-Ray EyesEdmond HamiltonA Hall of Fame Classic reprinted by popular demand
Planet of the Black DustJack VanceThe pirates held all the cards but one–a man’s soul
The Vicious CirclePolton CrossDick Mills oscillates back and forth from past to future
Extra EarthRoss RocklynnePresident Woodward and his cabinet wage war on six evil men
The Solar InvasionManly Wade WellmanCurt Newton, Joan Randall and the Futuremen cruise into a strange world peopled with weird, pallid inhabitants, on the quest of a lost satellite which was mysteriously plucked from the sky!
After ArmageddonFrancis FlaggA Hall of Fame Classic reprinted by popular demand
AfraidW. E. ThiessenEarth’s messenger, Norman Kane, braves the terrors of the Moon
AbsalomHenry KuttnerThe prodigy son of a future father presents a difficult problem

Strange Adventures (UK) (Dennis H. Pratt)

Fugitive on VenusLeslie HalwardBourbon, a homicidal maniac, made a break from Grunton Pen., and in his madness he hurled himself through space to Venus, taking with him Professor Systrom’s beautiful daughter, Lana…
Mary Had a Little… ?N. Wesley FirthA riotously funny story about the thing that followed Mary about, a thing from another dimension. A story with an unusual ending… by the author of “Lords of Zorm”.
Space Hobo’s DiaryRice AckmanThe space hobo had some strange stories to tell. And this is one of his strangest…

Thrilling Wonder Stories (Sam Merwin, Jr,)

Forgotten WorldEdmond HamiltonStar-sick Laird Carlin is ordered back to Earth for a rest cure–and there on the ancient, ancestral planet, his love for a girl lures him into the toils of a weird conspiracy!
The Disciplinary CircuitMurray LeinsterFleeing from the fury of despots through parsecs of space, Kim Rendell and Dona Brett dodge ghastly dangers!
Siren SatelliteArthur K. BarnesA daring crew of spaceteers faces a grim prospect–unless Gerry Carlyle wins a devouring monster as her ally!
Information PleaseStanley WhitesideA mechanical super-brain possesses a one-track mind
Atomic StationFrank Belknap LongRoger Sheldon puts up a battle when energy runs amuck
Clutch of MorpheusLarry SternigRackam’s comet induces a fatal sleeping sickness
Battle of the BrainsJerry SheltonImmortal powers were conferred upon men when the colossus Klarth implanted their brain cases into invincible super-bodies–but Mason knew it meant humanity’s enslavement!
Indestructible ManEdmond HamiltonDeath holds no threat for Phil Ryan as he dares bullets, floods and other lethal threats while battling to protect the world’s greatest secret!
UndermostManly Wade WellmanEnter the Dakar-Natal Transatlantic Tunnel, situation eight miles below sea-level, where brave men struggle mightily for glory, fame and love!
Rocket PantsNoel LoomisDetermined to save a friend from ruin, Arne Pearce and Hugo Drake race through space, facing the sinister menace of treacherous Marcus Barr!
Find the SculptorSamuel MinesThere was a maddening riddle in the epochal time-travelling machine
Jones’ PhysiqueWilm CarverThe odd case of J. Maurice Jones was only a scientific problem, until–
Rocket SkinRay BradburyHitch-hiking through space, George Vanning meets up with murder
Like DupsMurray LeinsterGreedy Earthman “Slug” Breen gambles against time for limitless wealth
Tital of the JungleStanton A. CoblentzA mysterious fluid of enlightenment reverses the order of the world–and only Mark Haverside and the Pembrooks, armed with slingshots and courage, can set things right!
Dead CityMurray LeinsterOut of the misty past come weird creatures to prey upon mankind–but Pete Marshall and his aides meet the menace with scientific weapons!
The Ice WorldRoss RocklynneWhen reptiles rule in a dying world, brace Starnik and his friend Caset become leaders in a struggle to restore the heritage of humanity!
Twilight PlanetPolton CrossA young scientist shatters the atom–and destroys his planet
ZeroNoel LoomisSpace flier Bob Parker risks the peril of banishment to the Moon
Forever is TodayCharles F. KsandaEdmund Carsten, scientist, seems to bend eternity to his wishes
The Multillionth ChanceJohn Russell FearnPhysicist Grant Mayson re-creates Iana, the wonder girl of long ago, out of scattered atoms–but between them stands the memory of Anrax, long-dead master of science!
Call Him DemonKeith HammondDeep in his fourth dimensional lair crouches the hungry monster, while only a band of children guards helpless adult victims!
Pocket UniversesMurray LeinsterWhen a Latin-American tyrant visits New York, Luis Santos perfects a machine that can eliminate space–and exacts vengeance!
The Good EggRoss RocklynneSquare Root, the little imp from space, does some fast figuring
Never the Twain Shall MeetBrett SterlingJohn Farrel keeps his Tryst with Ylleen, whose love means death
The Little ThingsHenry KuttnerDave Tenning, a born rebel, felt he did not belong in this Futureworld
Tubby–Master of the AtomRay CummingsAn atomic beauty of a distant era gives Tubby the eye
I Am EdenHenry KuttnerIn a fabulous Brazilian Valley, Jim Ferguson and Dr. Cairns battle against walking rocks and cannibal plants in their strange quest of a mysterious and fascinating girl goddess!
The EndMurray LeinsterWhen universal disaster threatens, Ron Hort and Sart Voorn fight ruthless pirates while striving to find the answer to an ancient enigma!
Phalid’s FateJack VanceHis brain encased in the body of a giant insect on an alien planet, Ryan Wratch struggles against big odds to defeat the enemies of all Earthmen!
Grim RendezvousArthur Leo ZagatJohnny Rober, discredited physicist, stages a desperate sky venture
The Ghosts of Melvin PyeL. Sprague de CampLandlord Conroy’s property is besieged by frolicsome “ha’nts”
Pardon My MistakeFletcher PrattA future kidnaper tries to make his getaway in a fast space ship
Life on the MoonAlexander SamolmanJay Revere explores the unknown in a rocket trip to Earth’s satellite

Weird Tales (Dorothy S. McIlwraith)

KurbanSeabury QuinnLike Pharoh’s necromancers, he could cast his rod upon the earth and it became a live, hissing serpent
Chariots of San FernandoMalcolm JamesonThere are many unsolved mysteries in this strange world of ours–like the bizarre adventures at the Amazon’s headwaters!
Sin’s DoorwayManly Wade WellmanA soul is free to enter heaven if its burden of sin is borne by a living person
SeedJack SnowHow thin is the veneer of modern learning. And how little it takes to shake one’s faith!
Mr. Bauer and the AtomsFritz LeiberIf a person suddenly became radio active, with all that atomic energy inside his body…
Satan’s PhonographRobert BlochHave you ever heard of a recording machine so damnably delicate that it captures the human soul?
PikemanAugust DerlethThe tombstone warned “Prepare for death and follow me!”
The Diversions of MME. GamorraHarold LawlorWhat, pray, would people be like if they were reduced to their least common denominator!
All the Time in the WorldCharles KingThe mass of bloated flesh that could be formed into different shapes by kneading with the fingers–was me!
Twice CursedManly Wade WellmanDo you know of those who are afraid of memory shadows and others who never fear the devil except on a dark night?
The Man in the Crescent TerraceSeabury QuinnThe thing used its spear like a woman testing cake with a broomstraw–on the “cake” was a human!
The Bogey Man Will Get YouRobert BlochThat was what was nice about him — the mystery, the not-knowing…
Dead Man’s ShoesStephen GrendonThose who are stricken with that curious and terrible hallucination should be thankful — for it warns of something far more terrible
ChanuJim KjelgaardLook closely at his cultured face and you will discern to your amazement a snarling mouth and great fangs
The JonahEmil PetajaRemember the “Marie Celeste”? Here’s an explanation for that and other sea mysteries that could not be explained!
Tunnel TerrorAllison V. HardingStrong things can happen in a vehicular tube — especially when the tunnel goes places it isn’t supposed to!
The TravellerRay BradburyA strange family, with no real life to any of them!
The Valley of the GodsEdmond HamiltonGuarding this fabulous, legendary valley is a sinister night-shrouded place of the dead
Three in ChainsSeabury QuinnWhoever it was–or whatever–watched us gloatingly
MidnightJack SnowThere was scarcely a forbidden book of shocking ceremonies and nameless teachings that he had not consulted
The Man in PurpleDorothy QuickThis accursed room had an aura of immeasurable menace–a ghost come true
The Smiling PeopleRay BradburyNothing is quite so horrible, so final as complete utter silence
Once There Was an ElephantR. H. PhelpsYou’ve heard of the old triangle–but suppose one of the trio is an elephant!
Rain, Rain, Go Away!Gardner F. FoxHis obsession sat like an evil witch astride his thin shoulders, haunting him
The Silver HighwayHarold LawlorThere was a strange story connected with the Pope-Hartford runabout and the exquisite girl who sat in it
Frozen FearRobert BlochA deep-freeze unit is like some monstrous beast that has just dined well
Shonokin TownManly Wade WellmanThe Shonokins are real — real almost-men with peculiar knowledges and sciences, fearing only their own dead
CatspawsSeabury QuinnA girl attacked at night by some creature; not human, not animal, but monster
The NightRay BradburyThis was a summer night that waded deep in time and stars and warm eternity–a night when reason ended and universal evil took over
The WingsAllison V. HardingOne never knows what incredible forces are ready to loose themselves upon the world at any moment
The Man Who Told the TruthJim Kjelgaard“From this night on everything you say will come true, so watch your language!”
I’ll Be Glad When I’m DeadCharles KingIt’s written that pint-sized demons can only give out with vest pocket spells!
The Cinnabar RedheadHarold LawlorLife is full of problems and in the lonely hush of a foggy night ghosts become one of them
The ShinglerE. L. WrightNext time you have work done on your house be sure you don’t get the Singler!
For Love of a PhantomStanton CoblentzThe room was a musty six-by-eight where unearthly shadows seemed to dance in the gas-light
GhostP. Schuyler MillerIt is a pleasure to remember sometimes how certain people died
LotteSeabury QuinnWhen a mystery presents itself it gnaws like a magot at the brain, nor can it be dislodged till the solution is found
Day of JudgementEdmond HamiltonSomeday, some eternity away, there will be a last man and a last woman. And who will be their judgers?
EnochRobert BlochHave you ever felt the tread of little feet walking across the top of your skull?
Alice and the AllergyFritz LeiberIt’s only common sense to be scared of a killer–sometimes even after he has been apprehended and executed!
Not HumanBert David RossA tulka does not really live — therefore a tulka is indestructible. It cannot die
The HornCharles KingA goat’s horn, marvelously endowed with strange virtues and an unforgivable future
The MachineAllison V. HardingA machine, so sensitive as to be human, was the scientist’s goal. What he got was as utterly unexpected as it was horrific!
Six Flights to TerrorManly BanisterThe building’s bizarre architecture was as though it had been lifted bodily and transported here from some haunted place deep in a mysterious Europe
Polar VortexMalcolm FergusonAll alone on the night side of the world time moves at a snail’s pace
Threshold of EnduranceBetsy EmmonsWhat is, can be — what happens, can happen again
Xerxes’ HutHarold LawlorA small unpretentious hut, with an eternity of history and an unguessable secret within four walls of horror
Spawn of the Green AbyssC. Hall ThompsonThere are events that transpire in this world that you will not believe–that you will not want to believe!
Eyes in the DarkSeabury QuinnSome will not live to grow old — for a variety of outre reasons
ShipmateAllison V. HardingYour shipmates are picked by chance or fate — to sail with you toward some shrouded doom beyond the farthest horizon!
Mayaya’s Little Green MenHarold LawlorThings happen in rambling, reconverted farmhouses, things that make you wish you weren’t twenty miles from the nearest neighbor
Let’s Play “Poison”Ray BradburyChildren — little monsters thrust out of hell because the devil could no longer cope with them
A Collector of StonesAugust DerlethYou don’t always worry about ethics if you’re a fanatical collector. But you should worry about the dead!
Lizzie Bordon Took an AxeRobert BlochA locked room, mouldering books, muttered curses, in a rotting hulk of a house — add up to tragedy
FrogfatherManly Wade WellmanThe oldest ones say Khomgabassi dug the waterways, planted the trees and fathered the frogs

Mysterious Early Fan Art

This recently encountered work of art has spurred a new adventure in the archeology of early fandom.

A mysterious work of 1930s science fiction art

Here’s what we know:

  • The work is in ink, pencil and colored pencil on board. The board has pin-holes indicating that it was mounted at some point. It’s fairly large — 18″ x 13″.
  • There’s no signature, date or annotation on the piece, front or back
  • It appeared on eBay some time ago. The person who acquired it from there doesn’t recall from whom it was bought. So, no provenance is available.

Who did it, and when? For what purpose, if not for its own sake?

To attempt to date the piece, we observe the following clues:

  • “Trainor’s Tower” is a reference to “The Prince of Space” by Jack Williamson, first published in the January 1931 issue of Amazing Stories
  • “Septama” refers to Aladra Septama, a pseudonym of Judson W. Reeves. Stories under this moniker appeared in Amazing Stories in 1929 and 1930.
  • “Flagg” evokes Francis Flagg, a name used by author Henry George Weiss. Stories with this attribution were published primarily from 1928 – 1934, mostly in Amazing Stories.
  • “LESTONE” seems to point to the author Leslie F. Stone (legal name Leslie Francis Silberberg). Stories by Stone appeared in the early- to mid-1930s, mainly in Amazing Stories.
  • The designations on the airships (“G-6,” “S-6,” “II-0”) could be significant, but we haven’t been able to track down a specific origin.

Regarding the style of the piece, we believe it’s directly inspired by the work of Frank R. Paul — most specifically, this piece from Amazing Stories Quarterly, v1n1, Winter 1928, illustrating “The Moon of Doom” by Earl L. Bell.

Amazing Stories Quarterly, v1n1, Winter 1928

The FFE team has kicked this around and we’re stumped.

If we take the content as dating the piece to the early 1930s (reasonable but not definitive), here are the possibilities that seem most credible:

  • It’s fan art by the only fan artist prior to 1935 who demonstrated the level of skill necessary to create such a detailed piece — Clay Ferguson, Jr. That said, we haven’t seen other examples of Ferguson’s work that are similar in style.
  • It’s a preliminary or test piece by Frank R. Paul. However, we feel the variable quality of the rendering doesn’t seem consistent with Paul, even his preliminaries.

If we’re willing to allow that the piece is from the late 1930s, another candidate fan artist comes into focus — John V. Baltadonis. Born in 1921, it doesn’t seem credible that he could have produced this prior to the age of 16. His skill increased rapidly in the late 1930s and 1940s.

For example, we have this cover from The Science Fiction Collector, v4n3, August 1938. Notable here is the flyer designation, “K-24.” Same origin as the similar insignias on our mystery art?