David Lasser (March 20, 1902 – May 5, 1996) was an American writer and political activist. Lasser is remembered as one of the most influential figures of early science fiction writing, working closely with Hugo Gernsback. He was also heavily involved in the workers’ rights struggles of the Great Depression.
Lasser was born in Baltimore, Maryland, to Jewish immigrant parents from Russia. His family moved to Newark, New Jersey, where he grew up. He left high school at 16 to enlist in the Army in World War I, lying about his age. After being gassed on the front lines in France, he was honorably discharged as a Sergeant in 1919. Despite never graduating from high school, he was admitted to M.I.T., graduating with a B.S. in Engineering Administration.
In the late 1920s Lasser moved to New York City, where he his engineering background helped him land a job as managing editor of Hugo Gernsback's new science fiction magazine, Science Wonder Stories. Lasser and his writers, who included G. Edward Pendray, founded the American Interplanetary Society on April 4, 1930. They renamed it the American Rocket Society in 1934, and under the later leadership of Pendray it became the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
Lasser used his expertise in science, engineering, and rocketry to write The Conquest of Space (1931). It was the first non-fiction English-language book to deal with spaceflight and detailed how man could one day travel into outer space. The book was an inspiration to a generation of science-fiction writers, including Arthur C. Clarke. From 1929 to 1933, Lasser worked as the Managing Editor of Hugo Gernsback’s Stellar Publishing Corporation. He was responsible for editing all the issues of Science Wonder Stories and Wonder Stories Quarterly, as well as identifying and retaining promising writers. Lasser also edited Gernsback’s Wonder Stories from June 1930 to October 1933.
Lasser was at this same time a member of the Socialist Party and active in the unemployed movement in New York City. In 1933, the Socialist Party made Lasser national head of its Unemployed Leagues. The Party had founded these to organize the unemployed to demand more relief and to represent workers employed by the Works Progress Administration (WPA). One day, after returning from an unemployed rally at city hall, Lasser's boss, Hugo Gernsback, told him, "You love the unemployed so much, I suggest you go join them." He fired Lasser, after which Lasser threw himself even more into the unemployed movement.
Simultaneously, and in opposition to the Socialist Party, the Communist Party was organizing the unemployed through its Unemployed Councils. In 1935 the Communists internationally were ordered to form coalitions with similar organizations. Under the new "no enemies to the left" policy, the Communists stopped attacking the Socialist Party and suggested that they merge their unemployed efforts. The result of the merger of the Socialist Unemployed Leagues and the Communist Unemployed Councils was the Workers Alliance of America. In a spirit of unity, the Communists deferred to the Socialists and Lasser was elected president of the Workers Alliance. Herbert Benjamin, head of the Communist Unemployed Councils, became Vice President of the Alliance.
In 1939 Lasser resigned from the Workers Alliance, claiming that it was Communist dominated. Even so, the U.S. Congress passed legislation specifically banning Lasser by name from employment by the federal government. He then served as economics and research director of the International Union of Electrical Radio and Machine Workers until his retirement in 1969.
Lasser's leadership of the Workers Alliance brought him under investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation as a possible subversive. His name was not officially cleared until 1980, when he was sent a personal letter of apology by President Jimmy Carter.
Lasser died in 1996 at the Remington Senior Care Facility in Rancho Bernardo, California. He was 94 years old and was survived by his third wife and a son. There is an extensive interview with Lasser, covering his careers in both science fiction and the labor movement, in Eric Leif Davin's "Pioneers of Wonder".
The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) currently awards the Gardner-Lasser Aerospace History Literature Award to the best original non-fiction work dealing with aeronautics or aeronautical history. The award is named to honor David Lasser and Lester Gardner.
The 1936 United States House of Representatives elections was an election for the United States House of Representatives in 1936 which coincided with President Franklin D. Roosevelt's landslide re-election. Roosevelt's Democratic Party gained twelve more net seats from the Republican Party, bringing them above a three-fourths majority. This was the largest majority since Reconstruction. The last time a party won so decisively was in 1866.Significant representation from the Progressives of Wisconsin and Farmer-Labor Party of Minnesota is also seen, as these two liberal populist groups gained a foothold.
The 1936 elections showed the continuing trust for the American people in that Roosevelt would guide the nation from depression. Despite setbacks, the people had faith in the New Deal and elected leaders who supported its measures. This was the last of four straight election losses for Republicans due to the lingering effects of the Depression.American Rocket Society
The American Rocket Society (ARS) began its existence on April 4, 1930, under the name of the American Interplanetary Society. It was founded by science fiction writers G. Edward Pendray, David Lasser, Laurence Manning, and others. The members originally conducted their own rocket experiments in New York and New Jersey. The society printed its own journal. The AIS did pioneering work in testing the design requirements of liquid-fuelled rockets, with a number of successful test launches of ARS rockets occurring in this period and pointing the way to the United States space program. Its name was changed to American Rocket Society on April 6, 1934. In 1936, the American Rocket Society and its member Alfred Africano were awarded the Prix d'Astronautique by the Société astronomique de France (French Astronomical Society) in recognition of their pioneering tests with liquid fueled rockets.
The Journal of the American Rocket Society was published from 1945–53.Membership increased rapidly in the 1950s as the government funded "upper air research", and by the end of the decade it had reached 21,000. In early 1963, the ARS merged with the Institute of the Aerospace Sciences to become the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA).Apogee Books
Apogee Books is an imprint of Canadian publishing house Collector's Guide Publishing. The Apogee imprint began with "Apollo 8 The NASA Mission Reports" in November 1998 at the request of astronaut Buzz Aldrin, second man on the moon. The first publication by Apogee was printed to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the first manned flight around the moon. A limited edition print run of this Apollo 8 book led to Aldrin suggesting that the imprint continue with further anniversary publications.
In March 1999 Apogee published the book Apollo 9 - The NASA Mission Reports. Since that time Apogee has been the winner of the Space Frontier Foundation's media award and has published almost 100 books on space flight. Almost all of the Apogee titles were packaged with CDROMs or DVDs which included what was, at the time, the first digital release of seminal NASA footage, including the first commercial release of the uncut television broadcast of the Apollo 11 moonwalk. Notable contributors to the Apogee series include Sir Arthur C. Clarke, Tom Hanks, Ron Howard, Buzz Aldrin, Harrison Schmitt, William Pogue, Wernher von Braun, David Lasser, Sy Liebergot, Guenter Wendt, Robert Zubrin, Wally Schirra, David R. Scott, Rick Tumlinson and Winston Scott. Apogee Books has performed contracted work with or for, Lockheed, Boeing, Energia, NASA, Imax, Space Frontier Foundation, The Mars Society and The National Space Society.
An offshoot of Apogee Books, publishing science fiction, began in 2005. Apogee Science Fiction specializes in space-related historical science fiction. By 2007 titles had been published by Hugo Gernsback, Garrett P. Serviss, Wernher von Braun, and George Griffith.Arthur C. Clarke
Sir Arthur Charles Clarke (16 December 1917 – 19 March 2008) was a British science fiction writer, science writer and futurist, inventor, undersea explorer, and television series host.
He is famous for being co-writer of the screenplay for the 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey, widely considered to be one of the most influential films of all time. Clarke was a science writer, who was both an avid populariser of space travel and a futurist of uncanny ability. On these subjects he wrote over a dozen books and many essays, which appeared in various popular magazines. In 1961 he was awarded the Kalinga Prize, an award which is given by UNESCO for popularising science. These along with his science fiction writings eventually earned him the moniker "Prophet of the Space Age". His other science fiction writings earned him a number of Hugo and Nebula awards, which along with a large readership made him one of the towering figures of science fiction. For many years Clarke, Robert Heinlein and Isaac Asimov were known as the "Big Three" of science fiction.Clarke was a lifelong proponent of space travel. In 1934, while still a teenager, he joined the British Interplanetary Society. In 1945, he proposed a satellite communication system using geostationary orbits. He was the chairman of the British Interplanetary Society from 1946–47 and again in 1951–53.Clarke emigrated from England to Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon) in 1956, largely to pursue his interest in scuba diving. That year he discovered the underwater ruins of the ancient Koneswaram temple in Trincomalee. Clarke augmented his fame later on in the 1980s, from being the host of several television shows such as Arthur C. Clarke's Mysterious World. He lived in Sri Lanka until his death. He was knighted in 1998 and was awarded Sri Lanka's highest civil honour, Sri Lankabhimanya, in 2005.Arthur C. Clarke bibliography
The following is a list of works by Arthur C. Clarke.Collector's Guide Publishing
Collector's Guide Publishing (CGP) is a Canadian publisher based in Burlington, Ontario, Canada.
The company's first publication was Robert Godwin's Illustrated Collector's Guide to Led Zeppelin released in 1987. Owner Godwin also founded the independent record label Griffin Music in 1989. CGP would supply books for music collectors to the Griffin label for inclusion in box sets with accompanying compact discs. CD/Book packages included sets by Hawkwind, Motörhead, Wishbone Ash and Olivia Newton-John. In 1998 Godwin started an imprint called Apogee Books specifically for publishing space flight related books. This came about due to a request by Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin for Godwin to create a book to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the flight of Apollo 8. Having established a reputation for including compact discs in the back of their music books CGP also elected to include compact discs in their space flight books. The Apogee Books compact discs included hours of NASA film footage and exclusive interviews with astronauts as well as the first appearance of digitally stitched virtual panoramas of the lunar surface photography. By 2007 Collector's Guide Publishing had approximately 100 books in print including science fiction, guides for music collectors, toy collectors and book collectors as well as an extensive range of space flight books under the Apogee imprint. Authors published by CGP include Sy Liebergot, Frederick I. Ordway III, Martin Popoff, Wernher von Braun, Winston Scott, Walter Schirra, Guenter Wendt, David Lasser, Garrett P. Serviss, William R. Pogue, Gerard O'Neill, Rick Tumlinson and Robert Zubrin.David H. Keller
David Henry Keller (December 23, 1880 – July 13, 1966) was an American writer who worked for pulp magazines in the mid-twentieth century, in the science fiction, fantasy and horror genres. He was the first psychiatrist to write for the genre, and was most often published as David H. Keller, MD, but also known by the pseudonyms Monk Smith, Matthew Smith, Amy Worth, Henry Cecil, Cecilia Henry, and Jacobus Hubelaire.
John Clute has written, "It is clear enough that Keller's conceptual inventiveness, and his cultural gloom, are worth more attention than they have received; it is also clear that he fatally scanted the actual craft of writing, and that therefore he is likely never to be fully appreciated."Fantasy Fan
The Fantasy Fan was the first fan magazine in the weird fiction field and therefore holds an important place in the history of the American fantasy and horror fiction pulp magazine. Issued monthly, it was first published in September 1933, and discontinued 18 issues later in February 1935. The magazine was edited by Charles D. Hornig (25 May 1916 - 11 October 1999).Harold Horton Sheldon
Harold Horton Sheldon (April 13, 1893 – December 23, 1964) was a Canadian-American physicist, scientist, inventor, teacher, editor and author. He was a science editor who wrote on futuristic subjects, especially pertaining to human space travel.History of US science fiction and fantasy magazines to 1950
Science fiction and fantasy magazines began to be published in the United States in the 1920s. Stories with science fiction themes had been appearing for decades in pulp magazines such as Argosy, but there were no magazines that specialized in a single genre until 1915, when Street & Smith, one of the major pulp publishers, brought out Detective Story Magazine. The first magazine to focus solely on fantasy and horror was Weird Tales, which was launched in 1923, and established itself as the leading weird fiction magazine over the next two decades; writers such as H.P. Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith and Robert E. Howard became regular contributors. In 1926 Weird Tales was joined by Amazing Stories, published by Hugo Gernsback; Amazing printed only science fiction, and no fantasy. Gernsback included a letter column in Amazing Stories, and this led to the creation of organized science fiction fandom, as fans contacted each other using the addresses published with the letters. Gernsback wanted the fiction he printed to be scientifically accurate, and educational, as well as entertaining, but found it difficult to obtain stories that met his goals; he printed "The Moon Pool" by Abraham Merritt in 1927, despite it being completely unscientific. Gernsback lost control of Amazing Stories in 1929, but quickly started several new magazines. Wonder Stories, one of Gernsback's titles, was edited by David Lasser, who worked to improve the quality of the fiction he received. Another early competitor was Astounding Stories of Super-Science, which appeared in 1930, edited by Harry Bates, but Bates printed only the most basic adventure stories with minimal scientific content, and little of the material from his era is now remembered.
In 1933 Astounding was acquired by Street & Smith, and it soon became the leading magazine in the new genre, publishing early classics such as Murray Leinster's "Sidewise in Time" in 1934. A couple of competitors to Weird Tales for fantasy and weird fiction appeared, but none lasted, and the 1930s is regarded as Weird Tales' heyday. Between 1939 and 1941 there was a boom in science fiction and fantasy magazines: several publishers entered the field, including Standard Magazines, with Startling Stories and Thrilling Wonder Stories (a retitling of Wonder Stories); Popular Publications, with Astonishing Stories and Super Science Stories; and Fiction House, with Planet Stories, which focused on melodramatic tales of interplanetary adventure. Ziff-Davis launched Fantastic Adventures, a fantasy companion to Amazing. Astounding extended its pre-eminence in the field during the boom: the editor, John W. Campbell, developed a stable of young writers that included Robert A. Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, and A.E. van Vogt. The period starting in 1938, when Campbell took control of Astounding, is often referred to as the Golden Age of Science Fiction. Well-known stories from this era include Slan, by van Vogt, and "Nightfall", by Asimov. Campbell also launched Unknown, a fantasy companion to Astounding, in 1939; this was the first serious competitor for Weird Tales. Although wartime paper shortages forced Unknown's cancellation in 1943, it is now regarded as one of the most influential pulp magazines.
Only eight science fiction and fantasy magazines survived World War II. All were still in pulp magazine format except for Astounding, which had switched to a digest format in 1943. Astounding continued to publish popular stories, including "Vintage Season" by C. L. Moore, and "With Folded Hands ..." by Jack Williamson. The quality of the fiction in the other magazines improved over the decade: Startling Stories and Thrilling Wonder in particular published some excellent material and challenged Astounding for the leadership of the field. A few more pulps were launched in the late 1940s, but almost all were intended as vehicles to reprint old classics. One exception, Out of This World Adventures, was an experiment by Avon, combining fiction with some pages of comics. It was a failure and lasted only two issues. Magazines in digest format began to appear towards the end of the decade, including Other Worlds, edited by Raymond Palmer. In 1949, the first issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction appeared, followed in October 1950 by the first issue of Galaxy Science Fiction; both were digests, and between them soon dominated the field. Very few science fiction or fantasy pulps were launched after this date; the 1950s was the beginning of the era of digest magazines, though the leading pulps continued until the mid-1950s, and authors began selling to mainstream magazines and large book publishers.Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics
The Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics is a monthly peer-reviewed scientific journal published by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. It covers the science and technology of guidance, control, and dynamics of flight. The editor-in-chief is Ping Lu (San Diego State University). It was established in 1978 as Journal of Guidance and Control, obtaining its current title in 1982.Lasser
Lasser or Lässer is a Germanic surname; it may refer to:
David Lasser (1902–1996), US-American science fiction author
Philip Lasser (born 1963), US-American composer, pianist, and music theorist
Louise Lasser (born 1939), US-American actress
Mitchel Lasser, American lawyer
Robin Lässer (born 1991), German motorcycle racer
Tobías Lasser (1911–2006), Venezuelan botanistLaurence Manning
Laurence Manning (July 20, 1899 – April 10, 1972) was a Canadian science fiction author.
Manning was born in St. John, New Brunswick and attended Kings College in Halifax, Nova Scotia. As did his two older brothers, Manning signed up to participate in WWI, but he was too young - when the War ended, he was still in training, and never saw action overseas. He signed his attestation papers for the RFC on 14 May 1918.
In the 1920s he moved to the United States, living initially with his great uncle, Craven Langstroth Betts, the noted Canadian poet. In the USA, he lived in Manhattan before moving to Staten Island in 1928, where he began writing short stories for several pulp science fiction magazines. After teaming with SF writer Fletcher Pratt in "City of the Living Dead" in the May, 1930 issue of Science Wonder Stories, he wrote "The Voyage of the 'Asteroid'", which appeared in the Summer 1932 issue of Wonder Stories Quarterly, and The Man Who Awoke, a series of stories that was later published as a novel. He also translated at least one German-language story for Hugo Gernsback's magazines (this may have been the translation of his popular story "The Man Who Awoke," published as Der Jahrtausendschläfer (The Millennium Sleeper). However, In the July, August and September, 1932 issues of Wonder Stories appeared "In the Year 8000", by Otfrid von Hanstein, translated by Manning, teamed with Konrad Schmidt.
Manning lost his two older brothers at very early ages: the oldest Frederick Charles died of wounds suffered fighting for the 85th Battallion, C.E.F in the battle of Vimy Ridge, France on April 9, 1917; James Harold suffered wounds in the same battle but survived the war. He died working as an engineer for the Standard Oil Company in Maturin, Venezuela in October, 1924 at age 27. It is possible the loss of these brothers and the horrors of war the country had just endured caused Laurence to become interested in the idea of Utopia. In the early 1930s he had over 500 books in his collection on the subject. It was in hopes of obtaining more book titles on Utopia that Manning contacted Wonder Stories magazine. He hoped to talk with Hugo Gernsback, but instead got David Lasser. They formed a strong friendship that lasted until Manning's death in 1972. They ate lunch together frequently, and it was at one of them that Manning mentioned having an idea for a story. After some discussion, Lasser suggested that Manning contact Fletcher Pratt, who could help with the story. This resulted in Manning's first published science fiction work, co-written by Pratt, entitled City of the Living Dead, which appeared in the May, 1930 Science Wonder Stories.
Manning gave up his successful writing career at the end of 1935 (with the exceptions of "Coal Thief" in the April, 1936 The Planeteer and "Expedition to Pluto" in the winter, 1939 Planet Stories), and devoted his time to Kelsey mail order nursery business he owned and managed. Apart from several short stories in the 1950s (Good-Bye, Ilha!, Mr. Mottle Goes Pouf, Men on Mars), he never wrote any more science fiction. However, he was the author of a successful book on gardening, The How and Why of Better Gardening (1951), Van Nostrand & Co, used for more than 40 years as a textbook by the Garden Clubs of America.
He was a founding member of the American Interplanetary Society, serving as both president and editor of the Society's publication, Astronautics. For his involvement in the Society, Manning is recognized by the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum as an early rocketry pioneer. It was during his tenure as president of the society that the organization's name was changed to the American Rocket Society. Manning retired from the Society in the mid-1940s, stating that rocketry had 'grown up', and was no longer a place for amateurs. In 1960, Manning was awarded a fellowship in the Society, presumably given at the Society's annual meeting.
Manning married Edith Mary Finette Burrows in 1928 and had three children: Helen Louise, Dorothy, and James Edward. His daughter Dorothy has mentioned that Laurence was not only a skilled writer, but a pianist as well. He composed his own pieces, primarily as Music Director of his church, though only one, Peter Pan, was ever published. He also smoked pipe. He lived in Highlands, New Jersey from 1951 until his death in 1972.Science fiction fandom
Science fiction fandom or SF fandom is a community or fandom of people interested in science fiction in contact with one another based upon that interest. SF fandom has a life of its own, but not much in the way of formal organization (although clubs such as the Futurians (1937–1945) are a recognized example of organized fandom).
Most often called simply "fandom" within the community, it can be viewed as a distinct subculture, with its own literature and jargon; marriages and other relationships among fans are common, as are multi-generational fan families.Scientific Detective Monthly
Scientific Detective Monthly (also known as Amazing Detective Tales and Amazing Detective Stories) was a pulp magazine which published fifteen issues beginning in January 1930. It was launched by Hugo Gernsback as part of his second venture into science fiction magazine publishing, and was intended to focus on detective and mystery stories with a scientific element. Many of the stories involved contemporary science without any imaginative elements—for example, a story in the first issue turned on the use of a bolometer to detect a black girl blushing—but there were also one or two science fiction stories in every issue.
The title was changed to Amazing Detective Tales with the June 1930 issue, perhaps to avoid the word "scientific", which may have given readers the impression of "a sort of scientific periodical", in Gernsback's words, rather than a magazine intended to entertain. At the same time, the editor—Hector Grey—was replaced by David Lasser, who was already editing Gernsback's other science fiction magazines. The title change apparently did not make the magazine a success, and Gernsback closed it down with the October issue. He sold the title to publisher Wallace Bamber, who produced at least five more issues in 1931 under the title Amazing Detective Stories.The Conquest of Space (1931)
The Conquest of Space is a nonfiction book written by David Lasser in 1930 and self-published in 1931. It was the first book written in English that presented rocketry and spaceflight in a serious manner. The book profiles a fictional journey to the Moon to explain the science of rocketry as it stood in 1931. It uses contemporary knowledge on rockets to create a reasonable description of the hardware necessary to make spaceflight possible. The book was out of print until 2002, when it was republished by Apogee Books. As of 2011, the book remains in print.Unemployed Councils
The Unemployed Councils of the USA (UC) was a mass organization of the Communist Party, USA established in 1930 in an effort to organize and mobilize unemployed workers to advance party policy goals in preparation for an anticipated final conflict to overthrow capitalism.
The UC was the organizational successor of the Unemployment Council of New York, a broad-based organization established by various trade unions in New York City in the spring of 1921, during the economic downturn which followed the termination of the First World War. The organization was dissolved through merger into the Workers Alliance of America, a parallel organization affiliated with the Socialist Party of America, in April 1936.Wonder Stories
Wonder Stories is an early American science fiction magazine which was published under several titles from 1929 to 1955. It was founded by Hugo Gernsback in 1929 after he had lost control of his first science fiction magazine, Amazing Stories, when his media company Experimenter Publishing went bankrupt. Within a few months of the bankruptcy, Gernsback launched three new magazines: Air Wonder Stories, Science Wonder Stories, and Science Wonder Quarterly.
Air Wonder Stories and Science Wonder Stories were merged in 1930 as Wonder Stories, and the quarterly was renamed Wonder Stories Quarterly. The magazines were not financially successful, and in 1936 Gernsback sold Wonder Stories to Ned Pines at Beacon Publications, where, retitled Thrilling Wonder Stories, it continued for nearly 20 years. The last issue was dated Winter 1955, and the title was then merged with Startling Stories, another of Pines' science fiction magazines. Startling itself lasted only to the end of 1955 before finally succumbing to the decline of the pulp magazine industry.
The editors under Gernsback's ownership were David Lasser, who worked hard to improve the quality of the fiction, and, from mid-1933, Charles Hornig. Both Lasser and Hornig published some well-received fiction, such as Stanley Weinbaum's "A Martian Odyssey", but Hornig's efforts in particular were overshadowed by the success of Astounding Stories, which had become the leading magazine in the new field of science fiction. Under its new title, Thrilling Wonder Stories was initially unable to improve its quality. For a period in the early 1940s it was aimed at younger readers, with a juvenile editorial tone and covers that depicted beautiful women in implausibly revealing spacesuits. Later editors began to improve the fiction, and by the end of the 1940s, in the opinion of science fiction historian Mike Ashley, the magazine briefly rivaled Astounding.Workers Alliance of America
The Workers Alliance of America (WAA) was a Popular Front era political organization established in March 1935 in the United States which united several efforts to mobilize unemployed workers under a single banner. Founded by the Socialist Party of America (SPA), the Workers Alliance was later joined by the Unemployed Councils of the USA, a mass organization of the Communist Party USA (CPUSA), and by the National Unemployed Leagues originating with A.J. Muste's Conference for Progressive Labor Action (CPLA) and successor organizations.
The WAA was initially headed by Socialist David Lasser, but the organization gradually came to be dominated by the CPUSA, which had superior size and organizational discipline compared to its partners. Originally resembling a trade union for relief workers employed by the Works Progress Administration (WPA), in its later incarnation it came to resemble a political pressure group focused upon winning additional funding of the WPA by a budget-conscious Congress.
The organization rapidly atrophied after 1939, in the wake of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact and the eruption of World War II in Europe and was terminated in 1941.