IF SCIENCE FICTION, July 1967. Editor: Frederik Pohl. Cover art by Jack Gaughan. Full text and illustration available at Overall rating: ***½

PHILIP JOSE FARMER – The Felled Star. Serial, part 1 of 2. See review later after both parts are available. [The entire two-part serial is a section of Farmer’s novel The Fabulous Riverboat.]

E. A. WALTON “Pelandra’s Husbands. First story. Love proves stronger than possible immortality. (1)

ANDREW J. OFFUTT “Population Implosion.” Novelette. The plague hits only old people, in direct correspondence to the birth rate. Excellent idea suffers [is marred] only by jumps in the story. (5)

C. C. MacAPP “A Ticket to Zenner.” Novelette. A thief leaves behind a ticket, in a SF intrigue story, reminiscent of Eric Ambler, but without the convincing background. (3)

ALAN DIRKSON “Adam’s Eve.” Novelette. A world without humans has only waiting robots, but two find how to obtain services for themselves. (3) [His only published SF story.]

KEITH LAUMER – Spaceman! Serial, part 3 of 3. See review coming up soon. [Book publication as Galactic Odyssey.]

— July 1968.

OTHER WORLDS SCIENCE STORIES. June-July 1951. Editor: Raymond A. Palmer. Cover art: H. W. McCauley. Overall rating: *

RUSSELL BRANCH “Time Flaw.” Novelette. The love betwen Captain Hunter of the S. S. Stella and one of his passengers is interrupted by disaster and application of Einstein’s theories. Poor writing keeps plot from any depths it might have been capable of. (1)

POUL ANDERSON “The Missionaries.” Alien worship of machines is carried to its logical conclusion, cannibalism. (2)

R. BRETNOR “The Fledermaus Report.” Martin Fledermaus, chosen as first human to fly to the moon, discovers that the beauty of one’s wife is relative. Tripe. (0)

ROBERT BLOCH “The Tin You Love to Touch.” Low-grade comedy about the female robot maid that comes between Roscoe Droop and his domineering wife, This is really low. (0)

RAY PALMER “Mr. Yellow Jacket.” Galactic census-takers discover that some humans have the power yo make thoughts real, Included (page 81) is one of the silliest theories of meteors ever. (0)

S. J. BYRNE “Beyond the Darkness.” Novella. Intrigue aboard one of a fleet of FTL ships seeking new worlds for humanity. The passengers are subjected to a memory-erasing device so that the rebellious navigators can return to contest for already inhabited worlds. Nad, our hero, finds the ex-captain still alive; the plan fails, escape, discovery, loss of heroine, villain returns from oblivion, cowardly brother redeems himself. People don’t really talk and act this way, do they? *½

— July 1968.

THE SAINT MAGAZINE. July 1967. Editor: Hans Stefan Santesson. Overall rating: ***

FLEMING LEE “The Gadget Lovers.” Simon Templar. Complete novel (73 pages), adapted from a teleplay by John Kruse. Russian spies are being murdered by exploding equipment, and naturally enough the Western allies are suspected. The Saint is sent to stop the assassination of a Colonel Smolenko, who turns out to be a woman. It is her idea to play the part of his secretary, as he becomes the target. The trail leads to Switzerland and to a monastery taken over by the Chinese. The handicaps of TV restrictions, and the required flashy beginning, are very well overcome. If the idea of a beautiful woman as a Russian officer can be accepted, the story becomes an interesting study of East meeting West. ****

MICHAEL INNES “Imperious Caesar.” John Appleby. First appeared in MacKill’s Mystery Magazine, April 1953. A malevolent professor commits suicide during a bloody Shakespearean production (4)

HELEN McCLOY “Through a Glass, Darkly.” Novelette. First appeared in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, September 1948. Basil Wiling takes on the case of a woman who fears meeting her supernatural double. She has reason, for it is part of a plot to frighten her to death. Too many people take it too seriously, (2)

LEIGHLA WHIPPER “Death Comes of Chuchu Valente.” Miss Bennett [a recurring character], professional assassin, is hired to kill a Mexican bullfight announcer. Ridiculous. (1)

EDWARD D. HOCH “The Oblong Room.” Captain Leopold. An LSD religious experience leads to murder in a dormitory room. (3)

CORNELL WOOLRICH “Screen Test.” Jimmy Galbraith. First appeared in Dime Detective, November 1934, as “Preview of Death.”. A request for police protection fails as the heroine’s dress goes up in flames on the [movie] set, but the detective solves the case by watching the film rushes. A good story. (3)

— June 1968.


ANALOG SF.  June 1967. Editor: John W. Campbell. Cover art: John Schoenherr. Overall rating: **

HARRY HARRISON “The Men from P.I.G.” Novelette. Porcine Interstellar Guard, that is. Nothing more than the title suggests: rather poor Analog-type adventures on a colonial planet. (2)

CHRISTOPHER ANVIL “Compound Interest.” About 12 pages summarizing “Experts in the Field” (Analog, May 1967; reviewed here) plus [four more with] a new ending. (1)

JOHN T. PHILLIFENT “Aim for the Heel.” Novelette. Not SF. The “Man from CODE” this time, able to avenge the deaths of thousands by acting strictly within the law. (3)

E. G. VON WALD “Something Important.” The aliens’ message for help is ignored because of previously garbled transmissions. (2)

MACK REYNOLDS “Computer War.” Serial, part 2 of 2. See review to follow shortly.

LAWRENCE A. PERKINS “Bite.” An unpopular doctor is infected with rabies. (2)

– May/June 1968


(Give Me That) OLD-TIME DETECTION. Autumn 2023. Issue #64. Editor: Arthur Vidro. Old-Time Detection Special Interest Group of American Mensa, Ltd. 36 pages (including covers). Cover image: The White Elephant Mystery by Ellery Queen, Jr.

   If you like detective fiction in any or all of its permutations then you can’t go wrong with Old-Time Detection. The new mingles with the old (which means, in most cases, the classic), leaving plenty for the reader to feast on.

   Among the delectations: an interview with a science fiction/fantasy/detective story author; plenty of well-researched background on the creator of the world’s most famous criminal lawyer; the latest (at the time) paperback reprints from the seventies; a review of a collection of stories by the master of noir; a long-lost Dr. Poggioli story and a witty and amusing self-assessment by its author; a view of the “master conjurer” of fair play detection and a look at how he lived; news about the creator of Poirot and Marple and how the current generation is handling (and, in too many cases, mishandling) her works; a glance at how today’s publishers seem to be on some sort of nostalgia kick, which is good news for detec-fic aficionados; words about the undisputed “king of the classical whodunit”; and the editor’s appraisal of a kids’ novel that even adults can enjoy.

   In it you will find:

(1) A 1976 interview with Isaac Asimov in EQMM: “I was the comic relief …”

(2) Francis M. Nevins gives us the first part of a multipart essay (2010) about Erle Stanley Gardner; however: “Those wishing to read about Gardner’s Perry Mason character must wait for Part Two.”

(3) Charles Shibuk continues his summary (1973) of the “paperback revolution” in detective/mystery publishing that was occurring half a century ago, focusing on Margery Allingham, Agatha Christie, Amanda Cross, Carter Dickson (otherwise JDC), Erle Stanley Gardner, Frank Gruber, Ngaio Marsh, Bill Pronzini, Rex Stout, Julian Symons, and Charles Williams.

(4) This is followed by Shibuk’s review (1975) of Nightwebs (1971), a collection of Cornell Woolrich’s “mainly unfamiliar works,” edited by Francis M. Nevins, Jr.: “Some of these stories are of extremely high quality, but alas, there is also much dross.”

(5) The issue’s centerpiece story is T. S. Stribling’s “The Mystery of the Paper Wad” (EQMM, 1946), which hasn’t been seen generally since first publication, followed by Stribling’s own “The Autobiography of an Ingenious Author” (1932): “The criminologist smiled at the illusion held by every man that with him all things, crimes and virtues, are possible.”

(6) In “The Full Mandrake” (2023), Rupert Holmes offers us “an appreciation of John Dickson Carr”: “If the classic fair play detective story is the magic act of literature, then John Dickson Carr is forever its master conjurer . . .”

(7) Douglas G. Greene’s assessment (1995) of JDC’s A Graveyard To Let (1949) (“. . . still, the swimming-pool gimmick is beautifully handled”), as well as Carr’s lifestyle as a New Yorker: “While he wrote in his attic study, Carr smoked continuously and tossed the cigarette butts on uncarpeted parts of the floor . . .”

(8) Dr. John Curran’s “Christie Corner” (2023) looks at what’s happening to AC’s heritage and finds all is not well, warning us about one project: “AVOID IT AT ALL COSTS.”

(9) Michael Dirda’s survey of the current scene, “Classical Mysteries Are Having a Moment” (2023): “. . . for devotees of old-time detection, recent publishing does seem surprisingly retrospective, even nostalgic.”

(10) Jon L. Breen’s article “Edward D. Hoch: King of the Classical Whodunit” (2008): “He practiced the increasingly lost art of the classical detective short story better than all but a handful of writers in the history of the genre.”

(11) There’s a mini-review of The White Elephant Mystery (1950) by Arthur Vidro: “It’s well-plotted and well-written . . .”

(12) As usual there’s a puzzle (and it’s a dilly).

(13) The issue ends with the sad news of Marvin Lachman’s passing: “Without Marv, we [at OTD] would have lacked the participation of leading professionals.”


   Subscription information:

   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. – 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:

ELLERY QUEEN’S MYSTERY MAGAZINE – July 1967. Overall rating: ***½

CHARLOTTE ARMSTRONG “The Second Commandment.” Short novel. A minister’s wife falls to her death while answering a “call of nature” along the highway. Afterward the minister discovers he can no longer love all his neighbors. Fine personal point of view, but fails as a mystery story. (4)

AGATHA CHRISTIE “At the Stroke of Twelve.” First appeared in The Sketch, 10 OctobeR 1923, as “The Kidnapping of Johnnie Waverly.” Poirot deduces a man has kidnapped his own son, but then he has all the clues. (3)

JOHN DICKSON CARR “The Lion’s Paw.” First appeared in The Strand Magazine. July 1938, as “Error at Daybreak” by Carter Dickson. Colonel March. A fake suicide attempt is mistaken for a mysterious murder on a deserted hearth. (3)

CORNELL WOOLRICH “Divorce – New York Style.” Serial, part 2 of 2. The girl in a staged hotel room bit dies in the bed, end of Part 1. Scene two in the police station is disappointing. (3)

DENNIS M. DUBIN “Elroy Quinn’s Last Case.” First story. Elroy stops a plot designed to disrupt international relations. Clever! (5) [Note: the author’s only work of short crime fiction.]

ELLERY QUEEN “The President Regrets.” Puzzle story with presidential names. (2)

SHIRLEY WALLACE “The Tiger’s Cub. First story. A man defends his son. (3) [Note: The author’s only work of short crime fiction.]

CELIA FREMLIN “The Special Gift.” An amateur authors’ club meets a man with a strange deadly dream (3)

GUY CULLINGFORD “Something to Get at Quick.” Juvenile delinquency and a stabbing in London. (4)

MIRIAM ALLEN deFORD “The Impersonation Murder Case.” An actor discovers that he is the fall guy in a murder investigation. Sorry, I don’t Believe It. (3)

JOAN RICHTER “Intruder in the Maize.” An arrogant man in Africa should not deal with poison. One bad flaw. (2)

BRIAN HAYES “Security Risk.” First appeared in The (London) Evening News, 19 April 1961. A test works beautifully. (4)

LAWRENCE TREAT “B As in Burglary.” Bankhart of the Homicide Squad is led to the stolen jewels by the murderer’s daughter, and the romance is over. (4)

— May 1968.


INTRO. This is the fifth and final story in the February 1936 issue of Dime Detective that I covered in its entirety in my column “Speaking of Pulp” in the April/May/June, 1979 issue of The Not So Private Eye.

   The cover illustration is taken from the final story, a long novelette by T. T. Flynn entitled “Bride of the Beast,” which sounds more like a horror story from Dime Mystery than it docs a detective story. Flynn was an extremely prolific detective story writer from the pulps. He’s never seemed to have gathered much attention, but his stories are always filled with action, and more, they seem to know where they’re going.

   In this one, a circus is about to go bankrupt — strange things are happening on the midway! Trouble-shooter Steve Waring is sent out by the bank to find out what’s going on, and on his first night on the job an elephant rider in the opening procession is decapitated, almost in full view of the horrified audience.

   The circus atmosphere is excellent, the menace is effectively scary, and no holds are barred in producing sudden and violent death. It ends with a furious train ride through the night and with the nightmarish capture of a crazy killer about to torture Joan Wells, tied and helpless, running the circus in her father’s absence, with a twisted replica of love. Hence the title. I guess it sounds like corn, but it’s still the best story in the magazine.

   As you’ll have already gathered, if you’ve been paying attention, the emphasis [in the stories in this issue of this magazine] has not been on ordinary detective work, This had probably been even more true in earliest days of Dime Detective, which was first published in the early 1930s but the trend away from grotesque mystery had not yet eliminated it from the magazine by 1936, as we’ve just seen. Many people tell me they prefer the 1940s version of DD, when the accent changed slightly from the incredibly fantastic to the merely screwy.

   Give me a hand, will you? Help me clean up these little shreds of brown paper that are all over the floor here …

GALAXY SF – June 1967. Editor: Frederik Pohl. Cover artist: Gray Morrow. Overall rating: ***

POUL ANDERSON – To Outlive Eternity. Serial; part 1 of 2. See review following the July 1967 issue.       [NOTE: Expanded in 1970 and published as the novel Tau Zero.]

GARY WRIGHT “Mirror of Ice.” More a sports story than SF, but an exciting account of a new form of bobsledding. (4)

R. A. LAFFERTY “Polity and Customs of the Camiroi.” Further investigation of politics, religion, and life on Camiroi. (3)       [NOTE: This follows the story “Primary Education of the Camiroi” in the December 1966 issue.]

ROGER ZELAZNY “The Man Who Loved the Faioli.” The gravekeeper of the universe meets a comforter of those who are about to die. Wish I understood. (3)        [NOTE: This story has been collected and anthologized many times.]

C. C. MACAPP “Spare That Tree.” Novelette. A detective tries to regain a stolen tree by disguising himself as a tree himself. Goes from bad to worse. (1)

JIM HARMON “Howling Day.” The advance publicity releases for an invasion of Earth are mistaken for scripts. (2)

LARRY NIVEN “The Adults.” Novella. An alien in search for a lost colony brings Earth the roots and seeds for the tree-of-life, but the discovery is no longer needed or wanted by mankind. The alien’s culture is brought out piecewise and sympathetically, and its death, while necessary, is also regrettable. However, the story is clumsily written, and even worse, poorly edited. Much too long [at 70 pages]; the ending is best. ***        [NOTE: This story was expanded in 1973 and published as the novel The Protectors.]

CHARLES V. DeVET “Alien’s Bequest.” An alien invader was sent with the best wishes of another intelligent race. (3)

— April-May 1968.

IF SCIENCE FICTION – June 1967. Editor: Frederik Pohl. Cover art by Paul Wenzel. Overall rating: ***

ANDRE NORTON “Wizard’s World.” Novelette. Nominated for the Hugo award for Best Novelette of 1967 in 1968. While being hunted down as as Esper on Earth, Craike somehow crosses over to another world, one where the power is accepted and used. His adventures put him on the side of the young witch Takya, and together they defeat the Black Hoods. The wandering plot line and indiscriminate magic does not enthuse. (3)

FRED SABERHAGEN “Berserker’s Fury.” Knowledge of agriculture helps captives take over a ship controlled by berserkers. (3)

HOWARD L. MORRIS “All True Believers.” Novelette. A historical take of a parallel “Briden.” Too bad the reader isn’t let in on the story. A waste. (0)

JACK B. LAWSON “The Castaways.” Prospective colonists from Earth may not really be prepared for difficulties. (3)

KEITH LAUMER “Spaceman!” Serial, part 2 of 3. A review will follow that of the July 1967 issue.

STAN ELLIOTT “Family Loyalty.” First story. Colonists for the stars are not always on the best of terms with relatives left behind. (3)

SAMUEL R. DELANY “Driftglass.” Novelette. An amphiman scarred for life meets a youngster about to attempt the same job. Moving but not involving. [Nominated for a Nebula for Best Short story of 1968.] (4)

— April 1968.

ANALOG SF – June 1967. Editor: John W. Campbell. Cover artist: by John Schoenherr. Overall rating: ** ½.

MACK REYNOLDS “Computer War.” Serial, part 1 of 2. See report following that for the July 1967 issue.

LLOYD BIGGLE, JR. “The Double-Edged Rope.” Iron Curtain censorship can “protect” the populace or keep important news from coming out. (2)

JOSEPH P. MARTINO “Security Measure.” A spy inside the USSR finds it necessary that US security measures be declassified to protect Russian missile sites from the underground. Interesting, but not science fiction. (3)

LAWRENCE A. PERKINS “Project Lion.” Analogous to Analog editorials: scientists who don’t know the rules make the greatest discoveries. (1)

CHRISTOPHER ANVIL “The Dukes of Desire.” Novelette in Anvil’s ‘Federation of Humanity’ series. Sequel to”Strangers in Paradise” in the October 1967 issue, would not seem to stand well by itself. Roberts and his crew return to that planet with the want-generator to help correct the damage they had done there. They must have a feeling of power along with their altruistic motives, but they manage to get the planet’s population working together again. Fun, if the previous story has been read. ***

— April 1968.

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