The Metaphysical Club meets The Secret History of Wonder Woman in the first popular, comprehensive account of the partnership between four otherworldly visionaries who invented modern science fiction and changed our culture forever-John W. Campbell, Robert A. Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, and L. Ron Hubbard.As the editor of the magazine Astounding Science Fiction for nearly four decades-from 1937 until his death in 1971-John W. Campbell, Jr. discovered such legendary writers as Isaac Asimov and Robert A. Heinlein and collaborated with L. Ron Hubbard on the development of dianetics, the philosophical foundation of the controversial Church of Scientology. In this extraordinary cultural biography, Alec Nevala-Lee tells the story of these four men, their relationships, and their collective vision of the future, revealing in unprecedented scope, drama, and detail how the literary genre of science fiction emerged to shape the imaginations of millions.Astounding follows these four friends and sometime rivals through the invention of modern science fiction in the thirties; their experiences in World War II; the dawn of dianetics, in which Campbell's pivotal role is fully examined for the first time; and the tragic final act that estranged him from the others and marked the end of science fiction's golden age. Drawing on dozens of interviews and thousands of unpublished letters, Nevala-Lee illuminates the enduring legacy of this circle of writers, vividly recreates the remarkable era in which they flourished, and offers a wealth of new insights into the nature and secret history of a genre that has transformed our world and the future itself.
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