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Regis H. Schilken

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Book Review: The Astounding, the Amazing, and the Unknown
By Regis H. Schilken
Last edited: Friday, July 26, 2013
Posted: Thursday, November 10, 2011

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Regis H. Schilken

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           >> View all 78
What is real?

 History books tell the plight of peoples enslaved by the Nazis; but they also reveal how nations refused to be conquered. As the Second World War draped its way across Asia, the battle between the Nazis and the Russians only came to a stop when Hitler’s Blitzkrieg warfare got bogged down in heavy winter snow against a defiant Russian population used to severe winters.

In 1943, World War II raged in Europe and Asia with devastating consequences. England, of course, suffered bombing after bombing but like Russian stalwarts, the English defused every effort of the Nazis to cross the English Channel.

America began to prepare for war in 1944. But what was increasingly frightening to the entire world was the dread that Hitler’s scientists were inventing far more deadly weapons that would turn the fate of the war in Germany's favor.

In The Astounding, the Amazing, and The Unknown, author Paul Malmont creates his story around this terrifying possibility. He brings together two groups of imaginative geniuses: science fiction writers along with top scientists. Their chore: dream up and create new defenses to protect the United States and other countries battling Nazism.

These two unlikely groups begin cooperating. Before his death, Nikola Tesla had shown that with enough power, ray-like signals could be sent from his huge tower across the breadth of the Atlantic Ocean. Could similar electromagnetic signals be captured and used as a death ray that would supplant troop rifles? Can these scientists find a way to rearrange atoms and molecules to cloak ships at sea? What if they could discover a way to control the weather on a battlefield to produce mud slogging roads for the enemy?

At one point in The Astounding, the Amazing, and The Unknown, Scientist Robert Heinlein pulls back a window drape to see a man standing outside holding two pistols pointed directly at him. It is only when the man's appearance is explained away as a man-made mirage does Heinlein relax. Yet, he is moved when he learns that this normally staged effect was accomplished in broad daylight, not on a dimly lit stage.

Later in The Astounding, the Amazing, and The Unknown, a navy vessel appears to disappear in a bright green flash of light, right before the eyes of Army and Navy personnel. Heinlein explains the disappearance as a flash of Saint Elmo’s fire in combination with “natural” optical illusion. However, when the ship reappears several moments later with lightning dashing from its antennae masts, onlookers find the Saint Elmo’s theory far fetched.

So what of these strange delusions? In the end, does this group of imaginative fiction specialists along with the country’s elite scientists uncover secrets that could change the outcome of the Second World War? Will their attempts to develop secret weapons occur in enough time to sidetrack Hitler’s war machine?  

I would recommend The Astounding, the Amazing, and The Unknown to readers who love science fiction—who find the unfathomable—possible. We all know the worldwide destruction brought about by both Germany and Japan, but this tale will give you a glimpse into what great minds did to save mankind then and, as they hoped, far into the future.

But, it is the future, and does the world have peace? It is my personal belief that peace can happen only when Palestine and Israel and other non-Jewish nations ultimately accept one another and their religions as equals. Unless ALL men drop their religious piety in favor of ONE world unlike the Nazis' religion of superiority, I fear it will be generations before earth will be free from the threat of nuclear war. 







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