Friday, February 18, 2011

FFB: FFSS: Stories Which Helped Shape My Thinking; FFM: Further Along with 4 Fantasy Magazines from 1952-54

I thought I'd name five short stories which helped shape my worldview (unsurprisingly, they tend to be encountered when one is young), but came up with far more, of course, albeit I could cut it down to a Tight Five:

"The Second Coming" by Joe Gores...I've mentioned elsewhere, including in my obituary/book review here recently, how much this story, about a pair of goofy young men who think they've scored a great opportunity for a macabre lark by managing to qualify as witnesses to a legal execution at a penitentiary, got me to thinking as a kid about all the reasons I opposed the death penalty. I've not been persuaded that there's a good argument for it since.

"Pacifist" by Mack Reynolds...similarly, this story, about an operative who is engaged in an attempt to use violent means in a very "retail" manner to ensure the larger peace, is one of the several thoughtful, key stories contributed by Reynolds, the son of Verne Reynolds, once the presidential candidate of the very doctrinaire US Marxist organization the Socialist Labor Party (Daniel De Leon, the party's founder, denounced Marx himself for the latter's own deviations; the SLP is the oldest of the US's leftist parties, albeit it's never been large). A wry, satirical (but not bluntly so) story that is perhaps part of why I found the recent film Wanted so dire, as the latter is an empty-headed, pseudo-mystical and machismic attempt to deal with similar matters.

"The Genius" by Donald Barthelme...a very funny story about the quotidian details in the life of a man recognized for his mental prowess, and his attempts to do something worthwhile beyond what he's already achieved. One incident: his successful call for a conclave of geniuses unfortunately results, inevitably, in hundreds of geniuses in one room...an experience which on several levels depresses him. It was a helpful suggestion that being, shall we put it as very bright, would not solve every problem one would face, and that was not in and of itself a failing.

"The Meeting" by Frederik Pohl and C. M. Kornbluth...Pohl and Kornbluth were friends, collaborators, had a period of estrangement, came up together in the remarkable group of young writers et alia known as the Futurians...and both had children with learning disabilities, Kornbluth's apparently very severe. Kornbluth died young, from the hypertension that had been brought on by his exertive experiences as an infantryman in World War II, and left a number of fragments that Pohl went about completing and publishing in the late 1960s and early 1970s...and while Kornbluth, even before he was dealt some really very unfortunate hands in his adult life, was drawn to an incisive and grim view of the world, and Pohl, both in other "posthumous collaborations" with Kornbluth around this time such as "Mute Inglorious Tam" and his solo work such as "Shaffery Among the Immortals" (quite aside from his similar earlier work) was quite willing to take the same acidic approach, "The Meeting" is something a bit different, a much more stripped-down and mimetic matter of coping with monstrous decisions and fighting one's way through them. It was both a warning about what life could be like and advice on how to cope with that.

5+:
There are so many that might dislodge any one of the above at another time...Joanna Russ wrote several, though one of the least likely in this context might be "Useful Phrases for the Tourist," which was one of my first utterly non-narrative stories that still was utterly clearly a story, as well as a hilarious jape. Carol Emshwiller ("Sex and/or Mr. Morrison") and Kate Wilhelm ("The Funeral"), likewise...which reminds me of R. A. Lafferty's "Fog in My Throat," with its remarkable take on how we all experience death.

And then there are stories that might not actually nudge one's thoughts so much as simply grip one, shake one up, offer fresh perspective...as, say, Fritz Leiber and Jorge Luis Borges were always good for that for me, Patricia Highsmith, Damon Knight and Muriel Spark usually, Avram Davidson, Ursula Le Guin and Tillie Olsen frequently, John Cheever sometimes. As are these two examples (two I hope you've encountered before):

"Rachel in Love" by Pat Murphy
"Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" by Joyce Carol Oates

Were there any short stories, particularly that helped change your perspectives on life, in specific or more sweeping ways?

I started reading these four issues of the four most important US fantasy-fiction magazines to come into their own the 1950s (how many modifiers is that?...you know, to rule out the dying Weird Tales and Famous Fantastic Mysteries, the Fantastic Adventures merged with Fantastic, the several shortlived magazines essentially called just Fantasy, the remarkably uneven Imagination and Imaginative Tales) in May, and what with working and cataracts (since dealt with) and other demands on my time, I still haven't gotten too much further than my initial read through Algis Budrys's lead novella in the Beyond issue...but I have read at least some of each of the others...so...a progress report:

***In the F&SF: H. B. Fyfe's "Ransom" is a solid example of what Christopher Anvil and Randall Garrett and Eric Frank Russell (at low ebb) later would do worse, repeatedly, for Astounding, and Analog after the 1960 retitling: the aliens who think they're much smarter than the humans they are tackling. Fyfe, one of the underappreciated writers in the field several decades after his suicide, takes more pains to make the aliens here, if too anthropomorphic (and certainly a bit too Medici-esque), at least reasonably sharp and dangerous, rather more of a challenge for their human adversaries than the later yard goods would offer. From previous reading, Ray Bradbury's "The Pedestrian" is a relatively famous, slight and overdirected vignette about over-regulation, comic inferno that doesn't gain too much from being sparked by an actual incident of being asked by cop why he, Bradbury was walking in LA rather than driving (some stereotypes have long roots); Thurber's "If Grant Had Been Drinking at Appomattox" remains punchy and genuinely funny, if now even more widely-familiar than it surely was in 1952...

Indices from ISFDb:

The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, February 1952
3 • Ransom • shortstory by H. B. Fyfe
10 • The Rape of the Lock • [Gavagan's Bar] • shortstory by L. Sprague de Camp and Fletcher Pratt
18 • Report from the Editors • essay by The Editors
19 • Ugly Sister • (1935) • shortstory by Jan Struther
25 • The Hunting of the Slan • (1849) • essay by Edgar Allan Poe
26 • Flood • shortstory by L. Major Reynolds
32 • Mrs. Poppledore's Id • novelette by Reginald Bretnor [as by R. Bretnor ]
52 • Minister Without Portfolio • shortstory by Mildred Clingerman
59 • The Good Life • shortstory by John R. Pierce [as by J. J. Coupling ]
68 • The 8:29 • shortstory by Edward S. Sullivan
74 • Jizzle • (1949) • shortstory by John Wyndham
84 • The Giant Finn MacCool • (1951) • shortstory by William Bernard Ready [as by W. B. Ready ]
89 • The Pedestrian • (1951) • shortstory by Ray Bradbury
93 • The Two Magicians • (1678) • shortstory by Nathaniel Wanley
94 • The Lonely Worm • shortstory by Kenneth H. Cassens
105 • Recommended Reading (F&SF, February 1952) • [Recommended Reading] • essay by The Editors
105 •   Review: The Day After Tomorrow by Robert A. Heinlein • review by The Editors
105 •   Review: The Green Hills of Earth by Robert A. Heinlein • review by The Editors
105 •   Review: The Puppet Masters by Robert A. Heinlein • review by The Editors
106 •   Review: The House of Many Worlds by Sam Merwin, Jr. • review by The Editors
106 •   Review: Loneliest Girl in the World by Kenneth Fearing • review by The Editors
106 •   Review: World of Wonder by Fletcher Pratt • review by The Editors
106 •   Review: New Tales of Space and Time by Raymond J. Healy • review by The Editors
106 •   Review: Space on My Hands by Fredric Brown • review by The Editors
106 •   Review: Bullard of the Space Patrol by Malcolm Jameson • review by The Editors
106 •   Review: The Great Disciple and Other Stories by W. B. Ready • review by The Editors
107 •   Review: Rockets, Jets, Guided Missiles and Spaceships by Jack Coggins and Fletcher Pratt • review by The Editors
107 •   Review: Space Medicine: The Human Factor in Flights Beyond the Earth by John P. Marbarger • review by The Editors
107 •   Review: Index to the Science-Fiction Magazines (1926-1950) by Donald B. Day • review by The Editors
108 • Worlds of If • essay by The Editors
109 • Hands Off • (1881) • shortstory by Edward Everett Hale
119 • If Grant Had Been Drinking at Appomattox • (1930) • shortstory by James Thurber
119 •   Review: If, or History Rewritten by J. C. Squire • review by The Editors
122 • The Hole in the Moon • shortstory by Margaret St. Clair [as by Idris Seabright]

***In the Fantastic, B. Traven's novelet is at least twice as long as it might be if Traven wasn't milking it for every nickel per word he was likely to get out of the magazine...and yet still making the story charming and engaging, even when the repetition was not disguised at all. A Mexican peasant strikes a canny bargain with Death, and faces the relatively ambiguous consequences. It won't make you forget the work Traven is more famous for (The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, most obviously), but some of the grit and qualified empathy one finds there is here, too. "The Delicate Dinosaur" is almost definitive "slick" fantasy, of the sort Fantastic was always happy to have, in the sense of a smoothly-written, relatively unsurprising, mildly diverting romp that tries to make a not terribly shocking point about collective self-delusion. Howard Browne did love his ambiguous endings. William Altman was one of the relatively large number of CBS network folks who wrote fiction on the side, often for fantasy magazines (Reid Collins comes to mind, the CBS News guy of the '70s; somewhat more mimetic-fiction-oriented was CBS Morning News anchor Hughes Rudd). I can't find an image of the whole wraparound cover for this issue, with another panel of unusual Richard Powers quasi-realism, and the banner for Shirley Jackson's story, so I might need to scan my copy...


Fantastic, March-April 1953
fep • They Write... • essay by Shirley Jackson
fep • They Write... • essay by Billy Rose
fep • They Write... • essay by B. Traven
4 • The Third Guest • novelette by B. Traven
4 • The Third Guest • interior artwork by Tom O'Sullivan
37 • The Delicate Dinosaur • shortstory by William Markham Altman
37 • The Delicate Dinosaur • interior artwork by J. Bryan
55 • Cartoon: "Don't look like they're coming." • interior artwork by Mendoza
56 • The Cold Green Eye • shortstory by Jack Williamson
56 • The Cold Green Eye • interior artwork by Ernie Barth
66 • Something for the Woman • shortstory by Randall Garrett [as by Ivar Jorgensen]
66 • Something for the Woman • interior artwork by Emsh
74 • The Sword of Yung Lo • shortstory by Maurice Walsh
74 • The Sword of Yung Lo • interior artwork by Bill Ashman
88 • Cartoon: "Anything wild?" • interior artwork by Frosty
90 • Stop on the Red • shortstory by Franklin Gregory
90 • Stop on the Red • interior artwork by Charles Berger
102 • Escape Me Never • novelette by J. T. McIntosh [as by J. T. M'Intosh]
102 • Escape Me Never • interior artwork by Emsh
121 • Cartoon: "Now That's enough, John. Our guests aren't interested in your old voodoo hobby." • interior artwork by Ray Dillon
124 • Root of Evil • shortstory by Shirley Jackson
124 • Root of Evil • interior artwork by Virgil Finlay
130 • A Star Falls on Broadway • shortstory by Harry Walton [as by Harry Fletcher]
130 • A Star Falls on Broadway • interior artwork by Leo Summers [as by L. R. Summers]
132 • Three Wishes • shortstory by Poul Anderson
133 • Three Wishes • interior artwork by Dick Francis
136 • Cartoon: "Go Where?" • interior artwork by Ray Dillon
139 • The Devil George and Rosie • (1934) • shortstory by John Collier (aka The Devil, George, and Rosie)
139 • The Devil George and Rosie • interior artwork by David Stone
159 • The Tourists • (1949) • shortstory by Billy Rose
159 • The Tourists • interior artwork by Emsh [as by Harry Garo]

***The Beyond's next story, by Richard Deming, is a somewhat disappointing fantasy from someone who would focus his efforts on usually better straightforward crime fiction in the coming years. But it is somewhat amusing as an example of the Prodigal Adult Child returning to a slightly more sad and sinister than usual nest of his youth. Slight enough that I've forgotten the mild twist ending already.


Beyond Fantasy Fiction, November 1953
2 • The Real People • novella by Algis Budrys
2 • The Real People • interior artwork by Ashman
57 • The Helpful Haunt • shortstory by Richard Deming
57 • The Helpful Haunt • interior artwork by Kossin
70 • Hush! • shortstory by Zenna Henderson
70 • Hush! • interior artwork by Don Rico
80 • House . . . Wife • novelette by Lyle G. Boyd and William C. Boyd [as by Boyd Ellanby ]
80 • House . . . Wife • interior artwork by Sale
109 • Just Imagine • shortstory by Ted Reynolds
109 • Just Imagine • interior artwork by Vidmer
113 • The Big Breeze • shortstory by Franklin Gregory
113 • The Big Breeze • interior artwork by Sale
128 • Sorry, Right Number • shortstory by Richard Matheson
128 • Sorry, Right Number • interior artwork by Sussman
140 • My Darling Hecate • novelette by Wyman Guin
140 • My Darling Hecate • interior artwork by Emsh
159 • Prediction (Beyond Fantasy Fiction, November 1953) • essay by uncredited

***This Fantastic Universe offers another long lead story by Algis Budrys, who was from the beginning of his career as fascinated by labyrinthine political manipulation and intellectual power-brokers as the child of spies turned diplomats might be. Another well-thought-out if still obviously too human alien species here, with humans (relentlessly "Earthmen") and another alien species as the problems to be juggled. Haven't finished this one yet, so am not sure if the rather arbitrary frame, where the alien protagonist is bitterly regretful that he didn't take the opportunity he could've to confer with his successor in command, will have some fleshing out of the actual reasons for that noncommunication other than plot convenience ("If only I hadn't forgotten to impart this over the years!"--happily, not a quotation from the story).

Fantastic Universe, November 1954
fep • The Story Behind the Cover (Fantastic Universe, November 1954) • essay by Frank Belknap Long
4 • Shadow on the Stars • novelette by Algis Budrys
29 • Miss Katy Three • shortstory by Robert F. Young
38 • Subject for Today • shortstory by Henry Hasse
45 • The Killing Winds of Churgenon • shortstory by Evelyn Goldstein
54 • The Briscoe Bolt • shortstory by Len Guttridge
59 • Mr. Hoskin's Blasting Rod • novelette by Theodore R. Cogswell
79 • Minority Group • shortstory by Robert Sheckley
87 • Man of Distinction • shortstory by Frank Belknap Long
94 • An Old, Old Friend • shortstory by David Eynon [as by David Lewis Eynon ]
100 • The Tormented Ones • shortstory by Richard R. Smith
110 • Give a Man a Chair He Can Lick • shortstory by Hal K. Wells
122 • A Lion in Your Lap • shortstory by Frank Belknap Long [as by Frank Doty ]
126 • Universe in Books (Fantastic Universe, November 1954) • [Universe in Books (Fantastic Universe)] • essay by Robert Frazier (active 1954-1955)
126 •   Review: The Explorers by C. M. Kornbluth • review by Robert Frazier (active 1954-1955)
126 •   Review: The Forgotten Planet by Murray Leinster • review by Robert Frazier (active 1954-1955)
127 •   Review: The Science-Fiction Subtreasury by Wilson Tucker • review by Robert Frazier (active 1954-1955)
127 •   Review: Giant Anthology of Science Fiction by Leo Margulies and Oscar J. Friend • review by Robert Frazier (active 1954-1955)
128 •   Review: The Immortal Storm: A History of Science Fiction Fandom by Sam Moskowitz • review by Robert Frazier (active 1954-1955)

Please see Patti Abbott's blog (and welcome home) for more of today's "Forgotten" Books selections and recommendations...this, clearly, is what happens when I skip a week...

23 comments:

Jerry House said...

Off the top of my head, the stories that influenced me when I was young were Stanley Ellin's "The Specialty of the House", Roald Dahl's "Royal Jelly", Shirley Jackson's "Charles", and Fritz Leiber's "The Bleak Shore" and "The Rats of Limbo". Later on, I was in awe of Joe R. Lansdale's "The Night They Missed the Horror Show." All of which goes to explain how warped I have become.

Todd Mason said...

Fredric Wertham and G. Legman tried to warn us, but did we listen? No...and now there's a Jerry House loosed upon the world!

All pretty damned memorable stories for me, too, except I might've missed "Charles" or have misremembered its title.

George said...

Another mind-boggling post, Todd! Where to begin? You don't see Mack Reynolds name mentioned much any more, but like you, I'm an admirer of his novels and short fiction. Reading Barthelme's work was a big influence. Clark Ashton Smith and Jack Vance rocked my world. The early short stories of Joyce Carol Oates took me to some strange places.

Bill Crider said...

"Were there any short stories, particularly that helped change your perspectives on life, in specific or more sweeping ways?"

I've never forgotten the impact on me of the last line of Simak's "Desertion." I was just a kid when I read it, and it floored me. Changed my perspective forever, for better or worse.

Jerry House said...

Todd, "Charles" was one of the stories reprinted in THE LOTTERY, as well as in THE MASTERPIECES OF SHIRLEY JACKSON and in the (to be released this month) THE TOOTH.

I first read the story as a chapter in one of her humorous memoirs of family life -- either LIFE AMONG THER SAVAGES or RAISING DEMONS, can't remember which. It was one of the funniest stories I had ever read. Later I read it in THE LOTTERY and there it was one of the most chilling stories I had read. It was then I realized the true power a writer could have with words. For me, it's a greater accomplishment than "The Lottery" or "One Ordinary Day, With Peanuts."

(BTW, in The Land of Coincidences Dept., after I had first replied to your post, my wife told me that she had taped an Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode last night for me. And, yes, it was "The Specialty of the House", starring Robert Morley.

pattinase (abbott) said...

The Swimmer by Cheever, The Lottery, by Jackson, Specialty of the House, Ellin, Giving Blood, Updike, the Eudora Welty story Why I Live at the PO, The River, Flannery O'Connor. And about a million others.

Steve Oerkfitz said...

A Good Man Is Hard to Find-Flannery O'Connor. the Distributor-Richard Matheson.Narrow Valley-RA Lafferty. The Question-Stanley Ellin.The Streets of Ashkelon-Harry Harrison.Fondly Fahrenheit-Alfred Bester.Many others by John Collier, Roald Dahl, Avram Davidson.

Richard R. said...

perhaps my counter is off this morning, but in your fist set of five there seem to be only four. ?

Many great stories there, and I'll add one that really made an impact on me: "The Father Thing" by Fredric Brown. It scared the hell out of me.

Also of note: the novelettes "Waldo" and "Magic Inc.", the stories in The Green Hills of Earth, Murray Leinster's "Exploration Team", many of the stories by Christopher Anvil (pseudonym of Harry C. Crosby) and Eric Frank Russell.

Todd Mason said...

Rick, I realized when I got to five that I was going to have entirely too much difficulty deciding which was going to be that last item...though my experience of "Desertion" was very much like Bill's. Inasmuch as I'd juet mentioned "Desertion" in another context earlier last night, it's sad that I failed to think of it in this context...memory is a funny thing. (I think you might be thinking of the Philip K. Dick story, "The Father Thing"...one of his brilliant straightforward horrors, along with "Upon the Dull Earth"...)

Steve, your list is full of items that struck chords for me, too...though the Bester story that got to me the most is "5,271,009"...

Patti, "The Lottery" was just a mark below my list here, perhaps in part because the folks as described didn't surprised questioning, atheist me. Monsters all around. "The Swimmer" one of Cheever's most clangorous, like "The Enormous Radio," but there are moments spread throughout his work that match those...the Ellin was excellent, but I'm interested that it really resonated thus with both of you, Patti and Jerry.

Jerry, that "Charles" sounds more familiar as you describe it.

George, thanks...Oates can still take you strange places, particularly as she's increasingly willing to embrace fantasy in the last couple of decades. Dallas McCord Reynolds wrote too much quickly, but his best work can turn anyone around if they let it...and to be a very grounded leftist in the midst of the default right-wing gaggle of Campbell's ANALOG...and Vance, particularly, always had something to say to me, too (as did Phyllis Eisenstein).

Todd Mason said...

And, of course, Bill, one of the great things about "Desertion" is that ASTOUNDING editor John Campbell didn't like the implications of the story, and grew to hate them ever more, but couldn't Not publish that story--certainly, to that extent, no fool he.

And, Rick, certainly Russell and to a lesser exent "Anvil" did do plenty of impressive to brilliant work, as well...and, Patti, the only shaker of yours I haven't encountered is the Updike...I'll have to give that a try.

And, hell, John Varley was shaking up sf in the latter '70s in a way oddly similar to what Spillane did with crime fiction in the latest '40s and early '50s (with his brilliant short fiction, less so with his novels)...Spillane was a less stiff, extremely sexually charged Carroll John Daly, and Varley was rather akin to a latter-day, sexually-charged Stanley Weinbaum...

Jerry House said...

"sexually-charged Stanley Weinbaum"

...That's a phrase I never thought I'd read.

Todd Mason said...

Well, that sentient Martian ostrich-oid sure did like to go rigid and plunge headfirst into the mother-planet...and one of the human scientists was named Putz (yes, Stanley, we get it)...

Richard R. said...

Yes, Dick, of course, I typed Brown while in brain idle - which seems to occur more and more often.

SteveHL said...

Todd, as usual, fascinating choices with great commentary. I don’t write (unless shopping lists count), so I can’t say which stories influenced me in that way. I love many of the authors mentioned – Ellin, Updike, Davidson, Collier. The Green Hills of Earth was the first book I ever stayed up all night reading. I would add Bradbury and, especially, Sturgeon and Salinger, who I think really did in some measure influence the way I think.

Every time you write about short stories I want to comment on all of them, but I’ll restrain myself. Two of the stories in the Beyond that you don’t discuss are ones I like a lot, “Hush!”, one of Mildred Clingerman’s rare horror stories, and the Wyman Guin. I don’t think Guin every had a less than excellent short story published. (I do like his one novel, which nobody else seems to, but nothing like as much as the short stories.)

One note about “The Meeting”: there is an earlier story called “Half a Loaf” by R. C. FitzPatrick (Analog, August, 1965) which deals with a similar theme but from a totally different perspective. It was evidently never reprinted, which is a pity; it is an excellent story.

Todd said...

The FitzPatrick story sound familiar in that vaguely irritating way that Whole Lots of Things sound familiar in middle age, but I will seek it out, thanks...and I haven't gotten as far as the Wyman Guin (my copy of his collection LIVING WAY OUT as well as the novel are in a box, awaiting rediscovery) or Zenna Henderson horror story in the BEYOND issue, nor refreshed my memory of Jackson's "Root of Evil" in the FANTASTIC yet, but I'm certainly not giving up on them...I hope to be wistful about whatever happened to Evelyn Goldstein (in the FU, that most ungallant of acronyms).

And, you know, I wasn't thinking so much of fiction that had influenced me as a writer...Davidson and Borges and Budrys and Russ are all strong there, though I'm not even playing the same sport, much less in the league...as those who had actually challenged my thinking with a given work of fiction...and Sturgeon also has done so for me, though as with the more pointed stories of Jackson and Leiber and Bloch, I tend to find myself so much in agreement in advance...but the deftness with which, say, Sturgeon takes on several targets at once with "Affair with a Green Monkey" or slaps you with the likes of "A Way of Thinking" can't be discounted in this wise, no.

Another underappreciated writer in this wise is Allen Kim Lang...his stories could be a visceral and challenging as anything by Ellison or Lansdale. Certainly "Thaw and Serve" was a hell of an introduction to him.

Todd said...

(and, thanks for the compliments! I'm always happy to see your comments, too, and not solely by any means for your generous egoboo.)

wv: insitte...reminiscent of a collective zine project I was a part of, (in*sit)

Richard Moore said...

Love your comments on Mack Reynolds. I am in the midst of rereading the Reynolds stories that I have on hand and am 55 stories in and only in the middle of 1961.

Not a stylist as a writer but brilliant in creating interesting societies and also very prophetic. His early work was either humorous or very pessimistic, hardboiled fare.

I've learned that his stories are much better in their shorter magazine versions. He was a writer who thrived at the novella length but the stories suffered when padded out to novels.

Richard Moore

Todd Mason said...

Another danger of being a facile writer, Richard...it's too easy, particularly when you're pulling down only a few thousand or so per book even in 1970s dollars, to expand the magazine stories to "book length" through bloviation. But you have to love a guy who not only had the nerve to rewrite Bellamy's LOOKING BACKWARD and EQUALITY for his times, but was the natural choice to do so.

Richard Moore said...

I certainly do not fault Mack Reynolds for expanding his novellas into novels, especially as he had trouble finding magazines to serialize his stories after 1970. But I do think it is fair to note that the shorter magazine stories are superior.

I began my Reynolds reading jag after reading his 1975 novel TOMORROW MIGHT BE DIFFERENT and being driven back to the source story "Russkies Go Home" in F&SF, which I had read when it first appeared in 1960. Everything of value was in the novelette.

Later I found a Reynolds comment that the story had been written for Galaxy and H.L. Gold liked it so much he asked for an expansion.

But when Reynolds turned in the story, Gold rejected it saying the relationship between the Soviet Union and the U.S. had reached the point that publishing the story was not possible. Reynolds said he thought the renewed tension with the US over the U2 incident was the reason. Gold wrote Reynolds that the story was a casualty of the Cold War.

Thankfully, F&SF disagreed. In the story Russia has gotten its act together and is out competing the US in industry after industry, to the point that many are being put out of business by the Russians.

True Reynolds guessed wrong with Russia but it you substitute China for Russia, the story is very, very accurate.

Todd Mason said...

Gold used a similar excuse not to publish Klass/"Tenn"'s "The Liberation of Earth"...and that his, Gold's, own leftist past would be used against him. I strongly suspect that he overestimated the richness of his magazine as a target, but the times didn't encourage the worried nor the cautious (the Klass story ended up in SCIENCE FICTION, edited by the somewhat less worried ex-Communist Robert Lowndes).

Odd if he was finding a paucity of markets...he won a readers' poll as the most popular contributor to GALAXY in the mid-'70s...but depending on publishers UPD to actually pay for the stories James Baen and his successors bought would be an unrewarding policy. I don't fault him, as particularly noting the kind of advances he would be seeing, but fluffing up the stories for book form is perhaps not the best way to further one's audience. Unless you're Stephen King, but some of shorter work is pretty effluvial, too.

I remain sorry I didn't do more to finish my mid-'80s novel involving a bi-polar world, largely dominated by an insurgent China and India, with most of the rest of the world rather more in the observer rather than world-policing roles...

K. A. Laity said...

Thank you for the introduction to Avram Davidson. I can tell I am going to be glad I know him.

K. A. Laity said...

And I dislike lists so I'd never make one if I could avoid it, but some good choices here that people would do well to pick up. "Where Are You Going? Where Have You Been?" was one of the few stories I actually re-read every time I taught it in the creative writing class I seem to no longer teach.

Todd Mason said...

"'Communist Chulpex ate my wife...'" remains one of the funniest lines that readily come to mind, though only given certain context in the Davidson novel, MASTERS OF THE MAZE. And then there's just, golly, so much more.

No longer seem to be teaching 'cause you have too much in your plate, because you'd rather not, or because of tightening belts in these impecunious days?