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Cartmill, Cleve. "Deadline." Astounding March 1944 (issued February 1944).[1] Reprinted The Best of Science Fiction. Geoff Conklin, ed. New York: Crown, 1946. As of 13 September 2019, available as an e-book.[2] For other reprints, see Internet Speculative Fiction Database: [3].

Not the first SF story to feature an atomic bomb — "The Airlords of Han" was published in Amazing in 1928 — but with "considerable background information" Astounding editor John W. Campbell "gleaned from unclassified scientific journals, on the use of Uranium-235 to make a nuclear fission device." Gregory Benford gives Edward Teller's view that Cartmill's (and Campbell's) story "really did describe isotope separation and the bomb itself in detail, and raised as its principal plot pivot the issue the physicists were then debating among themselves: should the Allies use it?"[4] The story received serious consideration among US atomic bomb makers at Los Alamos, and from US War Department Military Intelligence.

Note also the Foreword to the 1946 re-issue of Brave New World (1932 [HarperPerennial edn., 1998, pp. x-xi]), where Huxley notes that

One vast and obvious failure of foresight is immediately apparent. Brave New World contains no reference to nuclear fission. That it does not is actually rather odd, for the possibilities of atomic energy had been a popular topic of conversation for years before the book was written. My old friend, Robert Nichols, had even written a successful play about the subject, and I recall that I myself had casually mentioned it in a novel published in the late twenties. So it seems, as I say, very odd that the rockets and helicopters of the seventh century of Our Ford should not have been powered by disintegrating nuclei.[5]

Discussed in Alec Nevala-Lee's Astounding … (2018), pp. 188-97.

RDE, finishing up, 13Sep19