The Coming Of The Ice by G. Peyton Wertenbaker

SFFaudio Online Audio

The Coming Of The Ice - illustrated by Frank R. Paul

I posted about this story, as part of a larger LibriVox collection, back in 2009. Then, I described it thusly:

The Coming Of The Ice explains the strange and sad fate of a man who undergoes an operation to make him immortal (and sterile).

I had somehow forgotten about it. But, as I heard someone describe it recently I was reminded of it, tracked it down again, and enjoyed it wholly afresh today.

The Coming Of The Ice deserves to be far better known. Not only is it a really terrific story, but the narration, by Giles Baker, is absolutely outstanding too!

Sam Moskowitz, in his introduction to the 1961 reprint of The Coming Of The Ice wrote the following about it:

One of the gravest editorial problems faced by the editors of AMAZING STORIES when they launched its first issue, dated April, 1926, was the problem of finding or developing authors who could write the type of story they needed. As a stop-gap, the first two issues of AMAZING STORIES were devoted entirely to reprints. But reprints were to constitute a declining portion of the publication’s contents for the following four years. The first new story the magazine bought was Coming Of The Ice, by G. Peyton Wertenbaker, which appeared in its third issue. Wertenbaker was not technically a newcomer to science fiction, since he had sold his first story to Gernsback’s SCIENCE AND INVENTION, The Man From the Atom, in 1923 when he was only 16! Now, at the ripe old age of 19, he was appearing in the world’s first truely complete science fiction magazine. The scope of his imagination was truly impressive and, despite the author’s youth, Coming of
the Ice
builds to a climax of considerable power.

Back in 1926 the editorial introduction, presumably by Hugo Gernsback himself, said this about The Coming Of The Ice:

This powerful and tragic story by the author of “The Man From The Atom” tells of a man who acquired terrestrial immortality – tells of a world many centuries hence – a time when everything is changed. This one man remains as a relic of the 20th century, He is alone with strangely developed human beings, the product of ages of evolution. Climactic changes are taking place. The world begins to grow cold. New York is almost in the Arctic region and Italy is covered with snow all the year around. In spite of their enormous intellectual development, all human beings must perish. Our hero alone can withstand the intense cold. He wanted eternal life – and he got it – eternal life, purely intellectual. What does he do with all his years? And how does he enjoy them?, Read this powerful story.

LibriVoxThe Coming Of The Ice
By G. Peyton Wertenbaker; Read by Giles Baker
1 |MP3| – Approx. 40 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: February 4, 2009
“Strange men, these creatures of the hundredth century, men with huge brains and tiny, shriveled bodies, atrophied limbs, and slow, ponderous movements on their little conveyances … it was then that I was forced to produced my tattered old paper, proving my identity and my story.” First published in Amazing Stories, June 1926.

|ETEXT|

Here are two PDF versions:

Amazing Stories, June 1926 |PDF|
Amazing Stories, July 1961 |PDF|

[Thanks also to David T. and Carlo!]

Posted by Jesse Willis

Damon Knight discusses early Science Fiction

SFFaudio News

James Gunn filmed this interview with Damon Knight sometime in the 1960s, it features Knight discussing Science Fiction from a time when there was no name for it. He begins with stories of of moon voyages (Lucian, Cyrano de Bergerac) and moves on to 19th century authors Edgar Allan Poe and Jules Verne.

H.G. Wells, Frank Herbert, Isaac Asimov, Rudyard Kipling, Hugo Gernsback, Jack Williamson, Edmund Hamilton, Olaf Stapeldon, E.E. Smith, and J.R.R. Tolkien are the focus for this second half…

[via AboutSF]

Posted by Jesse Willis

The Country Of The Blind by H.G. Wells

SFFaudio Online Audio

TITLE - The Country O fThe Blind by H.G. Wells

Here’s the editorial introduction to The Country Of The Blind from Amazing Stories, December 1927:

We take many things for granted in this world. We accept many preconceived notions about an amazing large number of things, which, like as not prove to be amazingly wrong. If any story ever proved this point, The Country Of The Blind certainly is that one. The author exploits the well-known saying , “In the country of the blind the one-eyed man is king.” Indeed that statement is most easy to believe and all logic should point that way. In reading this interesting story, you will soon find out how far wrong even seemingly good logic can be.

The above, presumably written by Hugo Gernsback himself, ably covers most of what I thought to say about this story. But that didn’t quite stop me.

This audiobook was my first time reading this story. I’m starting to think that H.G. Wells always wrote allegory and fable. The main character in this piece, and all Wellsian fiction, is completely unlikeable. The society he creates is unlikeable too. What does it say about me that I appreciated the story, even if I didn’t like it? What does it say about modern SF that stories with unlikeable protagonists in unlikeable societies are so few?

I guess I appreciated The Country Of The Blind because there’s a very deep skepticism to it, about human nature, about society but most importantly about the claim of wisdom. Man is a foolish, foolish beast. His only guide to the future is what has come before. But we’re always tempted to take some distilled bit of wisdom and use it that to do our thinking for us. What does it say for us when for every proverb we use to rationalize a decsion there is another proverb that could have supported an alternate?

Better, perhaps, to reject proverb entirely.

LibriVoxThe Country Of The Blind
By H.G. Wells; Read by llite (aka George Cooney)
1 |MP3| – Approx. 61 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: January 17, 2010
While attempting to summit the unconquered crest of Parascotopetl, a mountaineer named Nunez slips and falls down the far side of the mountain. At the end of his descent, down a snow-slope in the mountain’s shadow, he finds a valley, cut off from the rest of the world on all sides by steep precipices. Nunez has discovered the fabled Country of the Blind. The valley had been a haven for settlers fleeing the tyranny of Spanish rulers until an earthquake reshaped the surrounding mountains and cut it off forever from future explorers. The isolated community prospered over the years despite a disease that struck them all blind. As the blindness slowly spread over the generations and the last sighted villager had died, the community had fully adapted to life without vision. First published in the April 1904 issue of the Strand Magazine.

The Country Of The Blind - illustrated by Frank R. Paul

Included below are all the audio drama adaptations I could find. I recommend the episode of Escape with Paul Frees.

EscapeEscape – The Country Of The Blind
Based on the story by H.G. Wells; Adapted by John Dunkel; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 29 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: CBS Radio
Broadcast: November 26, 1947
produced/directed by William N. Robson
Cast:
William Conrad … Ibarra
Paul Frees … Nunez
Produced/directed by William N. Robson

EscapeEscape – The Country Of The Blind
Based on the story by H.G. Wells; Adapted by John Dunkel; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: CBS Radio
Broadcast: June 20, 1948
Cast:
Berry Kroeger … Ibarra
Paul Frees … Nunez

EscapeEscape – The Country Of The Blind
Based on the story by H.G. Wells; Adapted by John Dunkel; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: CBS Radio
Broadcast: March 20, 1949.
Cast:
Berry Kroeger … Ibarra
Edmund O’Brien … Nunez
Produced/directed by Norman MacDonnell

SuspenseSuspense – The Country Of The Blind
Based on the story by H.G. Wells; Adapted by John Dunkel and William N. Robson; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 19 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: CBS Radio
Broadcast: October 27, 1957
Cast:
Raymond Burr

SuspenseSuspense – The Country Of The Blind
Based on the story by H.G. Wells; Adapted by John Dunkel and William N. Robson; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 24 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: CBS Radio
Broadcast: December 13, 1959
Cast:
Bernard Grant
Produced/directed by Paul Roberts

Favorite Story Favorite Story – Strange Valley
Based on The Country Of The Blind by H.G. Wells; Adapted by ???; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 27 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: KFI
Broadcast: April 23, 1949
Cast:
Ronald Coleman … Nunez

[via Escape-Suspense.com]

Posted by Jesse Willis

The Thousand-And-Second Tale Of Scheherazade by Edgar Allan Poe

SFFaudio Online Audio

The Thousand-and-Second Tale of Scheherazade by Edgar Allan Poe - illustration by Frank R. Paul

Here’s the uncredited editorial introduction, presumably by Hugo Gernsback himself, to The Thousand-And-Second Tale Of Scheherazade as it appeared in the May 1928 issue of Amazing Stories:

“When we realize that this story was written nearly 100 years ago, we must marvel at the extraordinary fertile imagination of Poe. Poe was probably the inventor of “Scientifiction” as we know it today, and just because the story was written almost a century ago, certainly does not make it less valuable. On the contrary, it becomes more valuable as time passes. It is just as applicable to the modern man, who is mostly in the fog about what goes on around him in science today, as his predecessors were a century ago.”

Indeed, if you read it straight through, without pausing to read the footnotes, you’ll probably only get a vague sense of what’s going on in this story. And though I think I tumbled to the idea pretty early on, I still found myself in many places echoing the king’s many harrumphs. I’m not one to use the term “genius” lightly, but if anyone is worthy of the term, it is certainly Edgar Allan Poe. Even in his lesser works, like The Thousand-And-Second Tale Of Scheherazade, there is a wry brilliance that may be entirely matchless.

LibriVoxThe Thousand-And-Second Tale Of Scheherazade
By Edgar Allan Poe; Read by Gregg Margarite
1 |MP3| – Approx. 55 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox
Published: October 1, 2009
First published in the February 1845 issue of Godey’s Lady’s Book.

And here’s the matching |PDF|.

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #124 – READALONG: Beyond This Horizon by Robert A. Heinlein

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #124 – a discussion of the Audible Frontiers audiobook Beyond This Horizon by Robert A. Heinlein with Scott, Jesse, and Tamahome.

Talked about on today’s show:
“We believe that an armed society is a polite society”, under the pen name Anson MacDonald, his 2nd novel, For Us The Living was first, “no nudity or free love”, The Amazing, The Astounding, And The Unknown by Paul Malmont, “a string of ideas broken up by action”, like two novellas put together, a novel about genetics and dueling, list of characters and terms, reversed names like Korea, “he’s a special guy”, moderators, germplasm, “sperm wars”, engineering away violence, Gattaca, Brave New World, “great egg!”, naturals, experimentals, written in the time of Hitler, kids are like Dune, Felix wonders what’s the point, reincarnation?, “says crazy ideas like they’re common sense”, synthesist, Scott has some quotes ready, Felix doesn’t want kids, “Felix just needs a good woman”, rambunctious scene with Felix and Phyllis, “I’m gonna kiss ya!”, Galactic Suburbia would not like this book, Heinlein’s characters, frozen football player, “everyone’s going to be a telepath”, John W. Campbell, “they don’t talk about telepathy anymore”, Podkayne Of Mars, Heinlein and fertility, Heinlein FAQ, the economic system — Social Credit, Beyond This Horizon on Wikipedia, spread the wealth, “What is money?”, it all goes to 0’s and 1’s, waterbed conception, The John W. Campbell Letters, bringing up super-writers, we never change, Campbell hated Dune Messiah, Felix is a “starline”, no Heinlein sequels??, “needs more telepathy”, best Heinlein novel?, Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, Double Star is like Moon Over Parador with Richard Dreyfuss, Starship Troopers has an action-packed start, Heinlein’s short stories like By His Bootstraps with Dreyfuss dramatized on 2000X, Red Planet with pet ball that’s an alien (now I get the Willis joke), Have Spacesuit Will Travel starts well, Heinlein as a dad, Fullcast Audio did a lot of these, Tunnel In The Sky just arrived and is like The Hunger Games, it’s a sci-fi Lord Of The Flies, Full Cast Audio is trying to be family friendly, nudity, worst Heinlein plot?, will the future remember football?, the sport “bligablong”, let’s read the opening, “the halt?”, serialized like The Space Merchants, “it’s all of those things and much more!”, it’s quotable, is the U.S. more polite?, England, duels are stressful, old reviews, 1900-1950 era, 1984, Brave New World, Heinlein starts the SF novel and hardback trend, Hugo Gernsback, Scott loved Foundation, Nazis on the moon, Rocket Ship Galileo, generation ship in Universe (nice old cover), “sucker for space.”

Beyond This Horizon - cover illustration by Hubert Rogers

Beyond This Horizon - Astounding Science Fiction April 1942 - illustration by Hubert Rogers

Beyond This Horizon - Astounding Science Fiction April 1942 - illustration by Hubert Rogers

Beyond This Horizon - Astounding Science Fiction April 1942 - illustration by Hubert Rogers

Beyond This Horizon - Astounding Science Fiction April 1942 - illustration by Hubert Rogers

Beyond This Horizon - Astounding Science Fiction April 1942 - illustration by Hubert Rogers

Beyond This Horizon - Astounding Science Fiction May 1942 - illustration by Hubert Rogers

Beyond This Horizon - Astounding Science Fiction May 1942 - illustration by Hubert Rogers

Beyond This Horizon - Astounding Science Fiction May 1942 - illustration by Hubert Rogers

Beyond This Horizon - Astounding Science Fiction May 1942 - illustration by Hubert Rogers

Beyond This Horizon - Astounding Science Fiction May 1942 - illustration by Hubert Rogers

Beyond This Horizon - Astounding Science Fiction May 1942 - illustration by Hubert Rogers

SIGNET - Beyond This Horizon by Robert A. Heinlein

New English Library - Beyond This Horizon by Robert A. Heinlein

Signet Science Fiction - T4211 - Beyond This Horizon by Robert A. Heinlein

Science Adventure Books, No. 1, Winter 1952 - Beyond This Horizon by Robert A. Heinlein

Science Adventure Books, No. 1, Winter 1952 - Beyond This Horizon by Robert A. Heinlein

Science Adventure Books, No. 1, Winter 1952 - Beyond This Horizon by Robert A. Heinlein

Otre L'Orizzonte by Robert A. Heinlein

Posted by Tamahome

The First Edition – interview with Isaac Asimov and Frederik Pohl

SFFaudio Online Audio

TVOF - The Voices Of FandomForgive me, I’ve posted part of this before, but it’s good enough to post twice. Frederik Pohl and Isaac Asimov were interviewed for a 1972 show called The First Edition. Apparently the show never aired, and was never edited.

THE FIRST EDITION – FIRST SHOW – 1972 – Raw interview material for unfinished show”

Part 1 |MP3| Part 2 |MP3|

I repost the interview, in part because of how damn cool it is, and also in part because it is just the excuse I need to post what might very well be Frederik Pohl and Isaac Asimov first appearance together in print (in the letters column of the June 1939 issue of Thrilling Wonder Stories). Be sure to listen, it’s a terrific interview! In it Asimov responds to the “New Wave” and attacks neo-Luddites, and Pohl protests the takeover of Science Fiction by the “English lit majors” (Pohl didn’t finish high school).

Be sure to read the letters below in which the two Brooklyn boys, Fred and Isaac, grumble about SF. Pohl has some sharp words for the art of Frank R. Paul and Asimov swears he will eat Uranus!

Frederik Pohl and Isaac Asimov in the letters column of Thrilling Wonder Stories - June 1939

[via The Voices Of Fandom and with props to “Burbank396”]

Posted by Jesse Willis