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 and chapter list
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)
I have now recorded The Moon Pool, by Abraham Merritt. It was a gruelling effort, requiring more than 10 hours. But that means plenty of shows!
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.