Friday, January 11, 2013

Forgotten Magazines: The Original Science Fiction Stories (11/55) & Double-Action Detective and Mystery Stories (3/59)

 Both these magazines were edited by Robert A. W. Lowndes, and both were Columbia Publications.  I'm guessing nobody's having any difficulty in figuring out why I chose these two for today's little commentary.  I've had the November 1955 issue of The Original Science Fiction Stories for quite a while now, and I like Kelly Freas cover a lot.  So when I saw the March 1959 issue of Double-Action Detective and Mystery Stories on eBay with the same cover, I couldn't resist.

What I discovered after reading the stories that the cover illustrates is that it seems (to me) to fit better with the Calvin M. Knox (Robert Silverberg) story in the later magazine than with the Simak tale in the earlier one.

Now about that Simak tale.  "Full Cycle" reads to me like an excerpt from a novel.  It's about a reorganization of society that takes place after some event involving nomies and stuffys, but we never learn what that event is or who those two groups are.  If it is indeed part of a novel, it's one I haven't read (or don't remember; maybe someone who's reading this does).  The protagonist is a history professor who's let go by the university because there's no need for him anymore.  No more money, no more students.  He believes there must be a need for someone like him in the brave new world of tribal nomads, but it takes him a while to find out what it is.  The story's told in Simak's typical low-key style, one I admire greatly.

The Silverberg story is about book collectors, and it has some amusing comments about them.  Someone's killing the owners of the extremely rare ("four copies in this country") Doomsday Book.  The gimmick in the story is old hat by now, but it probably seemed fresher when the story was published.  That doesn't really matter; it's the stuff about book collectors that makes the story fun.

4 comments:

George said...

I've seen the cover on the SF magazine, but not the cover on the detective/mystery magazine. It's sad that most of these magazines are gone...

Jerry House said...

I don't think "Full Cycle" was ever written into a novel. It was, however, included in the three-story collection WORLDS WITHOUT END (Belmont, 1964).

Bill Crider said...

I'd like to know the story behind it. It might not have been intended as part of a novel at all, but it sure seemed that way to me.

Todd Mason said...

Meanwhile, the "Knox" was probably written on commission around the "recycled" cover.

Up there with the cover shared by GAMMA and MIKE SHAYNE MYSTERY MAGAZINE some years later. That probably didn't happen *that* often, particularly between magazines with presumed differing audiences.