March 20, 1902 – May 5, 1996
David Lasser was one of the most influential figures of early science fiction writing, working closely with Hugo Gernsback.
In the 1920s, Lasser moved to New York, where he pursued his interest in the nascent fields of rocketry and science fiction. On 4 April 1930, he became president of the American Interplanetary Society (renamed the American Rocket Society in 1934), which he founded with Gawain and Leatrice Pendray, both regular contributors to Science Wonder Stories.
Lasser used his expertise in science, engineering, and rocketry to write The Conquest of Space (1931). It was the first non-fiction English-language book to deal with spaceflight and detailed how man could one day travel into outer space. The book was an inspiration to a generation of science-fiction writers, including Arthur C. Clarke. From 1929 to 1933, Lasser worked as the Managing Editor of Hugo Gernsback’s Stellar Publishing Corporation. He was responsible for editing all the issues of Science Wonder Stories and Wonder Stories Quarterly, as well as identifying and retaining promising writers. Lasser also edited Gernsback’s Wonder Stories from June 1930 to October 1933 and remained involved in the science fiction realm throughout his life.
The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) currently awards the Gardner-Lasser Aerospace History Literature Award to the best original non-fiction work dealing with aeronautics or aeronautical history. The award is named to honor David Lasser and Lester Gardner.