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The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, May 1953 (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, #24)

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When Half-Gods Go • shortstory by Poul Anderson Snulbug • (1941) • shortstory by Anthony Boucher Occupation • shortstory by Edward W. Ludwig Story Conference • shortstory by Arthur Porges Young-Man-With-Skull-at-His-Ear • novelette by Manly Wade Wellman [as by Levi Crow ] Labor Supply • [Dr. Vrees] • shortstory by John D. MacDonald There Did Not Remain a Word to Say • shortstory When Half-Gods Go • shortstory by Poul Anderson Snulbug • (1941) • shortstory by Anthony Boucher Occupation • shortstory by Edward W. Ludwig Story Conference • shortstory by Arthur Porges Young-Man-With-Skull-at-His-Ear • novelette by Manly Wade Wellman [as by Levi Crow ] Labor Supply • [Dr. Vrees] • shortstory by John D. MacDonald There Did Not Remain a Word to Say • shortstory by Winona McClintic Leap Year Day • shortstory by Tom McMorrow, Jr. Recommended Reading (F&SF, May 1953) • [Recommended Reading] • essay by The Editors Aladdin's Lamp • (1890) • shortstory by Kurd Lasswitz (trans. of Aladins Wunderlampe 1888) Lot • [David Jimmon] • novelette by Ward Moore Mr. Elsie Smith • shortstory by Dana Lyon


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When Half-Gods Go • shortstory by Poul Anderson Snulbug • (1941) • shortstory by Anthony Boucher Occupation • shortstory by Edward W. Ludwig Story Conference • shortstory by Arthur Porges Young-Man-With-Skull-at-His-Ear • novelette by Manly Wade Wellman [as by Levi Crow ] Labor Supply • [Dr. Vrees] • shortstory by John D. MacDonald There Did Not Remain a Word to Say • shortstory When Half-Gods Go • shortstory by Poul Anderson Snulbug • (1941) • shortstory by Anthony Boucher Occupation • shortstory by Edward W. Ludwig Story Conference • shortstory by Arthur Porges Young-Man-With-Skull-at-His-Ear • novelette by Manly Wade Wellman [as by Levi Crow ] Labor Supply • [Dr. Vrees] • shortstory by John D. MacDonald There Did Not Remain a Word to Say • shortstory by Winona McClintic Leap Year Day • shortstory by Tom McMorrow, Jr. Recommended Reading (F&SF, May 1953) • [Recommended Reading] • essay by The Editors Aladdin's Lamp • (1890) • shortstory by Kurd Lasswitz (trans. of Aladins Wunderlampe 1888) Lot • [David Jimmon] • novelette by Ward Moore Mr. Elsie Smith • shortstory by Dana Lyon

12 review for The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, May 1953 (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, #24)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    This issue holds a bunch of unremarkable stories with some quite good ones included. One of the most routine stories is by the often excellent Poul Anderson. Anderson's "When Half-Gods Go" leads off the issue. Two benevolent aliens come to Earth, able to do amazing feats and eager to help; cynical Earth people dismiss them as tricksters. How to convince people that the aliens really are what they say they are? This is sort of an upside-down version of William Tenn's famous tale "Betelgeuse Bridg This issue holds a bunch of unremarkable stories with some quite good ones included. One of the most routine stories is by the often excellent Poul Anderson. Anderson's "When Half-Gods Go" leads off the issue. Two benevolent aliens come to Earth, able to do amazing feats and eager to help; cynical Earth people dismiss them as tricksters. How to convince people that the aliens really are what they say they are? This is sort of an upside-down version of William Tenn's famous tale "Betelgeuse Bridge" (Galaxy Science Fiction, April, 1951) but, unfortunately, not as good. In "Story Conference" by Arthur Porges, an alien from Mars tries to convince an editor of a science fiction magazine on Earth that he knows more about Martian civilization than the editor does. Extraterrestrials have a tough time in this issue. So when the troops of United Earth invade Somia, a planet circling Alpha Centauri in "Occupation" by Edward W. Ludwig, they should have no problem. And indeed they don't, because the Somians are willing to die rather than strike back. And then the Earth troops do have a problem. This not very good story gives the military forces of Earth rather more credit than I fear they - we - deserve. (For a much more cynical view of a similar situation, see "The Last Article" by Harry Turtledove [F&SF January, 1988].) "Labor Supply" is a comic horror story by John D. MacDonald, an author who, like Poul Anderson, was often very effective, but is not in this issue. An engaged couple consult a therapist. They have begun having the same dreams, nightmares in which many versions of each of them must toil under the harsh control of cruel gnomes. The psychoanalyst fails to solve their problem - and, in fact, begins to participate in it. Winona McClintic also has a story intended to be comic, "There Did Not Remain a Word to Say." MacDonald's tale featured evil gnomes; McClintic's has mischievous (and not overly competent) leprechauns. Three leprechauns, Pat, Mike, and Bryan O'Ryan, sit in a secret room in the Dublin Library drinking scotch. (Scotch! Was there no Irish whiskey available?) They speak in the comic-Irish manner of every Pat and Mike joke: "They do be in their going, darling, the both of them at the railway train and the third mounting and saying goodbye." and "He has a rare gift on him that the Saints gave him and that is this one: that he could put the blarney of Munster on a radish." They are dabbling in the life of a scholar, a man from Ireland living in California. His name is Arthur and he is always referred to as "Bald Art," evidently a joke that I probably don't understand. (I did find a reference to "Bald Art Castle, Kilkenny, County Clare, Island" and that might be the explanation, but it seems awfully obscure.) They send him gifts intended to help his career; most of them decidedly do not. Gnomes, leprechauns - now add a genie! He appears (sort of) in a story from 1888 titled "Aladdin's Lamp," written by Kurd Lasswitz and translated into English by Willy Ley. This is yet another would-be comic tale, in which a voice from an ancient lamp explains why he can not carry out requests, because they would violate laws of mankind or of nature. In "Leap Year Day" by Tom McMorrow, Jr., a man with the then existing job of editing movie newsreels starts slipping through time. He was born on a Leap Year Day, February 29, and on that date in 1952 he starts drifting into that date in other years. In 1952 he fires an employee for something that was really his own fault. Then he finds out that this was a world-altering event. "Mr. Elsie Smith" in a story of that name by Dana Lyon is a combination of the names given to a typewriter by two of its owners, the current owner, a man who calls the typewriter Elsie, and the former owner, a woman who called it Mr. Smith. The typewriter is creative and turns out very successful pornography. This is another comic story, quite short, which I actually found amusing. That leaves three stories that I really enjoyed. "Snulbug" by Anthony Boucher originally appeared in Unknown Worlds in December, 1941. A medical researcher in need of funding conjures up a demon - a very small demon with severely limited powers. The demon's name is Snulbug (which Boucher later revealed came from, of all places, King Lear!). The researcher comes up with an ingenious plan to use Snulbug to get funding, except that the plan fails - repeatedly. Then things change. This is a good story, but very dated; the solution would no longer work and, I suspect, would not even make sense to people in a world without afternoon editions of newspapers. "Young-Man-With-Skull-at-His-Ear" is attributed to Levi Crow. The science fiction and fantasy website ISFDb reveals that Crow was a pseudonym for Manly Wade Wellman. Tall Hawk is a seventeen year old Native American on a fast in the wilderness waiting for the coming of a spirit. He encounters not a spirit animal but a skull, which tells him that she was a chief's daughter and that if Tall Hawk eschewed using anything made by white men, she and other dead people would help him defeat every enemy except those white men. Native Americans are the heroes of this story and white men are the villains. I think that this is very good. Surprisingly, ISFDb says that it has never appeared in an anthology. The remaining story, "Lot" by Ward Moore, has appeared in a slew of anthologies. Moore published a sequel "Lot's Daughter" in the October, 1954 issue of F&SF. "Lot" was also the source for a film that I have not seen, Panic in Year Zero from 1962. "Lot" is a story on a theme that was understandably popular in the 1950s, the effect of nuclear war in the United States. "Lot" is not a post-apocalypse tale, but a story set just as the apocalypse begins. David Jimmon is an office worker with a wife and three children, two boys and a girl. He has anticipated and planned for a nuclear attack on the United States, and he and his family leave their home heading for a California wilderness area. He has planned for everything, except for the lack of enthusiastic cooperation from his family, which causes Jimmon to alter his plans. This is an extremely somber story. The only non-fiction feature in this issue is the "Recommended Reading" book review column, attributed to "The Editors." This includes qualified praise for Modern Science Fiction: Its Meaning and Its Future, edited by Reginald Bretnor. There are shorter reviews of eight anthologies (all recommended) and books by John D. MacDonald, Edgar Pangborn, Raymond F. Jones, L. Sprague de Camp, and Daphne du Maurier. The competent but unexciting cover by Jack Coggins shows "a rocket-launching station on the moon." "Competent but unexciting" would describe most of this issue. Some of the fiction may not even achieve competence; the stories by Boucher, Crow/Wellman, and Moore are all truly good.

  2. 4 out of 5

    John Loyd

    Not a great issue. Mostly one idea stories, with little character development or humor that is dated or fell flat. 3 • When Half-Gods Go • 9 pages by Poul Anderson OK/Good. Aliens come to Earth to using mental teleportation. After a period to study our culture, they try contacting group and governments. People won't believe them, thinking they are just clever tricksters. Governments want the tricks that will give them an advantage. 12 • Snulbug • 13 pages by Anthony Boucher Good. Bill summons a d Not a great issue. Mostly one idea stories, with little character development or humor that is dated or fell flat. 3 • When Half-Gods Go • 9 pages by Poul Anderson OK/Good. Aliens come to Earth to using mental teleportation. After a period to study our culture, they try contacting group and governments. People won't believe them, thinking they are just clever tricksters. Governments want the tricks that will give them an advantage. 12 • Snulbug • 13 pages by Anthony Boucher Good. Bill summons a demon. A small one that can't do much, but all Bill wants is enough capital to start the Hitchens Laboratory. Snulbug can't create money. Bill has other ideas. 25 • Occupation • 8 pages by Edward W. Ludwig OK/Good. Earth is invading Somia, they've beaten them in the swamps. Now it's time to strike those that are behind the wall. Before the Somians unleash their weapons which must be far in advance of Earth. Somia has had atomics for hundreds of years. 33 • Story Conference • 6 pages by Arthur Porges OK. A Martian is stranded on Earth. Were he an engineer like his father, no problem, he'd have it made. Alas, he's a poet, so the only work he can get is menial labor. When he discovers science fiction, he gives it a shot. 39 • Young-Man-with-Skull-at-His-Ear • 23 pages by Levi Crow Good. Tall Hawk goes on his four day fast to find his spirit guide. He does. She tells him she is an ancient. She can help, but he can't use the white man's iron or drink his firewater. Even then she doesn't know if she can help him defeat the white man. 62 • Labor Supply • 7 pages by John D. MacDonald Good/OK. Robert and Ruth to go Dr. Vrees to find out the meaning of the dreams they are having. They've been duplicated and put to work in a mine. If they fail to heed orders they are punished by gnomes. The two have kept separate records of their dreams and they matched. It is more than power of suggestion. 69 • There Did Not Remain a Word to Say • 11 pages by Winona McClintic OK/Fair. Gavin is a master of Gaelic and has just graduated Harvard. He is now going west to teach. Three Leprechauns follow his career and try to help it along with the occasional gift. I was reading this seriously and didn't laugh when the gifts didn't pan out. What I'm saying is Gavin had no depth. 80 • Leap Year Day • 9 pages by Tom McMorrow, Jr. Good. It's February 29, 1952. Gavin's birthday. He's makeup editor for a big newsreel company. While in the cutting room alone he gets glimpses of 1927, '32, '37, etc. Then remembers strange things that happened on his fourth and eighth birthdays. Yes, maybe there is something to be gained from this experience. 92 • Aladdin's Lamp • 8 pages by Kurd Lasswitz Good. George and his wife are visiting the Alanders. Alander asks which magical item they would prefer. George says the list wasn't long enough he'd go for Aladdin's lamp. George uses some mumbo jumbo logic to prove that magic is real and all these things did exist. It so happens that Alander just got an old lamp for the museum. What to do but test George's suppositions? 100 • Lot • 23 pages by Ward Moore Tiresome. Mr. Jimmon and the family take the loaded up car and head out of town. They were far enough on the outskirts of Los Angeles that they were OK, but no power or water. They aren't the only ones leaving town, the highways are clogged. The kids are whining. If Moore's objective was to simulate being stuck in a traffic jam he succeeded. Just not my idea of a fun read. 123 • Mr. Elsie Smith • 6 pages by Dana Lyon OK+. Marlboro spills coffee on his typewriter. Now Elsie is kaput. She had turned his poetic prose into crass but profitable writing. A new typewriter has been no help. He will try the pawn shop again in hopes they have Elsie's sister.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Ashby Albright

  4. 4 out of 5

    Leroy Erickson

  5. 5 out of 5

    OTIS

  6. 4 out of 5

    Pat Winter

  7. 5 out of 5

    David Brown

  8. 4 out of 5

    Charles van Buren

  9. 5 out of 5

    Tina

  10. 5 out of 5

    Michael Joseph Schumann

  11. 5 out of 5

    Tawnya Fugate

  12. 5 out of 5

    Dax

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