Both Fear and Typewriter in the Sky were originally published in 1940 in Unknown, a sister magazine to Astounding Science-Fiction created by editor John W. Campbell, Jr., as a place to print stories that were more fantasy than science fiction. In 1938, Street and Smith, publishers of Astounding Science-Fiction, recommended to Campbell that L. Ron Hubbard, already an established pulp author of Westerns, detective stories, and adventure stories, be put to work writing science fiction. The charismatic Hubbard quickly won Campbell over and became a voluminous contributor, often using pseudonyms to mask the ubiquity of his works.
Hubbard’s talents for science fiction never matched his skill in creating fantasy, even though he churned out innumerable melodramatic space operas that did well commercially. The machinery of the mind was what most interested Hubbard, and Fear is an excellent example of his skill in incisively depicting the psychology of paranoia. Supposedly written over a weekend, Fear exposes the dark, horrible recesses of the mind, where delusions gain a foothold, engaging both the demoniac and psychotic.
Lauded by such notable writers as Ray Bradbury, Stephen King, and Isaac Asimov, Fear conveys a theme that Hubbard employed repeatedly: the human mind as the creator of reality. In some ways, Hubbard’s propensity to examine the philosophical and psychological...
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