LOU SAHADI, Editor – An Argosy Special: Science Fiction. One-shot reprint magazine. Popular Publications, 1977.

    #1. ROGER DEE – First Life. Short story. First published in Super Science Stories, July 1950. Not reprinted elsewhere.

   This late 70s Argosy Special consists (at first glance) of nine random stories selected from a group of second-rank SF magazines published by Popular Publications in the early 1950s. Assuming you’ll allow me, I’m going to go through the magazine story by story over the next few weeks, and write up my comments on them in a series of individual posts.

   First up is “First Life” by Roger Dee, the working byline of Roger Dee Aycock, born in Georgia in 1914. You may never have heard of him unless you’re a collector-reader of SF magazines from the 50s, even those not in the top three (Astounding, Galaxy, F&SF). He was the author of several dozen short stories in that era, but only one novel, An Earth Gone Mad, half of an Ace Double in 1954.

   In this story a young boy has been in touch with far advanced beings from the stars, and on the fateful night that the story takes place, a small individual spaceship has come to pick him up to meet his future. Unfortunately he also has to say goodbye to his parents and dog, and it isn’t easy.

   The story isn’t told in the most elegant of prose, but it caught my attention anyway. It reminded me of seeing each of my children off to school for the first time, knowing that they wouldn’t ever be the same, once the bus brought them home again. The poignancy is even higher in “First Life,” though, as young Donnie will never be coming home again. You will have to read the story yourself to learn why.