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
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, 236-1/2 N. New Hampshire, Los Angeles, Calif.
"Excellent" to "So-So"
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 story.
"Lord of Space"—excellent. I meant to include Victor Rousseau in my list of favorites above.
"The Second Satellite"—so-so.
"Earth the Marauder"—too deep for me. And that Beryl stuff is sheer bunk.
"Murder Madness"—a real story. Get more like this.
"The Flying City"—too much explanation and description and not enough action.
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"
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 parts.
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
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"?
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.
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
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 science.
Here is for a long life for Astounding Stories!—Frank Yetter, 369 Railroad Ave., Fallon, Nevada.
"Charm All Its Own"
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
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
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!
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Typographical and hyphenation inconsistencies have been standardized.
Otherwise, archaic and variable spelling is preserved, including 'obsidion' and 'tyranosaur'.
Passages in italics indicated by underscores.