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.”

A. Dneprov’s Island of the Crabs

International Science Fiction No. 2 page 49From International Science Fiction No. 2 (June 1968):

The U.S.S.R. grabs the spotlight with “The Island of the Crabs” by A. Dneprov, an issue highlight. Isolated on a tropical island, an engineer conducts a Darwinian experiment with self-replicating, evolving robotic crabs.

Cookling squatted down and began to chortle.
“Will you stop grimacing like an idiot!” I shouted. “Where did the second crab come from?”
“It was born! It was born during the night!”

Theoretically, the crab’s military potential could be unlimited, but the engineer soon learns that playing Mother Nature is not for the ill equipped.

Anatoly Dneprov (1919–1975) was a distinguished physicist who worked at an institute of the U.S.S.R. Academy of Sciences. His best known story is “The Maxwell Equations,” published in English in 1963. His short story “Formula for Immortality” was included in the New Soviet Science Fiction anthology (1979), edited by Theodore Sturgeon.

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.