Friday, May 29, 2009

Raymond J Healy & J Francis McComas (Eds)' "Adventures in Time and Space" (anthology, 1946): Annotated table of contents & review

Cover image of science fiction anthology titled Adventures in Time and Space, edited by Raymond J Healy and J Francis McComas.I've so often seen it referred to as "the best" science fiction anthology out there that I had to look it up. A closer look suggests it's mostly selections from Astounding issues edited by John W Campbell, Jr. But good stories. A few points:
  1. It's editor, McComas, is one of the founding editors of F&SF (along with Anthony Boucher).
  2. These selections include 2 stories of Harry Bates. He was the founding editor of Astounding (now called Analog). All Astounding issues he edited are now online.
I 'm dropping non-fiction from the ToC list below; keeping only fiction. Where I'm aware of online versions of stories, I include the links. My rating is in brackets. Link on story title goes to my post on the story, if there is one. Links on nouns yield more matching fiction.

Table of contents (33 stories, best first, unread last).

  1. [novelette] Henry Kuttner and C L Moore's "The Twonky" (as by Lewis Padgett) (A); download; Astounding, September 1942: An audio player that can do your dishes, read & change your mind, stop you from doing naughty things, ...!
  2. [novelette] Henry Kuttner & C L Moore's "The Proud Robot" (as by Lewis Padgett) (A); download; Astounding, October 1943; humor: Hilarious story about a robot in love with itself. Touches on some contemporary themes - video use in a way that annoys content owners, DRM (yes - in a 1943 story!), frivolous patents - but in a manner technologically irrelevant to current times (except last issue - patents).
  3. [novelette] Eric Frank Russell & Maurice G Hugi's "Mechanical Mice" (A); Astounding, January 1941: Robots programmed for survival terrorize a neighborhood.
  4. [novella] John W Campbell, Jr's "Who Goes There?" (as by Don A Stuart) (A); download text, or whole Astounding/August 1938 issue scans, or (in US only) watch John Carpenter's movie adaptation titled "The Thing" (1982) at SF Signal or at Hulu; Astounding, August 1938: Curious figuratively & inadvertently open the bottle to let the djinn out, & all hell breaks loose.
  5. [novelette] John W Campbell, Jr's "Forgetfulness" (as by Don A Stuart) (A); Astounding, June 1937: "it is possible that a type of civilization exists so radically divergent from our own that it is to us unrecognizable as civilization."
  6. [novelette] Raymond Z Gallun's "Seeds of the Dusk" (A); Astounding, June 1938: How Martians exterminated the descendants of humanity...
  7. [novelette] A E van Vogt's "Black Destroyer" (A); Astounding, July 1939; download: A practically immortal super-being of an alien world is attacking human visitors & threatens to overrun inhabited galaxy. I found the ending incomprehensible, but it was an interesting read.

    First published story of Van Vogt.

    "Golden Age" is said to have began with publication of this story!
  8. [novelette] Robert A Heinlein's "The Roads Must Roll" (A); download text as part of a larger package, or MP3 of radio adaptation; Astounding, June 1940: Terrorist attack on suburban transport system causes much mayhem. Transport system itself is of rolling tracks rather than moving vehicles - kind of large scale adaptation of the things seen at some airports.
  9. [novelette] Isaac Asimov's "Nightfall" (A); download MP3; Astounding, September 1941: On a world with many suns, natives are unexposed to the idea of night & are very afraid of dark are about to face night & nightmares due to eclipse that occurs only once several thousand years.

    I personally prefer the corresponding part of its novelization (later half of novel is uninteresting post-apocalypse stuff). I would have ranked this novel part higher in this list.
  10. [ss] Alfred Bester's "Adam and No Eve" (A); download graphic adaptation; Astounding, September 1941: A maniacal inventor inadvertently uses a new discovery & ends up destroying all life on earth. But there is a way yet for earth to rebuild life - only there won't be any more humans.
  11. [ss] Ross Rocklynne's "Quietus" (A); download; Astounding, September 1940: "who we are creates a bias in how we view the world".
  12. [novelette] L Sprague de Camp's "The Blue Giraffe" (A); Astounding, August 1939; humor: When a man was bestowed the honored of marrying an uplifted female baboon!!
  13. [novelette] Harry Bates' "Farewell to the Master" (A); download; Astounding, October 1940; first contact: What we see depends on what we are...

    What makes this story special is its punchline. Early parts of the story are good, but they're not why it's so famous.
  14. [novella] Henry Hasse's "He Who Shrank" (A); Amazing Stories, August 1936: Adventure, interacting with many kinds of alien people. One of the descendants of Jonathan Swift's "Gulliver's Travels".
  15. [novelette] Fredric Brown's "The Star Mouse" (A); Planet Stories, Spring 1942: When "Mitkey" mouse represented earth during first contact with aliens!
  16. [novella] Lester del Rey's "Nerves" (A); Astounding, September 1942: Containing damage in the aftermath of an accident at a facility manufacturing radioactive products.
  17. [novelette] Eric Frank Russell's "Symbiotica" (B); Astounding, October 1943: Travails of inadvertently nasty human adventurers on an alien planet where animal & plant life-forms live in a much closer symbiosis than on earth, & where plants can be very nasty once provoked.
  18. [ss] Robert A Heinlein's "Requiem" (B); Astounding, January 1940: A man dies pursuing a dream. This is a sequel to Heinlein's fantastic "The Man Who Sold the Moon".
  19. [novelette] A E van Vogt's "The Weapon Shop" aka "The Weapons Shop" aka "The Weapon Shops of Isher" (B); Astounding, December 1942: An organization in the role of Robin Hood in a future dystopia.

    I personally found an earlier version of this story - "See-saw" - a much better read.
  20. [ss] Milton A Rothman's "Heavy Planet" (B) (as by Lee Gregory); download; Astounding, August 1939: A native of a super-high gravity & super-dense atmosphere world has found an invaluable relic of alien origin.
  21. [novella] P Schuyler Miller's "The Sands of Time"; 1937: Not read.
  22. [novelette] Henry Kuttner's "Time Locker" (as by Lewis Padgett); download; Astounding, January 1943: Not read.
  23. [ss] Cleve Cartmill's "The Link"; Astounding, August 1942: Not read.
  24. [novella] Harry Bates' "A Matter of Size"; Astounding, April 1934: Not read.
  25. [ss] P Schuyler Miller's "As Never Was"; Astounding, January 1944: Not read.
  26. [ss] Anthony Boucher's "Q. U. R."; Astounding, March 1943: Not read. I think both it's text & MP3 are online, but I don't have links handy.
  27. [novella] A E van Vogt's "Asylum"; Astounding, May 1942: Not read.
  28. [ss] Robert Moore Williams' "Robot's Return" aka "Robots Return"; 1938: Not read.
  29. [novelette] J Francis McComas' "Flight into Darkness" (as by Webb Marlowe); Astounding, February 1943: Not read.
  30. [ss] R DeWitt Miller's "Within the Pyramid"; Astounding, March 1937: Not read.
  31. [novella] Robert A Heinlein's "By His Bootstraps" (as by Anson MacDonald); Astounding, October 1941: Not read.
  32. [ss] Raymond F Jones' "Correspondence Course"; Astounding, April 1945: Not read.
  33. [ss] S Fowler Wright's "Brain"; 1932: Not read.

Fact sheet.

Alternate title: "Famous Science-Fiction Stories: Adventures in Time and Space".
Credits: Some of the information here comes from ISFDB.
Legend: ss = short story.


Crotchety Old Fan said...

Nice write up of this seminal, classic work.

I just wanted to send along a couple of observations: several of these stories were made into films/radio plays (and you can find links to them at;
you can also gain some insight into who the most influential authors of that era were by noting the presence of multiple stories by several authors. These days, it is very unusual to find an anthology that has more than one story per author.

Tinkoo said...

I'll have a look at Rimworlds link. And also link any that are online. Thanks.

"These days, it is very unusual to find an anthology that has more than one story per author.": Yes, I don't see anyone around who can even remotely challenge Kuttner, Moore, or Russell. I'm a fan of Ted Chiang among the modern ones, but he's not very prolific.