[image]      Dating from 1969, and originally offered in response to requests from a commemorative review, comes the retrospective “By L. Ron Hubbard.” To what Ron recounts in the way of incidental events from those golden years, let us understand that his pseudonymous Kurt von Rachen was to finally author several memorable tales for Astounding and Unknown, including such appropriately swashbuckling sf dramas as “The Idealist,” “The Mutineers” and “The Rebels.” Let us further understand that his mention of Willy Ley among Campbell, Asimov and Heinlein is especially meaningful; for if finally a minor author, Ley played no insignificant part in that popularization of the Space Age and is properly remembered as among the earliest proponents of rocket propulsion. Also significant is Ron’s mention of Leo Margulies, then editorial director of Thrilling Wonder Stories and among the few to carry that pulp tradition into the 1950s.

     In referencing “way stops” in Hollywood, Ron is speaking of his ten-week stint on the Columbia Pictures lot where he adapted his Murder at Pirate Castle to the screen as, The Secret of Treasure Island – a fifteen episode serial loosely inspired from adventures in the Caribbean and featuring murderous ghosts, an intrepid reporter and obligatory beauty. It was also through those typically productive ten weeks, Ron contributed to/doctored such big screen serials as The Mysterious Pilot, The Adventures of Wild Bill Hickock and (in conjunction with Norvell Page) The Spider Returns.

     In citing the “petty squabbles,” Ron is probably referencing the eventual feud between Campbell and A. J. Burks – apparently over money, and ultimately ending with the blackballing of Burks from the whole of science fiction. (If nothing else, recalled British author and editor George Hay, “Campbell was a man who knew how to hold a grudge.”) In either case, Ron is perhaps too kind; the squabbles were not always petty, and he was finally the only author from the great pulp mainstream to survive Campbell’s reign as science fiction czar.


     By the same token, however, the friendship was real, and many an LRH letter tells of dinners at the Campbell home in the wastes of New Jersey, and lengthy lunches over plates of a “horrible ham” garnished with slices of pineapple. Campbell was additionally among the first to sense what Dianetics represented as the means by which we might venture into that greatest unknown of all, the universe of the self. Then, too, it was Campbell who, inspired by later LRH research, began calling for stories, not set in a distant future, but a prehistoric past – which, in turn, has arguably led to all we now celebrate as a new golden age of science fiction with tales from galaxies far away and a long, long time ago.

L. Ron Hubbard’s “Remington Noiseless” Typewriter

The Golden Age continued...
The Shaping of Fear

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