What possible difference does it make if, in a story, the moon has a crater every ten feet, or the black sky of outer space were blazing with moons and aurora borealises, or the sun were in a double eclipse!
We read stories to be amused, not for technical information, so we certainly don't want "a scientific editorial in each issue by some 'eminent scientist.'"
As for a department in which readers could write their opinions of the stories and suggest improvements in the conduct of the magazine, what else is "The Readers' Corner?"
Why not adopt a tolerant attitude, and instead of howling about petty faults and mistakes get a good laugh over them? As for telling writers and editors "how to do it," we would only expose our ignorance and inability and make ourselves ridiculous.
If we think we could do so much better, let's try it. Write a story ourselves or start running a magazine!
Astounding Stories is all right as is. We like it "different." We want different authors from those of other magazines. What is the use of having various publications if they must all be conducted along identical lines?
Now for your writers: Mr. R.F. Starzl is easily the best. His story, "The Planet of Dread," is full of thrills and imagination and clever situations that are well developed and surmounted. One thing that is rather remarkable in this class of story, the hero gets himself and his companion out of every difficulty by his own ingenuity. The story moves along with interest and thrills in every paragraph, and is really my ideal of a "super-scientific" yarn; i.e., not stuffed with tiresome technical data. Let's have more from this interesting author.—C.E. Bush, Decatur, Ark.
Before commenting upon the September issue of your wonderful magazine, I would like to personally thank Mr. Bates for the kind reply to my former letter. It shows that at least one editor glanced over my literary ramblings.
Now for comments on the September issue. I placed the stories in the following order, which is based upon their merit:
"Marooned Under the Sea"; "Terrible Tentacles of L-472"; "Jetta of the Lowlands"; "The Attack from Space"; "A Problem in Communication"; "Earth the Marauder," and "The Murder Machine."
Your serials are the best I have ever read in any magazine; your latest one, "Jetta of the Lowlands," promises to be an A-1 top-notcher.
Your artists, H.W. Wessolowski and J. Fleming Gould, draw the finest illustrations I have ever seen anywhere.
"The Readers' Corner" is a fine corner which can only be improved by making it larger.
The stories scheduled for the October issue look good to me. Am glad to see that Dr. Bird is returning. Will sign off now wishing Astounding Stories all the luck it deserves.—Edwin Anderson, 1765 Southern Boulevard, Bronx, N.Y.C., N.Y.
I thought I would drop you just a line to comment on the authors now writing for "our" magazine.
Among the best are: R. F. Starzl, Edmond Hamilton, Harl Vincent, Ray Cummings and Captain S. P. Meek. However, there is one brilliant author whose fascinating stories have, to date, failed to appear in our magazine. The man I am referring to is Ed Earl Repp. Please have a story by him in our magazine as soon as possible.
I am sure other readers will agree with me when I say that Mr. Repp writes exceedingly thrilling and exciting Science Fiction tales. Let's see many stories by him in the forthcoming issues of Astounding Stories.—Forrest J. Ackerman, 530 Staples Avenue, San Francisco, California.
Thank You, Mr. Lorenzo
Several Science Fiction magazines will have to struggle along without my patronage. Why? Because they flew (literally speaking) over my head with all kinds of science. I want some science, but mostly fiction. I couldn't understand what they were writing about, so I lost interest. I can read a single copy of a good magazine from cover to cover in one day, but let me lose interest in it by having too much dry matter and I just don't buy that book again.
Your magazine is the best of all Science Fiction magazines, which means that I can read and understand the tales in Astounding Stories. So you get my trade. You're trying your best to supply me with interesting stories so if there is an occasional dry story (to me), I just remember one thing: you, as Editor, are a human being like myself; so, neither one of us being perfect, I just forgive and go on buying.—Jas Lorenzo, 644 Hanover St., San Francisco, Cal.
"Earth, the Marauder," by Arthur J. Burks, gets four stars. It is one of the most astounding stories I have ever read. I hope you have more stories by Arthur J. Burks on schedule for early issues. "Jetta of the Lowlands," by Ray Cummings, "Marooned Under the Sea," by Paul Ernst (a sequel soon, I hope). "The Terrible Tentacles of L-472," by S.P. Wright and "The Attack from Space," by S.P. Meek (let's have another sequel), all get three stars. I hope that S.P. Wright will write more stories of strange planets.
I think that your serials should all be book-length novels with the installments from thirty-five to fifty pages in length. Don't publish novelettes (thirty to sixty-five pages) as serials.
In your August issue you mention that you may some day publish Astounding Stories twice a month. I would rather have you increase the price to twenty-five cents, give us as much material as Five Novels Monthly, and smooth cut edges.
Wesso's cover illustrations are improving each month. I am glad to see more of his illustrations inside.
Since so many readers ask for reprints, why not give us an occasional one?—Jack Darrow, 4225 N. Spaulding Ave., Chicago, Illinois.
I have read Astounding Stories since its first issue, and I am convinced that it is without a peer in the field of Science Fiction. This preeminence is due to the fact that the magazine regularly contains the work of the best contemporary writers of scientific fantasy, such as Cummings, Rousseau, Leinster, Burks and Hamilton.
Certain readers, unaccustomed to such rich fare, ask for stories by lesser lights. For a time these requests went unheeded; but of late it seems they are getting results—more's the pity.
Your September issue contained a story called "A Problem in Communication" by Miles J. Breuer, M.D. Now, the good doctor may be a "wow" in other magazines, but his stuff is not up to the standard of Astounding Stories. His initial effort in this magazine was dull and uninspired. It lacked the sustained interest and gripping action of your other stories. It was, to put it bluntly, a flop.
In spite of this sad example, several readers are still clamoring for more stuff from the small-timers. If they get their way—which Allah forbid!—it will mean the downfall of Astounding Stories. Why ruin a truly great magazine by catering to a misguided minority?—George K. Addison, 94 Brandt Place, Bronx, New York.
I found your magazine on the newsstand while looking for another kind. The cover picture looked interesting so I bought Astounding Stories instead of the other. Since that moment I have been a steady reader.
I can see no way to improve your magazine unless it is to enlarge it or to publish it oftener. I am satisfied with it as it is. It is the best magazine on the newsstands now.
I have no favorites among your stories as I like them all equally well.—Robert L. King, Melbourne, Florida.
Pride of the Regiment
I have just finished reading the September issue of Astounding Stories and want to congratulate you on your staff of writers. Although this is the first copy I have read, I can assure you that it will not be the last, by any means.
I think the story called "Marooned Under the Sea," by Paul Ernst, a story that no one could have passed without reading it. The way the author explains the story to have come to life has really got me guessing.
The only thing that I regretted was that I didn't get the copies previous to the story called, "Earth, the Marauder," by Arthur J. Burks. Please give us more stories by Paul Ernst. (I say us because I am a soldier, and where you find one soldier you find plenty soldiers.)
So keep the good work up, as we are looking forward to a good time when the next issues come around.—Co. "I," 26th Inf. Plattsburgh Barracks, Plattsburgh, New York.
Covers Not Too Vivid
I can't help joining the great number of admirers of your wonderful magazine.
A great many readers ask for interplanetary stories. As for me, I like any kind, stories of other worlds, under the earth, under the sea, on other planets, dimensional stories, anything. So far I have not had the slightest excuse to complain.
When I finish reading a story I write after the title, "good," "very good," "fair," etc. Then I read the best ones over again while waiting for the next issue. The following two and the only stories I didn't like so far are: "The Stolen Mind" and "Creatures of the Light."
One critic stated that he considered the illustrations of Astounding Stories too vivid. Illustrations for stories such as are contained in this magazine cannot be too vivid. Readers have plenty of opportunity to use their imaginations. Many scenes which the authors try to portray are hard to visualize, and I think that a number of good illustrations would help the readers enjoy the stories more.
As long as you keep your magazine up to the standard you have set thus far, I will remain an eager reader.—Sam Castellina, 104 E. Railroad St. Pittston, Penn.
I have enjoyed every one of your Astounding Stories magazines from the first.
However, in the story, "The Murder Machine," by Hugh B. Cave, a man, Sir John Harman, was made to kill a man by meccano-telepathically projected hypnotic suggestions. Some people think it is entirely possible to make a man do such a thing by hypnotism, but it is not possible because no person under hypnotic influence will do anything that his subconscious mind knows is immoral. Neither a thief nor a murderer can be made to confess their crime while under hypnotic influence.
I am merely writing this so that the others who have read the story will not get the wrong idea of hypnotism. A man under hypnotic influence can be made to think he is murdering or robbing, but he will not do it really, no matter how hard the hypnotist tries to make him.—Henry Booth, 916 Federal St., N. S. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
"Paper Correct Kind"
I am a reader of four other Science Fiction magazines but like Astounding Stories the best for two main reasons. First, the size is just right, second, the paper is the correct kind. It does not glare at you when you read.
I have every issue of Astounding Stories since it came out. The stories are all good and are becoming better each month. I prefer stories of space traveling and of the fourth dimension.
About reprints, I think that if you want to give reprints, why not publish them in booklet form. I'm sure many of the readers will prefer to have reprints that way.—Frank Wogavoda, Water Mill, New York.
"The Planet of Dread" was a classic in the full meaning of the word. Not only was the story a masterpiece of fantastic adventure but also of short story craft. By all means secure more of Mr. Starzl's fine tales.
Your stories by Ray Cummings are great. It would be a good policy upon your part to continue to present stories of his at the most not more than two issues apart.
Continue up to your present standard and you'll continue to stand above all other Science Fiction magazines where stories of super-science are concerned, now and forever.—Jerome Siegel, 10622 Kimberley Ave., Cleveland, Ohio.
"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 will all of us!
ASTOUNDING STORIES Appears on Newsstands THE FIRST THURSDAY IN EACH MONTH