Sergeant Saturn

Spanning roughly 1941-47, the “house” pseudonym which Mort Weisinger came up with and used for editing and responding to readers in the letter columns of three Standard sf pulp magazines – “Under Observation” in Captain Future, “The Ether Vibrates” in Startling Stories and “The Reader Speaks” in Thrilling Wonder Stories. Sergeant Saturn had his debut in Captain Future #5, the Winter 1941 (first 1941) issue, where the inanities in his responses were expected to be excused by virtue of the fact that he seldom edited the entire letter column without at some point calling for his underling, WartEars, to bring him yet another jug of Xeno. Sam Mines continued to use the “Sarge,” albeit at times reluctantly, when he took over as editor and Sam Merwin, who followed Mines, started to clean up the Xeno talk in 1946 and eventually zapped the Sergeant completely in late 1947 – to the relief of many fans who considered him overly juvenile. In an ongoing Oxford English Dictionary project, Sergeant Saturn is cited as one of the first to use the adverb “scientifictionally” and the shortened “'zine” (with an apostrophe) for fanzine.


Contributors: Dr. Gafia

from Fancyclopedia 2 ca. 1959
The lettercolumn editor of the Standard mags for a best-forgotten period; invented by Mort Weisinger. Doubtless a progenitor of the Beanie Brigade, he exhibited the eccentricities of language ("killed another Xeno jug… open the bomb bay doors, Warteyes, we're approaching New York… you may expect a VV [vaporized venom] rocket by return mail…") identified with the more frenetic segment of fandom. Merwin started to clean up the xeno jive-talk in '46, and killed the Sergeant off in late '47.