When I first started doing Short Reviews, back even before I was writing at Castalia House, the first real pulp I’d read was the issue of Planet Stories featuring Gardner F. Fox’s Vassals of the Lodestar on the cover. I was completely blown away by how good or how crazy a lot of these stories were.
SFF Audio has uploaded scans of the stories found in the Summer 1947 issue of Planet Stories. These works are all in the public domain, but until now, I’d only been able to find scans of The Martian Circe.
This fills in a significant gap – it includes Moon of Danger by Albert dePina, an author who is relatively unknown and published only a few stories but who would be spoken highly of by PS readers in the same breath with Leigh Brackett.
Below the jump, I’ve linked to the PDFs of each story and offered the choicest pull quotes from my original reviews in hopes you will be convinced to download these bad boys.
Vassals of the Lode-Star is an undeniable mess. Both the narrative style and writing are along the lines of Axe Cop, resulting in a work that seems both incredibly childish and grippingly awesome. Characterizations were weak and the science in this sci-fi seemed pulled from a half-remembered article from Scientific American, but for some reason I could not put this down and found it more entertaining than most of what I’d read in the 1970s F&SF. – Short Review
Mo-Sanshon! was the sort of problematic and regressive science fiction I was hoping for when I’d first heard the accusations being leveled at the Sad and Rabid Puppies. – Short Review
Phobos has been hollowed out, and a powerful reverse-gravity generator has been installed at its core. So, in one of the coolest “George Lucas almost certainly read this” moments in sci-fi I’ve come across, the heroes end up flying two linked ships towards the core of Phobos, delink from the ship full of atomic bombs, and before the bomb-ship hits the grav generator, ride the gravity wave toward the moon’s surface before the plant, Phobos and all the Phobians are blown to hell. That part was even better than when the hero had to keep killing drug-addict Phobians with his bare hands while working in the slave fields cultivating bio-weapon spores! – Short Review
Probably what Geier best achieves is conveying the unknowable and indescribable nature of alien life; all we can do is compare it to the known, but it is so uncannily different from the known, our notions end up betraying us. Something can look like a small deer, but it is certainly not a deer. Something can look like a beautiful butterfly, but it is certainly not a butterfly. And something can look like a valuable gemstone, but it is certainly not the egg form of a vampiric quasi energy based life form. Oh, wait, nevermind, maybe it is. – Short Review
Banished from Earth for various petty crimes, the crew of a ship has landed on an asteroid inhabited by cute cuddly looking furballs… who are actually a race of diabolic telepathic monsters intent on leaving their dying world to conquer another! The creatures can give unlimited illusory pleasure or inflict unimaginable pain to the humans whose minds they control. – Short Review
You sort of know what you’d be getting into with a picture of a frightened angry white guy in a jungle gunning down a pitch black, big-lipped, bug-eyed, half-naked Phoebian, but it certainly comes with a clever (by 1940s pulp standards) twist… What really makes this work is that it IS a pretty action packed adventure story that’s entertaining to read, but by making the protagonist just unlikable enough that you can be impressed by his cunning and still find him despicable and punctuating the story with a brief account of the ordeal from the perspective of the Phoebians, Adams pulls off something really interesting here without coming off as being preachy or condescending about pulp tropes. – Short Review
The shocking truth is that Rock & Roll was a good 20+ years behind Science Fiction in terms of psychedelia. Where would we be if Glenn Miller had demanded of our grandmothers to not drop LSD under the Martian Sea with anyone but he? – Short Review