Category Archives: Synopsis

Spaceway Science Fiction April 1955

spaceway4_1955Criswell made the cover of Spaceway again in April 1955 with the ominous prediction “The Dying Planet.” Inside we learn he’s not talking about our planet, but Bellarion, a planet remarkably similar to Earth. Criswell predicts the alien planet’s fate will collide with ours as Bellarion leaves orbit, shooting across the depths of space only to arrive in our solar system where it will explode.

A second piece, attributed to Charles Wireman, provides a short biography of the famed psychic.

Perhaps Criswell’s greatest Spaceway triumph will follow, when he shares the cover with Mae West, on the final issue of Spaceway’s first run in June 1955. Stay tuned to this blog for future details!

Charles H. Gesner’s How Can You Be Reading This?

amazing_stories_194703Stories from Suspense Magazine #3 Fall 1951: “How Can You Be Reading This?” by Charles H. Gesner


A story built around a wacky job function—expungers—those tasked with erasing anyone they’re sent to call on. Perhaps it was prophetic as this appears to be Gesner’s only published work besides a letter of comment published in Amazing Stories (March 1947).

Image from Galactic Central.

Galaxy Novel #19

gn19Jack of Eagles by James Blish is the nineteenth Galaxy Novel, published in 1953, cover by Ed Emshwiller.

Synopsis: Danny Caiden’s on the run—from the FBI, the SEC, the Justice Department, and the Mob. Only recently, Danny had been an average New York copywriter, until he suddenly found he had ESP. His knowledge of the future is astonishing, and the rest of Danny’s powers are just beginning. But someone else wants him too: an evil group of preternatural men bent on world domination. They’ll stop at nothing until they capture Danny . . . or destroy him. Why? Because only Danny has the power to sabotage their diabolic tyranny. In the final, frenzied battle, Danny must summon all his powers, or sacrifice himself—and all mankind—to satanic slavery forever.

Talmage Powell’s Terror in the Sun

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Manhunt May 1957 with Talmage Powell’s “Midnight Blonde”

Stories from Suspense Magazine #3 Fall 1951: “Terror in the Sun” by Talmage Powell

Talmage Powell wrote hundreds of stories for pulps and digests, including Ellery Queen, Alfred Hitchcock, Mike Shayne and Manhunt. “Terror” centers on a father’s hunt for his son’s killers in the sweltering heat of the Everglades. Armed with a shotgun, tension builds as the search progresses; exploding when he finds them. Terrific story.

Many thanks to “Geographer” for your continued support of The Digest Enthusiast, and for taking the time to rate TDE6 on amazon. Much appreciated!

Don Mardick’s Not a Leg to Stand On

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Hollywood Detective Dec. 1949 with Don Mardick’s “Needle in the Haystack”

Stories from Suspense Magazine #3 Fall 1951: “Not a Leg to Stand On” by Don Mardick

Another five-star story. A prison break sparks an encounter between a cop, an insurance investigator and the escapee’s brother. Loot, gunplay and a wheelchair add motivation, tension, and considerable action. It’s unfortunate there isn’t more of Mardick’s work available, the only other published story I could find was “Needle in the Haystack” in Hollywood Detective, Dec. 1949.

Image from Galactic Central.

Philip Weck’s You Can’t Run Away

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Stories from Suspense Magazine #3 Fall 1951: “You Can’t Run Away” by Philip Weck

When a story starts strong and keeps getting better, you can’t help but stop for a moment to double-check who the writer is. It’s a name you want to remember. For technique alone—wonderfully, smooth transitions from second to first person and back again—this story’s a killer. A war veteran returns to his hometown and finds his perception of things has changed more than the people and the place. Except for the murder—and that changes everything.

With a little searching I was delighted to find Weck’s stories appeared in dozens of pulps and digests from 1947–1961, including Manhunt, Trapped, and Triple Detective. I’m looking forward to reading more of his work.

Will F. Jenkins’ Wall of Fear

colliersStories from Suspense Magazine #3 Fall 1951: “Wall of Fear” by Will F. Jenkins

First published in Collier’s (June 26, 1937) as “No More Walls”, Jenkins used his given name for this story rather than his famous pseudonym Murray Leinster. It’s an excellent story about an ex-con who made some rather foolish choices early on, and continues to live under their cloud.

Russell Branch’s Rip Tide

other_worlds_science_stories_195106-07Stories from Suspense Magazine #3 Fall 1951: “Rip Tide” by Russell Branch

Branch wrote science fiction as well as crime stories. He seems to have enjoyed adding a 
few poetic passages to this one, a murder mystery lurking just below the surface. Some of its passages call too much attention to the writing, but others are quite crisp: “Lora Walton took me like a slug of gin, on that hot empty afternoon.”

Branch’s work often appeared in pulp magazines, but his novel “Time Flaw” made it into the pages of the Other Worlds digest in Jun/Jul 1951.

Image from Galactic Central.

A. E. van Vogt’s Dear Automaton

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Other Worlds Sep. 1950 with A. E. van Vogt’s “Automaton”

Stories from Suspense Magazine #3 Fall 1951: “Dear Automaton” by A. E. van Vogt

A story must be terrific to reprint it barely a year after its original appearance in Other Worlds Science Stories. This robots versus humans story adds some clever ideas to keep it interesting and above expectations.

Image from Galactic Central.

Waldo Carlton Wright’s The Thing on the Snow

 

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AHMM Jan. 1971 with Waldo Carlton Wright’s “Little Foxes Sleep Warm”

Stories from Suspense Magazine #3 Fall 1951: “The Thing on the Snow” by Waldo Carlton Wright

 

Categorized as “macabre,” this story is every bit its label. It involves an elderly couple, hard winters on their farm and ghastly intentions gone horribly long. Wright’s stories can also be found in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine and Mike Shayne.

Image from Galactic Central.