AND OTHER GREAT
‘Fantasy’ was the title of two short-lived pioneering UK SF
magazines. Both survived for only three issues.
The first just pre-war. The second coming soon after the war years.
They are now collectable, and quite beautiful souvenirs
of the very founding years of the genre...
‘The future had grasped me like a vicious drug’
‘Seeker Of Tomorrow’
by Eric Frank Russell and Leslie J Johnson
Sometimes it seems the future was so much more futuristic in the past. All those years ago, tomorrows were wide open to the most extravagant imaginings. ‘Fantasy’ was the title of two short-lived UK SF magazines. The first just pre-war. The second following in the bleak austerity years soon after the war. Now they are collectable, and quite beautiful souvenirs of the very founding years of the genre, a time when ‘the wizardry of science has transformed the once tenuous fancy into hard fact,’ as Walter Gillings declared. And ‘only dreams have a future’ in the soaring new worlds of 1938. Yet he cautiously adds the reminder that ‘history is full of visionaries, and sceptics,’ both of which were conspicuously present across the two lifetimes of ‘Fantasy’.
In both its incarnations, ‘Fantasy’ was a victim of its time. Both pre and post-war titles survived for no more than three issues apiece. But what beautifully lurid issues they are! What shocks of grotesque terror rear from those six covers, what horrors of perverted sciences – what nostalgic pleasure. For ‘Fantasy no.1’, dated July 1938, the white-haired bespectacled scientist pulls the activating toggle on the machine-panel, and an arc of electrical energy shocks the metal-man on the laboratory-bench into malevolent quasi-life in ‘The Latest and Most Thrilling ‘Frankenstein’ Story’. In much the same way, these magazines were sending shocks of innovation through UK Science Fiction.
Some people claim that to collect remnants of the past – photographs, cigarette cards, juvenilia… magazines, is to arrest time, so that no experience is lost. That to gather and preserve things, is an attempt to fight the transience of the world. Yet it’s easy to mistrust those false premises. The social context of that collected memorabilia dissolves even as you seek to preserve it. A carefully-hoarded issue of ‘Fantasy no.1’ now is not the same phenomenon, and can never mean the same thing as when it first nudged its way into select newsagent displays. Those issues are objects of a time-past that can never truly be regained. Yet we collect and we attempt to preserve them. For there are continuities.
Many stories of this strange lost period of fiction involve eccentric inventors working out highly involved experiments in their own private laboratory workshops. A direct descendent, perhaps of HG Wells ‘Time Traveller’, or his Moon-bound Cavor. Wyndham/Beynon’s fictional ‘Judson’ falls into this category. As does the protagonist in JE Gurdon’s contribution to that same launch issue of ‘Fantasy’. According to the Contributors Notes, Captain John Everard Gurdon DFC was not only an aviation authority, but a real-life air-ace, a noted and decorated fighter pilot who flew missions with the Royal Flying Corp over the Western Front (and later in the second World War too). He’s ‘a writer of flying stories, usually with plots hinging upon some new scientific device or discovery,’ well-known through his contributions of aviation-themed fiction to ‘The Strand’, ‘The Modern Boy’ and ‘Argosy’ as well as two tales in ‘Fantasy’.
Elsewhere in the issue, in “Son Of Space” by Francis H Sibson, Jamieson is another ‘dauntless but misanthropic’ pioneer attempting to escape the intrusive attentions of what were then not yet called paparazzi, although the writer seems as taken by his idea of the luxury round-the-world three-hundred-foot fantail-ejector-jet monoplane, as he is by the doomed scientist who – like the name of his rocketship, becomes an ‘Asteroid’ lost in trackless space. For Eric Frank Russell – a ‘thirty-three years old, six-foot newcomer to the ranks of science-fiction authors’, small-time crook ‘Knuckles’ Spilla takes advantage of an invention created by Professor Dainton – who’s been conveniently run over and killed by a car, ‘to turn another scientific achievement to the practical use of crime.’ He drinks a chameleon-serum to achieve a kind of invisibility in order to steal a forty-thousand dollar payroll being paid into the bank. But, as the story-title “Shadow-Man” suggests, his presence is betrayed by his shadow. He is hunted down by an angry mob and killed.
The magazine was followed by ‘War Stories’ and ‘Western Stories’, as Sprigg set about gathering material in preparation for a SF-based companion – what would have been Britain’s first mature SF periodical. But as well as visionaries, there were sceptics. Despite the garish success of American pulp magazines, there was no British precedent for an exclusively SF title. There were general adventure-story titles which occasionally included fantasy fiction, but at the time there was no such beast as a British SF-magazine – and never had been. Those rocket-ships, ray-guns, and multi-tentacled aliens menacing voluptuous girls in skin-tight spacesuits might work on unsophisticated US newsstands, but surely its disreputable adolescent attractions would not find an audience here?
Newnes were dubious. They drew up a tight ‘Memorandum of Requirements’ concerning the type and standard of material they were prepared to publish. Sprigg explained this middle-of-the-road policy via the Science Fiction Association journal ‘Tomorrow’, calling for ‘a good story, well written, and an imaginative theme with a scientific interest that is something more than a peg upon which to hang an adventure.’ As Walter Gillings noted, it was considered that ‘a more restrained style was necessary for a public that knew only Wells, Verne and Burroughs’ (in “The Impatient Dreamers”) – although no-one else has ever described ER Burroughs as ‘restrained’! Even then the publishers prevaricated further, with ifs and buts, while ‘tentative plans’ for the venture were placed in abeyance.
Rather than feeling threatened by the prospect of a rival genre title, ‘Tales Of Wonder’ editor Walter Gillings actively assisted Sprigg in sourcing writers for the project. ‘To me’ he writes, ‘the most obvious difference between the two magazines was the superior layout and illustration of ‘Fantasy’, which was attractive without being over-bright. I did not care for the style of staff artists SR Drigin and G Blow, who were manifestly more at home with airplanes than with spaceships, and whose work was too often reminiscent of ‘Scoops’; but at least they had room to manoeuvre, with double-page spreads and all.’ With the greater financial push provided by Newnes, Sprigg was able to offer the inducement of higher pay-rates than Gillings, with the result that Eric Frank Russell and John Beynon Harris would appear in all three issues of ‘Fantasy’. Yet, like Gillings, he took occasional forays into reprints too, lifting early British SF tales that had previously appeared in non-genre fiction periodicals ‘Pearson’s Magazine’ and ‘Argosy’. Introducing them to a new readership.
Despite handling his four magazines almost single-handed, Sprigg was never a crusading personality editor, his name never even appears in the magazine, his brief comment-box in the first issue announcing a magazine of ‘something more than fiction, yet less than fact,’ is simply by-lined ‘the Editor’. He explains in no.2 how ‘he sees no justification for wasting with his own effusions valuable space that can be better devoted to ‘Fantasy’ readers’ chief interest – science fiction.’
The intimidatingly prolific John Russell Fearn burns as the brightest star in this somewhat limited firmament, filled with what Walter Gillings terms his ‘boundless energy (and inborn egotism)’. He ‘wrote his first story, “The Planet Tracker”, at the age of ten and had been writing science-fiction practically ever since,’ with frequent sales to the American market since his “The Intelligence Gigantic” appeared in ‘Amazing’ June-July 1933 and Thought-Variant “The Man Who Stopped The Dust” to ‘Astounding Stories’ March 1934. Now, his humorous and exclusive “The Red Magician” is advertised in a red cover-band above the magazine title-logo. Dave Turner, reporter for ‘The London Arrow’ both competes and collaborates with Joan Wyngate of ‘The Clarion’ to unmask Solivus Vass who has seemingly arrived from Mars in a sphere, via the fourth dimension, to astound London with impossible feats – an Indian Rope Trick in Trafalgar Square ‘enough to open Nelson’s blind eye’, and extinguishing a Charing Cross blaze by pure mind-control. Is he Martian Magician or brilliant charlatan, and what of missing scientist Abel Karton whose inventions had been peremptorily rejected by the government? All is revealed within the electronic gadgetry of the Martian wizard’s Red Temple constructed in London, while Dave and Joan’s rivalry is satisfactorily resolved by marriage.
The story opens in an uneasy state of phony war with the European alliance of Extrania, when an unknown craft crashes in Epping Forest. Not an experimental plane, but a Genus Eupithecia, a giant moth! Air Commodore Langton and Colonel Butler discover its larvae loose at Wintram Hall. The army defeats the brood at the Battle of Chingford, but there are others. Some claim they are Loopers from the Moon, drawn by the ‘ceaseless glow’ of London, others say they were flung by ‘some convulsion in space caused by the explosion of a star beyond our knowledge’?... or perhaps they’re from an unexplored region of earth – ‘the forests of the Amazon or the barren deserts of Arabia’? The editor offers a half-guinea prize for the best solution submitted, while – as Aldiss notes, the fire-brigade spray plaster-of-Paris to block the invader’s breathing tubes and choke them. Aldiss perceptively adds that ‘in a year’s time, the brigades would be dealing with another kind of invasion from the sky’ (in ‘The Twinkling Of An Eye’, 1998, Little Brown).
Halliday Sutherland is profiled as a fifty-seven-year-old Scot who lives in London and had already tasted success with his autobiographical ‘The Arches Of The Years’ (1933). Yet his “Valley Of Doom” is appallingly poor. In the story, Mr Smith is designated H.99/Hampstead in a totalitarian eugenic Big Brother total-surveillance future London. His son, ‘undeveloped unit’ Henry reads proscribed Shakespeare Sonnets. Taken to the Lethal Institute for euthanasia H.99, in visions of the unpolluted natural world that prefigures Edward G Robinson’s poetic assisted suicide as ‘Solomon Sol Roth’ in ‘Soylent Green’ (1973), Smith swaps breathing-masks with guide Sympathiser Kind, and escapes with his family to Christian Ireland where King George XX figureheads an opposing regime.
Since Captain Nemo located Atlantis on the ocean-floor, deep-sea adventure has been hardware for the SF canon. And the Bathysphere was a current innovation at the time. So, intent on discovering who, or what is responsible for snatching South Atlantic shipping off St Paul’s Rocks, Paul Hendred descends in a Subsphere invented by Sir Hugh Goring to discover the amphibious “People Of The Deep”. As an ‘endangered species’ the aquatics hope to replenish their diminishing race through experiments with human subjects. Goring and Lieutenant Rivers lead a revolt of the captured seamen, then use convenient depth charges to destroy the submarine city, presumably exterminating the aquatics, with scant regard for conservation. It’s intriguing to speculate that Hendred’s mention of the ‘Kraken’ might have tweaked another of the contributor’s imagination. Because there’s the same writer-trio at the core of the issue – Beynon (Wyndham), Fearn and Eric Frank Russell.
Already a veteran poet and writer, born in 1874, S Fowler Wright’s weird far-future fantasy ‘The World Below’ (originally 1924) was a highly-regarded classic. He contributes the reflective “Whom The Rat Bites” to ‘Fantasy’ no.3. Dr Merson has devised a serum that rejuvenates a captive rodent, an ‘Elixir Of Youth’ that promises to defeat death itself, and he contemplates the various ethical issues and social repercussions that could result from this immortality. The murder of intrusive club-footed schoolboy Peter Corner, the subsequent disappearance of Merson and suspicious arrival of his supposed younger cousin ‘Reginald’ from distant Argentina blurs that former moral balance, but makes for a useful tale. Ralph Stranger is ‘the nom-de-plume of a forty-seven-year old scientist’, yet his “The Cold Comet” is little more than a vignette. When the shielding Kennelly-Heaviside layer is disrupted by a passing comet, colour-television images from space become briefly accessible, showing a strange world in which giant ants carry out experiments on tiny human subjects. And that’s it.
There’s no visible suggestion that this third issue is destined to be the last, indeed, there’s a self-congratulatory ‘The Future Of Fantasy’ editorial panel announcing a new quarterly schedule, with promises of new tales to come. None of which were to happen. Instead, with war on the horizon, as a member of the RAF reserves, Sprigg was mobilised. And with its guiding editor gone, Newnes decide to fold the magazines – making ‘Fantasy’ the first British casualty of the war. Only ‘Air Stories’ limps on for a few more issues. Sprigg subsequently specialised in works on aviation, signalled by an advert carried in ‘Fantasy no.2’ for his book ‘Civil Aviation As A Career’ – enthusing how ‘more than ever are young men to-day looking to the air for a career’. He subsequently faded from SF history… and died in 1977.
Meanwhile, the war years fulfil the worst dread and wildest hopes that SF had been predictively toying with. A mechanised global war fought in the air and beneath the ocean as well as across continents. Yet in the V2 missiles raining death upon London, Arthur C Clarke was able to envisage the future of rocketry. While ‘the Atomic Age had dawned,’ with the ghastly atrocity of Hiroshima balancing up limitless power-resources with the prospect of new wars of racial extinction. ‘Now our politicians paint horrific pictures of a world struggle, to be avoided at all costs, in which rockets will convey atom bombs halfway round the globe in a few seconds, with results that will make Hiroshima look like a minor earthquake’ (book review in the second ‘Fantasy no.1’). Those possibilities for endless tomorrows were both closing in, and opening up.
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The second periodical to use the ‘Fantasy’ name, subtitled ‘The Magazine Of Science Fiction’, was issued by Temple Bar Publishing Co, with former-‘Tales Of Wonder’ editor Walter Gillings at the helm. An activist and motivator with his fingers in multiple radioactive pies, Gillings must rate as one of the unacknowledged heroes of early UK SF. If, in a time of post-war austerity, this new ‘Fantasy’ seems in every way a more modest proposition than its predecessor, its circulation was ‘limited by the quantity of paper available for new publications.’ Instead of the thick lavish pulp format, it reduced to what we’d now term stapled A5 pocketbook size, shrunk to a slender ninety-six pagination, with colour narrowed to a different single cover-tint for each issue. Yet, with the use of a smaller typeface, and maximum use of available space, it was crammed to the seams with content, ‘not only in tune with the times but well ahead of them.’ Yet it also survived just three issues, with Eric Frank Russell and John Russell Fearn carried over from the previous incarnation. But there were new names who would make their mark across the coming decades, including twenty-nine-year-old Arthur C Clark who contributes under his own name, plus once as EG O’Brien and once as Charles Willis.
Yet Fearn’s shallow opening novelette is less than promising. In a 1980s London class-divided between Workers and Intellectuals, Lalia Hart is torn between wrong-side-of-the-tracks twins Melvin and Levison Read. Harking back to his earlier “Climatica” story, ruthless Melvin invents and seizes dictatorial power with his storm-generating Elements Controller, while good-guy Levison quotes astrophysicist James Jeans ‘Mysterious Universe’ as the theoretical source of his Thought Amplifier to save the world, and win the plucky Lalia. The prose is pedestrian and seldom rises above adequate. Fearn’s star shone as briefly as it was hyper-luminous, he died 18 September 1960 leaving much unfulfilled potential.
Meanwhile, “A Matter Of Size” takes the reader into familiar ‘Land Of The Giants’-‘Incredible Shrinking Man’ terrain, although significantly Norman Lazenby’s curious tale actually predates them both. Two scientific antagonists feud and betray each other in the wilds of 2010 Northumberland. Ralph Craster seeks escape from the legal consequences of his human experiments. Adrian Calvin, while appearing to offer help, uses the fugitive in his own miniaturisation experiments. Reduced to a mere one-foot tall – 30.48cm, Craster schemes revenge. With murder and intrigue, there’s an ‘Alice In Wonderland’ quirk as his remedy exceeds expectations, and he becomes nine-foot tall! It’s entertainingly silly, and quite ignores any psychological aspects of their predicament.
Twenty-nine-year-old Arthur C Clarke is one of what Gillings calls the ‘experts in this kind of fiction even if their names may not be too familiar’, and his “Technical Error” also comes to a decidedly downbeat close. Caught up in a massive superconductivity-generator power-surge, technician Richard Nelson, like School master Gottfried Plattner in HG Wells “The Plattner Story” (in ‘New Review’, April 1896) finds his internal organs have somehow become transposed. More than that, his molecular structure has been switched so his dietary needs are inadequate. There’s lots of technical dialogue and fifth-dimension theories, but, replicating the conditions of the original ‘error’ in an effort to reverse the effect, results in his being time-shifted too, directly into the heart of the fifty-million horse-power thousand-ton rotor, blowing the entire plant to ‘a vast column of debris’. This story earns Clarke top place in the follow-up ‘Reader’s Analysis’ column, above Weinbaum and Fearn. So there will be more.
Two magazines, both called ‘Fantasy’, both of three issues apiece. Straddling the war years. Both bulging to the radioactive seams with more off-trails weirdness than you can shake an anti-grav stick on. Largely forgotten tales by neglected writers. Yet of all this wealth of antique invention it’s only the Beynon stories – through the later John Wyndham celebrity, that continue to maintain much visibility, beyond the realm of SF-academics, cranks and enthusiasts, such as me.
SCIENCE FICTION’ 1938-1939
Long Complete Stories Of Adventure:
‘Menace Of The Metal Men’ by A Prestigiacomo, ‘Amazing Scientific Romance’, Men like Machines and Machines like Men in Bitter Conflict. Is This the Future of Mankind?’
‘Beyond The Screen’ by John Beynon (John Wyndham), ‘One Civilisation’s Most Terrible Weapon served both to hasten its own Destruction and to promote the building of a New Order among the Forlorn Survivors of a Far-Distant Age’
‘The Red Magician’ by John Russell Fearn, ‘Solivus Vass might attribute his Amazing Powers to the Mental Science of the Martians, but to Those who witnessed his Miracles the Man from Mars was a Being Enshrined’
Thrilling Short Stories:
‘Leashed Lightning’ by JE Gurdon, ‘Ten Miles above the Earth, three Men faced Appalling Disaster – or the Greatest Discovery In the History of Electrical Science’
‘Shadow-Man’ by Eric Frank Russell, ‘‘Knuckles’ Spilla was not the First Crook to find Himself betrayed by Something he had left behind’
‘Son Of Space’ by Francis H Sibson, ‘Watched by all the World, a Lonely Son struggled in Space to Escape the Grave which had opened in the Black Infinitudes above Him’
Science Feature Article:
‘By Rocket-Ship To The Planets’ by PE Cleator, ‘The Last Barrier between Man and his Age-Old Dream of Interplanetary Travel may already be within Sight of Removal’
Special ‘Fantasy’ Features: Fantasy: Editorial, ‘Stranger Than Fiction’ magazine-snippets including the ‘Accelerator drug’ marihuana, evidence of Papuan Men with tails, and Hungarian invisibility experiments, Contributors to ‘Fantasy’
Long Complete Stories Of Adventure:
‘Winged Terror’ by GR Malloch, ‘Out of the Sky Came a Monstrous Brood to Threaten the Human Race and Strike Terror into the Heart of England’. The story had originally appeared, as ‘Moth’ in ‘Pearsons’ (February 1931), and ‘Weird Tales’ (June-July 1931)
‘The Trojan Beam’ by John Beynon (John Wyndham), ‘A Story of Conflict in the East waged with Weapons which Scientists To-Day are still Grimly Seeking’
‘Climatica’ by John Russell Fearn, ‘Into the Hands of Three Men came a Secret of Nature and with it the Power to Change the Very face of the World’
Thrilling Short Stories:
‘Valley Of Doom’ by Halliday Sutherland, ‘Invasion Threatened the Ordered Existence of the Perfect Eugenic State – but the State had the Perfect Eugenic Defence’
‘Vampires From The Void’ by Eric Frank Russell, ‘A Spurt of Crimson that Came and Went with Eye-baffling speed – and the Liverpool Horror had Struck Again’
‘People Of The Deep’ by Paul Hendred, ‘One after Another Ships Vanished without Trace – Victims of a Strange Peril that Lurked in the Black Depths of the Atlantic’
‘The Discovery Of Nil’ by AE Burton, ‘A Desolate World Circled in Space, awaiting the Explorers from a Solar System beyond the Farthest Stars’
Science Feature Article:
‘Terminal In Space’ by Willy Ley, ‘An Artificial Satellite outside Earth’s Atmosphere would serve as a Port for Space-Ships and a Laboratory for Science’
Special Fantasy Features:
‘Critical Commentary’ with letters from Alan J Hunter, Eric C Williams, Eric Frank Russell, and John Russell Fearn, ‘Stranger Than Fiction’, ‘Contributors To Fantasy’
Long Complete Stories Of Adventure:
‘Derelict Of Space’ by John Beynon (John Wyndham), ‘The Crew of the Rocket-Tug ‘Dido’ found the Grim Solution to an Interplanetary Mystery, only Themselves to Become a Legend of the Spaceways’
‘Child Of Power’ by Wyndham Parkes (John Wyndham), ‘Ted Filler seemed an Ordinary Child yet His was the Gift of Ages and the Promise of Contact with Life beyond the Earth’
‘The Man Outside’ by JE Gurdon, ‘A Trick upon Time and Space was turned upon its Perpetrators when the Terrible Genius of Lionel Dodd at last Bore Fruit’
‘Invaders From The Void’ by Geo C Wallis, ‘Merciless Beings from a Nomad World, they came with Powers from Space to Enslave the Peoples of Earth’
Thrilling Short Stories:
‘The Stick Men’ by JM Walsh, ‘The Strangest Fate that ever Threatened Humanity was the Alien Menace of the Little Stick Men’
‘Whom The Rat Bites’ by S Fowler Wright, ‘Here was a New Vitality – a Way in which Death Itself Might be Defeated’
‘The Cold Comet’ by Ralph Stranger, ‘From a Darkened Sky came the Glimpse of a Civilisation Greater than any Known upon Earth’
‘Mightier Yet’ by Eric Frank Russell, ‘Impregnable by Sword, yet Vulnerable to a Weapon Mightier than any Forged by the Hand of Man, stood the Freedom Line’
Science Feature Article:
‘Impossibilities’ by Willy Ley, ‘Science Marches on, but there Remain Problems Forever Incapable of Solution, Impossibilities Now and for All Time to Come’
Special Fantasy Features:
‘Critical Commentary’ with letters from Maurice G Hugi of Folkestone, HE Turner from Manchester, ‘Stranger Than Fiction’, ‘The Future Of Fantasy’ plus ‘Winged Terror’ results of reader competition
‘The Marsupial People’ by WJ (William John) Passingham, born in 1897, a writer already familiar from ‘The Passing Show’ and serials in the juvenile ‘Modern Wonder’
‘The Man Without A Soul’ by Quentin Reynolds. Is this the same man who wrote ‘The Fiction Factory: Or From Pulp Row To Quality Street: The Street Of 100 Years Of Publishing At Street And Smith’ (1955)? T Stanhope Sprigg also initially accepted the Eric Frank Russell and Leslie J Johnson time-travel collaboration ‘Seekers Of Tomorrow’, but when Newnes delayed the launch of ‘Fantasy’ it was resubmitted and published in ‘Astounding Stories’ (July 1937)
‘FANTASY: THE MAGAZINE
OF SCIENCE FICTION’ 1946-1947
‘Last Conflict’ by John Russell Fearn (art by Smythe), ‘To men of ruthless ambition, Science can be a very powerful ally. But too much power is dangerous for those who can’t control it…’
‘Supernova’ by PE Cleator (art by Gaffron), a writer who specialised more on science-based features, ‘All 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 If’ by Stanley G Weinbaum (art by Powell), a Professor Manderpootz story reprint from ‘Wonder Stories’ (August 1935) ‘for the first time in this country’
‘Technical Error’ by Arthur C Clarke (art by Powell, who will do cover-art for ‘Science Fantasy no.1’) ‘the Chief physicist had a problem… how to keep a starving man alive when it would cost two million a year to feed him!’
‘The Pain Machine’ by Leslie V Heald (art by Gaffron), ‘turning pain into pleasure seemed a good idea – and the machine did just that. But sometimes machines can work too well’, a writer who appeared in ‘Tales Of Wonder’ as Charnock Walsby, and in the only issue of ‘Outlands’ (Winter 1946) twice under each name
‘A Matter Of Size’ by Norman Lazenby (art by Gaffron), debut fiction sale, ‘Bigness isn’t everything… and a man deprived of his sense of proportion is apt to overlook the compensation of smallness – even when he wants to hide’
Book review of ‘Dawn Of The Space Age’ by Harry Harper – ‘within a few years the US experimenters hope to send a rocket to the Moon which will send back ultra-short wave signals indicating temperature conditions on that little world’
‘Relic’ by Eric Frank Russell (art by Powell), a variant of ‘The Cosmic Relic’ by the writer who was in all three issues of the earlier ‘Fantasy’. Voted most popular story in the issue
‘Survival’ by Norman Lazenby (art by Smythe), ‘In a sighing, metal cylinder whey whirred back through time to an era when life was monstrous and unreasoning. Though not entirely without exception…’
‘Haunted House’ by Norman Lazenby as by ‘J Austin Jackson’ (art by Smythe)
‘Prefabrication’ by ER James (art by Gaffron), debut fiction sale by subsequent UK SF regular author ‘The Barrier’ by PE Cleator (art by Powell), ‘They tried to reach the Moon in a space-ship… and found that the biggest obstacle in man’s path to the planets was of his own making’
‘Castaway’ by Arthur C Clarke as by Charles Willis, ‘A form of life that was the product of constant atomic disintegration would be outside the range of human vision. But we have instruments more sensitive than the eye’
‘This Atomic Age’ science snippets. Letters from Peter Hawkins (who will contribute a series of tales to ‘New Worlds’ from ‘Life Cycle’ in no.9). Ad for ‘The British Interplanetary Society’, and ‘Outlands’ Publications
‘Time Trap’ by Stanton A Coblentz (art by Powell)
‘The Lost Key’ by Charles Alban Crouch pseudonym of Norman C Pallant (art by Smythe)
‘The Three Suns’ by Norman C Pallant (art by Powell), ‘A world beyond this continuum would have its own peculiar set of laws… including those for Life’, first of four fiction sales, two through Gerald Swan, and one – ‘Martian Mandate’ in ‘Science Fantasy no.2’. Writing for Women’s magazines proved more lucrative!
‘Menace From The Moon’ by Bohun Lynch, credited as an ‘excerpt’ from the 1925 novel (Jarrolds) ‘The Fires Within’ by Arthur C Clarke as by EG O’Brien (art by Gaffron), an edited version published in ‘Eagle’
‘Basic Fundamental’ by Francis G Rayer (art by Powell), ‘The latest craze of a too-safe age – supersonic music! Thrilling, exhilarating, rapturous… and dangerous’, debut fiction sale under his own name, with one earlier story – ‘Realm Of The Alien’ as by Chester Delray in Grafton’s ‘Blue Star Adventure no.2’
‘This Atomic Age’ science snippets, Book reviews of John Russell Fearn ‘Liners Of Time’ and Harry Harper ‘Winged World’, letters from Nigel Lindsay, J White (Belfast), A Vincent Clarke ad for British Interplanetary Society
‘The Ideal’ by Stanley G Weinbaum, a reprint of the first Professor van Manderpootz story from ‘Wonder Stories’ September 1935, the ambitious ‘New Dawn’ by LV Heald, which remains unseen, although Leslie V Heald later sold to John Spencer magazines ‘Futuristic Science Stories no.6’ (‘Out Of The Past’) and ‘Wonders Of The Spaceways no.2’ (‘The Monument’) in 1951 and 1952,
E R James ‘Advent Of The Entities’ sequel to ‘Fabrication’ which appeared in ‘Science Fantasy no.1’ and ‘Black-Out’ by John Russell Fearn which eventually appeared in ‘Science Fantasy no.2’ (1950). Gillings writes that he’d retained John Russell Fearn’s ‘Rule Of The Brains’ which eventually appeared in ‘Vision Of Tomorrow no.11’, while ‘the last story I accepted for ‘Fantasy’, just before it expired, was ‘Monster’ by Christopher Youd (John Christopher) which saw print three tears later in ‘Science Fantasy’’
with thanks to ER James and to
‘Vultures Of The Void’ (Borgo Press, 1992)
by Philip Harbottle and Stephen Holland
and to Walter Gillings
‘The Impatient Dreamers’ serialized across
all twelve issues of ‘Vision Of Tomorrow’
(August 1969-September 1970)