Amazing Histories, July 1928: The World’s a Stage

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A person enters a room filled with arcane machinery. A woman stands inside operating one of the devices, a blank expression on her face. In the foreground, a man wearing the outfit of an air pilot recoils before a glowing orb that floats in the air, a twisted trail marking its direction towards him. It was July 1928, and Amazing Stories was back for another issue.

Hugo Gernsback’s editorial this month is “Our Amazing Senses” which, contrary to its title, talks about the ways in which our senses are less than amazing. “Our senses, at best, are very imperfect, and are not at all what we believe them to be at all times. The eye, for instance, can see only certain colors. You cannot see ultra-violet, and you cannot see infra-red in the visible spectrum. Yet, a photographic plate sees them perfectly.” He lists a number of examples of illusion, the most colourful being an account of a séance held in the office of a sister publication to Amazing:

Recently, during a spiritualistic seance held in Science and Invention Magazine offices (a full account of which will be found in the current issue of Science and Invention) the following occurred.

The medium was sitting behind black curtains, strapped and tied with ropes, which had been sealed to his chair. In front of the curtain was a table on which were a number of objects, such as a tambourine, a piece of rope, pencil, paper, etc. As a member of the Spiritualistic Investigation Committee of Science and Invention, I was sitting directly in front of the table. The room was not entirely dark, but was lit up faintly from the red bulb of a single electric lamp, which cast a dim light upon the objects. It was possible to see the objects rather well though, of course, not as well as in daylight. I was sitting about a foot away from the tambourine, and it was easily discernible, due to its white drum-top. Naturally, everyone strained his eyes watching for supernatural manifestations, which, by the way, never occurred. I was looking at the tambourine intently, and suddenly it vanished completely.

I knew that this could not be the case, and naturally became suspicious of my eyes, and for a moment I closed them. Immediately upon opening them, the tambourine was seen where it had been before. The same thing happened with practically all of the other objects on the table, and after awhile it got so that I could make them vanish at will, and make them reappear after I had rested my eyes for a second. Here then, is a simple case where eyesight is not what it is supposed to be, and where the sense of sight easily fools one. It is simply a case of eye-strain, which produces in the uncertain light, a sort of temporary blindness.

Will everything be as it seems in the issue’s stories? Let us read on and find out…

“Vandals from the Moon” by Steve Benedict (as Marius)

A camper looks up at the moon and notices “a single black spot, a tiny dot of ebony near its rim, just as though some gigantic pen had been wafted through orbit space and had left behind it a splotch of black on that silvery face.” The spot grows in size over the following nights, bewildering the astronomical community.

It turns out that the spot is a spaceborne object, getting seemingly larger because it is getting closer. It arrives in Earth’s atmosphere (“Outlined against the moonlit sky, with three fiery points on its forehead and its huge wings slowly gyrating around the black body, it appeared to us below like some horrible gargoyle-faced monster out of antediluvial times”) before landing in a farm near Burbank.

The object contains three circular trap doors, out of which ten more objects emerge — metallic but “flexible, almost snake-like in their structure”. These machines act like gigantic, deadly boa constrictors, squeezing a railway bridge to pieces so that a passing train falls to its doom. Immune to bullets and bombs, these Lunite worms go on to lay waste to the towns of California, shooting their targets with a yellowish ray that causes advanced decay (“It seemed as if Time, its ravaging furies pented up for a thousand years, let loose in one single day.”) Then a second torpedo lands, this time near San Francisco, bringing with it seven more worms.

The narrator, caught up in the mayhem, seeks shelter and is taken in by a Mexican shopkeeper. This man reveals that he has witnessed the inhabitants of the worm-like vehicles: “grotesque elfin-like caricatures of an earthly human being” who stride around on three-legged mechanical chairs and show an interest in abducting young women. Before long, the main character comes face to face with these beings:

In truth they were grotesque, unearthly, horrible. Queer, elfin-like men, hump-backed and immense of head, naked. No hair covered their heads or adorned their faces and their pale, milky skin seemed as smooth and as tender as the skin of a year-old babe even from a distance. Their arms were short and thin as were their legs. They appeared to have almost no necks and their long and pointed chins seemed to sink, as if helplessly, into their enormous chests; ample lung-space for a breathing apparatus that had a very rarefied atmosphere to contend with. Their prodigious chests heaved heavily, like that of an asthmatic, beneath the thicker, heavier air of our orb. Their eyes were small, greenishly cat-like, and bereft of any brows or lashes. Their noses large, very large, fit air-intakes for so vast a chest. Their mouths, however, struck me the most; long, thin, pale-pink lips, snake’s lips that hid no teeth. Nature’s signal of warning that their owners were dangerous. Only cold, cruel, inhuman things could possess such lips.

Amongst the women abducted by the aliens is Leola Spalding, the hero’s love interest – and through chance, the protagonist manages to infiltrate the worm in which she is housed. After he rescues her they escape into the country and subsist together.

Finally, news arrives that the invasion has been thwarted, with the aid of a disease synthesised by German scientists to kill the Lunites while leaving humanity unharmed. “The hunter had become the hunted; the bear had turned upon the Nimrod.”

“Vandals from the Moon” owes a considerable debt to H. G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds. The general atmosphere of the early stretches, where the alien war machines land one by one before commencing destruction, is clearly derived from Wells’ story. As in The War of the Worlds, the main character encounters a religious fanatic who believes the invasion to be God’s wrath:

When finally he turned his face toward me, I took note of the eyes behind the glasses. They were wild eyes, the eyes of a man who did not have a normal mind.

“Yes sir, believe it or not, I do,” he continued his harangue in a more normal tone. “The end of the world is at hand. The Millennium is here and we shall be judged—judged everyone according to his merits. What else could all this mean? Ah, me. Woe unto the wicked.”

At one point the narrator actually mentions Wells’ story, spending a whole paragraph comparing it to present events, pointing out the distinction that where Wells’ Martians sought food, the Lunites seek mates.

As transparent imitations go, “Vandals from the Moon” is not too bad. The author shows a certain flair for description, whether he is outlining the alien machines (“Going back and forth with their queer snake-like movements they appeared like a quartette of horrible dragons taken out of some medieval print of hell and the damned”) the occupants thereof (“There was nothing esthetic about them. They were scientists to the core—people who had ages ago ceased to quibble over fortunes, lands, rules, and beauty, and had dedicated their all to cold, harsh truths”) or the destruction they leave in their wake (“Mangled men, enshrouded in twisted steel and shattered wood, were strewn on both sides of the road for many miles”). The decision to use snake-like machines allows for a degree of distance from Wells’ iconic tripods.

The romantic subplot is hard to take seriously, however. The hero is a novelist, and his love interest Leola is a literary critic – who previously spurned his advances and attacked his writing, before the invasion allowed him to finally win her heart. One wonders if this represents a wish-fulfilment fantasy on the part of author Steve Benedict…

“Super-Radio” by Charles Cloukey

Detective of the future Dr. David S. Harris tells Watson-like narrator Paul Basehore of a mystery: a vault-load of diamonds, due to be inherited by one Jack Javis, has gone missing.

They were there two days ago, according to the testimony of Arthur Garner, the guard, who has been a trusted employee of the Javis family for forty years. I tested him with a sphygmomanometer, and found out that he was telling the truth. The diamonds were there two days ago.

In place of the diamonds is an apparatus that Harris describes as “a super-radio, which is capable of transmitting solids through space.” Specifically, the mechanism can reduce an object to its constituent atoms, before transmuting these atoms into waves that can be transmitted to a receiver which then reconstitutes the object.

A distinguished radio engineer named C. Gerlad Clankey, who was known to have been working on such a device, has also vanished; disappearing alongside him is his friend Robert Kornfield (these two characters were also seen in Clukey’s earlier story “Sub-Satellite”). The police naturally suspect the two men — but Harris and Basehore, who between them know Clankey and Kornfield, find it hard to believe them capable of such a crime.

Harris identifies a possible culprit in the notorious master criminal known as M. W.; because this evildoer “has a habit of performing an operation on the brain of anyone who knows too much of his affairs, which causes the victim to entirely lose his memory, and then turning him loose”, it is of urgent importance that Harris and Basehore find their kidnapped friends. Wesley B. Gibson, a friend of the inventor, helps the protagonists to find out where the diamonds were broadcast to, while ace pilot Richard Brown transports them to the location in question – an artificial island ruled by M. W.

Kornfield, once rescued, takes over as narrator to describe the heroes’ confrontation with M. W. — who, in a twist, turns out to be a woman (“The clothes that she was wearing had quite effectively concealed her figure”) and, more specifically, Dick Brown’s old high school crush Margaret Walters. Whatever her gender, M. W. turns out to be an imposing antagonist, thanks to her ability to generate ball lightning:

I recalled various stories I had heard about that peculiar freak of nature, ball lightning. I remembered having heard of one that had rolled off a roof, floated through a window, and finally exploded, killing two men, and doing a considerable amount of property damage.

Scientists have long been able to produce artificial lightning, enormous discharges of electricity, but artificial ball lightning was something new. And M. W. had it under control ! The bright, crackling, luminous ball of electricity went where the criminal wanted it to go. I did not doubt that she could explode it at will, too.

The fight ends with one of Walters’ henchmen, Ericon, getting fatally injured and deciding to set off an island-wide explosion as his final act. The heroes manage to get away in their monoplane. A search party finds not only the protagonists but Walters, who is apprehended and cured of her criminal tendencies (“The research of the last fifty years has shown that crime is, to a great extent, a mental disease, which can be cured, in most cases, by various operations on the brains of criminals,”)

“Super-Radio” is an unabashed pulp adventure full of derring-do against a dastardly villain, with science fiction elements used to add colour to the narrative. Set in an unspecified future point in the 2070s or after, it includes a number of high-tech gadgets that add to the excitement, from a machine that generates a “great sheet of electricity” (a prototype force field, depicted in Frank R. Paul’s illustration) to a gas “that will render a man totally unconscious in such a way that he will not have the slightest memory of it afterward”. As for the ball lightning, well, the editorial introduction states that “[a]n excellent description of this form of electricity will be found in the January, 1916 issue of The Electrical Experimenter. In that magazine, the various forms of ball lightning were discussed at length, and an experimental method of how to produce it in the laboratory was described.”

“The Educated Pill” by Bob Olsen

In this short, humorous story, a baseball team is hit by a spate of injuries but finds help in the unlikely form of a man named Gottlieb Schnitzelkuchen. He demonstrates an invention of his – a motorised flying baseball:

As he spoke, he had the ball in his hand, twisting on it until it came apart in two halves. One of the pieces was just a hollow shell of steel with small holes in it; the other part was the funniest looking contraption you ever see in your life. It was built like a dinkey toy aeroplane, with a propellor and dinguses for making it go up and down and to the right or left. The whole rig was so small that it fitted inside a hollow sphere just the size of a league base ball.

The player narrating the story is unsure as to the fairness of this device; but as he believes that the rival team the Silk Sox has been cheating, he decides to give it a go.

The inventor joins the team, and cuts an amusing figure on the field (“the worst of all was his whiskers. We tried to get him to roach them, but it was no go. And, believe me, it was some hedge. Stuck out on all sides like the Katzenjammer’s Captain friend, only much longer. Honest, if he’d a worn a stocking cap he’d a been a dead ringer for one of those goblins you see in the fairy stories.”) The crowd jeers him at first, but when he pitches his flying baseball, the audience reaction changes completely:

Encouraged by the crowd, he began to pull off some throws even more sensational than before. One of these was a straight ball that traveled in jerks, first fast, then slow; another would start like a rainbow lob that looked as if it was going ten feet over the catcher’s head, but just before it got to the plate it would take a sudden dip, and come across waist high. But the best one of all was the loop-the-loop drop. This left his paw with an underhanded rise, made a complete somersault in the air about halfway home, and finally ended up with a neat little bow over the home plate. The batter just stood and gawked at it.

The ball causes a certain amount of slapstick mayhem, as when it brains the umpire, but ultimately carries the team to victory. “The Educated Pill” is yet another of Amazing’s “wacky inventor” stories. It is unusual for the magazine partly due to its use of vernacular, and partly due to being rooted in baseball culture (standing out in a publication which – to put it coarsely – generally catered to nerds rather than jocks).

“Just Around the Corner” by Raymond Knight

Unusually, this story is not a work of prose fiction but rather a script intended for readers “who would like to produce a play, based on science in a sense, for the amusement and entertainment of their friends.” The play opens with one of its four characters, the Professor, on his deathbed. His Assistant explains to the Doctor that “[f]ive years ago he invented a chemical which he believed, if taken into the human system, would enable him to detach his soul from his body and so come in contact with that world of which we know nothing” but, unfortunately, the chemical served only to make the Professor fatally ill. Now, as he lies dying, he announces one final experiment: he has prepared a telephone-like device to allow communication between the dead and the living; once he expires, he intends to use it to pass on a message to his Assistant.

But the scene is interrupted by the arrival of the Student, a former colleague of the Professor who helped to develop the invention but was then pushed out of the project. To get his revenge, the Student commits suicide, thereby ensuring that it is his voice which is the first to come through the telephone to the afterlife. The Professor dies and the Doctor flees the room, leaving only the Assistant – who previously drank a glass of wine that the Student had poisoned.

The Professor’s voice is transmitted from the hereafter, with a message for humanity – but the poisoned Assistant is in no state to record it. The Student has the last laugh.

The story was possibly inspired by Poe’s “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar”, printed in the first issue of Amazing, but given a Gernsbackian update through the use of radio-like technology (“Any radio fan will have enough of the material on hand without having to buy any of it” notes the magazine) along with a extra dash of dramatic conflict through the character of the student.

The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells (part 2 of 2)

The invisible Griffin approaches Mr. Kemp, a former schoolfriend of his, and divulges the history of his experiments. While the first half of the novel was focused on what an invisible man could do and how others would respond to his presence, this second half is built more around the theoretical workings of invisibility:

“Just think of all the things that are transparent and seem not to be so. Paper, for instance, is made up of transparent fibres, and it is white and opaque only for the same reason that a powder of glass is white and opaque. Oil white paper, fill up the interstices between the particles with oil so that there is no longer refraction or reflection except at the surfaces, and it becomes as transparent as glass. And not only paper, but cotton fibre, linen fibre, wool fibre, woody fibre, and bone, Kemp, flesh, Kemp, hair, Kemp, nails and nerves, Kemp, in fact the whole fabric of a man except the red of his blood and the black pigment of hair, are all made up of transparent, colourless tissue. So little suffices to make us visible one to the other. For the most part the fibres of a living creature are no more opaque than water.”

“Great Heavens!” cried Kemp. “Of course, of course! I was thinking only last night of the sea larvae and all jelly-fish!”

Griffin reveals that a stray cat became an early test subject for him:

“I processed her. But giving drugs to a cat is no joke, Kemp! And the process failed.”

“Failed!”

“In two particulars. These were the claws and the pigment stuff, what is it?—at the back of the eye in a cat. You know?”

Tapetum.”

“Yes, the tapetum. It didn’t go. After I’d given the stuff to bleach the blood and done certain other things to her, I gave the beast opium, and put her and the pillow she was sleeping on, on the apparatus. And after all the rest had faded and vanished, there remained two little ghosts of her eyes.”

“Odd!”

But after Griffin turned himself invisible, he soon found drawbacks:

“But you begin now to realise,” said the Invisible Man, “the full disadvantage of my condition. I had no shelter—no covering—to get clothing was to forego all my advantage, to make myself a strange and terrible thing. I was fasting; for to eat, to fill myself with unassimilated matter, would be to become grotesquely visible again.”

“I never thought of that,” said Kemp.

“Nor had I. And the snow had warned me of other dangers. I could not go abroad in snow—it would settle on me and expose me. Rain, too, would make me a watery outline, a glistening surface of a man—a bubble. And fog—I should be like a fainter bubble in a fog, a surface, a greasy glimmer of humanity. Moreover, as I went abroad—in the London air—I gathered dirt about my ankles, floating smuts and dust upon my skin. I did not know how long it would be before I should become visible from that cause also…”

Such drawbacks ultimately become Griffin’s undoing, after Kemp spills his plan to the police and the Invisible Man is pursued to his death.

Baron Munchhausen’s New Scientific Adventures by Hugo Gernsback (part 6 of 6)

Gernsback’s novel-length story reaches its conclusion with three final chapters.

In “Martian Amusements” Narrator I. M. Alier has set up a new piece of radio equipment (“A few days ago I installed my new Audi-Amplifone and, in ‘Radio Bug’ language, it is ‘some peach'”) after which Baron Munchhausen again opens up communication with him. This time, the Baron’s accounts of his travels with his companion Flippernix take them to a vast Martian amphitheatre where they witness a series of performances. First, a set of immense glowing balls appear and mimic the structure of the solar system. Next, a group of Martians perform a musical concert entirely through thought transference (“We probably heard the concert in the same manner as an intelligent monkey hears a Beethoven Symphony”). After this is an act, “also mostly lost upon us”, that involves elaborate combinations of scents, playing on the Martians’ sophisticated sense of smell. Other performances include a group of acrobats apparently kept aloft by invisible rays; an act designed to appeal to a Martian sixth sense, which is lost on the visitors but deemed extremely amusing by the locals; and a sort of concert of synaesthesia where music, colour and taste blur together (“’Color-music’ is, of course, known somewhat on earth already—the underlying idea being that certain colors correspond to certain fixed musical notes; thus it is claimed that C equals red, D is yellow, F-sharp blue, B-flat steel gray, and so forth. The Martians have long known this and have elaborated greatly on the original idea”). The final performance is an anti-gravity water show, a subject of fascination to the inhabitants of arid Mars.

The next chapter is “How the Martian Canals are Built”, which reminds us that the story was written at a time when the canals of Mars were still deemed a credible proposition. Indeed, the editorial introduction states that “[t]he majority of our scientists today are in accord with Lowell’s theory that the Martian canals really exist”. The story describes the canals in detail, and as for their construction, well – “the secret of this accomplishment is the purple electrochemical emanation ray”.

The final chapter is entitled “Martian Atmosphere Plant”. After undergoing a medical process to remove germs, which renders their bodies temporarily invisible as a side-effect (“Certain tos current effluvia were let loose upon our bodies simultaneously and this effluvia, combined with the tos current vibratory-waves, produced the result”) the travellers are taken to one of the plants that manufactures and purifies Martian air. Munchhausen is impressed by the efficiency and cleanliness of this process: “How long will it be with your coal burning machinery till the earth’s atmosphere will need cleaning plants?” he asks his terrestrial correspondent.

As befits a novel that has favoured lists of technological marvels over plot or structure, Baron Munchhausen’s New Scientific Adventures comes to an abrupt end. Mars moves too far away from Earth for Alier’s radio to pick up the Baron’s messages, leaving the narrator “desolate and heartbroken” to lose contact with the esteemed traveller.

Discussions

As per usual, this month’s letters column sees readers chipping in with their personal likes and dislikes. Celestino P. Delgado from the Philippines writes that “all stories about space and interplanetarian travel, inventions, discoveries, detective stories, and medical stories are my favorite stories. All stories about the fourth dimension are my unfavored stories.” Jack Reid comments that “I like stories of inter-planetary travel, new inventions and of light rays” and gives potted assessments of a few particular stories (“‘The Colour Out of Space’ by Lovecraft is a very poor story and made a bad showing in Amazing Stories“).

Miles J. Breuer, one of the magazine’s contributors, offers some thoughts on what Amazing should be running:

Let your stories have plot and unity of impression, and the general reader will like them, in spite of the science. He will buy your magazine by the million. I have tried to send you examples; yet I am not any literary star. […] Which is the better purpose for your magazine: to provide light entertainment for the scientific people; or to carry the message of science to the vast masses who prefer to read fiction?

Leonard Coffin, meanwhile, wants to see more romance in the magazine:

Why do authors not make a love plot more evident and important? It seems that such a plot could very easily be woven into nearly all the stories, and, instead of distracting the reader from the real plot, it would only heighten his interest and make him feel the stories were more true to life. True, many stories have love plots, but they seem so lifeless, and all have such an abrupt ending that it takes away all romance from the story.

Harold S. Farnese criticises “Around the Universe” by Ray Cummings: “It is more or less a story for children and taking other tales into consideration I am wondering whether you intend turning your magazine into a second ‘St. Nicholas Magazine’?” He goes on to condemn the story’s use of slang, grumbling that such speech contributes to a state where “our language has become a sorry mixture spoken by a people of mixed nationalities” and praises Wells and Verne as “writers who could write interesting yarns without the jazzy levity of our times which usually expresses itself in poor grammar and bad manners!” (It is hard to imagine that he was especially pleased with “The Educated Pill” in the present issue.) B. A. Haley also comments on Cummings’ story, expressing bewilderment at the conclusion: “when he arrived at his edge of space, the INSIDE of the substance that forms the outer shell of our own governing atom he found it to be populated. How come?”

John W. Pritchard praises some stories, particularly the work of Wells, but disparages others (“The Way of a Dinosaur is inexcusable, as is its near relative, The Ancient Horror. They are not scientifiction; neither is scientific, both are dry, and I may even venture to say that the former is not even fiction, but a daily event in the life of a prehistoric monster.”) He also corrects Gernsback’s spelling of the name Munchhausen, which prompts a humorous editorial reply: “In the original fiction, which was written many decades ago, the word was spelled incorrectly. Mr. I. M. Alier has corrected this.”

Herbert J. Williams takes aim at more negative letter-writers, and praises Edgar Rice Burroughs. “I challenge any one to disprove my statement that Burroughs is not a good writer if not the best of scientifiction authors”, he writes. “This, because I’ve noticed that quite a few writers have criticized him.” Similarly defensive is George Parke, who takes a stand for authors of past eras: “At the time Verne wrote his stories, these youthful critics were not born, hence they have no knowledge of the times and conditions that existed then and to some extent controlled his writings […] It is true that Verne is verbose. So was Cooper, Dickens, Swift, Shakespeare.”

As is to be expected, a few readers express curiosity about science. A. A. Speakman has some questions about physics on the mind (“If a five-pound fish were placed alive and swimming in a tank of water, weighing, tank and water inclusive, fifty pounds, so as not to touch the sides or bottom of the tank, and then the whole placed on a scale, what would be the weight?”). Meanwhile, J. Richard Haynes returns to a thread from earlier instalments of the column as to whether or not time travellers would be visible to denizens of the past (“to my knowledge not a single time traveler or machine has been seen which leads us to the conclusion that either man will never invent such a machine or, in traveling back through time, will be invisible to those whom he observes”)

Harold and Irwin Olcovich also discuss the logistics of time travel: “while the events of the story took place, the inventor of the time machine would have two bodies, one living and one dead, which, to our minds, is inconceivable.” Yet again, we see evidence that time travel as a subject was still inherently confusing to readers of the time.

B. K. Goree, Jr. is another writes on the topic, mounting a theological defence of Wells:

These critics seem to think it would be out of the general order of things for a man to travel into time. Rut why could not He have planned that man would eventually be able to travel in time?

If this were the case, and a man did travel back into the past, of course the people of the past would be able to see him. When God planned their lives, could he not also have planned that perhaps some “time traveler” should come and visit them?

Another letter-writer who touches on the intersection between science fiction and reality, albeit in a different manner, is D. E. Chichester. This reader recalls seeing a place remarkably similar to the blasted heath in Lovecraft’s “The Colour Out of Space”:

I did not see the colour, but there is a spot somewhere in New England like that described as the blasted heath, for I saw such a place when I was a boy about ten years old, when traveling with my parents. I do not remember just what state we were in or what town we stopped at, but I was in the habit of straying off in the woods every place we went, and I remember coming to a place such as that which is described in the story.

At the time the stone walls and chimney of the house and wall of barn and well were standing. but no woodwork was to be seen. I could not get to the house or barn, because I was afraid of the gray dust, at the time I thought it was quicksand, as I could not reach anything solid when I poked into it with a branch of a tree. The space covered as near as I can guess was about 3 or 4 acres. I do not remember if we were in Connecticut or Massachusetts at the time, nor can I remember the town.

Miles J. Breuer’s “The Stone Cat” also rings a bell to this reader: “I have seen petrified trees, small animals and once a human being, the young wife of a doctor in Philadelphia, about 35 years ago.”

Many readers had by this point called for the magazine to be published multiple times per month, but H. F. English argues that this would be approaching saturation point. The editorial response concurs: “Even a child may eat too much candy, and therefore cease to want it.”

Another recurring topic is that of the oft-proposed science club, which Douglass L. Benson offers offers his thoughts on:

Here are a few hints that in my estimation are good. (I hope they are in yours.) The Science Club should he organized and run under separate cover from Amazing Stories although you might say, under its protecting wings. It should have its separate publication (sent to members) which I have a few ideas for. It should, foremost of all, have a “Forum” in which its members would bring up subjects, discuss them, and tell of research work they have done and what they have observed and found. It would have a, what you might say, text book page or department in which scientific knowledge would be brought forth in simple, direct, readable lessons. There could be discussions of up-to-date scientific subjects by leading scientists and college professors. There would be experiments to do, laboratory helps and hints and so on “ad infinitum.” There could also he if possible prizes for articles sent in by members; say monthly prizes and a yearly prize based on knowledge of the subjects in hand, on the method of bringing it out, and so on.

“if at any time there is anything I can do,” he concludes, “I will be willing to do it and praise be to Allah for the chance to do anything within my power.”

Elsewhere, Charles Herh describes his first encounter with Amazing at the newsstand:

My eyes focused upon a magazine whose cover and respective title arouse my curiosity. “Here is,” I said to myself, “something which should drive away the melancholy that grieves me.” So, I bought your Amazing Stories Annual, which has kept me busy all this Sunday. I have found in it lots of scientific “bunk,” but I have liked it.

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