This 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.
Galaxy 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.”
First serialized in 1934 in the pages of Astounding, Jack Williamson’s The Legion of Space was the second Galaxy Science Fiction Novel, issued in 1951, with a cover by Paul Callé. The sequel to this novel, The Cometeers, was published a year earlier, in 1950, by Fantasy Press.
Galaxy Novel #1
The size of a digest magazine makes them ideal for readers. Not so for newsdealers. Standard racks aren’t designed for digests and if you can’t grab the attention of someone browsing the stands, impulse sales are tough to close. Challenge enough for digest magazines. But what is a newsdealer to do with a digest-size novel coming at her through her regular magazine distributor?
Despite display and distribution challenges, the Galaxy Science Fiction Novels ran from 1950 to 1961. Shown here is the cover of the first edition that launched the series.
Steve Carper examines the series and its roots in “The Galaxy Science Fiction Novels” in TDE4.