The Invention of Terraforming
I am continuously surprised and amazed by how the stories, ideas and art that comes from the pulps influences our culture. When I think of the Pulp Magazines I regard them as the Unsung Hero of 20th Century Pop Culture. I would like to touch on a single instance of this. Although the influence of this story is less influential in the realm of pop culture it is growingly influential in the field of Science.
There is an interesting subject called Terraforming. In fact the term Terraforming literally means "Earth-forming. Terraforming would be the man-made alteration of the terrane or atmosphere of a heavenly body to make it more like earth. Essentially, you would be making an uninhabitable planet, habitable or a habitable planet more habitable.
I have been interested in this subject recently and had a thought, which lead to some research. My thought was, "If our planet's environment becomes uninhabitable, why don't we just use terraform technology on earth? Why find a new planet to inhabit?''. I was wondering if it would be easier to terraform another planet, such as Mars, so we could populate that planet or would it be easier to just use that technology right here on earth. Essentially, let's just use "Earth-forming" technology on earth.
So, I googled "Terraforming". Sure enough I read that the term "Terraforming" was coined in a science fiction story called "Collision Orbit" by Jack Williamson under the pen name Will Stewart in the July 1942 issue of Astounding Science Fiction. My mind was blown. I had once again underestimated the influence of the pulps on our current culture.
I am not going to pretend to know what I'm talking about when it comes to terraform technology or the social, political or economic influences of this subject. Thats not what I'm try to point out. I just want to point out that the writers in the pulps where no slouches. They where in some cases, brilliant men. Jack Williamson is only one of the many who fall in that category.
As of the time of this writing, you can purchase a copy of the July, 1942 issue of Astounding Science Fiction containing "Collision Orbit" by Will Stewart AKA Jack Williamson.
The purpose of this blog is to give pulp collectors updates on upcoming pulps for sale at vintagepulps.com