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All Binge… No Purge: Buffy the Vampire Slayer S2 Part Three

(07/25/2017 12:00 PM)

"What's My Line?" is a really great two-parter and I would say it's where Season 2 really finds its stride, except for the fact that the two episodes after it are largely filler.

Augmented Empire and the Challenges of Narrative Design in Virtual Reality

(07/25/2017 10:00 AM)

Virtual Reality has been on the rise in the past decade, and has arguably started to break into mainstream awareness. We've seen space flight sims like Elite: Dangerous, first-person shooters like Space Pirate, grappling-hook platformers like Windlands, and a whole myriad of genres that explore the possibilities of VR. But rarely do we see a [...]

Ben Passmore Reads Prince Of Cats On The Reboot Podcast

(07/25/2017 9:00 AM)


My Viking Adventures in Iron Tides

(07/25/2017 9:00 AM)

Iron Tides, a roguelike survival-strategy tactical RPG that puts you in charge of a Viking long ship, came out in Early Access on Steam yesterday. Now, I'm quite a big fan of vikings (on account of me being a really geeky Norse Pagan) so it definitely intrigued me. As such, I decided to give the game [...]

My Agile Life: By The Numbers

(07/25/2017 8:30 AM)

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com, Steve's LinkedIn, and Steve's Tumblr) (My continuing "Agile Life" column, where I use Scrum for a more balanced and productive life continues). Let's talk estimating how much work something takes. This may sound boring, it will get abstract, ...

Singles Going Steady 7/19/2017: Five Guys

(07/25/2017 6:10 AM)


Quick Update

(07/24/2017 7:15 PM)

Just a note folks, I probably won't be doing my "en masse updates" here. I'll focus on sanctum-relevant announcements and probably post more of my columns on writing and such from my other blogs. My "sprints" had become very general and you're here for generators, not fine details! Steve

Steve's Update 7/24/2017

(07/24/2017 7:09 PM)

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com, www.SeventhSanctum.com, and Steve's Tumblr) It's my weekly Scrum style standup for my audience, so where am I? So what have I done the last week? Way With Worlds Minibook #2: Getting it out and publicity queued ...

[July 24, 1962] Comrade Future (More Soviet Science Fiction)

(07/24/2017 5:57 PM)

[if you're new to the Journey, read this to see what we're all about!] by Gideon Marcus We hear a lot about the Soviet Union these days, but usually in the form of an unflattering cartoon of Premier Khruschev or photos of people trying to defect from Communism. Occasionally a hopeful reprinting last year's meeting ...

The Fan Canon Ch. 20 - Pant Sleeves

(07/24/2017 3:30 PM)

We've still got a few tricks up our pant sleeves. Email us at TheFanCanon@gmail.com or send us fanfiction prompts to @FanCanonShow on Twitter. Check out our new website at thefancanon.co

Christopher Nolan Film Ranking - Worst to Best

(07/24/2017 12:00 PM)

Christopher Nolan's filmography is one of the most consistent and evocative canons in contemporary American cinema.

ICYMI — Small Press Comics Criticism and Whatnot for 7/17/17 to 7/23/17

(07/24/2017 6:00 AM)


Civic Geek: Grinding On

(07/23/2017 12:30 PM)

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com and Steve's Tumblr) Keeping up on the Civic Geekery here - or what I'm doing to be more of a citizen. Posting this, of course, to inspire people. One thing I found is that you ...

Lost in Translation 218 - Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return

(07/22/2017 6:30 AM)

Very few TV series manage to reach seven seasons. The history of television is littered with series that couldn't finish even one full season, shows that could get three before being cast adrift, and even a show that didn't finish it's own first episode. Series that reach seven seasons have a strong following. The even [...]

Sick Flix: Guinea Pig - Devil's Experiment (1985)

(07/21/2017 12:00 PM)

The first film in the series, Guinea Pig: Devil's Experiment has a "plot" that can be easily summarized as "three men torture a woman for forty-three minutes."

[July 21, 1962] The Human Soul In A Robot's Hand (Movie Review: The Creation of the Humanoids)

(07/21/2017 9:08 AM)

[if you're new to the Journey, read this to see what we're all about!] by Rosemary Benton The complex range of anger, fear, acceptance and love that characterize the relationship humans have with robotic life is hardly new ground for science fiction. You have stories that explore societies controlled by artificial intelligence like in Jack ...

Tiny Pages of Ashes 7/21/17: Metal Gods: A Tribute to Judas Priest

(07/21/2017 6:00 AM)


Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017)

(07/20/2017 4:05 PM)

A better movie was within reach, which makes it all the sadder that Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is reluctantly the movie we get, a visual spectacle that bores as it overwhelms.

The Portrayal of Queer Sexuality in Robert Yang's The Tearoom

(07/20/2017 10:33 AM)

CONTENT WARNING: This feature discusses sex and is Not Safe for Work. If you feel uncomfortable about seeing screenshots from an explicit sex game or reading a discussion about sex in games, it's advised that you don't carry on. On the 29th of June, prolific game developer Robert Yang released The Tearoom, a public bathroom [...]

A Writer's View: Cover Me

(07/20/2017 8:30 AM)

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com and Steve's Tumblr - and hey, think this should go on the Sanctum too?) I've been talking about some pretty deep subjects lately, so let's mind back to a simple, practical one. Covers. No, really. I ...

Beyond the Gates (2016)

(07/19/2017 12:04 PM)

Beyond the Gates is a low budget film done right.

Characters Of Distinction: Motoko Kusanagi

(07/19/2017 12:00 PM)

How the feminist, post-humanist, and deeply human heart of the 'Ghost In The Shell' franchise became, and remains, an icon and a model

Brave Explorers Turns the Real World into a 2D Platformer

(07/19/2017 9:30 AM)

Foxtail Games released the Alpha trailer for Brave Explorers today, a mobile game that uses physical building blocks and Augmented Reality to construct 2D platformer levels in the real world. Brave Explorers is what you'd get if LittleBigPlanet and Skylanders had a baby. You can buy toy sets of different building blocks and obstacles that [...]

Telltale Announce New Series for Three of its Titles

(07/19/2017 9:17 AM)

Telltale Games released their Summer 2017 update today, in which they announced new series for three of their popular franchises: The Walking Dead, Batman: The Enemy Within, and, much to immense joy from many fans online, the much awaited second season of The Wolf Among Us. It's very exciting, especially finally seeing more The Wolf [...]

Matt Bhanks Master Defenders - Windsor ComiCon 2016

(07/19/2017 4:17 AM)

Matt Bhanks is a talented author who published his first novel at age 19. Creator of the wildly popular Master Defenders series, we met up with him at Windsor ComiCon 2016 to talk about the books, his life and how being a young creative person can inspire the future generations. Two Geeks Talking: http://tgtmedia.com Follow [...]

[July 18, 1962] It Gets Better? (August 1962 Fantasy and Science Fiction)

(07/18/2017 4:16 PM)

[if you're new to the Journey, read this to see what we're all about!] by Gideon Marcus There's a war going on in our nation, a war for our souls. No, I'm not referring to the battle of Democracy versus Communism or Protestants against Catholics. Not even the struggle between squares and beatniks. This is ...

Advance Review: Dunkirk (2017)

(07/18/2017 2:00 PM)

Christopher Nolan is one of the rare filmmakers in the world that can do anything he wants.

Podcast: Ro Stein & Ted Brandt Read Never As Bad As You Think

(07/18/2017 9:05 AM)


My Agile Life: That Glorious Flow

(07/18/2017 8:30 AM)

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com, Steve's LinkedIn, and Steve's Tumblr) (My continuing "Agile Life" column, where I use Scrum for a more balanced and productive life continues). I'm using Scrum to help order my own life. It's going pretty well, and one of ...

Singles Going Steady 7/12/2017: Three's Company

(07/18/2017 5:45 AM)


Steve's Update 7/17/2017

(07/17/2017 4:30 PM)

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com, www.SeventhSanctum.com, and Steve's Tumblr) It's my weekly Scrum style standup for my audience, so where am I? So what have I done the last week? Way With Worlds Minibook #2: Edited and ready for publication. Had a bit of a delay, did a screwy search-and-replace I had to fix. ugh. Way [...]

Steve's Update 7/17/2017

(07/17/2017 4:30 PM)

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com, www.SeventhSanctum.com, and Steve's Tumblr) It's my weekly Scrum style standup for my audience, so where am I? So what have I done the last week? Way With Worlds Minibook #2: Edited and ready for publication. Had ...

A Normal Lost Phone and Queer People's' Relationships with their Phones

(07/17/2017 10:00 AM)

A Normal Lost Phone is a non-linear exploration game that places in your hands a discarded mobile phone that, to the naked eye, appears quite ordinary. But throughout your time exploring the device, you discover more and more about its previous owner, and it becomes an investigation to find out what happened to them. WARNING: [...]

Look Back to the Planet of the Apes

(07/17/2017 10:00 AM)

Great science fiction is supposed to make you think and entertain the heck out of you.

ICYMI — Small Press Comics Criticism and Whatnot for 7/10/17 to 7/16/17

(07/17/2017 6:00 AM)


Advance Review: Kong: Skull Island Blu-ray

(07/16/2017 1:00 PM)

Personally, I can't get enough of Tom Hiddleston in a gas mask running through vivid green clouds of toxic gas killing monster lizard birds with a samurai sword.

[July 16, 1962] Vegetating at the Movies (Day of the Triffids)

(07/16/2017 10:45 AM)

By Ashley R. Pollard I'm just back from watching the film adaptation of the Day of the Triffids, which brings John Wyndham's popular novel to the big screen. You may remember I wrote about Wyndham's work for the Galactic Journey last year, now I get the chance to discuss the film adaptation too. As I ...

Lost in Translation - Hiatus Week

(07/15/2017 6:30 AM)

Apologies, but the past week became hectic and odd. Lost in Translation will return next week.

War for the Planet of the Apes (2017)

(07/14/2017 2:00 PM)

Reeves, serving as co-writer once more with Mark Bomback, brings the franchise to its natural and thrilling conclusion. War for the Planet of the Apes is a blockbuster with soul.

[July 14, 1962] Cause for Alarm (Panic in Year Zero - a surprise summer hit film!)

(07/14/2017 10:28 AM)

[if you're new to the Journey, reference this summary article to see what we're all about.] by Gideon Marcus The specter of atomic destruction has been with us for more than a decade, ever since the Soviets detonated their first A-bomb in 1949. Both the US and USSR have developed vast bomber squadrons and now ...

Lost in Translation 217: The Bond Project - Introduction

(07/14/2017 10:00 AM)

Created by Ian Fleming and first published in 1953, James Bond has appeared in 57 books, including 43 by other authors, at least 29 movies, and in comics.

Interview: Jason Copland and Michael May, Creators of "Kill All Monsters"

(07/14/2017 8:32 AM)


A Writer's View: The Best Is Both

(07/13/2017 7:57 PM)

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com and Steve's Tumblr - and hey, think this should go on the Sanctum too?) In our semi-dialogue on writing, Serdar notes this over at Genjipress: I've long felt that the best stories stood out not because ...

Indie Haven Needs YOU!

(07/13/2017 9:30 AM)

Hey, you! Yeah, you. Do you like indie games? Do you like writing about indie games? Be it reviews, news, interviews, previews, or even an interesting idea about indie games that you've been dying to explore in a feature or an opinion piece? Well, you're just in luck! Here at Indie Haven, we're looking to [...]

The Indie Haven Podcast Episode 9: I Want to Believe in the Sea of Greed

(07/12/2017 3:05 PM)

Sometimes a single dream can change the world - particularly when that dream involves Waluigi. The Indie Haven Podcast team discover Wally Gladstone, a character who isn't Waluigi for legal reasons but will give his best approximation in order to recreate the open world Waluigi pirate game that exists only in the dream world. [...]

[July 12, 1962] ROUTINE EXCURSION (the August 1962 Amazing)

(07/12/2017 2:13 PM)

by John Boston Summertime, and the living is . . . hot and sticky, here in the near-South. Also fairly boring, if one is not much interested in such local rustic amusements as hayrides and frog-gigging (if you have to ask, you don't want to know.) There's no better time to find a comfortable hiding ...

Milkmaid of the Milky Way - Review

(07/12/2017 10:47 AM)

I've grown quite a fondness for point-and-click adventure games over the past year. In large part thanks to one of my girlfriends, with whom I played Maniac Mansion: Day of the Tentacle for the first time in April of 2016, which I wrote about here. Since then, together we've played The Secret of Monkey Island, [...]

Welcome To The Desert Of The Real: The Live-Action 'Gintama' And 'Bleach'

(07/11/2017 12:00 PM)

There's always the chance the live-action 'Gintama' and 'Bleach' movies will be good, but right now they appear to embody the deadliest, most literal sins of such projects

My Agile Life: Agile Relaxation Your Relaxation

(07/11/2017 8:30 AM)

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com, Steve's LinkedIn, and Steve's Tumblr) (My continuing "Agile Life" column, where I use Scrum for a more balanced and productive life continues). I've put a lot of time here discussing agile techniques and mindsets for productivity. But, let's ...

Steve's Update 7/10/2017

(07/10/2017 7:25 PM)

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com, www.SeventhSanctum.com, and Steve's Tumblr) It's my weekly Scrum style standup for my audience - and I forgot last weeks with the holiday. It got a bit crazy, but in a good way. So let's get back to it! First of all goals for this sprint, July: Publish Way With Worlds Minibook [...]

Steve's Update 7/10/2017

(07/10/2017 7:18 PM)

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com, www.SeventhSanctum.com, and Steve's Tumblr) It's my weekly Scrum style standup for my audience - and I forgot last weeks with the holiday. It got a bit crazy, but in a good way. So let's get back ...

ICYMI — Small Press Comics Criticism and Whatnot for 7/3/17 to 7/9/17

(07/10/2017 6:00 AM)


[July 9, 1962] To the New Frontier (August 1962 Galaxy Science Fiction)

(07/9/2017 3:23 PM)

by Gideon Marcus Since humans have been a species, there has always been a frontier. Whether it be Alaska for the first settlers of the Americas, or the New World (for Europeans), or the Wild West (for White Americans), there has always been an "over there" to explore. Today, our frontiers are the frozen Arctics, ...

Lost in Translation 217 - The Bond Project - Introduction

(07/8/2017 6:30 AM)

The world's best known secret agent has had a long history. Created by Ian Fleming and first published in 1953, James Bond has appeared in 57 books, including 43 by other authors, at least 29 movies, including those made outside the Eon continuity, and in comics. Bond has been portrayed by six different actors in [...]

Tiny Pages Made of Ashes 7/7/17: KILGORE QUARTERLY #7 - The Art of The Self

(07/7/2017 6:00 AM)


A Writer's View: Complexity And Convolution

(07/6/2017 7:11 PM)

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com and Steve's Tumblr - and hey, think this should go on the Sanctum too?) Working on "A Bridge To The Quiet Planet" is interesting as in some ways it's very complex, a tale of a world ...

[July 6, 1962] Enjoy Being A Girl? (Gender and Possibilities in the 1960s)

(07/6/2017 8:08 AM)

[The rush of modern technologies has created whole new industries, one result of which has been the breaking down of traditional barriers, as Ms. Lucas will illustrate...] by Victoria Lucas As a child I learned that there were expectations. Not so much rules. I don't remember being taught rules except for rules of grammar or ...

The (Dis)Illusion Of Life

(07/5/2017 12:00 PM)

How CGI in anime, whether fancifully fantastic or forensically realistic, can work well

[July 4, 1962] Happy submersion (The Drowned World, by J.G. Ballard)

(07/4/2017 4:33 PM)

by Rosemary Benton At last, the levity that I so desperately needed has been provided. Prior to reading The Drowned World I was only aware of J. G. Ballard as a name. He was well published, I knew, but ultimately a background figure to my science fiction library. That all changed on June 30th, however, ...

Tom Freeman from Dark Moon Comic

(07/3/2017 3:04 PM)

Tom Freeman is a very talented musician. His love of sci-fi and horror films allowed him to dive into the world of Dark Moon that had been in his brain for a while. Add in an incredible soundtrack, intelligent and interesting story and you have Dark Moon Comic - a motion comic with three episodes [...]

[July 2, 1962] Getting to the Point (July 1962 Analog Science Fiction)

(07/2/2017 7:57 AM)

by Gideon Marcus There are many ways to measure the strength of a story. Is the plot innovative? Does it resonate emotionally? Are the featured characters unusual? Does it employ clever literary devices? As a writer, I am always particularly impressed by efficiency: the ability of an author to develop his tale with a minimum ...

Lost in Translation 216 - St. Trinian's

(07/1/2017 6:30 AM)

With students now done with the school year, why not look at an adaptation set in a school? Like fingerprints, no two fictional schools are the same. Some are prestigious, accepting only the best and the brightest. At the other end, there is St. Trinian's, a school for girls that takes in juvenile delinquents known [...]

[July 2, 1962] Take Two!  (Vote for the 1962 Hugos at the Galactic Journey Tele-Conference)

(06/30/2017 8:11 AM)

by Gideon Marcus EDIT: The original time of the RSVP was erroneous - it is at 11 AM Pacific, not PM!!! The 20th Annual WorldCon is coming, Labor Day Weekend, 1962. Every year, attendees of this, the most prestigious science fiction convention, gather to choose the worthy creations of the prior year that will win ...

First Way With Worlds Minibook Is Out!

(06/28/2017 8:12 PM)

Yes I've got my first Way With Worlds Minibook out! This one is on sex and worldbuilding, where we explore the biology and sociology vital to a believable setting - and so often forgotten! I'm going to be doing a series of these, each 99 cents, over the next few months. The idea is to [...]

How The Future (Of Western Live-Action Anime Adaptations) Can Be Female

(06/28/2017 12:00 PM)

'Ghost In The Shell' fizzled, but there are tons of other worthwhile anime/manga titles with strong female leads that could be adapted excellently for English-speaking audiences

[June 28, 1962] A is for Armchair Theatre (Out of this World - UK's new sff anthology)

(06/28/2017 9:56 AM)

By Ashley R. Pollard It seems that television science fiction serials on British TV are like waiting at the bus stop for a London bus to arrive. You don't see one for ages, and when you do, three turn up at once. Therefore I am quite excited by the announcement of a new SF anthology ...

Steve's Update 6/26/2017

(06/26/2017 8:29 PM)

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com, www.SeventhSanctum.com, and Steve's Tumblr) It's my weekly Scrum style standup for my audience. I also am going to try to focus a bit more on what it delivers to you. So what have I done the last week? Way With Worlds Minibook #1: This is now queued for publication! So you'll [...]

'Outlaw Star': Once Upon A Time In Outer Space

(06/26/2017 12:00 PM)

A poor man's 'Cowboy Bebop'? Maybe an anime 'Guardians Of The Galaxy'; either way, 'Outlaw Star' has its share of pulp-space-opera-sitcom delights

[June 25, 1962] XX marks the spot (July 1962 Fantasy and Science Fiction)

(06/25/2017 1:00 PM)

by Gideon Marcus I've been thundering against the new tack Editor Avram Davidson has taken The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction for several months now, so much so that I didn't even save what used to be my favorite magazine for last this month. So imagine my pleasant surprise when, in synchronicity with the ...

Lost in Translation 215 - Batman (1966)

(06/24/2017 6:30 AM)

With the recent death of Adam West, it's past due to take a look at his most endearing role, the 1966 Batman TV series and feature film. Lost in Translation covered the origin of Batman back while analysing Batman Fluxx. Created in 1939 in the pages of Detective Comics, Batman represents the crossover from mystery [...]

[June 23, 1962] Only the Lonely (July 1962 Fantastic)

(06/23/2017 8:55 AM)

by Victoria Silverwolf In this age of Cold War tensions, it's a little disconcerting to discover that the United States made two failed attempts this month to detonate a nuclear warhead in space. The project, whimsically known as Operation Fishbowl, launched Thor missiles from Johnston Island, a tiny atoll in the middle of the Pacific ...

[June 20, 1962] Half a loaf… (Ace Double F-153 - a Marion Zimmer Bradley twosome)

(06/20/2017 10:37 AM)

by Gideon Marcus Marion Zimmer Bradley is an odd duck. As a writer for a niche genre (science fiction), as a woman in a male-dominated field, as an occultist mystic in a stolidly Judeo-Christian world (she founded the Aquarian Order of the Restoration), and as someone who pines for the days when the genre was ...

[June 18, 1962] Live… in Color!  (the first Galactic Journey Tele-Conference)

(06/18/2017 9:06 AM)

by Gideon Marcus Miracles are afoot at the Seattle World Expo. General Electric released its Visi-phone technology, allowing people from across the country to not only talk to each other, but to see each other as they do so. Of course, money being no object, the cutting-edge Galactic Journey had to avail itself of this ...

[June 16, 1962] Picking Up Charles Finney (The Circus of Dr. Lao)

(06/16/2017 2:40 PM)

by Victoria Lucas I am so honored to be taking up space here! The Traveler thought enough of my letters to the editor that he asked me to become a regular contributor. In my letters I mentioned how I've just graduated from Stanford and am going back to my old job in the Drama Department ...

Anime Roundup: June 16, 2017

(06/16/2017 12:00 PM)

'In This Corner Of The World' gets its first U.S trailer; Discotek blesses us with the likes of 'Kaiba' and 'HELLS'; and start saving up for the new 'Gurren Lagann' box set

Vicky Bunny Angel - Windsor ComiCon 2016

(06/14/2017 3:22 PM)

Vicky Bunny Angel is an incredible cosplayer from Toronto that arrived at Windsor ComiCon in style. Her words of wisdom and inspirational message was amazing to listen to. After the interview she gave me some tips on cosplaying for the first time, something I've been wanting to do for a while now. Follow Kurt Sasso [...]

'Captain Harlock: Arcadia Of My Youth': Paradise Lost

(06/14/2017 12:00 PM)

Leiji Matsumoto brings his mythmaking style to the origin story of his legendary space pirate, a showcase for both the best and worst instincts in the man's storytelling style

[June 13, 1962] THE SINCEREST FORM? (the July 1962 Amazing)

(06/13/2017 5:06 PM)

by John Boston The July Amazing starts off ambiguously, with Stonehenge on the cover-often a bad sign, you could find yourself in Atlantis if you're not careful. But it illustrates A Trace of Memory, a new serial by the reasonably hardheaded Keith Laumer, so we may be spared any deep wooliness. I'll defer reading and ...

[June 10, 1962] A star shall rise (July 1962 IF Science Fiction)

(06/10/2017 5:35 PM)

by Gideon Marcus I've said before that IF Worlds of Science Fiction is sort of a poor sister to Galaxy Science Fiction. Since 1959, they've been owned and run by the same team; IF pays its writers less; the quality used to be markedly lower on average (with occasional stand-outs). We seem to be entering ...

[June 7, 1962] Third-rate (the State of Marvel Comics)

(06/7/2017 6:05 PM)

[Famed comics expert Jason Sacks returns with a not-unmixed appraisal of the current state of Marvel Comics - in particular, evaluating the raft of new heroes they've unleashed on the universe. Jason is not a man to mince words, you'll see...] by Jason Sacks Tiny Marvel Comics is at it again. Less than a year ...

Monsterbox Studios - Windsor ComiCon 2016

(06/5/2017 3:45 PM)

Windsor ComiCon 2016 brought together many incredible artists. Claude who works with a collection of artists at Monsterbox Studios. Of course my interviews aren't complete without asking about Inspiring People, Successes /Failures and the next generation of creative individuals. Follow Kurt Sasso & Two Geeks Talking on Twitter: https://twitter.com/kurtsasso Previous Interview: Actor Paul Amos!: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o0l08npi2Ew [...]

[June 5, 1962] Into the Sunset (the End of The Twilight Zone, Season 3)

(06/5/2017 1:24 PM)

by Lorelei Marcus You hear that? That's the last school bell ringing, signifying the end of the school year. That means the beginning of summer break, and with it the end of another season of The Twilight Zone. However, unlike the previous seasons of The Twilight Zone, I hear this may be the last. I ...

Alex Woolfson LGBTQ creator The Young Protectors & Artifice - Anime North 2017

(06/4/2017 1:11 PM)

Alex Woolfson The Young Protectors comic was the first comic of his that I stumbled upon in my weekly search online. Once you have gone through all of your favourite comics, you tend to search for others that are interesting or have some unique qualities that engage you as a reader. Fast forward a year or so later and here we are. When Anime North rolled around and I saw he was a guest I knew I had to interview him. His style of story telling mixed with this particular arc was intense, amazing and well worth the read through or two that I gave it. We talk about his first comic Artifice (which I snaffled on in the intro) and The Young Protectors. Of course my interviews aren't complete without asking about Inspiring People, Successes /Failures and the next generation of creative individuals.

[June 2, 1962] War and... more War (What's new in gaming: 1962)

(06/2/2017 3:08 PM)

by Gideon Marcus When we think of the word "invention," the big-ticket items come to mind: rockets, nuclear reactors, jet planes, penicillin, nylon. But innovation happens in all fields. Take entertainment, for example. A hundred years ago, music could only be heard live. Now we have phonographs, wire recordings, tape cassettes. A century past, and ...

[May 31, 1962] Rounding Out (June 1962 Fantasy and Science Fiction)

(05/31/2017 5:30 PM)

by Gideon Marcus Ah, and at last we come to the end of the month. That time that used to be much awaited before Avram Davidson took over F&SF, but which is now just an opportunity to finish compiling my statistics for the best magazines and stories for the month. Between F&SF's gentle decline and ...

[May 28, 1962] The Invisible Women (Raiders from the Rings, by Alan E. Nourse)

(05/28/2017 9:33 PM)

by Rosemary Benton After a short hiatus following the death of a dear family member I was in desperate need of some levity. Avoiding the non-fiction section, and especially the news stand, I made my way to the science fiction shelves of my favorite book store and picked up a novel that had originally caught ...

[May 26, 1962] Home is the Sailor (June 1962 Fantastic)

(05/26/2017 4:17 PM)

by Victoria Silverwolf In recent days the eyes of the world were focused on the most important event yet during the administration of President Kennedy. No, not Scott Carpenter's successful, if suspenseful, orbiting of the Earth, so ably reported by our host. I'm talking about Marilyn Monroe singing Happy Birthday to the leader of the ...

[May 24, 1962] Adrift in Two Oceans (The Flight of Aurora 7)

(05/24/2017 6:52 PM)

by Gideon Marcus They say things get tedious in repetition. Well, I can assure you that at no point during Scott Carpenter's three-orbit flight, planned to be a duplicate of predecessor John Glenn's, was I in the least bit bored. In fact, of the six manned space shots, this was the most moving for me. ...

[May 21, 1962] Old AND New (UK's New Worlds Magazine)

(05/21/2017 6:23 PM)

By Ashley R. Pollard Here, as I sit writing in May 1962, I'm contemplating change. The change that occurs when the old is phased out, and new things are built that replace the familiar. What spurred this moment of reflection was the news of the last trolley bus run in London which, as fate would ...

[May 19, 1962] I Sing the Future Electric (Fashion for the Future)

(05/19/2017 3:11 PM)

by Gwyn Conaway I have noticed trends swinging wildly these past few months. Shapes, colors, and patterns that we've rarely seen in the past are appearing in advertisements and our favorite magazines. We are in a transition phase, ladies and gentlemen. Behind us, the Golden Age of the fifties is rosy and romantic, a time ...

[May 17, 1962] Not as bad as it looks (June 1962 Analog)

(05/17/2017 6:22 PM)

by Gideon Marcus A wise fellow once opined that the problem with a one-dimensional rating system (in my case, 1-5 Galactic Stars) is that there is little differentiating the flawed jewel from the moderately amusing. That had not really been an issue for me until this month's issue of Analog. With the exception of the ...

[May 15, 1962] RUMBLING (the June 1962 Amazing)

(05/13/2017 5:55 PM)

by John Boston Oh groan. The lead story in the June 1962 Amazing is Thunder in Space by Lester del Rey. He's been at this for 25 years and well knows that in space, no one can hear-oh, never mind. I know, it's a metaphor-but's it's dumb in context and cliched regardless of context. Quickly ...

[May 11, 1962] Unfixed in the Heavens (The Seed of Earth, by Robert Silverberg)

(05/11/2017 5:23 PM)

by Gideon Marcus A hundred and fifty years from now, the stars are finally attainable. With the invention of a reliable and quick interstellar drive, the galaxy is now ripe for colonization. But humanity is too fat and happy to leave the nest; the world government is forced to conscript candidates to become unwilling pioneers. ...

[May 9, 1962] The Chilly Frontier (Uranus, the Seventh Planet)

(05/9/2017 11:56 AM)

by Gideon Marcus Every so often, serendipity chooses what I write about. Last month, the Traveler family Journeyed to the Seventh Planet in film. Then, the Good Doctor wrote about the giant planet in his science fact article in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. And now, in this month's Galaxy, Willy Ley tells ...

[May 7, 1962] Escape (The Twilight Zone, Season 3, Episodes 30-33)

(05/7/2017 3:05 PM)

by Gideon Marcus It's a scary world outside, between Berlin, Cuba, and Laos (not to mention prejudice and hunger right here at home). That's why we turn to fantasy - to distract ourselves. Of course, sometimes the stories we turn to are scarier than our real-world problems. The truly macabre, the horrifying, take some of ...

[May 4, 1962] Cleft in Twain (June 1962 Galaxy, Part 1)

(05/4/2017 3:30 PM)

by Gideon Marcus A few years ago, Galaxy Science Fiction changed its format, becoming half again as thick but published half as often. 196 pages can be a lot to digest in one sitting, so I used to review the magazine in two articles. Over time, I simply bit the bullet and crammed all those ...

[May 02, 1962] A Good Lie (Letter Column #2)

(05/2/2017 9:10 AM)

[Our penpal is back, this time with a highly topical story...] Dear Editor: How nice that you've published my letter, with Barney's picture! Geez, I shouldn't have sent my picture-just wanted you to know which one I was of all the people I'm sure you talked to. Anyway, I thought of something I didn't write ...

[Apr. 30, 1962] Common Practice Period (April Spaceflight Round-up)

(04/30/2017 9:39 AM)

by Gideon Marcus The radio plays Classical music on the FM band now. The difference is palpable. Bach and Mozart on the AM band were tinny and remote. It was almost as though the centuries separating me and the composers had been attenuating the signal. This new radio band (well, not so new, but newly ...

[Apr. 28, 1962] Changing of the Guard (May 1962 Fantasy and Science Fiction)

(04/28/2017 4:31 PM)

by Gideon Marcus I never thought the time would come that reading The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction would be the most dreaded portion of my duties...and yet, here we are. Two issues into new Editor Avram Davidson's tenure, it appears that the mag's transformation from a great bastion of literary (if slightly stuffy) ...

[Apr. 25, 1962] And Justice for All... (J.F. Bone's The Lani People)

(04/25/2017 6:57 PM)

by Gideon Marcus There's a change a comin'. I'm sure you've seen heralds of its passage. Last summer, hundreds of Whites and Blacks took to the buses and rode into the South, flouting the segregated busing laws. Leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X are rallying their brethren to fight centuries of oppression. ...

[April 22, 1962] "To ride on the curl'd clouds" (ARIEL ONE)

(04/22/2017 11:39 AM)

By Ashley R. Pollard Looking back to October the 4th 1957 when Sputnik was launched, it's hard to believe that only five years have passed since that fateful day when Russia beat Britain and America into space (perhaps my American readers will say that Britain had no realistic chance of getting into space first, which ...

[April 20, 1962] Boot Camp (May 1962 Analog)

(04/20/2017 2:07 PM)

by Gideon Marcus Science fiction magazines are not created equal. Every editor brings her/his own slant to their magazine's theme. For instance, Cele Goldsmith strikes an old-fashioned chord, reviving classics from the Pulp Era in Amazing and Fantastic. Fred Pohl keeps things reliable (if not exceptional) in Galaxy, but showcases new and innovative works in ...

[April 17, 1962] No Butts! (The film, Journey to the Seventh Planet)

(04/17/2017 4:34 PM)

by Gideon Marcus Those of you deeply in the know are aware that Sid Pink made the Scandinavian answer to Godzilla last year, Reptilicus, and Ib Melchior brought it to the states (where it has had a limited release). It was, to all accounts, pretty awful. The unlikely Danish-American team of Sid Pink and Ib ...

[April 15, 1962] REGRESSION TO THE MEAN (the May 1962 Amazing)

(04/15/2017 10:51 AM)

by John Boston Last month, I asked: can they keep it up? Amazing's marked increase in quality, that is. Well, no, not this month anyway. The May 1962 Amazing labors under a large handicap: half of it is given over to The Airlords of Han by Philip Francis Nowlan, the second Buck Rogers novella, reprinted ...

[April 12, 1962] Don't Bug Me (May 1962 Fantastic)

(04/12/2017 3:58 PM)

by Victoria Silverwolf April is the cruelest month - T. S. Eliot, The Wasteland Maybe it's because it's almost time to mail in those tax forms to Uncle Sam, or maybe it's because of the tension between President Kennedy and the steel companies, or maybe it's because Jack Parr left his television series (which will ...

[April 10, 1962] All the Difference (May 1962 IF Science Fiction)

(04/10/2017 4:58 PM)

by Gideon Marcus The measure of a story's quality, good or bad, is how well it sticks in your memory. The sublime and the stinkers are told and retold, the mediocre just fades away. If you ever wonder how I rate the science fiction I read, memorability is a big component. This month's IF has ...

[Apr. 7, 1962] Half and Half (The Twilight Zone, Season 3, Episodes 25-28)

(04/7/2017 8:24 PM)

[Apr. 7, 1962] Half and Half (The Twilight Zone, Season 3, Episodes 25-28) by Gideon Marcus I have criticized the show that Rod built over the course of this, the third season. Serling has seemed tired, borrowing cliches from himself. Thus, I was delightedly surprised to find some of the best quality of the series ...

[April 5, 1962] Pen Pals (Letter Column #1)

(04/5/2017 9:18 AM)

[The great debate of any magazine (fan or professional) is whether or not to include a letter column. Obviously, I append reader comments to the article which they reference, but sometimes I get letters of a more general nature. Since I imagine my readers would like to know their fellow fen, I'm publishing a recently ...

[April 3, 1962] Wide-eyed in Wonder (WonderCon 1962)

(04/3/2017 8:54 AM)

by Gideon Marcus Good golly, is it 1962 already? WonderCon remains one of the largest and most up-to-date conventions in the state. Attendance was well into the hundreds, likely due to the broad scope of fandoms covered. Everything from comic books to science fiction film and television - it's almost like Galactic Journey Con! (if ...

[Mar. 31, 1962] Read all about it! (What is the Galactic Journey?)

(03/31/2017 7:00 AM)

by Gideon Marcus This weekend, the Journey travels to WonderCon, a midlin'-sized fan convention with an emphasis on comics and science fiction. It's a perfect opportunity to introduce Galactic Journey to a host of new readers, folks who have a keen interest in what this column has to offer. So what is Galactic Journey? Quite ...

[March 28, 1962] Paradise Lost (April 1962 Fantasy and Science Fiction)

(03/28/2017 6:41 PM)

by Gideon Marcus I used to call The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction "dessert." Of all the monthly sf digests, it was the cleverest, the one most willing to take risks, and the most enjoyable reading. Over the past two years, I've noticed a slow but decided trend into the realm of "literary quality." ...

Video Game Break Podcast - Episode 142

(03/25/2017 2:16 PM)

We're back! Brad joins me to discuss Mass Effect, Nier, Deadlight, and SONY VR.

[March 25, 1962] A Double Hit (A. Bertram Chandler's The Rim of Space and John Brunner's Secret Agent of Terra)

(03/25/2017 8:02 AM)

by Rosemary Benton I love the bookstore in my town. Not only do they have a newsstand in front that provides me with the latest world events and developments in the US space program, but they have a very comprehensive science fiction section, front and center, as you walk in. I'll occasionally look at the ...

[March 22, 1962] Provoking Thought (April 1962 Analog)

(03/22/2017 2:43 PM)

by Gideon Marcus Ask the average citizen their opinion of science fiction and they'll likely mention monsters, flying saucers, and ray guns. SF has gotten a bad rap lately, largely due to the execrable movies nominally representing it, but there's no question that the pulps of the 30s and 40s, and the lesser magazines of ...

[March 19, 1962] A convention of a different colour (Eastercon in the UK)

(03/19/2017 3:38 PM)

By Ashley R. Pollard Last month I said I would talk about science fiction fan activity in Britain. I think it only fair to say that my involvement with British science fiction fandom is peripatetic, as in unsettled, as I lack the stamina to be fully involved with fannish behaviour. Not a bad thing per ...

[Mar. 17, 1962]  Our Knights in Shining Armor (Have Space Suit, Will Travel)

(03/17/2017 4:04 PM)

[The Journey's "Fashion Columnist" returns with a timely piece on the latest advancement in sartorial science...] by Gwyn Conaway Last month, on February 20th, 1962, John Glenn became the second American to leave behind our earthly constraints for the majesty of space. Less than one year after Alan Shepard's historic suborbital flight on a Redstone ...

[Mar. 14, 1962] State of the Art (Marvel Comics: May 1962)

(03/14/2017 6:09 PM)

by Gideon Marcus With just three weeks to go before I attend the comics-themed science fiction convention in the Los Angeles area known as "Wonder Con," I think it's high time for an update on what's going on in the world of Marvel Comics. As I related earlier, Marvel (formerly Atlas) seems bent on rebuilding ...

[March 12, 1962] Must come down… (The Twilight Zone, Season 3, Episodes 21-24)

(03/12/2017 2:37 PM)

by Gideon Marcus and by Lorelei Marcus [I'll let the Young Traveler lead this time. She's put her finger on what we enjoy and don't about The Twilight Zone] Guess who's back with another The Twilight Zone review! Well, I personally prefer Rocky and Bullwinkle, but I'm afraid you came here for a The Twilight ...

[March 10, 1962] Mail Call! (The April 1962 Galaxy)

(03/10/2017 8:13 PM)

by Gideon Marcus If there is any true measure of fame, it might well be the amount of fan mail you get. Many stars employ services to plow through their truckloads and give each missive personal response. Jack Benny came out on his TV stage last night holding a giant sack of fan mail - ...

[March 7, 1962] Sunny side up!  (Orbiting Solar Observatory (OSO) #1)

(03/7/2017 4:52 PM)

by Gideon Marcus Look up at the night sky, and what do you see? Darkness and countless points of light. Maybe a planet or two, brightly untwinkling in the black. It is interesting that the sky should be black - after all, there are lots of photons (light particles) buzzing around the sky even after ...

[March 5, 1962] Exotic Blend (Condor: a San Diego SFF convention)

(03/5/2017 6:58 PM)

by Gideon Marcus Science fiction fans are a rare breed. Consider that even the most widely distributed science fiction monthly, Analog, has just 200,000 readers. Compare that to the 180 million folks living in America. That's about one in a thousand. If you come from a midlin'-sized city of, say, 50,000, there are just 50 ...

[March 3, 1962] Getting Somewhere (the April 1962 Amazing)

(03/3/2017 4:04 PM)

[The precocious Mr. Boston continues to take time from his busy high school schedule to provide coverage of Cele Goldsmith's marquee digest: Amazing, the longest lived of the sff mags. I am deeply grateful to John for his eloquent reviews. I understand that he lives in particularly dull and uninspired part of the country, so ...

[March 1, 1962] Hearts and Flowers (April 1962 Fantastic)

(03/1/2017 2:11 PM)

by Victoria Silverwolf March has roared in like a lion here in Eastern Tennessee, with high temperatures below fifty and a bit of snow falling in Chattanooga. Can it be possible that spring is right around the corner? Perhaps it would be best to turn our thoughts away from the tempests of winter and concentrate ...

[February 26, 1962] Record Beating (March 1962 Analog)

(02/26/2017 5:27 PM)

by Gideon Marcus You've almost assuredly heard of Radio Corporation of America (RCA). They make radios (naturally), but also record players, televisions, computers. They have produced the foundations of modern consumer electronics, including the color television standard and the 45 rpm record. And now, they've really outdone themselves: they've created cassettes for tape recording. Until ...

[February 23, 1962] Material Reading (March 1962 Fantasy and Science Fiction)

(02/23/2017 7:54 PM)

by Gideon Marcus The coverage for John Glenn's orbital flight was virtually non-stop on the 20th. My daughter and I (as many likely did) played hooky to watch it. During the long countdown, the Young Traveler worried that the astronaut might get bored during his wait and commented that NASA might have been kind enough ...

[February 20, 1962] American Made (John Glen and the flight of Friendship 7)

(02/20/2017 2:36 PM)

by Gideon Marcus And the Free World exhales. At long last, an American has orbited the Earth. This morning, Astronaut John Glenn ascended to the heavens on the back of an Atlas nuclear missile. He circled the globe three times before splashing down in the Atlantic Ocean. It is impossible to understate what this means ...

Video Game Break Podcast - Episode 141

(02/19/2017 10:53 PM)

In this solo (and quick) episode I give you my thoughts on all this PewDiePie antisemetic video bizness. REAL TALK.

[February 19, 1962] February Thaw (tales from the British fan)

(02/19/2017 12:08 PM)

By Ashley R. Pollard This month's theme is anticipation. For instance, the anticipation of the coming spring that will soon relieve the winter blues, signaled by the mornings and evenings getting lighter. I no longer get up in total darkness and leave work as darkness descends because now the winter sun sets around five. Instead, ...

[February 17, 1962] Time and Culture at Odds (Andre Norton's The Defiant Agents)

(02/17/2017 6:39 PM)

by Rosemary Benton It's an interesting premise: what would a meeting between Apaches and Tartars be like in a "wild west-esque" science fiction setting? And what if the Apaches were American explorers while the Tartars were from the Soviet Union? Andre Norton sets out to explore this idea in The Defiant Agents, her third installment ...

[February 14, 1962] St. Valentine's Update (The Second Sex in SFF, Part V)

(02/14/2017 7:07 PM)

by Gideon Marcus It's not quite time for a funeral, yet! Nearly a decade ago, the Chicken Littles of our genre scribbled at length in our magazines and buttonholed each other at conventions to voice their fears that science fiction was dying. Well, it is true that we are down to just six American sff ...

[February 12, 1962] Out of the Wasteland (The Twilight Zone, Season 3, Episodes 17-20)

(02/12/2017 8:31 AM)

by Gideon Marcus and by Lorelei Marcus Reading a recent Radio Television Daily, I see that Rod Serling is once again up for an award. I'm not surprised. While his latest achievement, The Twilight Zone has flagged a bit in quality this season, it has still been (for the most part) worthy TV. In fact, ...

[Feb. 10, 1962] Here is the News (March 1962 IF)

(02/10/2017 2:06 PM)

by Gideon Marcus If "no news is good news," then this has been a very good week, indeed! The Studebaker UAW strike ended on the 7th. The Congo is no more restive than usual. Laos seems to be holding a tenuous peace in its three-cornered civil war. The coup is over in the Dominican Republic, ...

Video Game Break Podcast - Episode 140

(02/10/2017 10:02 AM)

Rey and I talk Resident Evil 7, Dead Rising 4, and Uncanny Valley (it's creeepy). Also this show was a live video version so the audio file is a bit large. Sorry.

[February 7, 1962] Funny Business (March 1962 Fantastic)

(02/7/2017 8:50 AM)

by Victoria Silverwolf Dying is easy; comedy is hard. These famous last words, ascribed to many a noted actor on his deathbed, are probably apocryphal. Even if nobody ever really uttered them before taking his last breath, they do suggest the difficulty of provoking amusement in one's audience. This is at least as true of ...

[February 4, 1962] Promised Land in Sight? (the March 1962 Amazing)

(02/4/2017 6:27 AM)

by John Boston A couple of months ago I described Amazing, as "promising." Now here's the March 1962 issue, with two up-and-comers on the cover and a third on the contents page. Verdict: promise partly kept. Maybe "up-and-comer" isn't quite le mot juste for Frank Herbert; "what have you done for me lately?" might fit ...

[February 1, 1962] Silver Lining (January Space Race round-up!)

(02/1/2017 9:09 AM)

by Gideon Marcus January has been a frustrating month in the Space Race. We are no closer to matching the Soviets in the manned competition, much less beating them, and our unmanned shots have been a disappointment, too. That said, it's not all bad news in January's round-up: stick to it through the end, and ...

Video Game Break Podcast - Episode 139

(01/30/2017 7:50 PM)

Rey and I talk about Pit People, Yakuza 0, Final Fantasy Brave Exvius and more! Also I eat more cupcakes .. sorry.

[January 30, 1962] Heads or Tails? (Ace Double F-127)

(01/30/2017 5:01 PM)

by Gideon Marcus What if the South had won at Antietam? Or the Mongols had not been so savaged by the Hungarians at Mohi? If Hitler had grown up an artist? Time travel has been a staple of science fiction since the genre was formalized. One of the newer flavors of the time travel oeuvre ...

[January 27, 1962] Bumps in Road (February 1962 Fantasy and Science Fiction)

(01/27/2017 4:29 PM)

by Gideon Marcus It's been a topsy turvy month: Snow is falling in coastal Los Angeles. Castro's Cuba has been kicked out of the Organization of American States. Elvis is playing a Hawaiian beach bum. So it's in keeping that the latest issue of Fantasy and Science Fiction is, well, uneven. Luckily, the February 1962 ...

[January 25, 1962] Shameless self-promotion (Nominate Galactic Journey for the Hugo!)

(01/25/2017 12:44 PM)

Each year, authors compete through the written word for the honor of owning a miniature replica of a spaceship. Since 1953, the Hugo Award has been the most regular and prestigious honor bestowed to those of us in the science fiction and fantasy genres. They represent a true expression of democracy, being nominated and voted ...

[January 23, 1962] A Methodical Approach to Writing (H. Beam Piper's Little Fuzzy)

(01/23/2017 9:32 AM)

by Rosemary Benton Science fiction is a wonderful genre in that it allows an author the opportunity to pick a discipline - religion, economics, etc. - and create scenarios that are free to play out completely beyond any current restrictions or known facts of nature. Consider James Blish's The Star Dwellers with its sentient energy ...

Video Game Break Podcast - Episode 138

(01/22/2017 9:29 AM)

Rey Perez (Gameskewer) and I talk Star Ocean, Final Fantasy 15 spoilers, Let it Die, some Nintendo news, and cupcakes.

[January 21, 1962] January Freeze (The Great Explosion, by Eric Frank Russell)

(01/21/2017 3:05 PM)

By Ashley R. Pollard I mentioned last time I find December winter difficult. In January it snowed, which reminds me of the song Let it Snow! by Vaughn Monroe, though the cover version sung by Dean Martin may be more familiar to younger readers of Galactic Journey. So with the frightful weather outside I had ...

[January 19, 1962] Killing the Messenger (February 1962 Analog)

(01/19/2017 6:42 AM)

by Gideon Marcus I said in a recent article that science fiction runs the gamut from the hard-nosed to the fantastic, and that the former can be found most consistently inside the pages of Analog magazine. Well, the February 1962 issue has proved me a liar. The problem is Analog's editor, Mr. John W. Campbell. ...

[January 16, 1962] Accidents (un)happen (The Twilight Zone, Season 3, Episodes 13-16)

(01/16/2017 8:17 AM)

by Gideon Marcus It is common practice in statistics to average out data over time in a rolling fashion. This gives you smoother lines, free of the jagged spikes of noisy data. For the last several months, The Twilight Zone has shown a definite tendency toward the lower end of the quality scale, at least ...

Video Game Break Podcast - Episode 137

(01/14/2017 10:08 PM)

Brad and I discuss Let it Die, Mount and Blade Warband, Nier Automata, Resident Evil 7, Stardew Valley, Nintendo Switch, and our current political landscape (and how we can come together).

[January 14, 1962] Horrors! (February 1962 Fantastic)

(01/14/2017 2:06 PM)

by Victoria Silverwolf Since the demise nearly a decade ago of the fondly remembered magazine Weird Tales, there has been a dearth of markets for horror stories. Occasionally a tale of terror will appear in the pages of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, but otherwise there are few places where fiction dealing with ...

[January 12, 1962] Odd one out (February 1962 Galaxy)

(01/12/2017 10:36 AM)

by Gideon Marcus Science fiction is a broad genre. It includes hard scientific, nuts-and-bolts projections that read like modern tales with just a touch of the future in them; this is the kind of stuff the magazine Analog is made up of. Then you've got far out stuff, not just fantasy but surrealism. The kind ...

[January 9, 1962] Unfortunate Tale (Anderson's Day After Doomsday)

(01/9/2017 8:21 AM)

by Gideon Marcus The Earth is dead, its verdant continents and azure oceans replaced with a roiling hell. The crew of the Benjamin Franklin, humanity's first interstellar ship, gaze on the holocaust in horror. Are they only humans left? Do any of Terra's other ships (particularly the all woman-crewed Europa) still survive? And most of ...

Video Game Break Podcast - Episode 136

(01/7/2017 9:38 PM)

I talk about beating Dishonored 2 (and how I loved it), Quantum Break (and how I was surprised by it), and about starting .. yes I said starting .. Mass Effect.

[January 7, 1962] Mismatched pair (ACE Double D-485)

(01/7/2017 7:30 PM)

by Gideon Marcus I recently discovered the goodness that is the ACE Double. For just 35 cents (or 45 cents, depending on the series), you get two short books back to back in one volume. I've been impressed with these little twinned novels though their novelty may pass as I read more magazine scientificition - ...

[January 4, 1962] Over the top…Barely (February 1962 Amazing)

(01/4/2017 6:04 PM)

by John Boston Life is full of happy surprises! At long last Amazing has crossed a line: nothing in the the February 1962 issue is worse than three stars, and the average is a little higher. Read on; I think you'll agree that there is much to enjoy in this, the first magazine of the ...

[January 2, 1962] Hope, Free Thought, and Character Arcs (James Blish's The Star Dwellers)

(01/2/2017 9:55 AM)

I've reserved a special prize for my first guest author, Rosemary Benton. Today is January 2, and not only will her piece be the first of 1962, but it will be published concurrently with an important astronomical event. Every year, the Earth passes closest to the sun on the second day of the year, its ...

Video Game Break Podcast - Episode 135

(12/31/2016 12:35 AM)

I run through my top 10 games of the year (with some honorable mentions), and then rattle off some of your favorite indie, portable, and iOS/Android favorites.

[Dec. 30, 1961] Finishing Strong (January 1962 Fantasy and Science Fiction)

(12/30/2016 6:55 AM)

by Gideon Marcus At the end of a sub-par month, I can generally count on The Magazine and Science Fiction to end things on a positive note. F&SF has been of slightly declining quality over the past few years, but rarely is an issue truly bad, and this one, for January 1962, has got some ...

[December 27, 1961] Double and Nothing (The Phantom Planet and Assignment: Outer Space)

(12/27/2016 3:25 PM)

by Gideon Marcus Our effort at the Journey to curate every scrap of science fiction as it is released, in print and on film, leaves us little time for rest. Even in the normally sleepy month of December (unless you're battling Christmas shopping crowds, of course), this column's staff is hard at work, either consuming ...

Video Game Break Podcast - Episode 134

(12/26/2016 11:22 PM)

I try out a solo episode of Video Game Break and give you my thoughts on Super Mario Run, Final Fantasy 15, and StarDew Valley.

[December 24, 1961] The Best and the Brightest (1961's Galactic Stars)

(12/24/2016 9:30 AM)

by Gideon Marcus Everyone knows that the great American pastime is Baseball. Most fans enjoy watching the drama on the diamond, the crowds, the cheers, the hot dogs. But there is a dedicated minority for whom the sublimest pleasure is compiling Baseball stats. How well did each team do this year? Each player? Year over ...

[December 21, 1961] Reviewer's Burden (January 1962 Analog)

(12/21/2016 4:37 PM)

by Gideon Marcus I read a lot of stuff every month. I consider it my duty, as your curator, to cover as broad a range of fiction as possible so that you can pick the stories most likely to appeal to you. What that means is I wade through a lot of stones to find ...

[December 19, 1961] AMAZING . . . NOT YET (the January 1962 Amazing)

(12/19/2016 8:40 PM)

[Several months ago, I put out the call for someone to help me review the two science fiction digests I didn't have time to read: Fantastic and Amazing, both edited by young Cele Goldsmith. I've generally considered them the least of the sff magazines, but given how few of them are left these days, I ...

[December 17, 1961] XMAS COOL (UK report and Drake's Equation)

(12/17/2016 2:09 PM)

By Ashley R. Pollard I find December, in fact all the winter months, a tad difficult because it's dark in the morning when I get up to go to work, and dark when it's time to come home. To add to the misery it's cold too. However, a piece on the misery of Christmas is, ...

[December 15, 1961] Double Trouble (Ace Double F-113)

(12/15/2016 5:29 PM)

by Gideon Marcus God help me, I've found a new medium for my science fiction addiction. Before 1950, I was strictly a toe-dipper in the scientifiction sea. I'd read a few books, perused a pulp now and then. Then Galaxy came out, and I quickly secured a regular subscription to the monthly magazine. After I ...


(12/13/2016 9:38 AM)

by Victoria Silverwolf To be successful, a fiction magazine often needs to strike a balance between established authors and new blood. Experienced writers can generally be counted on to provide work of professional quality, while fledging storytellers may keep the magazine from seeming stale and predictable. Such a strategy can be seen in the latest ...

[Dec. 10, 1961] By Jove! (Jupiter, the fifth planet)

(12/10/2016 4:58 PM)

by Gideon Marcus An alien cataloging our solar system for an Encyclopedia Galactica might summarize our home in this brief sentence: "Solitary yellow dwarf, unremarkable, with a single planet of note; also, a few objects of orbiting debris." That may strike you as an affront given the attachment you have to one of those pieces ...

[December 8, 1961] Fore!  (The Twilight Zone, Season 3, Episodes 9-12)

(12/8/2016 5:27 PM)

by Gideon Marcus I feel badly, I really do. Earlier this year, I was given an award by Rod Serling's people. It's an honor I treasure tremendously. After all, Mr. Serling has given us some of the greatest television since the medium was invented. But now the wheels are coming off The Twilight Zone, and ...

Video Game Break Podcast - Episode 133

(12/6/2016 7:37 PM)

Rey and I talk about Watch Dogs 2 NPCs, Final Fantasy 15, Let it Die, and The Game Awards.

[Dec. 5, 1961] IF I didn't care... (January 1962 IF Science Fiction)

(12/5/2016 4:57 PM)

by Gideon Marcus There is an interesting rhythm to my science fiction reading schedule. Every other month, I get to look forward to a bumper crop of magazines: Fantasy and Science Fiction, Analog, and the King-Sized Galaxy. Every other month, I get F&SF, Analog, and IF (owned by the same fellow who owns Galaxy). IF ...

[December 3, 1961] Of Wives and Men (or First Ladies' Fashion)

(12/3/2016 4:08 PM)

When I started this endeavor, I never expected to find so many fellow travelers. Each has provided an unique insight into the worlds of science fiction, comics, science, fandom. I have tried to balance staying true to my original vision (which is why I promise to keep writing at least a majority of the articles ...

[November 30, 1961] Man vs. Machine (November 1961 Space Round-up)

(11/30/2016 7:17 PM)

by Gideon Marcus November 1961 been an exciting month for space buffs with several sequels to exciting missions as well as one brand new satellite. For instance, the fourth Transit navigational satellite went up on November 15. Not only did it carry a little nuclear reactor for power, but it also had a piggyback pal. ...

[Nov. 28, 1961] Friendly Competition (The Case for National Comics)

(11/28/2016 4:13 PM)

Erica Frank and I have both extolled the virtues of superhero comics; I pumped Marvel while she was a National fan. Now, famed comics expert Jason Sacks weighs in, mostly to tell us that Erica's taste is far better than mine. He's probably right... by Jason Sacks Several weeks ago, the Traveler posted a short, ...

[Nov. 26, 1961] End of the Line (December 1961 Fantasy and Science Fiction)

(11/26/2016 8:32 PM)

by Gideon Marcus It's the end of the year! "What?" you exclaim, "but it's only November!" True that, but the date on my latest Fantasy and Science Fiction says December 1961, and that means it is the last science fiction digest of the calendar year that will go through my review grinder. F&SF has been ...

[November 24, 1961] In Brightest Day, In Blackest Night (Alter Ego Fanzine #3; Fall 1961)

(11/24/2016 6:10 PM)

Here's a treat! Our Copy Editor, Erica Frank, is not only a demon at formatting manuscripts, but she is also an avid follower of our rich fan culture. She now takes up the quill for her first article for The Journey - I think you will be as glad that she did so as I ...

Video Game Break Podcast - Episode 132

(11/21/2016 7:45 PM)

Rey Perez joins me to talk Watch Dogs 2, Even the Ocean, Pokemon Sun and Moon, game immersion, fake news, and Yakuza.

[November 21, 1961] Jules Verne on a Budget (Valley of the Dragons)

(11/21/2016 4:33 PM)

by Rosemary Benton Very little deters me from seeking out science fiction films. Even if the venue is a little disreputable I will still venture in. Even when a film is being trashed by critics I'll still give it a chance. But in the case of Valley of the Dragons I wish I had turned ...

[November 19, 1961] See Change (December 1961 Analog)

(11/19/2016 9:34 AM)

by Gideon Marcus Every successful endeavor goes through the cycle of growth, stability, decline, and renewal (or death, in which case, there's no cycle). Science fiction magazines are no exception. A particularly far-sighted editor can plan for decline by setting up a successor. For instance Galaxy's H.L. Gold has turned over the reigns to Fred ...

[November 16, 1961] Made in Japan (Mothra)

(11/16/2016 5:53 PM)

Now here's a special treat. Not long ago, the Junior Traveler began contributing as a co-author. This time around, she has decided to take center stage. My little girl is all growed up! Excuse me. I have something in my eye... by Lorelei Marcus Recently, me and my family thought we should take a break ...

Video Game Break Podcast - Episode 131

(11/15/2016 10:12 PM)

Brad and I discuss going back to Skyrim, Watchdogs 2, The Walking Dead No Man's Land, Even the Ocean, Nintendo Switch price, Farming Simulator, annnnnd racism.

[November 13, 1961] (un)Moving Pictures (December 1961 Fantastic)

(11/13/2016 3:55 PM)

by Victoria Silverwolf The last decade saw a boom in written science fiction as well as science fiction cinema, due in part to both the fear of atomic warfare and the promise of space exploration. Both trends have tapered off recently, possibly due to the many stories and films of poor quality offered to a ...

Video Game Break Podcast - Episode 130

(11/10/2016 8:41 PM)

Amy Hill

[November 10, 1961] EARTH ON FIRE (UK Sci-fi Report)

(11/10/2016 2:08 PM)

By Ashley R. Pollard Last month, I wrote about the shocking explosion of the world's largest atomic bomb. Now, I plan to entertain and delight you all with a review of the film The Day the Earth Caught Fire, which will be on general release in Great Britain from the 23rd of November. Its subject ...

[November 8, 1961] Points East (Air Travel and the December 1961 Galaxy)

(11/8/2016 11:40 AM)

by Gideon Marcus How small the world has gotten! Less than a decade ago, trans-oceanic travel was limited to the speed of a propeller. If you journeyed by boat, as many still do, it would take two weeks to cross the Pacific. Airplanes were faster - with a couple of stops, one could get from ...

[Nov. 5, 1961] Settling in (The Twilight Zone, Season 3, Episodes 5-8)

(11/5/2016 6:33 PM)

by Gideon Marcus and by Lorelei Marcus The house that Rod built was showing signs of decay, but, as happened last season, The Twilight Zone has gotten a little better a few episodes in. It's not perfect, mind you, but I'm still tuning in on Friday. In fact, Serling's show, Andy Griffith, and Route 66 ...

[Nov. 3, 1961] Study War no More (Naked to the Stars, by Gordon Dickson)

(11/3/2016 4:59 PM)

War is still a ripe subject for fiction. It has been a constant part of the human existence since there were nations. For six thousand years, we've glorified it, hated it, resolved ourselves to it. There's no reason to expect it will go away any time soon, and it's no wonder that war is a ...

[Oct. 31, 1961] A is for Atomic (UK TV Sci-fi… and the Tsar Bomba)

(10/31/2016 5:29 PM)

By Ashley R. Pollard A is for atomic and apocalypse, and this month also for Andromeda. Of the three, the most entertaining is the new TV series on the BBC, called A for Andromeda, written by Frederick Hoyle and John Elliot. Hoyle is an astronomer and noted cosmologist who also wrote the science fiction novel ...

Video Game Break Podcast - Episode 129

(10/30/2016 1:58 PM)

Evie Powell and I go through the history of virtual reality, and I explain why I hate The Walking Dead.

[October 28, 1961] Heavy Lifting (Saturn C-1 SA-1)

(10/28/2016 5:33 PM)

by Rosemary Benton It's a great leap forward for the United States. This morning, October 28th 1961, one can open the newspaper and learn about yesterday's launch of the Saturn C-1. Some of us even saw the live coverage of the launch on television, watching as the giant rocket blasted off from Cape Canaveral in ...

Video Game Break Podcast - Episode 128

(10/26/2016 8:49 PM)

Kelsey Lewin (Game Blitz Podcast, Pink Gorilla) joins me to talk PRGE, Spider, Nintendo Switch, Bethesda and game reviews, and Gamestop buying retro games.

[Oct. 26, 1961] Fading Fancy (November 1961 Fantasy and Science Fiction)

(10/26/2016 5:29 PM)

by Gideon Marcus Have you ever ordered your favorite dessert only to find it just doesn't satisfy like it used to? I'm a big fan of crème brûlée, and I used to get it every chance I could. That crispy carmelized top and that warm custard bottom, paired with a steaming cup of coffee...mmm. These ...

[Oct. 23, 1961] Making Progress (Harry Harrison's Sense of Obligation)

(10/23/2016 8:01 AM)

by Gideon Marcus Author Harry Harrison has been around for a long time, starting his science fiction writing career at the beginning of the last decade (1951). Yet, it was not until this decade that I (and probably many others) discovered him. He came into my view with the stellar Deathworld, a novel that was ...

[Oct. 21, 1961] Cause célèbre (Three years, and the November 1961 Analog)

(10/21/2016 7:00 PM)

by Gideon Marcus Three years ago, my wife pried my nose out of my sci-fi magazines. "You've been reading all of these stories," she said. "Why not recommend some of the best ones so I can join in the fun without having to read the bad ones." I started a list, but after the first ...

Video Game Break Podcast - Episode 127

(10/20/2016 9:37 PM)

I discuss the pros and cons of the new Nintendo Switch with Nick and Brad, in 2 segments of hot Nintendo Switch action! We also talk Mafia 3 (one last time), and Red Dead Redemption 2.

[Oct. 18, 1961] Call me Old-fashioned (The Planet Strappers, by Raymond Z. Gallun)

(10/18/2016 5:03 PM)

by Gideon Marcus The nice thing about writing reviews for an immediately published medium, like a newspaper or a daily column, is the currency of the information you convey. Most reviewers get their books just before release from the publishers, and by the time their reviews are in print, their subjects are several months old. ...

[Oct. 15, 1961] Top of the Third (The Twilight Zone, Season 3)

(10/15/2016 5:23 PM)

by Gideon Marcus and by Lorelei Marcus Two years ago, CBS aired the first episode of a new television anthology, one destined for the history books. It was called The Twilight Zone, and it featured science fiction and fantasy themed stories in a most sophisticated fashion. Twilight Zone garnered its creator, Rod Serling, a much ...

[October 13, 1961] The Music of the Spheres (November 1961 Fantastic)

(10/13/2016 7:43 AM)

by Victoria Silverwolf The power of music to portray emotions and to evoke images in the listener's mind seems to be universal to all cultures. It seems inevitable that it will be used in the future to convey feelings and experiences as yet unknown. As human beings explore the unimaginably vast silence of outer space, ...

Video Game Break Podcast - Episode 126

(10/11/2016 5:39 PM)

Logan Fieth

[Oct. 10, 1961] On the Edge of Tomorrow (Geek Girl Con… 2016?)

(10/10/2016 5:22 PM)

by Gideon Marcus Seattle, one of my favorite towns, is about to become big news for it will be the home of the 1962 World Expo, and its futuristic "Space Needle" is under construction. When it's done, the city's skyline will be distinctive, indeed! But that's not what brought us to the Emerald City in ...

[Oct. 7, 1961] That's Super! (Marvel Comics' The Fantastic Four)

(10/7/2016 10:26 PM)

by Gideon Marcus There's no question that we are in the Space Age. Our headlines are dominated with space flights, the movies feature missions to the Moon and invaders from other planets, and our comic books incorporate the very latest scientific discoveries delivered from beyond our planet. Not that comics employ the most rigorous application ...

[Oct. 5, 1961] Half Full (November 1961 IF Science Fiction)

(10/5/2016 4:37 PM)

by Gideon Marcus A long time ago, back in the hoary old days of the 1950s, there was a science fiction magazine called Satellite. It was unusual in that contained full short novels, and maybe a vignette or two. Satellite was a fine magazine, and I was sorry to see it die at the end ...

Video Game Break Podcast - Episode 125

(10/4/2016 10:31 PM)

Brad and I discuss Dragon Quest Builders, Darkest Dungeon, Virginia (and new indie adventure games), and The Final Station. We also talk about live streaming, Zenith, and mention No Man's Sky one last time.

[Oct. 1, 1961] Over and Above (America's surprising lead in the Space Race)

(10/1/2016 9:24 AM)

by Gideon Marcus When the news is full of Soviet spacemen and bomb tests, it's easy to get the impression that America's losing the Space Race. The Russians got the first Sputnik, the first Muttnik, the first Lunik. They launched the first two men into orbit; America's two astronauts had shorter missions than most people's ...

[September 29, 1961] Slim Pickings (October 1961 Fantasy and Science Fiction)

(09/29/2016 6:35 PM)

by Gideon Marcus Each month, I look forward to my dose of new science fiction stories delivered in the form of digest-sized magazines. Over the decade that I've been subscribing, I've fallen into a habit. I start with my first love, Galaxy (or its sister, IF, now that they are both bi-monthlies). I then move ...

[Sept. 26, 1961] Sense of Adventure (Andre Norton's Catseye)

(09/26/2016 8:38 PM)

by Rosemary Benton Catseye is the short, but very well written, science fiction novel from the pen of the legendary Andre Norton. I'm ashamed to say that I haven't experienced much of Norton's writing myself, although her fans sing her praise joyfully and have repeatedly recommended her titles to me. Reading the back cover of ...

[September 23, 1961] Seeing the Light (Daniel Galouye's Dark Universe)

(09/23/2016 4:50 PM)

The human experience is a visual one. While each of the five senses has its function and importance, we rely primarily on our eyes to navigate the world. Sighted people take this fact for granted - even the verb "to see" means "to understand." Inability to see is considered (by the sighted) to be a ...

Video Game Break Podcast - Episode 124

(09/21/2016 10:34 PM)

Dan Hart (sketch comedian) joins me to talk about comedy and video games. What games we think are funny, and what exactly makes them that way.

[September 20, 1961] Theme and Variations (October 1961 Fantastic)

(09/20/2016 6:39 PM)

As promised, a surprise article from a surprising source. Victoria Silverwolf has been an asset to this column for three years, providing commentary that might as well have been an article in and of itself (not to mention being 95% in alignment with my views). Imagine my joy when Ms. Silverwolf offered to contribute an ...

Video Game Break Podcast - Episode 123

(09/20/2016 7:58 AM)

Local fan of the show (and pinball tournament player) Michael Warfield stopped by to chat with me about free games, pinball, PAX tickets, and stuff.

[September 18, 1961] Balancing Act (October 1961 Analog)

(09/18/2016 9:22 AM)

Science fiction digests are a balancing act. An editor has to fill a set number of pages every month relying solely on the stories s/he's got at her/his disposal. Not to mention the restrictions imposed if one wants to publish an "all-star" or otherwise themed issue. Analog has got the problem worst of all of ...

[September 15, 1961] DISASTER ON THE MOON (Arthur C. Clarke's A Fall of Moondust)

(09/15/2016 7:34 AM)

By Ashley R. Pollard August may have started with cool weather but it ended with a bit of heat wave for the August Bank Holiday weekend. So I did get to sit on the beach eating ice-cream and reading a good book, and in this case having the pleasure of reading Arthur C. Clarke's latest ...

Video Game Break Podcast - Episode 122

(09/14/2016 8:55 AM)

Rey Perez joins Brad and I to discuss difficult bosses, awkward sexy time gaming, Death Stranding, Overwatch addiction, TGS news, Jotun, and Hue.

[September 13, 1961] Dry Run (Mercury-Atlas 4)

(09/13/2016 12:09 PM)

by Gideon Marcus It's is a red-letter day for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and for America as a whole. For today, we finally got a Mercury space capsule into orbit! The flight, dubbed "Mercury-Atlas 4," began this morning in a blast of fire on a Florida launchpad and lasted one hour and ...

[September 11, 1961] Newest Child of The Bomb (The Flight that Disappeared)

(09/11/2016 8:15 AM)

by Gideon Marcus The Bomb. Since its creation and use in 1945, it has overshadowed our world. For the first time since we descended from the trees a million years ago, humanity had the means to destroy itself in one blow. It can't help but influence our culture, our politics, our nightmares. It is no ...

[September 8, 1961] What makes a Happy?  (October 1961 Galaxy)

(09/8/2016 9:02 PM)

by Gideon Marcus It doesn't take much to make me happy: a balmy sunset on the beach, a walk along Highway 101 with my family, Kathy Young on the radio, the latest issue of Galaxy. Why Galaxy? Because it was my first science fiction digest; because it is the most consistent in quality; because it's ...

Video Game Break Podcast - Episode 121

(09/6/2016 10:24 PM)

Brad and I discuss all the indie games we saw at PAX Prime (West), how Ark: Survival Evolved is kind of whack, The Tomorrow Children, and the Fallout 4 DLC Nuka World.

[September 6, 1961] The 1961 Hugos!

(09/6/2016 7:02 AM)

by Gideon Marcus It's that time of the year, again, when hundreds of sf fans (or 'fen') converge from around the world. Their goal is not just to converse upon matters science and fictiony, but to determine the genre's brightest stars. Yes, it's Hugo time! This year, some three hundred fen gathered in Seattle Hyatt ...

[September 3, 1961] Musical interlude

(09/3/2016 11:18 PM)

by Gideon Marcus Galactic Journey is all about spotlighting the exotic, from science fiction to the Space Race. Sometimes, the far out stuff can be found right here on Earth. I'm talking about music, man. Music. Music is a weird thing. Unlike evolution in animals, which scientists believe is a smooth, unbroken process, music seems ...

Video Game Break Podcast - Episode 120

(09/1/2016 8:40 PM)

Brad and I discuss Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, Owlboy, Alone With You, Live Lock, PAX, and bad rpg boobie games.

[August 31, 1961] Look on the bright side (August space round-up)

(08/31/2016 8:21 PM)

by Gideon Marcus Did you ever eagerly wait for Christmas only to be disappointed by what you found under the tree (or, for my fellow Jews, under the menorah)? That's what this month must feel like for fans of the American space program. While the Soviets achieved a huge success in August with the multiple ...

[August 29, 1961] Surprise party (Escondido's "Nerd Con")

(08/29/2016 4:45 PM)

by Gideon Marcus My, what a pleasant surprise this weekend turned out to be! The group known as the North Escondido Rarities Devotees (NERD) put on a little gathering at a local venue. It was supposed to be an informal party, but attendance ended up over several dozen! It was essentially a little convention - ...

[August 26, 1961] Introduce Yourself!  (September 1961 Fantasy and Science Fiction)

(08/26/2016 9:28 PM)

by Gideon Marcus Just what is the Galactic Journey? Who is this mysterious "Traveler"? Every so often, it's good idea to remind my readers who I am and why I do what I do. This weekend, I am presenting at a local science fiction gathering, so it makes sense that the first article they see ...

Video Game Break Podcast - Episode 119

(08/24/2016 8:20 AM)

Chris Chamberlain sits down and tells me stories from working at Microsoft for almost 20 years, testing Rare games, and stuff left OUT of some games. We also go through some rare PC Engine games and talk TurboGrafx.

[August 23, 1961] Lost in translation (Robert Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land)

(08/23/2016 4:02 PM)

by Rosemary Benton I enjoy my science fiction in the evenings, when I can open the windows and let my tortoise, Mabel, out of her cage to meander around my condominium. Both of us love these night time relaxations as a way to expunge stress and enjoy new environments. For me, I get the opportunity ...

[August 20, 1961] Sub-mediocre (Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea)

(08/20/2016 10:03 PM)

by Gideon Marcus "Wake me when it's over, willya?" In this month's Fantasy and Science Fiction, Isaac Asimov describes the dread he felt when his children suggested they all go see a "science fiction" film. The kids thought the mention of that term would sway him positively, seeing how sf is Asimov's bread and butter. ...

Video Game Break Podcast - Episode 118

(08/18/2016 10:05 PM)

Kelsey stops by (

[August 17, 1961] Voyages of Discovery (Explorer 12)

(08/17/2016 8:33 PM)

Every so often, a discovery comes along that shatters our conception of the universe. Galileo turned his telescope to the heavens and discovered moons around Jupiter - suddenly, it was clear that Earth was not the center of everything. Roentgen and Curie showed that matter was not entirely stable, leading to our modern understanding of ...

[August 15, 1961] SEVEN DAYS OF CHANGE (August's UK report)

(08/15/2016 6:32 PM)

by Ashley Pollard The month of August started with cool weather after a warm spring, which is disappointing for those of us who love to get out in the summer sun and lie on the beach. It is the time when the British newspapers are full of light-weight, fun stories in what is known over ...

Video Game Break Podcast - Episode 117

(08/14/2016 2:17 PM)

Rob and Dan join me to talk ALL THINGS NO MAN'S SKY!

[August 13, 1961] Predicting the Future (September 1961 Analog)

(08/13/2016 11:33 AM)

by Gideon Marcus Everyone who writes has got an agenda, but Science fiction writers may be the most opinionated of authors. That's because their pigeon involves prediction, which in turn, is a personal interpretation of current trends. They can't help but express their own biases in their work. And so we have Robert Heinlein and ...

Video Game Break Podcast - Episode 116

(08/11/2016 8:56 PM)

Brad and I get into a good discussion about games journalism (and the objectivity/subjectivity of reviews), I give some initial thoughts on No Man's Sky, Brad describes some games he did NOT like, and we revisit Blood and Wine.

[August 10, 1961] A Fair Deal for the Fairer Sex (Women, politics, and The Andy Griffith Show)

(08/10/2016 9:12 AM)

by Gideon Marcus A woman on the City Council? Say it ain't so! It's not news that there just aren't a lot of women in politics these days. Universal suffrage is now 40 years old, but women comprise just 18 out of 437 members of the House of Representatives and 2 of 100 Senators - ...

[August 7, 1961] Day-O!  (Vostok 2 spends day in orbit)

(08/7/2016 9:48 AM)

by Gideon Marcus For a few bright weeks, it looked as if the United States might be gaining in the Space Race. Now, the Reds have pulled forward again with a most astonishing announcement: their second cosmonaut, a Major Gherman Titov, orbited the Earth in his "Vostok 2" for an entire day before coming safely ...

[August 5, 1961] In the good old Summertime! (September 1961 IF science fiction)

(08/5/2016 6:34 PM)

Gideon Marcus by Ron Church Summer is here! It's that lazy, hot stretch of time when the wisest thing to do is lie in the shade with a glass of lemonade and a good book. Perhaps if Khruschev did the same thing, he wouldn't be making things so miserable for the folks of West Berlin. ...

[August 2, 1961] Between Two Worlds (Anderson's Three Hearts and Three Lions)

(08/2/2016 8:04 AM)

Gideon Marcus Have you ever wanted to throw yourself into a fantasy world? Tour through Middle Earth? Plan a trip in Narnia? Who hasn't imagined themselves rubbing elbows with Robin Hood or Jason's Argonauts? Some folks have gone so far as to write their own cross-world adventures, much to the delight of their readers. L. ...

Video Game Break Podcast - Episode 115

(07/31/2016 6:22 PM)

Brad stops by to talk Headlander and The Sun and Moon, and I go in depth with I am Setsuna and chat a bit about Dex (it's rad). Also we talk some No Man's Sky and other stuff.

[July 30, 1961] 20,000 Leagues in a Balloon (Jules Verne's Mysterious Island)

(07/30/2016 1:12 PM)

by Gideon Marcus Jules Verne, the father of scientific adventure, has probably inspired more movie spectacles than any other writer. Verne's characters have conquered all areas of the globe, from the center of the Earth, to the heights of the clouds, to the bottom of the ocean. Perhaps the most famous of Verne's protagonists is ...

[July 27, 1961] Breaking a Winning Streak (August 1961 Fantasy and Science Fiction)

(07/27/2016 2:33 PM)

by Gideon Marcus Take a look at the back cover of this month's Fantasy and Science Fiction. There's the usual array of highbrows with smug faces letting you know that they wouldn't settle for a lesser sci-fi mag. And next to them is the Hugo award that the magazine won last year at Pittsburgh's WorldCon. ...

[July 24, 1961] COMIC CON 1961!

(07/24/2016 4:19 PM)

by Gideon Marcus 1961 has definitely been a fine year for fan gatherings, thus far. It doesn't seem like a month goes by without one fan circle or another throwing a science fiction convention. Some are tiny affairs, little more than an expanded club meeting. Others, like WorldCon (coming up in a little over a ...

[July 22, 1961] Into Space - and the Deep Blue (The Flight of Liberty Bell 7)

(07/22/2016 10:38 AM)

By Larry Klaes After three failed attempts just this week, yesterday (July 21, 1961), astronaut Virgil I. "Gus" Grissom finally became this nation's second (and the world's third) man to reach outer space. Grissom achieved another sort of milestone when his spacecraft unexpectedly sank after splashdown - and almost took the astronaut with it to ...

[July 20, 1961] A CULTURAL DIVIDE (A UK fandom report)

(07/20/2016 8:11 AM)

By Ashley R. Pollard This month, our London correspondent looks upon the rifts in the British science fiction community and despairs for the world as a whole... Fans gathered at The White Horse in the 1950s-before we moved to The Globe I have previously mentioned that London science fiction fandom is engaged in a feud ...

Video Game Break - Episode 114

(07/19/2016 7:01 PM)

Casey Doran (Radio vs. The Martians and Podcasta La Vista) chats with us about Krai Mira, File sharing, emulators, mini Nintendo, and Pokemon Go (again).

[July 17, 1961] Bridging two worlds (The animation, Alakazam the Great)

(07/17/2016 3:55 PM)

And here is Ms. Rosemary Benton with her monthly report, this time on a subject near and dear to my heart: Japan... July 14th was a red letter day for me. Not only did I receive word that my uncle was marrying his long time Japanese girlfriend, Mika, but Alakazam The Great was released in ...

[July 15, 1961] Saving Grace (The August 1961 Analog)

(07/15/2016 9:33 PM)

Recently, I told you about Campbell's lousy editorial in the August 1961 Analog that masqueraded as a "science-fact" column. That should have been the low point of the issue. Sadly, with one stunning exception, the magazine didn't get much better. For instance, almost half the issue is taken up by Mack Reynold's novella, Status Quo. ...

[July 12, 1961] Reaction time (The launches of MIDAS 3 and TIROS 3)

(07/12/2016 4:40 PM)

My brother, Lou, used to tell me that the only way to beat a bully is to not fight fair. Jump the guy when he's not looking, and fight like there are no rules. That'll teach him that you're nuts and not worth messing with. He learned this lesson honestly. When Lou was in the ...

Video Game Break Podcast - Episode 113

(07/11/2016 11:32 PM)

Superfan of the show

[July 10, 1961] The Last Straw (Campbell's wrong-headed rant in the August 1961 Analog)

(07/10/2016 5:09 PM)

Has John W. Campbell lost his mind? Twenty years ago, Campbell mentored some of science fiction's greats. His magazine, Astounding (now Analog), featured the most mature stories in the genre. He himself wrote some fine fiction. What the hell happened? Now, in his dotage, he's used his editorial section to plump the fringiest pseudosciences: reactionless ...

Video Game Break Podcast - Episode 112

(07/7/2016 9:43 PM)

Rey Perez

[July 6, 1961] Trends (August 1961 Galaxy, second half)

(07/6/2016 6:34 PM)

Human beings look for patterns. We espy the moon, and we see a face. We study history and see it repeat (or at least rhyme, said Mark Twain). We look at the glory of the universe and infer a Creator. We look at the science fiction genre and we (some of us) conclude that it ...

[July 3, 1961] Bigger is Better (August 1961 Galaxy)

(07/3/2016 6:07 PM)

Even months are my favorite. Most science fiction digests are monthlies, but the twins run by Fred Pohl, IF and Galaxy, come out in alternating months. The latter is noteworthy for being the longest regularly published sf magazine, comprising a whopping 196 pages, so big that I need two articles to cover it. Galaxy also ...

Video Game Break Podcast - Episode 111

(06/30/2016 10:01 PM)

Kinsey joins Brad and I on our comeback episode! We talk E3 2016, Technomancer, Divinity Original Sin, DashBored, 7th Dragon III: Code VFD, 3DS, Vita, heart palpitations, Voltron, and video game porn.

[June 30, 1961] Reaping the Harvest (June 1961 space science results)

(06/30/2016 6:07 AM)

June was a busy month for space travel buffs, especially those who live in the Free World. Here's an omnibus edition covering all of the missions I caught wind of in the papers or the magazines: Little lost probe The Goddess of Love gets to keep her secrets...for now. The first probe aimed at another ...

[June 28, 1961] The Second Sex in SFF, Part IV

(06/28/2016 8:12 AM)

Many years from now, scholars may debate furiously which decade women came to the forefront of science fiction and fantasy. Some will (with justification) argue that it's always been a woman's genre - after all, was it not Mary Shelley who invented science fiction with Frankenstein's monster? (Regular contributor Ashley Pollard says "no.") Others will ...

[June 25, 1961] The Twilight Years (July 1961 Fantasy and Science Fiction)

(06/25/2016 7:11 AM)

Some 65 million years ago, the dinosaurs vanished from the Earth. There are many hypotheses as to why these great reptiles no longer walk among us. One current of thinking goes thusly: dinosaurs were masters of the Earth for so long that they became complacent. Because their reign was indisputed, they evolved in ways that ...

[June 22, 1961] HOME COUNTIES SF (a report from the UK)

(06/22/2016 6:56 PM)

By Ashley R. Pollard Let me explain my title to you. The British Home Counties surround London, where I live, and consists of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Kent, Surrey, and Sussex. I mention this apropos of probably the most well known of Britain's science fiction novels: the apocalyptic War of the Worlds by Herbert George ...

[June 20, 1961] The bright side of the Moon (Nude on the Moon)

(06/20/2016 12:58 PM)

Rosemary Benton, as you know, is one of our regular columnists. Imagine my surprise when she suggested the following subject for her article this month. I'm just glad I didn't have to propose it to her... Nude on the Moon is a surprising piece of science fiction cinema directed by Raymond Phelan and Doris Wishman ...

[June 16, 1961] Analog astounds… (July 1961 Analog)

(06/16/2016 4:17 PM)

Thomas I'm going to stun you all today. There are plenty of writers in this genre we call science fiction (or sometimes "scientificition" or "s-f"). I've encountered over 130 of them in just the few years that this column has been extant. Some are routinely excellent; many are excellently routine. A few have gotten special ...

[June 14, 1961] Time is the simplest thing… (The Fisherman, by Clifford Simak)

(06/14/2016 6:20 AM)

Girdling the Earth are bands of deadly radiation, the Van Allen Belts. They form a prison, an eggshell that humanity can never pierce. Embittered, the human race turns inward. Psychic powers come to the fore. At first, the psychically endowed paranormals ("parries") use their gifts for a lark or for profit. Over time, the world ...

[June 11, 1961] Until we meet again… (Twilight Zone Second Season wrap up)

(06/11/2016 7:54 PM)

When Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone debuted in October 1959, it was a fresh breeze across "the vast wasteland" of television. Superior writing, brilliant cinematography, fine scoring, and, of course, consistently good acting earned its creator a deserved Emmy last year. The show's sophomore season had a high expectation to meet, and it didn't quite. ...

[June 9, 1961] Common denominator (July 1961 IF)

(06/9/2016 8:02 PM)

Science fiction digests, those monthly magazines filled with s-f short stories, are often like little anthologies. Editors will let their "slush pile" stack up, and when they have enough of a kind of piece, they publish them in a themed issue. I don't know whether the theme of the July 1961 IF science fiction was ...

America's Answer to Lunik: Project Ranger

(06/6/2016 3:31 PM)

by Larry Klaes [The Space Race continues to run at an ever-accelerating pace. To keep up with all the new developments, I've tapped my friend and fellow professional space historian to tell us a very special program that just might score for the United States in the next inning...] President Kennedy declared three weeks ago ...

[June 3, 1961] Hope Springs (Poul Anderson's Orbit Unlimited)

(06/3/2016 8:16 AM)

Today's article is about second chances. The newspapers are full of scary news these days. Overpopulation. Tension between the East and West. The threat of global disaster. Some feel that we are headed toward a doomed future, one of increased authoritarian governments, of scarcity, of rationing. That we lost something when the last frontiers closed, ...

Video Game Break - Episode 110/2

(06/1/2016 8:59 AM)


[May 31, 1961] First from the sun (The planet, Mercury)

(05/31/2016 8:28 AM)

For many of us, the motivation for reading science fiction is the opportunity to explore worlds beyond our own. Only in fantasy can we fly to faraway planets and see the unusual sights they afford us. But, as I try to convey in this column, science can also reveal places every bit as interesting as ...

[May 29, 1961] Oasis in a Wasteland (The Twilight Zone, Season 2, Episodes 25-27)

(05/29/2016 3:07 PM)

Nelson Minow, the new Chair of the Federal Communications Commission, offered the following challenge to the National Association of Broadcasters earlier this month (May 9, 1961). "I invite each of you to sit down in front of your television set when your station goes on the air and stay there for a day without a ...

[May 27, 1961] RED STAR, BLUE STAR (May 1961 UK Fandom report)

(05/27/2016 6:27 PM)

[Ashley Pollard is back with this month's report on the space and sci-fi scene across the Pond! Yes, I did use the term "sci-fi" advisedly...] Last month a Red Star rose in the East. This month a Blue Star rose in the West as Alan Shepherd became the first American in space. He was aboard ...

Video Game Break - Episode 110

(05/27/2016 1:11 AM)

Brad and I discuss the Fallout 4 DLC Far Harbor, Homefront The Revolution, Invisible Inc, Downwell, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

[May 24, 1961] Progress? (The Beast of Yucca Flats, by Rosemary Benton)

(05/24/2016 8:49 AM)

May 1961 has been a busy month for movies! We're up to three: Gorgo, Atlantis, and...well, see for yourself what guest writer, Ms. Rosemary Benton, has been so kind as to present: Oh my, was this a lesson is poor filmmaking and truly a dark day for the science-fiction genre. The tale ofThe Beast of ...

[May 21, 1961] Pineapple Upside-down Month (June 1961 Fantasy and Science Fiction)

(05/21/2016 11:16 AM)

Have you ever heard/seen Karl Orrf's Carmina Burana? It's an opera of sorts, the performance of a set of medieval poems to music. It is likely that you're at least familiar with its opening number, the catchy Oh Fortuna!. Well, having seen Carmina, I can tell you that even Orff knew there wasn't much to ...

[May 19, 1961] One of our Continents is Missing! (Atlantis: The Lost Continent)

(05/19/2016 6:57 PM)

The cinema is one of those eternal joys. I can't see it ever dying out, even though doomsayers have been predicting just that for decades. Radio was the first real competition, especially when movies were silent. But then Talkies came out around 1930, and radio doesn't have moving pictures. Television does, and it seems a ...

Video Game Break Podcast - Episode 108

(05/17/2016 11:13 PM)

Brad and I are joined by Rey Perez of

[May 16, 1961] The Fourth Revolution (the next step in communication)

(05/16/2016 4:14 PM)

Why read science fiction? To act as your headlights as you hurtle faster and faster down the but dimly visible road to the future. Reading through this month's Magazine of Science Fiction and Fantasy (June 1961), I found Dr. Isaac Asimov's article particularly thought-provoking. I'd like to get your thoughts. It's called Four Steps to ...

[May 14, 1961] Friendly disputes (June 1961 Analog)

(05/14/2016 10:41 AM)

I've got a long-running feud going on with Mike Glyer, editor of the popular fanzine, File 770. Well, feud is probably too strong a word given that we're good friends and avid mutual readers. In fact, we usually get along quite well. All fans are united by love for the genre and our status as ...

[May 11, 1961] Spotlighting Women (The Second Sex in Science Fiction and Fantasy, Part 3)

(05/11/2016 6:22 PM)

Here's a question I've gotten more than once: what is the point in spotlighting woman writers? Shouldn't I simply point out the good stories as I find them, and if they happen to be written by women, bully for them? Why should I create an artificial distinction? Those are actually fine questions, about which I've ...

Video Game Break - Episode 107

(05/10/2016 10:28 PM)

Carlos and Brad talk Uncharted 4 (briefly), Alienation, Alien Pinball, 7th Dragon III, Superhot, game news, and Amazon takes on YouTube.

[May 8, 1961] Imitation is… (Gorgo)

(05/8/2016 10:15 AM)

Just a generation ago, King Kong introduced us to the spectacle of an oversized monster wrecking a modern metropolis. The Japanese have taken this torch and run with it, giving us first Godzilla, and its rather inferior sequel, Godzilla Raids Again. Not to be outdone, the British have unleashed a giant lizard on their own ...

[May 6, 1961] Dreams into Reality (First American in Space)

(05/6/2016 6:33 AM)

I've been asked why it is that, as a reviewer of science fiction, I devote so much ink to the Space Race and other scientific non-fiction. I find it interesting that fans of the first would not necessarily be interested in the second, and vice versa. There are three reasons non-fiction figures so prominently in ...

[May 3, 1961] Passing the Torch (June 1961, Galaxy, 2nd Half)

(05/3/2016 9:04 AM)

Something is changing over at Galaxy magazine. Horace Gold, Galaxy's editor, started the magazine in 1950, near the beginning of the post-pulp digest boom. He immediately set a high bar for quality, with some of the best authors and stories, and including a top-notch science columnist (this was before Asimov transitioned from fiction). Galaxy only ...

[April 30, 1961] Travel stories (June 1961 Galaxy, first half)

(04/30/2016 2:21 PM)

My nephew, David, has been on an Israeli Kibbutz for a month now. We get letters from him every few days, mostly about the hard work, the monotony of the diet, and the isolation from the world. The other day, he sent a letter to my brother, Lou, who read it to me over the ...

Video Game Break Podcast - Episode 106

(04/28/2016 9:19 PM)

Brad and I talk Hitman Episode 2, Party Hard, Grand Kingdom, Ray Gigant, Dark Souls 3, and Nioh.

[April 28, 1961] Newies but goodies (April space round-up!)

(04/28/2016 7:32 AM)

They say "You're only as old as you feel," which explains why Asimov pinches co-eds at conventions. I've been asked why someone of my advanced age is into the bop and rock and billy that the kids are into these days, when I should be preferring the likes of Glenn Miller or Caruso. Truth be ...

[April 26, 1961] Dessert for last (May 1961 Fantasy and Science Fiction)

(04/26/2016 8:49 AM)

Del Shannon's on the radio, but I've got Benny Goodman on my hi-fi. Say...that's a catchy lyric! Well, here we are at the end of April, and that means I finally get to eat dessert. That is, I finally get to crack into The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. While it is not the ...

[April 22, 1961] Out of time (Twilight Zone, Season 2, Eps. 22-24)

(04/22/2016 8:34 PM)

I've mentioned in previous articles that Rod Serling's horror/science fiction anthology show, The Twilight Zone, has been lackluster this second season. But things have been looking up recently, and I'm happy to announce that the latest run has been quite solid. The show did not air on the 14th, owing to some stop-press coverage of ...

[April 20, 1961] People are not the same all over (Pilgrimage, by Zenna Henderson)

(04/20/2016 6:14 PM)

[Here is Rosemary Benton's article for April 1961. She asked if she could do Zenna Henderson's compilation of The People stories, none of which she had previously read; I hadn't picked up the book since I have the stories in magazine form. I thought it a smashing idea since it would give us all a ...

Video Game Break - Episode 105

(04/20/2016 7:09 AM)

Brad and I are back! Talking Ratchet and Clank, The Division (one last time..we think), Dark Souls 3, Severed (not a review), and Risk of Rain. Also I sit down with a coworker buddy to discuss difficult games (and enter the Gungeon).

[April 18, 1961] Starting on the wrong foot (May 1961 Analog)

(04/18/2016 5:04 PM)

Gideon Marcus, age 42, lord of Galactic Journey, surveyed the proud column that was his creation. Three years in the making, it represented the very best that old Terra had to offer. He knew, with complete unironic sincerity, that the sublimity of his articles did much to keep the lesser writers in check, lest they ...

[April 15, 1961] London Calling (a peek at UK fandom)

(04/15/2016 9:47 AM)

Every once in a while, one comes across a supremely talented, like-minded person. Ashley R. Pollard is a gifted writer from England who is shopping around her first novel. I discovered her through her columns in a British 'zine; I was so impressed that I asked if she'd like to join the Journey as a ...

[April 12, 1961] Stargrazing (the flight of Vostok)

(04/12/2016 8:26 AM)

The jangling of the telephone broke my slumber far too early. Groggily, I paced to the handset, half concerned, half furious. I picked it up, but before I could say a word, I heard a frantic voice. "Turn on your radio right now!" I blinked. "Wha.." I managed. "Really!" the voice urged. I still didn't ...

[April 10, 1961] In the style of... (Marion Zimmer Bradley's The Door Through Space)

(04/10/2016 10:16 AM)

In my last piece, I discussed how magazines can be better experiences than books because the variety mitigates uneven quality. A good book lasts longer than a magazine, but a bad book lasts longer than eternity. I try to read a new book every month. With the decline of the science fiction digest, the novel ...

[April 8, 1961] Variety pack (May 1961 IF)

(04/8/2016 8:45 AM)

The nice thing about a science fiction magazine (or anthology) as opposed to a novel is if you don't like one story, you might like the next. Once you start a bad novel, your only options are to drag yourself through it or give it up unfinished. And you can't very well review an unfinished ...

Video Game Break - Episode 104

(04/5/2016 11:05 PM)

We talk Dragon Quest Builders (and Carlos' trip to Japan), Fallout 4 DLC, The Division (yes, again), Lone Wolf, Final Fantasy, and Miitomo.

[April 4, 1961] Do women do it better?  (the Second Sex in SF, Part 2)

(04/4/2016 8:37 AM)

Welcome to Part 2 in this series on the women actively writing science fiction and fantasy in 1961. This installment will be a bit different, but don't worry - we'll go back to the original format with the next one. After I wrote the first part, my wife asked me why I have a preference ...

[April 2, 1961] Uprooting itself (The Twilight Zone, Season 2, Episodes 17, 19, 20, 21)

(04/2/2016 1:08 PM)

Twenty years ago, even ten (and zero in some places), science fiction was all about the twist ending. Aliens would seed a dead planet with life only for it to turn out...that planet was EARTH! Or folks might spend a story in a struggle to stay alive, only to find out THEY WERE ALREADY DEAD! ...

[March 31, 1961] Real-world round-up for March

(03/31/2016 8:54 AM)

Here's an end of March, real-world round-up for you before we plunge into the science fiction of April: http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/JFKWHP-AR6454-B.aspx President Kennedy devoted a good deal of time to the civil war in Laos at his fifth press conference, March 23. This three-cornered fight between the nationalists (propped up by the United States), the Communist Pathet ...

[March 30, 1961] F&SF + XX (the April 1961 Fantasy and Science Fiction)

(03/30/2016 7:58 AM)

If you've been a fan in the scientificition/fantasy genre for any length of time, you've likely been exposed to rumors of its impending doom. The pulps are gone. The magazines are dying. The best writers are defecting for the lucre of the "slicks." And what is often pointed to as the cause of the greatest ...

[March 27, 1961] What a Wonder! (WonderCon)

(03/27/2016 5:44 PM)

(from The LA Science Fiction Society (1939)) Comic book lovers, science fiction aficionados, and history buffs all share some characteristics, no matter how disparate their interests may seem on the surface: they are passionate about their pidgin, they plumb deeply into the lore of their fields, and they are all just a bit off-center from ...

[March 24, 1961] The Second Sex in SF

(03/24/2016 8:53 AM)

1961. The year that an Irishman named Kennedy assumed the highest office in the land. The year in which some 17 African nations celebrated their first birthday. The air smells of cigarette smoke, heads are covered with hats, and men run politics, industry, and much of popular culture. In a field (and world) dominated by ...

Video Game Break - Episode 103

(03/22/2016 6:01 PM)

Brad and I discuss the PS Vita, and old PC Engine game Gekisha Boy, The Division, and GDC (sorta).

[March 21, 1961] Marching as to Peace

(03/21/2016 6:52 AM)

[As promised, here is the first of Rosemary Benton's regular articles for Galactic Journey. Science ficton is about progress, and not just of the nuts and bolts kind. Sociological progress is fertile ground for a myriad of stories. I can easily imagine an intergalactic version of the new development Ms. Benton writes about below...(the Editor)] ...

Video Game Break - Episode 102

(03/20/2016 10:28 AM)

LIVE at the Raygun Lounge with Brad Gallaway, Kinsey Burke, and Kelsey Lewin! Also you get an achievement if you finish the podcast, because the audio had some 'issues'. We had a high end .. thing ... going on, and a semi loud crowd around us .. so kudos to you if you made it to the end!

[March 18, 1961] Bad Luck of the Non-Irish (April 1961 Analog)

(03/18/2016 6:38 PM)

Happy St. Patrick's Day! It's a banner year for Irishmen, particularly with one having reached the top spot in the country, if not the world. And did you know that the phrase, "Luck of the Irish," actually referred to the knack of Irish immigrants and Americans of Irish descent for becoming wealthy in the Silver ...

Video Game Break - Episode 101

(03/15/2016 9:06 PM)

Brad and I discuss The Division, Salt and Sanctuary, difficult video games, a tangent about why some people play games, and Playstation VR release date and price.

[March 15, 1961] Damaged Colossus (Blish's Titans' Daughter)

(03/15/2016 4:36 PM)

Less than a generation ago, Adolf Hitler made eugenics-the selective breeding of humans for desired traits-a dirty word. But what if a race of bona-fide supermen were created through the direct manipulation of DNA and presented as a fait accompli? What would be the moral ramifications, and how would the "normals" react? James Blish's attempts ...

[March 12, 1961] Mirror Images (April 1961 Galaxy, second half)

(03/12/2016 6:14 PM)

Last time, my theme was "more of the same," pointing out that Galaxy is keeping its content as consistent as possible, at the expense of taking any great risks. It is ironic that, as I pound the keys of my typewriter, my radio is playing a new version of "Apache." This bossanova version by a ...

[Mar. 10, 1961] Dog and Puppy Show (Sputnik 9)

(03/10/2016 6:50 AM)

We are definitely not far away from a person in space. The Soviets launched another of their five-ton spaceships into orbit. We're calling it Sputnik 9; who knows what they call it? On board was just one dog this time, name of Chernushka, who was recovered successfully after an unknown number of orbits. It is ...

[March 8, 1961] Bland for Adventure (April 1961 Galaxy, 1st half)

(03/8/2016 8:49 AM)

As we speak, my nephew, David, is on the S.S. Israel bound for Haifa, Israel. It's the last leg of a long trip that began with a plane ride from Los Angeles to New York, continued with a six-day sea cruise across the Atlantic to Gibraltar, and which currently sees the youth making a brief ...

Video Game Break - Episode 100

(03/6/2016 7:18 PM)

Brad and I discuss the Hitman Beta, Broforce, Far Cry: Primal, The Count Lucanor, Flame in the Flood, Nintendo NX, D4, and E3.

[March 5, 1961] A Host to Murder (Fredric Brown's The Mind Thing)

(03/5/2016 5:22 PM)

There are many kinds of books. There are important books, the kind that will be remembered and discussed for decades to come, like Harper Lee's recent To Kill a Mockingbird. There are progressive books that skirt the edge of convention, like Ted Sturgeon's Venus Plus X. And then there are the just plain good reads, ...

[March 2, 1961] Presenting… and Concluding (ConDor and March 1961 IF)

(03/2/2016 10:07 AM)

At ConDor, a local gathering of science fiction fans, my wife and I led a panel on the state of the genre, particularly how our s-f digests are doing. Their boom began in 1949 and peaked in 1953, when there were nearly 40 in publication. That number is down to less than 10, and many ...

[February 28, 1961] Strings of Success… and Failure (Transit 3B, Venera)

(02/28/2016 7:14 AM)

Before we move on to the latest Space Race update, why don't you mosey on down to your local record store and pick up a copy of Wheels, by the String-a-longs? It's a swinging tune, and it's been on the radio a lot lately. It'll keep a smile on your face even when the news ...

Video Game Break - Episode 99

(02/27/2016 8:30 AM)

Paul Furio and Brad Gallaway join me to talk Far Cry Primal, The Witness (one last time), Dying Light: The Following, Nintendo NX, Refunds, Pokemon (sorta), and gaming memories.

[February 26, 1961] A Choice to Make (The Odyssey of Flight 33)

(02/26/2016 12:11 PM)

Friday night is The Twilight Zone night. It's true that the second season has not been as consistent in terms of quality as the show's first season, but it has had enough good episodes to remain regular watching. Normally, I wait until I have a month's worth of episodes before I summarize, but this week's ...

[February 24, 1961] Six into One (A.E. Van Vogt's War Against the Rull)

(02/24/2016 4:54 PM)

Action! Adventure! A physicist/swashbuckler pitting his wits against the most dangerous planets in the universe! This is a new book? Well... A.E. VanVogt is a prominent space opera writer, dominating the Golden Era of Science Fiction. A half-dozen of these stories depict an interstellar war pitting a human-led federation against the implacable Rull: iridescent worm ...

[Feb. 21, 1961] Trading up (Mercury Atlas 2, Discoverer 21)

(02/21/2016 7:01 PM)

I'm starting to enjoy these musical interludes. Indulge me while I flip on my hi-fi to play my new favorite pop tune, Del Shannon's Runaway. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm often still as square as a lot of the slightly older set, and I still tap my toes to Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller, and ...

[Feb. 18, 1961] Lost and Found (Explorer 9 and Discoverer 20)

(02/18/2016 4:52 AM)

February is definitely making up for January's relative paucity of space flights; this week, in particular, has been noteworthy. I'd held off reporting on NASA's February 16 launch of Explorer 9 since, well, NASA lost it. You see, the satellite's beacon was tracked through half an orbit, but then the signal was lost, and no ...

Video Game Break Podcast - Episode 97

(02/16/2016 5:03 PM)

Brad Gallaway and Steve Haske join me to talk Firewatch (no spoilers), Unravel, Fallout 4 updates (which goes over REAL WELL), and sorta about how we're all over The Witness.

Feb. 15, 1961] Variable Stars (March 1961 Fantasy and Science Fiction

(02/15/2016 7:19 PM)

I want to tell you about this month's "All Star" issue of Fantasy and Science Fiction, but I'm too busy tapping my heels to a groovy new song I was just turned on to. Last year, I thought the instrumental group, The Ventures, were The End, but after hearing the new disc from The Shadows, ...

[February 13, 1961] Venus Plus USSR (Venera)

(02/13/2016 11:11 AM)

Look out, Venus! The Russians are coming to open your shell. Venus, forever shrouded in a protective layer of clouds, may soon be compelled to give up her secrets to a 1400 pound probe. Launched by the Soviet Union on the 11th, it is the first mission from Earth specifically designed to investigate "Earth's Twin." ...

[February 10, 1961] Two for two!  (March 1961 Analog)

(02/10/2016 6:57 PM)

Analog (my errant fingers keep wanting to type "Astounding") was even better than last time. This particular copy is a seasoned traveler, having ridden with me to the lovely shores of Kaua'i and back. At long last, I've finished reading, and I can tell you about it. A sneak preview: there's not a bad piece ...

Video Game Break Podcast - Episode 96

(02/8/2016 10:07 PM)


[February 7, 1961] TV Addiction (The Twilight Zone, Season 2, Episodes 13-16)

(02/7/2016 6:36 PM)

I've been watching a lot of television, lately. It's embarrassing. I should be reading more books or doing more than cursorily scanning the front page of the newspaper. Instead, after work I flip on the set and vegetate for an hour. I hope this doesn't become a habit! It's certainly not as if TV has ...

[February 4, 1961] Sputniks and Supercars!

(02/4/2016 11:31 AM)

A bit of a grab bag while I finish up the March 1961 Analog: There was a rather unusual Soviet launch yesterday. We're calling it Sputnik 7 for lack of a better term, but it is still unclear just what the seven-ton satellite is supposed to be doing. It is bigger than the capsules it ...

Video Game Break Podcast - Episode 95

(02/3/2016 9:02 PM)

No intro music this episode. Why? Well, we had our mixer go on the fritz and we lost a couple episodes. HOWEVER we saved this conversation with Brad's voice memo feature. Thanks smart phones!

[February 1, 1961] Fur and Film (Mercury Redstone 2 and Samos 2)

(02/2/2016 9:23 AM)

It's hardly kosher, but it's certainly good news: yesterday, a Redstone rocket launched the first piloted Mercury capsule on a 15-minute flight into space. No, we didn't put a man in orbit-we sent a three-year old chimpanzee named Ham on a vertical jaunt over the West Atlantic. It wasn't a perfect mission by any means. ...

[January 29, 1961] Take a little off the bottom (February 1961 Fantasy and Science Fiction)

(01/29/2016 1:00 PM)

Greetings from sunny Kaua'i! It seems like only yesterday I was reporting from this island's idyllic shores. Much has changed, of course-Hawai'i is now a state! 50 is a nice round number, so perhaps we won't see any new entries into the Union for a while. Accompanying me on this trip is the last science ...

Crashlands, Conan, The Witness, and Pony Island with Brad Gallaway

(01/25/2016 9:01 PM)

Brad Gallaway and I talk about Crashlands, Dead Space 3 (and games made for co-op), Pony Island, The Witness, Gear VR, and Conan on the 360 for some reason. Then end up going into a discussion about game gore and later indie games. Also, I used 'Take on me' as the theme music .. because of the whole 'having sex with yourself' bit we get into.

[Jan. 25, 1961] Oscillating circuit (the February 1961 Analog)

(01/25/2016 7:00 AM)

John Campbell's science fiction magazine continues to defy my efforts to chart a trend. Following on the heels of last month's rather dismal issue, the February 1961 Analog is an enjoyable read. Let's take a look, shall we? It took me a little while to get into Everett Cole's lead novella, The Weakling, but once ...

[Jan. 23, 1961] 20,000 Leagues over the Air! (Master of the World)

(01/23/2016 10:43 AM)

Every once in a while, my faith is restored in Hollywood, and I remember why I sit through the schlock to get to the gold. My daughter and I sat through 90 minutes of the execrable, so bad it's bad Konga because we had been lured in by the exciting posters for Master of the ...

Let's Play Candy Saga Super Bowl, Yup!

(01/19/2016 8:57 PM)

Brad Gallaway and I discuss the indie game Oxenfree (with conflicting opinions), Punch Club, Tharsis, and The Deadly Tower of Monsters.

[Jan. 17, 1961] Going Ape at the Movies! (Konga)

(01/17/2016 11:57 AM)

Don't let anyone tell you the Double Feature is dead. My daughter and I enjoyed (if that's the right word) three hours of cinematic entertainment the other weekend, namely the paired destined-to-be-classics: Konga and Master of the World. Now, the latter is a Vincent Price vehicle, so we expected that one to be decent, but ...

[Jan. 15, 1961] Greater than the sum (Mark Phillips' Occasion for Disaster)

(01/15/2016 9:18 AM)

Illustrated by Van Dongen Sometimes one plus one is greater than two, and sometimes, two authors produce a substantially better product than either of them might individually. Take Randall Garrett and Robert Silverberg, for instance. Here are a couple of fellows whose personal output tends toward the uninspiring, at best, and the downright offensive, at ...

[January 12, 1961] A matter of taste (February 1961 Galaxy, Part 2)

(01/12/2016 5:51 PM)

How should I rate a story which is objectively well done, but which I just don't like? We taught our daughter manners at a very early age. When she encountered a food she didn't enjoy, she was to say, "This is not to my taste," rather than something more forceful and potentially bruising of feelings. ...

[January 9, 1961] Looking up?  (The Twilight Zone, Season 2, Episodes 9-12)

(01/9/2016 8:19 AM)

What goes down sometimes comes up! The sensational new sci-fi/surreal anthology, The Twilight Zone, started its sophomore season with a sharp decline in quality from its debut run of episodes; but, I'm happy to report that the quality of last month's batch was pretty good. The batch started out with a subtle bang with The ...

Video Game Break Podcast - Episode 92

(01/7/2016 10:15 PM)

Kelsey Lewin stops by to talk Virtual Reality, Xenoblade Chronicles X, Dragon Age Inquisition DLC, technology, and biohacking.

[January 6, 1960] Watch your tongue?  (February 1961 Galaxy, Part 1)

(01/6/2016 7:20 AM)

The old saying goes, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." As you know, I am rarely reserved when I don't like a piece of work. Every once in a while, I get a gentle chiding. One reader said he didn't want to hear about stories I don't like-just the ones ...

[January 5, 1961] Technical difficulties!

(01/5/2016 8:41 PM)

Hello, loyal readers. I'm afraid a freak storm has hit Southern California. My typewriter is all rusty, and the 'fax lines are down. Thus, I will not have an article up today. Hopefully by tomorrow! Stay tuned. I promise I won't shortchange you this month...

[January 2, 1961] Closing out the month (the January 1961 Fantasy and Science Fiction)

(01/2/2016 6:11 PM)

If you are in the accounting profession, you are familiar with the concept of "closing the books," wherein you complete all your reconciliations and regard a month as finished. Here at the Journey, Month's End does not occur until the last science fiction digest is reviewed. Thus, though the bells have already rung for the ...

[December 31, 1960] Dog Days of Winter (Sputnik 6 and Discoverer 19)

(12/31/2015 6:15 AM)

I miss one lousy newspaper... December is a busy month. There are holidays to shop for, the tax year is wrapping up, family to visit, etc. This December has been so crammed with work and domestic concerns such that I missed a very important pair of newspaper articles from the beginning of the month. I ...

Video Game Break Podcast - Episode 91

(12/30/2015 1:03 AM)

Brad Gallaway

[Dec. 29, 1960] Out of this World (Ben Barzman's Twinkle Twinkle Little Star)

(12/29/2015 7:50 AM)

I don't know who Ben Barzman is, but he's written an interesting little book. The synopsis makes the novel sound as if it is composed of more cheese than the Moon. 186 million miles away, on the opposite side of the Sun, is another Earth. It is a virtual twin, to the point of having ...

[December 23, 1960] I'll be gone for Christmas

(12/23/2015 7:15 PM)

Heading back East on a DC-8. I'm taking a book and several magazines with me, so there will be plenty of reviews when I return! Expect an update by the 29th, if not sooner. The Traveler

Video Game Break Podcast - Episode 90

(12/21/2015 8:19 PM)

Brad Gallaway

[December 21, 1960] Short and Long Term (the January 1961 Analog)

(12/21/2015 4:53 PM)

There's a big difference between weather and climate. Weather is immediate; climate is gradual. 50 years from now, when the Earth's average temperature has climbed a half a degree or more, thanks to the warming effects of human-caused pollution, people will still point to a cold day in January as proof that nothing has changed. ...

[Dec. 19, 1960] A Very Good Day (Mercury Redstone 1A)

(12/19/2015 3:26 PM)

There are days when everything goes right. Here we are at the end of a difficult year for space travel. The Air Force had nearly a dozen failures in a row with its Discoverer proto spy satellite. The Pioneer Atlas Ables moon shots were all a bust. Even the successful probes rarely made it into ...

Video Game Break Podcast - Episode 89

(12/15/2015 9:20 PM)

Adam Lang and I talk about Just Cause 3, Nuclear Throne, Volgarr the Viking, Broforce, and then in the second half we talk heavy duty Fallout 4. Spoilers included!

[Dec. 15, 1960] Booby Prize (Pioneer Atlas Able #4)

(12/15/2015 8:42 AM)

Today, NASA made a record-just not one it wanted to. For the first time, a space program has been a complete failure. Sure, we've had explosions and flopniks and rockets that veered too high or too low. We've had capsules that popped their tops and capsules that got lost in the snow. But never has ...

[Dec. 13, 1960] Ringing In a bit Early (January 1961 IF)

(12/13/2015 11:21 AM)

1961 began on November 10, 1960. I see some of you are scratching your heads in confusion; others are nodding sagely. It's a long-held tradition in the publishing industry that the date printed on magazines is the date through which they are expected to be on the bookstands, not the date they are first displayed. ...

[Dec. 11, 1960] Something Bright (the 1960 Galactic Stars!)

(12/11/2015 5:34 PM)

The chill of winter is finally here, heralding the end of a year. It's time for eggnog, nutmeg, presents, pies, and family. But more importantly, it's time for the second annual Galactic Stars awards. Forget the Hugos-here's what I liked best in 1960. In a tradition I began last year, I look back at all ...

[Dec. 8, 1960] Signs of Aging (Murray Leinster's The Wailing Asteroid)

(12/8/2015 8:11 AM)

If anyone can claim the title of "Dean of Modern Science Fiction," it is Murray Leinster. For decades, the gentle old man of the genre has turned out exciting interstellar adventures leavened with humor and hard science. But old men are prone to losing their faculties, and I fear we're seeing the first signs of ...

[Dec. 5, 1960] Improved Batch (The Twilight Zone, Season 2, Eps: 5-8)

(12/5/2015 12:26 PM)

We are now deep into the second year of Rod Serling's horror/fantasy anthology, The Twilight Zone. I expressed my dissatisfaction with this sophomore season during my review of the first four episodes. Has the show, justly nominated for a Hugo this year, gotten any better? Well, you wouldn't know it from the season's fifth episode, ...

[Dec. 3, 1960] Correcting an Oversight (The Crossroads of Time, by Andre Norton)

(12/3/2015 2:11 PM)

I didn't start Galactic Journey with the intention of spotlighting female writers and characters in science fiction. It just happened organically. A good many of my readers are women, and their interests may have influenced me. Or perhaps I simply became bored with the status quo. Woman authors tend to be more experimental or, at ...

[Nov. 30, 1960] Back and Forth (a p/review)

(11/30/2015 8:24 AM)

November is done, and the first chill of winter is upon us (for the rest of you, that happened about a month ago-we San Diegans are a happy lot). As we head into the Christmas shopping season, it's good to take a moment to reflect on where we've been and where we're going. Then we ...

[Nov. 28, 1960] Odds and Ends (the December 1960 Fantasy and Science Fiction)

(11/28/2015 3:24 PM)

Here's a math problem for you, kids! If more than half of your magazine is taken up by a 2-star short novel, how likely is it that you'll still end up with a good issue? Answer: not very. I'm used to Fantasy & Science Fiction having a long table of contents page. This one (the ...

[Nov. 26, 1960] Damaged Goods (Algis Budry's Rogue Moon)

(11/26/2015 9:40 AM)

Sometimes, I just don't get it. The December 1960 Fantasy and Science Fiction is almost completely devoted to one short novel, Rogue Moon, by Algis Budrys. I like Budrys, and F&SF is generally my favorite magazine, so I've been looking forward to this book since it was advertised last month. To all accounts, it is ...

Video Game Break Podcast - Episode 88

(11/23/2015 6:34 PM)

I sat down with Chaz (aka Charles Simmons) and Jerome Woody to talk some Nintendo, Fallout 4, Emulators, and Steam. We talk about what's up with Nintendo, discuss if you should buy a Steam box, and I mention problems I have base building in Fallout 4.

[Nov. 23, 1960] Premature Ejection (Mercury-Redstone 1)

(11/23/2015 7:49 AM)

The American manned space program is on a tight schedule if it wants to place an astronaut in orbit before the Soviets. The Communists already have a striking lead. They had it three years ago when they launched the first Sputnik, and they've maintained it with the recent Sputnik 5, which featured two Muttniks, who ...

[Nov. 21, 1960] I aim at the Stars (but sometimes I hit London)

(11/21/2015 11:37 AM)

If the United States is doing well in the Space Race, it is in no small thanks to a group of German expatriates who made their living causing terror and mayhem in the early half of the 1940s. I, of course, refer to Wehrner von Braun and his team of rocket scientists, half of whom ...

[November 19, 1960] Saving the Best for Last (December 1960 Analog)

(11/19/2015 8:57 AM)

As the year draws to a close, all of the science fiction magazines (that is to say, the six remaining-down from a 1953 peak of 45) scramble to publish their best fiction. Their aim is two-fold: firstly, to end the year with a bang, and secondly, to maximize the chances that one of their stories ...

Video Game Break Podcast - Episode 87

(11/19/2015 12:16 AM)

I sit down with Casey Doran (of Radio vs. The Martians Podcast) and take a deeper dive into Fallout 4. We talk companions, scope of the game, Bethesda RPGs, bugs, and funny Fallout 4 stories.

[November 16, 1960] Fully Fledged (a November Space Race update)

(11/16/2015 8:29 AM)

The bird finally has wings! By bird, I mean that lawn-dart of a rocket plane, NASA's X-15. Until yesterday, that sleek black vehicle, designed to probe the edges of space from underneath, had been a work in progress. The X-15 had already flown 25 times, zooming at faster than Mach 3 and climbing to a ...

Video Game Break Podcast - Episode 86

(11/13/2015 9:54 PM)

Kinseys back!!! We're joined by Kelsey and we talk Fallout 4 ... for awhile! No spoilers (one minor minor spoiler, but I warn you in the podcast when it's gonna happen).

[November 13, 1960] Evening out (December 1960 Galaxy, second half)

(11/13/2015 4:42 PM)

It's hard to keep the quality up in a long-format magazine like Galaxy, especially when your lower tier stuff gets absorbed by a sister magazine (IF). Thus, it is rare to find a full issue of Galaxy without some duds that bring the average down. Editor Gold has saved this month's weak entries for the ...

[Nov. 11, 1960] A Celebrated Veteran (December 1960 Galaxy)

(11/11/2015 6:28 PM)

Ten years ago, a World War Two vet named H. L. Gold decided to try his luck as editor of a science fiction digest. His Galaxy was among the first of the new crop of magazines in the post-war science fiction boom, and it quickly set an industry standard. A decade later, Galaxy is down ...

Video Game Break Podcast - Episode 85

(11/8/2015 8:40 PM)

I chat with Nate Schmold (maker of Cosmochoria) and we talk indie game development, making your own record label, and YouTube.

[Nov. 8, 1960] Across the Finish Line (the 1960 Presidential Election results)

(11/8/2015 9:01 AM)

At long last, the contest is over. Not since the 1876 clash between Hayes and Tilden for this nation's highest office have the results been this close; it was not until this morning that anyone could really be sure who would be taking possession of the Oval Office in January 1961. In fact, as I ...

[November 6, 1960] Take Five (Store of Infinity by Robert Sheckley)

(11/6/2015 8:35 AM)

There are few folks who have taken greater advantage of the Silver Age of science fiction (i.e. the Post-War boom and bust of the digests) than Robert Sheckley. As of last month, the fellow had already published four collections of his works. The beneficiaries of this production are Bob's pocketbook...and every reader who gets hands ...

[November 4, 1960] Less is More (the launch of Explorer 8!)

(11/4/2015 6:51 PM)

Have you ever listened to a pleasant radio broadcast only to have it fade out half-way and wondered what caused the interruption? Or perhaps you've marveled at how, on rare occasions, you can catch programs from faraway countries. NASA's about to take some of the mystery out of these phenomena. Yesterday, the space agency successfully ...

Video Game Break Podcast - Episode 84

(11/3/2015 7:56 PM)

Scott Liberto joins me via Skype to talk retro games (Athena on NES), arcades, pinball, and some steam games.

[November 3, 1960] With a little help from a friend (Murray Leinster's Men into Space)

(11/3/2015 7:02 AM)

Keeping up with all the science fiction releases is virtually impossible for one person. Luckily, I'm not making this Journey alone. When it turned out I could only review one of October's books, long-time fan TRX offered his services as a guest contributor. He chose to cover Murray Leinster's Men into Space, a collection based ...

[Oct. 31, 1960] Looking both ways (October wrap-up, November preview)

(10/31/2015 9:15 AM)

As October draws to a close, it is worth taking a pause and reflecting on all the things that did and didn't happen this month before moving on to a preview of November. In the battle of the digests, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction came out the clear winner with an aggregate rating ...

[Oct. 30, 1960] Halloween Candy (the November 1960 Fantasy and Science Fiction)

(10/30/2015 4:42 PM)

With Halloween around the corner, one might have thought that there would have been an extra spooky issue of Fantasy and Science Fiction this month. Nothing doing. The current issue is nothing extraordinary, if not completely forgettable. Having covered the end novellette in my last article, it's time to cover the rest of the magazine. ...

[Oct. 28, 1960] Point of Inflexion (The Future of Plenty)

(10/28/2015 5:10 PM)

Science fiction is not prediction. It is extrapolation. No one can see the future, but a gifted writer can show you, dramatically, what will happen "if this goes on." It's no surprise that science fiction writing has enjoyed a boom since 1950. Never has our world been on the brink of so many exciting and ...

[Oct. 25, 1960] Great Expectations (the second season of The Twilight Zone

(10/25/2015 2:45 PM)

When does the New Year start? Your first instinct might be to say "January 1, of course!" But that's simply the beginning of the calendar year. Think of all the other days that kick off the next 365-year cycle. For Jews, New Year is in September. If you run a company, your fiscal year has ...

Video Game Break Podcast - Episode 83

(10/25/2015 12:05 PM)

Charles Porter (Microsoft) and Nathan Martin (Seattle Retro Gaming) sit down to talk Life is Strange, Project Spark, Sword Coast Legends, Adventures of Pip, Bionic Commando, Hearts of Stone, and YouTube Red.

[Oct. 22, 1960] Frice said and done.  (The fourth Kennedy/Nixon debate)

(10/22/2015 1:09 PM)

Contrary to the Bard's assertion, one can have too much of a good thing; I'm not sure that the fourth Nixon/Kennedy debate entertained anyone, except perhaps the Trumanesque moderator, ABC's Quincy Howe. That is because the candidates had exhausted themselves of platitudes and nitpicky facts, leaving naught but tired repetitions of previous debate points. Here's ...

[Oct. 20, 1960] Fiction > Non-fiction... sometimes (the November 1960 Analog)

(10/20/2015 8:16 AM)

Each month, I lament what's become of the magazine that John Campbell built. Analog's slow decline has been marked by the editor's increased erratic and pseudo-scientific boosting behavior. Well, I just don't have the heart to kick a dog today, and besides, the fiction is pretty good in this month's (November 1960) issue. So let's ...

Video Game Break Podcast - Episode 82

(10/18/2015 6:51 PM)

I sit down and Skype with my old buddy John Davison (Industry vet, and my manager/partner on Screen Tear). We share some whiskey and talk about the Witcher 3 (and Hearts of Stone), Destiny, and YouTube.

[Oct. 17, 1960] Aiming Low (Robert Buckner's Starfire)

(10/17/2015 9:51 AM)

Is dumbed-down science fiction a gateway or an embarrassment? I commonly hear the complaint that our genre, namely science fiction and fantasy, is not taken seriously. Despite the contributions of such luminaries as Ted Sturgeon, Zenna Henderson, Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, etc., our field is generally considered to comprise purely low-brow fare. Is it really ...

[Oct. 14, 1960] Side by Side (the third Presidential debate)

(10/14/2015 6:00 PM)

Submitted for your consideration, a logistical nightmare. Imagine you are a television producer hosting the first ever series of TV Presidential debates. Both candidates of the two parties that matter have agreed to spar on a weekly schedule, and each event promises to be a ratings bonanza. Your first two shows live up to expectations, ...

Video Game Break Podcast - Episode 81

(10/13/2015 8:13 PM)

Dave Justus Skypes in to talk Lifeline, comics, choose your own adventure books, and how to make your dreams come true. Well, sorta. It's not as corny sounding as all that, but we do talk about what got us to where we both are today.

[Oct. 12, 1960] For the Girls (a mini-convention in Seattle)

(10/12/2015 5:35 PM)

There's no question about it-conventions are here to stay. Remember the first "Worldcon," when a whopping nine fans (all men) showed up in New York? Now the annual event always draws hundreds of attendees, and I suspect someday soon it will break the thousand-fan barrier. Since the War, a number of regional conventions have also ...

[Oct. 8, 1960] Tarnished Images (the Second Presidential Debate)

(10/8/2015 8:32 AM)

Something has been lost, recently. Call it innocence or naivete. In ancient times, a national leader was a mythic figure. The average citizen never caught a glimpse of the sovereign, except maybe as a stylized sculpture or a face on a coin. This gulf between the commoner and ruler inspired reverence and fear. The leader ...

[Oct. 5, 1960] Point-to-point (Courier, the first active communications satellite)

(10/5/2015 8:43 AM)

How do you talk to someone on the other side of the planet? At the dawn of civilization, one might dispatch messengers via horseback (or fast runner in the Western Hemisphere, horses being unknown until the Conquistadores came). That might take months or even years. Smoke signals and heliographs were a little better, but they ...

Video Game Break Podcast - Episode 80

(10/4/2015 9:16 AM)

I sit down with Conor Murphy (after having tried out the intense steering wheel, pedals, and ass shaker) to talk Forza 6, Project Cars, and car video games in general.

[Oct. 2, 1960] Second-rate fun (November 1960 IF Science Fiction)

(10/3/2015 5:54 PM)

Galaxy's little sister, IF Science Fiction has settled into a predictable format. Filled with a number of "B" authors, mostly neophytes, it generally leads with a decent novelette, and the rest of the stories are two and three-star affairs. I don't think the blame can be put on IF's shadow editor, Fred Pohl (Horace Gold ...

[Sep. 30, 1960] Discoverer 15 and a preview for October

(09/30/2015 8:19 AM)

It's the end of the month, and that means a sneak preview at what's in store next month on the Journey. There is also a bit of space news I missed. Things are now moving fast enough in the world of rockets that it's easy to fall behind! For those following along at home, here's ...

Video Game Break Podcast - Episode 79

(09/29/2015 8:00 PM)

Calina Joyce (Her Interactive) joins me to talk adventure and hidden object games, Nancy Drew, as well as Steam game Reverse Crawl, Skyrim, Portal 2, and voice acting.

[Sep. 28, 1960] Face to Face (the first Presidential debates)

(09/28/2015 11:19 AM)

What an immediate world we live in. Think about life six hundred years ago, before the printing press, when news and knowledge were communicated as fast as a person could talk, as fast as a horse could trot. Think about life two hundred years ago, before the telegraph knit our nation together with messages traveling ...

[Sep. 26, 1960] Third time unlucky (Atlas Pioneer failure)

(09/26/2015 8:23 AM)

It's enough to break an engineer's heart: yet another Atlas Able launch has gone awry, sending its Pioneer payload not to the Moon, but into the drink. It is an anticlimactic ending for a mission that withstood all of nature's attempts to stop it. Just two weeks ago, one of the most destructive hurricanes in ...

SOMA, Prune, and Games as Art - Episode 78

(09/25/2015 8:08 PM)

Lauren stops by to hear about SOMA, discuss her fascination with Prune, and talk about video games as art. We also check out some stats on women gamers, and discuss sci-fi movies.

[Sep. 24, 1960] Mood for a Day (Roger Corman's House of Usher)

(09/24/2015 7:25 AM)

We are pleased to present noted scholar Rosemary Benton's thoughts on Roger Corman's House of Usher, the cinemafication of Poe's classic about a cursed family doomed to madness through the ages. Special kudos must be awarded since Ms. Benton lives in rural New England, where the movie houses are not all air conditioned... It's been ...

[Sep. 21, 1960] If you can't beat em... (Theodore Sturgeon's Venus Plus X)

(09/21/2015 4:55 PM)

Ted Sturgeon wrote a book about sex. It appears that Sturgeon has always wanted to write "a decent book about sex,"-how it affects our society, not the act itself. At least, that's what Sturgeon says in the post-script of his strange new novel, Venus Plus X. Well, it is a decent book (pun intended), and ...

[Sep. 18, 1960] Keeping things even (October 1960 Fantasy and Science Fiction)

(09/18/2015 2:21 PM)

I've said before that there seems to be a conservation of quality in science fiction. It ensures that, no matter how bad the reading might be in one of my magazines, the stories in another will make up for it. Galaxy was pretty unimpressive this month, so it follows that Fantasy and Science Fiction would ...

[September 15, 1960] You can lead a horticulture... (Roger Corman's Little Shop of Horrors)

(09/15/2015 3:02 PM)

The motion picture industry has been in decline for fifteen years, leaving movie houses owners pondering this humdinger: "How do we get more folks through our doors?" One way has been to aim for the pocketbook. Offer two movies for the price of one, the so-called "double feature." Only, it hasn't worked out so well, ...

[September 13, 1960] On the beach… again (The Last Woman on Earth)

(09/13/2015 9:53 AM)

from here I understand that the movie-house biz isn't doing so well. Looking through my trade magazines, I found some pretty alarming statistics. During the War, Americans spent about a quarter of their recreation budget on movies. Now, we spend just 5% in the cinemas. Movie revenues are down a third, from $1.4 billion to ...

Mortal Kombat Madden and Until Dawn

(09/12/2015 8:24 PM)


[September 10, 1960] Analog, Part 2 (The October 1960 Analog)

(09/10/2015 4:28 PM)

The October 1960 Analog is a surprisingly decent read. While none of it is literature for the ages (some might argue that the Ashwell-written lead novella is an exception), neither is any of it rough hoeing. Interestingly, it is an issue devoted almost entirely to sequels. It works, I think. The first story after the ...

[September 9, 1960] Willingly to Sequel (October 1960 Analog, lead novella)

(09/9/2015 8:28 AM)

Analog, formerly Astounding, has a reputation for fielding the fewest female authors. Perhaps its because Campbell's magazine is the most conservative of the science fiction digests, or maybe its because of the conception that women's STF is somehow softer than the "real" deal. You know, with characterization and such. So you can imagine my delight ...

[September 6, 1960] The 1960 WorldCon in Pittsburgh!

(09/6/2015 7:54 AM)

The Journey presents that annual assemblage of scientifiction (stf or "steff") fans known as WorldCon! all pictures from fanac.org Of course, I wasn't actually present at the con, it being held some 2500 miles away on the 17th floor of the Penn Sheraton in Pittsburgh. But I know people, and I have access to a ...

[September 4, 1960] Flawed jewel (The Status Civilization, by Robert Sheckley)

(09/4/2015 9:27 AM)

Readers of my column know of my affection for Bob Sheckley's work. A fellow landsman, he has turned out a regular stream of excellent short stories over the past decade. He's already published four collections, and they are all worth getting. But though Sheckley gets an A for his shorter works, his novel-writing talents earn ...

Video Game Break Podcast - Ep 76

(09/2/2015 4:34 PM)

[September 1, 1960] Looking up (October 1960 Galaxy, second half)

(09/1/2015 11:07 AM)

I'm sure you've all been waiting like caught fish (with baited breath), so I shan't keep you in the dark any longer regarding the October 1960 Galaxy. The second half of the magazine is better than the first, but it is not without its troubles. Neal Barrett is back with his sophomore effort, The Stentorii ...

[August 29, 1960] One shoe down (October 1960 Galaxy, 1st half)

(08/29/2015 11:24 AM)

There is an old saw: "Just when I got my mule to work without being fed, she up and died on me!" At the end of 1958, Galaxy editor H. Gold announced that his magazine was going to a bi-monthly publication schedule. He did not mention that he was also slashing writer pay rates in ...

[August 27, 1960] Coming up in September!

(08/27/2015 8:12 AM)

Every month, I get a heads up from my connections in the publishing, movie, and aerospace industries to let me know what books, films, and space launches will occur in the near future. August is coming to a close, which means its time for a sneak preview of coming attractions for the month of September. ...

[August 25, 1960] Accurate Paleontology (Dinosaurus!)

(08/25/2015 4:56 PM)

Another weekend, another Jack Harris production. Harris has made a name for himself cranking out colorful, enjoyable B-movie fare, and his latest contribution to the cinematic universe, Dinosaurus!, is no exception. Make no mistake: Harris has yet to produce a masterpiece. But then, I don't think that's his goal. Rather, he creates fun monsters and ...

Video Game Break Podcast - Episode 75

(08/23/2015 6:51 PM)

Another old coworker of mine from IDG joins me on the podcast to talk Heroes of the Storm, Witcher (again!), City Skylines dlc, the racetrack he works at, and why a guy stuck a PS4 down his pants.

[August 22, 1960] If every day were a convention (September 1960 IF)

(08/22/2015 8:25 PM)

It's been a topsy turvy month! Not only have I been to Japan, but I've just gone to yet another new science fiction convention taking place virtually next door (pictures appended below). Yet, despite all the bustle, I've managed to find time for my #1 pasttime: my monthly pile of science fiction/fantasy digests. And here, ...

[August 20, 1960] Up and Down (Americans and Soviets recover space capsules)

(08/20/2015 7:01 AM)

Talk about a good week for Space news! There I was, all ready to discuss the latest IF Science Fiction (which is quite good, by the way), and then both the United States and the Soviet Union came out with a couple of bombshells that I couldn't ignore. And neither should you. Firstly, right on ...

[August 17, 1960] Dancing to a new beat (The Twist)

(08/17/2015 6:48 PM)

We interrupt this cavalcade of science fact and fiction articles to bring you...some pop culture. Seven years ago, The Crows came out with Gee, what is now generally recognized to have been the first "rock 'n' roll" song. It was a revolution-within months, the crooners and the overripe schmaltzy swing tunes were swept aside in ...

Video Game Break Podcast - Episode 74

(08/16/2015 8:04 PM)

[August 14, 1960] George Pal's The Time Machine

(08/14/2015 5:12 PM)

And sometimes, the cinema astounds me. Have I got your attention? My faithful readers know that I am an avid movie-goer. At least once a month, my daughter and I will trek out to the local drive-in or parlor and take in a science fiction film. Sometimes we see good A-listers, sometimes we see bad ...

[August 12, 1960] Two for two! (Space News Round-up)

(08/12/2015 11:51 AM)

I promised an exciting week in space flight, and I'm here to deliver. Both the Air Force and NASA are all smiles this week thanks to two completely successful missions that mean a great deal for our future above the Earth. First off, the military side. 13 had proven to be a lucky number for ...

[August 9, 1960] Destructive Pages (the September 1960 Fantasy and Science Fiction)

(08/9/2015 10:01 PM)

I've said before that I like my reading to be light and pleasant. Not exclusively, mind you, but I find the current trend toward the depressing to be... well... depressing. This month's F&SF is the bleakest I've yet encountered, and under normal circumstances, it would not have been to my taste. On the other hand, ...

Video Game Break Podcast - Episode 73

(08/9/2015 9:18 PM)

Kinsey and her brother (AJ) stop by to talk Witcher 3 (again!), but more specficially Gwent. We also talk Life is Strange, Quantum Break, Ojipockle, Catlateral Damage, Niki Minaj, Fallout 4, Destiny, and DOTA (a bit).

[August 7, 1960] Coming soon…

(08/8/2015 5:12 AM)

Just to let my faithful readers know, the next update will come day-after-tomorrow. Things are just too busy in beautiful Japan, but I will have plenty of time as I wait at the airport. After that, I will be back to my usual every-other-day (for the most part) schedule. I understand several space launches are ...

[August 4, 1960] Phoning it in (September 1960 Analog)

(08/4/2015 6:26 PM)

If you hail from California, particularly the southern end of the state, you might find foreign the concept of seasons. I know I expect mild, sunny days every time I step outside. We have a joke around here that the weather report is updated once a week, and that's just to give it a fresh ...

Video Game Break - Episode 72

(08/2/2015 9:51 PM)

I Skype with Jose San Mateo of

[August 1, 1960] Saving the Day (Poul Anderson's The High Crusade)

(08/1/2015 11:34 PM)

Analog (formerly Astounding) has tended to be the weak sister of the Big Three science fiction digests. This can be attributed largely to Editor John Campbell's rather outdated and quirky preferences when it comes to story selection. There seem to be about five or six authors in Analog's stable, and they are not the most ...

[July 29, 1960] Changing Landscapes (Japan, the Republican Convention, and the Journey Forecast)

(07/29/2015 8:12 PM)

The results of the Republican National Convention, held in Chicago this year, are in. They should hardly come as a surprise to anyone: Vice President Richard M. Nixon is the Republican candidate for President of the United States. I say that this news is unsurprising with good reason-namely, that Nixon essentially ran unopposed. Oh, sure, ...

[July 27, 1960] Footloose and Fancy Free (Japan and the August 1960 Fantasy & Science Fiction)

(07/27/2015 2:19 PM)

Perhaps the primary perquisite of being a writer (certainly not the compensation, though Dr. Asimov is the happy exception) is the ability to take one's work anywhere. Thanks to 'faxes and patient editors, all of this column's readers can follow me around the world. To wit, I am typing this article in the lounge of ...

Video Game Break - Episode 71

(07/27/2015 9:08 AM)

Adam Lang (comedian) and Chaz Bazz (YouTuber) sit down with me to talk never ending RPG's, Q.U.B.E, Life is Strange, virtual reality (again), and storage space running out on consoles.

[July 23, 1960] Beyond the Schlock Barrier! (Beyond the Time Barrier)

(07/23/2015 3:41 PM)

Every week, Rod Serling talks about the "Twilight Zone" between fear and knowledge, science and superstition, light and dark. He might have added sublimity and schlock. Every few weeks or so, my daughter and I plunge into that twilight zone known as the cinema. Sometimes, we find quality in the lowest budget movies. Other times, ...

[July 21, 1960] Intoxication in Two Parts (Drunkard's Walk)

(07/21/2015 9:26 AM)

Thanks to Galaxy's new oversized format, we can read serials over just two issues rather than seeing them spread across three or four. Of course, there's a longer gap between installments now that Galaxy has gone bi-monthly. As a result, I'd completely forgotten that Fred Pohl had left Drunkard's Walk half-finished as of the end ...

[July 20, 1960] What you missed…

(07/20/2015 10:47 AM)

Just a quick note that, if you look at my last article on the August 1960 Galaxy, you can read copies of the stories reviewed. Enjoy!

Live at Raygun Lounge - Episode 70

(07/19/2015 8:07 PM)

We had another live podcast at the Raygun Lounge (one of our favorite places!), and it got a little cray cray. Guests: Atticus Wiman, Lauren Hall Stigerts, Adam Lang, Nathan Martin, Brad Gallaway, Taylor Bartle, Tony Gee, and of course my rad co-host Kinsey Burke. Enjoy!

[July 19, 1960] A New Breed (August 1960 Galaxy)

(07/19/2015 10:06 AM)

Last year, Galaxy editor Horace Gold bowed to economic necessity, trimming the length of his magazine and slashing the per word rate for his writers. As a result (and perhaps due to the natural attrition of authors over time), Galaxy's Table of Contents now features a slew of new authors. In this month's editorial, Gold ...

[July 17, 1960] Lost Time (The Lost World)

(07/17/2015 8:06 AM)

Let's play a name association game. When I say "Sir Arthur Conan Doyle," what comes to mind? Sherlock Holmes, I'll wager. But did you know that, in addition to being a quite accomplished non-fiction writer (his The War in South Africa: Its Causes and Conduct won him a knighthood), Conan Doyle was also a science ...

[July 15, 1960] Controlled Chaos (The 1960 Democratic Convention)

(07/15/2015 8:35 AM)

Democracy is strange, particularly as exercised by the Democratic Party. Six months ago, it was anyone's guess who might be picked to have the privilege of running for the Presidency of the United States under the Democratic Party banner against Vice President Richard Nixon. Hopefuls included perennial candidate Adlai Stevenson, fiery liberal senator Hubert Humphrey, ...

[July 12, 1960] Pages Come to Life! (Comic-Con '60)

(07/12/2015 6:50 PM)

Two conventions in as many weeks! What as I thinking? And yet, despite the undoubted difficulty of the undertaking, it was well worth it. San Diego's intimate little science fiction and comic book convention, aptly titled "Comic Con," was the most fun I've had at a convention in 1960. There was plenty to see and ...

[July 10, 1960] Eye of the Storm (August 1960 Analog)

(07/10/2015 7:31 PM)

Once again, I find myself on vacation in my home town. San Diego is hosting two science fiction conventions back to back this July, and this second one promises to be the larger of the two. Of course, neither of these conventions holds a candle to the big one starting in Los Angeles tomorrow, the ...

[July 7, 1960] Frankenstein's Timeline (Brian Aldiss' Galaxies like Grains of Sand)

(07/7/2015 8:51 AM)

Themed collections, a book containing stories by the same author in a common universe, are interesting things. Isaac Asimov's Foundation is one of the more famous examples, and when a collection of Zenna Henderson's The People stories comes out, that will be one of the best ever. Sometimes, an author is tempted to shoehorn a ...

Video Game Break Podcast - Episode 69

(07/5/2015 6:13 PM)

Carlos chats with Nathan Martin (SRGE, Microsoft, and Video Games Northwest), and Charles Porter (Microsoft, Project Spark) about making games, Mario Maker, Arcade Games, Super Chibi Knight, a new PS4, and a couple fun facts about Xbox One.

[July 4, 1960] Coming Home (Westercon SD convention)

(07/4/2015 7:42 PM)

What is it that makes a con? Is it the chance to meet published authors and prominent fans? Is it the spirited discussion of high-minded concepts deep into the night? Is it the opportunity to engage in salacious activities? Ultimately, what a convention all comes down to is building a community. We all live in ...

[July 2, 1960] Bottom of the Cup (Twilight Zone 1st Season wrap-up)

(07/2/2015 7:24 PM)

Gabrielle and Chelsea-dig that futuristic dress the latter has on! Greetings from Westercon San Diego! Now, with an opening like that, I expect you're expecting a convention report. Well, this is just day one of a four day extravaganza, so not quite yet. Just know that I'm having a lovely time, and I've already swept ...

[June 30, 1960] On a roll! (Space Race Wrap-up)

(06/30/2015 8:26 AM)

Something very exciting happened this week: Spaceflight became routine. Remember just a couple of years ago? The press was full of flopniks, grapefruit-sized spacecraft, and about a launch every other month. Every mission was an adventure, and space was the great unknown. All that has changed. Not only are we launching more, and more advanced ...

E3 Leftovers with Holly Green - Episode 68

(06/29/2015 9:12 PM)

Holly Green joins Kinsey and I to talk E3 2015 leftovers (but mainly Fallout 4).

[June 27, 1960] July Sneak Preview!

(06/27/2015 10:23 AM)

The end of June is here, and it's time for the Galactic Journey preview listings for July. This way, all of you who have joined the Journey, can share my adventures: For reading material this month, we have the usual line-up of magazines in the order in which I'll read them: July 1960 Astounding July ...

Video Game Break Podcast - Episode 67

(06/25/2015 8:50 PM)

I got to finally sit down with Richard Garriott (aka Lord British) and geek out over Ultima 7, Ultima Online, and talk Shroud of the Avatar. I also added a segment after our interview where I run through some Ultima memories for games 1-9. Enjoy!

[June 25, 1960] Sting in its Tale (The Wasp Woman)

(06/25/2015 5:00 PM)

Necessity is the mother of invention. What is a review writer to do when all the literary science fiction material to review has dried up? Why, it's time to head to the drive-in and sample the visual science fiction material! Now, I've been dreading this avenue because the Summer blockbuster line-up hasn't hit the silver ...

E3 Talk with Jeff Cannata and Ray Carsillo

(06/22/2015 9:23 PM)

I sat down with Jeff Cannata (

[June 22, 1960] Here comes Summer! (Twilight Zone wrap-up)

(06/22/2015 11:00 AM)

Summer is here, and that means the television season is wrapping up, freeing time for a slew of blockbusters. But the small screen hasn't quite finished with all it has to show us-between Maverick, Bonanza, and The Twilight Zone, there's still plenty to enjoy. I must confess a guilty affection for What's My Line, too. ...

E3 2015 with Nathan Ortega - Ep 65

(06/21/2015 1:51 PM)

Nathan, Kinsey and I talk E3 in a hotel room down in LA. We discuss the press conferences, but then get into some very cool indie games we saw down there.

[June 19, 1960] Half Measures (July 1960 IF Science Fiction)

(06/19/2015 10:32 AM)

I'm glad science fiction digests haven't gone the way of the dodo. There's something pleasant about getting a myriad of possible futures in a little package every month. You can read as much or as little as you like at a time. The short story format allows the presentation of an idea without too much ...

[June 16, 1960] Skimming the Cream (Robert Sheckley's Notions: Unlimited)

(06/16/2015 9:23 AM)

As a rule, I don't review anthologies. By definition, they are composed of stories already published elsewhere, and since I cover the magazines regularly, chances are I've already seen most of an anthology's contents. I make an exception for Bob Sheckley. Sheckley is the master of the science fiction short story. They are sometimes humorous, ...

Video Game Break Podcast - Episode 64

(06/14/2015 4:53 PM)

Courtney Holmes (from

[June 14, 1960] 12 Angry Astronauts (12 to the Moon)

(06/14/2015 8:44 AM)

Sometimes, the Journey goes to the movies; sometimes, we're sorry we did. If you are a regular reader of this column, or you tune in to KGJ, you've probably read some of my film reviews. An off-script discussion was broadcast recently summing up all the movies my daughter and I have watched since the Journey ...

[June 11, 1960] Fool me once… (July 1960 Amazing)

(06/11/2015 12:38 PM)

If there is any innovation that defined the resurgent science fiction field in the 1950s, it is the science fiction digest. Before the last decade, science fiction was almost entirely the province of the "pulps," large-format publications on poor-quality paper. The science fiction pulps shared space with the detective pulps, the western pulps, the adventure ...

[June 9, 1960] To Pluto and the Future (July 1960 Fantasy and Science Fiction)

(06/9/2015 12:01 PM)

I was recently told that my reviews are too negative, and that I should focus on telling the world about the good stuff; for that hopeful fan, I present my assessment of the July 1960 Fantasy and Science Fiction. There's not a clunker in the bunch, and if none of the stories is a perfect ...

Video Game Break Podcast - Episode 63

(06/7/2015 3:25 PM)

Robby Zinchak (8bit MMO) is back to talk about his new game March of Industry as well as Duck Game, Witcher 3, March of Industry, Fallout 4, Lego Worlds, E3 predictions, PC master race, the Holodeck, and more!

[June 4, 1960] The Solar Frontier (Pluto: 9th "planet"?)

(06/4/2015 6:41 AM)

Pluto is big news right now; no wonder since this year is the 30th anniversary of its discovery. But what do we really know about this enigmatic ninth "planet?" (quotes used advisedly, more on this later.) Not much. We know that it is an average of forty Astronomical Units from the Sun; that is to ...

[June 2, 1960] Fewer is Less (July 1960 Astounding)

(06/2/2015 12:39 PM)

What makes a story worth reading? As a writer, and as a reader who has plowed through thousands of stories over the past decade, I've developed a fair idea of what works and what doesn't. Some writers cast a spell on you from the first words and maintain that trance until the very end. Others ...

Video Game Break Podcast - Episode 62

(05/31/2015 5:37 PM)

Amber Vincent (Big Fish) stops by to talk about her collection of Gameboys, Destiny DLC, Hatred, Witcher 3, Defragmented, Skate, and stank faces while listening to electronic music.

[May 31, 1960] End of May (New KGJ episodes and June forecast)

(05/31/2015 7:26 AM)

At long last, and with the cooperation of a vast radio production team, the entire month of November 1958 has been produced as a set of radio shows. You can listen to them all at your leisure on KGJ! Broacasting most hours of the day from downtown Vista. For those following along at home, June ...

[May 29, 1960] The Outside World (Foreign Affairs wrap-up)

(05/29/2015 7:49 AM)

It's been a tumultuous month in the world; I'd hate to be in the State Department while Ike makes his goodwill tour across the globe, particularly in the wake of the collapse of the recent four-party Peace Summit in Paris less than two weeks ago. Courtesy of LIFE Magazine Unless you live in a cave, ...

[May 27, 1960] Stalled Flights (Midas 2, Pioneer 5, Ozma, and Eichmann)

(05/27/2015 7:03 AM)

There was another mystery Atlas Agena launch from Cape Canaveral on May 24. My sources tell me it was in the same series as the mission late February that broke up before it could reach orbit. It appears to be some kind of infrared missile launch detection system. I even got my hands on some ...

[May 25, 1960] Getting there is half the problem (Judith Merril's The Tomorrow People)

(05/25/2015 4:51 PM)

Every novel is a kind of contract with the reader, a promise that ideas, events, and characters will be presented in the beginning such that, by the end, they will have facilitated a satisfying story. A corollary to this is that a writer must ensure that all of a story's scenes are interesting to the ...

Video Game Break Podcast - Episode 61

(05/24/2015 2:35 PM)

Atticus, Kinsey, and I sit down for only the second time ever (yes, they were right - we did all have a podcast together in

[May 23, 1960] Month's End (June 1960 Fantasy and Science Fiction)

(05/23/2015 7:39 AM)

With Astounding so good this month, I suppose it was too much to ask that Fantasy and Science Fiction would also be of high caliber. While it's not a bad issue, it's not one of the better ones, either. Charles Henneberg (who I understand is actually a Parisian named Nathalie) has the best story of ...

[May 21, 1960] KGJ is On The Air!

(05/21/2015 2:10 PM)

Due to popular demand, Galactic Journey is taking a stab at broadcasting. I've recorded the last five articles. If the response is good, I will make it a regular monthly feature to record the previous month's articles. I can also record older months, too. Tune in and let me know what you think.

[May 20, 1960] Three for Four (June 1960 Astounding)

(05/20/2015 11:36 AM)

Astounding, the venerable science fiction digest, has often been my monthly whipping boy. Today's article is going to be a bit different because, apart from one noteworthy, execrable exception, the June 1960 Astounding was actually quite good. Much of the magazine is taken up by Part 3 of the enjoyable "Mark Phillips" effort, Out Like ...

[May 18, 1960] Good and bad news (Twilight Zone and the Summit)

(05/18/2015 8:47 AM)

What makes quality television? No, that's not an oxymoron, despite what anyone might tell you. Sure, there are plenty of vapid game shows, variety shows, soap operas, situation comedies. The techniques and technology are primitive-sometimes, it feels as if I'm watching a local junior high troupe in their multi-purpose room. But there are those occasional ...

Video Game Break Podcast - Episode 60

(05/17/2015 7:25 PM)

Casey Doran (of

[May 15, 1960] Soviets take the Lead! (Sputnik 4)

(05/15/2015 9:48 AM)

At long last, the Soviets have launched another Sputnik. While Americans try to pierce the sky with almost fortnightly frequency (more on that shortly), the Russians seem content to proceed at a more leisurely pace, but to get more bang for their buck. Their latest shot, which the press has dubbed Sputnik 4, but should ...

[May 13, 1960] Second Lightning Strike (Out Like a Light)

(05/13/2015 11:00 AM)

by Freas I poke a lot of fun at John Campbell's magazine, Astounding for its overfeaturing of psionics and Randall Garrett, two things of which I've gotten very tired-so imagine my surprise when I found myself enjoying a serial that intimately involves both! For the last three months, Astounding's serial has been Out Like a ...

[May 11, 1960] Spelunkers Unite! (Journey to the Center of the Earth)

(05/11/2015 12:54 PM)

With so much schlock crowding out the marquees at our local cinemas, it's nice to get a chance to see a quality production for a change. Last weekend, my daughter and I managed to finally catch the Cinemascope epic, Journey to the Center of the Earth, loosely based upon (read: with the same title as) ...

Video Game Break Podcast - Episode 59 [LIVE]

(05/10/2015 5:30 PM)

We had a whole slew of people join us on this very special (and live) episode of the podcast. We talked Jotun, Fallout 4, Goat Z, Mario Kart, Virtual Reality, pink eye, Nintendo, Guild Wars 2, and more.

[May 9, 1960] Long distance call (Pioneer 5 update)

(05/9/2015 10:20 AM)

Photo found here Hold onto your ears, folks, because the Pioneer 5 interplanetary satellite just turned on the big transmitter. Well, it's actually only 150 Watts-only a little more powerful than your average light bulb. But it's like shouting compared to the 5 Watt radio it was using until now. Pioneer is now more than ...

[May 7, 1960] Grab Bag

(05/7/2015 8:00 AM)

Here's a bit of a hodgepodge article for the column as I plow through reading material and await the next Space Spectacular: RCA's Mrs Helen Mann, holder of two degrees in physics, issues instructions to FLAC (Florida Automatic Computer) at Patrick Air Force Base, from where military and civilian (Air Force) space launches originate. From ...

[May 5, 1960] The Next Step (Rosel George Brown in Amazing)

(05/5/2015 7:12 AM)

Has Rosel George Brown finally broken through? For several years, I've kept an eye on this promising New Orleans native. Apart from being a woman writer in a predominately male field, she has brought a refreshingly feminine viewpoint to her stories. But they've never quite rung all of my bells. Some, like Virgin Ground have ...

Video Game Break Podcast - Ep 58 with Brad Gallaway

(05/3/2015 8:30 PM)

Brad Gallaway (from

[May 3, 1960] Sharpening Up (Poul Anderson's Brain Wave)

(05/3/2015 7:35 AM)

It's tough to be a smart person in a dumb world. When I was in 4th grade, I had a miserable, mean teacher named Mrs. Middleton. She was the sort of lady who wore a smile on her face that had a depth of about a micron-she certainly didn't have a pleasant soul. I remember ...

[April 30, 1960] Interlude, with Ocean (A Trip to Carlsbad)

(04/30/2015 11:46 AM)

Greetings from sunny springtime California! Yesterday was a vacation of sorts. Having dashed off (I mean to say "meticulously crafted") my review of the June 1960 Galaxy, I thought it high time to hit the beach with some nice non-fiction. My favorite shoreline happens to be in Carlsbad, a sleepy community in northern San Diego ...

[Apr. 29, 1960] A Banks Shot (June 1960 Galaxy, Part 2)

(04/29/2015 12:11 PM)

Without preamble, let's get to the second half of this month's Galaxy, the June 1960 issue. I hope you've all been reading along with me because there will be a quiz next period. by Wood Jack Sharkey is a prolific newcomer who started out in the lesser mags. His The Dope on Mars, the first-hand ...

[April 27, 1960] Galactic on Galaxy (June 1960 Galaxy)

(04/27/2015 4:17 PM)

It's that happy time of year when the sun is up late and the weather is perfect. Of course, the weather is usually perfect here in the nicest unincorporated part of northern San Diego County (though there are rumors that our little farming community is going to vote on incorporation soon). One of my favorite ...

Video Game Break Podcast - Episode 57

(04/26/2015 5:37 PM)

Paul Furio (from SyncBuildRun) stops by to talk about his upcoming episodic cyberpunk game V.Next. We also talk Lifeline, Apple Watch games, The Sheltered, Marvel teaming up with TellTale, and Skyrim mods costing money.

[April 25, 1960] Long distance fix (The Repair of Pioneer 5)

(04/25/2015 9:54 AM)

Imagine doing brain surgery by remote control. That's just what STL engineer, Robert E. Gottfried, did over the weekend, on an ailing deep space probe. Pioneer 5 blasted off on March 11, and it recently passed the 5 million mile distance mark on its way to the orbit of Venus. For more than a month, ...

[April 23, 1960] Unseen Companion (Radio in transition)

(04/23/2015 8:08 AM)

Radio-is her heyday waning? For three decades, she was the Queen of media. Families gathered around her dials for the latest news, music, and programming. Listeners closed their eyes and were transported across the globe. Some programs allowed them to travel across the universe, like the fairly recent X Minus Zero. Then radio's upstart little ...

Video Game Break Podcast - Episode 56

(04/22/2015 10:51 PM)

Holly Green (

[April 21, 1960] Roads not taken (May 1960 IF)

(04/21/2015 9:08 AM)

If there's anything this month's IF, Science Fiction proves, it's that you get what you pay for. Last year, Galaxy editor, H. L. Gold, cut story rates in half to 2 cents a word. Shortly thereafter, he took over the helm of the promising but unsuccessful digest, IF. Its quality has been in steady decline ...

Video Game Break Podcast - Episode 55

(04/19/2015 6:34 PM)

Steve Haske (from Unwinnable and Vice) sits down and talks about his experience with Bloodborne, Final Fantasy 15, and how it felt to play ALL the Resident Evil games back to back. We go on an Alien Isolation tangent and [spoiler!] are unimpressed with Nintendo's 3DS Street Pass updates.

[April 19, 1960] Where we are (Space News Round-up)

(04/19/2015 7:04 AM)

Remember the years before Sputnik when space news comprised semi-annual rocket launch reports, annual Willy Ley books, and the occasional Bonestell/Von Braun coffee table book? Even after Sputnik, weeks would go by without a noteworthy event. But, slowly but surely, the pace of space launches has increased. Just this last week, I caught wind of ...

[April 17, 1960] Stiff Upper Lips (Fletcher Pratt's Invaders from Rigel)

(04/17/2015 10:50 AM)

It is said that dead men tell no tales; but don't tell that to Fletcher Pratt, who has managed to publish a book four years after his death! I must confess, I did a double-take when I recently saw Invaders from Rigel at the bookstore. The beloved Fletcher Pratt, one of the genre's titans, and ...

[April 14, 1960] Onward and Upwards!  (A new location)

(04/14/2015 7:59 PM)

Dear valued readers of Galactic Journey: Now that I can count my daily readers on more than two hands, I've decided on trying out a new venue so that y'all can get automatic electronic updates whenever a new article is published. How's that for convenience? If you're here, that means you've already left the old ...

[April 13, 1960] An unfulfilled promise (May 1960 F&SF)

(04/13/2015 10:31 AM)

Every month, there is the perennial hope that this will be the month a truly great story will be published. Every month, a stack of science fiction digests arrives at my door. There are few moments as exciting as that day (my postman holds them all so they arrive at once; I like big events). ...

Video Game Break Podcast - Episode 54

(04/12/2015 7:06 PM)

Kinsey and I sit down and catch up and talk games and game news. Also, Kinsey drinks really weird beer.

[April 11, 1960] A Steady Flame (Twilight Zone wrap-up)

(04/11/2015 4:33 AM)

Some shows start with a bang and quickly lose their spark; some are a slow burn, taking a while to find their stride; The Twilight Zone has remained a class act from the beginning. As of Friday, April 8, 1960, there have been 27 episodes. They have ranged in quality from fair to outstanding, and ...

[April 7, 1960] Look on My Works, Ye Mighty, and Despair (The Haunted Stars)

(04/7/2015 5:37 AM)

From the stars comes a warning... and a challenge. Time permitting, I like to read a new science fiction book at least once a month. The digests are reliable sources of good stuff, but there is only so far a writer can develop an idea in the space of a novella or short story. Sure, ...

[April 6, 1960] First Test (Wisconsin Primary results)

(04/6/2015 9:19 AM)

Provided by the Journal Sentinel In an upset that no one saw coming (except every pollster in the nation), Massachusetts Senator Jack Kennedy defeated Michigan Senator Hubert Humphrey in a close Wisconsin primary, April 5. It took most of the night for the final results to come in, but in the end, Kennedy took six ...

Video Game Break Podcast - Episode 53

(04/5/2015 9:42 PM)

Conor Murphy (Big Fish Games) and I sit down to talk Car Simulation in games, Rocksmith and guitars, how GTA could be better, and mobile games. We go over some of what happened in the newest Nintendo Direct, and I talk about how much I love Pillars of Eternity.

[April 5, 1960] 8th Wonder of the World (Wondercon, 1960)

(04/5/2015 1:29 AM)

No man is an island; but without conventions, the moat can be pretty broad. Humans are social creatures. Most of us have a natural desire to share our passions with others. When we read (or watch) science fiction and fantasy, we are receiving a broadcast from an author, but the communication stops there. If we ...

[April 2, 1960] Aeolus Chained (TIROS 1)

(04/2/2015 1:55 AM)

"Everybody complains about the weather, but nobody does anything about it." Mark Twain That sage 19th century observation may not hold much longer if NASA has anything to say about it. Last year, Vanguard 2 was touted as the first weather satellite because it had a pair of photocells designed to measure the amount of ...

[March 31, 1960] What goes up… (May 1960 Astounding)

(03/31/2015 2:02 AM)

Every science fiction digest has a flavor. Part of it is due to the whimsy of the editor, part of it is the niche the magazine is trying to fill, and part of it is luck of the draw. Astounding can be summed up in just a few words: psionic, smug, workmanlike, crackpot, inbred. Not ...

Video Game Break Podcast - Episode 52

(03/29/2015 12:06 AM)

[March 28, 1960] Calling all Stars! (Project Ozma begins)

(03/28/2015 2:26 AM)

Imagine installing telephone service in your home for the first time only to have it ring almost immediately. This is the hope of scientists working on the colorfully named "Project Ozma" at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Green Bank, West Virginia. Simultaneously with humanity's first steps into space, we are developing brand new methods ...

[March 26, 1960] Among the Best (April 1960 Fantasy and Science Fiction)

(03/26/2015 6:54 AM)

The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction regularly beats out the other regular digests in terms of consistent quality. This month's, April 1960, is no exception. There's a lot to cover, so let's dive right in: Daniel Keyes, who wrote the superb Flowers for Algernon, has returned with the issue's lead novelette, Crazy Maro. Our ...

Video Game Break Podcast - Episode 51

(03/25/2015 7:33 PM)

I sit down with long time twitter friend, and all around awesome dude Andrew Crews. Also, if you like UFC stuff you'll get a little helping of that in this podcast as well. We're MMA nerds.

[March 23, 1960] Sergeant goes AWOL! (Explorer S-46 fails)

(03/23/2015 5:43 AM)

So far this month, it's Air Force: 1, Army: 0. The latest Explorer probe, launched today atop an Army contractor-made Juno II booster failed to orbit. This is in contrast to Pioneer 5, launched March 11 on an Air Force contractor-built Thor Able, which is still beeping merrily away to the orbit of Venus. Both ...

Video Game Break Podcast - Episode 50 [LIVE]

(03/22/2015 3:34 PM)

We bring our podcast out on the road, and drink mayyyybe too much? Enjoy!

[March 21, 1960] Conservation of Quality (April 1960 Astounding)

(03/21/2015 1:00 AM)

I believe I may have discovered a new physical law: The Conservation of Quality. Last year, Galaxy editor Horace Gold decided to slash writer pay in half. The effect was not immediately apparent, which makes sense since there was likely a backlog of quality stuff in the larder. But the last issue of Galaxy was ...

[March 18, 1960] A million miles from Earth! (Pioneer 5 update #1)

(03/17/2015 8:31 PM)

Who calls a press conference at 2:00 in the morning? And what sort of fool journalist covers a 2 A.M. press conference? NASA and me, respectively. Dr. Keith Glennan, NASA's administrator, admitted that it was an unorthodox time to gather scientists and reporters together, but given the unprecedented nature of the event to be discussed, ...

[March 16, 1960] Four More! (Twilight Zone Wrap-up)

(03/16/2015 11:02 AM)

There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man's fears, and the summit of his knowledge. This is ...

Video Game Break Podcast - Episode 49

(03/16/2015 10:29 AM)

Kinsey and I sit down with Holly Green and drink a lot, while talking DLC, Pokemon Shuffle, violence in video games, and cooking.

[March 13, 1960] Shineless shoe (April 1960 Galaxy, Part 2)

(03/13/2015 11:06 AM)

Mediocre magazines are always the hardest to plow through. When I've got a good issue in my hands, reading is a pleasure, and I generally tear through in nothing flat. Bad issues are unpleasant, but I also feel no compunctions in skimming. But it's those middle-of-the-road, "C Minus" magazines that drag you down. Each story ...

[March 11, 1960] Venus (orbit) or Bust! (Pioneer 5)

(03/11/2015 10:53 AM)

The Space Race headlines were anything but exciting last month, but today's news makes up for February's doldrums in spades. Last year, there was a great deal of fanfare regarding last August's launch of Explorer 6. This testbed of an orbital spacecraft was developed by Los Angeles based Space Technology Laboratories (STL), the Air Force's ...

[March 9, 1960] First shoe of the month (April 1960 Galaxy, 1st half)

(03/9/2015 11:31 AM)

Good old Galaxy magazine. Dependable, occasionally brilliant, very thick. So thick, that I traditionally break down my review of each bi-month's issue into two articles, and who am I to buck tradition? Without further ado, the April 1960 Galaxy. First up is Earl Goodale's Success Story, a surprisingly entertaining satire on an interstellar soldier's life ...

Hart to Heart with Dan Hart - Episode 48

(03/8/2015 9:10 PM)

Carlos sits down with sketch comedy guy Dan Hart to discuss Hearthstone, Hand of Fate, and GDC stuff. Also, there's tangents about quantum physics and comedy.

[Mar. 8, 1960] Where did he go?

(03/8/2015 9:50 AM)

My apologies. I lost my hand brace again, so the typewriter is impossible for me today. I'll have an article for y'all tomorrow. Thank you for your patience! This entry was originally posted at Dreamwidth, where it has comments. Please comment here or there.

[Mar. 5, 1960] Interlude with clippings

(03/5/2015 10:23 AM)

Here's an inconsequential entry as I put my thoughts on the new Galaxy together. I clipped it from the kids' section of the local paper. I like how space travel has fired up the imagination not just for adults but for kids, too. This will be their moonbase in twenty years... - Galactic Journey is ...

Video Game Break Podcast - Episode 47

(03/1/2015 5:20 PM)

[March 1, 1960] The Slow Sibling (March 1960 IF)

(03/1/2015 6:31 AM)

It is March Oneth, as my father would say, and it's time to review the last of the March 1960 science fiction digests. Last on my plate was IF Science Fiction, which in 1959 had proven a slightly erratic but worthy sibling to Galaxy Science Fiction, also edited by Horace Gold. Sadly, this current issue ...

[Feb. 26, 1960] Fair Warning (a mystery launch)

(02/26/2015 11:21 AM)

Something took off today from Patrick Air Force Base in Florida, not far from Cocoa Beach. There was no official announcement, and the mission was almost assuredly solely military in nature. An Atlas ICBM, clearly modified for satellite launch (note the second-stage booster), took off around 10:30 AM, Florida time. After a flawless take-off, observers ...

[Feb. 23, 1960] Cepheid Oscillations (March 1960 Fantasy and Science Fiction)

(02/22/2015 9:46 PM)

From the depths of mediocrity to the peaks of quality, it looks like our long literary winter may finally be over. Perhaps the groundhog didn't see a shadow this year. First, we had an uncharacteristically solid Astounding. This month's Fantasy and Science Fiction is similarly exceptional without a clunker in the bunch, and some standouts ...

Video Game Break Podcast - Episode 46

(02/22/2015 9:18 AM)

On this episode of VGB we talk briefly about The Order 1886 (and games journalism in general), old school games, a terrible Law & Order SVU episode, Alien Isolation, and Final Fantasy 15. And we do voices.

[Feb. 21, 1960] A birthday treat (A Tale of Two Space Programs)

(02/20/2015 11:27 PM)

Happy birthday to me! In celebration of the second anniversary of my Jack Benny birthday, here's my gift to you: a quick stop press of some recent military space endeavors, with a side of jocular sarcasm. You may remember a certain Dr. Von Braun, formerly of the German Third Reich, lately of the Army Ballistic ...

[Feb. 19, 1960] A missing step

(02/19/2015 9:33 AM)

Hello, all! I'd looked forward to keeping up the three articles per week pace throughout the whole month, but I find myself with a sick family to tend to. A big dose of space news on the 21st (my 39th birthday... or at least the 2nd anniversary thereof) and then the F&SF wrap-up. See you ...

[Feb. 16, 1960] 1 in 4 (February Twilight Zone round-up)

(02/16/2015 9:12 AM)

Unless you're watching the rather dull Men Into Space, the putatively "realistic" tales of astronaut Colonel MacCauley and his lunar mission crew, there isn't a lot of science fiction or fantasy on television. Thank goodness we have Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone to tune into every Friday night. This is a mature show for adults, ...

Video Game Break Podcast - Episode 45

(02/15/2015 7:14 PM)

Brad Gallaway joins Kinsey and Carlos to talk Dying Light, Monster Hunter, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, and Nintendo YouTube business.

[Feb. 14, 1960] A Valentine's Day gift (...In Distress, original fiction)

(02/14/2015 9:53 AM)

Today's post is going to be a change of pace. This column is usually reserved for comments on the work of other persons. Today, you get to see the first publication ever of an original piece. If this is a successful experiment, more may follow. Happy Valentine's Day! -- ...In Distress by Gideon Marcus illustrated ...

[Feb. 12, 1960] Pulling up (Mar. 1960 Astounding)

(02/12/2015 10:12 AM)

It had to happen some day-Astounding has pulled itself out of a nose dive, for now. Last time, I discussed the most excellent serial, Deathworld. Still, a single good serial does not a good issue make. Thankfully, Campbell has at long last, and after a merciless rough patch, delivered a quite readable book. J.T. McIntosh ...

[Feb. 9, 1960] Fighting the World (Harry Harrison's Deathworld)

(02/8/2015 10:26 PM)

Every now and then Astounding (excuse me-"Analog") surprises me. The end of last year saw some of the worst issues of the digest ever, with stories as poor as any that used to populate the legion of now-defunct science fiction pulps. Then along comes Harry Harrison, a brand-new writer, so far as I can tell, ...

Dragon Age Inquisition Spoilercast - VGB Episode 44

(02/8/2015 8:49 PM)

We sit down with Kinsey Burke, John Fitzgerald, and Darcie King to discuss our time with the EPIC Dragon Age Inquisition.

[Feb. 7, 1960] The sports that matter (Discoverer 9 and solar radar)

(02/7/2015 1:01 AM)

The score for this week-Civilian Space Science: 1, USAF Space Science: 0. In the Little Engine That Couldn't department, we have the Air Force's Discoverer project, ostensibly for sending up biological specimens in a returnable capsule, probably for launching recoverable reconnaissance film capsules, actually not much good for anything. The ninth in the series didn't ...

[Feb. 6, 1960] Finding my way (February 1960 Fantasy and Science Fiction)

(02/6/2015 8:28 AM)

Science fiction is my escape. When the drudgery of the real world becomes oppressive, or when I just need a glimpse of a brighter future to make the present more interesting, I turn to my growing collection of magazines and novels to buouy my spirits. I like stories of interstellar adventure filled with interesting settings ...

[Feb. 4, 1960] Nurturing Nature (The First Men, by Howard Fast)

(02/4/2015 9:27 AM)

How do you attract the intelligent fan? Why, appeal to her/his sense of mental superiority, of course. Science fiction magazines do it all the time; The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction is particularly fond of showcasing the brainy cultured notables who have subscriptions. There is some justification to this conceit. After all, science fiction ...

[Feb. 1, 1960] Sand in my shorts (On the Beach movie review)

(02/1/2015 5:24 AM)

With the Hugo nominations already afoot, I felt I could not advisedly give my vote for Best Science Fiction in Media (1959) without giving last year's post-apocalyptic sleeper, On the Beach a watch. It's just now leaving the theaters, so I caught it in the nick of time. I did not take my daughter with ...

Video Game Break Podcast - Episode 43

(01/29/2015 10:00 PM)

Two guests who were on our early version of the podcast come back to talk indie games, virtual reality, games they're working on, what they're playing, and discuss some game news.

[Jan. 28, 1960] But how do you really feel? (February 1960 Astounding)

(01/28/2015 7:01 AM)

I've devoted much ink to lambasting Astounding/Analog editor John Campbell for his attempts to revitalize his magazine, but I've not yet actually talked about the latest (February 1960) issue. Does it continue the digest's trend towards general lousiness? For the most part, yes. Harry Harrison's serial, Deathworld, continues to be excellent (and it will be ...

[Jan. 27, 1960] Hail Mary (Astounding's mid-life crisis)

(01/27/2015 10:34 AM)

Maturity is both a blessing and a curse. With age comes wisdom, knowledge, and respect. But advanced years also bring narrowmindedness and physical decay. Astounding, the eldest of the Big Three (or Four, depending on how you count them) science fiction digests, is having a bit of a mid-life crisis. It is no longer on ...

[Jan. 23, 1960] Of Missiles and Monkeys (Little Joe 1-B and a Soviet ICBM)

(01/23/2015 6:17 AM)

It has been several weeks since either superpower has announced an orbital launch, but space news still manages to fill the front pages of my local newspaper: One story that has been building for several days is the impending (and now historical) launch of a Soviet missile into the Pacific Ocean. To the unitiated, such ...

Video Game Break - Episode 42

(01/22/2015 10:48 PM)

Kinsey Burke and Evie Powell join me to discuss Minecraft, Saints Row IV Re-Elected and Gat Out of Hell, Microsoft news, The Walking Dead, and Hunie Pop.

[Jan. 21, 1960] Siamese, if you please (February 1960 Galaxy, part 2)

(01/20/2015 10:40 PM)

I made fun of Galaxy editor Horace Gold for the slightly panicked tone in this month's editorial. It's clear that he has concerns that the quality of his magazine might dip unless he can tap a reservoir of new talent. That said, the February 1960 Galaxy finishes as it started (and as did its sister, ...

[Jan. 18, 1960] The Winds of Change (Predictions for the 1960s)

(01/18/2015 12:13 AM)

There should be nothing significant about the turn of a decade. After all, years that end in zero are a completely artificial construction. Yet, there is a powerful reductive element to the human psyche that demands that decades be put into descriptive boxes. Perhaps we even shape events to create self-fulfilling prophecies. Thus, the '30s ...

[Jan. 14, 1960] Twin Stars (February 1960 Galaxy)

(01/14/2015 9:27 AM)

Galaxy editor Horace Gold is hard up for writers these days now that he's cut payment rates. In this month's (February 1960) editorial, he notes that he's getting all kinds of low-quality stuff, and would these would-be authors please try reading a scientific journal or two to get better ideas! Be that as it may, ...

[Jan. 12, 1960] Twilight of the 60's (Twilight Zone monthly wrap-up

(01/12/2015 9:35 AM)

I was asked by a dear reader if I had stopped watching The Twilight Zone on Fridays, it having been a month since I last discussed that delightful science fiction/fantasy/horror anthology. Well, fear not. I just like to let four episodes get into the queue before describing them. In fact, if anything the show has ...

[Jan. 08, 1960] Between Peaks (January 1960 If)

(01/8/2015 8:30 AM)

I've finally finished the January 1960 IF and can report fully on its contents. January has been a decidedly uninspiring month for digests. They're all in the 3-star range (though for Astounding, that's actually a good month!) with no knockouts in the bunch. Perhaps this is the calm before the storm. The reliable if stolid ...

[Jan. 5, 1960] Perpendicular to Up (4D Man)

(01/5/2015 8:22 AM)

What is it that separates schlock from the sublime in a science fiction movie? To the nondiscriminating, I suppose they all look the same. The same may go for the discriminating, but for opposite reasons. I know I have very high standards when it comes to my science fiction. This is the price I pay ...

[Jan. 2, 1960] Happy New Year! (January 1960 F&SF)

(01/1/2015 10:34 PM)

Good Lord, is it already 1960? When I started this endeavor in 1958, I had only a vague notion what it would look like and how long it would last. Over the past year 14 months, Galactic Journey has settled into what I hope is a consistent, yet varied, mature column. Moreover, I have suspicion ...

[Dec. 25, 1959] Merry Christmas!

(12/24/2014 11:53 AM)

I'll be taking a week-long break for the holidays, but I will return on January 2nd. Thank you all for reading, and during my hiatus, please feel free to catch up on any older articles you might have missed. Have a wonderful holiday and a Happy New Year! This entry was originally posted at Dreamwidth, ...

[Dec. 22. 1959] Put a finer point on it (Starship Troopers)

(12/21/2014 10:52 PM)

It is common practice for serials published in science fiction digests to get turned into stand-alone novels. Not only does this constitute a nice double-dip for publishers and authors, but it offers the writer a chance to polish her/his work further. Sometimes, the resulting product ends up something of a bloated mess. In the case ...

[Dec. 19, 1959] Like Water for Rockets (The testing of the XLR115)

(12/19/2014 8:59 AM)

In other news, the XLR-115 rocket was successfully tested on December 7, 1959. State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, http://floridamemory.com/items/show/31535 I see you scratch your head. "Is that important?" you wonder. "Aren't rockets tested all the time?" Yes and yes. You all have heard of Newton's Third law, "For Every Action, there is an Equal ...

[Dec. 17, 1959] Same ol' Same ol'? (January 1960 Astounding)

(12/17/2014 10:13 AM)

There are times that I feel I could trot out the same Astounding review every month. It would go something like this: "Editor John Campbell continues to showcase Human-First, psionic stories with young male protagonists and virtually no female characters. The table of contents features Randall Garrett, Robert Silverberg, Poul Anderson, and Murray Leinster. Yet ...

[Dec. 15, 1959] Between Superstition and Knowledge (Twilight Zone 4-week wrap-up)

(12/14/2014 10:26 PM)

This Friday night was a bit of a repeat performance of last week's: another trip to the German delicatessen in Escondido, another beer, another coffee and dessert. This time, I was in the most enjoyable company of my wife, and we had an avid discussion of what it is to be a "fan." A mutual ...

[Dec. 12, 1959] Beeping its last (The end of Vanguard 3)

(12/11/2014 9:59 PM)

Two days ago, there were three active satellites-two Vanguards and one Explorer. Yesterday, there were two: Vanguard 3 has gasped its last beep. For 84 days, the last of the Vanguards circled the Earth, returning data from its solar X-Ray detectors, its magnetometer, and its micrometeoroid sensors from an orbit higher than that of its ...

[Dec. 8, 1959] Best of the Best! (The Galactic Stars Awards, 1959)

(12/8/2014 8:45 AM)

Science fiction is dead. Long live science fiction. Naysayers have been predicting the end of the genre since 1953 when the first post-war boom started to lose momentum. Since then, I've read a lot of science fiction (and fantasy). It's true that a lot of the lesser magazines have folded in the past 6 years, ...

[Dec. 5, 1959] Sam and Joe (The successful launch of Little Joe 2-A)

(12/5/2014 10:45 AM)

I admit it. I splurged last night. I'm not the poorest of people, but I am thrifty. Last night, however, I took a detour on the way home. I ended up at my favorite cafe off Grand Avenue in downtown Escondido. They sell pizza, which I've noticed is becoming as commonplace as burgers these days. ...

[Dec. 02, 1959] The Menace from Earth!

(12/2/2014 9:56 AM)

With only four science fiction digests coming out per month (really three if you count Galaxy and IF as one monthly magazine instead of two bi-monthlies), I often fill my reading time with anthologies and novels. Robert Heinlein has a new anthology of his works out, The Menace from Earth, which largely features stories I ...

[Nov. 28, 1959] Broken nose (Atlas Able and Discoverer 8)

(11/28/2014 2:24 AM)

It's enough to make a fellow cry. There she stood, a proud and lovely Atlas Able booster, with the largest American lunar probe ever built at its tip. Well, perhaps it wasn't so lovely. The Atlas ICBM is impressive enough, with three mighty engines at its base and a hot temper that has resulted in ...

[Nov. 26, 1959] Happy Thanksgiving! (December 1959 Fantasy and Science Fiction)

(11/26/2014 7:46 AM)

Happy Thanksgiving! This season, we have much to be thankful for, but I am particularly thankful that I ended this publishing year on a high note-the December Fantasy and Science Fiction. If anything could get out the taste left by this month's Astounding, particularly the Garrett story, it's F&SF. In this case, the lead novelette, ...

[Nov. 22, 1959] …with a whimper (December 1959 Astounding wrap-up)

(11/22/2014 12:58 AM)

Good morning, dear readers. Based on the incidence of fan mail, it appears you now number nearly half a dozen (unless, of course, it's just you, Laurose, writing in under a number of pseudonyms; if that be the case, I'm still grateful). And now comes the moment you have all been waiting for: my review ...

[Nov. 20, 1959] Despoiler of Astounding Magazine (The Destroyers, by Randall Garrett)

(11/20/2014 9:32 AM)

Here's a short update before I fully review this month's Astounding. Remember my piece on Despoiler of the Golden Empire? Well, good old Randy Garrett is at it again with his historical parables. I kept waiting for the shoe to drop in his lead novella of this ish, The Destroyers, and it did in a ...

[Nov. 17, 1959] Dead Center (December 1959 Galaxy and wargames)

(11/17/2014 8:44 AM)

Hello, fellow travelers! As promised, here's a round-up of this month's Galaxy magazine. Or should I say Galaxy Science Fiction? According to editor Horace Gold (and I somehow missed this), Galaxy was misprinted last month with the old logo and the old price! They really lost their shirt on that issue, sadly. On the other ...

[Nov. 14, 1959] Disappointments and Weirdness (Glenn L. Martin and The Twilight Zone)

(11/14/2014 9:20 AM)

Have no fear, for The Traveler has returned from Orlando safe and sound. My apologies for not submitting this article earlier, but I did not have easy access to a typewriter or my editor while on my vacation. I have come home to my brand new typewriter, however, and it is time to tell you ...

[Nov. 10, 1959] Orlando Oranges and Space Slips

(11/9/2014 11:57 PM)

Greetings from sunny Orlando, Florida! I know what you're thinking: why travel across the country to central Florida, which at first glance has little to offer to the tourist? Firstly, my only first cousin on my father's side lives here with her family. Secondly, Orlando is home to the Martin Marrietta manufacturing plant-and guess who ...

[Nov. 6, 1959] In someone else's skin for a while (December 1959 Galaxy)

(11/6/2014 10:25 AM)

Whenever I read the book review columns by Floyd Gold, Damon Knight, Groff Conklin, etc., or the science articles by Willy Ley and Isaac Asimov, I'm always as fascinated by the little personal details they disclose as the information and opinions they provide. It's a glimpse into their lives that humanizes their viewpoint. Anecdotes make ...

[Nov. 2, 1959] Technical Difficulties II

(11/2/2014 11:32 AM)

Hello, all. My editor is nice enough to let me publish a quick note in lieu of an article. My typewriter has given up the ghost, which has made it prohibitively difficult to submit for the column. I'll have a new one in the next couple of days, after which I promise I shall make ...

[Oct. 30, 1959] Tricks and Treats (November 1959 if Science Fiction

(10/30/2014 9:31 AM)

The new IF Science Fiction magazine, now under the Galaxy aegis, is an odd duck. Not quite a literary book, like F&SF, not an antediluvian throwback like Astounding, and not as polished as its older brother, Galaxy, IF is nevertheless generally a worthy read. I don't think it's just a repository for substandard Galaxy submissions-the ...

[Oct. 24, 1959] Bleah! (November 1959 Astounding–the worst yet!)

(10/24/2014 12:02 PM)

I've found the bottom, and it isn't the Mariana Trench. They say fifty cents won't buy you what it used to, and that's certainly true of Astounding, a science fiction digest. The November issue, which has a hastily pasted price of four bits on its cover (replacing the original 35 cents) is, without a doubt, ...

[Oct. 22, 1959] Fiat Libro! (A Canticle for Leibowitz)

(10/22/2014 9:12 AM)

Walter M. Miller Jr.'s A Canticle for Leibowitz is a melancholy masterpiece. Every so often, a science fiction novel comes around that transcends the genre and gives lie to the assertion that non-mainstream fiction is somehow literarily inferior. When this happens, the field gains a bit of respectability and, hopefully, attracts more great authors to ...

[Oct. 20, 1959] The Twilight Zone and the Far Side (Television and Luna 3)

(10/19/2014 10:46 PM)

Twilight Zone, the new television science fiction/fantasy serial program, continues to be excellent. As a result, Friday night's activities now revolve around ensuring that the family can tune in. Here's a quick recap: Episode 2, One for the Angels features aged sidewalk peddler Lou Bookman, beloved by the neighborhood children. Unfortunately for all concerned, his ...

[Oct. 15, 1959] Space to Grow (Explorer 7 and some naysaying)

(10/15/2014 12:24 PM)

Here's a couple of interesting space news items: Firstly, a new Explorer (#7) has soared into the sky. This one was launched at the tip of the Juno II rocket, the one that sent Pioneer 4 past the Moon and into solar orbit. Whereas Explorer 6 was known as "The Windmill," the quite different Explorer ...

[Oct. 12, 1959] Seattle's finest (GGC, a fairer science fiction convention)

(10/12/2014 10:58 AM)

Seattle really knows how to throw a science fiction convention. I had been saddened that I hadn't gotten to join Bjo Trimble in her caravan across the country to Detention last month. After once again experiencing the joy that is GGC (the acronym was never explained to me), all of my regrets disappeared. I mentioned ...

[Oct. 10, 1959] Middle Ground (Nov. 1959 Fantasy and Science Fiction)

(10/10/2014 2:26 PM)

It's going to be a dreary month, if October's selection of digests is any indication. Of course, my mood isn't buoyed by the fact that I must compose this article in long-hand. I hate writing (as opposed to typing; and typing on an electric is sheer bliss). On the other hand, I'm the one who ...

[Oct. 8, 1959] Shooting Stars (Heinlein's Starship Soldier)

(10/7/2014 11:03 PM)

Robert Heinlein newest short novel is out, and my feelings toward it are much mixed. If you have a subscription to The Magazine of Science Fiction and Fantasy (FASF), you've no doubt read Heinlein's Starship Soldier, by turns a coming-of-age story, a depiction of boot camp life, and a clearing house for Heinlein's unique socio-poltical ...

[Oct. 6, 1959] Shooting the Moon's backside (The flight of Luna 3, first part)

(10/6/2014 9:02 AM)

The Soviets have done it again, reaching yet another milestone in space exploration before the Americans. This time, the goal was the Moon's far side, which had never been seen before. The reason for this is that the Moon is tidally locked in its orbit around the Earth such that it cannot rotate (much as ...

[Oct. 3, 1959] Entering the Twilight Zone (Twilight Zone's first episode)

(10/3/2014 8:10 AM)

It never ceases to amaze me how far technology can progress in such a short time. Think about it: a thousand years ago, the pace of history was pretty placid. Sure, there was plenty of turbulence in the span of a life, from war to plague to famine, but the background of civilization (or lack ...

[Sep. 29, 1959] Watch the birdie! (First photo of the Earth from orbit)

(09/29/2014 9:10 AM)

For more than a month and a half, Explorer 6 has been a busy bee, happily conducting the most advanced science in orbit to date thanks to its highly eccentric orbit, taking it several thousand miles above the surface of the Earth, and its battery of sophisticated instruments. What has this intrepid little fellow reaped ...

[Sep. 26, 1959] Coda with mathematics (October 1959 Astounding)

(09/25/2014 10:50 PM)

Ah, the beginning of a new month. A stack of magazines fresh off the newstand and in the mail. An average of 30.4166 days of reading pleasure (mostly) to look forward to. But I haven't read them yet. Does that mean I've nothing to discuss? Of course not. We've still got to do the numbers! ...

[Sep. 24, 1959] Cruising at the bottom (October 1959 Astounding)

(09/24/2014 10:21 AM)

I had planned on breaking up the rest of this month's (October 1959) Astounding into two parts, but seeing how there are only four pieces of fiction, albeit long ones, I've decided to give it all to you in one blow. Chris Anvil continues to put out the most mediocre stuff imaginable. These are the ...

[Sep. 19, 1959] Anchors Aweigh! (The Navy's Transit and Vanguard launches)

(09/19/2014 11:21 AM)

A bit of a stop press on the Space Race as I wade through this months Astounding, which I unwisely saved for last. You should never eat dessert first... Have you ever noticed how a train's whistle seems to rise in pitch as the locomotive approaches and then the pitch lowers as the train departs? ...

[Sep. 17, 1959] A hike and a flight (Oct. 1959 Astounding and two Space Races)

(09/17/2014 10:55 PM)

The big news this week is Astounding is raising its price from 35 cents to four bits. It's a big jump, but I'm sure it's a necessary move given that Galaxy and F&SF also cost 50 cents (though IF is still at 35 cents). It is significant that I have nibbled around the edges of ...

Hello world!

(09/16/2014 10:32 AM)

Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!

[Sep. 15, 1959] Bullseye!  Second Lunik hits the moon.

(09/15/2014 9:29 AM)

The Soviets have accomplished another space first, striking the moon with a probe yesterday, September 14, 1959, after a speedy day-and-a-half flight. To all accounts, the mission payload was identical to Mechta, which sailed past the moon in January. I'm still not sure whether we're to call the thing Mecha, Lunik, or Luna, but no ...

[Sep. 12, 1959] Best of the Best (October 1959 Fantasy and Science Fiction, second part)

(09/12/2014 12:22 PM)

Statistics are (is?) fun. There is a simple joy to compiling data and finding patterns. Since the beginning of the publishing year, i.e. issues with a January cover date, I have been rating stories and magazine issues in aggregate. This is partly to help me remember the stories in times to come and also to ...

[Sep. 9, 1959] WorldCon Report! [Detention, the 17th WorldCon]

(09/8/2014 10:05 AM)

Twenty years ago, something lovely happened. Two hundred science fiction and fantasy fans got together in New York City and had what was (I believe) the first convention of their genre: Worldcon. It has been an annual Labor Day tradition ever since, with the exception of the war years, from 1942-45. It travels from city ...

[Sep. 5, 1959] The Best (October 1959 Fantasy and Science Fiction; 1st part)

(09/5/2014 11:43 AM)

Not too long ago, I lambasted the September 1959 issue of Astounding as the worst science fiction magazine I'd read in a long while. This is not to say that it's the worst of the bunch-I'm sure there are plenty of issues of B and C-level mags that constitute the nadir of written science fiction, ...

[Sep. 3, 1959] Out the other side (September 1959 IF Worlds of Science Fiction, Part 2)

(09/3/2014 9:41 AM)

We left off on a cliff-hanger of sorts, half-way through my review of the second issue of IF under Gold and Pohl's management. In brief, it ends as it began: with a strong start and a fairly middlin' finish. Gordy Dickson is back to form with Homecoming, a quite nice novelette about a fellow running ...

The third leg of the nuclear triad (The new Polaris sub-launched missile; 9-01-1959)

(09/1/2014 2:26 AM)

Let me tell you the story of a missile, one that should make us (ironically) a bit safer. Wehrner von Braun and his German team of scientists in Alabama developed a short-ranged nuclear missile called the Redstone back in 1953. It was an evolution of the wartime V-2. Then his team created the Jupiter intermediate-ranged ...

One IF by land… (September 1959 IF; 8-29-1959)

(08/29/2014 12:27 PM)

September is almost over, and it's not even the end of August. Confused? It's standard practice to date magazines with the month that they are to be taken off the shelves. Thus, I got all of my September 1959 issues in late June. I also got my October Galaxy around then, too, but that's because ...

On handling the data (October 1959 Astounding coda; 8-27-1959)

(08/27/2014 12:08 PM)

Addendum: I almost forgot to report the Analytical Laboratory numbers for this month (reader reviews covering the June 1959 issue)! Per the lab, the breakdown was as follows: Dorsai Part II by Gordy Dickson: 1.81 Transfusion by Chad Oliver: 2.14 Cat and Mouse by Ralph Williams: 2.35 All Day September by Roger Kuykendall: 4.10 Unborn ...

A real turkey (October 1959 Astounding; 8-27-1959)

(08/27/2014 7:50 AM)

When last we left off with the September 1959 Astounding, things were looking awfully bleak. The star-o-meter stood at a limp 2 stars, and I had poor hopes of raising the needle. I am happy to report that things got better. Well, "happy" is too strong a word. I can honestly say that the quality ...

What happened to 1-6? (The 7th Voyage of Sinbad; 8-25-1959)

(08/25/2014 9:22 AM)

Some movies are made with a huge budget and are expected to be big blockbusters. Others are made on a shoestring and have much more variable luck. I've taken a chance on a lot of "B-Movies" simply because their subject matter included science fiction and or fantasy topics. I'm happy to announce that the lastest ...

Big and Little Booms (Discoverer VI and Little Joe 1; 8-22-1959)

(08/21/2014 11:32 PM)

You certainly can't fault the Air Force for lacking persistence. The flyboys launched yet another in the ill-fated Discoverer series on the 19th. This was the sixth time a "biological specimen" capsule was sent up for the purpose of catching it when it came back down, not that the Air Force has put anything living ...

The Worst (September 1959 Astounding; 8-20-1959)

(08/20/2014 11:56 AM)

People seem to enjoy extremes. The first to do this. The best at doing that. The most exciting. The brightest. The darkest. If you're wondering why I failed to write on schedule, day-before-yesterday, it's because I was wrestling with the worst. Specifically, the worst magazine I've had to trudge through since I began this project ...

Trifecta (Discoverer V; Beacon 2; Titan failures; 8-15-1959)

(08/15/2014 12:42 PM)

The Air Force launched the fifth in its Discoverer series on August 13. Like the last one, there were no passengers on-board (though the recovery capsule was bigger this time around). Unlike the last flight, this one actually made it into polar orbit after its early afternoon launch from the deserts of California. The second ...

Momentum stalled (October 1959 Galaxy; 8-13-1959)

(08/13/2014 9:25 AM)

I really enjoy the broadness of Galaxy's 196-page format. It allows for novellas and novelets, which is a story size I've come to prefer. F&SF has lots of stories per issue, too, but they tend to be very short. Astounding likes serials, which can be fine if they're good, but dreary if they're not. I ...

The momentum of quality (October 1959 Galaxy, first part; 8-11-1959)

(08/11/2014 8:05 AM)

Last year, Galaxy moved to a bi-monthly format. Coincident with that was a drop in writer rates per word. I had had concerns that there would be a corresponding drop in quality. Thankfully, this year's issues have been of consistently high quality. All pictures by Dick Francis Moreover, Galaxy really isn't a bi-monthly anymore. Inside ...

Earthbound Pioneer (Explorer VI; 8-08-1959)

(08/7/2014 11:22 PM)

We are now in the second phase of the Space Race. Decades from now, people will debate over the exact date of the turning point. Some will argue that it started when countries started sending rockets to the moon, leaving the shackles of Earth's orbit. Others will say that spaceflight didn't leave its infancy until ...

East meets West (September 1959 Fantasy and Science Fiction, second half; 8-04-1959)

(08/4/2014 10:33 AM)

A thousand pardons for my lateness. It is partly to blame on mundane matters taking precedence, and partly to blame on my magazines showing up late this month. Perhaps laziness is also a factor. It's languidly warm this Summer. We left off half-way through this month's Fantasy and Science Fiction. Fifth in the line-up is ...

Dreams of Summer (September 1959 Fantasy and Science Fiction, first half; 7-28-1959)

(07/28/2014 11:42 PM)

Hello, all. I'd meant to report on the newest issue of IF, but the fershlugginer thing hasn't arrived yet. My Fantasy and Science Fiction is in my hot little hands, however, and it is off to a strong start. Fasten your seatbelts! The cover is quite lovely, and in fact, it is available for purchase ...

Loveliest of Bodies (Venus, 7-25-1959)

(07/25/2014 9:58 AM)

from Timothy Gleason Ishtar, Aphrodite, Venus-whatever you call it, the brightest of star-like objects in the sky has mesmerized humans for the entirety of recorded history, and likely beyond. It was among the first subjects of telescopic study, and you can bet it will be the first planetary target for space probes. It is astonishing ...

Exploring the ground (7-22-1959)

(07/22/2014 11:19 PM)

Just a quick stop-press today while I wait for the new magazines to come in. Apparently, NASA tried another satellite launch last week on the 16th. A Juno II rocket, which is a modified Jupiter Intermediate Ranged Ballistic Missile, had the latest in the Explorer series installed at its tip. Weighing 42 kilograms (that's 92.4 ...

Flawed jewel(s) (August 1959 Astounding, last part; 7-21-1959)

(07/21/2014 9:31 AM)

Before I finish my review of the August 1959 Astounding, let's look at the issue's "Analytical Laboratory" and what the readers thought of the May 1959 ish (and compare it to my findings). Interestingly enough, no story got higher than a 3.00, which means the readers had trouble picking a favorite. That indicates a good ...

Bad History Repeats (August 1959 Astounding, second part; 7-18-1959)

(07/18/2014 11:44 AM)

All right, all right. There is no putting off at least an initial review of this month's Astounding. Actually, I'm more than half done, but I covered The Aliens earlier, so there was much reading to do to have anything of substance to report. Randall Garrett's Dead Giveaway literally put me to sleep several times ...

They sure make kids old these days… (Teenagers from Outer Space; 7-16-1959)

(07/16/2014 1:04 PM)

I know I promised the dope on the latest Astounding, but it took me several sittings to get through the Garrett. Like children at a Passover, I kept falling asleep. Had I known there would be another Chandler Rim story after the Garrett, I might have persevered more strenuously. Ah well. Instead, I took my ...

Space Dogs and opportunity costs (7-14-1959)

(07/14/2014 7:27 AM)

It's another flight for Otvazhnaya, the daring Space Dog, in another zoological journey. This time Otvazhnaya was joined by a different dog from last time (named "Pearl," or the Russian equivalent thereof) as well as a bunny, whose name I do not yet know. The flight, which took place on July 10, appears to have ...

Kookie Aliens (August 1959 Astounding, first part)

(07/11/2014 11:49 AM)

I'm a bit of an etymology nut, so when I recently heard the hit song, "Kookie, Kookie (Lend me your Comb)," I became intrigued by the provenance of the final lyric, "Baby, you're the ginchiest." Turning to my Dictionary of American Slang, I found that ginch was 30s slang for a woman, a rather unflattering ...

Space Bunnies! (July 9, 1959)

(07/9/2014 9:03 AM)

It's time for a Space Race update! I hear mixed cheers and groans. Well, it takes all kinds to make a column... The Soviets have launched a rocket into space, apparently on a sub-orbital path using an equivalent to our Jupiter IRBM, with several living passengers. They are the dogs, Otvazhnaya and Sznezinka, as well ...

IF Returns! (July 1959 IF; 7-07-1959)

(07/7/2014 10:11 AM)

There is a certain perverse joy to statistics. Think of the folks who spend hours every week compiling baseball scores, hit averages, etc. It's a way to find a pattern to the universe, I suppose. To date, I've sort of off-handedly rated issues on a 1 to 5 star scale. Last weekend, I went through ...

Cats, IF, and Yankee Doodle (7-04-1959)

(07/4/2014 10:32 AM)

If you have a cat, you know what impediments to constructive activity they can be. Perhaps you're purposefully striding to your next chore; the cat will rub up against you or flop on the floor in a coy manner, and you will have no choice but to stop and give it a good petting. Maybe ...

The Bomb, the Clock, and the Devil (August 1959 Fantasy and Science Fiction; 7-02-1959)

(07/2/2014 10:22 AM)

In this month's F&SF editorial, editor Doug Mills reports that he's gotten a number of complaints regarding the oversaturation of stories in the post-apocalyptic, time travel, and deal-with-the-Devil genre. Mr. Mills' response was that any genre can be oversaturated, but quality will always be quality, and F&SF will publish quality stories in whatever genre it ...

I am Cyrus, King of the World (August 1959 Fantasy and Science Fiction, 1st half; 6-30-1959)

(06/30/2014 9:48 AM)

For most people, the beginning of the month coincides with the 1st (or, as my late father might say, the "oneth"-i.e., May the "oneth" followed by May the "tooth"). For me, and doubtless for most of my science fiction loving sistren and brethren, the month starts around the 26th, which is when the science fiction ...

Two for two (Vanguard and Discoverer failures; 6-26-1959)

(06/26/2014 9:51 AM)

It's another Space Race update from The Traveler! A Vanguard went up on the 22nd, but I decided to hold off on writing a column as I knew a Discoverer was set to launch on the 25th. I'm afraid I've got a double-whammy of disappointment for my good readers. This new Vanguard had two thermistors ...

Less than astounding…  (July 1959 Astounding; 6-23-1959)

(06/23/2014 10:12 AM)

I suppose it was too much to hope for two good issues of Astounding in a row. The magazine that Campbell built is back to its standard level of quality, which is to say the bar is not very high. Still, I read the stories so you don't have to (if you don't want), so ...

Cardboard hero for hire (Dorsai!;6-18-1959)

(06/18/2014 10:21 AM)

by Von Dongen Gordy Dickson's newest novel, serialized in the last three Astoundings, has already created a stir in the community. Dorsai! is the tale of Donal Graeme, youngest member of a mercenary family from a planet of mercenaries, who starts at the bottom and works his way into the most senior military post in ...

The World, The Flesh and the Devil (6-16-1959)

(06/16/2014 10:06 AM)

I wasn't sure what to expect going in to see The World, The Flesh and the Devil. All I knew was that it was a doomsday flick, and that it starred the incomparable Calypso crooner, Harry Belafonte. Let me tell you, it is one excellent movie. It's really a three-act piece. In Act 1, Ralph ...

Starting strong (July 1959 Fantasy and Science Fiction;6-13-1959)

(06/13/2014 9:12 AM)

It's those haunting, evocatively written F&SF stories that keep me a regular subscriber. July's issue opens with Robert F. Young's To Fell a Tree, about the murder (mercy killing?) of the tallest tree imaginable, and the dryad that lived within. It'll stay with you long after you turn the last page, this sad, but not ...

Big Man ($100 contest; 5-11-1959)

(06/11/2014 11:31 AM)

Want to make a quick $100? Fantasy & Science Fiction is running a contest this month (July 1959) related to one of the stories in the latest issue. Of course, I immediately turned to page 87 to read the story. Success Story is the tale in question, and it's by a fellow whose work I'd ...

The Dregs (August 1959 Galaxy; 6-09-1959)

(06/9/2014 12:42 AM)

Writing a column is 50% inspiration and 50% deadline. Normally, I get pleny of ideas for articles from the fiction I read, the movies I watch, the news I hear. But sometimes, nothing seems to spark that desire to put fingertips to typewriter, and I wrack my brain trying to thing of something interesting to ...

Four blind mice (Discoverer III;6-04-1959)

(06/4/2014 10:49 AM)

It's a bad time to be an experimental animal, if there ever was (or will be) a good one. The Air Force launched Discoverer III last night with a payload of four plump black mice. As you know, if you read the papers or my column, Discoverer is a satellite program for shooting missions into ...

The pen is mighty painful (August 1959 Galaxy, Part 1; 6-02-1959

(06/2/2014 9:35 AM)

Just what is this world coming to? Reading this month's edition of Galaxy, it was hammered home just how far our linguistic standards have fallen. Have you ever read a letter from the last century? Even the prose from the most humble of fellows is lyric and articulate. And while the published fiction might sometimes ...

Something new (June 1959 Astounding; 5-28-1959)

(05/28/2014 10:40 AM)

One of the main reasons I read science fiction is to see something truly new. I don't just want to see a view of the future-I want to see a brand new culture, or a completely alien creature, or an innovative take on psionics. Only science fiction (and fantasy) really can do this, and even ...

Let's do the numbers (June 1959 Astounding; 5-23-1959)

(05/23/2014 9:45 AM)

I'm about half-done with this month's Astounding, but since that half largely comprises the second third of Dorsai!, and because I don't want to give anything away before it's complete, there's not much fiction on which to report today. But that doesn't mean I'm out of material... Four months ago, I wrote about Astoundings unique ...

Approaching midnight (Alas, Babylon; 5-21-1959)

(05/21/2014 9:57 AM)

Two years ago, the Soviet Union demonstrated the ability to lob an H-bomb across the globe. Overnight, it was clear that anywhere on the planet could be destroyed with just 15 minutes' notice, if that. This year, the United States will base Thor and Jupiter IRBMs in Europe within range of the Soviet Union, and ...

The Walking Dead! (Invisible Invaders; 5-19-1959)

(05/19/2014 9:55 AM)

What could be better than a trip to the movies? A trip to a good movie, I suppose. Well, beggars can't be choosers. A few days ago, my daughter and I went out for what has become a routine treat: a night flick at the drive-in. We arrived too late for the main feature, but ...

The shape of things to come!  Part 2 (New rockets; May 17, 1959)

(05/17/2014 1:36 AM)

My cup runneth over! When I started this column, I had worried that the increasing paucity of new science fiction would mean I'd run out of things to write about. Now, here we are seven months later, and I have a back-log of items on which to report. I suppose I shall just have to ...

No hands, ma! (5-16-1959)

(05/16/2014 12:41 PM)

Like a doofus, I washed two of my left-handed braces without washing my rights. I can't type long without them, so tonight's update will have to wait until tomorrow. Sorry, folks! Instead, I shall saunter to the drive-in with my daughter. Maybe I'll catch a late-night sci fi flick to write about... This entry was ...

Farewell, older brother (June 1959 Fantasy & Science Fiction;5-14-1959)

(05/14/2014 10:46 AM)

We live in such exciting times that it's no wonder science fiction is flourishing. It seems not a month goes by without some kind of space shot, and yet we're still perhaps years away from the first manned orbit (not to mention a lunar jaunt). Science fiction lets us see the headlines of tomorrow long ...

The shape of things to come! (New rockets; May 12, 1959)

(05/12/2014 10:10 AM)

I had planned to write about science fiction today, but then I found an article by Homer Newell, Assistant Director of Space Sciences at NASA, talking about the new stable of rocket boosters about to come into use. So, it's time for the science-fiction-into-fact column! For the first year of the Space Race, the United ...

A break from it all (June 1959 F&SF, first half; 5-09-1959)

(05/9/2014 1:54 PM)

by Erich Lessig It's been heavy reading following the papers these days what with the Communist siege of Berlin seemingly without end. These potential flashpoints between East and West get more frightening every day, particularly as both sides perfect methods of delivering atomic weapons across the globe. Thankfully, I can rely on my monthly installment ...

Over the Mountain, Across the Sea (The City in the Sea;5-07-1959)

(05/7/2014 10:32 AM)

Every so often, I find a piece of fiction so compelling that I hate to give away too much about it for fear of spoiling the experience. Going through my stack of Galaxy novels, the ones I picked up cheaply not too long ago, I came upon The City in the Sea, by Wilson Tucker, ...

The Funny Papers (Tales to Astonish and Tales of Suspense; 5-05-1959)

(05/5/2014 11:46 AM)

What?! The Traveler is reduced to buying comic books? The same fellow who reads Fantasy & Science Fiction, like so many prominent intellectuals do? Surely you jest! Well, I couldn't resist. I pass these lurid covers at the grocery every week, and I decided it was time to plunk down two bits and see what ...

What is IT?! (IT! The Terror from Beyond Space; 5-02-1959)

(05/2/2014 1:46 PM)

Last week afforded my daughter and I another sci-fi movie night, and you, dear readers, get to hear all about it. The mini-traveler was keen on trying out the new Drive-In, so I took the Chevy to the outskirts of town and pulled in between the screens. To my surprise, it seemed most of the ...

Last of the old-time Satellites (May 1959 Satellite; 4-28-1959)

(04/29/2014 11:24 AM)

It's another one of those bittersweet months, much like when I discovered IF only to see it die. This month's Satellite (the best in science fiction) is a fair bit better than last month's issue, which makes the magazine's fate all the more tragic. But we'll talk about that at the end. The lead tale, ...

Bewitched, bothered and bewildered (May 1959 Astounding, second part; 4-24-1959)

(04/24/2014 12:02 PM)

Sorry about the wait, friends, but I promise to make it up to you. I had a lovely night at the drive-in that precluded my fingers hitting the typewriter keys, but I'll have movies to discuss in short order as a result. In the meantime, let's wrap up this month's Astounding. shall we? After all, ...

With a grain of salt… (May 1959 Astounding, first half; 4-21-1959)

(04/21/2014 10:28 AM)

The penultimate magazine offering this month, at least that has made it into my house for review, is Astounding. As always, my bar is pretty low with that mag, though last month's issue made me dare to hope. In fact, I'm not quite sure how I feel about the May issue. This may come out ...

Gone fishin'!

(04/17/2014 11:02 PM)

Hello, everyone. I'd intended to stretch my review of this month's Galaxy to cover two articles. Instead, I only had an article's worth of material. As a result, the weekend has come, and I have little to say! So I'll be back on April 21st with my thoughts on the new Astounding, which I'm zipping ...

Earth: 0, Space: 3 (Atlas, Discoverer, and Vanguard; 4-16-1959)

(04/16/2014 10:51 AM)

It's been an exciting though disappointing week in the world of space exploits. Here is a summary of what you've missed if you haven't been following the papers: DISCOVERER 2 SOARS INTO ORBIT; LAYS EGG NO ONE CAN FIND The Air Force launched another Discoverer on April 13. After 17 orbits, the satellite ejected a ...

Double-size equals Double-good (June 1959 Galaxy, second part; 4-14-1959)

(04/14/2014 10:43 AM)

There's been big news in the space world over the weekend, but I want to talk about it next time so I can see how things shake out. Thus, without further ado, I move onto the rest of the extra-thick Galaxy June 1959. Avram Davidson is a bit of a writing fiend-it seems I find ...

Whatever Counts (June 1959 Galaxy;,First Part; 4-11-1959)

(04/11/2014 10:04 AM)

I mentioned last week that Satellite no longer prints full-length novels between its covers anymore. It looks like that role is now going to Galaxy, which, in its new, 196-page format, can accommodate longer works more comfortably. In short order, it looks like Galaxy will specialize in two-part serials, responding to reader requests for same. ...

Lucky Seven! (The Mercury astronauts; 4-09-1959)

(04/9/2014 10:22 AM)

The results are in! NASA has picked its first seven astronauts, dubbed "The Mercury Seven" since they will be flying the new one-man spacecraft when it debuts for piloted missions, perhaps next year. The newspaper mistakenly described them as "GI"s the other day, but they are, in fact the best of the best American military ...

Star Dim.. (May 1959 Fantasy & Science Fiction, second part; 4-07-1959)

(04/7/2014 10:34 AM)

How scary is a truly dark night sky? In Asimov's Nightfall, a certain planet's orbital situation ensures that there is always a sun overhead. On the rare occasion that all of the nearby stars align on the opposite side of the planet, the planet's population is consumed with hysteria. I suppose it's a justifiable extrapolation ...

Diverting fare (May 1959 Fantasy & Science Fiction; 4-03-1959)

(04/3/2014 12:28 PM)

There are months when The Magazine of Fantasy AND Science Fiction is filled with sublime stuff. Then there are months when F&SF is just mildly diverting. This is looking to be one of those months. Things could be worse, of course. Editor Robert Mills opens things up by asking if we'd like longer short stories ...

Too close to home? (I Married a Monster from Outer Space; 3-31-1959)

(03/31/2014 10:20 AM)

Remember how I went to the flicks to see a double feature of science-fiction horror the other day? The follow-up to The Blob was I Married a Monster from Outer Space. You would think that, with a title like that, this was the B-movie stinker of the bunch. As it turns out, while definitely having ...

Earthbound Satellite (April 1959 Satellite; 3-29-1959)

(03/29/2014 3:30 AM)

by Ray Pioch And now for something a bit different. Back in '56, famed pulp editor, Leo Margulies, launched Satellite, a bi-monthly science fiction digest with the gimmick that it contained a full-length short novel as well as a few short stories. I always had a soft spot for that mag. One of my favorite ...

Kaboom! (Project Argus; 3-26-1959)

(03/26/2014 8:35 AM)

This is what happens when you let scientists play with toys. Apparently, last summer, the Air Force detonated three atomic bombs high above the South Atlantic... just to see what would happen! That's actually a little too glib. Dr. N.C. Cristofilos, of the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory, has always wanted to trace the lines of magnetic ...

Space Opera Redux! (The Alien, Galaxy Novel No. 6; 3-24-1959)

(03/24/2014 9:57 AM)

Sorry for the long delay, folks! It's not for lack of things to talk about, that's for sure. As you know, I am an avid fan of Galaxy (formerly Galaxy Science Fiction-retitled, perhaps, for those embarrassed to be science fiction buffs). I recently discovered that Galaxy, in addition to publishing a monthly (now bi-monthly) digest, ...

Anderson breaks the mold! (April 1959 Astounding; 3-18-1959)

(03/18/2014 12:40 PM)

Good gravy! Two good Andersons in a row? This month's Astounding opens with Wherever you are, by "Winston P. Sanders." If it wasn't the swashbuckling yet science-adoring prose, it was the heroine protagonist's name and ethnicity (Ulrica Ormstad-couldn't get more Swedish!) that suggested Mr. Sanders might well be the well-known nordic science fiction writer, Poul ...

Beware the Blob! (The Blob; 3-15-1959)

(03/15/2014 4:40 AM)

Hello, again, dear readers. As you know, I had planned to write an article for this column yesterday, but I was unable to do so because I'd misplaced my wrist braces. Manual typewriters have very stiff keys, and composition is difficult without braces (shall I take up a collection for a lovely electric?) Adversity always ...

Whoops! (3-14-1959)

(03/14/2014 12:05 PM)

Sorry, everyone! I can't find my wrist braces, so typing is out of the question tonight. I will be back on the 16th! The Traveller This entry was originally posted at Dreamwidth, where it has comments. Please comment here or there.

A Free Gift! (The Pirates of Ersatz; 3-12-1959)

(03/12/2014 11:11 AM)

And now, my gentle readers, a free gift. As you know, I am well-acquainted with Mr. Murray Leinster, science fiction writer extraordinaire. His newest novel, The Pirates of Ersatz has just finished its serial run in this month's Astounding, and the nice fellow has given me permission to distribute it freely amongst my readers. That's ...

Fire from the Sky (March 1959 Fantasy & Science Fiction; 3-10-1959)

(03/10/2014 10:43 AM)

Last time on this station, I informed all of you that Part 2 of this (last) month's Fantasy & Science Fiction review would have to wait since I'd wanted to get through the Poul Anderson novelette before reporting. Well, I'm glad I did. Damn that Anderson, anyway. How dare he write a good story! Now ...

Where's my script? (F&SF Part... um... Pioneer IV update!; 3-08-1959)

(03/8/2014 12:58 AM)

Isn't it frustrating when you try to tune into your favorite program and hear nothing but static? Sorry folks! I'd planned to give you Part 2 of this (last) month's F&SF. Well, the last third of the issue is taken up by a Poul Anderson novelette, and I know I won't be able to devote ...

Second chances (March 1959 Fantasy & Science Fiction; 3-6-1959)

(03/6/2014 1:39 AM)

I promised a book review today, but then I misplaced my book. Life is like that. So, for your reading pleasure, I instead offer my meanderings through the March 1959 Fantasy & Science Fiction (you know, the one I was supposed to have done last month instead of the prematurely secured April issue). As with ...

We're Number Two! (Pioneer IV; 3-04-1959)

(03/4/2014 1:48 AM)

In any nascent endeavor, it is human nature to trumpet even the most modest of achievements. Sure, Pioneer I didn't make it to the moon, but it went pretty high and confirmed the Van Allen Belts. Sure, Vanguard I was the size of a grapefruit, but it taught us that the Earth is pear-shaped. In ...

Fool's Satellite (Discoverer 1; 3-02-1959)

(03/2/2014 2:03 AM)

Something went into orbit on the 28th. Maybe. Normally, I herald each new space launch with strident fanfare. After all, when Vanguard or Explorer go up, it's big news and everybody knows about it. But the Air Force's announced launch of "Discoverer" on February 28 has that same sort of strangeness and after-the-fact quality I've ...

Five Tomorrows (Nine Tomorrows, second half; 2-28-1959)

(02/27/2014 11:53 PM)

And here we are with Part Two of our journey through Isaac Asimov's latest opus, the anthology Nine Tomorrows! One of my readers made the observation recently that if Asimov has a flavor, it's "light vanilla." It's not outstanding, but neither is it objectionable. I think that's an astute observation (though I really like vanilla, ...

Four Tomorrows (Nine Tomorrows, first half; 2-26-1959)

(02/25/2014 11:14 PM)

For twenty years, Isaac Asimov (spelled with an "s") has been a name synonymous with science fiction. Quite recently, Asimov has been making a name for himself as a science fact writer a la Willy Ley. It's a natural transition, I think, so long as you can swing it. Thus far, I've preferred Asimov's defunct ...

Odds and Ends (April 1959 Fantasy & Science Fiction; 2-24-1959)

(02/24/2014 1:02 AM)

A bit of a grab bag today as I finish off the odds and ends before the new (diminishing) crop of magazines comes in. Firstly, the sad news regarding Vanguard II has been confirmed: the wobbly little beachball has got the orbitum tremens and is unable to focus its cameras on Mother Earth. So much ...

A study in contrasts (April 1959 Fantasy & Science Fiction, Part 2; 2-22-1959)

(02/22/2014 1:42 AM)

Happy birthday to me! I entered my fifth decade of life yesterday; I hope middle age will be kind to me. This month's F&SF certainly has been. I have an interesting mix of stories about which to relate. It has often been said that, to be a good writer, one must be an avid reader. ...

Flowers for Algernon (April 1959 Fantasy & Science Fiction; 2-20-1959)

(02/20/2014 8:07 AM)

Wow. The April 1959 Fantasy & Science Fiction opens with a bang. The lead novella, Flowers for Algernon, is destined to go down as a classic, I'm sure. But first, a quick detour to Asimov's column for the week. The old polymath (older than me-I don't turn 40 until tomorrow!) has been on a gloom ...

Vanguard does it again! (Vanguard II; 2-18-1959)

(02/18/2014 2:36 AM)

At long last, the Vanguard team has launched the satellite it had always wanted to. Vanguard II soared into orbit atop its 3-stage launcher yesterday joining four other satellites (three American, one Soviet) around the Earth. It is expected to orbit for the next 300 years. The Navy and NASA have been trying for almost ...

Technical Difficulties (2-16-1959)

(02/16/2014 1:47 AM)

(Due to an acute flare-up of tendonitis, the next update will be on February 18th, 1959. Thanks for your patience!) This entry was originally posted at Dreamwidth, where it has comments. Please comment here or there.

The shoe drops.. (March 1959 Astounding wrap-up; 2-14-1959)

(02/13/2014 11:39 PM)

Now that you've all read Despoilers of the Golden Empire, I imagine you'll want to know my thoughts. I feel as if I waited an inordinate amount of time for the shoe to drop only to be hit in the ear with a wet sock. As I read Garrett's piece, I kept thinking to myself, ...

A challenge to you (Despoiler of the Golden Empire; 2-12-1959)

(02/11/2014 11:49 PM)

Today's article is going to be quite brief, not because I don't have much to say, but because I want your input, and saying anything about the topic at hand will spoil it. Suffice it to say, I have schlepped the March 1959 Astounding with me to Hawai'i in back (and the paper, as I ...

The first toehold (Project Mercury: 2-10-1959)

(02/9/2014 11:35 PM)

For a little over a year, both Superpowers have lobbed unmanned payloads of various (generally increasing) sizes into orbit. But the real question in the public's mind is when either side is going to get around to sending a person into orbit. After all, things that go beep-beep are all very well, but can a ...

Interstellar eavesdroppers (April 1959 Galaxy wrap up; 2-08-1959)

(02/8/2014 2:37 AM)

Since the second decade of this century, humanity has been indiscrimately pouring out a star's worth of electromagnetic waves. First with radio and now television, there is a sphere of information heading out to the stars at the speed of light that has already passed Arcturus, Capella, and is just now reaching Alderamin. Imagine what ...

The City of Force (April 1959 Galaxy; 2-06-1959)

(02/5/2014 11:51 PM)

If you are a devout follower of my column, you know that I love First Contact stories. From Arthur C. Clarke to William Tenn, I love a good yarn about the meeting of two races. Lucky for me, Daniel Galouye (a fairly seasoned writer from Louisiana), has delivered a solid, if not outstanding, addition to ...

When the music died (2-03-1959)

(02/4/2014 12:52 AM)

The music died yesterday. When I started reading science fiction back in 1950, we were in what I called a "music blight." The bouncy swing tunes of the war years had gone overripe. Schmaltzy ballads and crooning filled the airwaves. For a while, I didn't even bother to turn the radio on, so sure was ...

Ol' Reliable (April 1959 Galaxy, First Part; 2-02-1959)

(02/2/2014 1:10 AM)

Reading Galaxy is like coming home. Galaxy is the only science fiction magazine that I have bought consistently since its inception. For nine years, I have read every story, enjoyed every Willy Ley article, perused every Bookshelf column, reviewed every Gold editorial. There are some who say that Galaxy's heyday was the first half of ...

What IF (the bad news; 1-31-1959)

(01/31/2014 12:28 AM)

Wow! I do declare, the February 1959 IF really is something else. Not a stinker in the book, and some truly excellent stuff. If if had always been like this, I think it would have dislodged Astounding and jostled its way into the top tier of science fiction digests. Without further ado... The other day, ...

IF only… The Good News (1-29-1959)

(01/29/2014 1:14 AM)

Wrapping up my tour of Kaua'i, here are some pictures I took on the south shore estate of Robert Allerton, whose hospitality is as tremendous as his philanthropy (science fiction-related stuff to follow). For this installment, I've got something a little different. It's also the good news half of a good/bad news combination. If is ...

F&SF-for the Right kind of people (February 1959 wrap-up; 1-27-1959)

(01/27/2014 2:03 AM)

Do you know who reads The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction? Clifton Fadiman, writer, editor, judge of the Book-of-the-Month Club does. It supplies him his "special escape-reading...the finest the field has to offer in the way of short fiction." Spring Byington, famous star of the Broadway Stage does. It improves the imagination, she says. ...

On the Beach! (February 1959 Fantasy and Science Fiction, Part 2; 1-25-1959)

(01/25/2014 1:10 AM)

Aloha from America's prettiest territory. Kaua'i is particularly pretty, and one of the less-developed islands. Just last year, the hit musical South Pacific was filmed here, and I've gotten to see its location, the lovely town of Hanalei. Yet such is my devotion to all five of my fans (up 25% over last month!) that ...

The Mixed Men by A. E. Van Vogt (1-23-1959)

(01/23/2014 12:50 PM)

The best-laid plans of mice and men... So here I am on a DC-7C turbo-prop headed for the emerald isle of Kaua'i. A full week of lying out on the beach with nothing but my family, my typewriter, and a large backlog of books and magazines. I had intended to write, today, about the rest ...

First Impressions (February 1959 Fantasy and Science Fiction;1-21-1959)

(01/21/2014 12:20 AM)

The February 1959 Fantasy and Science Fiction has left me with a variety of impressions, so I preemptively beg your pardon for the scattered nature of this piece. Firstly, the cover. It's a pretty Emswhiller, for certain, but "Under Jupiter's Red Spot"? It has been some 250 years since anyone last thought that the Red ...

Par for the course (February 1959 Astounding; 1-19-1959)

(01/19/2014 12:57 AM)

It is still truly a man's world, at least between the covers of Astounding magazine. I recognize that we live in a culture where men aren't allowed to take cooking or shorthand classes (these are women's topics, after all), but I'd like to think that science fiction writers are more progressive. Perhaps I'm the one ...

Send the Marines! (1-17-1959)

(01/16/2014 11:42 PM)

It's time for a little timely flag-waving. Last year, around the time I started this column, Operation Blue Bat wrapped up. It was one of our better moments, foreign policy-wise. Who'd even heard of Lebanon before 1958? But when that country came to the brink of civil war in the aftermath of the Iraqi revolution, ...

Tabulating the data (February 1959 Astounding; 1-15-1959)

(01/14/2014 10:21 PM)

It's Astounding time again! One thing I like about Astounding is that editor John Campbell publishes the results of his reader surveys in the magazine's "Analytical Laboratory." Thus, he (and we) can all see what the reading faithful think of the prior issue's stories. Of course, while the technique can be good at better-pleasing your ...

Interlude.. with picture (1-14-1959)

(01/14/2014 6:06 AM)

A timely message. Is Eisenhower taking the Space Race seriously? Is anyone? From the NEA Service, Inc., run in today's paper. (Confused? Click here for an explanation as to what's really going on) This entry was originally posted at Dreamwidth, where it has comments. Please comment here or there.

"Doctor, Merchant" (Murray Leinster and the February 1959 Astounding; 1-13-1959)

(01/13/2014 12:44 AM)

Have you heard of Murray Leinster? Of course you have, though he also writes under "William F. Jenkins," which happens to be his real name. Leinster/Jenkins is one of the few authors with a shot at the title of "Dean of Science Fiction." He's one of the old guard-a veteran of World War One, the ...

After midnight (43,000 Years Later; 1-11-1959)

(01/11/2014 2:58 AM)

It has been two minutes to midnight since 1953. According to the Federation of Atomic Scientists, we have been teetering at the brink of nuclear destruction since the Soviets detonated their first H-Bomb. Now that both East and West have demonstrated the ability to launch, without warning and without possibility of resistance, H-bomb-carrying missiles from ...

My aching (egg)head (January 1959 F&SF, second half; 1-09-1959)

(01/9/2014 2:37 AM)

I tried. I really tried. When last we left off, I had saved Fritz Leiber's The Silver Eggheads for last. It comprises a good third of the January F&SF, and I thought it would be worth an article all to itself. I suppose it does, at that, but not the way I had thought. For ...

Moon Maidens (Missile to the Moon; 1-07-1959)

(01/7/2014 12:08 AM)

Seeing how the moon has been front and center in the headlines and in this column for the past week, I thought it a good idea to round out things with a movie about a trip to Earth's celestial neighbor. As my faithful reader(s) know, I spare no expense when it comes to securing only ...

A near miss? (Dream in flight; 1-05-1959)

(01/5/2014 1:47 AM)

For those of you waiting on tenterhooks, here is the news: Mechta, a.k.a. Dream a.k.a. Lunik has soared past the moon. Skimming just 4,700 miles over the surface of the Earth's celestial neighbor, Mechta has become the first artificial object to escape Earth's gravity and enter solar orbit, where it will remain for the foreseeable ...

Red Moon? (The launch of Mechta; 1-03-59)

(01/3/2014 7:20 AM)

Bet on the Russians to throw us a curve. Last month, I crowed that America had won the Space Race in 1958 with the launching of Score, the first communications satellite, and of the mildly successful Pioneer series. Well, the Soviets apparently just wanted to give us a false feeling of security, because they have ...

Ring in the New Year!  (January 1959 Fantasy and Science Fiction; 1-01-59)

(01/1/2014 2:24 AM)

Happy New Year! 1959 promises to be stellar in all senses of the word. My apologies for the hiatus. Those of you who are familiar with manual typewriters know the strain pressing down on those keys can have on your hand muscles. I am fairly drooling over the idea of trading in my Smith Corona ...

Holiday Break (12-26-1958)

(12/26/2013 2:28 AM)

Galactic Journey will be on hiatus until the New Year. Thank you to everyone for reading, and stay tuned for new posts in 1959! This entry was originally posted at Dreamwidth, where it has comments. Please comment here or there.

Dreaming of a White Christmas (12-24-1958)

(12/24/2013 1:10 AM)

Are you dreaming of a White Christmas? I know I am. San Diego has beige Christmases at best. If we want snow, we have to head for the mountains or manufacture the stuff. That said, a growing consensus of scientists is concerned that White Christmases may become a rarity for everyone, not just the privileged ...

America SCORES! (12-22-1958)

(12/22/2013 12:40 AM)

Unless the Soviets can pull a rabbit out of their hat, it looks like the United States will come out the winner in the Space Race for 1958. It was only a matter of time before we finally used our Atlas rocket, the nation's first Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM), to launch a satellite. With the ...

If we're not alone, will we be lonely? (12-20-1958)

(12/20/2013 12:54 AM)

Are we alone in the universe? That's a question that has been asked with greater frequency and intensity recently, corresponding with Humanity's first faltering steps into outer space. Are we about to enter an interstellar community? If you ask me, the answer is "no." The time scales involved are just too immense. Allow me to ...

Brrrr!  IGY wrap-up (12-18-1958)

(12/18/2013 12:53 AM)

Last time, I talked about some of the wonders of the International Geophysical Year. The term is a bit of a misnomer-it has actually lasted some 18 months, and the dividends from its successes will be paid out for many years to come. For those who don't know, the "IGY" is actually the third event ...

February 1959 Galaxy Wrap-up (12-16-1958)

(12/16/2013 3:15 AM)

At long last, the February 1959 Galaxy is done, and I can give my assessment of the new bi-monthly format. It is likely that this issue was composed of material the editor, Mr. Gold, had accumulated before the decision to reduce the number of annual issues. Therefore, the real proof of the pudding will happen ...

Fact and Fiction (February 1959 Galaxy, Part 2; 12-14-1958)

(12/14/2013 4:29 AM)

For your reading pleasure today, a piece in two parts. First a bit on fiction, and then a bit on the other stuff. Plowing on through the new maxi-sized Galaxy, the first story after Installment Plan is a slight bit of atmospheric by Charles A. Stearns called Pastoral Affair. If you've read the Wells classic, ...

The Incomplete Enchanter (12-12-1958)

(12/12/2013 12:44 AM)

It occurs to me that it has been a long time since I've given anything unreserved praise. Moreover, it's been a while since I've reported on anything really fun. To that end, I recently picked up and re-read my well-thumbed copy of The Incomplete Enchanter by L. Sprague de Camp and Fletcher Pratt. Sprague is ...

The way it is (February 1959 Galaxy, Part 1; 12-10-1958)

(12/10/2013 2:44 AM)

December is here, and San Diego is feeling the uncommonly cold bite of near-winter weather. Why, temperatures barely make it into the upper 60s around noon-time. I'm not sure how we manage. My subscription copy of F&SF never arrived. I may have to pick it up at the newsstand, if there are any left. Luckily, ...

Oops, Part 4 (12-08-1958)

(12/8/2013 5:05 AM)

Well, at least we're consistent. The past few months, the newspapers have run headline after headline describing America's failures in trying to shoot the Moon. The Air Force had the first at-bat with its three Pioneers. #0 blew up so early that it wasn't even dignified with a name. #1 limped about halfway to the ...

Killing Time (Robert Sheckley's Timekiller; 12-06-1958)

(12/6/2013 12:45 AM)

Regular readers of this column know that I am unreserved in my praise of Robert Sheckley. Since bursting on the scene early this decade, he and his alter-ego, Finn O'Donnovan, have graced the pages of Astounding and Galaxy and probably more magazines. If you haven't read his three short-story anthologies, you need to plunk down ...

What's in a name? (12-4-1958)

(12/4/2013 1:58 AM)

I'm still waiting for my January F&SF to show up, so here's another topical scientific post. Just call me Willy Ley's poor cousin. The space stories in today's newspapers are filled with a mixture of alphabet soup and Roman mythology. Keeping track of what's what can be a headache. For instance, there has been a ...

Less is More; Rocket Clusters in Science Fiction (12-02-1958)

(12/1/2013 7:02 PM)

Science advances rapidly, and with it, our visions of the future. People have been dreaming about traveling to outer space for thousands of years, and their dreams have necessarily been based on extrapolations of the time. For instance, when Daedalus and Icarus made their flights, they used bird-like wings. What else was there? When Jules ...

To the Moon (Alice?); Wrap-up of January 1959 Astounding and more (11-30-1958)

(11/30/2013 2:48 AM)

I promised a wrap-up of this month's Astounding, so here it is. "Study in Still Life," by Astounding's resident satirist, Eric Frank Russell. It is a 20-page depiction of governmental bureaucracy whose only connection (I should say connexion; Russell is British) with science fiction is its having been printed in a science fiction magazine. I'm ...

January 1959 Astounding (2nd of 3 parts; 11-28-58)

(11/28/2013 12:48 AM)

Happy (day after) Thanksgiving from sunny San Diego! Sorry for the delay, but the travails of travel put a crimp in my bi-daily update schedule. I am now happily back at the typewriter and ready to tell you all about.... The January 1959 Astounding was particularly lackluster. Filled with turgid tales of men running world ...

Predicting the Future (hand-waves, Astounding, smoking, and women; 11-25-1958)

(11/25/2013 7:48 AM)

Writing good science fiction is hard. Writing good anything is hard, but science fiction multiplies the complexity. Science fiction requires a writer to project the effect that a scientific development will have on society. Moreover, the writer must portray this future society plausibly, which means distinguishing it from our current culture by extrapolating/inventing new mores ...

Running the Rim of Japan; January 1959 Astounding (11-23-1958)

(11/23/2013 8:44 AM)

Editors are often capricious creatures. Depending on the busyness of their schedules, they will one month wax poetic on some topic, and the next, they will give their columns short shrift. Forgive me, but this is going to be a brief column. "Why?" you ask. The answer is simple. Travel between cities in Japan is ...

Beyond this Horizon (11-21-1958)

(11/20/2013 8:25 PM)

The traveling circus has moved to Osaka, Japan's second metropolis. It's a grubby, earthy place, with a colorful dialect and brasher manners. For an American, it's actually kind of refreshing; the formality is less forced. Like Tokyo, the city is alive with new construction and industry. In contrast to cities back home, which have infrastructure ...

Pilgrimage to Earth (11-19-1958)

(11/19/2013 6:47 AM)

There is nothing that satisfies like a good collection of short stories. And there is nobody who consistently releases good collections of short stories like Robert Sheckley. A fellow lanzmann, Bob Sheckley emerged onto the science fiction magazine scene early in this decade, and he has elevated the standards of every digest for which he's ...

Godzilla raids.  Again.  (11-17-1958)

(11/17/2013 7:10 AM)

Greetings from Nagoya, Japan! This industrial city emerged from the Second World War a drab and gray place with little of the charm of the new Tokyo. Still, it is not without its attractions. For instance, Nagoya castle is a national treasure dating back to the warring fiefs period of Japan; it is the legendary ...

Astoundingly bad (11-15-1958)

(11/15/2013 7:12 AM)

I'm willing to concede that we (currently) live in a "man's world." Men make up most of the protagonists and characters in science fiction, and the vast majority of science fiction authors are men. This month's Astounding does not buck this trend-virtually every story has no, or at best a token, female presence. I suppose ...

The short flight of Pioneer II (11-13-1958)

(11/13/2013 7:08 AM)

Sometimes the third time isn't the charm. On November 8, NASA (read: The Air Force), sent the third of its "Pioneers" toward the moon. For those following the topic, the first one, launched in August, exploded. The second one, launched last month, strayed from its intended course and made it just halfway to its destination. ...

Gojira (Godzilla) 1954 (11-11-1958)

(11/11/2013 7:43 AM)

Greetings from the Orient! More specifically, hello from the Shinjuku area of Tokyo, Japan. It is hard to believe that, just thirteen years ago, the ward that is now Shinjuku had been virtually destroyed by American bombs. Shinjuku today is a bustling commercial and transport hub with a giant train station and every imaginable kind ...

Farmer in the Sky (11-09-1958)

(11/9/2013 8:32 AM)

When I started this column, I had not expected this to turn into a travelogue. Given that I do much of my reading on a plane heading somewhere glamorous and exciting, I suppose it can't be helped. I hope you can all bear with me. Northwest Orient, a Seattle-based airline, has been filling the air ...

December 1958: Astounding (1st half) 11-08-1958

(11/8/2013 2:23 AM)

With December's Galaxy and F&SF done and reviewed, I now turn to the last of the Big Three: Astounding. The elephant in this magazine is, of course, the second half of Poul Anderson's dreary short novel, "Bicycle Built for Brew." It lurks at the end of the magazine like an oncoming train at the end ...

December 1958 F&SF, 2nd half (11-05-1958)

(11/6/2013 5:22 AM)

Boy, am I glad I read from front to back this time! As my faithful readers (should that be plural?) know, the first half of this month's Fantasy & Science Fiction was pretty lackluster stuff. It turns out I was mistaken about Tony Boucher's story-it was not a new one, but some old thing from ...

Decmber 1958 F&SF, 1st half (11-03-1958)

(11/3/2013 4:22 AM)

I'm afraid this month's Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction (F&SF) thus far has been a bit of a let-down. I recognize that this sister magazine to Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine has a reputation to uphold as the most "literary" of the Big Three science fiction digests (a lofty standing it shares with Galaxy and ...

Things to Come (10-31-1958)

(10/31/2013 7:08 AM)

These are exciting times we live in. The drop in published science fiction is (almost) made up for by the increase in space-related articles in my newspaper. I read an Associated Press piece yesterday that I thought was particularly interesting: "NEW YORK (AP) Colonies of Earthmen will occupy the Moon, Mars and Venus. Rockets will ...

Wrapping up the December 1958 Galaxy (10-30-58)

(10/30/2013 3:21 AM)

On a walk down the block on a warm autumn afternoon, I finished the rest of the December 1958 Galaxy. I'd worked my way backward from the end, as I'd wanted to finish the next installment of "Time Killer." Thus, I got to the lead novella, "Join Now" by Finn O'Donovan, last. Both the name ...

Make Room!  Make Room! (Musings on overpopulation; 10-29-58)

(10/29/2013 5:27 AM)

The December 1958 Galaxy came in the mail on the 26th, and I've read about half of it. Willy Ley's column, on the amazing alien world beneath the surface of the sea, is fascinating stuff. The third part (of four) of Sheckley's Time Killer is engaging, though not in the same class as most of ...

A Disturbing Sign (10-27-1958)

(10/27/2013 3:18 AM)

Uh oh. I received my December 1958 Galaxy magazine in the mail yesterday. I have a very set pattern when I read my Galaxies: I start with the editorial, move on to Willy Ley's science column ("For Your Information"), finish any serial novels in process, and then enjoy the rest. I was in for a ...

X Minus One!  (10-26-1958)

(10/26/2013 12:48 AM)

"X minus 5...4...3...2...X minus 1... Fire. From the far horizons of the unknown come transcribed tales of new dimensions in time and space. These are stories of the future adventures, in which you'll live in a million could-be years on a thousand maybe-worlds. The National Broadcasting Company, in cooperation with Galaxy Science Fiction magazine, presents: ...

Amazing? November 1958 (10-25-1958)

(10/24/2013 11:45 PM)

When Galaxy came out in 1950, the old pulp magazines were still doing reasonably well, though they were clearly on the decline. Galaxy editor Horace L. Gold put out a one-page ad on the back of the first issue making fun of the Space Westerns that had typified the pulps since the 20's and promising ...

Astounding Science Fiction, November 1958 (10-24-1958)

(10/24/2013 12:40 AM)

And now, the moment you've all been waiting for: An actual review of an actual science fiction magazine! NOVEMBER 1958, ASTOUNDING SCIENCE FICTION I usually save Astounding for last among my subscriptions. I have mixed feelings about this magazine. On the one hand, it is physically of the lowest quality compared to its competitors (F&SF ...

Childhood's End (10-22-1958)

(10/22/2013 12:04 AM)

Arthur C. Clarke has been a household name for a long time: The "ABCs of science fiction", Asimov, Bester and Clarke (or Asimov, Bradbury and Clarke, if you're so inclined, and I'm generally not) is a cliché. Yet, up to now, aside from a few random stories in lesser magazines, I'd read nothing by the ...

One year after Sputnik (10-21-1958)

(10/21/2013 10:40 AM)

On October 4, 1957, the world was stunned by the beep-beep of the first artificial satellite. Well, maybe stunned is the wrong word, because anyone following the papers throughout the summer saw that the Soviets had announced quite candidly that they had planned to do so. It didn't take long for good ol' American know-how, ...

October 21, 1958

(10/21/2013 9:50 AM)

I became an avid science fiction fan in February 1954 (about four and a half years ago). At the time, science fiction digests were multiplying, and business seemed to be booming. Even then, however, there was doom-saying about how the genre had already begun to die. Apparently, from an explosion that started in 1949 with ...

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