Monday, August 27, 2012

A Martian Odyssey by Stanley G. Weinbaum

I've not been having much luck reading decent science fiction short stories these days. So I thought I'd visit the masters for a little while.

Not long ago I discovered a collection of vintage SF called The Science Fiction Hall of Fame at my local used book store.  (The Wee Book Inn)This first story was published in Wonder Stories July, 1934.  Think of it - 1934 - the world then was a scary, scary mess, and this guy Weinbaum writes a very convincing story of discovery on Mars.  The story is very plausible given the knowledge of the day.  In it, a group of scientists are listening to the adventures of one of their team members as he tells the story of how he survived a crash landing and his subsequent discovery of indigenous Martian life.

This was a very well told story and has been reprinted dozens of times and is still available today.  It's well worth trying to find the story and reading it in the context of 1934.


Here is a list of 10 things that stood out for me from the history of that year.
  
Alcatraz becomes a prison.

The 10 year German-Polish Non-Aggression Pact is signed by Germany and the Second Polish Republic.

John Dillinger, Baby Face Nelson and their gang rob the First National Bank in Mason City, Iowa.

Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker kill 2 young highway patrolmen near Grapevine, Texas.

Dust Bowl: A strong 2-day dust storm removes massive amounts of Great Plains topsoil in one of the worst dust storms of the Dust Bowl.

New Deal: U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the Securities Exchange Act into law, establishing the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Outside Chicago's Biograph Theatre, "Public Enemy No. 1" John Dillinger is mortally wounded by FBI agents.

Adolf Hitler becomes Führer of Germany, becoming head of state as well as Chancellor.

Charles Arthur "Pretty Boy" Floyd is shot and killed by FBI agents near East Liverpool, Ohio.

Persia becomes Iran.

Highlights of 1934 selected from the Wikipedia page HERE

Wikipedia page about Stanley G. Weinbaum is HERE

Book is still in print with new covers and size HERE

Download or read online from Project Gutenberg HERE





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