STARTLING STORIES, September 1952. Overall Rating: 1½ stars.

JACK VANCE “Big Planet.” Complete novel [92 pages]. A long and tedious account of the adventures of a commission from Earth as they make their way from their wrecked spaceship to their Enclave on Big Planet. Vance does a good job in describing the numerous cultures on this heterogeneous planet, but the effect is lost under the weight of so many. An adventure story only. (1½)

Comment: This was expanded (perhaps) and published in hardcover by Avalon Books (1957), then in paperback as half of an Ace Double (D-295; 1958). Reprinted in novel form several times since. I am aware that many readers consider this a minor classic, and I knew so even at the time, but it just didn’t click for me.

ROGER DEE “The Obligation.” Novelet. A fairly interesting story of Man’s first meeting with Alien, taking place during a wild storm on Venus. Ending tries to make up fo a lack of solid characterization. (3)

Comment: Reprinted in Adventures on Other Planets, edited by Donald A. Wollheim (Ace, paperback, 1955).

R. J. McGREGOR “The Perfect Gentleman.” An effort to show the effects of being lost in space on a woman’s repressed sexuality. (1)

CHARLES E. FRITCH “Night Talk.” Obvious parallel to Christmas story on Mars. (1)

Comment: Collected in Crazy Mixed-Up Planet (Powell, paperback, 1969).

– June 1967