Rynin, Nikolai Alexsevitch (1887–1942)
Fig 1. The cover for volume 3 of Rynin's Interplanetary Communications, a nine-volume encyclopedia published between 1928 and 1932. Volume 3, the biggest seller, was a study on communications with other worlds.
Nikolai Rynin was a Russian author whose Mezhplanetnye Soobschniya (Interplanetary Communications), a nine-volume encyclopedia of space travel, was published from 1928 to 1932. The first seven volumes appeared before a single book on interplanetary flight had been printed in the United States or Britain. Rynin also regularly sent out reports on Russian activities in rocketry to the West.
The first two volumes of Rynin's encyclopedia were a history of science fiction, starting with legends and early fantasies and running up to the works of Verne and Wells. The third volume was a study of proposals for communicating with other worlds (Fig 1); it gave special attention to the energy sources needed for interplanetary signaling, including some far-out ideas such as altering the paths of comets and planets.
The next three books were a history of rocketry into the twentieth century, a mathematical study of jet propulsion, and a volume on airplanes and long-range artillery. Tsiolkovsky got a volume to himself, including an autobiographical sketch.
The eighth volume, whose 350 pages made it the longest in the series, examined the astronautical writings of the major world figures – Oberth, Goddard (whose A Method of Reaching Extreme Altitudes was translated in full), Esnault-Pelterie, Scherschevsky, Ley, and many others.
The final volume, entitled Astronavigation, gave descriptions and photographs of the Moon and planets and their orbits. It included an exceptionally detailed chronological biography of work on space, both fiction and nonfiction.