Space World

Fortean Times - - Letters -

The ar­ti­cle ‘As­tound­ing Sci­ence, Amaz­ing The­o­ries’ [ FT355:40-45] es­pe­cially caught my eye, since it dis­cusses Ray Palmer and his in­volve­ment in early UFO-re­lated fan­tasy tales. I doubt many nonUS read­ers will know this – and in­deed not many Yanks will ei­ther – but Ray also once pub­lished a se­ri­ous space sci­ence mag­a­zine called Space World. The mag­a­zine was founded in May 1960 by Wil­liam Wool­folk, who was also a pro­lific sci­ence fic­tion au­thor and screen­writer. Otto Bin­der, Wern­her von Braun, Willy Ley, and other noted space sci­en­tists wrote most of the sto­ries in the ear­lier is­sues. In 1963 Palmer ac­quired the mag­a­zine, changed its sub­ti­tle from “The news mag­a­zine of Astro-Sci­ence” to “The mag­a­zine of space news”, and con­tin­ued pub­lish­ing it un­til his death in the 1970s. It then be­came of­fi­cially as­so­ci­ated with NASA for some time, and fi­nally folded in 1989.

The mag­a­zine was heav­ily tech­ni­cal, with de­tailed sto­ries about up­com­ing launches, new tech­nolo­gies, lists of satel­lites and fre­quen­cies. Many is­sues also fea­tured a “Rus­sian re­port” of ac­tiv­i­ties by Soviet sci­en­tists. Some ar­ti­cles were also more fan­ci­ful de­pic­tions of the fu­ture of space travel, colonisation of new plan­ets, and po­ten­tial ben­e­fits to hu­man­ity. Advertising was very limited (we of­ten won­der how Palmer made money), and in­cluded ven­dors of ama­teur rock­etry com­po­nents as well as schools of en­gi­neer­ing. Of course, Ray also slipped in oc­ca­sional links to his SF re­lated ti­tles (who wouldn’t?). I hap­pened across a few early is­sues some years ago and, hav­ing grown up dur­ing the hey­day of the space race, started col­lect­ing them. Re­cently I ac­quired the copy­right from the last pub­lisher, and have started of­fer­ing copies on­line for a few dol­lars each in an ef­fort to fi­nance ac­qui­si­tion of more is­sues and other ma­te­ri­als re­lated to the early space age. In­ter­ested read­ers can visit my web­site for more info (and one free is­sue, if in­ter­ested). http:// crit­i­calen­quiry.org/wp/space­world-is­sues/ Dick Joltes Bos­ton, Mas­sachusetts

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