Astounding Stories of Super-Science, December 1930 online

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criticized that I hardly know where to begin.

Let's start of with stories of future warfare. Although this class is
potentially one of the most interesting, it is at the same time one of
the most abused. Ray Cummings can write classics in this field, but the
efforts of most the others are atrocities. I'll wager that their
favorite childhood sport was mowing down whole regiments of lead
soldiers with oxy-acetylene torches. It shows in their writings. Why
can't they think of something original? Why can't they make their
stories logical? The merits of a story are not dependent on the number
of people wiped out by one blast of a death ray! But they all stick to
the same old plot. A merciless but well-meaning scientist, or hordes
from a foreign planet, wipe out thousands of American citizens at one
blow. Hundreds of airplanes are disintegrated before they discover that
the enemy is invulnerable. An ultimatum in domineering tones gives the
terror-stricken populace forty-eight hours in which to surrender. But,
all unknown to the dastardly villains, an obscure young scientist labors
to save his country and the girl he loves. Fifteen minutes before the
time set in the ultimatum he perfects a new weapon that soon sends the
invaders to their well merited fate.

Surely you realize how ridiculous the whole affair is. It is only
slightly less nauseating than the plot used in the stories of advanced
civilizations where the hero is conducted on a sight-seeing tour by the
individual in whose path he popped upon entering this new world. I can't
believe that more than a handful of my fellow beings are of such low
intelligence that they can find enjoyment in such trash. You will notice
that although every reader has a different list of favorite authors, Ray
Cummings has his name in practically every list. He is easily your
favorite author. Ray Cummings does not wipe out whole cities at one
time. His heroes do not save the world by inventing a new weapon at a
moment's notice. His wars are not of forty-eight hours' duration. His
conquerors do not attempt to win the war by one great attack on New York
City. Do try to have your authors write logical stories.

I would now like to criticize the love element in your stories. I do not
claim that there should be none whatever from cover to cover of your
magazine, but I do claim that there should be none unless it really
helps the plot. Most of your authors seem to think that a girl is
necessary in every plot and so they bring her in, disregarding the fact
that they do not know how to handle such material. The way it stands
now, the heroine is introduced in a lame, routine fashion; is rescued
once or twice; and accepts the hero as a husband in an altogether lame

There are many other points but they can wait. Logical war stories, no
Utopias or sight-seeing tours, sensible love element, plus your present
policy will make a corking magazine. - Philip Waite, 3400 Wayne Ave., New
York, N.Y.

No Present Plans

Dear Editor:

Thanks for the new color cover. It certainly is a big improvement. The
picture on the front of "our" magazine was just as astounding as the
story by R. F. Starzl from which it was drawn. Let's have more stories
from the pen of Mr. Starzl.

In my opinion "Beyond the Heaviside Layer" is the best story I have read
in Astounding Stories to date. I am very pleased that you intend to
print a sequel to it.

Now I would like to ask you a question. Do you intend to print an Annual
or Quarterly, or do think you will ever enlarge the size of this
magazine? I don't care so much whether you enlarge the magazine or not,
but I certainly would like to read an Annual or Quarterly.

Even though this letter meets the fate of thousands of other such
letters and sees the inside of your wastebasket, I will at least have
had the pleasure of writing to you and wishing "our" magazine success to
the nth degree. - Forrest J. Ackerman, 236-ВЅ N. New Hampshire, Los
Angeles, Calif.

"Excellent" to "So-So"

Dear Editor:

I notice a large number of subscribers are giving their opinions of
Astounding Stories. I hate to be with the crowd, but I have to side with
the majority in this case and say it's just about right.

My favorite writers are R. F. Starzl (that "Planet of Dread" was a
peach). Chas. W. Diffin, A. Merritt, Ralph Milne Farley, Murray Leinster
and Ray Cummings.

Now as to the August issue, here is how I rate them:

"Planet of Dread" - more than 20c. worth at the first crack. A real

"Lord of Space" - excellent. I meant to include Victor Rousseau in my
list of favorites above.

"The Second Satellite" - so-so.

"Silver Dome" - so.

"Earth the Marauder" - too deep for me. And that Beryl stuff is sheer

"Murder Madness" - a real story. Get more like this.

"The Flying City" - too much explanation and description and not enough

Perhaps it looks like I'm sort of critical after all, but I didn't mean
it just that way. What I'm driving at is that Astounding Stories is by
far superior to its competitors, and I'm telling you so because it might
make you feel better to know it. If you want to print this testimonial,
go to it. To tell the truth, I'll be looking for it. - Leslie P. Mann,
1227 Ogden Ave., Chicago, Illinois.

"Too Many Serials"

Dear Editor:

I have just finished the August issue, and I would like to tell you my
opinion of it and the magazine as a whole.

The stories in order of merit were:

1 - "The Second Satellite"; 2 - "The Flying City"; 3 - "Silver Dome";
4 - "The Lord of Space"; 5 - "The Planet of Dread."

I won't pass judgment upon the serials, as I have not read all the

In "The Flying City" there are a number of points I am hazy about. How
could Cor speak English? However, this could be cleared up by saying
that Cor sent out men to get the language, etc.

As a whole, Astounding Stories is a good magazine. There are too many
serials, however, but since other readers like them I won't complain.

You have a fine array of Science Fiction authors. With such writers as
Vincent, Meek, Hamilton, Starzl and Ernst, your magazine can't be
anything but a success.

The September layouts look good to me. I hope it is. - E. Anderson, 1765
Southern Blvd., New York, N.Y.

Thanks, Mr. Glasser

Dear Editor:

Somewhat belatedly I am writing to commend you most heartily on the
August issue of Astounding Stories, which I consider by far the finest
number since the inception of the magazine last January. The authors
whose work appeared in this issue are among the greatest modern writers
of fantasy and scientific fiction. Leinster, Burks, Hamilton,
Rousseau - what a brilliant galaxy! And Starzl, Vincent, Rich; all
writers of note. If ever a magazine merited the designation "all-star
number," your August issue filled the bill.

However, I am confident that even this superb achievement will be
surpassed by some future edition of Astounding Stories, for each
succeeding number to date has improved on the one before. And with a new
Cummings novel in the offing, it seems the August issue, despite its
excellence, will speedily be eclipsed. - Allen Glasser, 1510 University
Ave., New York, N.Y.

Are Our Covers Too "Gaudy"?

Dear Editor:

This is the first time that I have ventured to air my views to any
magazine, but as yours interests me greatly I hereby shed my reticence.

I believe, of all magazine of your type, you have come nearest
perfection. But there are just a few things that bother me, and, no
doubt, others like me. In the first place, must you make your covers as
lurid and as contradictory to good design as they are? Really, I blush
when my newsdealer hands me the gaudy thing. People interested in
science do not usually succumb to circus poster advertising.

Then there are the stories. I realize that you must cater to all tastes,
but some of them are very childish, slightly camouflaged fairy tales.
Science Fiction can be written very convincingly, as is testified by the
stories of H. G. Wells, Ray Cummings, Jules Verne, and others. These
writers attain their effects by the proper use of the English language,
without silly and obviously tacked-on romance, the use of known
scientific facts elaborated sensibly and by not trying to make a novel
out of a short story.

The stimulation of the imagination from Science Fiction is most
enjoyable and I shall continue to read your magazine even though my
fault finding is not considered, for, as I said before, you certainly
have come nearer my ideal than any of the others. - Hector D. Spear, 867
W. 181st St., The Tri-Sigma Fraternity, New York City.

Nossir - Our Astronomy Is O. K.

Dear Editor:

I am taking advantage of your invitation to write to you. Since
Astounding Stories is available you have given me a lot of pleasure, and
I hope you may get a little pleasure out of reading this.

First, I want to say that you're hitting the ball as far as I'm
concerned. I could hardly suggest an improvement.

In the August issue I liked "Planet of Dread," by R. F. Starzl, best.
When that thing in the "pipe" grabbed me, I mean Gunga, wow! And it gave
me a lot of satisfaction to see the Master in "Murder Madness," by
Murray Leinster, get it in the neck. "Lord of Space" was good, too. In
fact all the stories were good. I have only read two or three I really
did not like since you started.

Say, I never heard of a planet named Inra. Don't you think your author
ought to brush up on his astronomy? I also noticed some other authors
are a little weak on astronomy; not that I'm complaining. The stories
are O. K. with me. - Harry Johnson, 237 E. 128th St., New York City.

Mr. Yetter Checks Up on Us

Dear Editor:

As I am a constant reader of Astounding Stories I wish to say that
though S. P. Meek is one of my favorite authors his story, "Cold Light,"
was a little wrong when he called the "Silver Range" by the name of
"Stillwater Range." I also think it would have been better if he had had
a car take Dr. Bird and Carnes out to the hills, became even in Fallon a
burro is a strange sight.

But Meek, Cummings, Burks and all the rest of our famous authors'
stories should be in the magazine often. If Verrill, Wells, Nathenson
and Hamilton would also write, the magazine would be perfect.

I like all the stories, though some seem to be copies, and others lack

Here is for a long life for Astounding Stories! - Frank Yetter, 369
Railroad Ave., Fallon, Nevada.

"Charm All Its Own"

Dear Editor:

Let me congratulate you. I have just read "The Planet of Dread," by R.
F. Starzl, in your August issue of Astounding Stories.

Real science, you know, is pretty rigidly limited, but super-science of
the kind you seem to run has a freshness and charm all its own.

I came upon your magazine quite by accident, and from now on no doubt
will look for it as I stand before the racks of magazines, trying to
decide upon something to read - Anton J. Sartori, 1330 W. 6th St., Los
Angeles, Calif.

Inra Could Exist

Dear Editor:

You will have to excuse this old telegraph office typewriter. It is all
I have to express my appreciation to you for the tremendously
interesting magazine you put out. I have only read the last three
issues, but those are enough to convince me that Astounding Stories
fills a long-felt want. I read all the others too, but from now on I'm
going to look over their offerings at the stand before I buy. They have
to go some to come up to the standard set by you, especially in the
August copy.

That story, "The Planet of Dread," was the most weird, exciting,
thrilling, satisfying - in short, the most "astounding" story I have ever
read. Nothing has seemed so real since I first read Wells' stories. I
liked the characters. Poor Gunga. I could just see him, trying to
sacrifice the man he obviously worshipped to stop that horrible noise.
The picture of Gunga on the cover was just exactly what I would expect
the Martian to look like. You have a good artist. I liked Mark
Forepaugh, too. He didn't lose his nerve for one minute - not Mark. Who
says civilization is going down, when the future holds men like that?

Next to "The Planet of Dread" I liked "The Lord of Space." That was a
vivid and well-drawn story, too. Those two, I think, were the
outstanding stories for August. But I must not forget "Murder Madness,"
the serial; it was thrilling and convincing. That's the only kick I
have: so many stories sound thin. I don't believe them when I read them.
I also want to mention "The Forgotten Planet" and "From An Amber Block."
Good, exciting, and you can believe them without too much strain.

Oh, by the way, the author of "The Planet of Dread" made a mistake when
he chose a mythical planet for his terrific adventures. Why not Venus or
Mercury? If they have water the conditions on them would be similar to
what he described for Inra. There ain't no such planet. But why expect
perfection! I'm satisfied.

I wish you success. That's a late wish. You're a success already. - Tom
P. Fitzgerald, Newcastle, Nebraska.

Thus Ended the Quest

Dear Editor:

This is my first letter to your magazine, and right away I'm asking for
a pair of sequels. One of these is to "The Moon Master," by Charles W.
Diffin. These sad endings depress me greatly, but if I looked at the
ending first to see whether or not it was sad it would ruin the story;
and besides sad endings usually have good stories in front of them. The
other sequel I want is to "From The Ocean's Depths," by Sewell P.
Wright, and its sequel "Into The Ocean's Depths."

In looking over my back copies of the magazine I find that I have not
disliked a single story. Thus endeth my quest for a brickbat.

Are you going to put out a quarterly? Both the other Science Fiction
magazines that I get do so, and I observe that it gives opportunity for
a story of full novel length all in one piece. Not that I object to
serials, but I like once in a while to sit down to a long story without
having to dig out three or four magazines. However, please continue the
long serials, for what is life without the element of suspense? - Hugh M.
Gilmore, 920 N. Vista St., Hollywood, Cal.

"The Readers' Corner"

All Readers are extended a sincere and cordial invitation to "come over
in 'The Readers' Corner'" and join in our monthly discussion of stories,
authors, scientific principles and possibilities - everything that's of
common interest in connection with our Astounding Stories.

Although from time to time the Editor may make a comment or so, this is
a department primarily for _Readers_, and we want you to make full use
of it. Likes, dislikes, criticisms, explanations, roses, brickbats,
suggestions - everything's welcome here; so "come over in 'The Readers'
Corner'" and discuss it with all of us!

_The Editor._

* * * * *

Transcriber Notes

Typographical and hyphenation inconsistencies have been standardized.

Otherwise, archaic and variable spelling is preserved, including
'obsidion' and 'tyranosaur'.

Passages in italics indicated by _underscores_.

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Online LibraryVariousAstounding Stories of Super-Science, December 1930 → online text (page 19 of 19)