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Margaret St. Clair



"The Age of Prophecy "
© Future, Mar 1951
Change the Sky, 1974
--/ cool apocalyptic sf story

"The Altruists"
© F&SF, Nov 1953
Change the Sky, 1974

"Asking"
© F&SF, Nov 1955
Change the Sky, 1974
--/ cool sf story

"Beaulieu"
© F&SF, Jan 1966
Change The Sky, 1974
--/ cool f story
--/ wonder award

"The Boy Who Predicted Earthquakes"
© McLeans, 1950

"Change the Sky"
© F&SF, Mar 1955
Change the Sky & Oth. Stories, 1974
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ idea award
--/ wonder award
--/ emotion award
--/ rare find

"Change the Sky" (coll)
© Ace Books, 1974
--/ cool sf collection

----------------------------------------------



"Consumership"
© Science Fiction Stories, Sep 1956
--/ cool sf story
--/ emotion award

The story was translated in Russian as "Potrebiteli", and it is no wonder that communist publishers liked this biting satire against consumerism. In this story, a future society demands that people buy, spend and consume more and more products. If you don't, you face the consequences of being thrown down the social ladder. This is one of the rarest treatments of this subject, all the more so because it was not ever reprinted in any English-language anthology.
review: 01-Aug-06 (read in 1984)

----------------------------------------------

"The Counter Charm"
© Famous Fantastic Mysteries, Aug 1949
Androids, Time Machines and Blue Giraffes, 1973
--/ third place sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ idea: life inside sf pulp drawing
--/ humour award
--/ style award
--/ rare find

"The Death of Each Day"
© F&SF, Apr 1958
Change the Sky, 1974

"The Death Wish"
© 1956, Fantastic Universe
--/ cool sf story

"Discipline"
© IF, Feb 1959
--/ cool sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ rare find


"An Egg A Month From All Over"
(as by Idris Seabright)
© F&SF, Oct 1952
Change the Sky and Other Stories, 1974
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award

"Fort Iron"
© Science Fiction Quarterly, Nov 1955
Change the Sky, 1974

"The Goddess on the Street Corner"
© Beyond Fantasy Fiction, Sep 1953
Change the Sky, 1974
--/ cool f story

"Graveyard Shift"
© F&SF, Feb 1959
Change the Sky, 1974

----------------------------------------------



"Horrer Hawce"
© Galaxy, Jul 1956
The Best of Margaret St.Clair, 1988
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ style award


An amazingly effective haunted house/multiple dimensions story; I loved the atmosphere and fast-paced writing. A certain winner, with many Lovecraftian overtones.
review: 07-Jul-06 (read in 1989)

----------------------------------------------

"Lazarus"
© Startling Stories, Fall 1955
Change the Sky, 1974
--/ cool sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ shock value
--/ rare find

"The Listening Child"
(as Idris Seabright)
© F&SF, Dec 1950

"Marriage Manual"
© Startling Stories, Fall 1954
Change the Sky, 1974

"Mrs. Hawk"
© Weird Tales, Jul 1953
--/ cool f story
--/ style award
--/ rare find


"An Old-Fashioned Bird Christmas"
© Galaxy, Dec 1961
Change the Sky, 1974

----------------------------------------------



"Pillows"
© Thrilling Wonder Stories, Jun 1950
The Best of Margaret St.Clair, 1988
--short story : 1950 Retro Hugo nomination
--/ fourth place space sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ adventure award


Very solid space adventure with truly interesting aliens. I did not expect it from this writer, but here it is! Licks any other good entry. I can eat such stories for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
review: 04-Jul-06 (read in 2002)

----------------------------------------------



"Prott"
© Galaxy, Jan 1953
The Best of Margaret St.Clair, 1988
--/ cool f story
--/ style award
--/ wonder award
--/ humour award


"Prott" is a "boring" alien race, who did nothing but bore humans. They looked like gigantic space-going fried eggs. The story begins with a Prott discovering a human in a spaceship; the Prott enthusiastically begins telling the human about "--ing the --." However, the man can't make out what the noun and verb in the telepathically transmitted phrase mean, so the Prott explains some more... and more... and brings equally enthusiastic friends
review: 04-Jul-06 (read in 1993)

----------------------------------------------



"Shore Leave"
© Change the Sky, 1974
Change the Sky, 1974
--/ cool sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award
--/ shock value
--/ rare find

----------------------------------------------

"Short In The Chest"
(as by Idris Seabright)
© Fantastic Universe, Jul 1954
The Best of Margaret St.Clair, 1988
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ style award


----------------------------------------------



"Stawdust"
© F&SF, Sep 1956
Change the Sky, 1974
--/ fourth place space sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award
--/ shock value

Absolutely surreal and at times bewildering story about a "nightmare of the senses" in a hyperspace starship, where nothing is what it seems. The cause of the hallucinations is not explained, it could be some physiological effect of hyperspace itself. The creepy feeling is top-notch, almost Hitchcock-ian it its intensity - people disappear from the ship one by one, turning into saw-dust filled dummies, and our poor girl is left alone to pilot the ship... Can she make it, as the instruments and technology itself are crumbling all around her? No, she definitely can't, and the way her doom catches up with her is quite nightmarish indeed.
review: 20-Sep-06 (read in 2003)

----------------------------------------------

"Then Fly Our Greetings"
© Startling Stories, Mar 1951
Change the Sky, 1974
--/ cool sf story

----------------------------------------------

"Thirsty God"
(as by Idris Seabright)
© F&SF, Mar 1953
--/ cool sf story
--/ wonder award

Rare and imaginative story about Brian, a human who rapes a Venusian girl and seeks refuge from her family in a small shrine. But the shrine turns out to be an alien machine that changes his body while he's asleep. Unfortunately the machine wasn't designed to convert humans so the process goes wrong, leaving him physically helpless. In that state he is found and repeatedly subjected to a kind of symbolic rape by a more primitive Venusian race. (synopsis by Leem)
review: 20-Sep-06 (read in 1997)

----------------------------------------------

"The Wines of Earth"
(as by Idris Seabright)
© Change the Sky, 1974
Change the Sky, 1974

----------------------------------------------

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COMMENTS:

2 Comments:

Blogger Leem said...

"Thirsty God" is about Brian, a human who rapes a Venusian girl and seeks refuge from her family in a small shrine. But the shrine turns out to be an alien machine that changes his body while he's asleep. Unfortunately the machine wasn't designed to convert humans so the process goes wrong, leaving him physically helpless. In that state he is found and repeatedly subjected to a kind of symbolic rape by a more primitive Venusian race.

The thing that makes this story stand out for me is the way Brian's paralysed body is exploited by the primitive Venusians. There's something almost erotic in the notion of his helpless body being constantly used against his will, despite the fact that for him there's nothing remotely arousing or enjoyable about it.

3:07 PM  
Blogger Avi Abrams said...

Thanks for good synopsis of the story. I almost forgot, as I read it 10 years ago... I just remember it was quite intense and cool for its 1953 publishing date. I included your summary in the story entry.

3:35 PM  

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"SF&F Reading Experience" is part of "Dark Roasted Blend / Thrilling Wonder" family of sites. We try to highlight the most entertaining and rewarding science fiction and fantasy, with emphasis on memorable reader experience, not necessarily general acceptance by the critics. Have fun, and delve into our extensive ratings and reviews!

Most reviews are written by Avi Abrams, unless otherwise noted. Reviews also appear on our unique historical retrospective page Wonder Timeline of Science Fiction. Feel free to submit your own review, if a particular story is not listed here.


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--/ cool : (equal to fifth place)
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- novel :
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Also, there are our personal STYLE / GENRE SPECIFIC AWARDS. These reflect the story's content and the lasting impression on the reader:

--/ wonder award
sense-of-wonder, "visual intensity" and inventiveness

--/ idea award
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--/ adventure award
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--/ style award
outstanding literary qualities, inimitable style

--/ romance award
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touching, lasting impression, sensitivity

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