Edmond Hamilton – Fugitive of the Stars (1965)


Vintage Science Fiction
TBR #.5
Date Finished: January 2, 2018

A Federation pilot, Jim Horne, is framed for the crash of his freighter by the new second pilot, an alien from a planet torn by factions both for and against Federation membership. In order to clear his name, Horne escapes imprisonment and travels to that planet, Skereth, to find the second pilot, who has secretly escaped the crash. The anti-Federation faction turns out to be running slaves to the world to help build a secret giant computer brain within a mountain range, violating a number of Federation laws. The pilot joins up with other pro-Federation people and a number of escaped slaves to fight for truth, justice and the Skereth way.

Originally published in truncated form in the December 1957 issue of Imagination, it received full publication in this 1965 Ace Double. The magazine version skips the first few chapters, where Horne first visits Skereth and the second pilot is recruited to replace an injured human pilot, and only summarizes the space crash and Horne’s escape back to Skereth. The middle sections are largely the same, word for word, so I’d guess that the first sections were edited out by the Imagination editors, rather than being new additions by Hamilton for the Ace publication. That could be wrong, though.

The adventure is well done, though much of the trek across Skereth and underground fight could be in any genre, not just science fiction. The writing is better than I remember for Hamilton, though it has been a long time since I read anything of his other than comic books.

As for the rest of the issue of Madge, as the letter writers called it, “The Fall of Archy House” by Tom W. Harris features a 3-D television promoter whose projected images take on a life of their across the nation, with cowboys, circus acts, and cartoon cereal pitchman in 3-D life in every home. “Hero From Yesterday” by Robert Randall brings a 20th century gunman to the 26th century to fight a criminal, as everyone else in the century is peace-loving and has forgotten how to fight. Unlikely. “Rescue Mission” by Robert Silverberg has two secret agents, one human and the other Venusian, sharing a telepathic connection, trapped on a hostile planet and looking for an escape. Disappointing. Just explaining the setting and situation takes half the story. “House Operator” by S.M. Tenneshaw is a poker story with a futuristic twist. “Satellite of Death by Randall Garrett is set aboard an international space station, manned by five crew men of different nationalities. A space ship piloted by an unseen alien docks to the station and takes control of one of the crew.

Rounded out by a letter column, book review column, and a rather sad pen pal request column, the issue is adequate, though somewhat disappointing, as none of the stories provide the spark of fun or excitement that should be in a title called Imagination.

Imagination Dec 1957 page 001


Robert Sidney Bowen – Black Lightning (1934)


Date Finished: December 31, 2016
TBR #87

And one last book for 2016. This first adventure of Dusty Ayres and his Battle Birds, published as High Adventure #44, pits him against the invasion force headed by the Black Hawk. Dusty has to race around the country due to troubles with communications systems, discovering the invasion coming from an unexpected place in Canada. He daringly fights the forces, though Duluth is largely destroyed. Oh well. Some prescient elements regarding the coming World War, but still some unbelievable pulp bits and villains. I prefer Bowen’s straight air war stories.


Kenneth Robeson – The Czar of Fear (1933)


Category: Hero Pulp
Date Finished: October 29, 2015

This is another pulp series that just does not do it for me. I like the concepts and idea of Doc Savage, but Lester Dent’s writing style just does not flow for me. At least in the Czar of Fear we don’t have much of Ham and Monk’s rivalry, as Ham hardly appears. The villain seems like one of those old serial villains, of a mastermind in a hooded garment, that has some evil plot that gets foiled at every chapter. Not much to this one.


Planet Stories v03n10 Spring 1948

Planet Stories 1948-Spring p000

Category: SF Pulp
Date Finished: October 2, 2015

A Ray Bradbury short story here, “Jonah of the Jove-Run,” is the best and gets a prominent cover blurb, even though it isn’t as great as his best. “Design for Doomsday” by Bryce Walton is a space epic of war among the planets but doesn’t have much beyond the action. That is pretty well done, though. “Planet in Reverse” by Henry Guth is clever though impossible. “Space-Trap at Banya Tor” by W.J. Matthews deals with pirates in space, but is mediocre. “The Outcasts of Solar III” by Emmett McDowell features a he-man scientist who of course is athletic, brilliant, and too far fetched to be believed. The more believable part is that corporations are running things and fighting among themselves and the government with violent means, but the story switches streams a few times and throws in a number of concepts that should have been explored on their own. James Reasoner reviewed the issue here. I wasn’t familiar with the writers beyond Bradbury, and Reasoner wasn’t much either.

Looking at the letter column in the next issue, it seems that a couple liked “Jonah of the Jove-Run” best, but others supported “Space-Trap at Banya Tor” or “Outcasts of Solar III.” 


Popular Detective v37n03 November 1949


Category: Thrilling Publication
Date Finished: September 5, 2015

Darwination has written a more comprehensive review, but let me add my thoughts. The lead novelette, “Murder Off Honduras,” by David Dodge, is the perfect length for a flight from Cleveland to Chicago. A good story of detection in an interesting, fishing boat, setting. Dodge had a later novel, The Last Match, reprinted by Hard Case Crime back in 2006, but that is the only thing by him that I’ve read.

The cover is an illustration for “The Dead Don’t Die” by Bruno Fischer, set in a spooky family mansion with hidden treasure and treachery.

One I thought I’d enjoy the least is the comedic “Cheesecake and Willie” by Joe Archibald. Comedy is always tough, but this  turned out to be quite well done.


Saint Magazine v24n05 January 1967

Saint Magazine v24n05 1967-01

Category: Digest
Date Finished: August 25, 2015

This issue contains a couple of Saint reprints, as well as a Nero Wolfe reprint, leaving room for one novelette and four short stories. The novelette is a Michael Avallone spy novel in the vein of the Man From U.N.C.L.E., but in this case the Man from INTREX. He is credited here as the creator of the Man from UNCLE, which is a stretch, when he actually just wrote the first novelization. His attempt to have his own similar series here falls flat. The agents, David Seven and Miles Running Bear Farmer, appeared in four novelettes in the Saint Magazine from September 1966 to October 1967. The one in this issue is the second. A pale UNCLE imitation. Some of the other short stories are well done, including two Edward D. Hoch stories, one of which is under his Stephen Dentinger pseudonym.


Dime Detective v50n04 March 1946


Category: Mystery Pulp
Date Finished: May 10, 2015

Now that my Golden and Silver Age Mystery bingos are nearly completed, I created a Pulp bingo card to challenge me to read more pulps for the rest of the year. I finished this one a few months back, but didn’t make many notes about it. There are a number of continuing characters here that a regular reader of Dime Detective back in 1946 would have more knowledge of. I’m somewhat in the dark as to who they are, but they include newspaper reporter Bill Brent, lawyer C.D. Mort by Julius Long, genealogist Pinero Pershing by Henry Norton, and Malachi Manatee by William R. Cox. It is fun to see these forgotten detectives, however slight some of these stories are.

Blank bingo card:


Progress so far: