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Astounding Stories of Super-Science January 1931: VOL. V, No. 1 - The Readers' Corner

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Astounding Stories

Dare to dream. Dare to go where no other has gone before.

Astounding Stories of Super-Science January 1931, by Astounding Stories is part of HackerNoon’s Book Blog Post series. You can jump to any chapter in this book here. VOL. V, No. 1 - The Readers' Corner

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A Letter and Comment

Three or four times in the year we have been issuing Astounding Stories the Editor has received letters calling attention to fancied scientific errors in our stories. All these letters were published, but until now we have not cut in on the space of “The Readers’ Corner” to answer such objections because they were very obviously the result of hasty or inaccurate readings.

The other week one more such letter reached us—from Mr. Philip Waite, this time—claiming that there was “an atrocious flaw” in two stories of Captain S. P. Meek’s. This we could not let go unanswered, first because of the strong terms used, and second because the objection would sound to many like a true criticism; so we turned the letter over to Captain Meek, and his answer follows Mr. Waite’s letter below.

We welcome criticism of stories in our “The Readers’ Corner.” Never yet have we withheld from it any criticism or brickbats of importance—and we never intend to. But space is limited; there’s not room now for all the good letters that come in; and we do not want to intrude too much with editorial comment. Therefore when we do not stop and answer all criticisms we are not necessarily admitting they are valid. In most cases everyone will quickly see their lack of logic or accuracy, and in the rest we will ask you to remember that our Staff is meticulously careful about the scientific facts and laws and possibilities that enter our stories, so it’s extremely unlikely that anything very “atrocious” will get by.

Well, we’d better cut short now, before we take up too much “Corner” room. But first, thanks to Captain  Meek for going to the trouble of defending two stories that needed no defense. And thanks, too, to Mr. Waite, for his kindness in writing in to inform us of what he thought—unquestionably because of hasty reading—were errors.—The Editor.

P. S. (Now we’ll have to be super careful of our science, for if Mr. Waite ever gets anything on us—!!)

Dear Editor:

Just a note to tell you to keep up the good work. There was an atrocious flaw, however, in the two stories by Capt. S. P. Meek about the Heaviside Layer. How, may I ask, do meteors penetrate through that imaginary substance which is too much for a powerful space flyer? Also, how about refraction? A substance denser than air would produce refraction that would have been noticed long ago. I don’t mind minor errors, but an author has no right to ignore the facts so outrageously. Fiction goes too far when an author can invent such false conditions.

In the latest issue “Stolen Brains” was fine, up to the Dr. Bird standard. “The Invisible Death” was good enough, but too much like the general run to be noteworthy. “Prisoners on the Electron”—couldn’t stomach it. Too hackneyed. “Jetta of the Lowlands,” by Ray Cummings; nuff said. “An Extra Man”—original idea and perfectly written. One of the reasons I hang on to Science Fiction. A perfect gem.—Philip Waite, 3400 Wayne Ave., New York, N. Y.

Dear Editor:

May I use enough space in your discussion columns to reply briefly to the objections raised to the science in my two stories, “Beyond the Heaviside Layer” and “The Attack from Space”? Understand that I am not arguing that there actually is a thick wall of semi-plastic material surrounding the earth through which a space flyer could not pass. If I did, I would automatically bar myself from writing interplanetary stories, a thing that is far from my desires. I do wish to point out, however, that such a layer might exist, so far as we at present know. The objections to which I wish to reply are two: first, “How do meteors pass through that imaginary substance which is too much for a powerful space flyer?” and second, “How about refraction?”

To reply to the first we must consider two things, kinetic energy and resistance to the passage of a body. The kinetic energy of a moving body is represented by the formula ½mv2 where m is the mass of the body and v the velocity. The resistance of a substance to penetration of a body is expressed by the formula A fc where A is the area of the body in contact with the resisting medium and fc is the coefficient of sliding friction between the penetrating body and the resisting medium. Consider first the space flyer. To hold personnel the flyer must be hollow. In other words, m must be small as compared to A. A meteor, on the other hand, is solid and dense with a relatively large m and small A. Given a meteor and a space flyer of the same weight, the volume of the meteor would be much smaller, and as the area in contact with the resisting medium is a function of volume, the total resistance to be overcome by the space flyer would be much greater than that to be overcome by the meteor. Again, consider the relative velocities of a meteor and a space flyer coming from the earth toward the heaviside layer. The meteor from space would have an enormous velocity, so great that if it got into even very rare air, it would become incandescent. As it must go through dense air, the space flyer could attain only a relatively low velocity before it reached the layer. Remember that the velocity is squared. A one thousand pound meteor flying with a velocity 100 times that of the space ship would have 1002 or 10,000 times the kinetic energy of the space ship while it would also have less friction to overcome due to its smaller size.

If my critic wishes to test this out for himself, I can suggest a very simple experiment. Take a plank of sound pine wood, two inches thick by twelve inches wide and four feet long. Support it on both ends and then pile lead slabs onto it, covering the whole area of the board. If the wood be sound the board will support a thousand pounds readily. Now remove the lead slabs and fire a 200 grain lead bullet at the board with a muzzle or initial velocity of 1,600 feet per second. The bullet will penetrate the board very readily. Consider the heaviside layer as the board, the space ship as the lead slabs and the bullet as the meteor and you have the answer.

Consider one more thing. According to the stories, the layer grew thicker and harder to penetrate as the flyer reached the outer surface. The meteor would strike the most viscous part of the layer with its maximum energy. As its velocity dropped and its kinetic energy grew less, it would meet material easier to penetrate. On the other hand the flyer, coming from the earth, would meet material easy to penetrate and gradually lose its velocity and consequently its kinetic energy. When it reached the very viscous portion of the layer, it would have almost no energy left with which to force its way through. Remember, the Mercurians made no attempt to penetrate the layer until a portion of it had been destroyed by Carpenter’s genius.

As for the matter of refraction. If you will place a glass cube or other form in the air, you will have no difficulty in measuring the refraction of the light passing through it. If, however, the observer would place himself inside a hollow sphere of glass so perfectly transparent as to be invisible, would not the refraction he would observe be taken by him to be the refraction of air when in reality it would be the combined refraction of the glass sphere and the air around him?

I have taken glass as the medium to illustrate  this because my critic made the statement that “a substance denser than air would produce refraction that would have been noticed long ago.” However nowhere in either story is the statement made that the material of the heaviside layer was denser than air. The statement was that it was more viscous. Viscosity is not necessarily a function of density. A heavy oil such as you use in the winter to lubricate your automobile has a much higher viscosity than water, yet it will float on water, i. e. it is less dense. There is nothing in the story that would prevent the heaviside layer from having a coefficient of refraction identical with that of air.

To close, let me repeat that I am not arguing that such a layer exists. I do not believe that it does and I do believe that my generation will probably see the first interplanetary expedition start and possibly see the first interplanetary trip succeed. I do, however, contend that the science in my stories is accurate until it transcends the boundaries of present day knowledge and ceases to be science and becomes “super-science,” and that my super-science is developed in a logical manner from science and that nothing in present knowledge makes the existence of such a layer impossible—S. P. Meek. Capt. Ord. Dept., U. S. A.

Likes Long Novelettes

Dear Editor:

I have just finished reading the August issue of your magazine. I am going to rate the different stories in per cents. 100% means excellent; 75% fairly good; 50% passable; 25% just an ordinary story.

I give “Marooned Under The Sea,” by Paul Ernst, 100%; 75% for “The Attack From Space,” by Captain S. P. Meek. “The Problem in Communication,” by Miles J. Breuer, M. D. and “Jetta of the Lowlands,” by Ray Cummings; 50% for “The Murder Machine,” by Hugh B. Cave and “Earth, The Marauder,” by Arthur J. Burks; 25% for “The Terrible Tentacles of L-472,” by Sewell Peaslee Wright.

I am happy to say that since I have been reading your magazine, I have induced at least ten of my friends to be constant readers of this magazine.

I like the long novelettes much better than continued novels, and hope that in the future we will get bigger and better novelettes.—Leonard Estrin, 1145 Morrison Ave., Bronx, N. Y.

Hasn’t Decided

Dear Editor:

Move over, you old-timers, and let a newcomer say something.

A few months ago I didn’t read any Science Fiction. Now I read it all. I haven’t decided yet which magazine I like best.

I was a little disappointed when you didn’t have another story in the September copy by R. P. Starzl, who wrote “Planet of Dread.” I thought you would hold on to a good author when you find one.

I would also like another story by the fellow who wrote the serial “Murder Madness.”

I like short stories best.

That idea of a mechanical nirvana in Miles J. Breuer’s story was good.

“Jetta of the Lowlands?” Opinion reserved. I like the action of the story, but I hate a hero who is always bragging about himself.

Don’t think I’m complaining, but nothing is perfect.

Why not try to get a story of A. Merritt’s, or Ralph Milne Farley’s?—A. Dougherty, 327 North Prairie Ave., Sioux Falls, So. Dak.

Announcement

Dear Editor:

May I enter “The Readers’ Corner” to announce that a branch of The Scienceers has recently been formed in Clearwater, Florida, by a group of Science Fiction enthusiasts?

We have a library of 175 Science Fiction magazines, including a complete file of Astounding Stories to date. We hold weekly meetings at which scientific topics are discussed, and current Science Fiction stories commented upon.

As the first branch of The Scienceers, we are striving to achieve a success that will be a mark for other branches to aim at.—Carlton Abernathy, P. O. Box 584, Clearwater, Fla.

From Merrie England

Dear Editor:

I came across your May publication of Astounding Stories the other day, and I cannot resist writing to you to congratulate you on the most interesting magazine I have ever read. I am now determined to take it every month. Re “The Atom Smasher,” it is A-1. I have read several interplanetary stories over here but none to touch those of your magazine.

Best wishes for the success of your book and its authors.—J. C. Atkinson, 17 Balaclava Rd., Sheffield, England.

Starting Young

Dear Editor:

You’ll excuse my writing, for it is the end of vacation.

I like your book very much, which many other readers approve of. Some dislikes, of course, everyone has, and I have three which many readers have, too. First, I wish the magazine were bigger and the paper better. Second, have more stories and raise the price to 25c. Third, have stories of the future such as “Earth, the Marauder,” and stories of lost Atlantis, the fourth dimension, other planets, atoms and electrons.—Jack Farber, Payette, Idaho.

P. S. I am 11 years old and interested in science.

Doesn’t Like Serials

Dear Editor:

I am a recent reader of the Astounding Stories magazine. I am going to keep getting the magazine, as I like it very much.

 I did not like “Murder Madness,” or Burks’ “Earth, the Marauder” very much. I do not think “Murder Madness” is the type of story that belongs in this magazine. I do not like continued stories very much as I hate to break off at an interesting point and wait a whole month before I can read the next installment or conclusion of the story. The front piece of the magazine is very good, and except for the criticisms mentioned above the magazine is excellent.—Kempt Mitchell.

A Staunch Defender

Dear Editor:

At one time a friend introduced your excellent little publication to me. I read it and enjoyed every paragraph of it. This issue starred “The Monsters of Moyen,” which I consider a real super-science story. I have followed “The Readers’ Corner” quite a time.

In the September issue I saw where someone made a commentary on the magazine. One of the things they said was that the paper should be of a better grade. It is true that this would help, but “our” magazine is not half full of advertisements to pay for this expense. Dear friends, this is no Saturday Evening Post. Don’t ask too much. Then, you may take in consideration that other magazines of Science Fiction have no better grade of paper than this, for I have purchased several.

I have but one thing to say as an improvement for it. That is, why shouldn’t there be a Quarterly? Other Science Fiction magazines have them. They have complete stories and are double in size and price. Dear Editor, please, for the public’s sake, put out a Quarterly. I’m sure others would like one.—H. C. Kaufman, Jr., 1730 N. Monroe St., Baltimore, Maryland.

Announcement

Dear Editor:

We would appreciate it very much if you would print this in your “Readers’ Corner” department.

We wish to inform the readers of Astounding Stories of an organization lately formed, called The Boys’ Scientifiction Club. Its purpose is to promote scientific interest among boys between the ages of 10 and 15, to encourage the reading of Science Fiction and scientific works, and to create a bond of friendship among them.

A circulating library, composed of Science Fiction books, magazines, articles, etc., is being constructed to circulate among members who desire to read any of the contents.

Officers are: President-Librarian, Forrest J. Ackerman, 530 Staples Ave., San Francisco, Cal.; Secretary-Treasurer, Frank Sipos, 174 Staples Ave., San Francisco, California.

Address all letters concerning membership to the President. He will be glad to answer all letters and explain particulars of the club. Thank you for your kindness.—Linus Hogenmiller, Vice-President B. S. C., 502 N. Washington St., Farmington, Missouri.

But—Ray Cummings Writes Us Only Brand New Stories!

Dear Editor:

I want to commend Astounding Stories on carrying out an idea which I have had in mind for some time; that is, some scientific articles. “A Star That Breathes,” in the July number, was very interesting, as were the two articles in the August copy. However, I hope that this is only the start of a valuable new addition to Astounding Stories. There should be at least five or six in each magazine, and I think most of the readers would prefer them at the end of the stories instead of in the back of the magazine. Another thing that is absolutely essential if Astounding Stories would hold its own as a high-class Science Fiction magazine is a scientific editorial in the front of the book. The way it starts off abruptly onto a story gives the impression of a cheap publication.

A lot of your readers have been setting up a clamor for stories by Ray Cummings. While it is true that he has written a few good stories, you will find that his antiquated stuff is not being printed in any of the other Science Fiction magazine, but only in ones devoted to adventure-stories. For the sake of your many readers who would like to see “our magazine” keep abreast of the times, Cummings should be dropped and some of the peerless authors of to-day employed. As an advance along this line you already have Capt. S. P. Meek, Harl Vincent, Lilith Lorraine, Edmond Hamilton, and, in the latest copy, R. F. Starzl. “The Planet of Dread,” by R. F. Starzl was the best story in the August issue. A wealth of ideas was contained in that treatise of life on a young, warm planet, and the idea of fooling the liquid intelligence by thought-suggestion is quite novel but entirely reasonable. Mr. Starzl is an author of the highest type and ability, and you will do well to secure more stories from his typewriter.

I was glad to see that the cover has finally been changed from the conventional blue background, and I hope we will have a little variation from now on. Concerning illustrations, Wesso is a great artist, and aside from a few scientific errors his covers are excellent. The inside drawings could be improved, however.

I hope for your continued success—Wayne D. Bray, Campbell, Mo.

Are We All “Morons?”

Dear Editor:

Having perused three issues of your magazine, I must agree that its title is well chosen. The stories are nearly all “astounding”; astounding in that they utterly ignore every scientific fact and discovery of the past ten centuries.

The cold of inter-stellar space; its lack of oxygen; the interplanetary effects of gravitation—all are passed over as if non-existent.

An “anti-gravity ovoid”—of which no description is given—if worn in a man’s hat, makes his whole body weightless.

 Men, buildings and cities float through the air or become invisible, yet not the least semi-scientific explanation is made as to the how of it all.

In other words, the pattern of your stories appears to have been taken from the Arabian Nights and from Grimm’s Fairy Tales—but with not a millionth part of the interest.

How anyone, save a young child or a moron, can read and enjoy such futile nonsense is incredible.

If your writers would (like Jules Verne) only invent some pseudo-scientific explanation for their marvels, your publication might then be read with pleasure—but why do so when trash is acceptable without thought behind it!—M. Clifford Johnston, 451 Central Avenue, Newark, N. J.

A Wesso Fan

Dear Editor:

Let me congratulate you on the September issue of Astounding Stories. It is the best issue you have published yet. I noticed in this issue that you had four illustrations by Wesso. Though that is the most you have ever had, I think it would be much better if all the illustrations were by him.

However, getting down to brass tacks, the reason I’m typing this letter is to ask you to publish an Astounding Stories Quarterly. You could have it contain twice as much reading material as in the monthly and charge forty cents a copy for it. It would be much better than a semi-monthly and I am quite sure it would “go over” big.—Thomas L. Kratzer, 3593 Tullamore Rd., University Heights, Ohio.

Bang—Bang—Bang

Dear Editor:

I have read the August Astounding Stories and greatly enjoyed the fiction, but “The Readers’ Corner” gave me a good deal of amusement. Some of your readers take their fiction so seriously!

Take the “Brick or Two” from George L. Williams and Harry Heillisan, for instance. They want Astounding Stories filled with material from authors that appear in other magazines—because your readers “are used to the standards set by those publications,” etc. And again, “you should have some one who is well qualified to pass upon the science in the stories.” For the love of Pete, if people want scientific treatises, why don’t they buy books and magazines dealing with the subject? There are many on the market—serious and dull enough for anyone. But for our fiction magazines, let’s have it pure and unadulterated, the more improbably the better.

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.

Assorted Bouquets

Dear Editor:

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.

A Request

Dear Editor:

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

Dear Editor:

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.

Suggestions

Dear Editor:

“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.

“A Flop”

Dear Editor:

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.

“No Favorites”

Dear Editor:

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

Dear Editor:

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

Dear Editor:

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.

Quite True

Dear Editor:

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”

Dear Editor:

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.

Bouquets

Dear Editor:

“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!

—The Editor.

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Various. 2009. Astounding Stories of Super-Science, January 1931. Urbana, Illinois: Project Gutenberg. Retrieved May 2022 from https://www.gutenberg.org/files/30177/30177-h/30177-h.htm#page132

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