Sunday, November 04, 2007

Let's Make This Into A Movie Someday

The November issue of Startling Stories would have appeared on newsstands in September of 1941. So it would provide suitable reading for a warm, end-of-Summer day. The cover, again by Belarski, illustrates the issue's novel, The Gods Hate Kansas by Joseph J. Millard (1908-1989). [I rember encountering Millard in the Sixties when he wrote the novelization of For A Few Dollars More.] "Curt Temple Pits His Slim Earth Knowledge Against the Most Perfect Intelligence In the Cosmos to Save the World-and the Woman He Loves! Doom Stalks the Earth When Xacrn, the Ninth Planet, Seeks to Enslave Humanity!" The only signature for the illustrations is totally inscrutible, but is very good pencil work.

In 1967 this novel was filmed in England as They Came From Beyond Space. While no classic, the producers did manage to follow the story pretty closely, other than moving the setting to England. Since the movie slipped into the public domain you can find cheap DVDs wherever movies are sold.

But, enough of the commercial. We then come to "Thrills in Science" by Oscar J. Friend. Issac Newton uses a prism to demonstrate that sun light is not just a beam of white light. Captain Hawthorn C. Gray became the first man to ascend into the stratosphere in an open gondola balloon in 1927. Finally he writes about Dr. Perrin Long's experiments fighting strep infections.

Our first short story is "Last Laugh" by Robert Bloch (1917-1994). "Angus Breen Exiled Martin Vail to a Death on a Runaway Planet-But His Ambitions Ran Away With Him." The illustration is unsigned,

Science Question Box tackles Chemurgy (science of the soil) and Hydroponics (crop production in a liquid medium); Monazite (source of thorium used in radio tubes); the Electronic Microscope; and the size of the Earth.

This issue's entry into the Scientifiction Hall of Fame is "The Boneless Horror" by Dr. David H. Keller. A tyrant seeks to regain his youth. (Sorry, no blurb from Oscar and I just don't have his flair for hyperbole.) The illustration is by Paul. This originally appeared in Science Wonder for July, 1929.
The final short story is "Trail's End" by John Broome (1913-1999). "Venusian Skill Gives John Kellie a New Face and Freedom-but Surgery Can't Change a Man's Heart When a Space Storm Strikes." The illustration is by Morey. Broom moved to DC Comics and worked there from 1946-1970.
The Ether Vibrates is next plugging the next issue and giving Sgt. Saturn more play than he deserved. In the letters Walter J. Daugherty from Hollywood, Cal., announces the next Worldcon would be in Los Angeles in 1942. D. W. Boggs, writing from Minneapolis, gives his view of the July issue and says he wants to see a book-length story by Issac Asimov. E. Earl Bielfeldt Thornton, Ill. submits a drawing of Sgt. Saturn. Sylvia Singer, from Glen Head, NY, writes her first letter to a magazine praising Jack Williamson's last novel. She also pleads for the magazine to go monthly. Edward C. Connor, Peoria, Ill., praises Friend's "Water World". Art Sealover writing from Zanesville, Oh., also requests monthly publication. Frank Shaney from New Albany, Ind., starts out by sounding like Sgt. Saturn and then faults Belarski's cover for the last issue. Paul Cox, Columbus, Ga., wants a short story and the crossword puzzle droped in order to expand the letters. Bill MacFarlane of Mount Vernon, NY, wants more scientific covers and also yearns for the days of the hard science stories. Katherine Baum writes from Oittaburgh dislikes Orban's illustrations and likes Friend's "The Kid From Mars". And that brings the letters to a close.
There is no crossword this issue, and it closes out with Review of the Science Fiction Fan Publications. This issue reviews "Fantasy Times" by Taurasi, Moskowitz and Alex Osheroff; "Fantasy Fiction Field" by Julius Unger; "FMZ Digest" from Arthur Louis Joquel, 2nd; "The CFS Review" by Lew B. Martin, Roy V. Hunt and Olon F. Wiggins; "Fantasy News (Weekly) by Sykora, Taurasi, Moskowitz and Racic; "Fanart" by Henry Jenkins and Hugh Wm. Robinson; "Polaris" by Paul Freehafer; "Spaceways" by Warner and Avery; and "Ultra" from Eric F. Russell, Edward H. Russell and Ralph A. Smith, from Australia.
Another issue of Startling comes to a close. While not outstanding it does contain some good reading, including the only novel (that I am aware of) that made its debut here and was later filmed. If anyone knows of any others, please let me know.
Also, I will be skipping a few issues since we are coming to the gaps in my collection. Only four issues so we won't get too off track.


Blogger rich said...

I've had an article about the MAN WITH NO NAME westerns lying in a drawer for years. Millard wrote tons of western movie adaptations. He also penned FOR A FEW FOLLARS MORE, the adaptation of THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY, then a few original MAN WITH NO NAME westerns. During his pulp days, however, it seems like he wrote mostly sci-fi.

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