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After a great story by Arthur C. Clarke, I was all ready for the September 49 issue of Astounding to start getting good… Only to find that was the last story. Okay, that’s not really fair, because maybe L. Sprague DeCamp’s The Queen of Zamba was fantastic, but it was the 4th and final installment […]

Hide and Seek by Arthur C. Clarke appeared in the September 1949 issue of Astounding Science Fiction. It can be read here at Archive.org. Arthur C. Clarke’s Hide and Seek is the first really good thing in this issue of Astounding. Clocking in at 9 pages, if it ends up being the only good story […]

Science fiction readers love to think of themselves as bold and adventurous souls – intellectually if not literally.  The entire genre represents an exercise in pushing past boundaries, in boldly going beyond the known and out into the strange and wondrous realms of the unknown.  The slate on which sci-fi authors work is blank and […]

Special Jobbery by H. B. Fyfe appeared in the September 1949 issue of Astounding Science Fiction. You can read it here at Archive.org, but only if you feel you must. What if Sturgeon’s Law is right, but it’s only Campbell-era Astounding that skews it true?!* I’m not quite ready to go that far, but the September […]

This past week, a friend who had called me up told me about this Gardner Dozois quote: “While we’re talking about fantasy, I’ve been reading a lot of what’s being called “the New Sword & Sorcery” lately, stuff by people like Joe Abercrombie, Scott Lynch, K.J. Parker, Daniel Abraham, and it struck me what the […]

The Double-Dyed Villains by Poul Anderson appeared in the September 1949 issue of Astounding Science Fiction. It can be read here at Archive.org. I am going to need to hurry up and read Poul Anderson’s “important” books that are still being discussed in Appendix N and Pulp Revolution circles, or I’ll be too bummed out […]

A lengthy letter from Bryce Walton in a previous issue kicked a real hornets nest in La Viz, it would seem, so I’ll go ahead and include the relevant part of it along with some of the letters that respond to it from the Winter issue. After some commentary on the previous issue, he gets […]

Ireland has produced more than its quota of writers in the realm of the fantastic: Lord Dunsany, James Stephens, Maurice Walsh, Lady Gregory, Joseph O’Neill etc. A book that had a profound impact on me is Seumas MacManus’ The Story of the Irish Race. My dad had a copy forty years ago. Curiosity made me […]

The last man on earth struggles to make sense of an alien invasion, a beheaded astrophysicist explores the landscapes of the soul, a shoe-string British space navy defends a colony from alien assault, and more in this week’s roundup of the newest releases in science fiction. Bender of Worlds (Star Warrior #2) – Isaac Hooke […]

The Jewels of Chamar, by Raymond F. Jones, appeared in the Winter 1946 issue of Planet Stories. It can be read here at Archive.org. “When you have looked into the blue depths of a stone that is like the eye of all the universe you’ll never be able to turn your back upon it. You’ll […]

Some years back, my mom had to get new insulation for the attic. She found some items of mine including some toys. One prized batch were the Marx dinosaurs. Another batch were boxes of Airfix army men. I grew up with Marx toys, their main factory was right here in Erie, PA. Among their toys […]

Breath of Beelzebub by Larry Sternig appeared in the Winter 1946 issue of Planet Stories. It can be read here at Archive.org. I’ve noted in the past that drug-use, particularly use of hallucinogens, are so prevalent in pulp science fiction that it’s a wonder that it took rock music decades to fully catch up. Sometimes […]