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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

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

© 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


© 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

© 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)


© 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


© 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)


© 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


© 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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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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Collecting Pulp Magazines

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Enchanting Victorian Fairy Tale Art

"Then world behind and home ahead..."

Exceptional British Scifi Artwork from the 1950s

Space Pulp Art by Ron Turner and other British artists

Pulp Pleasures: Eando Binder

Great space adventure fiction from the 1930s
"Where Eternity Ends" and other rare gems

Epic Fantasy: the Start of the Journey

Part 2 of our "Best Classic Fantasy" series
incl. works by Henry Kuttner, Tolkien, etc.

Strange Shadows: Best Classic Fantasy

Fantasy "glitches in the matrix",
...lovely baroque magical lands, and more

Classic Cyberpunk SF Novels: Reviews

Neal Stephenson, William Gibson, K. W. Jeter, et al
(awesome must-reads)

10 Possible Sources of "Avatar" in Classic Science Fiction

Going beyond the obvious "Dances with Smurfs"...
(many stories worth reading)

"Steampunk" Anthology: Full Review

some truly crazed stories in there...
(plus artwork by John Coulthart)

"Dune", Plus Often-Neglected
Other Novels by Frank Herbert

"Dune", plus some overlooked gems:
"The Santaroga Barrier" and "The Green Brain"

Universe at Play:
Two Must-Read Novels of the Fantastic

"The Yiddish Policemen's Union" by Michael Chabon...
and David Mitchell's "Cloud Atlas"

Two of the Most Entertaining SF Novels from the 1980s

"Vacuum Flowers" by Michael Swanwick...
and Tim Power's "The Anubis Gates", of course!

"The Body Snatchers" and Other Alien Pods

Fiction by Jack Finney, Vance, Simak and Bloch
mind impostors and emotion imitators

Exploring the Noir and the Grotesque

Jack O'Connell "The Resurrectionist"
and other newest examples of the bizarre

Overpopulation, Sex and Sensibility

Robert Silverberg's "The World Inside"
and other classic sf blasts

H. P. Lovecraft "At the Mountains of Madness"

and other masterpieces of terror
including original illustrations

"Constellations", edited by Peter Crowther

original anthology, 2005
full review: mind-bending stories

The Ultimate Guide to New Writers of SF&F

more than 2,000 writers, 1990-2009
Ratings, awards, web links

The Surreal Office

"The Situation", "The Cookie Monster"
Weird fiction by Jeff VanderMeer and Vernor Vinge

Mind-shattering Novels of Philip K. Dick

"UBIK", "Now Wait for Last Year", etc.

Theodore Sturgeon's "More Than Human"

There’s a problem with this new gestalt being: needs a conscience.

Jack Williamson's "Legion of Space" Series

Classic Space Opera
The ultimate weapon, controlled by a gorgeous woman

Astounding Stories, August 1934

Jack Williamson, Nat Schachner, "Doc" Smith
Epic space opera gems and horror surprises

Rare Pulp SF&F, Issue 3

Leigh Brackett, Fritz Leiber, Vic Phillips
Rediscovered gems of wonder & adventure

William Gibson's Novels

"Pattern Recognition", "Neuromancer"
A Fractured Delight...

Alfred Bester "The Computer Connection"

"Bester was the mountain, all the rest of us..."
Pyrokinetic writing in one neat package

Two Novels by Samuel R. Delany

"Nova" and "Babel-17"
New Wave Milestones, and then some.

Theodore Sturgeon's "The Cosmic Rape"

(and more reviews of his fiction)
Classic SF at its best and most humane

Travel Distant Worlds!

Vintage Space Travel Posters, and more.
Part 3 of Pulp Sf art series...

Alastair Reynolds' Epic Novels

"Chasm City" and "Revelation Space"
And it's only the beginning...

Rare Fantasy Gems by C. L. Moore and Henry Kuttner

Hidden Gems of Pulp Fiction
When two star writers become husband and wife

Grand Old Times... in the Future

Overview of Pulp Art
A Loudly Lurid Universe of Sci-Fi Illustration

Exclusive: Interview with Nancy Kress

From High Fantasy to Hard Science Fiction
A Spectrum of Wonder

Jack Vance

"To Live Forever"
and other Vance extravaganzas

Alastair Reynolds

"Pushing Ice"
Cosmological "noir" chase across space

Charles Stross

"Missile Gap"
Mind-bending Cold War world-building

Hidden Gems of Pulp SF, Part 2

Rare stories from the "Age of Wonder"
incl. David Keller, Horace Gold etc.

Ultra-Rare Serials from "Fantasy Magazine"

"Cosmos" + "Challenge From Beyond"
incredible line-up of writers

Hidden Gems of Pulp SF, Part 1

Neat & Rare Stories
incl. the mad rally story "The Racer"

Astounding Stories, June 1935

Full Issue Review
incl. Gallun, Schachner, Campbell

Astounding Stories, May 1941

Full Issue Review
incl. Heinlein, Asimov, Eric Frank Russell

Horace Gold; P. Schuyler Miller

"Apocalyptic Blockbusters"
"Inflexure" and "Spawn": guilty pleasure

Interview with John C. Wright

Plus his advice to new writers
Adventures in Space & Magic

Frank Belknap Long

"The Horror from the Hills"
Great Lovecraftian Weird Novella

Interview with Jeff VanderMeer

Plus his Recommended Reading List
A Triumph of the Bizarre

Alastair Reynolds, Part 2

More "Galactic North" Stories
A Mixture of Hard Sf, James Bond & Jaws...

Alastair Reynolds Review

"Galactic North"
staring down infinity...

Most Shocking Article

"Holey Fools" by M. Christian
Warning: Gross Subject Matter

Alfred Bester Review

"The Stars My Destination"
"...nail it to the Retro Hugo voting board..."

Larry Niven Review

"Neutron Star"
"better get GP alien ship hull"

Poul Anderson Review

"Ensign Flandry"
"or how to start a sub-genre..."

Thomas M. Disch Review

"The Squirrel Cage"
"...seriously mind-bending stuff..."

Henry Kuttner Review

"Mimsy Were the Borogoves" (The Last Mimzy)
"...great storyline for a pretty average movie..."

Robert A. Heinlein Review

"The Moon is the Harsh Mistress"
" caused a tooth ache, and put my brain on freeze..."

Frank Herbert Review

"Destination: Void"
"...a layered cake of ideas and a scientific extrapolation on a genius level..."

Harlan Ellison Review

"The Abnormals"
"...editors slapped the most outrageous titles on his stories..."

James White Review

"All Judgement Fled"
"...the tension is palpable, soon to grow almost unbearable..."

Grand Adventure Strikes Again

Space Opera Article, by Avi Abrams
Based on Arthur Clarke's "Against the Fall of Night"

William Gibson Review

"Burning Chrome"
"...sheer pyrotechnics and exuberance of style..."

Ace Double: Murray Leinster

"The Pirates of Ersatz /The Mutant Weapon"
"...the characters might as well be cats or hamsters..."

Astounding Stories, May 1935

Pulp SF Magazine Review
with many original illustrations

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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.

All major OFFICIAL AWARDS are highlighted in BLUE
("winner" has a letter "W" by it, otherwise it is a runner-up only)

Our PERSONAL AWARDS (ratings) are highlighted in RED and PURPLE:
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--/ cool : (equal to fifth place)

These awards are given in the following categories:
- 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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--/ emotion award
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Again, please feel free to leave your own review or comment under every writer's entry; also recommend us other stories you liked.