Thursday, January 11, 2007

Aaron's Magazine of the Week :: Fantastic Adventures October 1950

Fantastic Adventures October 1950The Magazine of the Week is the October 1950 issue of Fantastic Adventures, with cover story "The Masters of Sleep" by L. Ron Hubbard (cover art by Robert Gibson Jones).

L. Ron Hubbard is remembered today as the creator of the "science" of Dianetics and the founder of the Church of Scientology. But before creating Scientology, Hubbard was among the most prolific of the pulp writers, publishing under his own name and various pseudonyms including Rene Lafayette and Frederick Engelhardt. He started out writing westerns, adventure stories, even some romances, but found his greatest success in science fiction and fantasy. He was among the better SF/F writers of the pulp era and some of his early work is still worth reading today, unlike his later works Battlefield Earth (adapted into a dreadful film by Scientologist John Travolta) and the Mission Earth series (which pushes the term "later works" to an extreme, since most of the ten volumes in the series appeared after Hubbard was dead).

It seems strange to many of us that the adherents of Scientology are not troubled by how strongly the premises of Hubbard's religion mirror his old pulp science fiction. (Scientology tells us, for example, that many of Earth's problems trace back 75 million years, when billions of beings were brought to Earth and executed by Xenu, the ruler of the Galactic Confederacy, and their souls continue to linger here.) Many other science fiction writers, including Theodore Sturgeon, Harlan Ellison, Sam Moskowitz, and Lloyd Arthur Eshbach, reported that before he created Scientology, Hubbard complained that writers weren't paid enough and declared that the way to really make money was to invent a religion.

Next week's Magazine of the Week will be the magazine in which L. Ron Hubbard first unveiled his new science of Dianetics. Naturally, it was a science fiction magazine.

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