The golden age of atomic dreams. It was all promise and no
disappointments or complications. Rutherford hadn't done
anything clever yet, and everything looked as full of potential as the
pre-bust Internet bubble.
The illustration is from the August 1928
issue of Amazing Stories and is described thus on the contents
Our Cover this month depicts a scene from the first
instalment in this issue of the story entitled THE SKYLARK OF
SPACE by Edward Elmer Smith and Lee Hawkins Garby, in which the
scientist, who has discovered a chemical substance for the
liberation of intra-atomic energy, is making his initial tests,
preparatory to his interplanetary flight by means of this liberated
energy, which makes possible his interstellar space-flyer.
The practical release of atomic energy in the 1940s took a massive
effort using the combined talents and resources of the United States
and Great Britain plus the brains of a small army of refugee European
scientists. What were they thinking? They should have just
phoned up Richard Seaton, E. E. Smith's hero, who had unleashed atomic
energy with 100 percent efficiency by the first page of the novel.
And how did he manage this? By dipping a copper wire in a
solution of a mysterious substance X and applying an electric current.
By page 35, he'd invented an atomic flying belt and by page 60, he'd
perfected an interstellar spaceship. By the end of the book he'd
destroyed two alien battle fleets and an odd number of monsters
and he got the girl.
What he did on his days off, I have no idea.