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The Press: Adventures in Time & Space

2 minute read

Except for a matter of dates, the letter to the editor of Street & Smith’s Astounding Science Fiction (circ. 80,000) would have received no more attention than the next piece of fan mail. Writing in October 1948, 20-year-old Richard Hoen of Buffalo, N.Y. had told in detail what he liked & disliked about the issue of November 1949.

Science Fiction Fan Hoen particularly liked the cover by Artist Hubert Rogers, applauded top Science Fictioneer Robert A. Heinlein for his serial “Gulf” and A. E. van Vogt for his short story “Final Command.” As the magazine’s readers are used to adventures in time & space, Editor John W. Campbell Jr. did not think Reader Hoen soft-witted. He printed Hoen’s letter in the November 1948 issue with the comment: “Hm-m-m—he must be off on another time track.” But he also thought Hoen was on the track of a thoughtful, balanced plan for a good issue of Astounding Science Fiction, right down to authors and story titles. Quietly Editor Campbell set to work lining up the artists and authors.

Last week the November issue of Astounding Science Fiction came out, with almost the exact table of contents that Hoen had talked about a year ago. To Hoen, now a senior at Buffalo’s Canisius College, Editor Campbell and his contributors sent an autographed copy. Said astounded Reader Hoen: “I’d forgotten all about my letter. They didn’t even answer it.”

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