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.
This novel, by Philip Francis Nowlan, 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 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!
In 1933—34, a “round robin” novel, with each successive chapter by a different author, was published in the fanzines Science Fiction Digest & Fantasy Magazine. I first encountered the chapters by A. Merritt and Doc Smith in anthologies of their respective works. It so happens that Doc’s chapter is a direct sequel to Merritt’s, which made it obvious to see what was going on, & led me to suspect the existence of more stories. Continue reading Cosmos (and The Challenge from Beyond)
It’s hard to say anything about Burroughs’ classic yarn, the foundation of the “planetary adventure” genre, that hasn’t been said before, elsewhere, and better. But think! It was the first story he ever sold, and if he had never written any more, would probably still be remembered as a landmark.
Now Back From Hiatus
This is in the nature of an experiment, albeit a protracted one.
Having come up with the idea of “live-action audiobooks”, or live-streaming myself reading, I realized that the recordings I was making in the process could be edited & sent out later as audio transmissions. aNONradio seemed like an ideal venue for this, in no small part because of its archive feature.
This is, then, a long-form spoken-word program, consisting mostly of my reading of classic science-fiction novels. I hope you enjoy!
- aNONradio timeslot : 15h UTC, Tuesdays and Fridays
- Twitch streaming : typically 22h UTC, every other Sunday (but subject to change in light of my schedule — listen for announcements)
- Patreon campaign : tip the storyteller, on a recurring monthly basis, and encourage me to continue doing this — at the lowest tier, $1/month, you can download the individual story chapters (some free samples are available here)
Major works read so far :
- A Princess of Mars, Edgar Rice Burroughs (shows 001—007)
- The Moon Pool, Abraham Merritt (shows 008—018) + novelette version (shows 058― )
- Cosmos, various authors, read as time permits rather than as a whole
- The Skylark of Space, Edward Elmer “Doc” Smith (shows 021—028)
- Armageddon 2419 AD, Philip Francis Nowlan (shows 029—034)
- Auf Zwei Planeten / Two Planets, Kurd Lasswitz (shows 044—057)
Shorter works read so far (as fillers, et cetera) :