Author: Lester del Rey
Original language: English
Publisher: RosettaBooks, New York, 2011
About the Story: Del Rey wrote the original (and much longer) version of this novella many years earlier, was unable to place it and only hauled it from the trunk when Horace Gold in mid-1950 solicited something for his new magazine. THE WIND BETWEEN THE WORLDS is at least in conception a standard ASTOUNDING problem-solving story (interstellar matter transmitter is sabotaged; Earth and alien ports are in danger, resourceful engineer-protagonist figures out the solution) with a standard STARTLING STORIES subplot (engineer and his pretty female assistant are deeply attracted but he’s too dedicated to his job to get fresh). The premise however is ingenious – alien cultures intervene and as a result of this Earth is given the means for interstellar trade before the planet has even achieved space travel. Teleportation as an instrument of routine commerce (and profit) was a fairly original concept at the time this story was published. Del Rey’s altered culture is lived-in, letting the story act as a letter from the future. Gold wanted the story significantly cut and del Rey of course complied; in THE EARLY DEL REY he used the original version and appended some notes on the nature of Horace’s intervention.
About the Author: Lester del Rey (1915-1993) was born Leonard Knapp (but this became known only long after his death), somewhere in the Midwest and after a spotty, abbreviated education and itinerant existence headed to New York where he became almost immediately a significant constituent of ASTOUNDING and John Campbell’s celebrated GOLDEN AGE. Del Rey sold his first story to John Campbell in the first months of Campbell’s editorship and over the next several years he sold him many more, including his female-android story HELEN O’LOY (1938), perhaps the first true science fiction romance and NERVES (1942, novelized in 1956), a brilliant novella of atomic pile disruption, amazingly prescient of Three Mile Island and Chernobyl. Del Rey’s apostosaic and profoundly controversial short novel FOR I AM A JEALOUS PEOPLE (1956), positing a malevolent Deity, is also very well known. Del Rey worked (at the same time as Damon Knight and James Blish) in the Scott Meredith Fee Department in the late 1940’s, edited science fiction magazines in the early 50’s, published some noted juveniles (THE RUNAWAY ROBOT) in the mid-fifties and eventually became the founding editor of Del Rey Books, a fantasy & science fiction imprint under the aegis of Ballantine. In collaboration with his third wife, Judy-Lynn, del Rey’s imprint became the most successful fantasy & science fiction publisher in history. The two of them nurtured fantasy writers like Stephen Donaldson, Anne McCaffrey and Terry Brooks to bestselling status. In 1991, del Rey was named a Grand Master of the Science Fiction Writers of America. He died only a few months after his retirement from Ballantine.
About The Galaxy Project: Horace Gold led GALAXY magazine from its first issue dated October 1950 to science fiction’s most admired, widely circulated and influential magazine throughout its initial decade. Its legendary importance came from publication of full length novels, novellas and novelettes. GALAXY published nearly every giant in the science fiction field.
The Galaxy Project is a selection of the best of GALAXY with new forewords by some of today’s best science fiction writers. The initial selections in alphabetical order include work by Ray Bradbury, Frederic Brown, Lester del Rey, Robert A. Heinlein, Damon Knight, C. M. Kornbluth, Walter M. Miller, Jr., Frederik Pohl, Robert Sheckley, Robert Silverberg, William Tenn (Phillip Klass) and Kurt Vonnegut with new Forewords by Paul di Filippo, David Drake, John Lutz, Barry Malzberg and Robert Silverberg. The Galaxy Project is committed to publishing new work in the spirit GALAXY magazine and its founding editor Horace Gold.