UNKNOWN WORLDS OF SCIENCE FICTION SPECIAL

“Interrupted Journey”
By Roy Thomas

An editorial on why the magazine was being cancelled. The sales were good and it was not losing money but not enough to keep it going. So they still had some stuff done for the series and convinced Stan Lee to release this final special double sized issue.

“A Martian Odyssey”
Writer: Don Glut adapted from story by Stanley Weinbaum
Artist: Yandoc

An astronaut on Mars has a crash landing. He finds a Martian that looks like an ostrich man and save him from a plant like creature. The two become friends and find some odd creature that poops bricks and makes pyramids out of it. They run into some walking jugs that are running a big geared machine that does nothing except crush some of the walking jugs. When the astronaut finds a stone that has curative powers the jugs attack. He manages to escape and be rescued.

“The Last Horizon: A Conversation with Theodore Sturgeon”
Interview by Alan Bennert

In the interview they talk about how being labeled as a SF author has hurt his chances to sell non SF books. His experience with writing for books and plays and his collaboration with Orson Wells.

“Journey’s End!”
Writer: Bruce Jones
Artist: Alex Nino

In the future a man comes to Cerebral Imagery to get his custom made experience with robots. They have two types Class A real incidents from the past and Class B which is fictional. He chooses to go back to when he was in fifth grade and stop a bully from beating him up. Only the bully is also there because this is his favorite moment and beats him up again. Not happy with the experience he gets another package that is a fictional adventure on another planet. The ship he is on crashes and he meets a beautiful woman. He finds out that this is real and decides to stay. In reality it was his wife that arranged it since she can’t get a divorce because it is illegal but wanted to be free of her husband.

“The Forrest for the Trees!”
Writer: Bruce Jones
Artist: Vicente Alcazar

On a mission to a planet to survey a man is paranoid about losing his eyesight. He lives to read and watch movies and does not want the sun to blind him. Only he gets a parasite that causes blindness. It is only temporary but too late as he plunges the ship into the sun.

“Fantastic Worlds”
By Don and Maggie Thompson

A column on how the Moon landing has made SF respectable. Goes on to highlight was anthologies and role playing game.

“Clete”
Writer and Artist: Bruce Jones

On a future Earth devoid of life a reptilian alien lands to explore. He finds a museum and is intrigued by the artwork. He also finds a woman in a stasis chamber. He rebels to help the woman and ends up destroying his ship. Years later a rescue mission comes and finds him dead. The members decide to take some of the art because they find it pleasing.

“Preservation of the Species”
Writer: Bruce Jones
Artist: Redondo

In the future a corporation has a gas leak that affects pregnant women. They give birth to strange mutated children. One is a woman who has what she thinks appear on her forehead. She falls in love with another man who claims to have no sex organs. They marry and move to an isolated planet that has these creatures and dark skinned natives. The natives keep sending a beautiful woman to be their servant as reward for protecting them from the creatures. The woman gets jealous of them and one day follows her husband. She finds him having sex with one of these women. So she kills the woman and disguises herself as her. Her husband has sex with her and she finds out that he impregnated her with the creature as it bursts out of her chest.

“Sinner”
Writer & Artist: Archie Goodwin

In the future after a nuclear war the survivors have adopted a simple life of worship and work. They sentence a heretic to death for playing music and working to fix the machines. He is buried with an old sign as his tombstone. The sign was one of those that warned No littering.

“Arena”
Writer: Gerry Conway based on story by Frederic Brown
Artists: John Buscema and Dick Giordano

In the future there is a war between Earth and some lizard aliens. A fighter pilot is teleported to a planet by advanced beings with one of the lizard aliens. They are to fight each other to decide the fate of their species . A force field separates them and only non-living things can pass through it. They throw rocks at one another. The alien builds a catapult and the man burns it down using a flaming sling. The man figures out that only conscious beings are trapped so knocks himself out to get across. The two fight and the man stabs it to death. He finds himself back in his fighter and finds out the aliens were miraculously destroyed by a lucky shot that bounced off all their ships.

So Unknown Worlds comes to a conclusion. It ends with mostly solid stories that I found interesting. Seems very Bruce Jones heavy but he wrote some good stories. The Arena seems like it was adapted to a Star Trek episode. I know the purpose was to introduce people to classical science fiction and get them interested. It worked with me. After reading this I am hopeful to one day explore the authors that were adapted in this series. Probably a series too ahead of its time.

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UNKNOWN WORLDS OF SCIENCE FICTION #6

“Foreword is Forearmed”
By Roy Thomas

An editorial about this issue. It is all about alternate worlds, alternate views, and alternate futures about religion. The main concern is the main story by Moorcock that is controversial and they stress its just a story and if easily offended should not be read. Apparently they were being proactive for this issue.

“One Giant Leap for Mankind”
Writer: Roy Thomas
Artists: Gene Colan and Dan Adkins

A man is visiting Tyme in his shop as they watch the first moon landing. He shows him the slow glass and the various stories they reveal. The man an Arab is skeptical about the possibility of different gods. In the end it is revealed that the first man on the moon is Abdul Mohammed and he plants a flag with the Islamic crescent. In this alternate reality the Arabs managed to unite and use their oil wealth to purchase the space program.

“Behold the Man”
Writer: Doug Moench adapted from story by Michael Moorcock.
Artist: Alex Nino

Carl Glogalier is an amateur Jungian psychiatrist who owns an occult bookstore in London. He argues with his atheist girlfriend who complains he has a messiah complex. One day one of the men he makes friends with shows him the time machine he invented. Carl uses it to go back in time to 28 A.D. to meet Jesus. He is found by John the Baptist and becomes one of his followers. Soon he makes his way to Jerusalem and finds out the real Jesus is a hunchback imbecile who can only repeat his name. So Carl takes on the role of Jesus and starts to preach. He picks twelve disciples that are literate to record the teaching. Then he has Judas betray him so he is crucified.

“Thru a Glass Slowly”
By Bob Shaw

The creator of the slow glass concept gets into technical detail about how it works. Kind of a bit dry.

“Old Soldier”
Writer and Artist: Bruce Jones

A man that hunts dangerous animals on far away colonies rides on a ship with a new experimental drive. It ages him to an old man. The man can not find a job and his wife leaves him. So he is on a swamp world hunting a giant lizard. He manages to kill it with a spear. Only it isn’t an alien world but his son’s terrarium and he shrunk himself down to small size. Now he has proven he is not too old.

“Mind Games”
Writer and Artist: John Allison

A young man in the future is drafted into the army when WWIII starts. He finds himself in Burma about to take a hill. Suddenly he is in front of God. God is displeased with him and sends him to Hell. The man wakes up to find he was the victim of an enemy gas attack.

“Visitation”
Writer: Don Glut
Artist: Reuben Yandoc

In some pilgrim type village a woman is about to be burned at the stake. Suddenly a six legged spacecraft appears and the villagers think its a sign from God not to burn the woman. The ship lands and out comes a four armed creature that looks like an insect. The villagers capture it and are going to burn it at the stake when the rest of the crew arrives and rescues him. We find out that the ship is from Earth and was visiting a more primitive world.

So this issue deals with some very heavy concepts that are religious in their content. Obviously the one about the time traveler becoming Jesus is a bit controversial. At least back then I’m sure it was. Personally I found all the stories in this issue very well done. Unfortunately they announced that this was probably the last issue. Actually it was the next to last issue as we will see in the next issue.

UNKNOWN WORLDS OF SCIENCE FICTION #5

“Slow Glass Revisited”
Writer: Roy Thomas
Artists: Gene Colan and Frank Chiaramonte

A burglar breaks into the Greenwich shop of Sandson O. Tyme. He breaks one of the slow glass and looks at the reflection. It is his severed head being carried in a bag by a barbarian woman on the moon. He is a bit disturbed by it and decides to get out. Later as he drives his motorcycle he looses control and goes flying into the back of a billboard. The billboard is for a science fiction movie that has a barbarian woman on the moon. The burglar’s head pokes through right where the sack she is carrying is.

“Paradise Found”
Writer: Bruce Jones
Artist: Gray Morrow

An inspector comes to a planet to see how construction is coming along. He finds the men seem to just goof off and spend time with the beautiful native alien women. The inspector gets them working and soon accidents start to occur. A man is attacked by snakes and another burns to death. Soon he figures out the native inhabitants are using their psychic powers to manifest the men’s worst fears to save their planet.

“The Many Worlds of Larry Niven”
Interview by Alan Brennert

An interview with hard SF author Larry Niven. How he got into writing and what he thinks of the hard SF field.

“All the Myriad Ways”
Writer and Artist: Howard Chaykin adapted from story by Larry Niven

Gene Trimble is a detective investigating a rash of suicides and murders. They all involve employees of Crosstime Inc. A corporation that goes to alternate universes and finds technology that they can use. He investigates the possibility of a suicide bug.

“Fantastic Worlds”
By Don & Maggie Thompson

An article on new books out. The nominees for Nebula and Hugo awards and what to do at science fiction conventions.

“Addict”
Writer: Don Glut
Artist: Virgilio Redondo

An addict comes to a back alley to make his purchase from a dealer. The dealer raises the price so the addict in desperation kills him. The police find him and give chase. The addict is a doctor that several years ago invented a chemical that takes away people’s dreams. The world leaders put it in the water to stop any sort of rebellion. The doctor was betrayed and forced to take the chemical. He now buys dream tapes and is addicted.

“Half Life”
Writer and Artist: John Allison

In 2022 uranium is discovered on Saturn’s moon Mimas. This starts a rush of prospectors heading there to get rich. The USS Agamemnon is bought from the military by men to make money transporting these prospectors. On the ship a young miner knocks down an old man. The man tells the young guy he will come face to face with what he hates. Later on Mimas a meteor shatters the man’s helmet and he is instantly frozen but conscious.

This issue was a strong outing. Once again all the stories were very good. I loved the Slow Glass outing. A very original idea and is the basis for the cover. The Larry Niven story I have never read but would like to. The stories were dark but unique and enjoyable. Even the articles and interviews I found more interesting than usual. The series is definitely finding its voice.

UNKNOWN WORLDS OF SCIENCE FICTION #4

“An Official Inquiry”
Writer: Tony Isabella
Artists: Don Glut and Frank Chiaramonte

Sandson O. Tyme is getting ready to close up shop when a figure comes and teleports him to an inquiry of the Tribunal of the Universe. They are concerned about Slow Glass and want to find out if its a threat. They find that a mysterious being gives him the supply. In the end they find no threat and he is returned to Earth. In fact the constable is the one supplying Slow Glass and plans to use it to overthrow the Tribunal.

“The Enchanted Village”
Writer: Don and Maggie Thompson adapted from story by A.E. Van Vogt.
Artist: Dick Giordano

The only survivor of a crash on Mars wanders for water. He comes on an isolated village. It is automated but the food is no good. The shower uses some type of poison instead of water and the beds are heated rock. The village was designed for the Martian inhabitants. The survivor tries to force the village to adapt to help him survive but the village instead changes the man into a native Martian.

“The Dreaming Kind A Conversation with SF Master A.E. Van Vogt”
interview by Alan Brennert

A conversation with the author about were he comes up with his ideas and views on writing.

“Otis Adelbert Kline: Visionary of Venus”
By David Anthony Kraft

An article on a pulp writer from the thirties. He did his own space opera series about Mars and Venus.

“A Vision of Venus”
Writer and Artist: Tim Conrad adapted from story by Otis Adelbert Kline

A scientist has been able to make a psychic link with a warrior on Venus. Lotan is tasked with recovering a rare fungus on an island. He finds a woman in distress and rescues her. The woman has the fungus in her shoes and Lotan can become rich and nobility so asks her to marry him.

“Fantastic Worlds”
By Don & Maggie Thompson

An article on upcoming conventions and some newly released books.

“Good News from the Vatican”
Writer: Gerry Conway adapted from story by Robert Silverberg.
Artist: Ading Gonzales

Some friends in Rome discuss the selection of the new Pope. A robot is one of the candidates and they debate the wisdom. The bishop and rabbi are for it. The new Pope is the robot now named Sixtus the Seventh. He blasts off at this inauguration.

“Encounter at War”
Writer: Jan S. Strnad
Artist: Rich Corben

An alien race of gnomes has invaded the Earth. A soldier is captured and taken to their planet. With the help of his commander also captured they manage to fight their way back home.

“Kick the Can”
Writer and Artist: Bruce Jones.

Two childhood friends that were rivals for the same woman meet on a hunting expedition to an alien world. They try to kill each other over the woman but the woman is killed.

This was another enjoyable issue filled with mostly good solid Science Fiction adaptations. My favorite was the Vogt story but the Kline and Adelbert ones were also interesting. I would like to check out Adelbert’s stuff. It is very ERB and sounds fun.

Kick the Can was also a solid story about two guys and their rivalry since childhood for a girl. Very believable. The Slow Glass starts to have some more depth to the story with this plot to overthrow a tyrannical ruler of the universe.

The only one I didn’t care for was the Encounter at War. Very confusing with them being captured and rescued by some lizard-man. Very little dialogue so never had a clear picture of what’s going on.

UNKNOWN WORLDS OF SCIENCE FICTION #3

“A Night at the Space Opera”
By Roy Thomas

Editorial from Roy to clarify what space opera not being in the series. It doesn’t mean not having space travel but no Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers type stories.

“The Star-Magi”
Writer: Tony Isabella
Artists: Gene Colan and Frank Charamonte

Sandson Tyme gets a visitor to his shop late at night. An alien comes for his slow glass. He is from a world that was destroyed and only him and his mate survived. He wants slow glass to give his homesick mate visions of their home. But slow glass doesn’t work that way but the mate comes and says she found a new home. She traded her memories of her old homeworld because only the future matters.

“Occupation Force”
Writer: Gerry Conway adapted from Frank Herbert story.
Artists: George Perez and Klaus Janeson

A large spaceship is approaching the Earth. Most think its an invasion and when a scout ship kidnaps a guy off the streets of Boston this increases the panic. A message comes that they are going to land in Washington. When the ship arrives it isn’t aliens but men in top hats and bow ties that greet them. They point out that they already occupied this planet 7000 years ago.

“Not Long Before the End”
Writer: Doug Moench adapted from story by Larry Niven
Artist: Vicente4 Alcazar

A warlock who moves about from town to town because his powers tend to disappear after ten years is confronted by a barbarian. The barbarian stole an enchanted sword and wants the warlock’s wife. The warlock has found out that magic is slowly being used up. He uses an enchanted ring to drain the magic and make the sword useless so he can easily defeat the barbarian.

“Sandworms and Saviors: A Conversation with Frank Herbert Author of Dune”
Interviewer Ed Leimbacher.

An interview with Frank Herbert. About his ecological activism and how he comes up with his ideas.

“Gestation”
Writer and Artist: Bruce Jones

In 2036 an expedition lands on a jungle planet. They find it has abundant food and start eating the salad and vegetables. Soon they are addicted to it. The last man the writer of the journal succumbs to some dementia or maybe he does really see his fellow crew turn into winged beings.

“SWFA: The Thing That Spawned Nebulas”
By Don Thompson

An article on the Science Fiction Writers of American and how they started. Also about the Nebula awards they award and all past winners.

“Repent Harlequin said the Ticktockman”
Writer: Roy Thomas adapted from story by Harlan Ellison
Artist: Alex Nino

In the far future of 2389 a very regimented society has developed. So rigid that if you are not on time to work you can be killed. A rebel called the Harlequin goes around dumping jellybeans which cause a whole seven minutes of delays in schedules. The Master Timekeeper a masked man known as the Ticktockman enforces these rules. He captures the Harlequin who is anything but repentant. Then like Winston Smith in 1984 he is reconditioned to accept the current system.

Well this issue had a lot of quality stories. Three were adaptations by well known writers. Harlan Ellison had a story in here who just passed away recently. He was a brilliant writer and is missed.

The Slow Glass feature is used as a prologue and epilogue to these issues and expertly used to explain why we are seeing these stories. I have grown fond of these stories.

Gestation started out good but lost me with its ending.

The interviews were informative and the only thing I didn’t care for was the Nebula article. It just listed all the past winners.

UNKNOWN WORLDS OF SCIENCE FICTION #2

“The Shape of Things That Came”
By Roy Thomas

An editorial on how the stories came about. Roy had an image of a robot in the raising of the flag at Iwo Jima and so a story was commissioned for it. Also the Harlan Ellison story was delayed because the artist had family matters he had to attend to.

“Through a Glass Slowly”
Writer: Tony Isabella
Artists: Frank Brunner and Klaus Johnson

Sandson Tyme of Slow Glass is visiting a client. The man named Lawrence Wilder bought slow glass to preserve his wife. He killed her and is upset that the image will fade away. He decides to commit suicide and jumps out the window.

“War Toy”
Writer: Tony Isabella
Artists: George Perez and Rico Rival

Was reprinted in Marvel Preview #20.

“There are No Yesterdays”
Interview by Denny O’Neil

An interview with Alfred Bester who was the first author to win the Hugo award for his novel The Demolished Man. He tells about his introduction to science fiction with the pulps as a child. He also confirms a heavy influence of Freud in his works. Has a sample of his work from an Australian comic.

“Adam…and No Eve”
Writer: Denny O’Neil based on story by Alfred Bester
Artists: Frank Robbins and Jim Mooney

A man ignores the warning that his new rocket fuel will cause a chain reaction that will destroy the Earth’s atmosphere. He launches and it does indeed destroy the world. He crawls around injured the last man alive until he reaches the sea. The sea will someday once again spread life on the Earth.

“The Hunter and the Hunted”
Writer and Artist: Mike Kaluta

A young boy is the survivor of his destroyed ship. He manages to sabotage the enemies ship because they stopped to laugh at the destruction.

“Science Fiction Fans, and the Hugo (Not Necessarily in that Order)
By Don Thompson

Don writes an article on the history of fandom. It started with Hugo Gernsback who the Hugo awards are named after. He published the letters sent to Amazing Stories This lead to fans writing to each other and getting together. The first convention was 1939 and the papers described it as a gathering of nuts. He also lists all the winners of the Hugo award to date.

“Specimen”
Writer and Artist: Bruce Jones

A man is alone on an automated spaceship. He has a prisoner a girl. The girl was picked up from a crash but it is unsure if she is human or an alien Kriton. She convinces him that she is not and he lets her out. Only the man is the Kriton and was too hungry to bring the prisoner back to his people.

“The Day of the Triffids”
Writer: Gerry Conway based on book by John Wyndham
Artist: Rico Rival

Masen and Josella are captured by Corker and forced to help the blind. Only a plague from all the dead bodies strikes the people dead. Masen and Corker are left alive and go in search of the Colonel and Josella. The split up and Masen finds Josella living in a mansion with some people. They settle in until a copter arrives telling of a community on the Isle of Wright. They have to then escape some others from an organization that wants to enslave them.

The second issue had a good solid lineup of stories. Once again the Triffid adaptation was my favorite. Very similar to the eighties series. Will have to some day check out the book.

War Toy and Specimen were the next best. I loved the twist ending to Specimen.

The other two were good but not stand out great. The interview and article was very interesting and informative. The series seems to be on the right track.

UNKNOWN WORLDS OF SCIENCE FICTION #1

“1975: A Space Odyssey”
By Roy Thomas

An editorial on what this series will be. A brief history of how science fiction has just recently taken hold of a mass audience. That this series will feature a variety of science fiction from well known authors and ideas.

“Slow Glass”
Writer: Ton Isabella adapted from concept by Bob Shaw
Artists: Gene Colan & Tom Palmer

A newlywed couple checks out an antique store in New York. Its filled with all sorts of stuff and its specialty is Slow Glass. A black glass that records images. They watch and see stories.

“The Day of the Triffids”
Writer: Gerry Conway adapted from book by John Wyndham.
Artists: Ross Andru & Ernie Chua

A man is stealing plant seeds from the Soviet Union but is shot down over the Pacific. The seed are spread all over the world and Triffids grow. In all climes they are walking plants with deadly stingers. They also have a sap with medical healing abilities. So they are grown and cultivated. William Masen works with Triffids and is stung in the eyes. He is in the hospital with his eyes bandaged and doesn’t get to watch the world wide meteor shower that is happening. That saves his sight for the next day he finds most of the people of London suffering from blindness. He rescues another woman with sight and they go to help her father. Only her father has been killed by a Triffid. They continue on and find a group of soldiers who have sight locked up in a gated building.”

“A View from Without…”
Writer and Artist: Neal Adams

A man finds an alien communicator in a field. It reports back on the Vietnam War. A small village is attacked with napalm and a baby wanders with injuries until it falls into the sewage pit and drowns.

“The Bradbury Chronicles”
interview by Shel Dorf

An interview with Ray Bradbury. He talks about his childhood and the books that got him into reading. Goes no about his beliefs on how to live life and what his plans are for the future.

“Smash Gordon in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Mongo!”
Writer and Artist: Frank Brunner

Smash Gordon just shoots down a dinosaur. Dale is excited for now she can take a bath and proceeds to strip down and bathe in the beasts blood. Professor Zookoff thinks this is bizarre behavior but then a pterodactyl swoops up Dale. They give chase but they hocked the laser cannon so have to ram the creature. As Dale falls she disappears then both Smash and Zookoff also disappear. The were beamed aboard the Starship Enterfuzz by what looks suspiciously like Kirk, Spock and McCoy. Smash is arrested for killing endangered species.

“Savage World!”
Writer: Wally Wood
Artist: Al Williamson

A nuclear test is conducted in 1968. The three scientists two men and a woman investigate the crater. They find it opened a hole in the ground. From the hole comes guys that float up and take them prisoner. Underground is a civilization that has been living in peace. The leader wants the woman to marry his son and starts a mind link between the two. The guys break her out and escape before the next nuclear test.

“Past and Present Master”
interviewed by Gerard Conway

An interview with Kelly Fries a seven time Hugo winner for art. He has done many covers for Analog, Astounding and science fiction covers.

“Hey Buddy Can You Lend Me A…”
Writer and Artist: Mike Kaluta

In the future most of humanity has left Earth. The remaining people live in a few big cities. A flight from New York to Los Angeles crashes. They are trapped in a radioactive wasteland filled with giant insects. Their only hope is a telephone booth but they don’t have any coins. One of the members is a collector and has a dime that is too valuable to part with. A woman takes it from him but gets a recording and needs to deposit an extra nickel which she doesn’t have.

“Light of Other Days”
Writer: Tony Isabella adapted from story by Bob Shaw
Artists: Gene Colan and Mike Esposito

The newlywed couple is a bit skeptical of Slow Glass. They watch another story about an unhappy couple traveling in the country. They come on a place selling slow glass. They watch through a window a happy mother and her son. Only the scene is on slow glass and the place is empty. Seems the mother and son died in an accident. This upsets the couple who leave. In New York the newlyweds are also upset and leave.

So this is the first of an anthology series of Science Fiction. Like any anthology some are hit and miss. Obviously the Triffids story is the best. I seen both the sixties movie and eighties series and both were excellent. Someday I will have to read the book.

The interviews were also very good especially the Bradbury one. Very informative.

The others were good. Some had humor and I found interesting. The Slow Glass one was a bit slow but was going to be a recurring theme in each issue. Hopefully it will pick up.

The only one I hated was the Vietnam one. A heavy handed rant about the war with no real merit.

All in all I good start to the series and look forward to reading the rest.