My Favorite Space Ship: Moura-weit’s “Yodverl”

Favorite Space Ship meme

This week’s ROCKETEER features an excerpt from a favorite early pulp story from 1931. The story is called “Across the Void” and it’s by Leslie F. Stone, a lady pulp writer who was only active during the 1930’s. Unfortunately, her science fiction publishing career ended in 1940. She could not successfully make the leap to the “John W. Campbell” era. Her last published story, “Gravity Off” (1940), feels quite forced and is the weakest of all her tales, in my opinion.

I like Stone’s writing. Hugo Gernsback started her out in AIR WONDER STORIES in the July, 1929 number. Her first story was called, “Men with Wings.” At first blush the Eugenics-themed tale is a bit much for a modern reader. But upon closer examination (and the realization that Eugenics was a hot topic of discussion in the 1920’s) it bore deeper study.

A month later, “Out of the Void” appeared in AMAZING STORIES (August, 1929). This tale shows a space journey to the edges of our solar system and a small planet called, Abrui. Abrui is so far from our sun that it has a radioactive moon providing light and heat. It’s an advanced culture with space travel. When humans reach it, a partnership is established.

The sequel, “Across the Void,” was published in AMAZING STORIES two years later (April, 1931.) In the second story we’re shown another space journey, this time with a mixed human and Abruian crew. Both tales are love stories including different couples. Fascinatedly, the main villain of “Out of the Void”—Moura-weit (“Lord or Prince Moura”)—is the hero of the second story. He’s been shown the error of his ways and is on a journey of redemption in “Across the Void.” That journey leads to his eventual death and the tale is told as a retrospective by his widow and son.

His cigar-shaped craft is called the Yodverl and the author puts a particularly feminine spin on the details. I find it a relief to read of a craft that is not based on a battleship or a corporate-style hotel. The Yodverl is both pleasure craft and house boat. It’s the kind of space ship that I would like to travel in. You can read more about this relic from the 1930’s here.

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