John ONeill, is the Emperor Overlord & Mighty Poobah of the excellent blog Black Gate. I subscribed to and read Black Gate in print when it was published in that format, and now I read it daily in blog form on my computer. I hardly blush when I say John is a hero of mine, and someday I’d like to
shake his hand, uh, fist bump, uh, elbow bump. Heck, I’d just bow.
At any rate, I read this post on Black Gate and, besides being envious of his prowess at finding cool books online, it got me thinking I should look for some old anthologies for myself. So I did. This will begin a series of posts I do on them.
Adventures On Other Planets edited by Donald A. Wollheim, Ace Books Inc. 1955 mass market paperback, science fiction anthology, five stories, 160 pages.
“Already man is taking the first steps into space! The artificial satellite you’ve read about in the papers is but the first exciting step that will open up a universe of wonders. Here’s a new science-fiction anthology that presents some of the astounding ADVENTURES ON OTHER PLANETS that may be awaiting us.” — from back cover
I was only ten years old when this was published, so it’s unlikely I saw it in a bookstore, but the cover has a familiar look. Classic, even. The authors are well known for the time, and the stories are a lot of fun. Only one of the stories let me down a little, I really liked the rest. The less than very good? The Simak. I admit to having problems with Simak over the years, his stories seem to either wow me or…not.
Of these, I’d previously read the Leinster (my favorite here) and Van Vogt, and enjoyed reading them again. If you happen to have a copy of this, or come across one, it’s certainly worth a look.
- “The Obligation” by Roger Dee
- “The Sound of Bugles” by Robert Moore Williams
- “Ogre” by Clifford D. Simak
- “Assignment on Passik” by Murray Leinster
- “The Rull” by A. E. Van Vogt
I read this one when I was in high school, Rick, along with many other Wollheim Ace SF anthologies. Your post brought back some good memories. I enjoyed all the stories, although the Leinster and the van Vogt stood out for me at the time.
And if you reread this, I think they still would, Jerry.
No way you were 5 in 1955, right? I love those old paperbacks. I know a lot of them don’t hold up well – many were cheaply glued together – but I used to have a lot of mysteries from that era too. I like the idea of the old anthologies. I still have a few of the Asimov ones that George has been reviewing to read.
Oops, that should ave been 10, I fixed it. Thanks for the catch. This book wasn’t too fragile. I’ve read some that literally fell apart as I read, a Perry Mason paperback comes to mind. That one also was missing the last dozen pages. (!) The one I’m reading for next week is in even better condition.
True. I’ve had Perry Mason books that only stayed together with a rubber band.
Hate coming on here to say this all the time, but just never read sf. I feel bad about it.
Don’t. Lots of people don’t read it, and lots don’t read mystery. I’ve just been in the mood for sf and fantasy during the current times, that’s all. I’ll get back to mysteries soon.
Like you, Jerry, and Jeff I love these classic ACE paperbacks! I have a copy (maybe two) of ADVENTURES ON OTHER PLANETS! My favorites are the Leinster and the van Vogt. Love the cover! I can’t wait until you review the other goodies you bought on eBay!
Stay tuned, another next week, and more thereafter.
I don’t remember this one but I was only 7 when it came out and wasn’t reading sf yet. I don’t know any of the stories here except the Van Vogt which became part of a novel. And not a good one. The Leinster and the Simak are unfamiliar to me. Robert Moore Williams wrote a number of Ace doubles that were not very good.
I thought the Williams was the 2nd worst. I liked the Dee. I’ve read that van Vogt novel, it was better as a short.
I like this idea, to cover vintage anthologies. Five stories in 160 pages, some of those must have been substantial stories.
I have picked up a few science fiction anthologies but I have more vintage mystery anthologies, such as the Alfred Hitchcock ones.
I have enjoyed many Black Gate posts in the past and looking there now, I see that Bob Byrne is doing a Nero Wolfe’s Brownstone: 2020 Stay at Home series.
He’s been at that for awhile now. After he ran out of some hard boiled stuff.
I saw that. I have been going back to the start and reading the earlier ones today.
That is sure one fine cover. If I’d seen it back in ’55 I’d have bought it for sure, but I don’t remember buying SF paperbacks back then. Mysteries yes, but not SF.
As for the Simak, I think it’s the oldest of the bunch, maybe from1944 or so. SF was still awfully clunky then, so that may be why you thought it was the weakest.
Steve, that’s insightful. SF was growing out of the BEM stage during the Forties.
Speaking of anthologies, Murray Leinster edited “Great Stories of Science Fiction” (1951) and in addition to brief introductions to the 12 fine stories selected by “The Dean of Science Fiction”, Leinster provides a fascinating Editor’s Preface AND a seven page list of recommended further reading, with brief comments on each. There was never, I believe, a paperback edition. I am fortunate to have the 1951 hardcover in excellent condition–even the dust jacket. Being born in 1951 myself, I wish I were in half as good condition!
I don’t think I’ve ever seen that. Could you please send me a pic of the cover?
Better yet, try the Internet Speculative Fiction Data Base, specifically http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/pl.cgi?15942
click on the cover for a larger view, click on any story for its publication history, click on any author for exhaustive listings of his or her work, click on any reference to a specific issue of a magazine for cover and contents and further links. The ISFDB is an amazing resource.
I found a copy for $30 on ABE, but that was too pricey for me.
The only thing I hate about these older classic paperbacks is that the trend was such to not credit artists in those days. Always bums me out when I open a book and see no artist credit. And it makes me sick to think that they sometimes just threw the art away. Or artists would paint over them to not have to buy new canvas. *shudder*
I know for sure I’ve read the Van Vogt and Leinster stories in other collections, but the others don’t sound familiar, at least by story title.
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