Manhunt – August 1954

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Vintage Golden Age Mystery Digest
TBR #102 (62e, 40p)
Date Finished: September 8
, 2019

Volume 2, number 6 of Manhunt presents a “complete novel” by Charlies Williams, “And Share Alike,” which was expended as A Touch of Death. Other stories here include:

“Effective Medicine” by B. Traven
In Mexico a peasant’s wife runs off and he forces the American doctor to use his magic to find her. Kind of racist, or at least insulting, with no suspense.

“Accident ” by John M. Sitan
Tough guy loses girlfriend in accident then torments driver Tasteless.

“I Don’t Fool Around” by Charles Jackson
Boy moons over flapper. No suspense or mystery until end. Interesting character study but strange. Odd that this gets cover promotion but they probably bought it more for the name than the story.

“Frame” by Frank Kane
When Johnny Liddell’s client and operative are both shot to death Johnny doesn’t buy that they killed each other over a botched diamond robbery attempt. Digging deeper among the few who knew of the diamonds, he finds more murder and gets to be a tough guy. Effective and gritty, a much better story than the late John Liddell stories I’ve been reading recently.

“Yard Bull” by Frank Selig
Man hates women. Now a yard bull, he tries to stop a woman in the yard before she can corrupt another young bum. Gay theme but in a negative, harsh way.

Sky Aces – April 1940

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Vintage Pulp Magazine
TBR #100 (60e, 40p)
Date Finished: September 4, 2019

Sky Aces was still fighting World War I at the beginning of World War II, but just in a cartoonish, unrealistic way. Sure, these are standard stories of valor and heroism, but a hero is always a hero, and unconventional tactics always work. Once in a while, a story like this could be fun, but ten in a row is a bit too much.

Astounding Science Fiction, November 1951

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Vintage Science Fiction Pulp
Date Finished: August 27, 2019

Iceworld continues here in the second installment, but also:

“The Hunting Season” by Frank M. Robinson
Totalitarian state sends criminals back in time to be hunted like The Most Dangerous Game. Lots of running but confusing and pointless. Weak.

“Implode and Peddle” by H.B. Fyfe
Capitalism on another planet. Supposed to be humorous, I guess. Overlong.

“To Explain Mrs. Thompson” by Philip Latham
Astronomers find the image of a middle-aged human woman appearing in the vicinity of the Andromeda Galaxy. What does it all mean? Starts out well with scientists in confusion, but ends with little explanation as the image fades away.

Not the strongest issue, but maybe my science fiction patience is wearing thin.

Astounding Science Fiction, October 1951

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Vintage Science Fiction Pulp
Date Finished: August 17, 2019

Obviously this one features the first installment of Iceworld, but also the following:

“Thinking Machine” by H.B. Fyfe
Confusing beginning finally resolves into a space station battle between human and Arcturian crew members. Took too long to get interesting.

“The Years Draw Nigh” by Lester del Rey
Years late, a final exploration rocket returns to Mars to find earth’s hope for finding other races or hospitable planets gone, with evidence that the same revelation had crushed an earlier race on Mars. Interesting themes in a downbeat way.

“Ultima Thule” by Eric Frank Russell
Rocket containing three men goes beyond all space and time with each of the three handling it in their own ways. Well done.

“The Head Hunters” by Ralph Williams
Alien hunter encounters earth hunters in Alaska. Not very complex other than one being an extraterrestrial.

Astounding Science Fiction – December 1951

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Vintage Science Fiction Pulp
TBR #89 (57e, 32p)
Date Finished: July 30
, 2019

Featuring the third installment of “Iceworld” by Hal Clement, this issue also includes the following:

“Dune Roller” by J.C. May
Read this a long time back, but remember it being a good story and entertaining.

“Hell’s Pavement” by Irving E. Cox, Jr.
Warrior empire visits planet, but can’t deal with their unusual peaceful ways. Irony: It turns out to be Earth!

“The Edge of Forever” by Chad Oliver
Humans stationed on alien planet trapped inside by 6-month rainy season. Reads more like a simple mystery as one character goes insane, though in the end not very complicated.

Dime Mystery – May 1944

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Vintage Mystery Pulp
TBR #76 (49e, 27p)
Date Finished: June 29, 2019

An intriguing cover of this issue of Dime Mystery, but that’s probably the best part of the issue.

“Hell’s Scarlet Flower” by Day Keene
A femme fatale due to be executed in the electric chair leaves letter after death predicting several upcoming deaths. Did she really die or is it a elaborate plot to get the stolen money? Spooky aspects logically explained.

“The Cat Woman’s Curse” by Jack Bradley
Two thugs chase another gang member who made off with the stolen payroll. All come to bad ends. The Cat Woman in question is a ring that the leader wears. Not spooky but action packed with good tension.

“The Man Who Would Be Hitler” by Bruno Fischer
A fake death ray scam goes wrong when the victim gets delusions of grandeur and commits murder. The cousin of the scam victim foils the plot. Good thriller.

“I’ll Bury You Deeper” by Russel Gray
When wife disappears husband seems to go crazy, while her lover acts somewhat guilty himself. Culprit tricked by the other in short character study.

“Dr. Cobalt Prescribes Death” by Francis K. Allan
Quirky sleuth Dr. Cobalt investigates death of mother of a girl after they had returned to the New York home after being away for four years. The dead father had something to do with missing mob money and now factions are gathering to find that money. Moderately interesting.

“Corpses Leave Me Cold” by David X. Manners
Convoluted war time story of war plant inventions, old loves, betrayal by friends, murders. Tough to keep straight.

Amazing Stories – December 1936

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Vintage Science Fiction Pulp
TBR #73 (46e, 27p)
Date Finished: June 25, 2019

This issue finishes the second part of John W. Campbell, Jr.’s “Uncertainty.” The rest of the issue includes the following:

“Time Control” by Philip Jacques Bartel
Time traveling Soviets dealing with bureaucracy. Confusing.

“The Space Marines and the Slavers” by Bob Olsen
Good setting of space marines on secret mission to Mars to rescue slaves marred mainly by dialogue explaining basic stuff of Mars, such as the moons and their names, to junior officer who should know this by now.

“Devolution” by Edmond Hamilton
Men discover aliens who are seeking descendants of the original interstellar settlers of earth, finding all has devolved. Human can’t take it. Much lecturing, little action.

“Death Creeps the Moon” by Wede
Humorously crotchety professor participates with discovery of prehistoric termite civilization. Their writings are easily translated into English with the vast majority of the story then relating boring bug history from the point of view of moon men they defeated.

“When the Earth Stood Still” by Arlyn H. Vance
Odd story of renegade scientist exiled for warning world of impending doom. When the earth stops rotating, gravity, sound, and light inexplicably also stop working. Scientist works to save world  then quits and they live happily ever after on stationary planet, despite all previous reason why that wouldn’t work. Strange, almost if intended ending was cut and all wrapped up differently in a page.

Science fiction remains not my thing, other than Fredric Brown, but perhaps that is because I’m reading 1936 science fiction.