Gideon Marcus, Galactic Journey
Executive Editor, Avram Davidson; Managing Editor, Edward L. Ferman
Such Stuff • short story by John Brunner ∗∗
Daughter of Eve • short story by Djinn Faine ∗∗
The Scarecrow of Tomorrow • short story by Will Stanton ∗∗
The Xeenemuende Half-Wit • translated short story by Josef Nesvadba ∗∗∗
The Transit of Venus • short story by Miriam Allen deFord ∗
Power in the Blood • short story by Kris Neville ∗∗∗+
The Troubled Makers • reprint short story by Charles Foster ∗∗∗
Through Time and Space with Ferdinand Feghoot: LI • short story by Reginald Bretnor [as by Grendel Briarton]
The Fifteenth Wind of March • novelette by Frederick Bland ∗∗∗
The Diadem • short story by Ethan Ayer ∗
Cover & Interior Art • by Emsh
In this issue . . . Coming soon . . .
The Egg and Wee • science essay by Isaac Asimov
Books • by Alfred Bester
Index to Volume Twenty Two – January-June 1962
Such Stuff by John Brunner is about a man called Wills who is running a dream deprivation experiment on a volunteer called Starling. Although the other volunteers have previously dropped out of the experiment— they only lasted a couple of weeks due to the adverse side effects—Starling has been going for six months. Wills, however, is increasingly having strange thoughts about garlic, stakes and crossroads . . . .
A decision is later made by Dr Daventry, the project supervisor, to end the experiment at the six month point. Wills is on duty for the last night, and the climax of the story (spoiler) has him hammering a stake into Starling’s chest . . . only to have Dr Daventry come into the room and suck up all the blood with a syringe. Wills wakes to discover that he has been having a dream of his own, and realises that Starling has resolved the problem of not having dreams by getting other people to do it for him.
This idea didn’t really work for me but I found the increasing sense of foreboding effective, as well as the dream reality shift at the end. An interesting story, if not a ‘good’ one.
Brunner would go on to write a celebratory essay on Philip K. Dick for New Worlds a couple of years later, and perhaps that writer’s influence is visible here.
Daughter of Eve by Djinn Faine is narrated by a girl:
She was very unsun. I never knew my mother but Daddy said she looked like she ate violets and cream for breakfast. I always thought that was pretty silly because I never heard of such fare on starships and Daddy doesn’t raise such crops here, but anyway, she had pale golden hair and was very unsun.
Daddy is a big man. He is two or three times bigger than me and very sun—it has burnt him all rich golden brown. The sun doesn’t pain him, it just makes him look more like the earth he hoes. Daddy is very strong too. He can work even more land than the tin farmer they sent him from Oldfolks Ground. Daddy sent the tin farmer back—he says we have to work the land ourselves and smell and feel and taste it and dig our toes in it if we are going to stay here and grow. p. 20
Her mother is dead, and the girl spends her days playing with one of the local aliens.
Later on in the story she goes with her father to visit the Oldfolks Ground. The people there are not refugees from a post-holocaust Earth like they are, but part of an exploration starship from a forgotten part of the Empire. This group want the father to leave the child with them so they can raise her.
The final scene has the father and daughter again visiting the settlement and, once more, the group implore the father to leave the child. The payoff (spoiler) is that he is planning an incestuous Adam-and-Eve relationship with the girl. Davidson would publish a number of stories that would push back the boundaries of the genre during his tenure as editor: this was the first.1
The Scarecrow of Tomorrow by Will Stanton starts with a man sitting in his garden having a beer and shooting arrows at crows. His neighbour joins him and, as they drink several cans of beer, they discuss the crow problem. This eventually spirals into a project where they build a robot-like scarecrow to replace the one that is there.
The next day, both of them are hung over, and they see that the number of crows has markedly increased. When they try to approach the scarecrow one of the crows dives down and tries to attack the men. There is (spoiler) a hint here that the crows recognise a new species and are trying to protect it, but this isn’t entirely clear. Pity, as the story is an entertainingly told one otherwise.
The Xeenemuende Half-Wit by Josef Nesvadba (trans. of Blbec z Xeenemünde, 1960) is about the idiot son of a German rocket engineer working at Xeenemunde during WWII. The story is mostly told from the perspective of a retired teacher who is employed to replace a governess apparently killed by a stray allied bomb. He struggles to control the boy, and later sees him beating up younger children in the street, until he is forcibly stopped by the butcher’s wife. That night the butcher’s shop is also destroyed by a solitary bomb . . . .
This has a convincing setting even if (spoiler) the boy’s ability to design and launch highly accurate miniature rockets, modified from a copy of his father’s plans, is kept off-stage.
The Transit of Venus by Miriam Allen deFord is a weak attempt at humour, a supposed account by a future archaeologist of the scandal surrounding the ‘Buticontest’ of 2945. The winner, a Venerian, turns out to have come from America, and has lied about her qualifications. The backstory of this atavism and her fate are revealed.
Power in the Blood by Kris Neville is an odd piece about a family having breakfast when the mother announces she is about to have one of her visions:
When the dew had scarcely formed and the sun was no more than rosy promise in the East, Mink Smight, seated at the breakfast table, reasoned that it was going to be a beautiful day.
Mink said, “It’s going to be a beauty.”
Ma Smight pursed her lips, thinking. “It might, and then again it might not.”
Joey recognized certain sure indications in Ma’s tone. With his gun-metal eyes flashing, he pleaded over a plate or corn bread: “No more visions—”
Ma set her jaw and rolled her eyes to show how yellow her eye-balls were. “When I feel a vision coming on, I jest naturally have to go ahead and have it.”
“Not now, when things have been going along so nice for a while,” the youngest girl said, hoping to cry back the inevitable. “Please. Remember the time I had that cute little soldier over? And then—” this to Mink—“Ma had to go and have a totally unnecessary vision right in front of him. He never did come back. I was so embarrassed I like to died.”
“You were only eleven,” Ma said placidly.
“Suppose I was. Suppose I was. How was he to know?” p. 49
As the story develops (as you can see from the above most of the fun is in the telling) it materialises that the mother’s visions are causative as much as predictive, and there are hints of strange things happening to the outside world (the machines stop running, a neighbour screams for help, a cat is tearing down houses…). It is an offbeat and effective fantasy.
The Troubled Makers by Charles Foster (Evergreen Review #4, 1957) gets off to a disorienting start before resolving into a character sitting at a restaurant bar talking to a waitress. His behaviour becomes erratic, and then disorderly, at which point Watusi Chief appears and puts him over his shoulder, saying that they have to get to the employment office. At this point the waitress looks up at the ceiling and sees an apple tree, with both fruit and blossom, sticking out of the roof. She sees an idealised version of herself sitting in the tree:
Bare feet and bare legs dangled down from the low limb, almost touching the ground. But the girl’s body was wrapped in a short cape. Desert Princess had never in her life seen a cape anything like that cape but she was immediately sure that she had to have one just like it. For when she stared at it, all she could think of was a fan coral with delicate tracery veins of blood, taken from the turquoise deeps of a warm and liquid tropic sea, carried up and up to the surface of the world of air, and there transformed to texture sheer and smooth as incredible silk, silk passed by gentle hands through an adhering cloud of butterfly wings.
“At it again,” Watusi Chief groaned. “Jesus Christ, Boss, don’t you ever relax?”
But Desert Princess hardly beard Watusi Chief. Because now she saw the face of the girl. And it was her face. Duplicated exactly in every detail, right down to the almost imperceptible forceps mark on her left cheek bone. But somehow, through the perfection of the likeness, there glowed a beauty, both ethereal and sexy, that Desert Princess had never herself discerned when she looked into her mirror.
“Gee,” Desert Princess said, “am I really like that?”
“Boss says so, why then it’s so,” Watusi Chief said. “But he’s sure takin’ a long time saying it.”
“Was I really like that-before? Or—did he, just now—did he just now make me that way?”
Watusi Chief sighed, resigned. ’’The Boss only brings out what’s really there all the time, miss. He knows it’s there because he can see it. And then he makes you see it too—with words, or colors, sounds—or little scenes like this.” p. 64
The Boss is a ’maker.’
This vision is interrupted by the town Marshall, who is the woman’s uncle. He has previously threatened to run the Boss and The Watusi Chief into jail, and is only stopped by the protestations of his niece. The story continues on in this vein until its appropriately cosmic ending.
It is an original piece, like the Neville, and the nearest comparison I can think of would perhaps be R. A. Lafferty. It is certainly a different type of story for the time.
Through Time and Space with Ferdinand Feghoot: LI by Reginald Bretnor is another dreadful pun that just misses unintelligibility by a whisker.
The Fifteenth Wind of March by Frederick Bland is very British disaster story where the cause of the catastrophe is a series of short-lived winds that occur with increasing strength and frequency. This phenomenon is entirely unexplained and is therefore rather unconvincing—as is some of the other story detail—yet it is still an interesting, if terribly dated, read; part of this is due to the relentless inevitability of the repeated winds, the rest is from some of the social detail portrayed in the narrative.
Events begin with John Drake, who is doing errands outside his houseboat when he is almost killed in one of the earlier storms. Shortly afterwards a neighbouring trainee meteorologist tells him he has noted a pattern to recent wind events, and that the prognosis is not good. John organises himself to go to his girlfriend’s house to rescue her and her father. After they experience the next wind early the following morning—which convinces the pair—they fill up the father’s van and head for a cave near the village where John lived as a child. I mentioned earlier that there was some fascinating social detail: this scene occurs during their van journey:
[John] pulled into the courtyard of a prosperous looking hotel. Expensive cars filled the car-park.
“We won’t get lunch here,” Beth said.
“Why ever not? They serve lunches, don’t they?”
“Look at the cars parked outside. Look at the way you’re dressed and me in slacks. Dad’s the only one of us dressed to go in a place like that.”
“We’ll make them serve us. I’ll . . .”
“I wouldn’t enjoy it, John. If I go somewhere like that, I want to be properly dressed.”
“She’s right, son. We’ll enjoy what we eat a lot more in a smaller place.”
John was inclined to be stubborn, but gave in. “Well, as long as you understand that I’m not going to be satisfied with sandwiches.”
He drove out of the courtyard and within the next mile found a place that satisfied Beth. They had a roast beef and apple tart luncheon and John complained that nobody could make Yorkshire pudding like his mother. p. 106
The world is coming to an end but the British are still worried about whether they are appropriately dressed. Keep calm and carry on . . . .
Once they get to the cave they take shelter with other people from the village. The winds continue with increasingly calamitous results—people go deaf due to the pressure drop, get nosebleeds, become unconscious, etc.—giving events an almost surreal feel. By the time of the fifteenth wind (spoiler) there are eight people left alive on Earth . . . .
I’m not sure I’d describe this as a ’good’ story—there is too much unexplained and it is very dated—but it is certainly an absorbing read.
The Diadem by Ethan Ayer is a fantasy about a nurse who has an anonymous caller leave a box of jewels and rings on her doorstep. She gets her boyfriend to bring a jeweller, who (spoiler) gets her to put the rings on and then worships her as the four-armed daughter of Kali.
There is another narrative thread in the middle of this which has a man called Mesir (who had left the jewels at her door) doing a number of odd jobs before ending up in a club with a naked girl who looks like the nurse. I have no idea what the connection between the women is supposed to be.
The Cover is a lovely untitled piece by Emsh (I don’t think it is for any of this issue’s stories)—that’s what I call a customised spacesuit. Emsh also contributes a few spot illustration fillers, the first of these I can remember seeing—in this year’s issues, at least. There is one rather awkwardly placed on p. 26, and others on pp. 49 & 84.
In this issue . . . starts with Davidson noting that Faine, Foster and Ayer are newcomers who he hopes will become regulars (Faine and Ayer turned out to be one-shot wonders; Foster had published a handful of stories in the early to mid-fifties and had already stopped producing—this one is a reprint). The rest of the comments are redundant, apart from the mention of an upcoming Leiber story, The Secret Songs—this should probably have been mentioned in Coming soon . . . That section mentions upcoming work from Randall Garrett and Harlan Ellison, plus a novel serialisation from Robert Sheckley. The rest of the space on this page is given over to an announcement for Westercon XV.
The Egg and Wee by Isaac Asimov is an article about the size of cells and sub-cells. It has one or two interesting parts.
Books by Alfred Bester has this to say about Fritz Leiber’s writing in his review of the collection Shadows with Eyes:
Mr. Leiber seems to function most powerfully in the first-person story form. When events are related by a protagonist, when characters are seen through his eyes, and when the conflicts are revealed by his reactions, then Mr. Leiber is at his best. But when he works from the omniscient or third-person point of view, he is handicapped. There isn’t any opportunity in this form for the marvelous nuances, references, allusions . . . the network of stream-of-consciousness that is the quintessence of his unique style.
Proof of this is the fact that the two best Leiber stories of the past, classics today, are first-person stories: “The Night He Cried” and “Coming Attraction.” And five of the six stories in Shadows with Eyes are also in the first-person form. Mr. Leiber and his many fans will probably disagree with this analysis; but isn’t that a function of the critic, to provoke controversy? p. 89
I’ve never noticed this before: I shall bear it in mind in future.
There is a useful Index to Volume Twenty Two – January-June 1962 and, at the end of the Market Place classified adverts, we have Communicate:
This issue has a much better selection of stories than last issue and there is little if any of Davidson’s verbose feyness. He still can’t put an issue together though. There are five SF stories in a row at the beginning of the issue followed by two distinctly offbeat fantasies, which is very odd sequencing. Also, why wouldn’t you have the last two stories in reverse order, so you finish with the more substantial, readable, and better structured Bland story rather than the minor Ayer?
- The Faine story is almost certainly a Davidson purchase as it was accepted/bought at the end of February 1962. It would seem from the acceptance/bought dates (kindly provided by the F&SF office) that Mills finished buying stories at the end of 1961 (with one exception), and Davidson was purchasing from the 31st of December. The raw data follows, and I have asterisked the stories I believe Davidson bought.
Manly Wade Wellman – 15 September 1961
Robert F. Young – 2 November 1961
Doris Pitkin Buck – 2 November 1961
Edgar Pangborn – 2 November 1961
Isaac Asimov – 1 December 1961
Zenna Henderson – 15 December 1961
April 1962: (according to Davidson’s editorial these were all bought by Mills):
Doris Pitkin Buck – 15 October 1960 (accidental reprint?)
Jay WIlliams – 1 January 1961
Kit Reed – 31 May 1961
Henneberg – 31 May 1961
Sylvia Edwards – 15 August 1961
Brian Aldiss – 1 August 1961
Ted Thomas – 15 September 1961
Isaac Asimov – 15 December 1961
Robert Arthur – 31 January 1962 (Mills’ last purchase?)
Terry Carr – 31 December 1961* (claimed by Davidson as his purchase in the introduction)
James Blish – 1 September 1961
William Bankier’s story – 2 October 1961
Gordon Dickson – 18 October 1961.
Josef Nesvadba’s three F&SF pieces were all bought on 1 September 1961
Isaac Asimov – 31 January 1962 (Mills? See Robert Arthur above.)
Walter Kerr’s – 2 November 1961
Ron Goulart – 1 September 1961
Otis K. Burger – 31 December 1961 *
Avram Davidson – 12 January 1961
Eric Frazee – 15 September 1961
W. F. Nolan – 31 December 1961 *
Ethan Ayer – 31 March 1961
Djinn Faine – 28 February 1962 *
Charles Foster – 6 December 1961
- Djinn Faine and Ethan Ayer at ISFDB. Faine’s husband at the time was Robert Russell, she had previously been married to Gordon R. Dickson; there is more biographical information at her ISFDB page. Charles Foster at ISFDB—this listing doesn’t mention a story listed at Galactic Central under the pseudonym Mark Ganes: Evil Out of Onzar, Planet Stories, September 1952.