Thursday, November 11, 2010

Some short fiction from 1940

Alvaro Zinos-Amaro's review of "Isaac Asimov Presents Great SF Stories 2 (1940)" in Strange Horizons includes links to online copies of a few of the stories from the book near end of his long article - in ToC section. A few more links to some other stories in the volume are in my old post on this book.

Rest of this page is notes to myself from Alvaro's article - stories that might be worth looking up by authors appearing in this book, & later, a list of likely interesting stories from 1940 assembled by Alvaro while preparing his article.

  1. 'Like 1939, 1940 was a strong year for first publications by notable authors: "Martian Quest" by Leigh Brackett, "Emergency Refueling" by James Blish, "Stepsons of Mars" by C. M. Kornbluth, Harry Dockweiler, and Richard Wilson, and "Before the Universe" by Frederik Pohl and Kornbluth. Key stories of 1940 we won't be discussing in detail, but which are often referenced in histories of the field's canon, include "Final Blackout" and "Typewriter in the Sky" by L. Ron Hubbard, the serialized "Slan" by van Vogt, "Darker than You Think" by Jack Williamson, and "The Roads Must Roll," "Blowups Happen," "Requiem" and "If This Goes On—" by Heinlein.'
  2. 'Rocklynne, featured twice in IAPGSFS 2, first appeared in Tremaine's Astounding in 1935, kicking off the popular three-entry Colbie and Deverel series of problem stories in which the two protagonists relied on a scientific principle for rescue. "The Men in the Mirror" (1938) is typically considered the best of these. As far back as 1934, however, Rocklynne had written what would prove to be the first of the more significant Darkness series, "Into the Darkness."'
  3. 'Intelligence on a galactic level was used to dramatic effect in Laurence Manning's "The Living Galaxy," published in 1934—a possible inspiration for Rocklynne?'
  4. 'P. Schuyler Miller's "Old Man Mulligan," which shares its Neanderthal heritage with the last review's "The Gnarly Man" and the more nostalgic "The Day is Done." Miller published popular stories throughout the 1930s and 1940s (Asimov comments that "Old Man Mulligan" may be his most popular) but he is better known as Astounding/Analog's monthly book reviewer from 1951 to his death in 1974. Mulligan is part of a gang stranded on a wild and dangerous Venus, and it is his knowledge of ancient survival techniques, gained throughout millennia of roaming across the Earth, that enable the group to defeat a rival faction. Miller was an amateur archaeologist, and though this interest is perhaps more prominent in earlier stories such "The Chrysalis" (1936), it is evident here as well.'
  5. 'De Camp was a polymath whose nonfiction interests often showed up in his fiction. For instance, in "The Isolinguals" (1937) and "Language for Time Travelers" (1938) he speculated on the relevance of language to speculative scenarios.'
  6. 'de Camp's "The Exalted." This was the fourth and last in the Johnny Black series, featuring a talking bear who has been uplifted to human-level intelligence. This was apparently a popular series: "The first story, 'The Command' (October 1938), in which Johnny has to save a scientific team, came first in reader's ratings."'
Further recommendations (of short fiction from 1940).
'   1. "Twice in Time" by Manly Wade Wellman (Startling Stories, May)
   2. "When It was Moonlight" by Manly Wade Wellman (Unknown Fantasy Fiction, February)
   3. "When New York Vanished" by Henry Kuttner (Startling Stories, March)
   4. "The Roaring Trumpet" by Fletcher Pratt and Sprague de Camp (Unknown Fantasy Fiction, May)
   5. "The Unusual Romance of Ferdinand Pratt" by Nelson Bond (Weird Tales, September)
   6. "Cartwright's Camera" by Nelson Bond (Unknown Fantasy Fiction, November)
   7. "Proxies on Venus" by Nelson Bond (Science Fiction, June)
   8. "The Scientific Pioneer Returns" by Nelson Bond (Amazing Stories, November)
   9. "Trouble in Time" by C. M. Kornbluth and Frederik Pohl as S. D. Gottesman (Astonishing Stories, December)
  10. "Stepsons of Mars" by C. N. Kornbluth as Ivar Towers (Astonishing Stories, April)
  11. "King Cole of Pluto" by C. M. Kornbluth and Frederik Pohl as S. D. Gottesman (Super Science Stories, May)
  12. "The Kraken" by L. Ron Hubbard as Frederick Engelhardt (Unknown Fantasy Fiction, June)
  13. "The Voyage that Lasted 600 Years" by Don Wilcox (Amazing Stories, October)
  14. "Juice" by L. Sprague de Camp (Super Science Stories, May)
  15. "The Hardwood Pile" by L. Sprague de Camp (Unknown Fantasy Fiction, September)
  16. "Asokore Power" by L. Sprague de Camp (Super Science Stories, November)
  17. "'The Mosaic"' by J. B. Ryan (Astounding Science-Fiction, July)
  18. "'A Chapter from the Beginning" by A. M. Phillips (Astounding Science-Fiction, March)
  19. "The Great God Awto"' by Clark Ashton Smith (Thrilling Wonder Stories, February)
  20. "'Men of Iron"' by Guy Endore (The Magazine of Fantasy, Fall)
  21. "The Carbon Eater"' by Douglas Drew (Astounding Science-Fiction, June)
  22. "Crisis in Utopia" by Norman L. Knight (Astounding Science-Fiction, July)
  23. "Reincarnate" by Lester del Rey (Astounding Science-Fiction, April)
  24. "But Without Horns" by Norvell W. Page (Unknown Fantasy Fiction, June)
  25. "The Circular Ruins" (original Spanish title: "Las Ruinas Circulares") by Jorge Luis Borges (El Sur, December)
  26. "The Oversight" by Miles J. Breuer (Comet Stories, December)'

Related: "Isaac Asimov Presents Great SF Stories" series; fiction from 1940; "best of" lists.