Tag Archives: John Spencer

James Elton’s Perilous Expedition

worldsoffantasy4c4bwStories from Worlds of Fantasy #4 (John Spencer and Company 1951):

“Perilous Expedition” by James Elton is the issue’s cover story. (Elton was a house name, so this one may or may not have been penned by John F. Watt, but it certainly reads as if it were.) Written only a few years after WWII, the story’s protagonists are a racist amalgamation of far easterners dubbed “the Asians.” It’s sometime in the future and Earth is divided even after Atomic War I, and Atomic War II, with the domination-obsessed Asians plotting against the West.

The Asians are about to launch a devastating attack from the planet Luna, that will crush the West for good. Commander Glenn Mader and his crew blast off from New Mexico in Space Ship UN5 on
what could be their final mission, intent on saving the West. Equipped with “Neutralising” they evade the Asian’s elaborate network of radar and pursuit ships to land undetected on the hard, dusty floor of
a crater. Their mission: locate and join the Lunarite underground and together defeat the Asian threat.

But how can they infiltrate the Asian city of Stya and contact the underground while appearing to be Asians themselves? (One might assume Asians and Westerners look different from each other, but apparently not.) Any Lunarite they questioned would refuse to divulge even the existence of the underground to someone they believed to be an Asian. “And it was likewise impossible for the men from the West to admit their identity; for all they knew, the Lunarite they were talking with might be a collaborator, and would give them away to the local Asian authorities.”

This is the most interesting dilemma of the story. When Mader and his crew venture into a restaurant, he pulls a bait and switch on their indifferent Luna waiter. Posing as an obnoxious, arrogant Asian
he insults and berates the Lunarite and his race, finally goading the waiter to admit he doesn’t think much of Asians either. One thing leads to another and the men from the West soon locate and join the underground to end the Asian’s plot.

It’s a shame the Lunarite’s have to help set off the Asian’s massive atomic arsenal on their own planet, but they still have Stya and a growing friendship with the West, so all ends well.

Ray Mason’s Doomed World

worldsoffantasy4c4bwStories from Worlds of Fantasy #4 (John Spencer and Company 1951): “Doomed World” by Ray Mason

Errant planet Atlanta is torn from its orbit due to intense volcanic activity and suddenly appears on the plexoid instrument panel “right in the recognised traffic lane between Earth and Mars.” First spotted by Radd Baker, in charge of the space freighter LS4K, he and his space-hardened second-in-command, Peter Lorrimer, decide to investigate.

Upon landing they find the planet populated with human beings who escaped from the destruction of Altantis thousands of years ago. Now their descendants face oblivion again at the hands of mother nature.

Radd saves the day with a minor assist from Peter, all while winning the heart of Juda. “They didn’t come any lovelier, not in all the Earth!”

The plot of “Doomed World” is its main asset. The characters are as uninspired as its writing. Only through some combination of nostalgic charm and guilty pleasure can readers plod through to reach “the end.” But man, you gotta love the cover of this digest magazine!