The Ominous Octopus

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


THE BLIND SPOT, considered to be one of the classics of science fiction, had a later sequal, THE SPOT OF LIFE. But did it actually follow from the earlier book?

The Blind Spot

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


The Blind Spot
Blind spot.jpg
Dust-jacket from the first edition
Author(s)Austin Hall and Homer Eon Flint
IllustratorHannes Bok
Cover artistHannes Bok
CountryUnited States
Genre(s)Science fiction novel
PublisherPrime Press
Publication date1951
Media typePrint (Hardback)
Pages293 pp
OCLC Number7329780
Followed byThe Spot of Life
The Blind Spot is a science fiction novel by authors Austin Hall and Homer Eon Flint. The novel was originally serialized in six parts in the magazine Argosy beginning in May 1921. It was first published in book form in 1951 by Prime Press in an edition of 1,500 copies, though fewer than 800 were bound and the remainder are assumed lost. The sequel, The Spot of Life, was written by Hall alone.

Plot introduction

The novel concerns an interdimensional doorway between worlds.

Critical response

In In Search of Wonder, Damon Knight is critical of the novel's coherence, scientific accuracy and style:[1]
The Blind Spot, by Austin Hall and Homer Eon Flint, is an acknowledged classic of fantasy, first published in 1921; much praised since then, several times reprinted, venerated by connoisseurs - all despite the fact that the book has no recognizable vestige of merit.
Groff Conklin, however, more generously termed The Blind Spot an "honored classic" despite being "overwritten [and] leaning a little heavily on the pseudo-metaphysical."[2] Forrest J Ackerman described it in Astounding as a "luxuriantly glorious Merrittesque [fantasy] of dimensional interstices" and "a highly philosophical work."[3]
Everett F. Bleiler wrote that The Blind Spot"used to be regarded as one of the classics of early science-fiction, but now it is much less esteemed." He concluded that while its opening section "evoke[s] a considerable sense of wonder," the novel "soon degenerates into a routine adventure story with loose ends."[4]

Publication history

  • 1921, USA, Argosy, Pub date May 1921, magazine serialization in 6 parts
  • 1940, USA, Famous Fantastic Mysteries, Pub date March 1940, magazine serialization in 3 parts
  • 1940, USA, Fantastic Novels, Pub date July 1940, magazine
  • 1950, USA, Prime Press OCLC 7329780, Pub date 1951, Hardback, first book publication
  • 1953, UK, Museum OCLC 222434536, Pub date 1953, Hardback
  • 1964, USA, Ace Books OCLC 7326942, Pub date 1964, Paperback


  1. ^ Knight, Damon (1967). In Search of Wonder. Chicago: Advent.
  2. ^ "Galaxy's 5 Star Shelf," Galaxy Science Fiction, January 1952, p.119.
  3. ^ "Book Reviews", Astounding Science Fiction, September 1951, p.124
  4. ^ Everett F. Bleiler, Science-Fiction: The Early Years, Kent State University Press, 1990, p.328

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Damon Knight also criticized John W. Campbell at some length, yet John W. Campbell remains one of the most famous writers ( and editors ) of science fiction of all time.*  The feeling that I have is that THE BLIND SPOT tended to resemble some of the other science fiction of the time, such as the work of Edgar Rice Burroughs and Abe Merritt, and that some of the criticism that has been directed at it by later writers may be as much as anything because that type of story simply is no longer supposed to be fashionable.

Having read THE BLIND SPOT, I'd have to say that I prefer it to many other books that might be called classics of science fiction today. But somehow, I turned up copies of the sequel THE SPOT OF LIFE more often, and that was the one that I read first.

One book doesn't actually follow from the other, although there are a number of parallels, and some of the first book is repeated as a manuscript that turns up in the second. But THE BLIND SPOT ended with the principal characters ascending to a higher plane ( by implication, they had gone to heaven ), while THE SPOT OF LIFE says that they were killed. It could be taken as a less poetic version of the same thing, but it isn't actually what had been established in the previous book.
One character from THE BLIND SPOT that does appear again in THE SPOT OF LIFE, the Rhamda Avec, disappears early on and has little involvement. Professor Holcomb ( the first one to disappear in the first book ) also returns, which again contradicts the disappearence of the principals at the end of the first book. There is a Bar Sinestro in both stories, but they are father and son. Both stories end with a threatened invasion thwarted and with the Earth saved.

Some of the details of the other-dimensional world vary from the first book to the second, although it is supposed to be the same place. In the first book they have no animals, except for tiny minature verions of things like horses and elephants that are still kept as pets. In the second book, they have gorillas. The weapons in the other dimension also change from something that melts people in the first book to a "dimensional weapon" that stops the heart from beating in the second.

THE BLIND SPOT was written in 1921. There was a surge of interest in spiritualism in this period because of the people who wanted to communicate with lost loved ones after the many fatalities due to the first World War and the outbreak of Spanish Influenza in the same period. It may be that this phenomna had something to do with this book's theme of the secrets of life and death. There are also a number of similarities between the ideas presented in this book and a number of different religions.

Homer Eon Flint's grandaughter Vella Munn has a website for him at http://www.homereonflint.com/
where she writes about him and his work. She's also a member of the Yahoo group "Pulp Mags", where she told us a little about him.

From Pulpmags http://groups.yahoo.com/group/PulpMags/

"Benny, I probably shouldn't admit it but I haven't read THE SPOT OF LIFE.
Austin and Grandpa were best friends. They often went for long walks together in
San Jose discussing writing and life in general. Wish I could have been a fly on
the wall.
Vella Munn"
                                                               COVER ALBUM



* The work of Damon Knight work was also subjected to criticism.

THE BLIND SPOT At Hot Free Books:

THE BLIND SPOT At Project Gutenberg:

THE BLIND SPOT At unz.org:


Homer Eon Flint At Feedbooks:

Homer Eon Flint By Vella Munn:

Homer Eon Flint.com:

Homer Eon Flint Gets Second Chance:

Pulp Mags ( Yahoo Group ):

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