Friday, January 8, 2010

"Astounding Science Fiction", November 1944 (ed John W Campbell, Jr) (magazine, free): Annotated table of contents & review

Cover image by Timmins of Astounding Science Fiction magazine, November 1944 issue. It illustrates the story Killdozer by Theodore Sturgeon.Scans of this magazine in CBR format are online as part of a larger package.

There are two rather well known stories in this issue: "Desertion" & "Killdozer":

  1. "Desertion", however, is not for genre newbies; appreciating it requires some experience in genre tropes, styles, & concerns. There has been some renewed interest in this story last couple of weeks because of Hollywood movie "Avatar".
  2. I personally think "Killdozer" is an overrated story, though I've seen it referred to as one of the greatest from Astounding. In fact, of the dozen odd Sturgeon stories I've read so far, I'll care to recommend only two: "More Than Human" (novel) & "Microcosmic God" (ss).

Table of contents (6 stories, best first).

My rating is in brackets. Where I have a separate post on a story, link on story title goes there. Link on author fetches more fiction by author.
  1. [ss] A E van Vogt's "The Harmonizer" (A): "ibis plant was a very delicate thing - in some ways. A sensitive flower. But so utterly unkillable that geological time hadn't been able to exterminate it or its tremendous urge."
  2. [novelette] Henry Kuttner & C L Moore's "When the Bough Breaks" (B) (as by Lewis Padgett): "The boy was a super-baby. His parents didn't know it, though, till the strange little servants came back through time to set up a strange sort of school - & a strange sort of inevitable dilemma."

    Collected in "Clash By Night & Other Stories".
  3. [ss] Clifford D Simak's "Desertion" (B): "Exploring a really alien planet is almost impossible - it takes a form adapted to the conditions of the planet. But even when men were given that properly adapted form, they didn't come back -"

    Among the most reprinted stories.

    Collected in "Isaac Asimov Presents the Great SF Stories 6 (1944)" & "The Ascent of Wonder".
  4. [ss] Malcolm Jameson's "Alien Envoy" (B): "Those aliens were really alien. As totally different from man as is a cactus plant. Would that difference lead to an inevitable extermination war - or complete lack of conflict?"
  5. [short novel] Theodore Sturgeon's "Killdozer" (B): download comic book adaptation: An evil spirit buried by an ancient lost civilization is awakened in a Pacific island at the site of an airport construction project, & has possessed a bulldozer - a bulldozer with only one purpose: kill all humans at the site!

    Collected in "Isaac Asimov Presents the Great SF Stories 6 (1944)".
  6. [novelette] Wesley Long's "Redevelopment" (B): A beautiful but mean girl is about to learn some humility.

See also.

  1. Fiction from Analog/Astounding (only issues edited by Harry Bates, John Campbell).
  2. Stories written by John Campbell.
  3. Fiction originally published in the year 1944; during 1940s.
  4. Old "pulp" magazines.
Legend: ss = short story.


LarryS said...

Fabulous! I used to have a few old Astounding magazines myelf!