“A Step Farther Out”

If you recall the Eames Office film “Powers of Ten” ― we humans are at the midpoint between the galaxies and the atomic nucleus. It’s a great place to be!

Saturdays, 19h UTC

Why would I start a new show, when I have trouble keeping up with the one I already have?

This is a completely different concept, and will be a completely different format (whatever the format ends up being), from Hear Now the Words. About all they have in common is my speaking voice. HNtW is the show in which I read stories written by other people. ASFO is the show in which I talk about what I think are interesting and worthwhile things to know and think about. That is going to involve atomic energy and space travel a great deal. As I see it, those are two defining features of human existence in the present age, which is the age of transition from planetary to cosmic existence. If we fail to think about them, and get them in the correct perspective, we may not make that transition successfully. And that is a thought too hideous, too sorrowful, to bear examination.

Man and Atom Society "Atomic Fist" logo, with the slogan "Atomic Power to the People!"
“Atomic Power to the People!” Slogan of the Man and Atom Society
Continue reading ““A Step Farther Out””

Pickwickians Abroad

Dier Treblig Nhoj

This book, published in 1913 (but also dated 1989, in accord with the story) to benefit the International Institute of Shanghai, was the generous gift of well-known leading SDF member smj. The author, alias John Gilbert Reid, was only 14 at the time of publication, & one supposes much of the work was written at least a year or two before that.

My plan is to present one chapter per show of this intriguing work, with something closer to our usual theme rounding out the show.

Continue reading “Pickwickians Abroad”

The Warlord of Mars

Edgar Rice Burroughs

This further sequel to A Princess of Mars and The Gods of Mars has no preface to explain how the author came into possession of Captain Carter’s story. Rather, it picks up directly where the previous book left off.

Recordings

Continue reading “The Warlord of Mars”

By Air Express to Venus

or, Captives of a Strange People

Roy Rockwood

The (pseudonymous) author, it appears, was responsible for a number of juvenile scientific-adventure novels. This is an installment in a series, and several of the other books in the series are available on Project Gutenberg, but not this one. Copyright is Cupples & Leon Co.

Recordings

Continue reading “By Air Express to Venus”

The Gods of Mars

Edgar Rice Burroughs

This is the immediate sequel to A Princess of Mars, relating the further adventures of John Carter after his death on Earth.

Recordings

Continue reading “The Gods of Mars”

When the World Shook

Being an Account of the Great Adventure of Bastin, Bickley, and Arbuthnot

H. Rider Haggard

This work is pretty much contemporary in publication with The Moon Pool, and has some similarities, involving South Seas islands and lost races. It is, however, quite different in both tone and theme. The dedication to Lord Curzon is noteworthy (see below).

Recordings

Continue reading “When the World Shook”

Auf Zwei Planeten

Kurd Lasswitz

First half read 2019-02-03 ; about half of what remained, 2019-02-17, and finished 2019-03-03. (Video livestream recordings are available for two weeks.) This is a long one, for all that it represents an abridged edition. No unabridged version exists in English.

Recordings

Continue reading “Auf Zwei Planeten”

Across the Zodiac : The Story of a Wrecked Record

Willy Ley encountered this Mars story in a German translation, and, failing to find the English original (possibly hampered by looking for it under the title Beyond the Zodiac, but Percy Greg was apparently a well-known English author), considered that it might be actually German.  The confusion was not helped by the fact that author Greg presents himself as translating a found manuscript.  Sam Moskowitz considers it the genesis of the Mars romance so characteristic of the early period of modern science fiction.

Continue reading “Across the Zodiac : The Story of a Wrecked Record”

Armageddon 2419 AD

Philip Francis Nowlan

This novel was edited together from two novelettes (one with the same title, the other entitled The Airlords of Han) which appeared in 1928—29.  The first part, in fact, was published in the same issue of Amazing Stories as the first part of The Skylark of Space.  And that’s why I’ve chosen to read it now, rather than later.

There is also a 1978 version available, “specially revised and updated for the modern reader” (or rather, heavily rewritten) by of all people “noted science fiction critic and Hugo Award winning author Spider Robinson”. I missed my chance to ask him about this at the Kansas City Worldcon, where he was Guest of Honor.

Recordings

Money is the sincerest form of flattery.

The Skylark of Space

Edward Elmer Smith, PhD
and Lee Hawkins Garby

There is a sense in which Skylark is the science fiction novel.  Its influence on the whole genre cannot be overstated.  It launched the writing career of “Doc” Smith, and pioneered any number of things which became cliche later.  As a result, I’m really pleased to have read it for you — and not at all pleased by the technical problems which left the recording sounding as though I was at the bottom of a well the whole time!

Recordings

Continue reading “The Skylark of Space”