L. Ron Hubbard returns to New York where executives from Street & Smith, one of the world’s largest publishers, enlist his help to fill the pages of their newly retitled magazine Astounding Science Fiction. He is asked to boost sagging sales with stories about real people—not robots and machines. He continues to write in other genres, but his decision to enter the field of science fiction is one that fundamentally changes the genre. “The Dangerous Dimension,” his first story for Astounding Science Fiction, appears in the July issue.
In January, John W. Campbell, Jr., editor of Astounding Science Fiction, starts Unknown magazine to provide a venue for “fantasy” stories, particularly those that L. Ron Hubbard writes. His first story for Unknown, “The Ultimate Adventure,” appears in the April issue.
The Explorers Club elects him a member in February. Death’s Deputy is published the same month. Final Blackout is published in three parts between April and June. In June, the same month that Fear is published in Unknown, Ron sets sail from Seattle under Explorers Club flag number 105, in the thirty-two-foot ketch Magician, on the Alaskan Radio Experimental Expedition. He charts previously unrecorded hazards and coastline for the US Navy Hydrographic Office, conducts experiments on radio directional finding, and examines local native cultures. He also does a series of radio shows on KGBU in Ketchikan, Alaska. Then, in December, he announces a Christmas story writing contest for Alaska’s amateur writers in the “Golden Pen Award” hour.
The US Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation awards him the “Master of Steam and Motor Vessels” license in December. After he is back home in the Seattle area, he presents the US Navy with hundreds of photographs and notes from his expedition and resumes his writing.
L. Ron Hubbard receives the “Master of Sail Vessels” license for “Any Ocean” in late March. The United States Navy commissions him as lieutenant (jg) in the Navy Reserve in late June. With the outbreak of war on December 7, he is ordered to active duty. He reports to Australia where he coordinates naval intelligence activities as Senior Officer Present Ashore. Nine stories, written earlier, are published between January 1942 and April 1943.