Magazines


ANALOG SCIENCE FICTION. January 1967.  Cover by Chesley Bonestell.     Overall rating: 3½ stars.

POUL ANDERSON “Supernova.” Short novel. An inhabited planet is found to be in danger from a nearby supernova, and the Polesotechnic League sends the Trader Team headed by David Falkayn. In exchange for technology capable of saving their world, the Meresians are asked for a base for scientific study and, of course, a chance for profit. Politics follow. Mostly bland. (3)

HARRY HARRISON “A Criminal Act.” Having too many children may someday be a crime against society. [The penalty may be] legalized murder as the answer to the extra life created. (4)

MACK REYNOLDS “Amazon Planet.” Serial, part 2 of 3. See report to follow later.

H. B. FYFE “The Old Shill Game.” Robots shills are programmed to buy from robot vendors to increase sales. (3)

KEITH LAUMER “The Lost Command.” [Bolo #3.] A construction crew accidentally activates a semi-intelligent war-machine buried deep underground after the end of a war ended 70 years before. (4)

-October 1967

NEW WORLDS SCIENCE FICTION. September 1966.    Overall rating: ***½ stars.

MICHAEL MOORCOCK “Behold the Man.” Novella. An English bookseller and amateur psychiatrist travels in time to observe Christ’s crucifixion, but becomes Christ himself. It is hard to imagine that this was not written for controversy-in-itself, for it seems deliberately offensive. Much is made of the conflict between religion and science, but there seems to be no real point, as Moorcock cannot justify his version either.    ****

ARTHUR SELLINGS “The Evening Sun Go Down.” The future society of a conquered Earth, maybe. (0)

JOHN CALDER “Signals.” The memoirs of an interatomic signals physonomist, or communications expert. Nothing really new. (3)

CHARLES PLATT & B. J. BAYLEY “A Taste of the Afterlife.” Novelette. To aid in the the skirmishes before WWIII, scientists devise a way to separate the electronic afterlife from a man. Far-out, but chillingly real. (3)

J. G. BALLARD “The Atrocity Exhibition.” Supposedly this means something. (0)

BRIAN W. ALDISS “Another Little Boy.” A parallel between the Bomb and the Pill is made, at a time 100 years from Hiroshima when the associated guilt feelings exists no more. Light treatment is terrifying. (4)

THOMAS M. DISCH “Invaded by Love.” Novelette. How Love can conquer the world, especially when brought by invading aliens. Only the Secretary-General of the UN resists, but he waits too long for his triumph. Powerfully portrayed. (4)

–September 1967

         Taken from the Murania Press website:

   The award-winning journal of adventure, mystery, and melodrama is back! After a two-year absence Blood ‘n’ Thunder returns as a book-length Annual, its 264 pages crammed with articles, illustrations, and fiction reprints. As always, the emphasis is on pulp magazines, vintage Hollywood movies, and Old Time Radio drama.

   The Annual’s first section is a centennial tribute to the legendary detective pulp Black Mask, which celebrated its 100th birthday last year (an event planned for recognition in the canceled Spring 2020 issue of BnT). In addition to a history of the Mask, our tribute includes two reprinted articles from old writers’ magazines: a 1929 issue analysis by literary agent August Lenniger and a 1934 feature on pulp fictioneering by the Mask‘s most famous editor, Joseph T. “Cap” Shaw.

   Also, Will Murray profiles aviation-pulp writer George Bruce (one of the few pulpsters to hit the big time as a Hollywood screenwriter); Tom Krabacher discusses the fantasy-adventure novels written by Spider scribe Norvell W. Page for Unknown; Denny Lien examines the 1936 one-shot pulp featuring Flash Gordon; Gilbert Colon compares the prose and filmed versions of H. P. Lovecraft’s classic yarn “Dreams in the Witch-House”; Matt Moring reveals the true identity of enigmatic pulpster “W. Wirt”; and Sai Shanker offers a history of the Butterick Company, the New York dress-pattern company that published Adventure, Romance, and Everybody’s magazines.

   Additionally, Will Oliver covers the abortive Weird Tales radio show and a later attempt at supernatural horror, The Witch’s Tale. And there’s a lengthy excerpt from the new book by Martin Grams and Terry Salomonson on the creation and early development of the Lone Ranger radio program. BnT editor-publisher Ed Hulse contributes well-researched essays on the 1929 film adaptation of A. Merritt’s Seven Footprints to Satan, the 1943 Republic serial Secret Service in Darkest Africa, and the early career of well-regarded “B”-movie director George Sherman.

   Finally, the Annual reprints “Mountain Man,” the 1934 first installment in Robert E. Howard’s hilarious Western short-story series featuring Breckinridge Elkins.

PRICE INCLUDES SHIPPING TO BUYERS IN THE U.S. ONLY. INTERNATIONAL BUYERS MUST CONTACT US FIRST TO DETERMINE ADDITIONAL SHIPPING COSTS.

ELLERY QUEEN’S MYSTERY MAGAZINE. January 1967. Overall rating: 3½ stars.

HUGH PENTECOST “Volcano in the Mind.” Short novel. Dr. John Smith. First appeared in The American Magazine, December 1945, as “Volcano.”

   Dr. John Smith, an unobtrusive psychiatrist-detective, stops a clever murderer who is trying to drive a man to kill his wife, thus disposing of them both. Smith is very perceptive in his quiet way, but the story may be just a little dry. ****½

Bibliographic Update: Dr. John Smith appeared in three novellas in The American Magazine (collected in Memory of Murder, Ziff-Davis, 1947), one short story in EQMM, and two novels.

JULIAN SYMONS “The Santa Claus Club.” Francis Quarles. 1st US publication. Previously published in Suspense, UK, December 1960. A threatening letter typed on one of only 300 possible machines; a club where all dress up like Santa. The grand ’tec tradition? (2)

KENNETH MOORE “Protection.” An outsider wants some of the Orleans Street District action but needs protection. (3)

TALMAGE POWELL “Last Run of the Night.” A bus-driver is a killer. Obvious. (2)

HAROLD R. DANIELS “Deception Day.” A man commits a perfect murder in killing his shrewish wife. It’s too bad that justice, or conscience, had to win out. (4)

MICHAEL HARRISON “The Mystery of the Gilded Cheval-Glass.” A “hitherto unpublished” story of C. Auguste Dupin, who saves an artist from arrest by deciphering a dying ma’s last words. Let’s leave it for Poe enthusiasts. (2)

ROBERT McNEAR “The Salad Maker.” Mystery of the Absurd. That’s the right word. (1)

JAMES HOLDING “The New Zealand Bird Mystery.” The two authors of the Leroy King stories use a small scrap of writing for their deductions in solving a shipboard murder. (3)

BERNARD J. CURRAN “The Mysterious Mr Zora.” First story. Would 94,600 people not notice an extra 10¢ charge on their checking account? (1)

ELLERY QUEEN “Last Man to Die.” Reprinted from This Week, November 3 1963. Also published in the June 2004 issue of EQMM. QBI: Intelligence Department. A butlers’ club forms a tontine, the outcome of which EQ must decide. Not difficult. (3)

MICHAEL GILBERT “A Gathering of Eagles.” Previously published in Argosy (UK) January 1966, as “Heilige Nacht.” Calder and Behrens are called to Bonn to complete a cold-war breakthrough in Intelligence. Fast-moving and exciting. (4)

CHARLOTTE ARMSTRONG “The Cool Ones.” A grandmother’s quick thinking gives her grandson the clue to the location of her kidnappers. (3)

–September 1967
REVIEWED BY MIKE TOONEY:

(Give Me That) OLD-TIME DETECTION. Spring 2021. Issue #56. Editor: Arthur Vidro. Old-Time Detection Special Interest Group of American Mensa, Ltd. 36 pages (including covers). Cover image: EQMM cover, September 1953.

   The latest issue of Old-Time Detection has, as they say (or as they used to say), hit the stands, and it was certainly worth the wait. Classic detective fiction has found a congenial home in OTD.

   Dr. John Curran, known far and wide as the foremost living expert on Agatha Christie, is up first with his coverage of all things AC-related — Christie on Screen (the sputtering adaptation of Death on the Nile, yet a third version of Why Didn’t They Ask Evans?, and a questionable Swedish-German production featuring a bisexual Sven Hjerson); Christie on Stage (the return of The Mousetrap to the West End and a dubious public domain adaptation of The Mysterious Affair at Styles); and The Christie Festival, also making a cautious return.

   Michael Dirda is up next with his thorough-going review of Mark Aldridge’s nonfiction Agatha Christie’s Poirot: The Greatest Detective in the World (2020). Dirda notes the “tyranny of the contemporary,” a very real phenomenon of the social media age in which Christie’s brilliant sleuth, Doyle’s Holmes, Stout’s Wolfe, and Chesterton’s clergyman don’t receive the high regard they deserve.

   J. Randolph Cox spotlights John Buchan, the thriller writer’s thriller writer of the post-World War I era. Critics are divided on what made Buchan’s fiction so popular; perhaps, as Cox tells us, it was “the matter-of-fact, no-nonsense tone of Buchan’s style, [which] explains the high degree of plausibility surrounding even the most improbable events. The reader is drawn into the vortex of the situation along with the hero, neither one aware of what will happen next.” You can’t ask more of that from any thriller.

   When it comes to analyzing detective fiction, no one was more qualified than the late Edward D. Hoch, the ne plus ultra of short mystery writers. Here he takes on Ellery Queen’s novel output at some length and concludes how important EQ’s long fiction was: “Ellery Queen’s novels, and the changing character of Ellery himself, reflected the evolution of the American mystery from 1929 to 1971.”

   This issue’s piece of fiction is the extremely rare “The EQMM Cover Murders,” which saw publication only once before. The author, Marvin Lachman, has added an explanatory introduction about what some might dismiss as a piece of juvenilia — but shouldn’t — because it’s an excellent character study of a misanthropist who decides to exact revenge on the world only to discover the truth of Emerson’s dictum about foolish consistencies and hobgoblins. There’s a nifty twist ending worthy of O. Henry.

   While Ed Hoch dealt with Ellery Queen’s novels, Stephen Thompson launches into EQ’s short fiction, specifically in this installment the stories in his/their first collection, The Adventures of Ellery Queen (1934). Thompson can’t help but noting how Queen’s early tales have “in miniature, the same inventiveness displayed in the early novels: the bizarre situations, the brilliant deductions, and the startling solutions.” This column is the first of a series covering EQ’s seventy-seven short stories.

   As for EQ’s latter day novel The Finishing Stroke (1958), not only does Ted Hertel tell us why it’s his favorite but editor Vidro also appends a letter from a very well-known detective fictioneer to Ellery Queen, calling it “the best story you have ever done.”

   Next come Jon L. Breen’s short but pithy reviews of Ted Wood’s Dead in the Water and Don Flynn’s Murder Isn’t Enough (both from 1983), followed by Charles Shibuk’s 1971 reviews of contemporary paperback reprints. Concerning the latter, how many of these titles do you recognize? Christie’s Appointment with Death, Collins’s Night of the Toads, Francis’s Enquiry, Garve’s Boomerang, Gilbert’s The Family Tomb, Harrington’s The Last Known Address, Kendrick’s The Last Express, Macdonald’s The Dark Tunnel and Trouble Follows Me, Marsh’s Killer Dolphin, Sayers’s Clouds of Witness and The Documents in the Case, Symons’s Bland Beginning, and Tey’s Miss Pym Disposes and To Love and Be Wise.

   And, as usual, the issue finishes up with readers’ reactions and a puzzle page. If you’re one of those rare types who are au courant with old-time radio you shouldn’t have a problem with the puzzle, but if, like me, you aren’t . . . .

   If you’d like to subscribe to Old-Time Detection:

Published three times a year: spring, summer, and autumn. – Sample copy: $6.00 in U.S.; $10.00 anywhere else. – One-year U.S.: $18.00 ($15.00 for Mensans). – One-year overseas: $40.00 (or 25 pounds sterling or 30 euros). – Payment: Checks payable to Arthur Vidro, or cash from any nation, or U.S. postage stamps or PayPal. – Mailing address: Arthur Vidro, editor, Old-Time Detection, 2 Ellery Street, Claremont, New Hampshire 03743.

Web address: vidro@myfairpoint.net

ANALOG SCIENCE FICTION November 1961. Edited by John W. Campbell, Jr. Cover by Schoenherr for “Science Fact: Gravity Insufficient” by Hal Clement. Overall rating: 2 stars.

CHRISTOPHER ANVIL “No Small Enemy.” Short novel. A force invading Earth is defeated, but only under purely fortuitous circumstances. A rather unorthodox company happens to have an experimental steam-powered car and a newly-invented viewing device that gives the user telekinetic powers. Fun, if you can accept this. (2)

JIM WANNAMAKER “Attrition.” Novelette. An obnoxious Interstel agent discovers the reason for the disappearance of an exploration crew, a mutant plant throwing poisonous seeds. Being told in the first person doesn’t help. (1)

HARRY HARRISON “Sense of Obligation.” Serial, part 3 of 3. See later report.

–September 1967

REVIEWED BY MIKE TOONEY:

   
(Give Me That) OLD-TIME DETECTION. Autumn 2020/Winter 2021. Issue #55. Editor: Arthur Vidro. Old-Time Detection Special Interest Group of American Mensa, Ltd. 36 pages (including covers). Cover image: The Radfords’ Who Killed Dick Whittington?

   As is his usual wont, in this latest edition of Old-Time Detection Arthur Vidro has once again delivered a valuable compendium of information about classic detective fiction, resurrecting long-forgotten pieces as well as showcasing up-to-date commentary about the genre.

   When, in 1951, Howard Haycraft and Ellery Queen (the editor) got together to compile a list of what they considered to be a “Definitive Library of Detective-Crime-Mystery Fiction,” they probably had no idea that their compilation (commonly called the “Haycraft-Queen Cornerstones”) would still be worth consulting seventy years later. One of their choices for the list is Clayton Rawson’s locked room classic Death from a Top Hat (1938), which receives Les Blatt’s scrutiny. Another “cornerstone” is Somerset Maugham’s Ashenden (1928), which Michael Dirda, in contrast to the usual consensus opinion, does not regard as “the first modern espionage novel.”

   Two now largely forgotten detective fiction novelists worth spotlighting are the married writing team of E. and M. A. Radford; they receive their due attention in Nigel Moss’s essay, which sadly notes that despite a long writing career “the U.S. market eluded them.” Moss also highlights the play, that rare theatrical bird, an honest-to-goodness whodunnit, derived from the Radfords’ sixth novel, Who Killed Dick Whittington? (1947).

   While he was still living, impossible crime expert Edward D. Hoch turned his attention to Agatha Christie’s short fiction and found most of it praiseworthy: “If the short stories often are not the equal of the best of her novels, they still sparkle on occasion with her vitality and ingenuity, reminding us anew of the pleasure of a well-crafted tale.”

   Dr. John Curran, the world’s foremost expert on all things Christie, has nice things to say about Mark Aldridge’s Poirot: The Greatest Detective in the World, in his opinion a “must-have book for the shelves of all fans of the little Belgian and his gifted creator.” Curran also includes little-known facts about Agatha, only a few of which yours truly was aware.

   Continuing with the Christie theme is a talk by Leslie Budewitz aptly entitled “The Continued Influence of Agatha Christie”; “she was,” says Budewitz, “first and foremost a tremendous storyteller.”

   Then come a couple of apposite reviews, both by Jay Strafford: Sophie Hannah’s The Killings at Kingfisher Hill (2020), starring Hercule Poirot; and Andrew Wilson’s I Saw Him Die (2020), the fourth in a series of novels making the most of that Queenian fictional trope of featuring a detective fiction writer as, well, an amateur detective.

   The center piece of this issue of OTD, both figuratively and literally, is Stuart Palmer’s entertaining story “Fingerprints Don’t Lie” (1947), in which Hildegarde Withers, sans Inspector Piper, solves a knotty murder in Las Vegas.

   Continuing with Charles Shibuk’s series of paperback reprints from the ’70s (at the time a noteworthy and welcome trend for classic mystery buffs), he highlights works by Nicholas Blake (Mystery*File here), Charity Blackstock (Mystery*File here), John Dickson Carr (of course!; Mystery*File here ), Agatha Christie (also of course!; Mystery*File here), Raymond Chandler (ditto; Mystery*File here), Henry Kane (Mystery*File here), Patricia Moyes (Mystery*File here), Ellery Queen (Mystery*File here), Dorothy L. Sayers (Mystery*File here), Julian Symons (Mystery*File here), Josephine Tey (Mystery*File here), and editor Francis M. Nevins’s (Mystery*File here) nonfictional The Mystery Writer’s Art, “obviously the logical successor to Howard Haycraft’s The Art of the Mystery Story (1946) . . .”

   Several pages of contemporary reviews of (mostly) classic mysteries follow: Jon L. Breen about Robert Barnard’s School for Murder (1983/4) and Evan Hunter’s “factional” Lizzie (1984); Harv Tudorri about Ed Hoch’s Challenge the Impossible (2018); Ruth Ordivar about Erle Stanley Gardner’s The Case of the Angry Mourner (1951); and two reviews from Arthur Vidro about Barbara D’Amato’s The Hands of Healing Murder (1980) and John Ball’s In the Heat of the Night (1965): “with maturer re-reading, I am dazzled . . .”

   The issue wraps up with letters from the readers and a befitting puzzle about Agatha Christie.

   All in all, Issue 55 is definitely worth adding to your collection.

   If you’d like to subscribe to Old-Time Detection:

Published three times a year: spring, summer, and autumn. – Sample copy: $6.00 in U.S.; $10.00 anywhere else. – One-year U.S.: $18.00 ($15.00 for Mensans). – One-year overseas: $40.00 (or 25 pounds sterling or 30 euros). – Payment: Checks payable to Arthur Vidro, or cash from any nation, or U.S. postage stamps or PayPal. – Mailing address: Arthur Vidro, editor, Old-Time Detection, 2 Ellery Street, Claremont, New Hampshire 03743.

Web address: vidro@myfairpoint.net

GALAXY SCIENCE FICTION. December 1966. Overall rating: 4 stars. Editor: Frederik Pohl. Cover by Wenzel. The full text is available at The Internet Archive.

POUL ANDERSON “Door to Anywhere.” Novelette. A senator goes to Mars to investigate an accident involving an experiment with jumpgates, which allow men to cross between any two points in the universe. High-powered physics and cosmology. (4)

JOHN BRUNNER “Children in Hiding.” A colony of Earth has a problem with children who d not develop properly. A shocking ending. (4)

HAYDEN HOWARD “The Modern Penitentiary.” Novelette. Dr. West is convicted of attempted genocide of the Esks, and is sent to New Ottawa Reformation Center, where enlightened practices of rehabilitation, including sex, are used. The scene with Noma in the cell demonstrates that an effective writer need not always be explicit. (5)

LARRY NIVEN “At the Bottom of a Hole.” Novelette. Two stories in one: [1] A smuggler is trapped on Mars and discovers how the old base was destroyed. [2] Two officials discover they have been opposing reasons for space exploration. (3)

ROBIN SCOTT “Decoy System.” Evidence of planetary invaders is rigged to effect nuclear disarmament. (3)

JACK VANCE “The Palace of Love.” Serial, part 2 of 3. Demon Princes #3. Review to appear later.

R. A. LAFFERTY “Primary Education of the Camiroi.” The Dubuque PTA travels to another world to compare educational systems, to Earth’s disadvantage. (4)

–September 1967

INFINITY SCIENCE FICTION. October 1957. Overall rating: 3 stars.  Cover by Ed Emshwiller [as by Ed Emsh].

C. M. KORNBLUTH “The Last Man Left in the Bar.” A bar is the scene of an incomprehensible search for a Chapter Seal, but furnishes considerable material for sardonic comment. (2)

DEAN McLAUGHLIN “Welcome Home.” Novelette. A man trying to have the space program reinstated makes a hero of a returning space pilot, but fails to consider the pilot’s anger. Realistic and exciting. (5)

Update: Even though I gave this one five stars, this has been this story’s only appearance.

EDWARD WELLEN “Dr. Vickers’ Car.” Stupid story of Hyde Park orator taken for a ride. (0)

CLIFFORD D. SIMAK “Death Scene.” How life, and death, would be, given universal 24-hour precognition. Personal, not wide-scale. (4)

ARTHUR C. CLARKE “The Other Side of the Sky.” Serial; part 2 of 2. The last three of the series of six stories. See a later report.

RICHARD WILSON “The Enemy.” An obvious story of the real war between the sexes. (2)

RANDALL GARRETT “To Make a Hero.” Short novel. The inside story exposing legendary hero Leland Hale as the crook he was. Read for fun only. (3)

JOHN VICTOR PETERSON “Second Census.” A census taker turns out to be from Alpha Centauri, checking for children planted on Earth for protection. (1)

–September 1967

IF SCIENCE FICTION December 1966. Cover by Jack Gaughan. Overall rating: 3½ stars.

ALGIS BUDRYS “Be Merry.” Novelette. The survivors of the wreck of the Klarri spaceship had brought disease and plague to Earth, but they too were victims of terrestrial sickness. One small settlement finds a cure, but one they are ashamed of. Excellent story spoiled by an over-literary style, delighting in obscurity. (4)

DURANT IMBODEN “The Thousandth Birthday Party.” At age 1000, each person has one chance in 5000 for immortality. (3)

NEAL BARRETT, JR. “Starpath.” Novelette. After a promising beginning, in which the operation of the instant matter transmitter is described, the story ends as a routine tale of war. (2)

LARRY NIVEN “A Relic of the Empire.” Novelette. A xenobiologist learns the location of the puppeteers’ system by using local plant life to defeat a pirate crew. An episode only. (3)

BOB SHAW “Call Me Dumbo.” Novelette. A woman learns the secret of her drugged existence and neatly fails her “husband.” Two men shipwrecked alone on a planet can carry on the race. (4)

ANDREW J. OFFUTT “The Forgotten Gods of Earth.” Kymon of Kir frees the Princess Yasim from the sorcerer Gundrun. (3)

J. T. McINTOSH “Snow White and the Giant.” Serial, part 3 of 4. See report following the January 1967 issue.

– August-September 1967

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