Adventures In Time And Space edited by Raymond J. Healy and J. Francis McComas
First published in 1946, this anthology contains 33 stories and 2 fact articles, mainly taken from the pulp magazines of the 1930s and early 1940s. The majority of the content is from Astounding Science Fiction, with one story from Amazing Stories and one from Planet Stories, plus ‘Brain’ by S. Fowler Wright from his 1932 single author collection ‘The New Gods Lead’. The two fact articles are ‘V-2 — Rocket Cargo Ship’ by Willy Ley, looking at the history of the Nazi rocket program, and ‘Time-Travel Happens!’ by A. M. Phillips, examining the claims of Edwardian ladies Miss Moberly and Miss Jourdain, who are said to have experienced a time-slip to the year 1789, whilst visiting Versailles in 1901.
Edited by Raymond J. Healy and J. Francis McComas (who went on to become a founding editor, along with Anthony Boucher, of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction) the book contains a well-above-average selection of stories for the time, including some classics which have stood the test of time and are still well known today.
The well-known stories in the book include ‘Requiem’ by Robert A. Heinlein, about an old man’s quest to fulfil his dream of visiting the Moon; A. E. Van Vogt’s first published sf story ’Black Destroyer’; ’Nightfall’ by Isaac Asimov, about a planet which only experiences darkness once every 2000 years; ‘Who Goes There’ by Astounding editor John W. Campbell Jr. (under his pseudonym Don A. Stewart), which went on to be adapted as the movie ‘The Thing’, about a shape-shifting alien found trapped in the arctic ice; ‘The Roads Must Roll’ by Robert A. Heinlein (winner of the 2016 Retro Hugo Award for best novelette of 1940), about a future labour dispute affecting the conveyor-belt-like road system; ‘The Weapons Shop’ by A. E. Van Vogt, about a mysterious inter-dimensional shop which pops up to help people who have been oppressed by capitalism or authoritarian society; ‘Farewell to the Master’ by Harry Bates, filmed as ‘The Day The Earth Stood Still’, but with a completely different story to the film, apart from the visitor’s name Klaatu and his robot Gnut (Gort in the film); and ‘By His Bootstraps’ by Robert A. Heinlein (under his pseudonym Anson MacDonald), about a man interacting with himself via a time portal.
Among the less well known stories, there isn’t really a clunker among them — all are above average and readable, and some deserve to be more well known, such as ‘Seeds of the Dusk’ by Raymond Z. Gallun, about alien spores which try to colonise Earth, and ‘The Star Mouse’ by Fredric Brown, a humorous tale of the first mouse in space, who returns with increased intelligence following an encounter with an asteroid.
Credited with bringing the best of pulp SF to a more general audience and voted ‘All-Time Best Book’ in the 1952 Astounding readers poll, beating A. E. Van Vogt’s ’Slan’ into second place, this anthology deserves a place on any SF reader’s shelf. Buy it now — you won’t be disappointed.