LETTERS FROM A LITERARY SEASON IN MANHATTAN


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      By early 1939, and firmly at the center of the pulp fiction realm, Ron had established a semipermanent residence in New York City. In consequence, and quite in addition to the usual exchange with editors, we now come upon his letters to friends and family still residing in Washington and Montana.

      Nothing so bespeaks the literary life as these letters from Manhattan: the elation mixed with drudgery, the inspiration broken by a dry spell, the occasional nod to the masters and the “write a yarn, disburse funds, think up a yarn, write a yarn . . . Lord!” Lest the titles of works referenced here are not immediately familiar, those “yarns” still stand as among the most memorable in the whole of popular fiction. For having signed on with Street & Smith to infuse a mechanistic science fiction with a new and vibrant human element, these were the days of “Final Blackout,” “The Tramp” and “The Dangerous Dimension.” While in the pages of Street & Smith’s Unknown, we find such pillars of modern fantasy as “Fear,” “The Ghoul” and “Death’s Deputy.”

      Additionally of interest here: We have elsewhere discussed how the bulk of LRH literary profits went to the exploration and research culminating in the 1950 release of Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health. Point of fact: above the desk on which he pounded out his letters from this period hung a nautical chart of a British Columbian passage to Alaska where, in the autumn of 1940 and wholly funded from the stories referenced here, he conducted his famed ethnological research among north coast Indian tribes.





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