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[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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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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by Rosemary Benton

After a short hiatus following the death of a dear family member I was in desperate need of some levity. Avoiding the non-fiction section, and especially the news stand, I made my way to the science fiction shelves of my favorite book store and picked up a novel that had originally caught my attention back in April. Raiders from the Rings is latest story from experienced science fiction writer and physician Alan E. Nourse.

Following a near cataclysmic world war, Earth has separated genetically and culturally from those who live out an exiled existence in space. This space-bound society, appropriately called the Spacers, squeak out a living by occasionally raiding food stores and supply depots on the technologically-lagging Earth. But when a newly built secret Earth armada confronts a raiding party of Spacers, all out war is declared once again. Like the conflict that nearly wiped out humanity before, both Earthmen and Spacers seem to be on a trajectory of mutual destruction. It will be up to Ben of the Martian house of Trefon and his two Earthling hostages, Joyce and Tom Barron, to keep their people from pyrrhic victories.



(see the rest at Galactic Journey!)
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I love the bookstore in my town. Not only do they have a news stand in front that provides me with the latest world events and developments in the US space program, but they have a very comprehensive science fiction section front and center as you walk in. I'll occasionally look at the newsstand's selection of comic books when I hear that there is a new series from Marvel Comics, but every trip to the bookstore must come with at least thirty minutes spent in the science fiction section. This month part of my book budget went to an Ace Double Novel containing the third publication of A. Bertram Chandler's The Rim of Space as well as the first edition of John Brunner's Secret Agent of Terra.



(see the rest at Galactic Journey!)
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by Rosemary Benton

It's an interesting premise: what would a meeting between Apaches and Tartars be like in a “wild west-esque” science fiction setting? And what if the Apaches were American explorers while the Tartars were from the Soviet Union? Andre Norton sets out to explore this idea in The Defiant Agents, her third installment in the Time Traders series.

This time it's not agents of the future who are being sent physically into the past, but rather the minds of a select group of volunteer Apache explorers who are on a rushed mission to reclaim the alien planet Topaz from the Communists...



(see the rest at Galactic Journey!)
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by Rosemary Benton

Science fiction is a wonderful genre in that it allows an author the opportunity to pick a discipline – religion, economics, etc. - and create scenarios that are free to play out completely beyond any current restrictions or known facts of nature. Consider James Blish's The Star Dwellers with its sentient energy creatures or Andre Norton's Catseye with its telepathic animals.

But then there are the science fiction authors who try to ground their scenarios as close as possible to the discipline they are examining. For H. Beam Piper, it seems as if he wrote his most recent novel with a mission to accurately play out the issues and triumphs of an anthropologist. The results is the well written (if slightly dry) young adult novel, Little Fuzzy, the story of one interstellar prospector's journey to protect the small, furry family he has adopted, cared for, and believes to be as intelligent as any group of humans.



(see the rest at Galactic Journey!)
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by Rosemary Benton

Fate has been very kind to me throughout 1961. I was able to find a niche for myself as a university archivist, and I came across many people who shared my interest in all things science fiction. I have had the pleasure of publishing my thoughts on such amazing creators as Zenna Henderson and Andre Norton, and have even taken daring adventures to the shadier side of the science fiction entertainment industry. Finishing out the year with James Blish's The Star Dwellers was the cherry on top of a very delicious ice cream sundae.



(see the rest at Galactic Journey!)
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by Rosemary Benton

It's a great leap forward for the United States. This morning, October 28th 1961, one can open the newspaper and learn about yesterday's launch of the Saturn C-1. Some of us even saw the live coverage of the launch on television, watching as the giant rocket blasted off from Cape Canaveral in Florida and flew 95 miles into the air before plunging into the Atlantic Ocean. A rocket this powerful has never been launched before, and I can only imagine that the scientific community must be trembling like the ground beneath Saturn C-1's S-1 first-stage cluster of nine tanks and eight engines.



It was, quite simply, the biggest rocket ever launched. By far.

(see the rest at Galactic Journey!)
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And here is Ms. Rosemary Benton with her monthly report, this time on a subject near and dear to my heart: Japan...



July 14th was a red letter day for me. Not only did I receive word that my uncle was marrying his long time Japanese girlfriend, Mika, but Alakazam The Great was released in theaters across America. This film is a beautiful piece of animation from Toei Animation Company Ltd.



Released in Japan in August last year under the title Journey to the West, the story of Alakazam the Great is actually a retelling of a very old and popular tale from China known as Saiyuuki. Scholars of this 16th century morality epic will recognize Sun Wukong in our protagonist, Alakazam, as well as his dealings with the Buddha, named King Amo in the film. There are far fewer acts in the film than there are in the original story of Sun Wukong, but the writers did do an impressive job of compacting the four main arcs of the epic into an 88 minute movie.

(see the rest at Galactic Journey!)
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Rosemary Benton, as you know, is one of our regular columnists. Imagine my surprise when she suggested the following subject for her article this month. I'm just glad I didn't have to propose it to her...





Nude on the Moon is a surprising piece of science fiction cinema directed by Raymond Phelan and Doris Wishman under the pseudonym Anthony Brooks. Like so many adult oriented films this one was a passion project. Phelan and Wishman co-directed, produced and wrote the script and made excellent use of their surrounding area – southern Florida. Residents of Homestead, Florida will immediately recognize the set of the moon colony as the famous Coral Castle. Although the production budget is obviously small, Phelan and Wishman managed to make a rather intriguing movie.

(see the rest at Galactic Journey)
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May 1961 has been a busy month for movies! We're up to three: Gorgo, Atlantis, and...well, see for yourself what guest writer, Ms. Rosemary Benton, has been so kind as to present:





Oh my, was this a lesson is poor filmmaking and truly a dark day for the science-fiction genre. The tale ofThe Beast of Yucca Flats is short, but very baffling.

(see the rest at Galactic Journey)
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[Here is Rosemary Benton's article for April 1961. She asked if she could do Zenna Henderson's compilation of The People stories, none of which she had previously read; I hadn't picked up the book since I have the stories in magazine form. I thought it a smashing idea since it would give us all a fresh insight on Henderson's works. I've been vindicated...(the Editor)]



In my quest to break my bookshelf under the weight of my science fiction, horror and fantasy collections, this month I picked up noted author Zenna Henderson's latest publication. To anyone who frequents Fantasy and Science Fiction and Galaxy, Zenna Henderson and her alien race, the People, should not be unknown to you. Pilgrimage: the Book of the People contains Ararat (1952), Gilead (1954), Pottage (1955), Wilderness (1956), Captivity (1958) and Jordan (1959), all tied together through an overarching narrative that tells the story of a human observing the People. As each one of the People takes their turn recounting their time on Earth, the book progresses along such themes as self-discovery, selflessness for the betterment of community, and the definition of home and belonging.



(see the rest at Galactic Journey!)
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[As promised, here is the first of Rosemary Benton's regular articles for Galactic Journey. Science ficton is about progress, and not just of the nuts and bolts kind. Sociological progress is fertile ground for a myriad of stories. I can easily imagine an intergalactic version of the new development Ms. Benton writes about below...(the Editor)]



Salutations everyone! On March 1st our president made good on a proposed project from back in 1960 which we, especially the young, hoped against hope would come to fruition. The Peace Corps, a volunteer organization tasked with providing technical assistance and fostering cultural exchange abroad, is now a reality. Granted, it is only on a trial basis, but the enthusiasm that the very concept has generated has been momentous.



Sharron Perry is one such prospective volunteer I've recently had the pleasure to meet. A succinct and highly motivated lady, she told me all about this revolutionary new federal program that was started just earlier this month. As a conscientious objector and active member of her university's organization, Americans Committed to World Responsibility, Sharron is a graduating senior who seems to vibrate with the energy that embodies her age group. She was nice enough to share with me the following letter which she hopes will galvanize other young people at her school, the University of Michigan, to join her on this new adventure.

Perhaps she will motivate you, as well:

(see the letter at Galactic Journey!)
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We are pleased to present noted scholar Rosemary Benton's thoughts on Roger Corman's House of Usher, the cinemafication of Poe's classic about a cursed family doomed to madness through the ages. Special kudos must be awarded since Ms. Benton lives in rural New England, where the movie houses are not all air conditioned...

It's been a particularly hot summer this year, but a deep love of movies compelled me to visit my local theater nonetheless. This time it was to enjoy a film that has been making quite a stir since it's release in June: House of Usher.



(see the rest at Galactic Journey!)

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