Category Archives: 1926-1939

women in early sf

Women have always been here* Brian Aldiss once argued in Billion Year Spree: The History of Science Fiction (1973) that the genre begins with Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein; or, the Modern Prometheus (1818). Even if we don’t accept Shelley as the … Continue reading

Posted in 1926 and earlier, 1926-1939, 1940-1945, 1946-1959, gender | Tagged , , | 12 Comments

“The Weapon Too Dreadful to Use,” Isaac Asimov, 1939

“The Weapon Too Dreadful to Use,” Isaac Asimov, 1939 — Karl Frantor is an archeologist visiting the colonized city of Aphrodopolis, the largest city on Venus, to explore the ruins of the ancient Venusian city Ash-taz-zor.  Frantor will be the … Continue reading

Posted in 1926-1939, aesthetics/beauty, difference/tolerance, exiles/"home"/displacement, language/libraries, museums/artifacts, nationalism, post/colonialism, race/civil rights, slavery/human trafficking, the Other, violence, war/soldiers | Leave a comment

“Heavy Planet,” Lee Gregor (Milton A. Rothman), 1939

“Heavy Planet,” Lee Gregor (Milton A. Rothman), 1939 – The denizens of a planet with extreme gravity fight over the wreckage of an alien ship. Comments: A story that argues that environment influences the development of technology.  Also, a hard … Continue reading

Posted in 1926-1939, war/soldiers | Leave a comment

“The City of Cosmic Rays,” Nat Schachner, 1939

“The City of Cosmic Rays,” Nat Schachner, 1939 – The continuing adventures of Kleon, Sam, and Beltan (see “Past, Present, and Future“).  Pursued by their enemies, they now find themselves in a city that celebrates individualism and difference.  No two … Continue reading

Posted in 1926-1939, cyborgs/posthumans, difference/tolerance | Leave a comment

“Black Destroyer,” A. E. van Vogt, 1939

“Black Destroyer,” A. E. van Vogt, 1939 – Explorers land on a planet which has an ancient inhabitant.  Not knowing that the cat-like being is able to control EM waves, they dismiss the alien as a harmless primitive.  The hyper-intelligent … Continue reading

Posted in 1926-1939, favorites, intelligence, international, primitive/civilized, senses/space, the Other, time/history/causality, violence | Leave a comment

“The Ultimate Catalyst,” John Taine, 1939

“The Ultimate Catalyst,” John Taine (Eric Temple Bell), 1939 – An American scientist working in the Amazon stays behind to trick a brutal new dictator into eating his “greenbeefo,” a vegetable that tastes like meat.  Along with the scientist remains … Continue reading

Posted in 1926-1939, international, the body, the scientist, totalitarianism/fascism | Leave a comment

“The Gnarly Man,” L. Sprague de Camp, 1939

“The Gnarly Man,” L. Sprague de Camp, 1939 – An anthropologist discovers an immortal Neanderthal working as a circus freak.  He plunges him into a world of (academic) exploitation and nearly gets him killed by a scientist who believes his … Continue reading

Posted in 1926-1939, evolution, freaks/misfits, knowledge/truth/epistemology, the Other, the scientist | Leave a comment

“Pilgrimage,” Nelson Bond, 1939

“Pilgrimage,” Nelson Bond, 1939 – An ambitious young girl in a matriarchal society rejects the three career options of warrior, mother, and worker and demands that she be trained as the next leader.  However, this requires her to go on … Continue reading

Posted in 1926-1939, class/labor/"work", favorites, gender, matriarchy, museums/artifacts, primitive/civilized, sex/reproduction/sterility, time/history/causality | Leave a comment

“The Day is Done,” Lester del Rey, 1939

“The Day is Done,” Lester del Rey, 1939 – The story of Hwoogh, a Neanderthal and one of the first victims of progress.  Hwoogh tries to exist side-by-side the clever Cro-Magnons, even living with one as a mate, but eventually … Continue reading

Posted in 1926-1939, freaks/misfits, progress/obsolescence, the Other, violence | 1 Comment

“The Four-Sided Triangle,” William F. Temple, 1939

“The Four-Sided Triangle,” William F. Temple, 1939 – Three friends engaged in an art-replicating business realize that they can also replicate human bodies.  One creates a duplicate of the female member of the trio, who is in love with the … Continue reading

Posted in 1926-1939, aesthetics/beauty, gender, identity/authenticity, interior/exterior, international, love/family/children, natural/artificial, photo/film/image, simulacra, suicide | Leave a comment

“Cloak of Aesir,” Donald A. Stuart (John W. Campbell, Jr.), 1939

“Cloak of Aesir,” Donald A. Stuart (John Campbell), 1939 – Humanity has been enslaved by a spider-like, matriarchal race.  A mysterious human appears with a cloak that seems able to absorb energy.  The stranger eggs on a resistance movement.  At … Continue reading

Posted in 1926-1939, animals/insects, gender, matriarchy | Leave a comment

“Trends,” Isaac Asimov, 1939

“Trends,” Isaac Asimov, 1939 – A private entrepreneur/inventor feels stifled by the anti-technology bias of the religious moral majority.  He plans to send society a message by building a rocket. Comments: Engages key issues for Asimov and the time (freedom … Continue reading

Posted in 1926-1939, capitalism/Marxism, knowledge/truth/epistemology, progress/obsolescence, religion/soul/spirituality | 1 Comment

“Misfit,” Robert A. Heinlein, 1939

“Misfit,” Robert A. Heinlein, 1939 – A boy with a mathematical gift finds his first real “home” in the military. Comments: Read in Great Science Fiction Stories of 1939. Author: Wikipedia: “Robert Anson Heinlein…(July 7, 1907 – May 8, 1988) … Continue reading

Posted in 1926-1939, exiles/"home"/displacement, freaks/misfits, war/soldiers | Leave a comment

“The Strange Flight of Richard Clayton,” Robert Bloch, 1939

“The Strange Flight of Richard Clayton,” Robert Bloch, 1939 – A rocket scientist pilots a spaceship called The Future on a twenty-year mission to Mars.  There’s one problem, however–the annoying sound made by the broken control panel.  He eventually loses … Continue reading

Posted in 1926-1939, astronauts, senses/space, time/history/causality | Leave a comment

“Greater than Gods,” C. L. Moore, 1939

“Greater than Gods,” C.L. Moore, 1939 – A man researching eugenics (Dr. Bill Cory) is trying to decide between two prospective wives. He’s visited by distant grand-children from alternate futures (one matriarchal and one fascist/patriarchal) who communicate with him through … Continue reading

Posted in 1926-1939, biological determinism, emotions/intimacy/empathy, eugenics/heredity, evolution, gender, love/family/children, male anxiety, masculinity, matriarchy, photo/film/image, time/history/causality, totalitarianism/fascism | Leave a comment

“Rust,” Joseph E. Kelleam, 1939

“Rust,” Joseph E. Kelleam, 1939 – Semi-intelligent machines that have survived the destruction of humanity begin to break down. Comments: Kelleam’s first science fiction story.  Read in Great Science Fiction Stories of 1939. Author: Wikipedia: “Joseph Everidge Kelleam (1913-1975), born … Continue reading

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“Ether Breather,” Theodore Sturgeon, 1939

“Ether Breather,” Theodore Sturgeon, 1939 – Beings living in EM waves are able to manipulate what the audience “sees,” causing two different perceptions of the same performance.  The discrepancy creates havoc for the scriptwriter and a company that advertises through … Continue reading

Posted in 1926-1939, identity/authenticity, in/visible, media/advertising, photo/film/image, senses/space, television, theatre/performance | Leave a comment

“Life-Line,” Robert A. Heinlein, 1939

“Life-Line,” Robert A. Heinlein, 1939 – Professor Pinero invents a machine that will predict the date and manner of one’s death, but the scientific community is skeptical of the machine and the scientist’s ethics.  The machine works “by sending a … Continue reading

Posted in 1926-1939, death/immortality, the scientist, time/history/causality | Leave a comment

“Who Goes There?,” Don A. Stuart (John W. Campbell, Jr.), 1938

“Who Goes There?,” Don A. Stuart (John W. Campbell), 1938 – Scientists in Antarctica discover the ship of a crash-landed alien who can mimic their bodies. Comments: Made into The Thing from Another World (1951) and The Thing (1982).  An  … Continue reading

Posted in 1926-1939, horror, identity/authenticity, simulacra | Leave a comment

“He That Hath Wings,” Edmond Hamilton, 1938

“He That Hath Wings,” Edmond Hamilton, 1938 — A winged man is forced to choose between being a “freak”and a productive member of (capitalist) society (i.e., a provider-husband and son-in-law who can inherit the family business).  His wife and father-in-law … Continue reading

Posted in 1926-1939, animals/insects, capitalism/Marxism, freaks/misfits, male anxiety, masculinity, myth, primitive/civilized, suicide, the body, the Other | 1 Comment