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Sure.  In the Golden Age of magazine science-fiction 1939-1951, 
dominated by John W. Campbell Jr., Ley & I were among the authors 
frequently appearing in Campbell's /Astounding Science-Fiction/.  It is 
surprising that we never met.  Of course our roles were very different: 
Ley was an established science popularizer (Buss's tag "prophet of the 
space age" is right on) and I was an adolescent science student.  The 
community all admired Campbell and Ley very much: it was an article of 
faith for us to look forward to space travel and to prize the pioneering 
steps that had been taken thus far by Tsiolkovsky and others.  If this 
seems like uncritical boosterism for technology ---and I must say  it 
does to me in hindsight--- this science-fiction subculture was also a 
forum for the evolving awareness of social consequences of technology.  
For me, my science-fiction phase seems to have flowed right in to my 
Science for the People phase.

Chandler



On 2020-07-02 8:16 a.m., Claudia Pine wrote:
> Both the promotion of science, and its promoters, were different back 
> then. Anybody remember reading Willy Ley books?
>
>
>     Ockert on Buss, 'Willy Ley: Prophet of the Space Age'
>     <https://networks.h-net.org/user/login?destination=node/6227378> [review]
>
> by H-Net Reviews
>
> *Jared S. Buss.* /Willy Ley: Prophet of the Space Age./ Gainesville: 
> University Press of Florida, 2017. Illustrations. xiii + 321 pp. 
> $34.95 (cloth), ISBN 978-0-8130-5443-8.
>
> *Reviewed by* Ingrid Ockert (Science History Institute) *Published 
> on* H-Environment (July, 2020) *Commissioned by* Daniella McCahey 
> (University of Idaho)
>
> *Printable Version: *http://www.h-net.org/reviews/showpdf.php?id=54728
>
> If you peruse a used bookstore, you will likely stumble upon the name 
> Willy Ley. The German-born writer was prolific and his books on 
> fossils, space, and history fill the nooks and crannies of many 
> bookshops. My first Ley book was a gorgeous Technicolor book about 
> rockets, published in the late 1950s. As a teenager, I assumed that 
> Ley was the pen name of a scientist who moonlighted as a science 
> consultant for films that I adored (like /Frau im Mond /[1929]) and 
> television programs (like Disney’s /Disneyland /space films). But then 
> I stumbled upon his short stories in pulp science fiction magazines 
> and a factual column in back issues of /Galaxy/ magazine. “Who was 
> Willy Ley?” I always found myself wondering.
>
> Thankfully for me, Jared S. Buss’s stellar biography /Willy Ley: 
> Prophet of the Space Age/ answers all of my questions about this 
> quiet, modest pioneer of the Space Age. Even more important, Buss 
> successfully argues for Ley’s inclusion as an important link between 
> the two cosmos: Alexander von Humboldt’s and Carl Sagan’s romantic 
> naturalism. Ley, Buss shows, was spellbound by the work of German 
> romantic naturalists in the 1920s. When he immigrated to the United 
> States and started writing for popular magazines, he brought with him 
> a rich style of science writing that emphasized an enchantment with 
> the universe. Helpfully, Buss grounds us in the ways that Ley learned 
> about science while he was a young man. His descriptions of Ley’s 
> reading habitats, museum visits, and lecture attendance are themselves 
> astounding. Not since James A. Secord’s /Victorian Sensation: The 
> Extraordinary Publication, Reception, and Secret Authorship of 
> Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation /(2001) has a historian 
> given us such a close account of how an individual interacted with 
> science in their daily life. By focusing so closely on Ley’s 
> interests, Buss offers a valuable window into the influences on an 
> influencer.
>
> Buss’s second argument concerns Ley’s shifting identity as a writer. 
> As he notes in the introduction to the text, there is a surprising 
> lack of current literature about the people who shaped the public 
> understanding of science in the United States. Most of this literature 
> has been focused on antagonism between scientists and media producers. 
> Yet the story is a bit more complicated than that. There were a number 
> of positive collaborations between scientists and cultural producers 
> in the 1950s and 1960s, as David A. Kirby (/Lab Coats in Hollywood: 
> Science, Scientists, and Cinema /[2011]) has shown. Indeed, as Buss 
> points out, some individuals became expert facilitators between 
> scientists and media titans—and Ley was one of these. While he lacked 
> formal credentials, he was a skillful storyteller and a gracious 
> promoter, who worked to boost colleagues like Wernher von Braun. By 
> the time that Ley made it “big,” he had spent twenty years networking 
> among public relations and publishing teams. He achieved success 
> because of his hard, tireless work convincing his peers of his 
> expertise as a science communicator.
>
> Buss’s third argument focuses on Ley’s contribution to a genre of 
> science popularization in the 1950s and 1960s: books that promoted 
> science as a form of democratic expression. As Buss points out, 
> although this historiographical outlook makes historians cringe, many 
> science writers wrote books that intertwined scientific research and 
> democratic principles. At the same time, Buss tracks how popular 
> science writers like Ley eagerly wrote about the history of 
> science—until their optimistic texts eventually fell out of favor with 
> the general public and historians of science.
>
> So, who was Ley? He wasn’t a scientist or an engineer (per se) but a 
> starry-eyed romantic who helped a generation of baby boomers dream 
> about the stars. Ley was one of a group of movers and shakers who, 
> behind the scenes, created the visual metaphors of the Space Age. I am 
> grateful that Buss has written such a complete, detailed biography. 
> His nuanced perspective on Ley’s role in the larger science 
> communication scene helps us understand how non-scientists served 
> important roles as communicators in the 1950s and 1960s. Ley’s lack of 
> scientific credentials might have initially slowed him down but 
> did not stop him from eventually publishing hundreds of influential 
> articles that inspired other writers and scientists. For proof of that 
> influence, visit a used bookshop and pick up one of his many excellent 
> books, still wonderful to read decades later.
>
> *Citation: *Ingrid Ockert. Review of Buss, Jared S., /Willy Ley: 
> Prophet of the Space Age/. H-Environment, H-Net Reviews. July, 2020.
> *
> *
> *URL:* http://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.php?id=54728
>
>
>
> Claudia Pine
>
> -- 
> Justice will not be served untilthose who are unaffected are as 
> outraged as those who are 
> <http://www.justice.gov/sites/default/files/opa/press-releases/attachments/2015/03/04/ferguson_police_department_report.pdf>. 
> ― Benjamin Franklin
>
> The day is coming when a single carrot, freshly observed, will set off 
> a revolution.  -- Paul Cezanne
>
> Nihil de nobis, sine nobis: Nothing about us, without us! 
> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nothing_About_Us_Without_Us>