Sci-Fi Sundays: Analog, December 1962

Originally published at:


I also love that spacesuit. It reminds me of the functional beefy ruggedness of the suits from the first Alien film.


Awesome art. The stories sound interesting, too.


I always laughed at the vertical take-off and landing rockets of '50s sci-fi movies. So absurd, so low-tech! Who knew.
At this point I guess technologists should stop trying to ape Star Trek in their designs, and look to “Radar Men from the Moon” instead…


I find that when I think of that era now (I was four in 1962) I’m seeing scenes from Mad Men rather than my own early memories. Both that show and the cache of my Dad’s old slides kind of shocked me, realizing my own childhood had become “historical looking” where I can’t believe the look of the cars and fashions myself!

But while the world has changed so much it shocks me when I see it side-by-side with today, the rocketry hasn’t. The NASA tour of Canaveral is illuminating: you see the original Mercury rockets, just 10 feet in diameter with one engine, they’re visibly similar to a V2. But when you look at the next 10 years of progress culminating in the Saturn V, it’s clear it’s all the same V2 design, just blown up in size, and then replicated up to five engines: scaling but no new technology, really.

And then today - we’re still running the same basic fuels, fuel pumps, engine and bell-shaped rocket nozzle. This is fundamentally why we don’t have “2001” yet in 2019 - you still have to throw 99% of your rocket out the back door very fast to get 1% of it into space, and that means only a few tonnes really get to go up.


I wonder if 1998’s Lost in Space writers did also. Compare-aay-voo:




Ftitz Lang’s DIE FRAU IM MOND from 1929 (THE WOMAN IN THE MOON), where Hermann Oberth, a father of rocketry, worked with Lang on the film:


Willy Ley, another rocketry pioneer worked on the film as well, and most of special effects were his ideas.


Space will be conquered by… penis!

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If anyone actually wants to read any of the stories.

Blind Man’s Lantern by Allen Kim Lang

Subversive by Mack Reynolds

Space Viking by H. Beam Piper


@hecep No. If old serial sci fi had influenced the 1998 Lost in Space, the story would have been better. The armor and the robot were two best things about that movie, and I can’t remember much else about it.

Such wonderful details. There’s a lightning rod with glass bulb, to see lightning had actually hit, on the the house along with an Amish hex sign, for love I believe.

My parents used to have a stack of them, supposedly left over from my grandparents farm. Goods were often traded for goods where my father was from, regardless if the goods were necessary.

Fast forward some time. My mother hammers one up on the side of their house. A person comes up and says, “You know what that’s worth.” My mother, “It’s worth nothing if it isn’t being used. It’s not like they can’t paint more.” I’m pretty sure it was the woman who owned the “antique” store on the main street who covered every craft project in milk paint and called it an “antique”. We also had a few religious weirdos think they were signs made by the devil. But I digress.

I am going to paint a modern hex sign and use rockets as symbols.


You should acquire a piece of black paper to place under the page, to cut down on the show-through from the other side of the page.

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Well, I’m certainly seeing more references to '20s-'50s sci-fi designs in modern sci-fi (and it started in the '90s, so…). And maybe even some hints of it in product design, too.

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But let’s mention the who!


The Scribners cover for Heinlein’s Space Cadet looks relevant here. At nine, I always wondered how the rocket got out of that collar, since it doesn’t show any breaks where it could be parted and pulled away.


Thank you. :slight_smile:

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I was 14 years old when I found the February 1964 issue of Analog in my corner malt shop in New York City (Woodside, Queens). I had already been reading both science-fiction novels and Scientific American for a few years when Schoenherr’s low-key style, combined with the magazine’s glossy large format then (March 1963 through March 1965) and its sophistication as compared to other pulps … all went a long way toward “imprinting” a strong design/philosophy on me.

Schoenherr’s covers and interior art continued to inspire me even when Analog went back to digest size. In fact, I think Schoenherr and Analog then may have had as much influence on me as anything else in my life both before and after. Being real-world expressions of long-held science-fictional conceits, Elon Musk’s rocket landings — especially the dual ones — are perhaps in the same category.

Assuming that we somehow survive the current regime in DC and the know-nothing evangelical mob populism that helped bring it to power, I look forward to seeing more science fiction become reality. I do hope that dreamers and practical visionaries like Musk allow us to outflank our potential dystopias. If I’m lucky, I still have a few more decades to watch and contribute.


If it was a florescent light, even a simple vacuum tube, it would flash with nearby activity. You could see it from the fields and know that it was time to hotfoot it inside. However, back in the day, they could have been depending on seeing a static discharge like St. Elmo’s fire around the glass just prior to a strike–time to hit the dirt! (A crouching kneel actually.)

eta: Hmm. Yup, they’re suppose to break if there’s an actual lightning strike, and since the lightning rod goes through the center, there’s isn’t going to be a coronal discharge around or in it. Tsk, pity! Attach a florescent tube to the end of your lightning rod, it’ll be fun!


Regionaly, and temporarily, that was general knowledge. Now, it isn’t. Like thousands of other facts I hold, is useful once at most. I think that’s why I share it, not because it can be looked up, but because it somebody reads, sees, or hears it once, some neurons may say, “I think we should look up that bit of minutiae.” I liked reading your post because I saw how you worked through your thoughts. You didn’t edit it down to what you found online but rather typed your thoughts as they came to you and posted them.

Now to bring it back to science fiction. The bulb or ball became one of the selling features. The rods came in all sorts of forms. The bulbs either had a hole through the middle, and weren’t too different from glass chimney or lamp globe. The bulb that stuck in my head was the other type, like a glass float but in a cage. My mother has a love for science fiction and read Bradbury to my sister and I. In Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes, the lightning rod salesman precedes the storm. After my mother read the opening of the book I thought the idea of lightning rods amazing and it just stuck. My father gave me a talk about annealing glass, lightning rods, and rolled right off the topic, as I often do, to the terror and randomness of tornados and the dangers found on farms.

Note: I type too much.


Thanks for sharing this. I’m especially interested in Blind Man’s Lantern as it appears to be a very early example of Amis Sci-Fi. As a Mennonite, I’m always interested in how our more famous cousins (literally and theologically) are portrayed in pop culture.