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Stanley Weinbaum

(original unknown)

"The Adaptive Ultimate"
(as by John Jessel)
© Astounding Stories, Nov 1935
Dawn Of Flame, 1936
A Martian Odyssey & Others, 1949
--Pre-1940 short fiction : 1971 Astounding/Analog All-Time Poll /16
--/ third place sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ idea: true super woman
--/ humour award
--/ style award
--/ rare find

"The Black Flame" (nv)
(Black Margot series)
© Startling Stories, Jan 1939
The Black Flame, 1948
--/ fourth place apocalyptic sf novel
--/ wonder award
--/ awesome scale

"The Brink Of Infinity"
© Thrilling Wonder Stories, Dec 1936
Startling Stories, Mar 1948
The Red Peri, 1952
A Martian Odyssey, 1962
--/ cool sf story
--/ idea award

"The Challenge From Beyond"
(round-robin story)
© 1934, Fantasy Magazine
--/ cool sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ rare find


"The Circle Of Zero"
© Thrilling Wonder Stories, Aug 1936
Startling Stories, Sep 1947
A Martian Odyssey, 1949
--/ cool sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award

No wonder some editors refused to buy this story: it's built upon the most basic of all paradoxes - the impossibility of true infinity, or true eternity. Why scientists keep operating with these concepts is beyond me. You may be shocked to discover that in pure mathematical sense infinity is impossible: because then everything that can happen, is happening somewhere, including the infinite amount of copies of you and me doing slightly different variations of what we are doing now (or flying whales and pink elephants, whatever - infinity is big enough to allow for anything). As for eternity, it too is long enough to allow for ANYTHING to happen... Here is a quote from this story: "Since in eternity everything possible must happen, it follows that everything must already have happened !" Weinbaum uses this concept as a basis for time travel in this story, but as for the "impossibility of infinity" itself, science still has to explain this paradox. To my knowledge, they just keep merrily rolling along, brushing it aside. Certainly makes you think, eh?
review: 30-Jul-06 (read in 1998)


"Dawn Of Flame"
(Black Margot series)
© Dawn Of Flame (coll), 1936
Thrilling Wonder Stories, Jun 1939
The Black Flame, 1948
--/ cool apocalyptic sf novella
--/ wonder award
--/ awesome scale


"Dawn of Flame" (coll)
© Ruppert Publ., 1936
--/ fourth place sf collection
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award

This is The Weinbaum Memorial Volume - most stories appeared in other collections, notably "The Martian Odyssey & Others" but this rare edition came out first. I saw it on the web for close to $2000. The stories themselves, of course are "classics" all, and a superb entertainment. Stanley Weinbaum's tragic death has put an end to his brilliant writing carreer, just as he began to plan an ultimate Good vs. Evil struggle novel, an epic to end all epics.
review: 30-Jul-06 (read in 1998)


"The Dictator" (nv)
(also as "Revolution of 1980")
(with Ralph Milne Farley)
© 1938, original
A Martian Odyssey, 2004
--/ rare find


"The Ideal"
(Professor Manderpootz)
© Wonder Stories, Sep 1935
Startling Stories, Jun 1943
A Martian Odyssey, 1949
--/ cool sf story
--/ wonder award

A hodge-podge of curious ideas and situations, a vintage "wonder" tale. "An eccentric scientist announces that he intends to build an omniscient device in the form of a head. This is possible since he has already discovered the basic unit of time (the chronon) and space (the spation). Beyond these is the cosmon (the ultimate), and from these can be constructed the psychon (the unit of thought)" (this is a typical example of pseudo-science of the early pulps) When he actually constructs his device, it turns out to be a mechanism for viewing the ideal of anything thought of. He asks his friend, a bored playboy character, to use the idealizator, and, naturally, he thinks of his ideal woman. She appears and what follows is, an at times hilarious, P. G. Wodehouse-like silly romantic mess, which slowly unravels toward the end of the story. The illustration below shows a curious sub-plot - a mechanical "beast of prey" that was designed to "kill" automobiles. It's programmed to seek out the automobile, seize it, and drain its fuel. Sounds like a very timely invention indeed, for use in the coming oil crisis :)
review: 27-Sep-06 (read in 2003)

(artwork by Frank R. Paul)


"The Lotus Eaters"
(Ham Hammond series)
© Astounding, Apr 1935
Dawn Of Flame, 1936
A Martian Odyssey, 1949
--/ third place space sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ adventure award
--/ style award
--/ humour award

"The Mad Moon"
© Astounding Stories, Dec 1935
Dawn Of Flame, 1936
A Martian Odyssey, 1949
--/ cool space sf story
--/ wonder award

"A Martian Odyssey"
(Tweerl series)
© Wonder Stories, Jul 1934
Startling Stories, Nov 1939
Dawn Of Flame, 1936
A Martian Odyssey, 1949
--short fiction : 1971 Astounding/Analog All-Time Poll /3
--short fiction : 1977 Astounding/Analog All-Time Poll /21 (tie)
--novelette : 1999 Locus All-Time Poll /26 (tie)

--/ second place space sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ adventure award
--/ style award
--/ humour award

"The Parasite Planet"
(Ham Hammond series)
© Astounding, Feb 1935
A Martian Odyssey, 1949
--/ cool space sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ adventure award

"Planet Of Doubt"
(Ham Hammond series)
© Astounding, Oct 1935
A Martian Odyssey, 1949
--/ third place space sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ adventure award
--/ style award

"The Point Of View"
(Professor Manderpootz)
© Wonder Stories, Feb 1936
--/ cool sf story
--/ idea award
--/ rare find


"The Proteus Island"
© Astounding, Aug 1936
The Red Peri, 1952
A Martian Odyssey, 1962
--/ cool sf story
--/ wonder award

In a way, this story is derived from "The Island of Dr. Moreau"; it is also perhaps the first story to describe genetic engineering. It postulates that "the nature of the beast" cannot be changed as easily as its physical form, and goes on to entertain the reader with a thrilling menace of monsters on an abandoned island. But it is nowhere as good (or truly weird) as "Fungus Isle" (1923) by Philip M. Fisher, which takes the cake among such stories.
review: 30-Jul-06 (read in 1998)


"Pygmalion's Spectacles"
© Wonder Stories, Jun 1935
Startling Stories, May 1939
A Martian Odyssey, 1949
--/ cool sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award

"Red Peri"
© Astounding, Nov 1935
Dawn Of Flame, 1936
The Red Peri, 1952
--/ cool sf adventure novella
--/ wonder award
--/ adventure award

"Redemption Cairn"
© Astounding Stories, Mar 1936
The Red Peri, 1952
A Martian Odyssey & Others, 1974
--/ third place space sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ adventure award
--/ humour award
--/ style award
--/ romance award
--/ rare find

"The Shifting Seas"
© Amazing Stories, Apr 1937
Fantastic, May 1967
The Red Peri, 1952
--/ cool sf story
--/ idea award

"Tidal Moon"
© Thrilling Wonder Stories, Dec 1938
--/ fourth place space sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ romance award
--/ rare find

"Valley Of Dreams"
(Tweerl series)
© Wonder Stories, Nov 1934
Startling Stories, May 1940
A Martian Odyssey, 1949
--/ fourth place space sf story
--/ adventure award
--/ wonder award


"The Worlds Of If"
(Professor Manderpootz)
© Wonder Stories, Aug 1935
Startling Stories, Mar 1941
Dawn Of Flame, 1936
A Martian Odyssey, 1949
--/ cool sf story
--/ wonder award

Lightly humorous story, not very memorable, but very cute. Professor van Manderpootz, an eccentric megalomaniac genius, has invented a machine that sees into worlds that might have been, if things had turned out differently. Classic theme, classic treatment. Well worth reading with your cup of coffee at breakfast.
review: 30-Sep-06 (read in 1995)


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Astounding Stories, June 1935

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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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