Reading Around in Old SF Magazines

Victoria Silverwolf

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It looks like there were only three issues of this magazine in 1960, according to the Internet Science Fiction Database. Which one do you have?

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Victoria Silverwolf

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Regarding "The Original Science Fiction Stories":

You have a couple of very interesting, offbeat authors there, Lafferty and Emshwiller.

Bill Wesley just seems to have had a small handful of stories published from 1954 to 1960, according to ISFDB.

"Once in a Blue Moon" is a reprint from 1942, it seems.

Knight seems to have been active only from 1937 to 1942, until he came back in the middle of the 1960's to collaborate with James Blish on a few stories that got fixed up into the novel A Torrent of Faces.
 

AE35Unit

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Regarding "The Original Science Fiction Stories.

Knight seems to have been active only from 1937 to 1942, until he came back in the middle of the 1960's to collaborate with James Blish on a few stories that got fixed up into the novel A Torrent of Faces.
Ah and there it is!

 

DeltaV

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April 1969

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A new serial starts: The Five Way Secret Agent by Mack Reynolds. The detective from Extortion Inc (February issue) is hired by a major corporation to link up with co-conspirators in the Soviet Union to launch the new world order. However other groups have different ideas, and make their viewpoint known ... one way or another (see the cover).

The short novel is Opportunist by Guy McCord. Follow up story to Krishna (January). Fearing cultural destruction, many of the Caledonians rebel against the invaders (at least, those Caledonians that have not partaken of the krishna drug). A select team captures a leader of the invaders and plans a counter-strike against the capital city.

The novelette is Cultural Interference by Walter L. Kleine. Surveillance Patrol is kept busy trying to keep teenage saucer pilots from buzzing the primitive sentient species known as humans. However, one alien couple crashes on the planet, and the cause of the crash causes excitement in both Moscow and Washington ... and in Patrol HQ.

Finally, the short story is Hey But No Presto by Jack Wodhams. A shady resort operator manages to divert jump gate travelers to his high-class, and expensive, resort. And once their money runs out, they get to wash the dishes...


The Science Fact is part two on the article on pulsars. Interesting photo from the construction of the Arecibo radio dish, which was recently allowed to collapse rather than repair it. Seems a waste.


Issue Notes

Mack Reynolds has two stories in this issue, writing the second as Guy McCord...The results from the Analytical Library have caught up to 1969. First place by a clear margin is Wolfling (1.59) followed by Krishna (2.36)...Miller reviews Rite of Passage by Alexi Panshin, another story that has featured in a number of collections over the years. However the review made me realize that this story is actually a full novel, and Mia's time during her rite of passage is only part of the book...A. Bertram Chandler in Brass Tacks relates how a conversation he had with Campbell years ago helped him recently fix his ship's radar. Apparently, the radar wave guide was plumber's work, according to Campbell. Chandler sent for one, much to the amazement of his officers, and, voilà, the plumber got it fixed.
 

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May 1969


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The serial The Five Way Secret Agent by Mack Reynolds continues with the second and final installment. Agent Rex Bader travels behind the Iron Curtain to meet up with his employer´s contacts, a trip that is also of keen interest to four other shadowy organizations. Not only must he strike a careful balance in what he reveals to each group, he also realizes that not everyone is who they appear to be.

This issue's novelettes are:

Dragon's Teeth by M.R. Anver. Terra and the alien Cadosians have been involved in a long and costly war. A peace conference has been called to end the conflict. However a militant movement within the Cadosian government plans to sabotage the conference. Can Terran security uncover the plot in time?

Persistence by Joseph P. Martino. Space Patrol has captured an enemy Arcani cruiser. Learning it's secrets could turn the tide of the war, especially if they can discover a suspected hyper-light speed communication system.

The first short story is Operation M.I. by R. Hamblen. The volunteers testing a one-person warp ship are not dealing well with the isolation that the trip requires. Psychology Division gets involved and comes up with a special type of AI to help the pilot.

The second short story is Initial Contact by Perry A. Chapdelaine. Earth has established rudimentary communication with an alien species on Epsilon Eridani using 'fast time' radio transmissions. Now the Eridanians are sending a space ship to Earth, and the media is reporting that 'aliens are invading Earth with the intention of enslaving all humans'.



Comment on the story Persistence. Interesting in that it takes Space Patrol experts weeks and weeks to begin to figure out the alien power and communication systems. Quite unlike a lot of popular TV SF where the expert sits down at an alien console and within five minutes has it all figured out ... like Carter and Jackson from the TV series Stargate.


Science Fact is on the chemistry of a coral reef.

Issue Notes

The Analytical Library rates February's stores. In first place is Wolfling (1.59) followed by A Womanly Talent (2.06)... Miller discusses indexes and bibliographies in The Reference Library, and reviews The Index of Science Fiction Magazines: 1951-1965 as well as the Australian Science Fiction Index: 1925-1967. He also reviews the novel Planet of the Apes.
 

DeltaV

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June 1969


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The first novelette is Artifact by J.B. Clarke. A Terran Federation spaceship has found an alien artifact in Mars orbit. Returned to Earth, the device is carefully studied by scientists, while the politicians debate its purpose. A stray object lost in space for millennia to be finally captured by the sun's gravity? Or something else, perhaps more sinister?

The second novelette is The Nitrocellulose Doormat by Christopher Anvil. Terran infantry forces are bogged down on the alien planet Terex, in a futile attempt to help the local government fight against rebel forces. With their hands tied by local customs, and their supplies being sabotaged or stolen, Space Force command calls for help.

The short novel is Dramatic Mission by Anne McCaffrey. Helva is a ship's "brain", a surgically-modified human placed in a titanium shell to control a spaceship, assisted by a "brawn", another human who does the physical work on-board. Helva is assigned to transport a Shakespearean troupe to the Beta Corvi system, where strange aliens were recently contacted. The aliens have proposed an unusual trade. All the troupe has to do is perform a play, Romeo & Juliet, and the aliens will give to the Central Worlds highly advanced energy technology. Apparently, a simple trade...


This issue also has three short stories:

Zozzl by Jackson Burrows. To protect itself, a zozzl can read the memories and thoughts of those that hunt it, then use them to create nightmares and drive their hunters mad. But spaceman Hammer is determined to capture one, in spite of the danger.

The Ghoul Squad by Harry Harrison. In the near future, technology for organ transplants, their demand, and policy changes have combined to create the Isoplastic Transplantation Bank. This service processes the recently deceased for their organs. Not everyone agrees.

Jackal's Meal by Gordon R. Dickson. Tensions are increasing on the frontier between Earth and the Morah confederation of Empires. During discussions between Earth diplomats and one of the Morah emperors at an Earth outpost, a prisoner escapes from the Morah ship. Apparently a human spy captured years ago, and now at the point of dying, Earth grants him sanctuary. This threatens to jump start a war between the two powers.



Issue Notes

Interesting mix with the authors in this issue. We have three established names, a prolific writer for Analog (Chistopher Anvil), and two writers (Clarke and Burrows) that only wrote a handful of stories over several decades.

I see that Dramatic Mission is the fourth story of five about Helva, and these were turned into a novel in 1969, The Ship Who Sang, which in turn launched a number of similar novels. Dramatic Mission was both a Hugo and a Nebula nominee.

The title Jackal's Meal is from a Rudyard Kipling poem, "The Ballad of East and West".

In the March ratings of The Analytical Library, Trap (1.80) edges out Wolfling (2.00) for top honors...Miller in The Reference Library has high praise for Hal Clement's story collection Small Changes, and describes him as an excellent author in the Analog "hard" SF tradition. Hmmm . Maybe I'm going to have to read some of his stories, sounds interesting. As well, Miller compares Keith Laumer's Retief with Poul Anderson's Flandry series, then goes on to review a similar series by Alexei Panshin featuring agent Anthony Villiers. Miller writes that this series is the best of the three.


I've not read any of the Retief or Villiers stories; I have read some of the Flandry stories and found the sexism hard to take. Any comments on any of these?
 
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DeltaV

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Six Months Into Analog 1969 - Reflections

In my introduction to my 1969 Analog overviews, I referred to comments that I have read over the years that "Campbell's SF mindset was firmly fixed in the 1940's; that and his obsession with para-psychological phenomena was driving away both writers and readers. In the last days of his editorship, only second-rate writers wrote for Analog, turning out third-rate stories."

I personally can now discount the latter part of that statement. There are some fine writers turning out stories in 1969. Not to say that there isn't the odd story that I personally don't find appealing, but in comparison with certain later years of Analog there is some good stuff being written in these pages.

Now, there are indeed a few stories that involve some aspect or other of para-psychological phenomena; I counted five. Hardly indicative of an obsession.

One could also perhaps include Wolfling, as its transport system can read a person's mind to teleport them to where they are thinking, and in Dramatic Mission the alien Corviki transfer minds to empty host bodies on their world. Not para-psychological per se, but the reading/manipulation of thought is probably getting a little further out there in terms of hard SF.

Were these stories popular? Let's look at The Analytical Library:

February's stories. In first place is Wolfling (1.59) followed by A Womanly Talent (2.06). A Chair of Comparative Leisure finished fourth at 3.68 (perhaps more indicative of its uninteresting plot than anything else).

In the March ratings, Trap (1.80) edges out Wolfling (2.00) for top honors. Minitalent is in third with 2.80.

In the June listings Dramatic Mission was second at 2.67 and Zozzl was fifth at 3.87.

(Oddly enough, the Dickson story Jackal's Meal that I quite liked was fourth at 3.80. Oh well!).

So there does appear to be some appetite in the Analog readership for these types of stories; certainly there was no whole scale rejection by readers of this sub-genre. Nor did I see a single letter in Brass Tacks complaining about them appearing in Analog "the bastion of hard SF".


(Oddly enough, I have a feeling that some of those that are critical of Campbell's interest in para-psychological abilities quite enjoyed Babylon 5 with its PSI Corp....).

As a personal aside, these types of stories aren't my cup of tea either, but there are certainly enough stories that do entertain me that I am quite enjoying Analog 1969...
 

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Six Months Into Analog 1969 - Reflections

In my introduction to my 1969 Analog overviews, I referred to comments that I have read over the years that "Campbell's SF mindset was firmly fixed in the 1940's; that and his obsession with para-psychological phenomena was driving away both writers and readers. In the last days of his editorship, only second-rate writers wrote for Analog, turning out third-rate stories."

I personally can now discount the latter part of that statement. There are some fine writers turning out stories in 1969. Not to say that there isn't the odd story that I personally don't find appealing, but in comparison with certain later years of Analog there is some good stuff being written in these pages.

Now, there are indeed a few stories that involve some aspect or other of para-psychological phenomena; I counted five. Hardly indicative of an obsession.

One could also perhaps include Wolfling, as its transport system can read a person's mind to teleport them to where they are thinking, and in Dramatic Mission the alien Corviki transfer minds to empty host bodies on their world. Not para-psychological per se, but the reading/manipulation of thought is probably getting a little further out there in terms of hard SF.

Were these stories popular? Let's look at The Analytical Library:

February's stories. In first place is Wolfling (1.59) followed by A Womanly Talent (2.06). A Chair of Comparative Leisure finished fourth at 3.68 (perhaps more indicative of its uninteresting plot than anything else).

In the March ratings, Trap (1.80) edges out Wolfling (2.00) for top honors. Minitalent is in third with 2.80.

In the June listings Dramatic Mission was second at 2.67 and Zozzl was fifth at 3.87.

(Oddly enough, the Dickson story Jackal's Meal that I quite liked was fourth at 3.80. Oh well!).

So there does appear to be some appetite in the Analog readership for these types of stories; certainly there was no whole scale rejection by readers of this sub-genre. Nor did I see a single letter in Brass Tacks complaining about them appearing in Analog "the bastion of hard SF".


(Oddly enough, I have a feeling that some of those that are critical of Campbell's interest in para-psychological abilities quite enjoyed Babylon 5 with its PSI Corp....).

As a personal aside, these types of stories aren't my cup of tea either, but there are certainly enough stories that do entertain me that I am quite enjoying Analog 1969...
Very interesting analysis, DeltaV, thanks. I enjoy your reviews.

You often find, when one reads source material, that an 'accepted wisdom' in many fields is either simplistic, an exaggeration, or just plain wrong, and that is perhaps the case here, with late '60's Analogs.

Incidentally, I have some additional interest in 1969 Analog, as it's the year of my birth. I was a fetus when the January and February issues were released, but had made an appearance by March, and was therefore around for the moon landing. It was great :).
 

DeltaV

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July 1969

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Two Novelettes:

And Comfort to the Enemy by Stanley Schmidt. The alien Reska have established an outpost on the world of Slepo IV. With no apparent evidence of intelligent life on the planet, the Reska begin explorations for minerals and other resources. However there is indeed a local sentient species and they don't like outsiders on their planet. Nope, not at all...

The furry aliens on the front cover rejected technology in their distant past. They are, however, masters of biological manipulation, and kill billions of Reska in germ warfare to eliminate the threat to their world once and for all.

The Man from R.O.B.O.T. by Harry Harrison. The people on the planet Slagter also don't like visitors. But when a member of the Galactic Census goes missing on the planet, along with his space ship, an undercover agent is sent in to find out what happened.

The short novel is The Mind-Changer by Verge Foray. In the far future, Earth is divided up between two factions: those with psi powers and those without. A researcher has an idea that might bridge the gap between the two powers and reduce the distrust between them.


Short Stories:

The Great Intellect Boom by Christopher Anvil. A drug company has come up with a pill to increase IQ levels. And, of course, there are unintended consequences as well as a lesson learned.

The Choice by Keith Laumer. The three-man crew of a Space Arm cruiser are captured by a machine intelligence convinced that humans are in a pell-mell rush to destruction ... and grants short-cuts to oblivion.

The Empty Balloon by Jack Wodhams. An agent captured by the Other Side is interrogated with a new mind-reading machine ... that doesn't quite work to expectations.



Issue Notes

Verge Foray is the pen name of Howard Myers who passed away at the age of 41, in 1971. There were apparently two collections of his stories published in the early 2000's by Baen...The Analytical Laboratory results for the April issue have the Opportunist at top spot with 1.60 and The Five Way Secret Agent (Part 1) in second at 2.02.
 

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