Monday, April 27, 2009

Astounding Stories

Project Gutenberg has just place a complete issue of Astounding (February 1930) online. They've hosted many individual stories from sf magazines before, but this is the first entire magazine that I'm aware of. The editor at the time was Harry Bates, best remembered today for his short story "Farewell to the Master," which was adapted for the screen as the classic "The Day the Earth Stood Still."

The contents are pretty standard pulp fare, although a few names stand out. Harl Vincent was a prolific contributor to the early sf pulps penning such colorful tales as "Microcosmic Buccaneers" and "Lethal Planetoid." Also contributing a story is Hugh B. Cave who was an author of pulp horror tales. And then there's Captain S. P. Meek who is best known for his stories "Submicroscopic" and its sequel "Awlo of Ulm" that recount the adventures of humans reduced to microscopic size only to discover that atoms are entire worlds.

If you read these tales don't expect much from the prose you encounter. Many of these writers would crank out stories two at a time, jumping from one typewriter to the other. And don't be shocked to find offensive attitudes expressed toward women and minorities. These yarns reflect the times in which they were created, warts and all. But if you do read them you'll be treated to some cheap and colorful thrills from the early days of the genre.

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