Of particular prevalence through L. Ron Hubbard fantasy of 1939 and 1940 is the highly intriguing notion of modern man still in the grip of primeval superstition. His most realized rendering of the theme is, of course, Fear, telling of an American ethnologist tormented by the contrary spirits he had examined as quaint superstition. And yet, as his doomed professor James Lowry must finally declare: We are intelligent beings, giving our lips to disbelief, but rolling our eyes behind us to search out any danger which might swoop down from that black void. In the same vein, and from the same period, is A Demon Caught Me to remind us that Black cats, stepladders and horseshoes are whirled mid life which hard cling the material world.
To accommodate such LRH works of pure fantasy as Fear and The Ultimate Adventure, the publishing magnate of Street & Smith launched the all-fantasy Unknown. In a definitive word on the genre, Ron described fantasy as, any fiction that takes up elements such as spiritualism, mythology, magic, divination, the supernatural and so on. (In contrast, he explains, science fiction must rest upon the scientifically feasible.) As a particular source of inspiration, he cited The Arabian Nights. Indeed, Unknown editor John W. Campbell, Jr. was soon to inform all in his stable, they arent to do Arabian Nights because the field is preempted by L. Ron Hubbard. Stamboul, circa 1939, speaks precisely of that world from which he drew so many now classic stories and novelettes.