Science Fiction & Fantasy


RAYMOND J. HEALY & J. FRANCIS McCOMAS, Editors – Famous Science-Fiction Stories: Adventures in Time And Space. The Modern Library G-31; hardcover, 1957, xvi + 997 pages. First published as Adventures in Time in Space, Random House, hardcover, 1946. Bantam F3102, paperback, 1966, as Adventures in Time and Space (contains only 8 stories). Ballantine, paperback, 1975, also as Adventures in Time and Space.

Part 5 can be found here.

P. SCHUYLER MILLER “As Never Was.” Time-travel again, somewhat better handled than in “The Sands of Time,” but Miller leaves himself with a paradox he can’t write himself out of. (2)

Update: First published in Astounding Science Fiction, January 1944. First reprinted in this anthology. Collected in The Titan (Fantasy Press, hardcover, 1952). Also reprinted in Alpha 5, edited by Robert Silverberg (Ballantine, paperback original, 1974). This is Miller’s second story in this anthology. You can find my comments on the first here.

ANTHONY BOUCHER “Q.U.R.” Three men form Quimby’s Usuform Robots to produce completely functional robots. Not one of Boucher’s best but entertaining. (3)

Update: First published in Astounding Science-Fiction, March 1943. First reprinted in this anthology. First collected in The Compleat Werewolf and Other Stories of Fantasy and Science Fiction (Simon & Schuster, hardcover, 1969). Later also reprinted in The Great Science Fiction Stories Volume 5, 1943, edited by Isaac Asimov, Martin H. Greenberg (DAW Books, paperback original, 1981). During his lifetime Boucher was known for his contributions to both the SF and mystery community about equally well . I suspect he is better known today by mystery fans, but I sometimes wonder how many people who go to Bouchercons really know who Anthony Boucher was.

DON A. STUART “Who Goes There?” Novella. The basis for the movie The Thing. An alien monster is found buried in the Antarctica icecap, and it threatens to take over the world because of its ability to take on any shape or form exactly. Much better than might be expected from such a story, and after a slow beginning, the story moves very quickly, particularly after the creature’s unusual abilities are discovered. (4)

Update: First published in Astounding Science-Fiction, August 1938. First reprinted in this anthology. First collected in Who Goes There? (Shasta, hardcover, 1948). Also reprinted in The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume Two A: The Greatest Science Fiction Novellas of All Time Chosen by the Science Fiction Writers of America, edited by Ben Bova (Doubleday, hardcover, 1973). Stuart was a pen name of John W. Campbell, Jr., long time of Astounding/Analog SF.

– July-August 1967

   

TO BE CONTINUED.

FRITZ LEIBER “The Sadness of the Executioner.” Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser. First published in Flashing Swords #1, edited by Lin Carter (Dell, paperback original, July 1973). Collected in Swords and Ice Magic (Ace, paperback, 1977).

   Although this is nominally a Fahfrd and the Gray Mouser story, they don’t appear the ninth page of this 15 page tale, which is basically little more than long vignette. No, the main protagonist before then is Death, and in particular the death that services the World of Nehwon, and he has fallen behind on his duties. So far, as the story begins, he has to choose 200 of those now living to pass through to the other side.

   To that end, 196 have done so. He has four remaining, and two of them are our duly fated heroes, neither of who are aware of their upcoming destiny. Nonetheless destiny, or fate, has a way of stepping in, and Death being a sportsman, in spite of his inevitable cheating, decides to let it have its way.

   It was Leiber who is said to have coined the phrase “swords and sorcery” as a subgenre of the larger world of fantasy, and while a minor tale, “The Sadness of the Executioner” is a prime example.

   And as Lin Carter so states in his introduction to the story, Leiber’s finely tuned fantasy resembles in no way that of Robert E. Howard, creator of Conan the Barbarian, among other similar and inimitably ruthless characters, and the other major author in the field. Which is why I still read Leiber’s work, while tales of Conan lie today with their pages unopened, at least by me.

ANALOG SCIENCE FICTION. December 1966. [Cover by Kelly Freas.]   Overall rating: 2½ stars.

MACK REYNOLDS “Amazon Planet.” Serial, Part 1 of 3. See report following Feb 1967 issue.

BEN BOVA “The Weathermakers.” [Kinsman series] Novelette. A hurricane forces Project THUNDERBIRD to begin complete weather control in the East. Smooth, almost documentary style, but reasons for abandoning ship during storm are not clear. (3)

Update: Excerpt from the novel of the same name (Signet, paperback original, 1967). Included in many collections of Bova’s short fiction.

L. EDEY. The Blue-Penciled Throop. Twelve letter from Oswald Lempe, editor of a technical journal. (2)

Update: This was the author’s only work of science fiction.

KRIS NEVILLE “The Price of Simeryl.” Novelette. A Federation investigator considers a planetary government’s request for credit and guns. An interesting picture o what appears to be an entrenched bureaucracy, but the ending is dumb. (2)

Update: Collected in The Science Fiction of Kris Neville (Southern University Press, hardcover, 1984).

PHILIP LATHAM “Under the Dragon’s Tail.” An astronomer goes mad with the approach of the asteroid Icarus. (1)

Update: Reprinted in On Our Way to the Future, edited by Terry Carr (Ace, paperback, 1970).

– August 1967

WILSON TUCKER – Tomorrow Plus X. Avon T168, paperback, 1957. Cover by Richard Powers. Originally published as Time Bomb (Rinehart, hardcover, 1955).

   A detective story complicated by future developments if telepathy and time-travel. Lieutenant Danforth of the Illinois Security Police is assigned the task of solving several bombings directed at the fanatic Sons of America. The one responsible is from the future, determined to stop Ben’s Boys from taking over America under their dictatorship.

   The attempt to successfully portray this future society, undergoing severe technological upheavals, does not entirely come off. It cannot really escape the appearances of America ten years ago with a few new gadgets thrown in, but this may be caused chiefly by hindsight. Twice, in Chapters 1 and 6, the action seems to stumble badly, but this may have been intended, for later (p.155) Tucker makes a weak attempt to justify the points in question.

Rating: 3 stars.

– August 1967

RAYMOND J. HEALY & J. FRANCIS McCOMAS, Editors – Famous Science-Fiction Stories: Adventures in Time And Space. The Modern Library G-31; hardcover, 1957, xvi + 997 pages. First published as Adventures in Time in Space, Random House, hardcover, 1946. Bantam F3102, paperback, 1966, as Adventures in Time and Space (contains only 8 stories). Ballantine, paperback, 1975, also as Adventures in Time and Space.

Part 4 can be found here.

ALFRED BESTER “Adam and No Eve.” The destruction and rebirth of the earth ages ago, with the secret of rebirth the key to the story. (4)

Update: First published in Astounding Science-Fiction, September 1941. First reprinted in this anthology. Also included in Beyond Control, edited by Robert Silverberg (Thomas Nelson, hardcover, 1972). First collected in Starburst (Signet S1524, paperback original, 1958); then in Star Light, Star Bright (Berkley/Putnam, hardcover, 1976). Bester was an extremely well known author in his day, with several classic novels and short stories to his credit, but I think he’s all but forgotten today.

ISAAC ASIMOV “Nightfall.” One of the best known SF stories of all time, about a civilization haunted by fear of darkness, which recurs every 2050 years. (5)

Update: First published in Astounding Science-Fiction, September 1941. Reprinted and collected many times. Every SF reader  and collector  of a certain age must have read it at least once.

HARRY BATES “A Matter of Size.” Novella. A scientist caught up in a mysterious plot is reduced in size. The ratio of one to twelve makes the dimensions come out easy. (1)

Update: First published in Astounding Stories, April 1934. First reprinted in this anthology. Collected in The Day the Earth Stood Still & Other SF Classics (Renaissance E Books, trade paperback, 2008). Bates’ story “Farewell to the Master” (Astounding SF, October 1940) was the basis for the movie The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951). Bates was also the editor of Astounding in the early 1930s (1930-33).

– July-August 1967

   

TO BE CONTINUED.

RAYMOND J. HEALY & J. FRANCIS McCOMAS, Editors – Famous Science-Fiction Stories: Adventures in Time And Space. The Modern Library G-31; hardcover, 1957, xvi + 997 pages. First published as Adventures in Time in Space, Random House, hardcover, 1946. Bantam F3102, paperback, 1966, as Adventures in Time and Space (contains only 8 stories). Ballantine, paperback, 1975, also as Adventures in Time and Space.

Part 3 can be found here.

LEWIS PADGETT “Time Locker.” Galloway/Gallagher #1. Novelette. This time Galloway (the prototype of Gallagher) invents a locker which leads into another space-time continuum and the usual type of plot-juggling. (4)

Update: First published in Astounding SF, January 1943. First reprinted in this anthology. Also reprinted in The Best Time Travel Stories of the 20th Century, edited by Martin H. Greenberg & Harry Turtledove (Del Rey / Ballantine, trade paperback, 2005). First collected in Robots Have No Tails (Gnome Press, hardcover, 1952). Henry Kuttner’s wife C. L. Moore may have collaborated with him on this story. This is the second story by “Lewis Padgett” in this anthology. (Follow the link above.) I haven’t been reading as much SF lately as I should have, so I don’t know if anyone in the field today is writing anything as funny as a good deal of what Kuttner wrote back in the 1940s.

CLEVE CARTMILL “The Link.” Short story. The first step of man above the ape level on the evolutionary ladder may have happened this way, but it’s not likely. (1)

Update: First published in Astounding SF, August 1942. First reprinted in this anthology, then later in Political Science Fiction: An Introductory Reader, edited by Martin Harry Greenberg & Patricia S. Warrick (Prentice-Hall, trade paperback, 1974). From Wikipedia: “He [Cartmill] is best remembered for what is sometimes referred to as ‘the Cleve Cartmill affair,’ when his 1944 story ‘Deadline’ attracted the attention of the FBI by reason of its detailed description of a nuclear weapon similar to that being developed by the highly classified Manhattan Project.”

MAURICE A. HUGI “Mechanical Mice.” Short story.” A time machine leads to the construction of a world-destroyer. Too old. (0)

Update: First published in Astounding SF, January 1941. First reprinted in this anthology and (among others) Classic Science Fiction: The First Golden Age, edited Terry Carr (Harper & Row, hardcover, 1978) and The Great Science Fiction Stories Volume 3, 1941, edited by Isaac Asimov, Martin H. Greenberg (DAW Books, paperback, 1980). Hugi perhaps comes closest to being a Little Known Writer as anyone in this anthology, with only a handful of stories to his credit. SF writer Eric Frank Russell is said to have worked extensively with Hugi on this story before it could be accepted for publication.

– July-August 1967

   

TO BE CONTINUED.

IMAGINATION. September 1954. Overall rating: One star.

GEOFF ST. REYNARD “Vengeance from the Past.” Short novel. Neanderthals try to take over space station. Nonsense. (0)

Update: Geoff St. Reynard was the pen name of Robert W. Krepps, about whom I know nothing. The story itself has never been collected or reprinted.

JEROME BIXBY “The Battle of the Bells.” In which an angel praises the rustic outhouse and the devil is flushed away. (1)

Update: Collected in Space by the Tale (Ballantine, paperback original, 1964) and in “One Way Street” and Other Stories (Armchair Fiction Masters of Science Fiction #2, trade paperback, 2011). I’ll let you comment on the basic concept of this one, if you’d care to.

DANIEL F. GALOUYE. “Immortality, Inc.” Novelette. Two immortals try to cheat a non-Stockholder of his life. (2)

Update: Never collected or reprinted. Galouye wrote perhaps a half dozen novels, but was better known for his short fiction. Of note, however, is his first novel, Dark Universe (1961), which was nominated for a Hugo.

ALLYN DONNELSON “Welcome to Paradise.” A repairmen exposes a secret military project by writing the President. (1)

Update: The author’s only published story.

RUSS WINTERBOTHAM “Three Spacemen Left to Die!” The last Earthmen sacrifice their lives to save another civilization. (3)

Update: Never collected or reprinted. Winterbotham’s writing career was broken in two parts. Part one between 1935 to 1943, then between 1952 and 1958, but even though I rated this story as the best of the issue, nothing he produced seems worthy of attention now.

– August 1967

   
   
Overall thoughts: A footnote to this page in my diary is telling: NO LONGER IN COLLECTION.

WORLDS OF TOMORROW. November 1966. Overall rating: 3 stars.

LIN CARTER “Crown of Stars.” Novelette. Tongue-in-cheek adventure with Hautley Quicksilver, Confidential agent, as he attempts to steal a jeweled crown. The over-eloquent descriptive style slows things down too much. (3)

Update: While the story doesn’t appear to have been either collected or reprinted, it’s fairly clear that it was the basis for Carter’s novel The Thief of Thoth (Belmont Double, paperback original, 1968). Here’s a synopsis of that book which I found online:

   “Hautley Quicksilver is a licensed thief and considered the best in the business.. A man posing as an archeologist, a planetary prince and an intelligence agent acting on orders from the Emperor’s cabinet approach Quicksilver separately. They all want him to steal the Crown Of Stars. It’s an artifact from the long gone Cavern Kings Of Toth. They were a lizard like race and the cave containing the Crown is guarded by a fanatical cult.”

   A followup novel in the same series, The Purloined Planet, was published the following year, also by Belmont. I used to like Carter’s novels, almost all of them pastiches of other author’s series, but that was when I was a whole lot younger. I’d like to give the expanded novel a try, though, whenever I find my copy.

C. C. MacAPP “Frost Planet.” Novelette. Murder and sabotage in an Earth enclave disrupts relations with the natives. The motives behind the plot are poorly defined, and the physical background has little bearing on the story. (2)

Update: The story has never been collected or reprinted. C. C. MacApp was a pen name of Carroll Mather Capps, and while he wrote seven novels between 1968 and 1972, I don’t recall reading any of them.

RICHARD C. MEREDITH “To the War Is Gone.” Novelette. Illustrating a poem of Thomas Moore, a minstrel goes to war and dies in the fight against slavery. His sole opponent in his final conflict is a beautiful girl, who holds his life in her hands, just as he is the only one who can save her. (5)

Update: This was Meredith’s second published story. I wish I’d said more about the time and place where it was set. It was never reprinted or collected. Meredith wrote seven novels between 1969 and 1979, including three in his “Timeliner” series. I remember enjoying them, but the details are long gone.

DANNIE PLACHTA “Until Armageddon.” A computer announces the beginning of the Hour of Judgment. (3)

Update: At only two pages in length, this was obviously only a filler for this issue. It is possible that I once met the author. One online source describes him as an active participant in the Detroit fandom in the 1960s, which I was tangentially involved with when I lived in Ann Arbor.

STEPHEN TALL “Seventy Light-Years from Sol.” Short novel. An exploration team discovers a new evolutionary system, consisting of cubes and millwheels on a planet covered with lettuce. [At 40 pages in length] about ten pages too long. (3)

Update: Collected in The Stardust Voyages (Berkley, paperback original, 1975) as “A Star Called Cyrene.” There was a followup novel in the same series, The Ramsgate Paradox (Berkley, paperback original, 1976). I own both books, but alas, I’ve managed to read neither one.

– August 1967

   
   
Overall thoughts: I rated this three stars out of five, which is a notch above average. That’s about right. Worlds of Tomorrow was my favorite science fiction magazine at the time, less literary than F&SF and more fun than the rather stodgy Analog SF, as it had increasingly become.

RAYMOND J. HEALY & J. FRANCIS McCOMAS, Editors – Famous Science-Fiction Stories: Adventures in Time And Space. The Modern Library G-31; hardcover, 1957, xvi + 997 pages. First published as Adventures in Time in Space, Random House, hardcover, 1946. Bantam F3102, paperback, 1966, as Adventures in Time and Space (contains only 8 stories). Ballantine, paperback, 1975, also as Adventures in Time and Space.

   Part 2 can be found here.

ERIC FRANK RUSSELL “Symbiotica.” Novella. Jay Score #3. The title gives the clue to the relationship between the natives and the vegetation of a newly-discovered planet; the idiots sent on the expedition could never grasp anything so obvious. (0)

Update: First published in Astounding Science-Fiction, October 1943. First reprinted in this anthology. First collected in Men, Martians and Machines (Berkley G-148, paperback, 1958). Also reprinted in The Great Science Fiction Stories Volume 5, 1943, edited by Isaac Asimov & Martin H. Greenberg (Daw, paperback, 1981). This story seems has a greater reputation among others than my opinion of it. Russell himself was a very prolific SF writer. This early work doesn’t represent the bulk of his work.

RAYMOND Z. GALLUN “Seeds of the Dusk.” Novelette. When Earth Is Old series #1. Luckily, very little dialogue disturbs this story of Mars’ final conquest of Earth far in the future, letting the description of the plant’s growth from spore to world-wide domination comprise the major part of the story. (4)

Update: First published in Astounding Science-Fiction, June 1938. First reprinted in this anthology. Also reprinted in Tomorrow’s Worlds, edited by Robert Silverberg (Meredith Press, hardcover, 1969), among others. Collected in The Best of Raymond Z. Gallun (Del Rey, paperback, 1978). Gallun certainly qualifies as a “forgotten” writer today, perhaps because he wrote relatively few novels as opposed to several dozen novelettes and short stories.

LEE GREGOR “Heavy Planet.” An inhabitant of a planet with a gravity a hundred times greater than Earth’s discovers a disabled alien spaceship which will solve the problem of space travel. (3)

Update: Lee Gregor was a pen name of Milton A. Rothman. “Heavy Planet” was first published in Astounding Science-Fiction, August 1939. First reprinted in this anthology. Also reprinted in The Expert Dreamers, edited by Frederik Pohl (Doubleday, hardcover, 1962). Collected in Heavy Planet and Other Science Fiction Stories (Wildside Press, softcover, 2004). For some reason I remember more of this story than some of the others in this anthology that I’ve reported on so far.

– July-August 1967

   

TO BE CONTINUED...

(1) MACK REYNOLDS – The Rival Rigelians. #3 in his “United Planets” series. Paperback original, 1967. A shorter novella version entitled “Adaptation” appeared in Analog SF, August 1960. Published separately by Wildside Press, trade paperback, July 2020.

   A political lecture in fictionalized form. A team of eighteen is sent to Rigel’s two planets having been given fifty years to bring the abandoned colonies here back to civilization and eventual union with the Galactic Commonwealth. They split into two forces to settle their argument over the optimal plan of action, capitalism or communism.

   This might be a valid premise for a story, except (page 25) Earth has had world government for some time, implying that some political wisdom must have been gained since the present time. The local leaders even realize this and unite to force their unwanted visitors to depart in favor of proper ambassadors.

   “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely,” and Reynolds pulls every trick in the book to make this obvious. He needn’t have tried so hard. The faults of current political systems are obvious enough, without the lecture.

Rating: 2½ stars

Comment: From the online Science Fiction Encyclopedia: “The United Planets Organization [worked] in the cause of socioeconomic progress in the often-eccentric Ultima Thule colony worlds of a Galactic Empire.”

   

(2) A. BERTRAM CHANDLER – Nebula Alert. Empress Irene #3. Paperback original, 1967.

   Ex-empress Irene and the crew of her ship Wanderer enter the Alternate Universe of the Rim Confederacy after being pursued through the Horsehead Nebula. Their cargo consists of two dozen (somehow later twenty-six) Iralian embassy personnel. But the Iralians are capable of transmitting knowledge by heredity and hence are extremely desirable as slaves.

   Thus begins a tale of chase and fast action, but the plot becomes more and more tangled up in itself and fails to be resolved by an ending which comes from nowhere. Possibly OK if read as an adventure story only, but what a waste of undeveloped ideas!

Rating: 2 stars

Comment: Once Irene and her crew pass through the Horsehead Nebula they meet Chandler’s major series character, John Grimes. This is the last Irene story. It was preceded by Empress of Outer Space (1965) and Space Mercenaries (1965).

– August 1967

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