Friday, October 22, 2010

The Immortal Storm pt 9

I also met (writes Asimov) Eric Frank Russell, an English writer whose novel Sinister Barriers had been featured in the first issue of a new magazine, Unknown Fantasy Fiction. That first issue had appeared on February 1, 1939. It was a sister magazine to Astounding and was also edited by Campbell.

Unknown was a magazine the like of which had never appeared before. It contained adult fantasy, some humorous, some terrifying, all well written and most thought-provoking. Campbell had conceived of it precisely as a vehicle for Sinister Barriers, which he bought for the excellent story it was, even though he felt that it did not quite come under the classification of science fiction.

Russell was tall, long-faced, somewhat withdrawn, and I found myself rather abashed in his presence.

Otto Binder was there, too. He was the active half of a team that included his brother, Earl. They wrote under the pseudonym of Eando (E. and O.) Binder. In the late 1930s he was the most prolific of the science-fiction writers, but he rarely appeared in Astounding. He was about ten years older than I was, frank , boyish and genial. In the January 1939 Amazing he had published “I, Robot,” a short story about a sympathetic and noble robot that had made a great impression on me.

I was most excited, though, at meeting Jack Williamson for the first time. He was stoop-shouldered, very quiet and, apparently, shy, but it was clear he had a golden heart.

It was an exciting day-the first I spent with fellow writers as well as with fellow fans. And I was *treated as a writer than as a fan. The Sykora group ignored my association with the Futurians and did not order me out-as they might have done were I simply a fan.

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