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Hello, folks!

At long last, I'm going to stop updating Galactic Journey here, even with teasers. It'll free up more time for fun, exciting material.

You can always follow me at the main site here.

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by Ida Moya

[Meet our newest fellow Journeyer, Mrs. Moya, whose technical background is as enviable as it is fascinating. Given the whirlwind pace at which computer technology is advancing, I thought our readers would like to get, straight from the source (as it were), an account of Where We Are Today...]



(see the rest at Galactic Journey!)
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by Victoria Lucas



Have you been following the talk about Orson Welles’s latest movie, one he personally wrote and edited? While not precisely science fiction, it does overlap thematically, enough so that I'm certain you'll enjoy a summary.

I was fortunate enough to catch the interview with him by Huw Wheldon on the BBC, or “The Beeb” as people across the Pond say. First off, Welles talks about changes he made from the novel by Franz Kafka. He says the main character (Josef K.) “doesn’t really deteriorate, certainly doesn’t surrender at the end” like the character in the novel. That’s true, more or less, but listen carefully to Anthony Perkins playing K. at the very end and ask yourself why he doesn’t throw what he is reaching for.



I know, I know, what am I doing writing a review for a movie that hasn’t been released in the States yet. Well, it was released in Paris, and quite a lot of people had something to do with the production and showing. I hate to tell you this, but a copy somehow found its way into the hands of a friend of mine. I can’t tell you any names, and I know no more than the name of my friend. The copy is a bit, all right, under par, not like seeing it in a movie house, but it’s exciting to see the film many months before I possibly could have otherwise. The earliest premiere in the US is in NYC, and I stand a snowball’s chance in hell of making that or any showing not in Tucson or Phoenix. I would prefer to watch a non-bootleg copy and probably will sooner or later, but beggars can’t be choosers.

(see the rest at Galactic Journey!)
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by Victoria Silverwolf



Our esteemed host has already provided many detailed analyses of 1962's science fiction films, as well as others tangentially related to SF (including one which also features the pretty actress pictured above, Ms. Barbara Eden.) But missing from the Traveler's roster of reviews has been a focus on the related genres, the fantastic and the horrorful. With that in mind, I 'd like to fill this gap with brief reviews of last year's pictures with more supernatural themes, as well as a few others which may not technically be fantasy, but which have the same feeling.

(Perhaps I am in a retrospective and nostalgic mood because of the heavy storm that struck part of the United States on New Year's Eve. Even in my neck of the woods, in the southeastern corner of Tennessee, an appreciable amount of snow fell, swaddling us in a cozy quiet blanket. Shown here are playful students at the University of the South, not far from where I live.)



So enjoy a mug of steaming hot chocolate and sit near the fire as we talk about the magical movies of last year.

(see the rest at Galactic Journey!)
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[if you’re new to the Journey, read this to see what we’re all about!]


by Gideon Marcus

It is said that "No news is good news," but I imagine every publisher would disagree. After the big-ticket headlines of October of November involving the Cuban and Chinese/Indian episodes things have quieted down on the domestic and world fronts. The Cold War has thawed such that the only current evidence is a holey wall in Berlin and a small brushfire in Indochina. The Katanga crisis in The Congo approaches resolution. Even the latest manned space shot was a bore – six perfect orbits. The biggest news is about something that hasn't happened yet: Kennedy wants to lower taxes significantly to spur the economy. Of course, Conservatives oppose the move as they don't want to blow a hole in the deficit (a position I'm sure they will hold eternally).

This month's Analog, the last sf digest of the month, complements the news situation. It's filled with pages and pages of pages, none of which will likely stick with you long after you set it down. The stories in this month's issue don't even have the virtue of being terrible. Just redolent in that smug mediocrity that so frequently characterizes this mag, once the flagship of science fiction.



(see the rest at Galactic Journey!)
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[if you’re new to the Journey, read this to see what we’re all about!]


by Mark Yon

I hope you’ve all had a good Christmas. Here in Britain it has been…. interesting. As fellow traveller Ashley has mentioned, the cold and foggy weather has now turned into a fully-fledged Winter of ice and snow. As I type this, snow has been falling all over the UK in great amounts for a couple of weeks, and is showing no sign of stopping. The result has been chaos. The news is filled of stories about villages being made inaccessible and even in the urban areas, such as the Northern provincial city I live in, travel has been treacherous. The Met Office is telling us that it is “The Big Freeze”, and may be the worst winter weather in decades. Even if it is not, it certainly feels like it!



Anyway, enough of the weather.

As I said I would, I have braved the Winter cold to go to the cinema since we last spoke, and I am pleased to say that I whole-heartedly recommend Mr. David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia, despite its length. I saw the movie in two parts, with an intermission. At a run-time of just under four hours I was not bored for one moment. It is one of the best-looking movies I have ever seen, and I loved the majestic score by Mr. Maurice Jarre, so much so that I am now looking for a copy of the movie soundtrack to play on my record player. As it is mainly set in the desert, though, it might just be what’s needed to keep the Winter chill out!



This month’s New Worlds shows a cover that’s back to the lurid. This month, it is an unsubtle Day-Glo shade of Santa Claus red...

(see the rest at Galactic Journey!)
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[if you’re new to the Journey, read this to see what we’re all about!]


by Gideon Marcus

Ace Doubles are like an insurance policy for scientifiction readers. Hungry for a decent yarn after a couple of lousy mags? Want something more filling than a short story but that requires less commitment than a novel? Did you miss a serial when it debuted across several issues of an sf digest? Ace Doubles are what the doctor ordered: back-to-back dual publications, attractive in their lurid colors and never too intellectually demanding.

One of 1962's latest, F-161, is a particularly representative example. Highly recommended by fellow Journeyer, John Boston, it kept me smiling throughout December...though not always for the reasons the authors intended...



(see the rest at Galactic Journey!)
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[if you’re new to the Journey, read this to see what we’re all about!]


by Gideon Marcus

Trends are tricky things. They require multiple data points to become apparent, and even then, careful analysis may be required to draw a proper conclusion.

I think I can safely say, however, that one-plus year into Avram Davidson's tenure as editor of F&SF, the magazine's quality has trended sharply and consistently downward. Stories tend toward the obtuse, the purple, the (and this surprises me) hackneyed. It's just not the sublime lyric beauty it used to be.

Why is this? Let's explore some possible explanations:

2) F&SF can't get good writers anymore.

This clearly isn't true. The Table of Contents of any given issue reads like a who's who of the genre.

2) Nobody is writing good sf anymore.

Demonstrably false. Just look at the other mags.

3) The good writers save their best stuff for other magazines

This could be true, but given that F&SF pays some of the best rates (for science fiction anyway – three or four cents a word), I'd can't image F&SF is a second-resort mag.

4) Davidson's editorial preferences are driving the direction of F&SF.

A ha. Davidson has been a writer of sf for many a year, and the trend in his writing has been toward the obscure and the prolix. It shouldn't be a surprise to see the Davidson style creep into his magazine. One trend I find particularly disturbing is the disappearance of women from F&SF's pages. This magazine used to be the stand-out leader in publishing of woman authors, and its pages were better for it. Now, female writers been conspicuously absent for two issues, and there had been fewer than normal in the months prior. Nor can one argue that women are leaving the genre -- F&SF's loss is the gain for the other digests.

The inevitable destination of this downward trend, the limit of quality as the time of Davidson's tenure goes to infinity, as it were, appears to be zero stars. Sure, there are still stand-out issues, but they come fewer and farther between. And the January 1963 F&SF isn't one of them...



(see the rest at Galactic Journey!)
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by Victoria Silverwolf

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.
(The more it changes, the more it's the same thing.)
Jean-Baptiste Alphose Karr, Les Guêpes, January 1849

Those famous words of the noted French journalist of the previous century are worth pondering at this time, when we look forward to a new year. Thanks to the peculiarities of the publishing industry, we can already see the prophetic words January 1963 on every newsstand, and if there's one thing we can safely predict, it is that the breakneck pace of technological headlines will not slacken.



Earlier this month, the University of Manchester (United Kingdom) offered another glimpse into the future. The Atlas computer, the most powerful in the world, began operating on December 7. Said to be equivalent to four IBM 7094 devices, it operates at a speed approaching one million instructions per second.



The American spacecraft Mariner 2, so ably discussed by our host in a previous article, flew by Venus on December 14. The data from the probe seem to indicate an atmospheric temperature of nine hundred degrees Fahrenheit. So much for oceans and dinosaurs!



Just one day before this historic encounter, the Relay 1 satellite soared into orbit atop a Delta B rocket. Designed to study the Earth's radiation belts, it will also serve as a communications satellite, similar to Telstar 1. If it, works, that is. Due to a battery leak, the new spacecraft isn't likely to change our knowledge of the universe...or that of goings-on in other continents.

Speaking of that renowned spacecraft, the instrumental number of the same name by the Tornados, already a smash hit in the United Kingdom, reached Number One in the USA today, much to my delight. After suffering through five weeks of Big Girls Don't Cry by the inexplicably popular Four Seasons at the top of the charts, this sprightly tribute to the Space Age is a refreshing change of pace. Keeping in mind the wise words of Monsieur Karr, however, we can expect this charming import to be an anomaly, and not the sign of a British invasion of the American airwaves.



The latest issue of Fantastic also bears the hallmarks of change, breaking with tradition by including a nonfiction article and a book review. Nevertheless, at its core, it remains the old magazine we know and love, continuing to provide entertainment for the reader of fantasy and science fiction.

(see the rest at Galactic Journey!)
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[if you’re new to the Journey, read this to see what we’re all about!]


By Ashley R. Pollard

And another year draws to a close with what promises to be a White Christmas after a foggy start to the month. December has been a bad month for people with breathing problems living in London as the smog has been terrible. So bad that it has been mentioned as a topic not only on the BBC news, where you'd expect it to be, but mocked in their new satirical weekly news show, That Was The Week That Was. But, before I delve into that show, allow me a few lines to remind people how serious this problem is.



The smog of 1952, called the Great Smog of London (which should be a clue to how bad it was) killed an estimated 4000 people, and caused respiratory complaints in another 100,000 more. At its worst one could only see a few yards ahead, and it shut down the London Ambulance Service, which forced people to make their own way to hospital. This pea-souper, a euphemism for thick fog, was so serious it led directly to the introduction of the Clean Air Act of 1956.

This year's smog has not been, on any scale, as bad, but 90 people have died. As someone who has suffered from bronchial problems, this has been personally worrying. However, a few days ago the weather changed, and we had snow. We've also been told to expect more very cold winds arriving from the East -- a present from Siberia that quite frankly I could do without, but there again, anything is better than more smog.

And, looking on the bright side, it means this year there's a good chance of London having a White Christmas.



Anyway, enough of the doom & gloom; there's more entertaining things to talk about...

(see the rest at Galactic Journey!)
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by Gideon Marcus

What a tumultuous year this has been. War scares, pitched congressional fights, escalating civil rights conflicts, celebrity deaths...yes, I definitely can't wait to see the back-side of 1962. It is easy to get caught up in the unceasing drone of bad news. That's why, at times like these, it's helpful to look back on the bright points of the year. For instance, segregation was dealt several blows in the South with schools across Dixie admitting their first Black students. The balloon did not go up over Laos, Berlin, or Cuba, thanks in part to the expert manuevering of our President. John Glenn showed that the pioneering spirit of America still soars high, and it is likely that humanity will have touched another world before the decade is out.



Science fiction, too, had some setbacks. Some of my favorite magazines suffered a distinct drop in quality this year. If you are a regular reader, you've experienced what must seem an unmitigated litany of complaint -- after all, there were a lot of one and two-star stories.

But looking back on the last twelve months and cataloging just the good stuff, it is reassuring just how much of it there truly was. And so, I end 1962 on a bright note with the Galactic Stars -- a summary of the very best this year had to offer scientifiction fans:



(see the rest at Galactic Journey!)
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[if you’re new to the Journey, read this to see what we’re all about!]


by Gideon Marcus

The Space Race has given us a lot of firsts to report on in the last five years. Today marks perhaps the most significant: for the first time, a spacecraft is reporting back to Earth on another world. Mariner 2, launched on August 27, has traveled 182 million miles to fly by the second planet out from the sun, Venus.



(see the rest at Galactic Journey!)
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by John Boston



All right, Frogeyes,* dust off all the stars. We’re finally going to need them for this January 1963 Amazing, specifically for Keith Laumer’s novelet It Could Be Anything.
*Those without a classical education may ignore this and similar allusions.

(see the rest at Galactic Journey!)
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[if you’re new to the Journey, read this to see what we’re all about!]


by Gideon Marcus

Ah, Winter. That sleepy time of the year when the air gets chillier (such as it ever gets chilly in Southern California), work slows down a bit, and shopping for the holidays picks up. The first night of Hannukah is the 21st, and then, of course, there's the big mid-Hannukah holiday (named after Chris, the patron saint of presents).

And it's when I renew my subscriptions for science fiction magazines since they generally offer Christmas discounts!



December marks the new year, at least as far as periodicals go. January-dated issues show up the month before, so I've already gotten a sneak preview into the next year. First up is is the January 1963 IF, and if this be a harbinger, then next year will probably be a decent one:



(see the rest at Galactic Journey!)
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[if you’re new to the Journey, read this to see what we’re all about!]


by Gideon Marcus

"...but she took off the great lid of the box with her hands and scattered all these and her thought caused sorrow and mischief to men."

So goes Hesiod's account of Pandora, the first woman, and how woe was delivered unto mankind. Until last month, I'd come to believe that the box was strictly allegorical. And then I found it.

More accurately, I bought it. I was visiting the local toy store. You know, where they sell big bouncy balls, Airfix model kits, Erector Sets. And social, wholesome boardgames like Clue and Scrabble. Mixed among these innocuous pleasures was something new, a creation of the "Games Research" company. Its title was brief and opaque: Diplomacy. Intrigued, I purchased it and took it home.



(see the rest at Galactic Journey!)
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[if you’re new to the Journey, read this to see what we’re all about!]


by Lorelei Marcus

“5 weeks in a balloon!” What an exciting phrase -- so much potential for many interesting stories and ideas. Thus, you can perhaps understand the excitement I felt in anticipation of the new Jules Verne spectacular based on the book of the same title. Going in without a hint of what the film might be about, I already had a bunch of wild adventures thought up. I was certain the movie would involve a group of explorers struggling to survive a month in the air. Maybe they would run low on food. Perhaps they'd get on each others' nerves. A giant storm might throw them off course or prevent their landing. Seeing it on the big screen was going to be fantastic!



Or so I thought...

(see the rest at Galactic Journey!)
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[if you’re new to the Journey, read this to see what we’re all about!]


by Victoria Silverwolf

Science fiction is a marketing category. Readers who enjoy this genre look for familiar names and for covers featuring rockets and robots. Our esteemed host has done an excellent job reviewing nearly all the books published as science fiction this year. But what about those which contain speculative content, but which are not marketed that way?

As the year draws to an end, let's take a look at some of this camouflaged science fiction:



(see the rest at Galactic Journey!)
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[if you’re new to the Journey, read this to see what we’re all about!]


by Mark Yon

Hello all, again.

Being a Brit, I guess it shouldn’t be too surprising that I should start this month with talk of the weather. The cold weather I mentioned in October has continued into November. It generally feels really cold, colder than normal. I must admit that the chilly, dark mornings do not make leaving the house and going to work conducive to productive activities! I am hoping that it’ll return to normal Winter weather soon.

Thanks to the weather, journeys in my provincial city are taking a little longer, but in London the weather has heralded the return of the infamous London fogs that make travel near impossible.



Music-wise, things have taken an interesting turn. Since I last spoke to you, the BBC have banned Bobby Boris Pickett’s The Monster Mash, from UK radio on the grounds that the song was "too morbid."

By contrast, currently at the top of the charts is Frank Ifield and Lovesick Blues. A cover of the Hank Williams classic show tune, it is not really to my personal taste, I’m afraid. Telstar, much more favourable to my ears, and the instrumental that dominated the charts over the Summer, is still in the Top 5, slowly declining (like the satellite itself).



On the television I’m still rather enjoying the antics of John Steed and Cathy Gale in The Avengers on ITV. Undoubtedly rather far-fetched, it is nevertheless entertainingly escapist.

Slightly more down to earth, we recently had a programme begin on the BBC that I think will run for a while. Called That Was the Week that Was, it is a satirical summary of topical political and cultural items of interest from the previous week before transmission. Presented by up-and-coming media star Mr David Frost, but also with a host of comedians to fill out the roster, it seems to have been popular ratings-wise, although admittedly less so with the politicians and the Establishment.



I have braved the Winter weather to go to the cinema since we last spoke – it is often warmer there! – and I must recommend How the West Was Won, which I saw a couple of weeks ago. Directed by Mr John Ford and with a great cast – Mr. John Wayne, Mr. Gregory Peck and one of my own favourites, Mr. James Stewart – it is a great epic plot. telling us of the early days of the Wild West. Visually spectacular in Cinerama and in stereophonic sound, this may be the standard that future movies must reach.



Hopefully as good, I am looking forward to going to see Mr. David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia before I speak to you next. The news is saying that it is a visual spectacle, if a little long at nearly four hours. As it is mainly set in the desert, though, it might just be what’s needed to keep the Winter chill out!



This month’s New Worlds (the 125th!) has a slightly less lurid cover (thank goodness!) and after the excitement and disappointment of last month’s issue edited by Arthur C Clarke, we are back to a more ‘business as usual’ edition this time around.
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[if you’re new to the Journey, read this to see what we’re all about!]


by Gideon Marcus

Behold the picture of contentment. I sit in my La-Z-Boy, feet crossed on an ottoman, a Julie London album on the phonograph, and my tummy stuffed to the utmost with stuffing, turkey, cranberries, sweet potatoes... the whole megillah. And at my side, the just-finished copy of the latest Analog, which just happens to be my last science fiction magazine of the year (yes, Mark Yon will follow me with the December ish of New Worlds, but that's his problem!)

This last reading duty out of the way, I can finally start putting together my notes for this year's Galactic Stars, and it certainly looks like there will be some bright ones. Nevertheless, as fun as it is describing the sum of the parts, each component deserves full treatment – and the December 1962 Analog has much to recommend it.. as well as some prime examples of America's bird:




(see the rest at Galactic Journey!)
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[if you’re new to the Journey, read this to see what we’re all about!]


By Ashley R. Pollard

One part of me wants to ask where has the year gone? The other part of me say, what a year this has been for British science fiction. A mere five years ago the idea of spaceship orbiting our world was the stuff of SF. Sputnik changed all that. Then Yuri Gagarin went into space in Vostok. And, from that moment, the world of SF manifested into the minds of all mankind. Not as some improbable fantasy, from starry eyed dreamers, but as reality arisen from technology; born of war, but turned into something greater.

Phew -- and what a ride the last five years have been for SF.



I've mentioned in a past article that Britain has Dan Dare, Pilot of the Future. Now we also have Colonel Steve Zodiac of the World Space Patrol. Not the hero of a comic strip, but rather of a children's television show from Anderson Provis Films (APF), which you may all remember from when I talked about their production last year, Supercar.

Gerry and Sylvia Anderson are back with another Supermarionation series, Fireball XL5. Supermarionation is their term to describe puppets that speak using electronic synchronization, and the Andersons have used it to great effect, creating a brand new medium for SF.



(see the rest at Galactic Journey!)

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