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Solar Sails: Remembering Carl Wiley

11 Mar 2014, 14:02 UTC
Solar Sails: Remembering Carl Wiley
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If you’re interested in solar sails and find yourself in California, a stop by UC Riverside’s Tomás Rivera Library should be worth your time. There you will find the Carl A. Wiley collection on solar sails, containing books, manuscripts and various other materials related to sail technologies. Wiley was an aeronautical engineer who wrote the first detailed article on solar sails to reach a wide audience. Evidently concerned about the venue — Wiley’s article had been accepted by John Campbell’s Astounding Science Fiction, which some of his colleagues might not have taken seriously — he chose to write under the pseudonym ‘Russell Saunders.’

Finding Wiley’s papers at Riverside is perhaps no surprise, given that this is the home of the Eaton Collection of Science Fiction & Fantasy, ‘the largest publicly-accessible collection of science fiction, fantasy, horror and utopian literature in the world.’ Pulp magazine enthusiasts like myself will note that the archive houses full runs of many pulp titles, along with movie scripts, almost 100,000 science fiction fanzines and over 100,000 hardback and paperback books, along with a growing list of manuscripts and papers from authors in the field.
Wiley’s connection with science fiction may have been tenuous, though I ...

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