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Astounding Stories, June 1936



H. P. Lovecraft
"The Shadow Out Of Time"

(Cthulhu Mythos series)
© Astounding Stories, Jun 1936
The Dunwich Horror, 1963
--/ fourth place sf novella
--/ wonder award
--/ awesome scale

Lovecraft's attempt at science fiction ultimately disappoints. I approached this novella with a great expectation to find something of a magnitude of "The Mountains of Madness", but the pedantic and non-involving style of the narrative, combined with not enough tension and visuals, spoiled it for me. It is, however, a grand effort. Here is a synopsis from Wikipedia: "It indirectly tells of the Great Race of Yith, an extraterrestrial species with the ability to travel through space and time. They switch bodies with hosts from the intended space or time destination.The Yithians original purpose is to study the history of various times and places, and they have amassed a "library city" that is filled with the past and future history of multiple races, including humans. Ultimately the Yithians use their ability to escape the destruction of their planet in another galaxy by switching bodies with a race of cone-shaped beings who lived 250 million years ago on Earth. The cone-shaped entities (now also known as the Great Race of Yith) live in a vast city in what would later become Australia Great Desert."
review: 01-Aug-06 (read in 2006)


Nat Schachner
"Reverse Universe"

© Astounding Stories, Jun 1936
--/ fourth place space sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ adventure award
--/ idea: time backwards
--/ awesome scale
--/ emotion award
--/ rare find

This is a "diamond in the rough" - a tough, beautiful story of survival in space (with emphasized undertones of sacrifice and despair, which gives this story an emotional intensity unusual for a pre-Campbell era pulp). But wait, there is more! The story evolves into totally weird "reverse Universe" environment, complete with an alien ecology and loads of wonder. This is a high point for Schachner (not a slacker in "pulp fiction" by any means) and a "blockbuster" of a story. It is really strange that no anthology dealing with space/time exploration ever reprinted it.
review: 01-Aug-06 (read in 2006)


Stanton Coblentz
"The Glowworm Flower"

© Astounding Stories, Jun 1936
--/ cool sf story: alien plant dreams
--/ wonder award
--/ rare find

An imaginative tale from legendary Stanton Coblentz. He had uneven writing standards: some of his stories soared into imaginative pantheons worthy of the greatest practitioners of the genre, but some lagged behind with very contrived plots. This story straddles the middle, as it describes in hallucinogenic detail the drugged dreams induced by an alien plant.

review: 02-Aug-06 (read in 2006)


Ross Rocklynne
"At the Center of Gravity"
(Colbie & Deverel)
© Astounding Stories, Jun 1936
The Men and the Mirror, 1973
--/ fourth place space sf novella
--/ idea award
--/ wonder award

This hard-science space story describes the plight of two men trapped at the center of a hollow planet approaching the Sun. That planet is Vulcan, believed to be closer to our Sun than Mercury. I personally think it is as good as anything Asimov or Heinlein wrote in "problem solving in space" sub-genre; it has a great plot, brisk narrative style and keeps the reader guessing. One of the better efforts of Ross Rocklynne, who should be reprinted more often.
review: 03-Aug-06 (read in 2006)


This issue also contained the third installment of Jack Williamson's "The Cometeers", a large-scale space adventure novel. Read the review of it HERE


Other stories round up the issue, being mostly the "fillers"...

F. Orlin Tremaine

(as by Warner Van Lorne)
© Astounding Stories, Jun 1936
--/ cool sf story: ice giant
--/ rare find

The usual fare, but with a bigger scale: it describes a polar expedition, an ice giant, great vistas of time and Ice Ages. Quite entertaining.
review: 03-Aug-06 (read in 2006)


Nat Schachner
"Ecce Homo"

(as by Chan Corbett)
© Astounding Stories, Jun 1936
--/ cool sf story: epic alien history
--/ wonder award
--/ awesome scale
--/ rare find

An even bigger scale here... The canvas is eons and eons of a civilization's development, told with broad, sweeping strokes - a curious (almost non-fiction) piece. The Latin title 'Ecce Homo' is taken from the Bible, and means 'Behold the man!'
review: 03-Aug-06 (read in 2006)


Clifton B. Kruse
"Origin Of Thought"

(as by Spencer Lane)
© Astounding Stories, Jun 1936
--/ cool sf story: thought realization
--/ wonder award
--/ rare find

I've never read anything by Kruse before, but apparently he was active enough in the pulps (to even have a pen-name), and this story is written with professionalism and deft handling of the subject. "Whatever you think, you can think it into existence" - certainly an old idea, but presented here with a "sense-of-wonder" touch.
review: 03-Aug-06 (read in 2006)


Overall, a vintage showcase of "Sense-of-wonder" adventure science fiction of the Thirties. Splendi-licious.

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some truly crazed stories in there...
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and other newest examples of the bizarre

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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

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

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"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

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

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"To Live Forever"
and other Vance extravaganzas

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"Pushing Ice"
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"Missile Gap"
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Neat & Rare Stories
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Full Issue Review
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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:
--/ first place :
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--/ third place :

--/ fourth place :

--/ cool : (equal to fifth place)

These awards are given in the following categories:
- novel :
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- novella :
- story :
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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
originality of idea / concept

--/ adventure award
exhilarating plot, excitement / action

--/ style award
outstanding literary qualities, inimitable style

--/ romance award
intense and beautiful love / relationships

--/ humour award
funny and cool

--/ emotion award
touching, lasting impression, sensitivity

--/ shock value
altogether wild

--/ awesome scale
mind-boggling; further enhances sense-of-wonder

--/ rare find
very hard to locate, mostly from old pulps, never reprinted, etc.

Again, please feel free to leave your own review or comment under every writer's entry; also recommend us other stories you liked.