Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Story of the Flash Gordon Movie Serials - 99 Cent eBook - 24 Posters and Stills

"ROCKETING TO THE rescue, Flash Gordon and his friends hurtle straight into the beam of a fiendish ray-gun and are blown out of the skies! And meanwhile, beautiful young Dale Arden, eyes wide, bosom heaving, cringes at the approach of lascivious King Vultan and his shaggy pet, Urso."

This cliffhanger perhaps best exemplifies what sets the "Flash Gordon" serials apart from other motion picture serials of the day: a raw, obvious, healthy (and unhealthy) sex appeal. One of the aspects that drives all three serials is Ming's lust for 'the Earthwoman" Dale Arden (and in fact, in the first serial, it seems every petty king on Mongo has the hots for pretty Dale). In fact everyone in these serials is "hot" from pretty boy with muscles, Buster Crabbe (Flash Gordon), the ravishing Jean Rogers (Dale Arden), brainy and muscular Frank Shannon (Dr. Zarkov), and that embodiment of evil incarnate Charles Middleton (Emperor Ming).
Flash Gordon, released by Universal Pictures in the spring of 1936, was a tremendously popular production and a huge financial success for the studio. Filled with glitzy special effects, costumes, props, masterpieces of monster and alien makeup, like the hawkmen and mudpeople, and over the top scripting, it continues to win new followers every day, more than three-quarters of a century later. 

Now Charles Lee Jackson II, Hollywood historian, former columnist for FILMFAX, and publisher of Extra Added Attractions magazine, who currently conducts a college-level course  in Ephemeral Cinema, in the Southern California area, tells the whole engrossing story of the making of this B-Movie classic.

This unique ebook edition features more than two dozen posters and stills from this now legendary series of filmic cliffhangers. 


RANDALL GARRETT'S REVIEWS IN VERSE: #1 Isaac Asimov's "Caves of Steel"

RANDALL GARRETT'S REVIEWS IN VERSE: #1 Isaac Asimov's "Caves of Steel"

(First published The Original Science Fiction Stories March 1956, copyright not renewed. Illustrated by Garrett himself.)
Many people today may not be aware of this brilliant, but short, series of parodies in verse that this undeservedly forgotten author penned in the mid-fifties.
(Warning, plot spoilers!)
In the future, when the towns are caves of steel 
Clear from Boston, Massachusetts, to Mobile,
There's a cop, Elijah Baley, who's the hero of this tale. He 
       Has a Spacer robot helper named Daneel.

For it seems that there's some guys from Outer Space 
(They're descendants of the Terran human race),
And all over Terra's globe, it seems they're giving jobs to robots, 
      Which are hated by the people they replace.
Issue cover.
So a certain Spacer, Sarton, gets rubbed out,
And the Chief says to Elijah: "Be a scout;
Go and find out just whodunit, and, although it won't be fun, it 
      Will result in your promotion, without doubt!"

The assignment puts Elijah on the spot. 
He must do the job up right; if he does not,
It not only will disgrace him, but the robot will replace him
If the robot is the first to solve the plot.

In the city, there's a riot at a store.
R. Daneel jumps on a counter, and before
Baley knows it, pulls his blaster. Then he bellows: "I'm the master
Here, so stop it, or I'll blow you off the floor!"

So the riot's busted up before it starts,
And Elijah's wounded ego really smarts.
"Well," he says, "you quelled that riot, but a robot wouldn't try it!
Dan, I think you've got a screw loose in your parts!"

Baley doesn't see how R. Daneel could draw
Out his blaster, for the First Robotic Law
Says: "No robot may, through action or inaction, harm a fraction
Of a whisker on a human being's jaw."

Since Daneel, the robot, has a human face,
And he looks exactly like the guy from space
Who has been assassinated, Mr. Baley's quite elated,
For he's positive he's solved the murder case!

"The Commissioner," he says, "has been misled,
'Cause there hasn't been a murder! No one's dead!
Why you did it, I don't know, but I don't think you are a robot!
I am certain you are Sarton, sir, instead!"

"Why, that's rather silly, partner," says Daneel,
"And I'm awful sorry that's the way you feel."
Then, by peeling back his skin, he shows Elijah that, within, he
Is constructed almost totally of steel!

Well, of course, this gives Elijah quite a shock.
So he thinks the whole thing over, taking stock
Of the clues in their relation to the total situation,
Then he goes and calls a special robot doc.

Says Elijah Baley: "Dr. Gerrigel,
This here murder case is just about to jell!
And to bust it open wide, I'll prove this robot's homicidal!
Look him over, doc, and see if you can tell."

So the doctor gives Daneel a thorough test 
While the robot sits there, calmly self-possessed.
After close examination, "His First Law's in operation,"
Says the doctor, "You can set your mind at rest."

That leaves Baley feeling somewhat like a jerk,
But Daneel is very difficult to irk;
He just says: "We can't stand still, or we will never find the killer.
Come on, partner, let us buckle down to work."

Now the plot begins to thicken—as it should;
It's the thickening in plots that makes 'em good.
The Police Chiefs robot, Sammy, gives himself the double whammy,
And the reason for it isn't understood.

The Commissioner says: "Baley, you're to blame! 
Robot Sammy burned his brain out, and I claim
That, from every single clue, it looks as though you made him do it!"
Baley hollers: "No, I didn't! It's a frame!"

Then he says: "Commish, I think that you're the heel
Who's the nasty little villain in this deal!
And I'll tell you to your face, I really think you killed the Spacer,
'Cause you thought he was the robot, R. Daneel!"

The Commissioner breaks down and mumbles: "Yes—
I'm the guy who did it, Baley—I confess!"
Baley says: "I knew in time you would confess this awful crime. You
Understand, of course, you're in an awful mess!"

The Commissioner keels over on the floor.
When he wakes up, R. Daneel says: "We're not sore;
Since the crime was accidental, we'll be merciful and gentle.
Go," he says in solemn tones, "and sin no more!"

Then says Baley to the robot, with a grin:
"It was nice of you to overlook his sin.
As a friend, I wouldn't trade you! By the Asimov who made you,
You're a better man than I am, Hunka Tin!"

Monday, August 11, 2014


Ever the gentleman, Isaac Asimov moved beyond a pair of quite unfair reviews written 1955 issues of Imagination: Science Fiction and Fantasy by engineer and fiction writer Henry Bott. Reviews that must have been as painful as they were hyperbolic. After responding heatedly in an earlier issue, Asimov offers the friendly hand of peace in the April 1955 issue, which Bott and his publisher, William Hamling, having generated tons of free publicity in the science fiction world via these provocative reviews, accept with every show of the same gentlemanliness.  
Asimov's letter of conciliation appeared in the Editorial column, bookened by Hamling's comments:

Last month we presented an open letter by our book reviewer, Henry Bott, in reply to
an article by Isaac Asimov, in which Isaac took issue with Bott's reviews in Madge. We offered Mr. Asimov an opportunity to reply this month, if he so chose. He did. Forthwith, Isaac Asimov's open letter to Imagination

It seems that Henry Bott annoyed me with some of the things he said about me in his reviews which I thought were unfair and uncalled for. It seems also that I have annoyed him with some of the things I said in return. Well, that sort of thing can go on forever without much profit to anyone.
Instead I would like to return a soft answer. In fact, I would like to praise Henry Bott and point out that despite my own sour thoughts about him, he can indeed write a fair review. I am not too proud or stubborn to admit I was wrong in that respect and to apologize for that.
To make my point clearer, I would like to specify the review I mean and point out just why I think it is fair and decent.
On page 122 of the February 1955 issue of IMAGINATION, Mr. Bott reviews a book called LUCKY STARR AND THE OCEANS OF VENUS, by one Paul French.
Now Mr. Bott is not so crazy-wild about the book. He doesn't give it a rave review. He explains that in his opinion it is a juvenile which is suitable only for beginners in the field. He also expresses the thought that the book is not as good as juveniles written by authors such as Heinlein.
Still, despite this, he is careful to point out that he thinks it "is far superior to the comic strip science fiction        pattern," that it"is entertainment in its way and it won't upset anyone." He also says that Paul French shows "inventiveness and a richness of imagination," and that "he could produce a superior piece of work if he could pay more attention to detail."
I am sure that Mr. French, on reading this review ,would feel quite good about the kind words and would feel no rancor at. all about the eminently fair criticism. In fact, I am sure he would say that he does his best to make his juveniles as good as Mr. Heinlein's, and that perhaps he will improve as he. continues to try. He would also ask Mr. Bott to feel free—if he ever has the time—to give' him examples of just where he has fallen short in matters of detail. Mr. French would explain that he learned a great deal from helpful reviewers and editors in the past and hopes to continue learning in the future.
I am positive that Mr. French would say all this. The reason I am positive is that Paul French and Isaac Asimov) are the same person.
I feel certain that Mr. Bott knew this rather open secret and, under the circumstances, his review is all the more kind and fair.
I am very happy that Mr. Bott does not dislike my work quite as much as he himself seemed to think he did in last month's editorial. I certainly find that I, myself, do not dislike his work quite as much as I had thought I did.
I shall continue to write as well as I can and I feel sure that Mr.

Bott will continue to review books in this excellent combination of calmness and dignity, even when he doesn't like the book.
—Isaac Asimov

We're pleased to publish this conciliatory letter, with the knowledge that peace now
reigns among all
concerned. To give credit where it is due, Henry Bott, of course knew that Paul French. was an Asimov nom de plume. Matter of fact, we (blushingly admitted) I edited out a paragraph of the review containing a reference to this fact, because the review had to fit an allotted space. At any rate, it's nice to know that Hank's fairly favorable review spread enough balm into Gilead to still the troubled waters. See you next month.

This concludes our reprise of this incident from science fiction history.

 For off-trail science fiction, fantasy and horror 
- visit our website at https://futurespasteditions.com

Friday, August 8, 2014


Now available at Amazon.com is The Best of Amazing Stories: The 1926 Anthology, the first of a year-by-year showcase of the best fiction selected from the publication's storied history. 
   The 1926 selection presents work by such distinguished practitioners of the craft as multiple Hugo Award winner Murray Leinster, Gernsback Award winners H. G. Wells, Curt Siodmak, G. Peyton Wertenbaker and A. Hyatt Verrill, the controversial Austin Hall, and others. 
   Stories include: "The Man from the Atom," "The Eggs from Lake Tanganyika," "The Runaway Skyscraper," "Whispering Ether," "In the Abyss," "Through the Crater's Rim," and other classic tales.
   Also contains all the original magazine illustrations.

The Best of Amazing Stories: The 1926 Anthology

    Forthcoming under the Amazing Stories Classics imprint are The Best of Amazing Stories: 1927, and reprints of two widely acclaimed classics, far ahead of their time, from the 1930s Amazing Stories Quarterlies: Seeds of Life, After 12,000 Years, and Away from the Here and Now—a collection of stories by Clare Winger Harris, the first woman to sell a story to a science fiction magazine.

 Distributed by
An Amazing Stories Classics publication