Fredric Brown – Paradox Lost (1973)


Vintage Science Fiction
Date Finished: September 9, 2019

Another outstanding collection of Fredric Brown short stories, each filled with wit and intelligence. Some notes:

“Paradox Lost”
A dozing student falls into a time warp directed by an insane navigator, killing dinosaurs with a slingshot, in a story of paradoxes, sanity/insanity, and complexities. Whew.

“The Last Train”
A drunk, planning for years to get out by catching whatever train is available, finally takes action only to just miss the last train. Not weird until the end, but being published in Weird Tales fits.

“Obedience (The Undying Ones)”
A tough look at humanity’s instinct to kill all possible enemies, justified or not, and the one human who goes against that to save a race of aliens.

“Ten Percenter”
Selling your soul to an agent never turns out the way you expect. Very good story.

Cat phobia in a experiment on words.

“The New One”
Pyro deals with temptations and demons in a confusing story.

“Double Standard ”
What if TV world existed and lived by censor standards but could also see our world not living by the same standards? Interesting question well executed.

Astounding Science Fiction, November 1951


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


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


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.

Hal Clement – Iceworld (1951)


Vintage Science Fiction
Date Finished: July 29
, 2019

Sulfur-based beings used to a 500 degree environment can’t understand earth life. They come to earth to trade worthless platinum for highly valuable and addictive tobacco. One in particular is an undercover agent trying to break up the drug ring. Many chapters of trying to figure out what water is or what fire is. Discussion upon discussion about dealing with temperatures. The earth family that encounters the aliens is run like a scientific discussion group and written like a juvenile adventure. Very tough to get through.

Amazing Stories – December 1936


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.