Magazines


ROCKET STORIES. July 1953. Vol. 1, No. 2. Edited by Wade Kaempfert [Lester del Rey]. Cover: Schomberg. Overall rating: 1½ stars.

ALGIS BUDRYS “Blood on My Jets.” Complete novel. Detached Operator Ash Holcomb of the SBI is hired to fly the first ship into hyperspace, but as old friend and his iwfe, known since Academy days, plot to steal it from him. Not much of a story, but it reads well enough. (2)

GEORGE O. SMITH “Home Is the Spaceman.” An experimental FTL ship is stopped by a policeman for speeding. (2)

MILTON LESSER “Picnic.” A husband, wife, and two brats stop on a living asteroid for a picnic. (0)

POUL ANDERSON “The Temple of Earth.” Novelette. Civilization on the Moon is headed downhill unless the priests and their knowledge of science can take over. Too much fighting. (2)

BEN SMITH “Sequel.” The paths of three former Academy students meet in space. (3)

CHARLES E. FRITCH “Breathe There a Man.” Rebellion on an Earth where the very air is taxed. The first plot twist really didn’t seem believable. (1)

IRVING COX, JR. “To the Sons of Tomorrow.” Novelette. The crew of a wrecked spaceship become the gods of a new Earth. Distortion of proper names didn’t help. (2)

WILLIAM SCARFF “Firegod.” A fair point to be made, but a basic flaw ruins story of a man playing god. [Pen name of Algis Budrys.] (1)

–February 1968

GALAXY SF, April 1967. Editor: Frederik Pohl. Cover artist: [Douglas] Chaffee. Overall rating: ***½.

KEITH LAUMER “Thunderhead.” Novelette. A lieutenant of the Fleet Navy, who has manned his planetary post for twenty years, though it is clear that he has been forgotten, receives a message at last. In response, he climbs to the mountaintop beacon and sets a diversion for a fleeing enemy. Deliberately sentimental, the story is obvious from the beginning, but still succeeds. (4)

ROBIN SCOTT “Fair Test.” Aliens consider a segregated Earth. (2)

CHRISTOPHER ANVIL “The New Member.” Bangolia joins the UN and immediately becomes a pest to everyone. Humorous. (2)

JAMES McKIMMEY “The Young Priests of Adytum 199.” The childish survivors of the war do not tolerate deviation from their norm. (5)

HOWARD HAYDEN “The Purpose of Life.” Novella. Dr. West, in telepathic control of Mao III, precipitates a crisis that buries hem and fifty Esks 4000 feet below Peking. The Esks multiply furiously, threatening the food supply, and a tunnel to the surface must be dug. The discovery and fulfillment of the purpose of the Esks on Earth is rather anticlimactic. Immortal life after death requires the death of billions. Dr. West dies too. ***½

[Note: This was number seven of eight stories Hayden wrote about the Esks. These were indigenous Canadian Inuits transformed by an Alien presence into an apparently benign, fast-breeding new species called Esks. (From the online SF Encyclopedia.)]

PIERS ANTHONY “Within the Cloud.” Clouds have a sense of humor also. (3)

KRIS NEVILLE “Ballenger’s People.” Burt Ballenger operates as a nation, as a democracy. (3)

HARRY HARRISON “You Men of Violence.” A mutation of homo spaiens develops, one unable to kill. At least, actively. (3)

–February 1968

IF SCIENCE FICTION – January 1954. Editor: James L. Quinn. Cover art: Ken Fagg. Overall rating: **½ stars.

EVAN HUNTER “Malice in Wonderland.” Short novel. The world of the future is bizarrely (and accurately?) portrayed as the arena of conflict between the Vikes, or vicarious pleasure-seekers, and the Rees, or realists. Van Brant, agent of authors of pabacks and sensos, is caught in that conflict as the Ree reaction takes over. The ending comes a bit too fast, and the background seems a little shallow, but a very good effort. (4)

ALAN E. NOURSE “Letter of the Law.” A planet of logical liars comes up against the expected paradox. (1)

HARRY HARRISON “Navy Day.” The Navy, about to be abolished, fights back. (0)

JAMES E. GUNN “A Word for Freedom.” An analogy is made between narrowness of language and encroachments upon individual freedoms. (2)

RICHARD WILSON “Double Take.” A young man has difficulty separating reality from filmed fantasy. (2)

DAMON KNIGHT “Anachron.” A time-machine enables a man to steal treasures from the future but becomes too ambitious. (3)

MACK REYNOLDS “Off Course.” A collector for the Carthis zoo is mistaken for an envoy. (1)

–February 1968

ELLERY QUEEN’S MYSTERY MAGAZINE April 1967. Overall rating: ***

JULIAN SYMONS “The Crimson Coach Murders.” Novelette. First published in The Evening Standard, 1960, as “The Summer Holiday Murders.” A detective story writer seeking background material takes a tour through southern England. Murder gives him a chance to try his abilities. (3)

ROBERT BLOCH “The Living Dead.” A World War II vampire story; not too imaginative. (2)

EDWARD D. HOCH “The Spy Who Came Out of the Night.” Rand of Double-C is sent to Berne to decode a message. His bitterness is forced to light. (3)

JACQUELINE CUTLIP “The Trouble of Murder.” A murderer burns down his inheritance unknowingly. Dry and confusing writing, but ending is good. (4)

CORNELL WOOLRICH “The Talking Eyes.” Novelette. First published in Dime Detective Magazine, September 1939, as “The Case of the Talking Eyes.” A paralyzed woman, able to communicate only wth her eyes, overhears her son’s wife plotting to kill him. Unable to stop the murder, she manages to avenge his death. Who else could attempt such a story? (4)

RHODA LYS STOREY “Sir Ordwey Views the Body.” Anagram-pastiche [by Norma Schier] of [Dorothy L. Sayers’] Lord Peter Wimsey. (1)

DOROTHY L. SAYERS “The Queen’s Square.” First appeared in The Radio Times, December 23, 1932. Lord Peter Wimsey solves a murder no one could have committed. A red costume in red light would appear white. (3)

JIM THOMPSON “Exactly What Happened.” Man disguised as another is killed by the other disguised as him. (1)

H. R. WAKEFIELD “The Voice of the Inner Ear.” First appeared in The Clock Strikes Twelve by H. Russell Wakefield, Herbert Jenkins, 1940, as “I Recognised the Voice.” A “psychic” detective solves mysteries. (2)

L. J. BEESTON “Melodramatic Interlude.” Revenge is thwarted by the victim’s wife. Obvious but still exciting. (3)

CHRISTOPHER ANVIL “ The Problem Solver and the Burned Letter.” Richard Verner reads a clue from a typewriter ribbon. (2)

LAWRENCE TREAT “P As in Payoff.” Mitch Taylor of Homicide Squad solves a hotel robbery as he tries to gain a favor. (3)

–January 1968

DIME MYSTERY MAGAZINE. May 1945. Cover by Gloria Stoll. Overall rating: *

BRUNO FISCHER “Deadlier Than the Male.” Novelette. A soldier’s buddy comes home from the war to check on his friend’s wife, who seems to have changed. Murder welcomes him at the door. Fairly obvious ending. (2)

TALMAGE POWELL “The Dark, Unfriendly Tide.” A man tries to dispose of a girl’s body in the bayou, but the elements betray him. Overly melodramatic. (3)

WILLIAM R. COX “They’ll Kill Me!” Novelette. Tom Kincaid has a murderous competition in his attempt to make a movie about gambling. Low grade Hollywood all the way. (0)

CYRIL PLUNKETT “Murder on the Wing.” A man obsessed with owls suspects his wife of poisoning him. (1)

FRANCIS K. ALLAN “The Man with the X-Ray Eyes.” Novel. Duke Danube saves a girl from involvement with murder in an opium den. Could have been put down at any time. (0)

JOHN PARKHILL [pseudonym of William R. Cox] “Slips That Pass in the Night.” An ex-Marine helps an explorer’s daughter regain two stolen rubies. (1)

JOE KENT [pseudonym of Francis K. Allan] “The Madman in the Moon.” Novelette. A soldier on furlough returns to his old neighborhood and is nearly framed for murder. A certain flavor of the wartime forties enhances this less-than-average story. (3)

DAY KEENE “A Corpse for Cinderella.” Novelette. Dancing skeletons, the kiss of death, and other “supernatural” happenings are exposed by a private detective. Had promise, but much too overdone. (1)

–January 1968

IF SCIENCE FICTION, March 1967. Editor: Frederik Pohl. “Special Hugo Winners Issue.” Cover: McKenna. Overall rating: ***

ISAAC ASIMOV “The Billiard Ball.” Novelette. A conflict between a theoretical physicist and a technician over the possibility of ant-gravity leads to the death of one. The Master has not lost his touch. (5)

HARLAN ELLISON “I Have No Mouth and I must Scream.” Four men and a woman, the last human survivors, are trapped within the underground vaults of a computer. (4)

ROGER ZELAZNY “The Mortal Mountain.” Novelette. A mountain forty miles high challenges the best climbing team in the business. Complications arise when “energy beings” threaten their ascent. Too much of an adventure story only, but is SF. Symbolism, climbing to stars? (3)

JOSEPH WESLEY “Moonshine.” A marine orderly on the moon brews his own. Story has been told many times before. (1)

LARRY NIVEN “Flatlander.” Novelette. Beowulf Schaeffer and perhaps the richest man on Earth look for adventure on the mysterious planet of a protosun. All the clues to its true nature are provided. Well done, except that the details of the previous series parts are beginning to bore. (4)

ROSCOE WRIGHT “The Sepia Springs Affair.” A strange bunch of aliens write letters to Pohl. I’d rather read the [real] letter column. (0)

ALGIS BUDRYS “The Iron Thorn.” Serial; part 3 of 4. See report following final installment.

BETSY CURTIS “Latter-Day Daniel.” A man with one arm feeds synthetic ones to lion. (1)

–January 1968

ANALOG SCIENCE FICTION March 1967. Editor: John W. Campbell. Cover art: John Schoenherr. Overall rating: 2½ stars.

HARRY HARRISON “The Time-Machined Saga.” Serial, part 1 of 3. [Reprinted in book form as The Technicolor® Time Machine (Doubleday, 1967).] Review of full novel to be posted later.

MACK REYNOLDS “Radical Center.” Novelette. A Pulitzer Prize winning reporter discovers that the flood of anti-heroism, anti-patriotism, and cynicism, the symptoms of which are present today, is part of a plot to take over the US by apathy. Again, SF is the platform for sounding off; some entertainment value. (3)

MICHAEL KARAGEORGE “In the Shadow.” Novelette. A physics story about a shadow world entering the solar system, giving investigating scientists a chance for freedom Mostly unreadable or incomprehensible. (0)

[UPDATE: I have just discovered that Michael Karageorge is one of several pen names used by Poul Anderson.]

CHRISTOPHER ANVIL “The Uninvited Guest.” Rrichard Verner, heuristician, feeds an alien onions. (2)

R. C. FitzPATRICK “The Compleat All-American.” Two federal investigators discover a truly indestructible football player. The loose prose intrudes a bit too often. (3)

–January 1968

ELLERY QUEEN’S MYSTERY MAGAZINE, March 1967.       Overall rating: **½

JAMES YAFFE “Mom and the Haunted Mink.” OK, if played a a game to trick the reader. But the police detective telling the story to his mother must certainly have recognized the name-switch at once. Pfui. (0)

AGATHA CHRISTIE “Miss Marple and the Golden Galleon.” Original title: “Ingots of Gold.” [The Royal Magazine, February 1928]. The theft of gold bullion is solved by knowing gardeners never work on Monday. (2)

DONALD E. WESTLAKE “The Sweetest Man in the World.” Another insurance company fraud, mixed with impersonation, embezzlement, and murder. (3)

CHARLOTTE PERKINS GILMAN “The Yellow Wallpaper.” [First appeared in New England Magazine, January 1892.] First published over 60 years ago; “a classic tale of horror.” A woman is driven insane by wallpaper. Not very effective. (2)

ELLERY QUEEN “The Adventure of Abraham Lincoln’s Clue.” [First appeared in MD, June 1965, as “Abraham Lincoln’s Clue.”] Items with the signatures of both Lincoln and Poe turn out to be forgeries, but the stamps are worth a fortune. (4)

RICHARD DEMING “The Jolly Jugglers, Retired.” Bank robbers take over restaurant. Obvious from beginning. (1)

JOSEPH MATHEWSON “A Stranger’s Tale.” The fresh wrinkle in this story of identical twins is the same old crease. (2)

HUGH PENTECOST “The Monster of Lakeview.” Uncle George’s dog is is stolen for laboratory and saved by a befriended man-child. (3)

MARGERY ALLINGHAM “Bubble Bath No. 3.” [First appeared in Argosy (UK), July 1956, as “Three Is a Lucky Number.”] Wife-killer is foiled in third attempt. (3)

FRANK SISK “The Strange Adventure of Charles Homer.” The estate Surcease Isle becomes Circe’s Isle, but Homer escapes. A weird fantasy. (3)

CHARLES DICKENS “The Pair of Gloves.” [First appeared in Household Words, September 14 1850, uncredited.] Primitive police procedure; gloves have nothing to do with murder. Of historical interest only. (0)

PRINCESS ZAWADSKY “Third Act Curtain.” An actor masquerades as a notorious killer. (3)

JOAN KAPP “Mystery, Movie Style.” A lady jewel thief scares off two others. A fun story. [The author’s only published crime story.] (5)

GEORGES SIMENON “Inspector Maigret Directs.” [First appeared in English in Argosy (UK) November 1961, as “Under the Hammer.”] Maigret puts all the characters in a murder-drama through their paces continuously until the culprit is revealed. ( 4)

WILLIAM BRITTAIN “Mr. Strang Gives a Lecture.” A high school clears a student framed for robbery. Not a very promising series start. (2)

– January 1968
REVIEWED BY MIKE TOONEY:

   
(Give Me That) OLD-TIME DETECTION. Autumn 2021/Winter 2022. Issue #58. Editor: Arthur Vidro. Old-Time Detection Special Interest Group of American Mensa, Ltd. 36 pages (including covers). Cover image: A Rumpole Christmas.

   This issue of Old-Time Detection continues to maintain the usual high standards for the publication, being replete with perceptive book reviews and features that would be of interest to any mystery fan.

   “Mystery Reviews” by Jon L. Breen has Breen, one of the sharpest detective fiction critics, finding R. D. Rosen’s Strike Three, You’re Dead a most agreeable mix of baseball and amateur detection — “may be,” he says, “the ultimate sports mystery.” For fans of Wall Street mysteries, there’s a “more-than-adequate British equivalent” in David Williams’ Advertise for Treasure.

   In “The Paperback Revolution,” Charles Shibuk covers a lot of classic detective fiction ground with short but pithy assessments of some of the works of Eric Ambler (Journey Into Fear, 1940), Leslie Charteris (The Saint in New York, 1935), Agatha Christie (The Moving Finger, 1942), Joseph Harrington (Blind Spot, 1966, and The Last Doorbell, 1969), Baynard Kendrick (Out of Control, 1945), Ross Macdonald (The Underground Man, 1971), Ngaio Marsh (Overture to Death, 1939), Ellery Queen (There Was an Old Woman, 1943, and Calamity Town, 1942), Dorothy L. Sayers (Murder Must Advertise, 1933), and Rex Stout (The League of Frightened Men, 1935, and The Rubber Band, 1936).

   Dan Magnuson offers us his tribute to the late J. Randolph Cox, not only a close friend but also a Nick Carter expert, and, among other good things, the author of books about Walter Gibson and Flashgun Casey.

   A fine addition to the issue is an “Author Spotlight” by Michael Dirda focusing on Edmund Crispin, more often than not one of the most delightful detective fiction authors of the Golden Age. You’re not likely to find a more comprehensive yet concise essay on Crispin than this one.

   In the “Christie Corner” by Dr. John Curran, the foremost living expert on the works of Agatha Christie, comes news of the publication of a non-Christie book (The Invisible Host, 1930), the plot of which some would say Agatha “borrowed” for And Then There Were None (1939); Curran, however, is more than a little skeptical and offers good reasons for his doubts. Since 2022 marks the 90th anniversary of The Thirteen Problems (USA title: The Tuesday Club Murders), a publisher has decided to “re-imagine” Miss Marple, even commissioning some non-crime writers to do the bloody deed — I mean, give us their interpretations of the character. Curran finishes by briefly noting a computer game featuring Hercule Poirot and yet another scrambled up short story collection “culled from throughout Christie’s career.”

   This issue’s fiction selection is T. S. Stribling’s “The Mystery of the Choir Boy” (EQMM, January 1951), in which Dr. Poggioli gets involved in a scheme meant to hoodwink the public but which culminates in murder.

   “‘Count the Man Down,’ A Nero Wolfe Pilot” by Bruce Dettman illumines the experimentation that Hollywood in the ’50s was performing in adapting well-known — meaning “hopefully it’ll make money since everybody’s heard of it” — quantities to the small screen. Inspired by the huge success of Perry Mason, the producers tried  — and failed — to bring Rex Stout’s famous detective and his “assistant” to life (“pretty much a botched effort”). Only the actor playing Archie gets a thumbs up from Dettman, a rookie thespian who in a few years would become a TV icon.

   “The Life and Death and Life of Sherlock Holmes” by Richard Lederer compactly outlines the career of the Sage of Baker Street and the adience-abience dilemma that confronted his literary creator.

   Then come more in-depth book reviews of John Mortimer’s A Rumpole Christmas (2009), reviewed by Ruth Ordivar, a collection of five stories whose “quality more than makes up for the thin quantity”; Anthony Berkeley’s Murder in the Basement (1932), reviewed by Harv Tudorri, in which Roger Sheringham seeks “to get to the bottom of a problem and to prove it to my own satisfaction”; Agatha Christie’s Crooked House (1949), reviewed by Sheila M. Barrett, a story whose “elements are laid forth as the reader might expect from Christie’s expert hand”; Jon L. Breen’s Listen for the Click (1983), reviewed by Arthur Vidro, a sports/mystery novel that works just right; and Christie’s Murder in the Mews (1937), reviewed by Trudi Harrov, containing four stories that collectively manage to “hit the spot.”

   “The Non-Fiction World of Ed Hoch” has the all-time master of the short detective story “Seeking the First Mystery Magazine,” from possible candidates like Old Cap. Collier Library and voluminous Nick Carter publications in the late 19th century through Detective Story and Mystery Magazine and, of course, Black Mask in the early years of the 20th century. As Hoch tells us, however, designating what was actually the first mystery magazine could come down to a matter of categorization.

   “The Readers Write”: “Thanks for continuing to do this labor of love for all of us who enjoy the Good Old Days!”

   . . . and finally there’s the Puzzle Page—and it’s a doozy.
      ___

   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 February 1967. Cover by Kelly Freas. Editor: John W. Campbell. Overall rating: 3 stars.

JOE POYER “Pioneer Trip.” The completion of the first manned flight to Mars must be weighed against a man’s life. Interesting problem, but conventional ending. (3)

JACK WODHAMS “There Is a Crooked Man.” Short novel. We are rapidly approaching the point where science and engineering can easily enable the criminal mind to outwit the law, if the particular law does indeed exist. Law enforcement becomes a hilarious problem, as Thorne Smith becomes SF, not fantasy. Not Analog’s usual stuff. (4)

J. B. MITCHEL “The Returning.” Alien takes over experimental US rocket to return home. (2)    [His only published SF story.]

MACK REYNOLDS “Amazon Planet.” Serial, part 3 of 3. Separate report forthcoming.

WINSTON P. SANDERS [POUL ANDERSON] “Elementary Mistake.” Crew sent to establish mattereaster [?] on a distant planet discovers they haven’t the necessary elements available. Too technical to make sense. (1)

–November 1967

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