The Mind Thing, by Fredric Brown: excellent pulp-era science fiction

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12 Responses to “The Mind Thing, by Fredric Brown: excellent pulp-era science fiction”

  1. Chuk says:

    That Astounding cover was the same image on the paperback version of Martians, Go Home that I found in my Grade 5 classroom. As an SF fan for five or six years at that point, I ate that book up.

  2. Another must-read by Brown is “Madball”, a down-n-dirty noir set amidst circus carnies. A fantastic monologue from the alcoholic main character talking about Lewis Carroll and “eat me” vs. “drink me” springs to mind, but I don’t have the text with me and I won’t do Brown the disservice of misquoting it.

  3. Brown’s mystery/horror story “Death Is a White Rabbit” has a similar mind control plot device. It is also quite creepy and scary.

  4. Gerald Mander says:

    Fred Brown wrote a short story, collected in his Angels and Spaceships, that became the iconic (and never-credited) story about the ultimate supercomputer that’s asked if there’s a god, and it replies, “There is now.” He also wrote a hugely influential story called “The Waverlies,” about electricity being suddenly removed from civilization (the most recent incarnation of which is Abrams’ upcoming “Revolution”).

    He was a really good, fun, and influential writer who deserves more credit.

  5. Michael_J_Walsh says:

    The complete short fantasy and science fiction of Fredric Brown can be found in one big book: http://www.nesfa.org/press/Books/Brown-1.html

    And all of the SF novels can be found in this book: http://www.nesfa.org/press/Books/Brown-2.html

  6. Fredric Brown’s one of my favorites as well. My first was a fat collection of his short stories. AND THE GODS LAUGHED, borrowed from the library, which sent me on a search for everything else he ever wrote. Two years ago I visited Taos, and even tracked down the bar where Brown used to drink and write: http://secretdead.blogspot.com/2010/08/fredric-brown-taos-years.html.

  7. ericphipps says:

    Fredric Brown’s SF is pretty good but it doesn’t have a tick on his Crime works.  Check out The Far Cry, His Name is Death and the newly printed Miss Darkness which is a gargantuan 700 page collection of his crime short stories.  

  8. Christopher says:

    When I was in college I took advantage of my school’s Interlibrary Loan program to get every collection of short stories by Brown the librarians could find. And I absolutely loved them. I hated to return the books, and even renewed one three times until the librarian told me I absolutely had to give it back.

    For some reason the only book of Brown’s I could find at the time was a secondhand copy of Rogue in Space. And I agree: it stank. It actually turned me off of pursuing Brown’s novels, which is unfortunate because Martians Go Home sounds brilliant.

    By the way, for those who like hard copies, two books of Brown’s, From These Ashes: The Complete Short SF of Fredric Brown and Martians and Madness: The Complete SF Novels of Fredric Brown are still in print and available from NESFA Press.

    This time I think I’ll skip Interlibrary Loan.

  9. The Kelly Freas cover from ASTOUNDING is also a self-portrait, and was used as the cover for a collection of his artwork. 

  10. There’s also a newer collection of his serial detective novels that started with The Fabulous Clipjoint. 

    None of them quite measure up to the opener, which is a terse and hardboiled account of a kid and his uncle investigating the murder of his alky father.  A lot to love in it, carny subplot, freight hopping, and a setting in the skid row past of the Near North Side of Chicago.

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