Great Richard Corben cover for a great Fredric Brown SF anthology

In the 1970s I was a member of the Science Fiction Book Club. Whoever the art director was at the time, they were producing some excellent covers. I still have the Edgar Rice Burroughs Barsoom novels with Frank Frazetta covers and illustrations, but I somehow lost The Best of Fredric Brown (1976) with this Richard Corben illustration of a Yeti embracing an explorer. I probably let a friend borrow it, and it never made its way back to me. I could buy a used copy on Amazon for a few bucks, but I already have Kindles of his short stories.

One of my favorite Brown stories didn't appear in this anthology. It's called "The House." It's just 3 page long. Here's a PDF scan from the August 1960 issue of Fantastic Science Fiction Stories. It reminds me of descriptions in an Infocom text adventure. Here's an essay about the story.



Great 1950s horror sci-fi novel, The Mind Thing, now on Kindle

Fredric Brown's "The Fabulous Clipjoint" is an e-book

I was pleased to find Read the rest

60 Fredric Brown science fiction stories for $2

A couple of days ago I wrote about one of my favorite SF and mystery writers, the late Fredric Brown. I just found out that you can get a a kindle edition called The Fredric Brown Megapack (2 Book Series) for $2, which includes 60 of his stories, many of which have great surprise endings. I bought it and I see many of my favorites here, including "Arena."

From Wikipedia:

"Arena" is a science fiction short story by Fredric Brown that was first published in the June 1944 issue of Astounding magazine. Members of the Science Fiction Writers of America selected it as one of the best science fiction stories published before the advent of the Nebula Awards, and as such it was included in The Science Fiction Hall of Fame Volume One, 1929-1964.

The Star Trek episode "Arena" had some similarity to this story, so to avoid legal problems, it was agreed that Brown would receive payment and a story credit. An Outer Limits episode, "Fun and Games", also has a similar plot, as does an episode of Blake's 7, titled "Duel".

If you are not yet familiar with Fredric Brown, I'm envious of the treat that's in store for you. Read the rest

Great 1950s horror sci-fi novel, The Mind Thing, now on Kindle

When I was in junior high school, I joined the Science Fiction Book Club. One of the books I got from the club was an anthology that included several stories by Fredric Brown (who was primarily a mystery writer but occasionally delved into science fiction). Some of Brown's stories in the anthology were a mere page or two, and I loved their humor and surprise endings. As soon as I could, I went to the Boulder Public Library to load up on as much Brown as I could find. It turned out the library had just two of his science fiction novels: Martians, Go Home (1955), and What Mad Universe (1949). They were both terrific.

In Martians, Go Home a race of cartoonish little green men invade Earth for the sole purpose of being hideously bothersome pests, behaving very much like Internet trolls and Second Life griefers. (Artist Kelly Freas perfectly captured the personality of the martians in his cover painting for Astounding Science Fiction.) In What Mad Universe a man gets thrown into a parallel universe and has to figure out how to get back home. Both books are semi-parodies of science fiction novels (the protagonists in each novel are science fiction writers), with plenty of Brown's signature wry humor. If you've not read these novels, I highly recommend them both.

It wasn't until I was in high school that I scored a copy of The Mind Thing (1961), which is probably my favorite Brown novel, even though it is not as well-known as the other two novels, and could be arguably be classified a horror novel. Read the rest