Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Astounding Stories (February, 1931)

Today from Project Gutenberg comes a complete issue of Astounding Stories (February, 1931).

"The Tentacles from Below" by H. W. Wesso

Werewolves of War By D. W. Hall

The Story of the "Torpedo Plan" and of Capt. Lance's Heroic Part in America's Last Mighty Battle with the United Slavs.

The Tentacles From Below By Anthony Gilmore

Down to Tremendous Ocean Depths Goes Commander Keith Wells in His Blind Duel with the Marauding "Machine-Fish." (A Complete Novelette.)

The Black Lamp By Captain S. P. Meek

Dr. Bird and His Friend Carnes Unravel Another Criminal Web of Scientific Mystery.

Phalanxes of Atlans By F. V. W. Mason

Only in Dim Legends Did Mankind Remember Atlantis and the Lost Tribes—Until Victor Nelson's Extraordinary Adventure in the Unknown Arctic. (Beginning a Two-Part Novel.)

The Pirate Planet By Charles W. Diffin

From Earth and Sub-Venus Converge a Titanic Offensive of Justice on the Unspeakable Man-Things of Torg. (Conclusion.)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Men Who Stare At Goats

I'm really looking forward tot his film. It looks like it'll be as funny as Confessions of a Dangerous Mind.

What's more, it's based on a true story as related in a book by the same name by British journalist Jon Ronson. You thought Max Blumenthal had chutzpah to march right into the middle of gun shows and teabaggers, but he's got nothing on Ronson. When the ultra-rightwing Militia Movement was in full swing, Jon decided to drop in on them, which he recounts in his book Them: Adventures with Extremists (which is also in the works to be turned into a movie). The next thing you know he's investigating the Pentagon's secret occult units that seek to create real-life Jedi warriors. What he found became the basis for a book, a 3-part documentary called The Crazy Rulers of the World, and now this movie. It proves the validity of the cliche that truth is stranger than fiction.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Conan Does Anime Again

Tonight Show host Conan O'Brien and second banana Andy Richter returned to the Bang Zoom studios to record wacky voiceovers for Blood: The Last Vampire.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Tonight is the preview of FlashForward. The show is based on Robert J. Sawyer's novel of the same name. That's right. A Hollywood sf show based on the work of an actual sf author. Hard to believe, I know. It's not a direct adaptation of the novel the way I'd like, but I'm willing to give it a chance and see what they do with the material. Here's a preview.

I'm hoping if this show is good and successful that we'll see more adaptations of sf novels being made. If the bozos in charge of the studios had any sense we'd already have adaptations of Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan saga and David Weber's Honor Harrington series . Not my personal favorites, but two very popular series. Instead we get films based on Monopoly and Battleship. Uffda.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Double Take

(Illustrated by Schoenherr)

The Plague by Teddy Keller (Analog Science Fact & Fiction, February 1961)

"Suppose a strictly one hundred per cent American plague showed up.... One that attacked only people within the political borders of the United States!"

(Illustrated by Paul Orban)

Double Take by Richard Wilson (If Worlds of Science Fiction, January 1954)

"The barn turned out to be a spaceship in disguise, and that was only the beginning. Before his strange adventure ended, young Paul Asher found himself going around in circles—very peculiar circles indeed!"

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

R.I.P. Yoshito Usui

There was very sad news recently that Yoshito Usui (臼井儀人) died in a hiking accident. He's best known as the creator of the hilariously irreverent manga/anime series Crayon Shin-chan (クレヨンしんちゃん).

Shin is an impertinent and absurd adolescent whose antics never fail to amuse. He's as much a pop-culture icon as Bart Simpson and Stewie Griffin. It's a shame that we won't hear more stories about him. You'll be missed, Yoshito-san.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Planet of Dreams

"A Case of Conscience" by Ken Fagg

Planet of Dreams by James McKimmey (If Worlds of Science Fiction, September 1953)

"The climate was perfect, the sky was always blue, and—best of all—nobody had to work. What more could anyone want?"

Cover by Ed Emshwiller

The Carnivore by G. A. Morris (Galaxy Science Fiction, October 1953)

"Why were they apologetic? It wasn't their fault that they came to Earth much too late."

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Off Course

Project Gutenberg presents a few Golden Age sf stories including a humorous close encounter tale by the late, great Mack Reynolds.

I'll Kill You Tomorrow by Helen Huber (If Worlds of Science Fiction, November 1953)

"The entities were utterly, ambitiously evil; their line of defense, apparently, was absolutely impregnable."

(ill. by John Schoenherr)

Lost in Translation by Laurence M. Janifer (Analog Science Fact & Fiction, August 1961)

"In language translation, you may get a literally accurate word-for-word translation ... but miss the meaning entirely. And in space-type translation ... the effect may be the same!"

(ill. by Kelly Freas)

Off Course by Mack Reynolds (If Worlds of Science Fiction, January 1954)

"Shure and begorra, it was a great day for the Earth! The first envoy from another world was about to speak—that is, if he could forget that horse for a minute...."

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Navy Day

Project Gutenberg has added an early story by the legendary Harry Harrison.

"An Undersea Civilization" by Ken Fagg

Navy Day by Harry Harrison (If Worlds of Science Fiction, January 1954)

"The Army had a new theme song: "Anything you can do, we can do better!" And they meant anything, including up-to-date hornpipes!"

Friday, September 18, 2009

Stopover Planet

Today from Project Gutenberg come a couple of Golden Age stories that haven't been reprinted since their first magazine appearance.

Stopover Planet by Robert E. Gilbert (Imagination Stories of Science and Fantasy, August 1953)

"Early morning deliveries were part of the Honeychile Bakery Service. But on this particular morning the service was reversed!"

Native Son by T. D. Hamm (Imagination Stories of Science and Fantasy, July 1953)

"Tommy hated Earth, knowing his mother might go home to Mars without him. Worse, would a robot secretly take her place?..."

"Surveying a Dying Sun" by Ken Fagg

Trees Are Where You Find Them by Arthur Dekker Savage (If Worlds of Science Fiction, November 1953)

"The trees on Mars are few and stunted, says old Doc Yoris. There's plenty of gold, of course—but trees can be much more important!"

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A Bottle of Old Wine

Today Project Gutenberg offers a Golden Age story by living legend Jack Vance.

(Illustration by Kelly Freas)

A Bottle of Old Wine by Richard O. Lewis (If Worlds of Science Fiction, July 1953)

A grim tale of a future in which everyone is desperate to escape reality, and a hero who wants to have his wine and drink it, too.

(Illustration by Virgil Finlay)

Sjambak by Jack Vance (If Worlds of Science Fiction, July 1953)

"Wilbur Murphy sought romance, excitement, and an impossible Horseman of Space. With polite smiles, the planet frustrated him at every turn—until he found them all the hard way!"

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Meddling Kids

It's hard enough to plan a party without inviting meddling kids...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Satellite System

Today from Project Gutenberg come a few H. B. Fyfe stories.

Irresistible Weapon by H. B. Fyfe (If Worlds of Science Fiction, July, 1953)

"There's no such thing as a weapon too horrible to use; weapons will continue to become bigger, and deadlier. Like other things that can't be stopped...."

The Outbreak of Peace by H. B. Fyfe (Analog Science Fact & Fiction, February, 1961)

"When properly conducted, a diplomatic mission can turn the most smashing of battle-successes into a fabulous Pyrrhic victory."

Satellite System by H. B. Fyfe (Analog Science Fact & Fiction, October, 1960)

"Fyfe's quite right ... there's nothing like a satellite system for a cold storage arrangement. Keeps things handy, but out of the way...."

Join Our Gang? by Sterling E. Lanier (Analog Science Fact & Fiction, May, 1961)

"They didn't exactly hold a gun at anybody's head; all they offered was help. Of course, they did sort of encourage people to ask for help...."

Monday, September 14, 2009

One Martian Afternoon

Project Gutenburg continues to add Golden Age sf stories from If Worlds of Science Fiction (July, 1953).

"A Volcanic on Titan, Sixth Moon of Saturn." by Ken Fagg

Weak on Square Roots by Russell Burton

"Does your wife call you Pumpkinhead? Well, maybe it's not an insult; it might be a pet name. Ah—but whose pet name?"

One Martian Afternoon by Tom Leahy

"She was sweet, gentle, kind—a sort of Martian Old Mother Hubbard. But when she went to her cupboard ..."

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Two Thousand Miles Below

Project Gutenberg takes us back to the era of Hugo Gernsback with a Lost World novel and a space opera novelette.

Two Thousand Miles Below (A Four-Part Novel) by Charles Willard Diffin (Astounding Stories June, September, November 1932, January 1933)

"Rawson learns to his cost that the life-spark of a fabled race glows in the black heart of a dead, Western volcano."

Slaves of Mercury (A Complete Novelette) by Nat Schachner (Astounding Stories, September 1932)

"Hilary returns to find alien diskoids in Earth's stratosphere, and out-world lords patrolling her cities."

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Goodbye, Dead Man!

"Mattup had killed a man, so it was logical he should be punished. It was Danny who came up with the idea of leaving him with the prophecy—"

Goodbye, Dead Man! by Tom W. Harris (Imagination Stories of Science and Fantasy, April 1958)

"Sound the fanfare! Beat the drums! Shout hosannas! Here he comes...."

Celebrity by James McKimmey (If Worlds of Science Fiction, July 1953)

Friday, September 11, 2009

There is a Reaper ...

There is a Reaper ... by Charles V. De Vet (Imagination Stories of Science and Fantasy, August 1953)

"Doctors had given him just one month to live. A month to wonder, what comes afterward? There was one way to find out—ask a dead man!"

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Spacemen Never Die!

A story by the legendary Fredric Brown has been added to Project Gutenberg.

Two Timer by Fredric Brown (Galaxy Science Fiction, February 1954)

"Here is a brace of vignettes by the Old Vignette Master ... short and sharp ... like a hypodermic!"

Spacemen Never Die! by Morris Hershman (Imagination Stories of Science and Fantasy, August 1953)

"Henry knew his wife had been married once before; now he expected her to start a new life with him—but to her the past was alive, and—"

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


The volunteers at Project Gutenberg present...

Flamedown by H. B. Fyfe (Analog Science Fact & Fiction, August 1961)

"It was, of course, one Hell of an ending for a trip to Mars—"

Dogfight—1973 by Mack Reynolds (Imagination Stories of Science and Fantasy, July 1953)

"Flying at 1600 m.p.h. you act with split-second timing after you sight the enemy. And you're allowed only one mistake—your last!"

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Big Tomorrow

Today from Project Gutenberg a Golden Age short story by the pseudonymous "Paul Lohrman." Up to seven different writers used this nom de plume (including the infamous Richard S. Shaver) so the real author remains unknown.

The Big Tomorrow by Paul Lohrman (Amazing Stories, Oct.-Nov. 1953)

"There are certain rare individuals in this world who seem bereft of all common sense. These are the people who set their eyes upon an objective and immediately all intelligence, logic, good advice, unsolvable problems, and insurmountable obstacles go completely by the boards. The characters we refer to are obviously just plain stupid. What they want to do, just can't be done. The objectives they have in mind are unachievable and anyone with an ounce of brains can tell them so and give them good reasons. They are usually pretty sad cases and often land in the funny house. But then again, some of them go out and discover new worlds."

Monday, September 7, 2009

Vagabonds of Space

From Project Gutenberg comes a complete issue of Astounding Stories (November, 1930).

The Wall of Death By Victor Rousseau

"Out of the Antarctic It Came—a Wall of Viscid, Grey, Half-Human Jelly, Absorbing and Destroying All Life That It Encountered."

The Pirate Planet By Charles W. Diffin

"A Strange Light Blinks on Venus, and Over Old Earth Hovers a Mysterious Visitant—Dread Harbinger of Interplanetary War." (Beginning a Four-Part Novel.)

The Destroyer By William Merriam Rouse

"Slowly, Insidiously, There Stole Over Allen Parker Something Uncanny. He Could No Longer Control His Hands—Even His Brain!"

The Gray Plague By L. A. Eshbach

"Maimed and Captive, in the Depths of an Interplanetary Meteor-Craft, Lay the Only Possible Savior of Plague-Ridden Earth."

Jetta of the Lowlands By Ray Cummings

"Black-Garbed Figures Move in Ghastly Greenness As the Invisible Flyer Speeds on Its Business of Ransom." (Conclusion.)

Vagabonds of Space By Harl Vincent

"From the Depths of the Sargasso Sea of Space Came the Thought-Warning, "Turn Back!" But Carr and His Martian Friend Found It Was Too Late!" (A Complete Novelette.)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

5 4 3 2 1 Thunderbirds Are Go!

From Japanese TV come some high-school dancers doing a routine based on the old Thunderbirds show from the 1960's. F. A. B, kids.

[via JapanProbe]

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Second Voice

Now that QuasarDragon isn't around anymore and since SF Signal only indexes Manybooks texts, here's the latest public domain Golden Age sf from Project Gutenberg.

The Adventurer by C. M. Kornbluth (Space Science Fiction, May 1953)

"For every evil under the sun, there's an answer. It may be a simple, direct answer; it may be one that takes years, and seems unrelated to the problem. But there's an answer—of a kind...."

The Second Voice by Mann Rubin (Fantastic Universe, March 1954)

"Spud, world-famous dummy, talks to Mars with surprising results."

Friday, September 4, 2009

Good news, bad news

First, the good news.

Tom Baker, who is the best Dr. Who ever, period, is back in the BBC audio drama, Doctor Who: Hornets' Nest. I love audio dramas since they give your imagination free rein to picture things in the mind's eye. Although now that the voice of Dr. Who is going to be the same voice that narrated Little Britain things could get confusing. If I can just resist the urge to visualize Lou and Andy in the background of every scene I'll be doing good.

Now the bad news.

Dave "QuasarDragon" Tackett, who tirelessly rounds up free sf on the web, has found something better to do with his time.

"QuasarDragon will be going on hiatus for an indeterminate amount of time. However, I will still be sending links to SF Signal so please check them out for free fiction links (e-fiction, audio fiction, comics, etc) as well as all the other cool stuff they regularly post."

It's not terribly bad news since SF Signal is a great site and I check everyday anyway. That's how I found this link to an awesome post about The Zepplin Pulps, which includes the following tidbit:

'During the late 1920s Frank Armer (1895-1965) was the man behind Ramer Reviews, a publisher of four minor pulps, including Zeppelin Stories, which was best known for Gil Brewer’s lost apes-and-zeppelins classic, “The Gorilla of the Gasbags.”'

Apes-and-zeppelins is now my favorite genre.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

We're all mutants

It's official. The BBC reports "We're all mutants, say scientists.

Each of us has at least 100 new mutations in our DNA, according to research published in the journal Current Biology.

Scientists have been trying to get an accurate estimate of the mutation rate for over 70 years.

However, only now has it been possible to get a reliable estimate, thanks to "next generation" technology for genetic sequencing.

The findings may lead to new treatments and insights into our evolution."

So that explains why I sprouted a tentacle. I was worried for a second there.

Maybe they should set Mutant Future in the here-and-now and rename it Mutant Present.

Better yet...mutants+mecha=awesome.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Gundam Unicorn

I haven't been able to muster much enthusiasm for recent iterations of Gundam, but I might check this out. At least it's set in the U. C. timeline...