Jack was with us from the start, and stayed with us partly because he was a fan, partly because he shared the dominant mode of leftish politics and partly I cannot imagine why. As a member, he was generally present at most of the talk that went on, but more as an auditor than as a participant.
When Cyril Kornbluth briefly started college at CCNY as a freshman he ran into Jack on campus. Jack had plugged away and was now a senior. “It changed the atmosphere,” Cyril told me. “I was suddenly deferring to him.”
Jack startled me, too, by one day showing up with the manuscript of a play he had written, all by himself, in the privacy of his family’s home. It was called “The Ivory Tower,” and what it was about was us Futurians, all of us, and it was marked with insights that made me catch my breath. He continued plugging away, too, winding up with a doctoral degree and a career as a research chemist.
Bob Lowndes, on the other hand, took note of the fact that I had achieved an editorial position by the simple expedient of asking for it. A quick learner, Bob then followed my example by approaching a small pulp publishing company owned by Louis Silberkleit. He got the job as editor of Silberkleit’s science-fiction magazines. When those died, he moved effortlessly over to other periodicals in the same chain, and remained working on one or another of the Silberkleit magazines until almost the end of his life.
And why have I teamed them like this? Because Jack (who is still alive and like me, in his nineties) has recently made available to me some reminiscences of his own. I had been wishing there was some way of getting a more rounded picture of the Futurians than my own experiences, so I asked Jack if I could post some of them. One in which I don’t appear at all, about Jack himself, along with Bob, will be coming up soon.