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1941: Campbell on Radioactive "Death Dust" Weapon in PIC
http://www.heinleinsociety.org/thsnexus/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=1628
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Author:  beamjockey [ Mon Jun 15, 2015 4:17 pm ]
Post subject:  1941: Campbell on Radioactive "Death Dust" Weapon in PIC

I was just looking at an interesting 2014 discussion which I probably should have mentioned here.

Alex Wellerstein's fascinating Restricted Data blog, devoted to the history of nuclear secrecy and related matters, discussed a magazine article discovered by researcher Gene Dannen.

John W. Campbell, Jr. wrote "Is Death Dust America’s Secret Weapon?" in the July 1941 issue of Pic. This was not long after he was kicking around ideas with Heinlein that became his death-dust story, "Solution Unsatisfactory."

In 2014 a bunch of us found this intriguing, and there's a great conversation in the comments, including remarks by Heinlein's biographer Bill Patterson, written about a month before Bill's untimely death.

If this sounds interesting, click the link above.

Author:  mostlyclassics [ Tue Jun 16, 2015 11:38 am ]
Post subject:  Re: 1941: Campbell on Radioactive "Death Dust" Weapon in PIC

Bill, this post came to me a few weeks after I read the exchanges between Heinlein and Campbell in the Virginia Edition's Letters, Volume I. Thanks for the extra background.

Author:  RobertPearson [ Wed Jul 01, 2015 1:32 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 1941: Campbell on Radioactive "Death Dust" Weapon in PIC

I'd add that the entire "Restricted Data" blog is absolutely fascinating, at least to someone of my interests. Reading the complete archive is a lot more entertaining than anything you will find on TV...

Author:  PeterScott [ Thu Jul 02, 2015 12:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 1941: Campbell on Radioactive "Death Dust" Weapon in PIC

Interesting aside in the comments that basically we have Campbell to thank for the title and essential plot pivot of Solution Unsatisfactory. (That it was previously submitted as Foreign Policy, and Campbell found the presented solution weak and unsatisfactory, and suggested framing the story around that very fact.)

Author:  beamjockey [ Fri Jul 03, 2015 8:17 am ]
Post subject:  Re: 1941: Campbell on Radioactive "Death Dust" Weapon in PIC

RobertPearson wrote:
I'd add that the entire "Restricted Data" blog is absolutely fascinating, at least to someone of my interests. Reading the complete archive is a lot more entertaining than anything you will find on TV...
I agree!

The most popular thing Alex Wellerstein has done is NUKEMAP, a Web visualization tool where the user selects a target location and kilotonnage yield for a nuclear weapon. NUKEMAP returns a map showing the extent various effects: fireball, blast wave, radiation... grim, but also educational. Here he writes about the public reception of his tool.

Among other purposes, NUKEMAP might be useful for authors who are about to drop imaginary bombs on real places.

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