NOVAE TERRAE #17 - Vol. 2 No. 5 (October 1937)


Other SFA publications this month:

Copytyping this issue by Rob Hansen.

Original cover by Frank W. F. Dobby (as traced here by Harry Turner).
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Organ of the Science-Fiction

October 1937 Volume 2, Number 5


Cosmic Case Number 1 .....................................................
The Right of a Race to Live
by D. R. Smith
How to Become an Author in Two Movements.....................
by Eric C. Williams
by Claire P. Beck
Fantasy v. Science................................................................
by S. Youd
Initial Success.....................................................................
by Ted Carnell
SFA Secretarial Report.......................................................
by D.W.F. Mayer and H. Warnes
SFA London Branch Inaugural Meeting.................................
by Douglas W.F. Mayer







Editor: Maurice K Hanson, 25 Bernard Street, Russell Square, London W.C.1. England
Associates: Maurice T Crowley, Dennis A Jacques

Subscription Rates: 2d per copy; 12 issues 1/9
5 cents per copy; 45 cents for 12 issues

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Cosmic Cases Number 1
The Right of A Race to Live
by D. R. Smith

Heard at the Hall of Justice on the Planet Hedirem at the Centre of Rotation of the 1st Galaxy. Case 235; Session 9; Epoch 3175.

Before the President of the Court of Racial Rights and the Adjudication Committee of Seven Independent Justices.

The President, who announced the decision by means of verbal communication (x), said:

"Seldom in my long service in various judiciary capacities have I heard more unique logic than in this one. The Race naming themselves the Renthyl, who dwell on three of the twelve planets of the system 397-5738 are applying for an ejectment order against the Race Homo Sapiens, who live principally on one planet of the neighbouring system 397-5756.

"The case for the Renthyl was put most clearly and logically by their Chief Pleader Xy Rhos Vern. Xy Rhos said that his race which, as is well known, rates eighteenth in age of culture amongst the races of this Galaxy, had decided that further advance in mental powers was impossible unless the race increased its numbers. There being no room Unoccupied on their long over-populated planets, the Race Council considered ways and means of providing more room.

"The first suggestion was, I hope, that they expand to the climatically hostile worlds of their own system. After due consideration of the vast difficulties and energy wastage of this plan with the consequent set-back to their civilization, they decided against it.

The only alternative which was any more promising was expansion to more comfortable worlds in another system, a course for which there are many precedents to which this court is bound by oath

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not to pay any attention. Unfortunately the Renthyl live in a star cluster that has been very well developed, and the only possible system for their purpose is that tenanted by Homo Sapiens. This Race has only been a member of the Universal Combine for a few hundred of their short lived generations, and are thus by far the newest of all Races enjoying its benefits. Moreover they owe their membership to a freak genius by the name of John Jones who a thousand generations ahead of his fellows, mentally made contact with the Central Telepathic Exploration Board.

The Renthyl decided that this primitive race could have no logical claim to be using a planet required by a race incomparably further advanced in culture and sent a messenger to request Homo Sapiens either to euthanize itself en masse, or at least to cease to propagate its species.

"Over the actual reception and subsequent treatment of the Messenger hangs a haze of ignorance due to the mentalities of the members of the Race Homo Sapiens concerned becoming violently disturbed with atavistic emotions at any attempt to elicit information. It would appear that those receiving the Messenger were first filled with loathing at his (to them) unpleasant shape, then with anger at the tone of his message, and finally that almost unique emotion known as 'humour' appeared. I do not like to dwell on the sight the Renthyl found in the space ship of the Messenger when the automatic controls brought it back. Homo Sapiens perceived a relationship in form between the Messenger and a small animal they call a 'slug'. These slugs they destroy by placing on them the compound eleven-seventeen (//),

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an exceptionally unpleasant manner of death for the slug, which emits bubbles of froth as the harsh chemical sears its flesh. I will leave the remainder to your imaginations. Most unfortunately, the Renthyl allowed their usually calm mentalities to be disturbed by the incident, and have somewhat degraded their arguments by a desire for revenge. I may say at once that this Court is ruled by logic only, and will not permit its judgement to be clouded by atavistic notions of crimes against the individual.

"The Renthyl appeal to the Law made use of the same arguments as had influenced the decision of the Race Council, since, obviously, the logic that would satisfy one group of logical mentalities would satisfy another. They base their appeal on one of the Fundamental Laws that have been in existence ever since the first unicellular creature existed in the first seas of the first Planet, the Law of the Survival of the Fittest. They claim that their race, which has been in existence for approximately fifty eons, is much better fitted to survive than that of Homo Sapiens, which has existed for less than one tenth of an eon or one hundred thousand of their years. The point is so obvious and seemingly a invincible that we wondered at the temerity of Homo Sapiens in attempting to defend their case.

"Sir Wallace Lorot was their Pleader, and his arguments, which took him a considerable time to present, showed at any rate that his race is far from deficient in logic. I will reproduce them as briefly and concisely as possible.

"He argued first that from an aesthetic point of view his race was much better fitted to grace the Universe than the Renthyl, and secondly that in no circumstances could his race recognize the Renthyl as even existing since they claimed to come from a system with a double sun, and scientists of his race

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had shown quite conclusively that no double sun could have a system of planets. In these arguments I perceive the joculiarity of Homo Sapiens, a sense of humour breaking forth, and found it necessary to warn Sir Wallace to state a logical case if he wished to be heard.

"Thus cautioned Sir Wallace struck a blow at the very foundation of the Renthyl argument. He said that Homo Sapiens was only the name given to part of his race, that the real name of the entire race was Flora and Fauna, and as such had been in existence for approximately a thousand eons. He pointed out that the Renthyl were the only living things on their planets, and in general that all the races of the Universal Combine similarly included in themselves the entire population of their respective systems. In the race Flora and Fauna there was admittedly considerable variation, but, no one could deny that they were all united. into one Race by the link of a common ancestry. And though there would seem to be considerable disagreement between Homo Sapiens and his cousins I do not think we can deny this fact, but many point out that greater age is not in itself evidence of superior fitness. Not even Sir Wallace suggested that his race had been in a state of civilization for the entire length of its existence.

"Then Sir Wallace advanced a theory so remarkable and so original that this Court feels that a final decision on its correctness is beyond its scope. He said that the value of a race should only be judged. by its future, not by its past. The past of his race he compared convincingly to the educatory period of a child, which is notoriously unreliable and misleading even under the best psychological

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treatment. He was prepared to call on an apparently inexhaustible supply of venerable philosophers as expert witnesses, but we were content with hearing the first four or five. The Court pointed out that the First Principle is that the Future is Unknowable, but Sir Wallace declined to admit this was opposed to his argument. The fact that we cannot predict the future, even by deduction from the past, he used, in fact, as a point in favour of his theory, since it was an added proof that the past of a race is no indication of its future fitness to survive. This second point almost succeeded in finally demolishing the logic of the Renthyl argument.

"Finally Sir Wallace made an attack on the logic of the Renthyl Race Council. He recalled to our minds that evolution is the result of the struggle to survive, and the Renthyl by choosing the easiest method of expansion, were choosing the worst means of advancing their Race. Obviously, said Sir Wallace if the Renthyl want to increase their mentality and racial vigour they should choose the most difficult means of increasing their numbers such as the construction of artificial planets.

"This places the matter in a new light altogether. It is the Renthyl, not Homo Sapiens who are conspiring against the advancement of Universal Culture. We have decided, therefore, after considering the three arguments of Sir Wallace together and apart, and failing to discover flaws in their logic, that the Renthyl have no right whatever to dispossess Homo Sapiens of his system. Furthermore, the Renthyl must choose the most arduous possible way, as determined at the next meeting of the Board of Planctary Development", in' which to expand their numbers. Finally Homo

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Sapiens must also cease to eject the primitive races of his neighbouring planets Venus and Mars, from the planets to which by his own arguments, they have equal rights with him".

(*) Verbally, out of understanding for members of the Race Homo Sapiens, Who were not accustomed to telepathic communication.
(/) Eleven-seventeen - sodium chloride - common salt.

How to Become an Author in Two Movements
by Eric C. Williams

One of the most strenuous things I know is trying to think up ideas for science-fiction stories. Some people apparently find it too easy to be bothered about. However, apart from very rare flashes of unexpected inspiration, damned hard thinking is about the only way to find an idea for a story.

You have to sit down -- at least, this is my method -- with a sheet of paper before you, and than stare fixedly at the pattern of the wallpaper. At first you will think what a rotten colour the paper has faded (only been up ten years, too), probably you will notice a discoloration in one spot or an unsightly bulge in one corner. Well, conquer that; drive your thoughts beyond that screen of roses or gaudy geometrical pattern, and let your brain simmer over stars and planets. Presently there will evolve either a tremendous "Star-Maker" theme, or a sense of miserable frustration. Discard the former because you may as well realise that you have not the ability to handle it.

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Cherish the latter and eventually you will find yourself thinking of wireless poles - grass seed - rain - sleep - pains in the rump, etc. etc. It is from this sort of material that amateurs must take their stock. This stuff is handlable, adaptable to short stories with a twist, and what is more important to beginners, soon finished. (I am not sure if that is more important to writer or reader.)

One of the greatest dangers to the beginner is the long story. Invariably it finishes with a hasty gabble and reads as plainly as if each section were headed: "Enthusiasm"- "Less Enthusiasm" - "Patience" - "Doggedness" - "Damn the thing". Take my advice; stick to the short story, and before you begin know just where and how the thing is going to end.

Here endeth the second. movement.

by Claire P. Beck

It has been reported on reliable authority that when H. P. Lovecraft's novels were published in "Astounding Stories" in 1936, two thousand words were deleted from the end of one, which, remarks the complaining informant "very nicely ruined the yarn as far as the original version went".

More than one conscientious fan has wrathfully condemned the choppy endings and uneven composition of the majority of stories appearing in "Astounding". Heretofore authors have received the brunt of the blame. However guilty they may be, it is now evident that much of this may be due to the work of Editor Tremaine or his colleagues, as flagrant use of the blue-pencil seems a cardinal part of the editing of the magazine.

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H. G. Wells is planning a lecture tour of the United States this fall on the subject "The Brain Organization of the Modern World". We are told that he will be paid to the tune of two thousand five hundred dollars per talk.

Of the writers for the pseudo-scientific and weird fiction magazines, the two generally acknowledged as most important were Clark Ashton Smith and H. P. Lovecraft. Of the latter, much has been and will be said following his recent death. However, the activies of Clark Ashton Smith in the field of fantasy are not as well known as they deserve to be. C. A. Smith's major claim to immortal fame is his brilliance as a poet. Though his work is not widely known or appreciated, it is of such tremendous power that it will undoubtedly outlive that of any poet whom the twentieth century has known. At present it is hopeful that a volume of Smith's verse will be published in England in the not too distant future.

As well as being a masterful poet and writer of prose, however, Clark Ashton Smith is an artist and sculptor of no mean ability. He has made scores of oil paintings of scenes from his fruitful imagination, which have won for him much admiration and praise. And in recent years he has devoted muoh of his time to the creation of numerous fantastic carvings, some of which he has for sale in the form of hand-tinted replicas.

Versatile and prolific (he has hundreds of stories and many more poems published) Clark Ashton Smith will be long remembered for the splendid mastery he has held over the fantastic proclivities of the mind.

(Readers may be interested to know C. A. Smith's sculpturing at closer hand -- the pieces sold for a few cents each -- his address is Auburn, California)

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Fantasy v. Science
by S. Youd

Ever since the advent of the first science-fiction magazine, controversy has raged about the amount of science that stories should contain. As the leading magazine of the moment "Astounding Stories" has gone very science-conscious, it seems that Science has come out on top if only for a year or two. This recent "ultra-super-science" policy is one that I heartily dislike, as much in fact, as I dislike the cosmic wild west stories that "Thrilling Wonder Stories" produces.

There are four definite types of science- fiction. The first is the hackneyed cosmic wild-west type like "Hawk Carse"; the second is the so-called thought-variant class in which such stories as "Before Earth Came" and "Born of the Sun" belong; the third is the purely scientific - "The Skylark of Valeron" - and the fourth is the fantastic type with the accent very definitely on style. Two good examples of this type are "The Time Stream" and "Twilight".

The very juvenile science-fiction fans delight in the first class and spend their spare time drawing space-ships all over the place (I know; I've done it myself!). Lovers of the second class are mostly of the very juvenile type also. Those who revel in scientific detail are people like the contributors to "Science Discussions", people who would quarrel with the science even in a Taine story. Lastly there is the very small group, like myself, who read a scientific fiction story not for the thrills or the original ideas and not for the science, but for the pure mental joy that such writers as Stuart and Lovecraft afford.

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It is a waste of time to discuss the first class and the second has been ably dealt with by D. R. Smith in "Scientifiction". The third class, however, needs quite a bit of dislodging.

They maintain that scientific fiction means fiction with a good strong flavouring of science as, of course it does, and most of them care little about the style as long as the science is technically accurate. The mistake in this is that the term "scientific fiction" is in itself a literary impossibility. Story-writing is an art and as such cannot be mixed with science, the two are incompatiible. In any kind of fiction the main thing is the style. Authors who sacrifice their story to scientific detail cannot, by any stretch of imagination, be called. great. People who slate Clark Ashton Smith and Lovecraft for lack of science are narrow-minded and very ignorant. If they want science there are many scientrific periodicals from which they can find all the latest news about atom-smashing.

I have always heard that the classic test of all stories is time. Which do you think Will survive longer, the purely scientific story or the well- written one? The latter every time! Jules Verne was very fond of packing his stories with science and not bothering whether they were interesting. Now his stories are out of date and very dull. Wells, on the other hand, wrote fantasy and kept scientific details out so that they would not hamper the action of the stories. As a result he is still one of the most poular of science-fiction writers. Can you imagine Wells going off into pages long descriptions of how his time-machine works? The idea is laughable!

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The ultimate aim of science-fiction is to produce neither entertaining thrillers, nor ultra- scientific epics, it is the cultivation of well-written fantasies that may, perchance, leave a mark in the annals of literature and raise science-fiction from the level of 'common magazine trash'.

You may say that weird fiction fulfills those requirements. I suppose it does but I don't like it all the same - the reason is simple. Science fiction is plausible, weird fiction just the opposite. Science-fiction also offers more scope for the imagination and good fantasy does not concern itself with vampires and the rest.

I got a fair amount of my favourite type of science-fiction, "Forgotfulness" and "Seeker of Tomorrow" are recent examples. To effect those the magazines contain much trashy stuff turned out in a hurry. It is impossible to write good stories at the rate Schachner, for instance, turns them out. Taine takes years to write a novel, but when it's finished it's well worth reading. Other authors might follow his example.

Most fans have a secret hope; mine is that Mr. Campbell will write a six or seven part Stuart serial. It would inevitably be the greatest fantasy story ever written. My hope, however, is probably far from fulfillment so I will just continue to enjoy his superb novelettes.

By Ted Carnell
"A 'Behind the Headline' Survey"

SFA: London meeting points which impressed......Ken Chapman's excellent Chairmanship.......eighteen fans appeared out of twenty-two informed. . . . . .how's that

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for British enthusiasm?........Bill Temple's knowledge of fantasy films and his election as "movie director" -- how about being "movie critic" as well?. .......Walter Gillings' polished and humorous address .........Eric Wiliams' bound stf. mags, and music from "Things to Come" .........Maurice Hanson's smart comparing of early NT issues against present day ` production.........The electric silence while I groped for a suitable opening to various remarks.......The inevitable "meeting-after-the-meeting" -- at the "Two Brewers" - one would have been sufficient!.....And the meeting after that meeting.......

AST: November "Astounding" not to hand as this column is written, so cannot give the line-up. According to the "S.F.Fan" Eric Russell's "Mana" is still not listed in the coming issue - but they've been wrong once, so...Also, Eric informs me that "Mana" is entirely his own story.

Remember Editor Tremaine's recent Editorial that, S&S were "sound as a bell"? Recent news flooding in from USA doesn't seem to confirm that statement. October issue of "Author and Journalist" (US pubication) states S&S have dropped nine mags including "Top-Notch" which has been published for twenty-seven years. Others have gone bi-monthly. After "Galactic Patrol" finishes, however, we may see some alterations -- if any.

AM.S: And What's happened to "Amazing" these days? Current cover looks more like an "Air Story" mag. Is Editer O'Conor Sloane modelling his mag along new lines to rake in a new public? Also the letters in the mag are getting older and older. Willis Conover's two June letters wore written ages ago, as was Harry Boosel's August one. Harry, once one of the leaders of the Chicago group, but now sojourning in Washington, D. C. states that he wrote that letter two years ago - and is now flooded with requests for back numbers.

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M.W.: Congrats to John Russell Fearn for his excellent "Chronicles of a Space Voyager" appearing in "Modern Wonder" every other week. Probably his best effort since "Mathematica".

In twenty weeks, M.W.'s "League of Science" has reached the 8000 mark in membership (if they started from 1 up) and leaves the old SFL behind by 5000. Is that fever heat, or is it?

J.S: Having dropped out of small-time activities since selling "Fantasy Mag" rights, Julius Schwartz of New York City returns to fandom's fringe with "Trans-Atlantic Topics" in the October issue of "Scientifiction". This should be a very welcome column in Wally Gillings' fine mag.

SFF:. Now listen to the voice of Robert Bahr recorded in the December "Science Fiction Fan" ....."The English is perpetrated by Ric F. Russell, renowned author in the latest edition of this mag (August "Scientifiction"). He insists that there are a number of noisy egotistical fans in the field who, because they are too old for marbles and too young to go out with the girls, buy second-hand duplicators and turn out reams of illiterate trash. He even accuses us of having hickies -- tch, tch, doesn't he know why they sell Fleischmann's Yeast in this country? Well, fans, do you fill this description? Do you have anything to say in defense of yourselves? Yes or NO?"

And here is Eric's retort when told of the above. "If some fans have acted hotly, I must say that it presents us with a most amusing situation. I draw a cruel caricature of a spotty-faced clown,

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and indignant guys come along yelling "That's me!". Seeing that "Scientifiction's" description was that of a very small proportion of s-f readers, we are going to very entertaining time seeing who claims to belong to that very small proportion, To put it another way, I design a grotesque hat and every guy sane enough to have some taste ignores the headgear because it obviously doesn't fit him or suit him. But other guys try it on and find it fits. I am sure that any guy who wants to parade in the headgear has everybody else's amused permission to do so."

Now we can watch and wait.

FSM: September brought Vol. l, No. 1 of the "Fortean" Society Magazine". Not just another fan mag, but something considerably higher in both production and contents. Now you followers of Charles Fort, here's your magazine. Obtainable, I believe, from either, Eric Russell, 44 Orrell Road, Liverpool, 20, or V.H. Johnson, 46 Mill Lane, Liverpool,13, Price 1/- post free.


Science-Fiction Specialist"

Science-fiction magazines Bought, Sold and Exchanged.


Have difficulty in obtaining your favourite magazine?
Require certain issues to complete your collection? Want any special science-fiction requirements? V. H. JOHNSON CAN SUPPLY THEM
Liverpool Address
46 Mill Lane,
London Address
17 Burwash Road,

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Secretarial Report

General Secretary: D. W. F. Mayer
Headquarters: Anent. Secretary: H. Warnes 5 Florist St. LEEDS, 3.

New Members: We are glad to welcome the following new members: G. W. Axworthy (Portsmouth); S. Davies (Manchester); J. T. Greenwood (Birmingham); L. Kualan (west Haven , U.S.A.) ; F. Montgomery (Clapham); H. E Turner (Manchester); O. F. Wiggins (Denver, U.S.A.); R. Wilson (Richmond Hill, U.S.A.);

"AMATEUR SCIENCE STORIES": The first issue of this experimental magazine has now been published and may be obtained from Headquarters price 6d. (15 cents). The subscription to the magazine is 1/- (25 cents) for three issues. All amateur-members are invited to submit their stories for consideration.

Copies of the BRITISH SCIENCE-FICTION BIBLIOGRAPHY may also be obtained price 6d each.

New Branch: We have pleasure in announcing the successful formation of a London Branch, the Chairman being Mr. K. G. Chapman, 592 Tremaine Road, Anerley, London S.E.20. Details of the inaugural meeting of this branch (the fourth SFA branch to be formed) will be found below. At the same time we should like to announce that Mr. H. E. Turner of 41 Longford Place, Victoria Park, Manchester 14, is endeavouring to form a Manchester Branch. Members and fans in the Manchester district should communicate with him at once, and give the project their full support.

Christmas Cards: It has been suggested that, since most members have a number of science-fiction corrospondents, we should ((offer)) SFA Xmas Cards of an attractive, yet inexpensive nature. We will be glad to do this if we are assured of a sufficient response, and will be glad to hear from anyone who would support the scheme.

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SFA LIBRARY: Several new books have been added to the Library, all of which may now be borrowed by members, who are urged to make full use of this recent innovation ...Full details and lists of books may be, obtained from the librarian Mr. E. C. Williams, 11 Clowdors Road, Catford, London, SE.6.

Emblem: Although a large number of proposed designs have been received no definite choice has, as yet, been made. Further suggestions are therefore welcome.

POSTAGE: A recent analysis of the expenditure of the Society has revealed that far too much is being spent on postage. We are therefore reluctantly obliged to announce that all letters to Headquarters, unless of an important ofificial nature, must be accompanied by sufficient stamps to cover the reply, or no reply will be forthicoming.

Council Election: All members are reminded that the votes for the election of the Council must reach Headquarters bcefore October 30th, Forms received after this date or from members whose subscriptions have expired, will not be considered. The result of the election will announced next month.

As one of the first duties of the Council will be to appoint an Executive Committee of three, nominations of candidates for this Committee should now be made.

Back Numbers: Messrs. Yvette and Odette of New York who are the world's largest dealers in science- fiction magazines, and who stock all issues from January I927, have kindly offered to supply back numbers to bona-fide SFA members at a 10% discount. Full details and price-lists may be obtained from Headquarters.


Leeds Branch: Meetings have been held regularly every Saturday evening. Informal discussions took place and much time was spent in producing the recent issues of THE SCIENCE-FICTION

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GAZETTE and AMATEUR SCIENCE STORIES. Work is now proceeding on the Autumn issue of TOMORROW, whilst it is hoped that at least four members of the Branch will be able to visit London on the occasion of the Second Meeting of the new London Branch.

Chairman: H. Warnes, 5 Florist Street, Leed"s 3.

London Branch: The inaugural meeting of this Branch of the SFA was held at the London Headquarters, 11 Clowders Road, Catford, on Sunday afternoon, October 3rd last, when sixteen members and two visitors wore present. By 3.30 p.m. all members had assembled and the meeting commenced. The first business of the meeting was the election of officers, which resulted as follows:

Branch Chairman: G. Ken Chapman; Hon. Secretary: Eric C. Williams; Movie Director: William F. Temple, Associate Editors of "Novae Terrae": Edward J. Carnell and Arthur C. Clarke; Amateur Author's Circle: Chairman - William F. Temple, Advisor - Walter H. Gillings, Associates - Sidney L. Birchby, Arthur C. Clarke and Eric C. Williams; Science Circle Committee Arthur C. Clarke; John C. H. Drummond, F. Montgomery, Maurice K. Hanson: Sidney L. Birchby Eric C. Williams and L. W. Smith (Election not yet confirmed).

Term of Office for each of the above officials - One year. The Chairman opened the meeting by reading a message of greetings from the Leeds Headquarters, and members were informed that Leeds would definitely send Delgates Mayer, Airey and Warnes to the second meeting of the Branch, to be held in November. This was followed by the election of the above officers, and a short message by the SFA official Librarian, Mr.Eric C. Williams, who proposed the formation of a Jules Verne collection as a supplement to the Lending Library. This was unanimously agreed upon. With reference

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to Mr. Temple's election as Movie Director, it should be stated that the Branch intends to show famous old science-fiction films as soon as possible, this aspect of the Branch's aspirations being in the hands of the Movie Director. Mr. Maurice K. Hanson having come recently to London to live, the Associate Editorsbip of "Novae Terrae" could no longer be carried on by Nuneaton members, and accordingly London members assisted him by electing Messrs. Edward J. Carnell and Arthur C. Clarke as new Associate Editors of "Novae Terrae". Mr. Hanson also co-opted the whole of the London Branch as part of a Criticism Committee to assist with regard to matters of policy, etc. When it was decided to form an Amateur Authors Circle, this was done with the view to assisting budding authors amongst the SFA London members, looking after their interests in all ways, and supplying "Amateur Science Stories" with more material. It was thought that every member could be co-opted in this scheme, those who are not writers assisting by finding fresh plots for the author members to work on. The scheme was adopted unanimously. The Science Circle was formed with ((the)) intention of preparing short lectures for Branch meetings and providing lecturers to deliver them. The members so far enlisted cover such fields as Astronomy, Astronautics, Chemistry, Physics, Bio-Chemistry, Anthropology, Archaeology, Entomology, etc.

It has been decided by members that the meeting place of the Branch shall be moved from Headquarters to a spot more in the centre of London. Several Halls are being considered by Branch officials and a definite statement on this matter will be issued at the earliest possible moment.

Very interesting speeches were given by Edward J. Carnell on "Contemporary Science-fiction in USA", William F. Temple on the history of the Science Fiction film, Maurice K. Hanson on the

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progress of "Novae Terrae", Arthur C. Clarke on the activities of the British Interplanetary Society and finally Walter H. Gillings spoke for one and a half hours about his struggle for a British science-fiction magazine which culminated in the producticn or the current issue of "Tales of Wonder". To conclude the meeting, the Chairman announced the opening of a Suggestion Book, and a vote of thanks was given to the speakers listed above and Mr. Williams for their assistance in making the meeting possible. The meeting closed at 8.10 p.m.

(Editorial Note: The above account owing to the limitations of space has been somewhat condensed from its original form.)

Los Angeles Branch: Meetings are held on the first and third Thursdays of each month. At the first August meeting the assembly was addressed by Mort Weisinger, assistant editor of THRILLING WONDER STORIES. He gave a number of interesting sidelights on the publishing business, and also on various authors, artists, and publishers. He concluded by discussing the policy of TWS and its attitude to the SFL. A fortnight later they were adressed by Dr. Keller, who spoke for nearly two hours on almost every possible angle of science-fiction. Twenty-nine members and friends attended.

by Douglas W. F. Mayer.


Look at the word. Imagine it used again and again in countless science-fiction thought- variants, being employed by the nonchalant authors to move the earth, destroy the universe, or create a new space-time.

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A ghastly prospect. Yet such will be a likely development in science-fiction now that what perhaps, is the basic force of the universe - tentatively called "super-gravitation" - has been discovered.

To explain the force it is neccesary to refer to Coulomb's Law. For the benefit of those who regard science as some abracadabra found in science-fiction, Coulcomb's Law states, in connection with charges of electricity, that "like charges repel, unlike charges attract".

Now, anyone who has read anything about atoms will remember that the nucleus consists of positively-charged 'particles' called protons, together with a number of other 'particles' of the same mass, but with no charge. These are called neutrons. Hydrogen contains one proton in the nucleus, Helium two, Lithium three, and so on to Uranium with ninety-two. Lead, a perfectly stable element, contains eighty-two.

Eighty-two! All crammed together in an infinitesimal space and, according to Coulomb's Law, repelling each other with a force which, in proportion to their mass, is tremendous. What causes them to keep together? This was the question that set scientists at the Carnegie Institute of Washington in search for super-gravitation.

They bombarded the nuclei of elements with a stream of protons moving at speeds of thousands of miles per second with a pressure of hundreds of thousands of volts. As was to be expected, the protons were repelled by the protons in the nucleus and were deflected. The pressure was increased to 700,000 volts, and a faint discrepancy between the calculated and actual deflections was noted. When the pressure was raised to 800,000 volts the discrepancy became greater. Finally, with the

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protons moving at speeds of 8,200 m.p.s. with a pressure of 900,000 volts, the protons suffered no deflection, but ware ABSORBED INTO THE NUCLEUS.

With this as their starting point, the Washington scientists carried out extensive research, and recently published their results. To summarise briefly their discovories, they found:

  1. The critical distance at which the Coulomb repulsion between protons breaks down is about 1/12,000, 000,000,000 inches.
  2. The sudden changes which occur in the relations of two protons separated by this distance can be explained if we assume the existence of a superior force of attraction which at that and lesser distances dominates the two particles.
  3. The binding power of this force as it operates between two protons at the critical distance is approximately one trillion trillion (British nomenclature) times more powerful than the Newtonian force of gravitation between the particles.
  4. Not only protons but also neutrons are subjected to this force, which is of the same value when the absence of the Coulomb force is considered.
The new force, which is beieved to hold the secret of atomic power, was christened "super gravitation" of "the force of nucleation". If gravity operated on the same scale, a feather on the earth's surface would weigh billions of tons.

To judge by the effects in science-fiction circles of the discovery of television, Pluto or heavy water, each of which was followed by a glut of stories using then as themes, super gravitation will be destined to a similar fate. If so let us plead. with authors to give us stories dealing with this new universal force in an intelligent fashion, but at the same time to make sure that their knowledge of the force and its implications are accurate, and not merely gleaned from so brief an article as this.