“Beyond the Pole” by A. Hyatt Verrill was a two-part serial that began in the October 1926 issue of Amazing Stories. Even if Verrill were not the author of some pretty good early science fiction stories, we’d be pretty grateful to him for one particular thing. “Beyond the Pole” was the first sf story read by a precocious 9 year old named Forrest J Ackerman. It made quite an impression on Forry and now, more than 80 years later, Ackerman is clearly the most famous and beloved fan of science fiction in history.

And much more, as well. Forrest J Ackerman has been famous in our microcosm as a contributor of letters of comment to the sf magazines, an organizer of fan clubs and fan events, a collector of books, magazines, and memorabilia of the field; a promoter of science fiction; a consultant with film makers; a writer whose fiction has appeared in such magazines as Wonder Stories, Marvel Science Stories, Other Worlds, Fantasy Book and elsewhere; an editor and anthologist; and an advocate of sf whose tirelessly energetic efforts and appearances on behalf of the field earned him the name “Mr. Science Fiction.”

He is perhaps most fondly remembered for editing and writing Famous Monsters of Filmland in the 60s. He is the architect and master of a writing style that is utterly unpretentious and as carefully and lovingly crafted as any prose style in the history of science fiction and fantasy.

And through it all, Forry Ackerman has remained one of the nicest, most approachable people in the history of the field.

This issue of Planetary Stories is dedicated to Forry. Since PS is devoted to space opera, why are we singling out someone best known for his love of old-fashioned Hugo Gernsback-style scientifiction and pre-CGI movies?

Because Forrest Ackerman has been an enthusiastic supporter of good space adventure fiction all his life. He has contributed stories and features to a number of magazines that were known for excellent space opera (including Other Worlds, Planet Stories and Bill Crawford’s Spaceway).

In late 1960, German sf fan, writer and editor Walter Ernsting began the Perry Rhodan series of sf adventure novels centering on the exploits of a single character. It quickly became one of the most successful single character magazines in history, and ran for hundreds of issues. In 1969 Ace Books offered the books in English translation edited by Forry Ackerman and translated by his wife, Wendayne. The novels were out and out space opera, backed up with reprints of classic sf short stories and frequent new stories. Planetary Stories contributor Carleton Grindle had a story in one issue.

For his contributions to the science fiction field as a whole, and specifically to space opera, we are pleased to dedicate this issue to Forrest J Ackerman. Besides, we’ve always counted him among our friends, and among our favorite people.

-- Captain Feature