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Did Lester Del Rey’s First Story in 1938 Predict Hiroshima?

“I, too, went out to war, driving a plane built for my people, over the cities of the Rising Star Empire. The tiny atomic bombs fell from my ship on houses, on farms”

The Faithful, 1938, Lester Del Rey

Astounding-Science-Fiction-38-04Lester Del Rey wrote his first story to win a bet with his girlfriend. She claimed he had no right to criticize writers as a fan since he couldn’t do what they did. He proved her wrong by selling a story to John Campbell’s Astounding.

The Faithful isn’t a very good story. It’s about genetically engineered dogs trying to work with genetically engineered apes to replace man in a world where humanity is extinct. The writing is worse than the idea.

But there, early in a 1938 story, is Hiroshima.

It’s obviously not WW2. There are genetically engineered dogs flying planes in the future. But Rising Star is an obvious substitute for Rising Sun. And atomic bombs dropped on Japan eventually lead to the extinction of mankind.

That a bored fan living in a tiny three dollar a day room, working research projects, wrote to prove a bet to his girlfriend.

In 1938.

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