Greg Jenkins’ Thrill

Weirdbook No. 34 page 170From Weirdbook No. 34:

A short excerpt from Greg Jenkins’ “Thrill My Soul” provides both the tone and gist of his story: “Right away, I had a bad feeling about what I was in for. Anytime Death offers you his hand and says Come with me, chances are you’re not going to Disney World.”

Giesy and Smith’s 2112

nternational Science Fiction No. 2 page 93From International Science Fiction No. 2 (June 1968):

“In 2112” by Americans, J.U. Giesy and J.B. Smith, was translated from Esperanto by Forrest J. Ackerman. A professor sends his colleague 200 years into the future through some sort of hypnotic experiment. The traveler finds his true love and what seems to be the point of the story—Esperanto is now the dominant worldwide language. Sadly, our hero wakes up ten minutes later, decades before his soul mate takes her first breath.

John Ulrich Giesy (1877–1947) and Junius Bailey Smith (1883–1945) were the creators of Semi Dual (aka Prince Abduel Omar) an astrologer, mystic, telepathist and psychologist. Sometimes credited as the first occult detective, Dual’s adventures appeared in early pulp magazines like Cavalier, All-Story Weekly, and Argosy for nearly 25 years. Altus Press is currently reprinting the Semi Dual stories in a series of new trade paperbacks.

A. Dneprov’s The World in Which I Disappeared

International Science Fiction No. 2 page 82From International Science Fiction No. 2 (June 1968):

The second tale in this issue by A. Dneprov, from the U.S.S.R., is a humorous one. “The World in Which I Disappeared,” translated by Mirra Ginsburg, is built on two ideas: resurrection of the dead and creating the perfect society—both through science.

In the words of Harry Woodrop, Doctor of Medicine and Sociology and Honorary Member of the Institute of Radio-Electronics:

Schizophrenics, professors and senators are trying to improve our society with the aid of committees and subcommittees, foundations, voluntary commissions, economic conferences and ministries of social problems. Nonsense! All it takes is four hundred and two triodes, one thousand, five hundred and seventy-five resistors, and two thousand, four hundred and ninety-one condensers, and
the whole problem is solved.

That’s the theory anyway. In practice, Dr. Woodrop’s experiment requires daily adjustments until its dead-man-walking participant concludes things when he adds one of his own.

James Ward Kirk’s Personal Dream

Weirdbook No. 34 page 152From Weirdbook No. 34:

The champion of weird in this particular Weirdbook is likely Dan Teagarden, protagonist of “My Personal Dream” by James Ward Kirk. Teagarden smirks at the funeral of his abusive father but writhes in agony at the death of his mother, whom he loves beyond reason. Afterward, his dallies with whores and an elusive theologian offer only meaningless diversion from his descent into madness—one that twists his perception of his own demise into the ultimate bliss.

B. Sridhar Rao’s Victims of Time

International Science Fiction No. 2 page 79From International Science Fiction No. 2 (June 1968):

From India, “Victims of Time” written and translated by B. Sridhar Rao, M.D. It’s a three-page mashup of D.O.A. and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. A scientist reverses the aging process, curing those with debilitating health conditions like the protagonist. But when it’s realized the human race will become extinct in a single lifetime, the scientist reverses the process again and our protagonist finds himself writing his story as each sentence brings him closer to the end.

The story was included in The Penguin World Omnibus of Science Fiction edited by Brian Aldiss with Sam J. Lundwall (1986).

G. Altow’s Heroic Symphony

International Science Fiction No. 2From International Science Fiction No. 2 (June 1968):

From Poland, “Heroic Symphony” by G. Altow, translated by George T. Zobrowski, was also the subject of ISF #2’s cover painting by Jack Gaughan. A probe, sent into deep space to the star Van Maanena forty years ago, is returning to Earth. The old man who designed is joined by a young man at a nearly deserted spaceport in the mountains. Neither character is named. The youth is young enough to be the older man’s grandson.

The younger defers to the old man’s deliberate, quiet approach, controlling his initial impulses at times, on faith alone. This interplay between the exuberance of youth and the experience of age are as much a part of the story as the action.

When the probe arrives, it plunges into a nearby lake, then bobs to the surface. A small “vehicle” detaches itself from the ship and heads for the shore, for the hanger. The youth comments on its clever design like an amphibious sled.

The old man explains the development problems with the robots.

“They had to be able to travel over the roughest terrain imaginable. Some moron built a robot that was man-like. What nonsense! Why should we duplicate all of man’s bodily defects? The results were disastrous. Finally we built this sled-amphibian and yet it still doesn’t solve all the problems.”

The old man methodically examines the robot’s exterior and concludes it has been completely torn down and reassembled by some beings of extraordinary intelligence.

The star Van Maaena has one planet, and the beings who live there live in a world of anti-matter. The same atoms, but instead of electrons, positrons, protons, neutrons, mesons—anti-protons, anti-neutrons, and anti-mesons.
The aliens had learned how to safely cross the void between matter and anti-matter. When the two men hear the robot’s audio recording they learn the aliens are on their way to Earth.

Genrikh Saulovich Altshuller (1926–1998) was imprisoned as a preteen for political reasons, under the Stalin regime. The experience left impressions that remained throughout his life. In “Heroic Symphony” he wrote:

Only very strong men can be confronted directly with their youth, shrug and go on their way. Cowards avoid such encounters; men of integrity grow stronger through them.

After his release he went on to become an engineer and created the Theory of Inventive Problem Solving, known by its Russian acronym TRIZ. He served as the first President of the TRIZ Association. He began writing science fiction in the 1950s under the pseudonym Genrikh Altov (Altow), often with his wife, Valentina Zhuravleva. Only a handful of his stories have been translated into English. He died on September 24, 1998 from complications of Parkinson’s disease.

Alessandro Mussi’s Darkness

International Science Fiction No. 2 page 63From International Science Fiction No. 2 (June 1968):

From Italy, Alessandro Mussi brings us “Darkness.” A young girl falls in with a hunchback and a blind man, who often speak in questions over the story’s three pages. She’d best stay with her new friends, there are too many questions about her old ones. A bit too vague to satisfy this reader.

Alessandro Mussi (1945– 2008) wrote half a dozen stories and one novel in the 1960s.

Brian Aldiss’ Hothouse No. 4

F&SF Sep. 1961The fourth part of Brian Aldiss’ Hothouse saga appeared in Fantasy and Science Fiction (Sep. 1961).

Gerard Klein “The Monster in the Park” translated by Virginia Kidd
Herbert Gold “The Day They Got Boston” (Metronome Jan. 1961)
Grendel Briarton “Through Time and Space with Ferdinand Feghoot: XLIII”
Michael Young “The Timekeeper”
F. L. Wallace “Privates All”
Nils T. Peterson “Pecking Order”
Rosemary Harris “Hamlin”
Isaac Asimov: Science: Not As We Know It
Rosser Reeves “Effigy” (verse)
Rosser Reeves “E=mc²” (verse)
Brian W. Aldiss “Timberline” (Hothouse No. 4)

Cover by Ed Emshwiller

Contents from Galactic Central

An excerpt from Joe Wehrle, Jr.’s review of the Hothouse series, from The Digest Enthusiast book six:

“The story “Timberline” (September 1961) finds the travelers far from their natural home, a place where the Sun seems to hang low over the water, and the air is cold and misty. A land of eternal sunset. The boat grounds on an ice shelf, and Gren and Yattmur urge the fishers out of it and onto an islet, where they all live fairly contentedly for a time.”