WORLDS OF TOMORROW – May 1967. Editor: Frederik Pohl. Cover artist: [Douglas] Chaffee. Overall rating: ***½.

FRED SABERHAGEN “Stone Man.” Novelette. One planet in the universe is such that time is a variable capable of physical control. The berserkers’ attempt to destroy life there takes them back to the time of the first colonists so that the race can be exterminated at once. Very human story of conflict and life in wartime. (4)

      ADDED UPDATE: Taken from Wikipedia:

   â€œThe Berserker series is a series of space opera science fiction short stories and novels [begun in 1963] by Fred Saberhagen, in which robotic self-replicating machines strive to destroy all life.

   “These Berserkers, named after the human berserker warriors of Norse legend, are doomsday weapons left over from an interstellar war between two races of extraterrestrials…”

DOUGLAS R. MASON “Squared Out with Poplars.” A mad scientist uses human brains for his computers. A strange excuse for a love story. (2)

DAVID A. KYLE “Base Ten.” Novelette. A missing little finger keeps a man marooned in space for eighteen years. A different story of “first contact.” (5)

SIMON TULLY “Whose Brother Is My Sister?” Novelette. Alien scientists combine with those of Earth to prove a theoretical relationship between space and time. Their efforts to stop time do not succeed entirely, as the flow of time is simply reversed. The alien culture is superbly created. (4)

MACK REYNOLDS “The Throwaway Age.” Novelette. A spy who thinks of the enemy as “commies” is assigned to infiltrate a new group concerned with the waste of America’s resource and man-power. Reynolds has good points, but tells a poor story. (3)

– March 1968

STREET & SMITH’S MYSTERY MAGAZINE. May 1942. Overall rating: *

NORMAN DANIELS “Murder Nightmare.” Novella. After having dreamed of a friend’s death, Winton turns to his detective friend Taggart, only to become a murder suspect when the dream comes true. But it is only part of a complicated plot in the world of art that Taggart takes upon himself to solve. Stretches the imagination too far. (1)

W. T. BALLARD “A Toast to Crime.” [Red Drake] An investigation for the State Racing Commission becomes entangled with a mysterious bomber and antagonizes the local police. Too much running around with no purpose. (0)

WALLACE BROOKER “The Flashing Scimitar.” A ghost in a hunting lodge wields a bloody sword, but Lieutenant believes there must be a better explanation. Meanwhile, many men die with their throats cut. Wild, with a certain appeal. (2)

GARY BARTON “Will of the Devil Gods.” A Caribbean cruise, a a foreign agent, and a story of a sacred cloth. (1)

MARK HARPER “A Dead Hand Will Strike You.” Nard Jason takes on a case which has everyone shooting at him, including a dead man. Absolutely unreadable! (0)

JACK STORM “Ghost Fingers.” An inventor is murdered but his luminous paint helps capture his killer. (1)

– March 1968

ANALOG SCIENCE FICTION May 1967. Editor: John W. Campbell. Cover art: Kelly Freas. Overall rating: ***

RICHARD GREY SIPES “Of Terrans Bearing Gifts.” Novelette. Quite predictable Analog story of warlike planet defeated by traders from Earth, bringing psionic inventions, especially so since the story begins with the ending. Adequate but annoying. (2)

CHRISTOPHER ANVIL “Experts in the Field.” Another Analog type – bringing in an outsider to solve a problem. This time, that of a culture without a spoken language. (3)

BOB SHAW “Burden of Proof.” Slow glass (*) has another possible use: evidence in a court of law. Excellent idea; good development here. (4)

MIKE HODOUS “Dead End.” Earthmen trick a planet of centaurs into accepting a false FTL drive, Too much scientific terminology thrown around. (2)

HARRY HARRISON “The Time-Machined Saga.” Serial; part 3 of 3. See review of complete novel soon.

– March 1968


(*) From an online website: “Slow glass was an amusing scientific toy. Light traveled through it so slowly that, looking through a pane of it, you might see what had happened five minutes ago on the other side — or five years.”

ASTOUNDING SCIENCE FICTION. September 1948. Editor: John W. Campbell, Jr. Cover artist: Chesley Bonestell.  Overall rating: ***

GEORGE O. SMITH “The Catspaw.” Novella. Two people are given conflicting information about a possible space-drive in their dreams. Tom Barden is given knowledge of the necessary science; Edith Ward is warned by an opposing faction that the drive is unstable and dangerous. Are they guinea pigs? The plot line is cleverly worked out, but the scientific jargon can be skipped. (4)

PETER PHILLIPS “Dreams Are Sacred.” A sports writer is sent into the dreams of an overworked fantasy writer to bring him back to reality. Excellent except for lack of an effective ending. (4)

RENE LAFAYETTE “The Great Air Monopoly.” Novelette. Ole Doc Methuselah stops over on a planet where one man has control of the only drugs useful against hay fever, and the machinery to keep ragweed circulating. Not much of a story and indifferently told. (1)

MACK CHAPMAN LEA “The Gorgons.” The natives on an uncharted planet were friendly, but their mental screens came down at night. (3)

JOHN D. MacDONALD “Dance of a New World.” A recruiter for a projected colony and a dancer in a tavern on Venus go to that world together. (2)

ARTHUR C. CLARKE “Inheritance.” Realistic story of the first space probes, by a man and his son. Point not clear. (2)

– March 1968

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

CHRISTIANA BRAND “Twist for Twist.” Novelette. Inspector Cockrill solves the murder of a man no one wanted to see married, especially the bride. Good detection. (4)

MORRIS COOPER “As It Was in the Beginning,” Quite possibly the first detective story, occurring some 20,000 years ago. (5)

ELAINE SLATER “The Way It Is Now.” In contrast to the previous story, a search for lost romance in a modern-day marriage ends in murder. (4)

ARTHUR PORGES “The Scientist and the Invisible Safe.” A diamond thief hides them in light bulbs. (2)

MICHAEL GILBERT “The Road to Damascus.” Novelette. Previously published in Argosy (UK), June 1966.  A Calder and Behrens spy story of a World War II impersonation discovered only when an old resistance post is uncovered, fascinating in its accounts of past and present espionage. (5)

ALICE SCANLAN REACH “Father Crumlish and His People.” The hypocrisy of a murdered social worker is discovered. Good social comment. (3)

HENRY STONE “The Impersonator.” Psychiatrical fare. (1)

NEDRA TYRE “A Case of Instant Detection.” A cop in a sociology class is forced to make deductions on the spot. Interesting background. (3)

ROBERT L. TILLEY “The Other Man.” An escaped convict finds refuge in a country cottage, an ideal sanctuary. Personal involvement clashes with the ending. (2)

VERA HENRY “What They Don’t Know Won’t Hurt Them.”  The hired help take advantage of two suspicious deaths. (2)

JON L. BREEN “The Crowded Hours.” First story. Pastiche. A murder investigation by the 97th Precinct Squad. McBain’s style deserves this. (4)

ED McBAIN “The Empty Hours.” Short novel. Previously published in Ed McBain’s Mystery Book #1, 1960. A murder investigation by the 87th Precinct Squad. A girl posing as her cousin is killed by a burglar, but the police must learn everything through determined work. The plot is obvious from the beginning, and it is the emotional involvement that makes the story at all attractive, McBain has a flair for detail, but his style can be overdone and irritating. ***

– March 1968

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

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