Category Archives: Excerpts

Raymond F. Jones’ “The Alien”

gn6This excerpt from Steve Carper’s “The Galaxy Science Fiction Novels” from TDE4 covers Galaxy Novel #6 (1951), The Alien by Raymond F. Jones:

“The alien of the title of Jones’ book is found buried deep in an asteroid, the remains of a planet that exploded 500,000 years ago, creating the asteroid belt. That impossible cosmology is par for
 the book, which has its archaeologist heroes battle the weaponized brain of the alien by hopping into a convenient-but-never-before-mentioned faster-than-light starship and zooming to another planet to bring back the only weapon in the universe that can defeat him.”

Steve’s TDE article focuses on the first 35 Novels published by Galaxy. Surprisingly, the final 11 were published by sleaze house Beacon. For the story on those, see his follow-up piece in the current issue of Paperback Parade (#97) from Gryphon Books.

John Dickson Carr and Cabin B-13

ellery_queens_mystery_194405Stories from Suspense Magazine #1 Spring 1951

From the story’s introduction: “Numbering its audience in the millions today, the CBS radio-television program series Suspense for a number of years has ranked as one of the finest dramatic programs on the air. It has brought to perfection a new type of high-tension presentation—in tune with our time, in harmony with modern concepts of gripping entertainment.

“In each issue, the magazine Suspense will present one of the distinguished scripts which have made broadcasting history. The initial choice, Honeymoon Terror, was originally given over the CBS network in November, 1943, under the title Cabin B-13, starring Margo and Phillip Dorn.”

“Cabin B-13” was one of the most popular episodes of Suspense, it was rerun in November 1943, but its original broadcast was on March 16, 1943. Even the script had an earlier printing, in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine May 1944.

Image from Galactic Central.

Arthur C. Clarke: Prelude to Space

gn3Galaxy Science Fiction Novels #3 from an excerpt from Steve Carper’s “The Galaxy Science Fiction Novels” from TDE4.

[H.L.] Gold hurriedly filled the slot with the existential opposite of super-science, an original novel set in a recognizable future. It had everything—a rising young star as its author, cutting-edge contemporary subject matter, a realistic style that eschewed Gosh-wow, an astronomical cover that for once indicated the lure of the contents, the true first edition of the first novel ever published by a name destined to achieve world renown. Arthur C. Clarke’s Prelude to Space (#3) fell into Gold’s lap for the least likely possible reason: everybody else in the field had rejected it.”

Opening lines to the novel:
“For five miles straight as an arrow, the gleaming metal track lay along the face of the desert. It pointed to the northwest across the dead heart of the continent and to the ocean beyond. Over this land, once the home of the aborigines, many strange shapes had risen, roaring, in the last generation. The greatest and strangest of them all lay at the head of the launching track along which it was to hurtle into the sky.”

Art Taylor’s “A Voice from the Past”

Speaking about real life events, Art Taylor shared a few memorable incidents drawn upon for his stories like the one that appears in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine August 2009:

AT: “A Voice from the Past” centers on some hazing incidents very similar to the rat system at the boarding school I attended. All those* are pretty heavily fictionalized beyond those core elements, of course, but building from that foundation has helped to fuel the imagination.

*Art mentions several others in his full interview that appears in The Digest Enthusiast book four.

Criswell Predicts: Fate #4

“The “Criswell Predicts” radio broadcast had preceded his writing of articles and columns and Criswell’s “87% correct” claim had been established by the time Ray Palmer wrote his editorial in this early issue of Fate. Palmer, writing as “Robert N. Webster,” seemed most concerned with the accuracy of Criswell’s predictions and stated, ‘We’re going to ‘keep score’ on
him and see whether or not he can live up to his reputation for correctness. Incidentally, Mr. Criswell will appear in FATE each month with predictions for the coming month, or with special prognostications that may apply.’ Criswell did not appear monthly as Palmer initially stated; he actually only wrote in the four issues listed here.”
Fate #4 Winter 1949
Fate #6 July 1949
Fate #18 March 1951
Fate #37 April 1953

Excerpt from “Criswell Predicts: Fate & Spaceway” by Tom Brinkmann, TDE4 June 2016

Apollo 12: Mysterious Encounters With Flying Saucers

Saga May 1970

Excerpt from Tom Brinkmann’s “Mr. UFO: Timothy Green Beckley’s Paranormal Odyssey” from TDE3:

“Nineteen seventy seems to have been a pivotal year in Tim’s writing career, as he says of the Saga article, “I do believe it’s probably one of the most important in my career as a paranormal and UFO writer.” Tim had gone to Washington, DC to do research for the article. Throughout the 1970s, Tim was regularly writing articles for Saga UFO Report and for their “UFO Specials.” Tim also did an interview with Charles Berlitz, “Mr. Bermuda Triangle,” in Saga’s Bermuda Triangle Special Report 1977.

Diabolik #2

Diabolik #2 November 1986

“Diabolik! Dark, sinister apparition of the night! Relentless in quest for fortune; clever and cautious in technique. Always a step ahead of those whom he has set his sights on. Is he friend or foe? He might prove to be either. Or both.

“This bizarre, black-clad figure first made his appearance at Italian newsstands in November 1962, the creation, oddly enough, of two Italian sisters, Angela and Luciana Giussani.”

Excerpt from “Diabolik-al Digests” by Joe Wehrle, Jr. The Digest Enthusiast #3 January 2016

Search #91 May 1970

Search #91

Search #91

Tom Brinkmann describes the last section of Tim Beckley’s “World of the Off Beat” column from Search #91, in this excerpt from his profile piece in TDE3:

“…“Astrology and Murder” in which Tim interviewed Barbara H. Watters, a leading Washing
ton area astrologer and author of the book, The Astrologer Looks At Murder (1969). She believed ‘you can actually determine the real motives at work in criminal cases through the application of astro- logical forces.’ She had studied several high profile murder cases of which she found the infamous Lizzie Borden case of 1892 the most interesting; Watters had lived in Borden’s home town of Fall River, Massachusetts for twenty years. Lizzie Borden was never convicted of the murder of her parents for lack of evidence. Watters had done an astrological chart for Lizzie and had determined that she was guilty. Watters also came up with a motive—Lizzie had wanted to improve her station in life. As Watters stated, ‘She was born with four planets in the sign of Leo. Statistically, Leo is under-represented in the charts of murderers. But it is a proud sign which does not bear frustration with good grace.’ In her previously mentioned book, Watters also revealed the identity of Jack the Ripper.”

Famous Fantastic Mysteries Digest

Famous Fantastic Mysteries Jan. 1951 first digest-size issue

Famous Fantastic Mysteries Jan. 1951 first digest-size issue

“In 1951, the long-running pulp Famous Fantastic Mysteries published a few issues in an appealing format that was slightly larger than the usual digest size. It measured 6-1⁄4” x 8-1⁄2” (a half-inch wider than Dell/Penny Press’ current digests) and had trimmed edges, but apparently was not embraced by all of FFM’s readers and the untrimmed pulp format returned after a few issues.”

The magazine also replaced its passionate red and yellow masthead with a more modern treatment that ran for two years.

“In the May 1951 (digest) issue, a reader wrote: ‘Over the past few years there has been a tendency for some publishers to bring out their magazines in a digest-sized form, and this has been encouraged by a small, but vocal, group of snobbish fans who sneer at any ‘pulp’ magazine, and hail as ‘adult’ anything appearing in digest size. In my opinion, these fans are suffering from an inferiority complex—they want to show their fantasy magazines to their friends, but are ashamed of those which are conventional pulp size. I was prepared for all the new publishers in the field to pander to this minority group by restricting their magazines to digest size, but I never expected Popular Publications to slavishly follow this current trend. In my opinion, it is a fad which will not last long.’”

Excerpts (in quotes) from “In Defense of Digests” by Rob Imes, editor of Ditkomania, from TDE1.

The origin of “thug”


Kali, from the cover of Beyond January 1969

“Violence in American Linked to Cult of Assassins” leads off the Beyond January 1969 issue. It’s about the people who worship Kali, the goddess of evil, by Harvey Drew. Founded by Mahomed Ben Ali aka “The Old Man of the Mountains” who lived in the Atlas Mountains in North Africa.

“Kali’s followers were a recognized caste in India’s complicated social system who called themselves “Thuggees” and killed their victims bloodlessly by strangulation with a knotted cord. Until the arrival of the British they were practically licensed murderers who were simply avoided as much as possible and who were killed on sight if caught at their work.

“The British rulers of India took drastic steps to stamp out the Thuggee cult. By the beginning of the 20th century, it was assumed to have ended, to be remembered only by the use of the word “Thug” to describe a rough undesirable individual.”