You are on page 1of 8
FOREWORD HIS BOOK WAS PLANNED from the very beginning to be aba than just a collection of interesting adventure stories. It was organized around a central idea, one theme which moves logically from story to story. By building upon this unifying theme, we who prepared this book sincerely believe, a new idea in science fiction anthologies has been developed—a science fiction an- thology which, taken in its entirety, tells a complete story. The story which these different authors together tell is the story of the future conquest of space. Interplanetary travel has come nowadays to be accepted as definitely possible, if not inevitable, by people who once considered the thought ridiculously fantastic. For this reason this anthology, arranged coherently and representative of science fiction’s concern with every aspect of space travel, should be of interest to everyone. Willy Ley, in his excellent introduction, traces briefly the scien- tific evolution of spaceships. The facts mentioned by this noted authority on rocketry lead conclusively to the realization that space travel will be attempted within the lifetime of most of us. As fac- tual preparation for the fiction which follows, his introduction con- tributes importantly toward fusing the many stories into a believ- able whole. ‘The choice and arrangement of the dozen stories in this volume have been carefully considered. Material had to be judged not only on the basis of its contribution to the over-all pattern of the book, but also on its length and availability. The logical sequence of each incident with its appropriate scientific development was of primary importance. The reader, therefore, will find that he is carried on a swift flight of time and space from Willy Ley’s firm foundation of fact and the first attempt to reach the moon to the eventual conquest of the entire universe, If this book seems to be treated too seriously, there is some justification for doing so. No claim is made that these stories are good literature. But we do believe that the value lies in what the various authors have to say, not in the various writing techniques. From a science fiction point of view, the ideas, thoughts and theories are worthy of consideration. These are stories of tomorrow and as 3 4 Foreword such have more than just transitory entertainment value. In the future there will be other books in the “Adventures in Science Fic- tion Series” based upon a central theme, such as Atomic Energy, Robots and Time Travel. The editor's sincere gratitude is here extended to J. B. Cullum. and Charles Dye for aiding in the selection of the material, David A. Kyle for assisting in the editing and for designing the book, Scott Meredith, Forrest J. Ackerman and Dirk Wylie literary agencies for obtaining copyrighted material, Julius Unger for obtaining magazines for research, Willy Ley, who is the author of Rockets and Space Travel; The Lungfish, The Dodo and The Unicorn; The Days of Creation; Bombs and Bombing; Shells and Shooting; and The Conquest of Space with Chesley Bonestell, for his splendid introduction, And to the many friends who gave their criticisms and sug- gestions. Martin GREENBERG Willy Ley INTRODUCTION EAR THE END of the First World War an American physi- N cist, the late Dr. Robert H. Goddard, wrote a strictly technical report on various aspects of rocket propulsion. That re- port was published in 1919 by the Smithsonian Institution and it contained a number of remarks and statements about an unmanned rocket to the moon. People laughed. In 1923 a German scientist, Prof. Hermann Oberth, published an even more severely technical treatise in which he prophesied manned spaceships, stating that the manufacture of such machines might be profitable under certain conditions. “Such conditions might develop within a few decades.” People laughed. In 1925 the City Architect of the city of Essen on the Ruhr, Dr. Walter Hohmann, followed up with an equally severe technical treatise on the orbits to be traveled from earth to other planets, on methods of landing on worlds with an atmosphere and worlds with- out one. People laughed. Now it must be understood that not all the people laughed. Those that did usually had derived what information they had from third-hand newspaper accounts without ever having seen the original publications or even the second-hand accounts. In fact they would not have been able to read the original publications even if they had been handed to them. The few that failed to laugh went ahead and progressed from theory to experimentation. Crude and blundering experimentation it was, groping around in an entirely new field of engineering where well-established ideas did not hold true and where “crazy schemes” suddenly proved workable. To make it somewhat more difficult a constant lack of funds had to be accepted as a matter of course. But in spite of the lack of money and in spite of the newness of the whole problem those experimenters did get some early results. And some information about the experimental work wormed its way into the daily papers, via publication in more specialized journals whose editors risked their reputations by publishing it. 5