Tuesday, November 8, 2016

SciFi-Month Review: The Man From Mars by Fred Nadis

At some point every Science Fiction fan has picked up a copy of a Science Fiction magazine. For me it was Asimov's:

The foundation of many of today's Science Fiction monthlies began with Amazing Stories which was published in 1926:

In The Man From  Mars readers learn about the remarkable Ray Palmer along with the foundations of Sci- Fi fandom. Hugo Gensback was very interested in the field of "ScientificFiction", a genre that would print stories with scientific fact at their core.

When Ray Palmer saw these magazines he was inspired. After a time Palmer became the editor of Amazing Stories and his editorial and letters pages became a mecca for fans of the genre.

Palmer was an interesting man. he was short of stature and at a young age was involved in a horrible accident that left his chest scarred and his organs vulnerable. He persevered on sheer will power and a passion for Science Fiction. 

He was also an Entrepreneur who had  a gift for stirring up controversy (and sales) in the community.

Nadis does a tremendous job in this book at giving us a window into Palmer's life and the birth of the Science Fiction Genre.

Palmer was at the forefront of the fandom movement. He went from fan to writer to editor to helming the ship of the future content in the field.

This meant that Palmer used his power to begin to sculpt the kind of content he wanted in the magazine.  For good and ill.

Fanzines flourished in the 1940's and 50's many of them off shooting into organizations that mirrored religious organizations.

There was Michelism a group that believed Science Fiction followers should actively work for the realization of a scientific,socialist work state.

Ghughusim  a group dedicated to the fandom of Ghu and many more. 

Then Palmer took a turn when he received a package of stories from a reader named Richard Shaver and the path to Lemuria was opened up to the fandom world.

The Lemuria stories were very decisive to the Sci-Fi community and Palmer directed it on a path that lead to tremendous press and controversy.

He continued that later on by helming the flying saucer fandom.

I really loved this book. Science Fiction has been a part of my life since I was ten years old so it was wonderful learning about development of all aspects of the fandom including the slang lingo.  A great read.

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