No discussion of popular American literature through the 1930s is complete without mention of the frequently brilliant but famously eccentric John W. Campbell, Jr. Readers of Ron The Writer: The Shaping of Popular Fiction will recall Mr. Campbell as that techno-minded editor of Astounding Science Fiction whom Ron first encountered when summoned to the offices of Street & Smith. Initially, the relationship had been somewhat forced. Street & Smith had ordered Campbell to purchase all LRH submissions as a “humanizing” element to an otherwise inhuman genre and, understandably, Campbell turned bitter. In the end, however, the friendship proved as close as any Campbell would enjoy, and extended well beyond the demise of Astounding and Campbell’s reign as the undisputed czar of the science fiction realm. Also referenced in letters here is the LRH-Campbell collaboration on the shaping of modern fantasy as initially presented in the pages of Unknown, but ultimately reflective in all one finds on the fantasy shelves of bookstores.
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