Ray Guns and Radium: Radiation in the Public Imagination as Reflected in Early American Science Fiction
- Aimee Slaughter
- … show all 1 hide
Rent the article at a discountRent now
* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.Get Access
The 1920s and 1930s were a period which saw great popular interest in radiation and radioactivity in America, and the establishment of a new genre of pulp literature, science fiction. Radiation was prevalent in American popular culture at the time, and sf stories were dependent upon radiation for much of their color and excitement. In this case study of stories in Amazing Stories and Astounding Stories, two of the leading sf pulps, the connections between actual scientific ideas and discoveries and sf plots and imagery are analyzed, demonstrating the general optimistic belief in the possibilities of scientifically-controlled radiation.
- A Radium Product That Seems to Live. (1905). New York Times June 21.
- Bleiler, E. F., & Bleiler, R. (1998). Science-fiction: The Gernsback years. Kent, OH: Kent State University Press.
- Campos, L. (Winter 2007). The birth of living radium. Representations 97(1), 1–27.
- Children’s Literature Research Collections. University Archives, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.
- Cioffi, F. (1982). Formula fiction? An anatomy of American science fiction 1930–1940. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.
- Hints Evolution May Be Result of Light Rays. (1928). Chicago Daily Tribune, April 25.
- Hugo, G. (1930). How to write ‘science’ stories. Writer’s Digest 10, Feb, 27–29; edited by G. Westfahl. http://www.depauw.edu/sfs/documents/gernsbac.htm.
- Hyman’s 1931 Pacemaker. (consulted April 2009). The Bakken Library and Museum. http://www.thebakken.org/artifacts/hyman-pacer.htm.
- Kaempffert, W. (1934). Science. New York Times July 1.
- Macklis, R. M. (1990). Radithor and the era of mild radium therapy. JAMA: Journal of the American Medical Association, 264(5), 614–618. CrossRef
- Sime, R. (1997). Lise Meitner: A life in physics. Berkeley: University of California Press.
- Smith, E. E., & Garby, L. H. (consulted March 2009). The Skylark of Space. Project Gutenberg. http://www.gutenberg.org/files/20869/20869-h/20869-h.htm [originally published in the August–October 1928 issues of Amazing Stories].
- Special to the New York Times. (1934). Professor Enrico Fermi, Academician, Uses Neutrons Formed by Decomposition of Berylium Under the Action of Alpha Particles of Radium. New York Times June 5.
- Weart, S. (1988). Nuclear fear: A history of images. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
- Westfahl, G. (1992). The Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, and Edgar Allen Poe Type of Story: Hugo Gernsback’s history of science fiction. Science-Fiction Studies, 19(3), 340–353.
- Ray Guns and Radium: Radiation in the Public Imagination as Reflected in Early American Science Fiction
Science & Education
Volume 23, Issue 3 , pp 527-539
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Springer Netherlands
- Additional Links
- Aimee Slaughter (1)
- Author Affiliations
- 1. Program in the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine, 108 Pillsbury Hall, University of Minnesota, 310 Pillsbury Drive SE, Minneapolis, MN, 55455, USA