Friday, September 28, 2012

"Astounding Science-Fiction" (British Edition), June 1940 (magazine, free): Annotated table of contents & review

Cover of British Edition of Astounding Science-Fiction magazine, June 1940 issue. Picture illustrates a scene from the story The Roads Must Roll by Robert Heinlein.
I'd read Heinlein's story long back & liked. I have since read its criticism: that it's an impractical idea. Not only did I like the story for its own sake, but Mumbaikars might see something of Mumbai here: a long city organized along its public transport artery. Even the constraint Mumbai's planners often express in public when the issue of increasing carrying capacity of "locals" is being discussed has something of this story in it: peak hour frequency is determined by minimum safe distance that must be maintained between two trains on the same track. This story removes this minimum distance constraint!

Last two stories - Knight's & Vincent's - are both minor, but with uncommon methods of presentation: Vincent's is told by someone still uncomfortable with English, Knight's is put together as a historical record of dubious authenticity.

Where I have a separate post on a story, link on its title goes there. Link on author fetches more fiction of author. My rating is in brackets. Where I'm aware of a story's availability elsewhere on the internet, I include that link too.

Table of contents (best first).

  1. [novelette] Robert Heinlein's "The Roads Must Roll" (A); download radio adaptation: A world where conveyer type moving "roads" are the norm, & cities are organized along the length of the road. You don't drive your car on the road; you just get on the road & get down at appropriate place, tram like.
  2. [novelette] Douglas Drew's "The Carbon Eater" (A): Neutralizing a carbon-eating poison gas.
  3. [ss] Norman L Knight's "The Testament of Akubii" (B): Adventure on a world where sulfur plays the role that oxygen plays on earth, & has practically no oxygen. Combined with a variation of "two men stranded in a boat with food enough (till rescue) for only one".

    It has unusual presentation, however. Put together from unreliable historical record.
  4. [ss] Harl Vincent's "Deputy Correspondent" (B): Why did the mythical island of Mu vanish, & how to bring it back.

    Told by someone not proficient in English. It didn't come in my way; not sure how native English readers will react to it.

    This story is a precursor to James Blish's oft-cited "Cities in Flight" series of stories. Blish replaces Mu with New York City.

Fact sheet.

Labeled: Vol XXV No 9.
Download scans as a CBR file. [via Bob@pulpscans]
Note: Link fetches a RAR file that contains target CBR, probably to work around file the naming constraints of hosting service.
Related: Fiction from Astounding/Analog (whole issues only); old pulps; 1940s.