Juliette Raabe’s Cyclical Housewife

ISF No. 2 page 44From International Science Fiction No. 2 (June 1968):

From France, “Notes From a Cyclical Housewife’s Diary” by Juliette Raabe, is translated by Damon Knight. Told entirely in diary entries, only backwards, in an opposite universe.

We’re going to sit down at the table. I lay out the dirty plates and silverware that were piled in the sink. Roger brings in the full garbage can.

A clever, sometimes confusing story, that remains curious and entertaining because the author, rightly, kept it short—to five pages. She obviously had fun writing it. One entry reads: “I like fish better than a cat; I don’t know why, cats give me willies.” Oppositely, Juliette Raabe (b. 1929) created a massive anthology celebrating the little beasties: The Illustrated Library of the Cat, in 1977. Prior to that she wrote two books, Brain Teasers (1967) and The Game of the Awélé (1972).

Gust Gils’ Hot Kosmonaut

International Science Fiction No. 2 page 42From International Science Fiction No. 2 (June 1968):

Perhaps a last minute filler, absent from the contents page, “Der Heisse Kosmonaut” by Gust Gils, of The Netherlands, is a two-page romp about an astronaut conditioned 
to tolerate the heat of the Sun.

Eventually he was able to take a liquid steel shower.

The Kosmonaut completes his mission to land on the Sun, but the heat goes to his head and he refuses to conduct any research, let alone return to Earth.

Gust Gils (1924–2002) was a poet, artist and writer. He was one of the founders of the avant-garde magazine Gard Sivik in 1955. “Der Heisse Kosmonaut” is the only story I found by him in the FictionMags Index.

John R. Isaac on Andromeda

International Science Fiction No. 2 page 35From International Science Fiction No. 2 (June 1968):

“The Coming of Age of Soviet Science Fiction,” an essay by John R. Isaac, credits Ivan Yefremov’s Andromeda with his article’s premise.

In this single book, Yefremov has developed a Weltanschauung into a detailed future society and has thrown out enough ideas for a hundred stories, a service that should prove as beneficial for the Soviets as Well’s work has for the English-speaking world.

The article details key aspects of Andromeda’s utopian future society where happiness is derived from one’s work, followed by an overview of the novel’s plot. If it sounds like the Andromeda’s world is communist propaganda, it is. “For the dreamers of the world, whether Russian or American, Occidental or Oriential, the vision of Andromeda is a tempting one.”

D.J. Tyrer’s Blood of God

Weirdbook No. 34, page 125From Weirdbook No. 34:

“Blood of God” by D.J. Tyrer takes place on an Anglo-Russian survey platform off Russia’s arctic coast. When the survey team discovers an extra-heavy oil deposit things turn dire. Tyrer’s frigid, isolated setting conjures memories of The Thing. As the crew opens a sample deposit it transforms their mission from research to survival in this tension-packed monster meddler.

Parnov & Yemtsew’s Last Door

ISF No. 2 page 8From International Science Fiction No. 2 (June 1968):

We head back to the U.S.S.R. for the opening story in ISF #2, “The Last Door” by E. Parnov and M. Yemtsew, translated by Mirra Ginsburg. The story’s pace begins slowly, with plenty of detail to transport the reader into a fictive future where Sashok Yegorov visits his friend and colleague Vasily Nechiporenko in Musikovla.

Nechiporenko has recently returned from an expedition to Mars. He describes the surface of the planet as fairly level. The Martian’s giant cities are concealed deep underground.

“Dead cities. Not a single Martian is left; we found only billions of strange dry shells. Perhaps the chitin coating of insects, or some sort of clothing.
“The only interesting conclusion we obtained is that the Martians were preparing to leave for Aiya. But what is Aiya? And how were two billion Martians transported there?”

In addition to the larger mystery of the Martian’s fate, a smaller mystery develops when several deaths are revealed during and after the expedition. When an Official appears at the house to make an arrest, something alien brings his investigation and the story to a satisfying conclusion.

Brian Aldiss’ Hothouse No. 3

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

Kingsley Amis “Something Strange”
Will Worthington “Package Deal”
Nicholas Breckenridge “The Cat Lover”
Grendel Briarton “Through Time and Space with Ferdinand Feghoot: XLI”
Otis Kidwell Burger “The Zookeeper”
Kris Neville “Closing Time”
Poul Anderson “Night Piece”
Isaac Asimov: Science: Recipe for a Planet
Brian W. Aldiss “Undergrowth” (Hothouse No. 3)

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:

“In “Undergrowth” (July 1961), we find that the morel has bisected itself to access the minds of both Poyly and Gren. Under its direction, they capture a girl named Yattmur in order to learn the whereabouts of her tribe. If mankind, like H.G. Wells’ Eloi, has lost its initiative through the passage of time, the morel acts as a prod, driving his hosts to achieve its own ambitious aims.”

Lester del Rey’s Balance of Ideas

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

The second issue of ISF opens with an editorial, “The Balance of Ideas,” by Lester del Rey, that illustrates the importance of ideas from a global perspective (expressed in tongues other than English) and therefore ISF’s importance as an access point.

Public opinion on the Vietnam War was hot and passionate in 1968. A two-page ad with a list of science fiction luminaries appeared on opposing pages of this edition; those supporting the war on one side and those against it on the other. The same ad broke in the June 1968 issue of Galaxy where it was followed by an editorial by Frederik Pohl, who wasn’t happy about either side. In ISF, the ad ran without further comment.

Philip E. High’s Big Tin God

The Prodigal Sun by Philip E. HighFrom International Science Fiction No. 1 (Nov. 1967):

The closing tale of ISF #1 is from England. “The Big Tin God” by Philip E. High was originally published in New Worlds Science Fiction (January 1963). The prevailing authoritarian government is about to be replaced by the product of an underground network of scientists building a monumental “brain” dubbed Dopey. The only certainty is the end of the old regime.

Philip E. High (1914–2006) became hooked on science fiction as a lad when he discovered a copy of Astounding Stories. In addition to reading everything he could find by Jules Verne and H.G.Wells he particularly admired Neville Shute. He once said of Shute, “That his style, his approach, was the one I most admired, and I hoped one day to write as well as he did.”

In 1955 he sold his first story “The Statics” to H.J. Chapbell for Authentic Science Fiction. He recalled, “I received six guineas for it. It was the biggest thrill of my life. I am quite certain I walked up the wall and across the ceiling twice.”

A bus driver in his day job, High continued to write for Nebula and New Worlds, where his stories were highly rated by readers. When the magazines’ fortunes declined High turned to novels, his first, The Prodigal Sun, was published in US in 1964. It was followed by Invader on my Back, Butterfly Planet, The Time Mercenaries, and many others.

Two collections of High’s short stories were published near the turn of the century; The Best of Philip E. High (2002) and Step To the Stars (2004).