The relationship of Science Fiction to UFOs is a complex one. Debunkers are too quick to blame fantasy for influencing Flying Saucer reports, and proponents are too quick too deny it. Old time SF fans wanted nothing of flying saucers, and FS fans felt the same way about SF.
There's a relationship, to be sure, with ideas form one camp influencing the other. Sadly, most of the discussions of this tend to be heavily biased. The UFO/Science Fiction topic needs further examination.
Buck RogersScience fiction, at its best, is examining how new ideas and inventions affect mankind. In effect, it's shining a flashlight into our future.
|If Science Fiction has a name, it's Buck Rogers!|
Many people around the world were introduced to science fiction in the form of an enormously popular newspaper comic strip that began in 1929. Science fiction writer, Philip Nowlan teamed up with artist Dick Calkins to create Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. It literally defined science fiction. There was a shorthand term for advanced technology, and it was "Buck Rogers."
C.R. Smith, president of American Airlines:“When we endeavor to envision the future of aviation, we come to the conclusion that Jules Verne was a conservative man and that Buck Rogers more closely approximates the role of a realist. Some of the potential developments in aviation are so far reaching that they might easily amaze and confuse the hero of the Sunday supplement.”
(American Aviation magazine, 1941.)
A letter to Astounding Science Fiction
|Spaceship by Paul Orban|
Astounding Science Fiction Dec. 1948
(Note: STF stands for Scientifiction, an elegant and archaic term for science fiction.)
At last technological development has caught up with the science- fiction artists and illustrators. I am not referring to anything else but Paul Orban's' spaceships. Note illos for “The Rull,” et cetera.
|illustrated by Paul Orban|
Also the filler cut of the multi-windowed ship you use frequently. The only sad thing about this development is that evidence lends support to the extra-mundane origin theories of Charles Fort and other dubious adherents, among them members of our own genre of stf authors—needless to say, with the recent crop of wacky theories.
|Dick Calkins art from Buck Rogers|
|Dick Calkins art from Buck Rogers|
|Whitted, Chiles and their sketches of the UFO|
The following Sunday morning the story appeared in various Georgia papers, the Atlanta Constitution carrying sketches of the ship by both men. The singularly remarkable thing about the incident, is that the sketches were remarkably similar to Orban's ships.
Well, these things happen every day so to speak. The alarming fact is that no matter what the theory that explains the phenomenon, as infinite numbers of theories do as long as it is a workable theory, the PHENOMENON STILL REMAINS.I guess I’ll have to go back through Charles Fort again.
(The rest of the letter is about the Aug. 1948 issue of Astounding Science Fiction.)
As for the contents of the August issue. The cover takes my breath. Canedo is too, too utterly para- or hyper-symbolic. And no story titles to mar the front either. I guess yon J have finally decided that ASF sells itself on its own merits rather than having to resort to standard pulp tactics. Psycho-dynamics applied to the masses.
"Dreadful Sanctuary” has to show. I just couldn't resist his description of the rockets' lifting for their maiden voyage. Thank you Eric and John. After all, everyone didn't get to see the lift of a Vr-2 at White Sands. Or maybe I'm just a dreamy-eyed fool. (I'll bet I have company on this one.)
Time for a Kuttner serial.
(Address) Unknown. Unknown. UNKNOWN.—W. H. Entrekin Jr., Americus, Georgia
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A bonus Buck Rogers tidbit from the files of Project Sign, a note about Kenneth Arnold.