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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.