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2017-07-26 03:16 pm

[July 26, 1962] The Long and Short of It (August 1962 Fantastic)

[if you’re new to the Journey, read this to see what we’re all about!]


by Victoria Silverwolf

July isn't quite over yet, and already I feel overwhelmed by all that's been going on in the world:

Two new nations, Rwanda and Burundi, have been created from the Belgian territory of Ruanda-Urundi. Similarly, France has recognized the independence of its former colony Algeria.



Despite protests, the United States continues to test atomic weapons. The USA also detonated a hydrogen bomb in outer space, hundreds of miles above a remote part of the Pacific Ocean. The explosion created a spectacular light show visible from Hawaii, more than seven hundred miles away. It also disrupted electronics in the island state. An underground nuclear explosion created a gigantic crater in the Nevada desert and may have exposed millions of people to radioactive fallout.



AT&T launched Telstar, the first commercial communications satellite (which we'll be covering in the next article!)

The world of literature suffered a major loss with the death of Nobel Prize winning author William Faulkner.

In Los Angeles, young artist Andy Warhol exhibited a work consisting of thirty-two paintings of cans of Campbell's Soup.



The Washington Post published an article revealing how Doctor Frances Oldham Kelsey, a medical officer for the Food and Drug Administration, kept thalidomide, a drug now known to cause severe birth defects, off the market in the United States.

Even popular music seems to be going through radical changes lately. Early in the month the charts were dominated by David Rose's raucous jazz instrumental The Stripper. It would be difficult to think of a less similar work than Bobby Vinton's sentimental ballad Roses are Red (My Love), which has replaced it as Number One.



It seems appropriate that the latest issue of Fantastic offers no less than nine stories, one long and eight short, to go along with these busy days:

(see the rest at Galactic Journey!)
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2017-07-24 06:02 pm

[July 24, 1962] Comrade Future (More Soviet Science Fiction)

[if you’re new to the Journey, read this to see what we’re all about!]


by Gideon Marcus

We hear a lot about the Soviet Union these days, but usually in the form of an unflattering cartoon of Premier Khruschev or photos of people trying to defect from Communism. Occasionally a hopeful reprinting last year's meeting between Jack and Niki in Vienna or a scornful reprinting of Khruschev banging his shoe on the United Nations podium.



If we think about the Soviet people, head-scarfed Babushkas, gray-suited apparatchiks, uniformed goose-stepping soldiers, and accordion-playing dancers come to mind. We just don't get many glimpses from behind the Iron Curtain. So when we do get a peek, it's an exciting opportunity. For instance, Time-Life just released a new picture-book on Russia, which sheds a little light on a hidden section of the world.



Another surprise is a new collection of Soviet science fiction called (appropriately enough) More Soviet Science Fiction.



(see the rest at Galactic Journey!)
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2017-07-21 09:34 am

[July 21, 1962] The Human Soul In A Robot's Hand (Movie review: The Creation of the Humanoids</i

[if you’re new to the Journey, read this to see what we’re all about!]


by Rosemary Benton

The complex range of anger, fear, acceptance and love that characterize the relationship humans have with robotic life is hardly new ground for science fiction. You have stories that explore societies controlled by artificial intelligence like in Jack Williamson's With Folded Hands, stories in which robotic life works in service to their human superiors in accordance with Isaac Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics, and stories that span every possible combination.

The newest addition to the science fiction sub-genre dealing with the evolution of humanity and its integration with robots came out this month in the form of the movie The Creation of the Humanoids. Following its premier in Los Angeles on July 3rd, this intriguing film made its way into theaters across America, including the theater in my city. It suffers from several weaknesses, but more than makes up for them with solid dialogue, interesting characters and a plot that makes the audience think.

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2017-07-18 06:49 pm

[July 18, 1962] It Gets Better? (August 1962 Fantasy and Science Fiction)

New to the Journey, reference this summary article to see what we’re all about.]


by Gideon Marcus

There's a war going on in our nation, a war for our souls.

No, I'm not referring to the battle of Democracy versus Communism or Protestants against Catholics. Not even the struggle between squares and beatniks. This is a deeper strife than even these.


(from Fanac)

I refer, of course, to the schism that divides science fiction fans. In particular, I mean the mainstream fans and the literary crowd. The former far outnumber the latter, at least if the circulation numbers for Analog compared to that of Fantasy and Science Fiction are any indication.

Devotees of editor Campbell's Analog, though they occasionally chide the editor's obsession with things psychic, appreciate the "hard" sf, the focus on adventure, and the magazine's orthodox style it has maintained since the 1940s. They have nothing but sneering disdain for the more literary F&SF, and they hate it when its fluffy "feminine" verbosity creeps into "their" magazines.

F&SF, on the other hand, has pretentions of respectability. You can tell because the back page has a bunch of portraits of arty types singing the magazine's praises. Unfortunately for the golden mag (my nickname – cover art seems to favor the color yellow), many of the writers who've distinguished themselves have made the jump to the more profitable "slicks" (maintstream magazines) and novels market. This means that editor Davidson's mag tends to be both unbearably literate and not very good.

This is a shame because right up to last year, I'd sided with the eggheads. F&SF was my favorite digest. On the other hand, I'm not really at home with the hoi polloi Campbell crowd. Luckily, there is the middle ground of Pohl's magazines, Galaxy and IF.

Nevertheless, there is still usually something to recommend F&SF, particularly Dr. Asimov's non-fiction articles, and the frequency with which F&SF publishes women ("feminine" isn't a derogatory epithet for me.)

And in fact, if you can get past the awful awful beginning, there's good stuff in the August 1962 F&SF:

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2017-07-16 10:51 am

[July 16, 1962] Vegetating at the Movies (Day of the Triffids)


By Ashley R. Pollard

I’m just back from watching the film adaptation of the Day of the Triffids, which brings John Wyndham’s popular novel to the big screen. You may remember I wrote about Wyndham’s work for the Galactic Journey last year, now I get the chance to discuss the film adaptation too. As I said in my previous article, Wyndham is widely known over here because of the success of his novel The Day of the Triffids, which was first published in 1951.



But first let me mention that this is not the first time his story has been adapted for another medium. While I missed the broadcast, it completely escaped me for reasons outside of my control, the British Broadcasting Corporation transmitted in 1957 a six-part radio dramatization of Wyndham’s story, presented by the BBC’s Light programme. I was able to find out that it had Patrick Barr voicing the roll of Bill Masen, and I really wish I had been able to listen to the production.

Also, while I was compiling my notes for this article, I discovered that in 1953 the BBC Home Service transmitted Frank Duncan reading the novel that was serialized in fifteen parts, each episode being fifteen minutes long. I mention this in part to emphasize both the importance of the story, and the impact it has had on the British public’s imagination. It cannot be stressed too highly that Wyndham’s standing is on par with H. G. Wells.



A brief reminder that the story centres on how people survive in a world where most have been blinded and who now have to deal with triffids, which were originally bred to produce oil using genetically modified seeds that may have come from space. These plants can move, and have stingers to attack prey. Yes, they’re alien vegetables from space that eat meat. From this premise Wyndham weaves a very British disaster story set in our green and pleasant land that grips one from beginning to end.

So how does this latest film adaptation fare?



(see the rest at Galactic Journey!)
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2017-07-14 11:25 am

[July 14, 1962] Cause for Alarm (Panic in Year Zero – a surprise summer hit!)

[if you’re new to the Journey, reference this summary article to see what we’re all about.]


by Gideon Marcus

The specter of atomic destruction has been with us for more than a decade, ever since the Soviets detonated their first A-bomb in 1949. Both the US and USSR have developed vast bomber squadrons and now missile and submarine fleets rendering every place on Earth vulnerable. Not surprisingly, a new genre of fiction has been spawned – the post-apocalyptic story. Books like Alas, Babylon and movies such as On the Beach (originally a novel).



The latest example is a tiny-budgeted film by schlockhouse American Independent Pictures, Panic in Year Zero. The Young Traveler and I saw Panic at opening night, July 5. There was a big promotional event headlined by Frankie Avalon, and I understand the picture made back its budget in just the evening L.A. showings! The film has already generated some positive buzz, and I suspect it'll be the surprise hit of the summer.



(see the rest at Galactic Journey!)
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2017-07-12 02:25 pm

[July 12, 1962] ROUTINE EXCURSION (the August 1962 Amazing)


by John Boston

Summertime, and the living is . . . hot and sticky, here in the near-South. Also fairly boring, if one is not much interested in such local rustic amusements as hayrides and frog-gigging (if you have to ask, you don’t want to know.) There’s no better time to find a comfortable hiding place and read science fiction magazines, except possibly for all the other times. Of course the season—any season—doesn’t guarantee merit, and the August 1962 Amazing is the usual mixed bag.



(see the rest at Galactic Journey!)
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2017-07-09 03:31 pm

[July 9, 1962] To the New Frontier (August 1962 Galaxy Science Fiction)


by Gideon Marcus

Since humans have been a species, there has always been a frontier. Whether it be Alaska for the first settlers of the Americas, or the New World (for Europeans), or the Wild West (for White Americans), there has always been an "over there" to explore. Today, our frontiers are the frozen Arctics, the deep seas, and the vastness of orbital space.

Science fiction has always stayed one step ahead. A hundred years ago, Jules Verne took us 20,000 leagues under the sea. A generation later, Edgar Rice Burroughs took us to Darkest Africa, lost continents, and fancifully rendered nearby planets,. Astounding and its ilk of the 30s and 40s gave us scientific jaunts through the solar system.

These days, one is hard-pressed to find stories that take place on Mars or Venus. Now that four men have circled the Earth and probes have flown millions of miles from our planet, tomorrow's frontier lies among the stars. Thus, science fiction has taken up residence in the spacious quarters of the Milky Way, light years away from home.

As you'll see if you pick up this month's most worthy issue of Galaxy:



(see the rest at Galactic Journey!)
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2017-07-06 08:13 am

[July 6, 1962] Enjoy Being A Girl?

[The rush of modern technologies has created whole new industries, one result of which has been the breaking down of traditional barriers, as Ms. Lucas will illustrate...]


by Victoria Lucas

As a child I learned that there were expectations. Not so much rules. I don't remember being taught rules except for rules of grammar or other school subjects, including physical education class. Those Expectations determined What You Did, Who You Were, and other facets of one's life including Who You Know.

My encounters with Expectations came to a head on two occasions that I remember in my childhood, one when I was somewhere between 6 and 8, and one when I was 12. When I was 6, maybe 7, I remember sliding out of bed on the way to getting up and, with my head touching the floor but my legs still on the bed, having the epiphany that I was responsible for my own actions--not my parents or anyone else. Obviously it took me some time to work out the ramifications of this, but I had the basic concept, anyway.

When I was 12, I discovered that I was A Girl.

(see the rest at Galactic Journey!)
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2017-07-04 08:27 pm

[July 4, 1962] Happy submersion (The Drowned World, by J.G. Ballard)


by Rosemary Benton

At last, the levity that I so desperately needed has been provided. Prior to reading The Drowned World I was only aware of J. G. Ballard as a name. He was well published, I knew, but ultimately a background figure to my science fiction library. That all changed on June 30th, however, when I went to the town bookstore and purchased The Drowned World. The bookseller said that it would take me no time at all to read. I found this to be true, although the time it took me to process the book was far longer than than I had expected.



(see the rest at Galactic Journey!)
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2017-07-02 08:06 am

[July 2, 1962] Getting to the Point (July 1962 Analog Science Fiction)


by Gideon Marcus

There are many ways to measure the strength of a story. Is the plot innovative? Does it resonate emotionally? Are the featured characters unusual? Does it employ clever literary devices?

As a writer, I am always particularly impressed by efficiency: the ability of an author to develop his tale with a minimum of exposition, unfolding a plot teasingly so as to keep the reader turning those pages with increased anticipation, and then delivering a solid conclusion at the end – where it belongs.

The July 1962 Analog Science Fiction delivers a series of object lessons in how (and how not) to write efficiently. In some cases, the execution can be admired even if the story isn't great shakes. And vice versa. Read on!:



(see the rest at Galactic Journey!)
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2017-06-30 08:21 am
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[July 2, 1962] Take Two! (Vote for the 1962 Hugos at the Galactic Journey Tele-Conference)


by Gideon Marcus

The 20th Annual WorldCon is coming, Labor Day Weekend, 1962. Every year, attendees of this, the most prestigious science fiction convention, gather to choose the worthy creations of the prior year that will win the Hugo Award.



But if you can't make it to Chicago, don't worry. You still get to vote.

Galactic Journey is putting on its second live Tele-Conference via Visi-Phone for the purpose of gathering as many fellow travelers as possible together in one virtual place. Our mission – to select the best novels, stories, films, etc. of 1961. Maybe they'll make the official World Con ballot, maybe they won't. Who cares? It's what we like that matters. And if you're not completely up on all the works of last year, check out our Galactic Stars nominations for 1961.



In addition to Hugo talk, there will be the slew of entertaining discussions you've come to expect from the Journey: on world events, pop culture, the Space Race, and much more. Plus, we want to hear your questions for our special Stump the Traveler challenge. The best questioners will (once again) win a prize!

So don't miss out on the fun. To participate in the Tele-Conference, send in your RSVP to the box below, and you'll receive a ballot. Then sit tight, and on July 29, 1962 at 11am, tune in to the broadcast. As with last time, you will be able to chime in via tele-type, and, if you have the right equipment, you can even get invited on stage!

See you there!

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2017-06-28 10:22 am

[June 28, 1962] A is for Armchair Theatre (Out of this World – UK's new sff anthology)


By Ashley R. Pollard

It seems that television science fiction serials on British TV are like waiting at the bus stop for a London bus to arrive. You don’t see one for ages, and when you do, three turn up at once.

Therefore I am quite excited by the announcement of a new SF anthology series called Out of this World. So excited in fact that when I heard the news, I had to sit down, and then have a nice cup of tea to calm down. While it’s always good to see SF stories on television, the announcement of a series is also a portent of more to come.



(see the rest at Galactic Journey!)
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2017-06-25 01:20 pm

[June 25, 1962] XX marks the spot (July 1962 Fantasy and Science Fiction)


by Gideon Marcus

I've been thundering against the new tack Editor Avram Davidson has taken The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction for several months now, so much so that I didn't even save what used to be my favorite magazine for last this month.

So imagine my pleasant surprise when, in synchronicity with the sun reaching its annual zenith, the July edition also returns to remembered heights. Of course, Davidson's editorial prefaces are still lousy, being at once too obvious in describing the contents of the proceeding story, and at the same time, obtuse beyond enjoyment. If there's anything on which I pin the exceeding quality of this issue, it's the unusual abundance of woman authors. It's been a long time, and their absence has been keenly marked (at least by me). For the most part, the fellas aren't too bad either. Take a look:



(see the rest at Galactic Journey!)
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2017-06-23 09:00 am

[June 23, 1962] Only the Lonely (July 1962 Fantastic)


by Victoria Silverwolf

In this age of Cold War tensions, it's a little disconcerting to discover that the United States made two failed attempts this month to detonate a nuclear warhead in space. The project, whimsically known as Operation Fishbowl, launched Thor missiles from Johnston Island, a tiny atoll in the middle of the Pacific Ocean under the command of the US Air Force. The missiles launched on June 2 (Bluegill) and June 19 (Starfish) had to be destroyed in flight due to technical problems. (Radar lost track of Bluegill, and the Starfish rocket engine stopped prematurely.) Some of the debris from Starfish landed on Johnston Island, potentially contaminating persons stationed on the atoll with radioactive material.



If that weren't scary enough, the three inmates who escaped from Alcatraz a couple of weeks ago are still at large. It's probable that they drowned in San Francisco Bay, but I'd advise those of you who live in the area to keep your doors locked.



Raising the alarm in these troubling times are two newly published documents drawing attention to the problems we face. The left-wing organization Students for a Democratic Society released a manifesto entitled The Port Huron Statement a week ago, promoting universal disarmament and other social and political reforms through non-violent civil disobedience.



(It's interesting to note the cover price is the same as that of the magazine I'll eventually get around to reviewing.)

At the same time, The New Yorker (which costs ten cents less than Fantastic or The Port Huron Statement published an excerpt from Silent Spring, an upcoming book from marine biologist Rachel Carson which discusses the danger posed to the environment by chemical pesticides.

With all of this depressing news, it's not surprising that a melancholy ballad of loneliness and lost love has been at the top of the charts for the entire month. Ray Charles isn't the first musician to have a hit with Don Gibson's 1958 country song I Can't Stop Loving You -- besides Gibson himself, Kitty Wells released a popular version the same year, as did Roy Orbison in 1961 -- but his version is by far the most successful. It seems likely that this unique combination of rhythm and blues with country-western will have a powerful impact on popular music.

In keeping with this mood, it's appropriate that many of the stories in the current issue of Fantastic feature characters haunted by loneliness, isolation, and lost love.



(see the rest at Galactic Journey!)
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2017-06-20 10:50 am

[June 20, 1962] Half a loaf... (Ace Double F-153 – a Marion Zimmer Bradley twosome)

Marion Zimmer Bradley is an odd duck.

As a writer for a niche genre (science fiction), as a woman in a male-dominated field, as an occultist mystic in a stolidly Judeo-Christian world (she founded the Aquarian Order of the Restoration), and as someone who pines for the days when the genre was more fantastic, Bradley is many times over a breed apart.



That dislocation from the mainstream of society, even the mainstreams of rarefied slivers of society, has acted as a sort of crucible on her imagination. At the risk of engaging in unlicensed psychoanalysis, it seems that all this pent up desire to escape the real world has turned into a torrent she's focused at her writing. In the past several years, I've marked a focus of her work toward the psychic and the pulpy. It's hardly hidden – she said as much in the introduction to her first book:

While I was still collecting rejection slips for my early efforts, the fashion changed. Adventures on faraway worlds and strange dimensions went out of fashion, and the new look in science-fiction — emphasis on the science — came in...I think, there is a place, a wish, a need and hunger for the wonder and color of the world way out. The world beyond the stars. The world we won’t live to see.

Except her far futures don't have many futuristic trappings. Her settings are invariably medieval in flavor, with swashbuckling sword-wielders, hot-blooded heroes and beautiful damsels. It's pretty clear that this is the world she wants to live in, one of duels and kin-loyalty, where women, while they may be strong, also yield to a man's will.

We saw it in A Door Through Space, and we see it in the new Ace Double, #F-153. It's two Bradleys for the price of one (40 cents), and it, beginning to end, has Bradley's stamp upon it.

(see the rest at Galactic Journey!)
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2017-06-18 09:13 am
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[June 18, 1962] Live... in Color! (the first Galactic Journey Tele-Conference)


by Gideon Marcus

Miracles are afoot at the Seattle World Expo. General Electric released its Visi-phone technology, allowing people from across the country to not only talk to each other, but to see each other as they do so.

Of course, money being no object, the cutting-edge Galactic Journey had to avail itself of this wonder immediately! The 21st Century...is now!



(see the rest at Galactic Journey!)
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2017-06-16 03:06 pm

[June 16, 1962] Picking Up Charles Finney (The Circus of Dr. Lao)


by Victoria Lucas

I am so honored to be taking up space here! The Traveler thought enough of my letters to the editor that he asked me to become a regular contributor. In my letters I mentioned how I've just graduated from Stanford and am going back to my old job in the Drama Department at the University of Arizona, and my mother's home, where I'm typing on an old portable Smith-Corona that has seen far too many papers, dissertations, theses, and so on as I've struggled to work my way through college.

Last fall I tacked up on my bulletin board (unfortunately in the sun) a short column of news about somebody with whom I sometimes work in Tucson little theatre--Bob Hammond, a French professor at the University of Arizona who once won a Fulbright to Paris and never recovered. He writes his plays in French and English and translates from each language into the other. The blurb introduced Hammond as one of four playwrights who formed a producing group for their work. One of the other playwrights was a fellow by the name of Charles Finney who was supposed to produce a play of his this year.

(see the rest at Galactic Journey!)


The article reminded me that I may have met Finney as I house-managed and assistant-directed Bob's plays. Or I might have seen him in his workplace, the newspaper building downtown, where he has been editor of the Arizona Daily Star for 32 years (I spent my Saturdays at the Tucson Daily Citizen my senior year in high school helping to put out the "Teen Citizen," a section of the paper.) So when I ran across The Circus of Dr. Lao and Other Improbable Stories I picked it up. It's edited by Ray Bradbury and published by Bantam Books, first out 1956.

In the very first sentence of his introduction to this book of short and long stories, Bradbury asserts that the works in this book "are fantasies, not science-fiction." He goes on to list some adjectives and statements that contrast science fiction and fantasy as genres (or at least his idea of the genres). Then, in two short, strident paragraphs, like trochees in a poem, he argues:

"Science-fiction balances you on the cliff.

Fantasy shoves you off."

This book of short stories (and one long one) conforms to that opinion. At least the shoving-off-cliffs part.

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2017-06-13 05:12 pm

[June 13, 1962] THE SINCEREST FORM? (the July 1962 Amazing)


by John Boston



The July Amazing starts off ambiguously, with Stonehenge on the cover—often a bad sign, you could find yourself in Atlantis if you’re not careful. But it illustrates A Trace of Memory, a new serial by the reasonably hardheaded Keith Laumer, so we may be spared any deep wooliness. I’ll defer reading and comment until it’s complete.



So what else is there?

(find out at Galactic Journey!)
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2017-06-10 09:35 pm

[June 10, 1962] A star shall rise (July 1962 IF Science Fiction)


by Gideon Marcus

I've said before that IF Worlds of Science Fiction is sort of a poor sister to Galaxy Science Fiction. Since 1959, they've been owned and run by the same team; IF pays its writers less; the quality used to be markedly lower on average (with occasional stand-outs).



We seem to be entering a new era. The July 1962 IF was a cracking read once I got past the first story, which was short anyway. Not only were the stories fairly original, but even where they weren't, the writing was a cut above. And not in that arty, self-indulgent way that F&SF deems "literary," but in a real way that emphasizes characterization. It's a departure from the mode of the 50s, particularly the lesser mags, where the focus was on the gimmick, with the actors playing second-fiddle to the plot. Plus, Ted Sturgeon has made a permanent home here, which is always a good sign.

So read on – I think you'll enjoy the trip.

(see the rest at Galactic Journey!

((And don't miss your chance to see the Traveler LIVE via visi-phone, June 17 at 11 AM! A virtual panel, with Q&A, show and tell, and prizes!))