Thursday, May 07, 2009

A Little Intelligence -- Robert Silverberg & Randall Garrett

When I was a kid, I loved science fiction.  (I still do, but not in the same way.)  I read all the digest magazines in the middle to late '50s, but, as I've probably said before here, I gravitated to the lower-end ones, the ones that published a lot of adventure stuff.  I ran across the name Robert Randall there, just as I did in Astounding, and even at the time I knew that the name was a combination of the first names of Robert Silverberg and Randall Garrett.  I even knew that they were writing under many other names as well and that they were rumored to have written every story in at least one issue of some magazine or other.  I just didn't know what the other names were.  Now I do, and some of those names, Clyde Mitchell, for example, along with Robert Randall, are in this great short story collection from Crippen & Landru.  The stories appeared in Amazing, Fantastic, Future, and Science Fiction Quarterly, among my youthful favorites not only for their stories but for their covers (maybe you can see why from the cover I've used).  Many of the stories seem pretty bad on rereading now, but the ones by Silverberg and Garrett generally hold up very well.  

The seven stories in A Little Intelligence are all mysteries as well as science fiction.  A couple of them feature a Roman Catholic priest as the detective.  These were aimed at Anthony Boucher at F&SF but didn't make the cut.  They're still well worth your time, as are all the stories in this entertaining collection.  Silverberg's excellent introduction is just as entertaining, not to mention historically important.  Great stuff, and highly recommended.


George said...

I have it on order. It's great to read those old stories that had a "sense of wonder."

Todd Mason said...

In the year or so that I read every word of every fiction magazine I could get my hands on, the digest-sized fiction magazine field had concentrated (if not quite as far as it has since) to a rather more limited range of not-bad to pretty damned good magazines (F&SF! SHORT STORY INTERNATIONAL! AHMM!), with the collapsing GALAXY and the last year of the Renown MIKE SHAYNE MYSTERY MAGAZINE being the most disappointing magazines in the field (once FAR WEST disappeared), and they not terrible (until Hank Stine decided that the way to save GALAXY was to feature all imitation-STAR WARS fiction), and FANTASTIC so good, if spotty (largely because ciruclation-challenged), that a respected librarian's reference guide was calling tha magazine essential...this year would be 1978-1979 (the guide having been published in 1978 and reviewing the previous three years or so of the fantasy magazine). And while HEAVY METAL already existed on the newsstands to outstrip (in at least two senses) the digests' illustrations, Stephen Fabian, Janet Aulisio and some of their colleagues were still capapble of concentrating particularly the adolescent mind (at least that which appreciated the female form...I vaguely recall there were well-rendered male figures in those illustrations, somewhere, I guess).

Anonymous said...

Good book.