The SFFaudio Podcast #794 – READALONG: Travels by Michael Crichton

The SFFaudio Podcast #794 – Jesse and Scott Danielson talk about Travels by Michael Crichton

Talked about on today’s show:
non-fiction book, autobiography, memoir, surprised by it, expecting just being about places he’d travel, astral travel, such a spiritual guru guy, spiritualism, mysticism, astral planes, past lives, auras, meditation, hanging out with Michael Crichton, Jurassic Park, the movie, Timeline, later ones, The Andromeda Strain, around my house, Coma by Robin Cook, Drug Of Choice, eerily close in plot to Coma, very much a Michael Crichton movie, an interesting path to that, life as a medical student, this is not quite what I thought it would be, life as a medical student, advisor taled him into staying, making a living by writing, John Lange books, Hard Case Crime, late 1960s early 1970s, amazing an excellent, a garbage book, trying to do something, Binary, crime, political theory idea, a government agent, modelling something that’s happening, murder the republican candidate for president, similar impressions and intelligence, mirrors of each other, an explosive, a well executed short crime novel, set in Egypt, having climbed the Great Pyramid, when he was young, taking him all over the world, books set in France, Spain’s riviera, Mexico and Europe, The Venom Business, nasty cruel rich people, genres that work like that, dynasties, nasty and horrible, his dad was a “journalist”, wealthy enough, might have been a CIA guy, his brain is amazing, broken by his dad, psychological and spiritual journeys, ghost is haunting him, the demon he takes with him wherever he goes, an extraordinary thinker and writer, an interesting man, a great writer, a great film director, a novelist who’s also a film director, William Shatner as a director, Star Trek V, not the greatest entry in the franchise, not demonically driven to learn, expresses interest in learning, in medical school, how the other students get and how the other doctors get, surgery on a guy, a series of procedures, not thinking about other people and their experience, becoming masters of that technical thing, a fact about viruses or chemistry, becomes obsessive for him, not shelved in science fiction, almost a Philip K. Dick novel, would limit the sales, what makes him different, the feel different, a science fiction novel not written by a science fiction author, not Margaret Atwooding, disconnected except where he’s not, the person in history he’s most like is Arthur Conan Doyle, kids with paper fairies cut out of magazines and a camera, in a way that made him a fool, comes to believe in at least a lot of it, a speech he was going to give to a skeptic’s organization, university degrees, things that blind people, this passion for putting himself in positions where he’s going to be learning something (about himself), it results in sparky writing, the artifacts of his books, decades after he’s dead, intellectual curiosity is still with us, not writing for a living, compelled to write, he leveraged that into doing other things that he wanted, Larry Niven, California boy, rich, all the film directors of the 20th century, some of his movies are excellent films, The Great Train Robbery (1978), one of the best movies of the 1970s, the opposite of the Robert Jordan series, The Lost World, took the text of the film for the text of the sequel, abandons the original novel, Arthur C. Clarke did for 2010, interest in the paranormal, a really interesting phenomena, raining fish, seems to be pretty strong, why would anybody want this, a pretty excellent attitude, sit in an ashram and talk to cacti, came up with stories that helped him in his own life, worked through his childhood trauma, very healthy, wise, he didn’t waste his time smoking dope and drinking himself to death, human flourishing, this is great, Scott is a Catholic guy, where this conversation would end up, brushes up on things Scott does beleive, scientists being blind, Fauci is science, I am science, when they attack me they attack science, this book from 1988, Jesse Willis paints you all in the same spiritual box, Utah, Mormon religion is the biggest religion around, a lot of the arguments against Mormonism, like an atheist would use against Scott, a closed door, anything I can’t measure doesn’t even exist, he was gentle, the new athiests, Bill Maher, Richard Dawkins, the mediation guy who doesn’t care if Biden’s son is torturing children in his basement (Sam Harris), using religion as a weapon of control, that isn’t Michael Crichton’s hobby horse, an intellectual curiosity, auras, a lot of talk about auras, with regard to art or sex, you can’t make the creativity come without being in the right mood for it, use lube, good at poking holes in the conventional experience, right not to become a doctor, evil practices he was witnessing, evil practices in tourism, a sex tour in Thailand, child sex slaves, let’s get out of here you guys, smokes a cigarette, doesn’t convey any judgement, his school years, the practices that the doctors were doing, morally questionable, very morally questionable, judging people, these people need to be condemned, bringing that topic up in this book today, canceled again, canceled before, his “climate change book”, an honest investigator, he goes down a path Jesse doesn’t like, rich evil self-destructive people, drawing on his own life-experience, what do you do?, work through it in a novel?, State Of Fear, writing stuff for money, an homage to his hero: Conan Doyle, what he’s riffing on in the first one, playing in his own sandbox, Lawrence Block, Donald Westlake, Robert Jordan, Elantris guy: Brandon Sanderson, did their toe into it, consistently different, Congo, you can see where that came from by reading this book, time with the mountain gorillas, forgteable and bad?, he didn’t direct that movie, Sphere, Rising Sun, Disclosure, Airframe, A Case Of Need, Five Patients: The Hospital Explained, Electronic Life: A Layman’s Guide To Computers, The Terminal Man, seizures that cause killing sprees, a viscous learning cycle, 1972, very interested in computers, they use an IBM computer to plan all the scenarios that could go wrong, thing of interest, coming at it from a perspective outside of science fiction, Deep Thought, another guy who liked to travel, Douglas Adams, not as productive, produced a ton of novels, The Venom Business, these heroes, intellectual heroes, authorial heroes, Eaters Of The Dead, Ibn Fadlan And The Land Of Darkness, Arab Travellers In The Far North, a retelling of Beowulf, let’s do it, a physical copy, fiddled with the metatext, he’s just the translator, playing with the medium, the images from the serialization of The Lost World, for challenger himself, they lose the camera, photographs, sketches and paintings, plays into the end of the book, pterodactyl, participating in that in the book, fiddles with the copyright page, an old tired writer, a young invigorated guy having fun, a new posthumous publication with James Patterson, a dead man writing a book with a living man who has a ghost writer, Dragon Teeth, fossil hunting in the wild west, 2008, a pirate novel, Pirate Latitudes, Micro with Richard Preston, The Andromeda Revolution, Daniel H. Wilson, Atul Gawande’s Being Mortal, chemotherapy is poison, take the family to Disneyland one last time, what do you want your last few years to be, most people, learning the corpse, learning to memorize where all the people, cars, a house, a vacation home, this seems wrong, one of the biggest cultural influences: ER, very different from other TV shows, turned into a stat because of that show, the storytelling on that, here’s a case, we try all sorts of things where nothing works and the person dies, spawned a ton of shows, like House, another Conan Doyle influenced show, interest and approach, very different and special compared to other writers, gutter books, never came up, not even close, he doesn’t care, pursuing his own passion, a lot of diving and mountain climbing, he goes places you wouldn’t expect, diving with my sister, I’m dying I’m dying, an urge to have sex and unfortunately he’s on vacation with his sister, traumatic incident, you must reproduce, a detachment in the way he tells things, he himself is that way, his relationships, Jamaica, girlfriend or wife, a similar experience, Tucson, Belize, an object called a relationship, he seemed to know at the time, the argument he got into, severed that connection, unrecoverable, talking about women in Hollywood, the hunters, sexual hunters, this is what they want in a relationship, men being romantic, he might be right, the friend who says that to him, that’s really interesting, Arthurian romances, men and women are exactly identical, some do, a lot of weird people but generally people are pretty much the same, adventure vs. romance, Disclosure (1994), the kind of movie I would have watched, business equals, when he gets an idea between his teeth, seeing if he’s got something there, this isn’t an autobiography, doesn’t cover his childhood at all, his dad was rough on him, not a lot of details, that end speech, simplistic, John is a six foot tall man, taller than 5’11, we’re talking about today, except for that time when his football team lost the game, the tailor, the magic of fiction, this further conclusion, reading a Lord Dunsany novel, we can always go back to the text, this is in there, that sentence exists, that is more true than Jesse’s own hair, things change, but not in fiction, an extraordinary thing to think about, we can find truth easier in fiction, it’s a canid, it can breed with other canids, not really half, the more fine grained you drill down onto it, some good wisdom and insights that a lot of people are pissed off about, team science, team spiritualism, he will not submit to any one thing, these very clear scenes recalling dialogue for incidents in his life, him as the dumb guy, memorable to him because he was learning something there, a new spiritual high, six months, a house by the beach, snakes, rattlesnakes in his yard, switching attitudes, different perspectives, a journey of perception and experience, after climbing Kilimanjaro, and yet he does, he does it with lovers and family, very happy that this book got published, a nice record of a man, he has brothers and sisters, they’re not the focus, the family lineage, a little bit about Sean Connery, a little bit about specific movies and books, filming in Ireland, I’m done riding these trains, you have everything he needs, didn’t care about certain things, going way faster and him being right, cool stories, he didn’t dwell there, not showing off his celebrity friends, dating a famous film actress, Linda, aloof in his own life, looking at it from a higher perspective, making a fool of himself often, I feel stupid talking to this cactus, mad at the cactus, fringe experiences, Jesse doesn’t disbelieve him, some of these people are wise teachers, there’s no good answers, becomes a medium himself?!, not the guy Jesse thought he was, Scott’s whole reading life, known something about him, could have been written by anybody, he saw a psychic, a TV movie called Binary, he made money from it, Coma is what he showed the Anglo-Irish crew, Robert Wise, precise control, how everything is connected, Thailand, a travel website, Westworld (1973) he wrote and directed, Looker, Runaway (1984) is kind of a crappy movie, Gene Simmons is the bad guy, directs Burt Reynolds, Twister (1996), directed some reshoots for The 13th Warrior (1989), more books like this, enjoy a good memoir, the HBO Westworld, a tiny wikipedia entry for the book,, travel agencies come up quite a bit in his early books, in Binary, San Diego, spent a lot of time at travel agencies, a reprint from a website, a blog from 2005ish, how he came to write, a column related to travel published in The New York Times, a modern age explorer, began as a series of travel pieces, it wasn’t supposed to turn into anything, almost evasive, some medical stories, pretty ancient history, a kind of keeping a secret by never writing about it, the following is by Janet Berliner, 2010, 1993, where his career went after this interview, write something specifically for children, Treasure Island, So Dear To My Heart (1948), it doesn’t have any adventure, a contrast between, that mushy stuff, maybe that’s Pirate Latitudes, solutions to our problems to society, addressing questions, something that is compelling, another Travels, Travels is the favorite of my books, stainless steel high tech person lecturing on the subject of robots, so much early attention for books, popular perceptions, bad transcription, two historical novels in the mid-1970s, a great sense of relief, its implied by a lot of this material, the narrator is now behaving differently, glib answers, worth thinking about and putting down, poking around in the backs of closets, Sphere was published, 200 pages of a manuscript, revise and correct what I did from memory, a few little acronyms, odd feeling, it went along for months, the first draft took 5 months, a common experience, not entirely processed, a need to objectify, creating a persona, eliminating extraneous and complicating details, a US president biography, Decision Points by George W. Bush, the official biography, many years, it is always that way, my experience of the past now, oh my my what an interesting person must have written this book, a quarter of a century, how to discuss the “fringe phenomena”, all the words are corrupted, the press tour, the most discussed aspect, critical of that part of the book, in just those words, Electronic Life, Marvin Minsky, Society Of Mind, meditation is a kind of delusion, a physiological state, so tremendously interested, music, sports, no one can throw a little piece of letter 100 yards, it happens every Sunday, think of Travels as a bet, this book is going to look prescient, a serious bet, exotic places, going for research, always drawing from your life, a domestic argument, that’s good! remember that you can use that, James Thurber’s wife, Thurber, stop writing!, off the clock, in the end it wasn’t, the colours of policeman’s uniforms, becoming too detailed, she won’t even take photographs, an abstraction, a bold decision, also practical, very helpful to go some place some place, have this fresh experience, more informed experience, all the things he would bring onto the airplane, facecream, typewriters, I haven’t been to Israel, Egypt, the former Soviet Union, Asia, I’m so tall, left to my own devices, Italy and Greece, Disclosure, Congo, Jurassic Park, the most successful movie in history, it is going to happen, the Jaws series, protecting your own work becomes important, probably gotten a lot worse, you don’t really decide until you have to, there will come a point, I’m not there yet, my income has declined somewhat, 20% less, not as well paid, when America was richer, an intellectual prospecting that happens, when you finally get a nugget, sometimes talking about it dissipates it, Rising Sun and Disclosure were set in high-tech, novels of social commentary, the possibilities are limitless, after his success, those paperbacks in the late 60s were disposable, even so, the economy is not as good as it was, we’re feeling that now, for sure, did he win his bet, the mystical aspects of it, the medical stuff, the more you investigate what’s going on the more you realize there are a bunch of scams going on, on team scam means you get to keep your job or you’re ostracized, lose your twitter account, coronations, institutions, the FDA, drug companies, make cash, countries can reap rewards, the pressure to makes drugs mandatory, makes 100 billionaires, lie dispute and legalize, pretty amazing, he would be shitcanned again, maybe he would have been big enough to weather that, comedians that a re big enough, musicians that are big enough, can’t cancel them permanently, Michael Caine’s biographies are really great, narrated by him, The Moon Is A Balloon by David Niven, Blue Highways by William Least Heat-Moon, travel writing, memoir, they go together, The Old Patagonia Express by Paul Theroux, On Writing by Stephen King, made it even richer, out walking with his dog trying to finish The Stand, running home, a student coming, The Mosquito Coast (1986).

Posted by Jesse Willis

Reading, Short And Deep #310 – The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty by James Thurber


Reading, Short And DeepReading, Short And Deep #310

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty by James Thurber

Here’s a link to a PDF of the story.

The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty was first published in The New Yorker, March 18, 1939

Posted by Scott D. Danielson Become a Patron!

Reading, Short And Deep #300 – The Princess And The Tin Box by James Thurber


Reading, Short And DeepReading, Short And Deep #300

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss The Princess And The Tin Box by James Thurber

Here’s a link to a PDF of the story.

The Princess And The Tin Box was first published in The New Yorker, September 29, 1945

Posted by Scott D. Danielson Become a Patron!

The SFFaudio Podcast #122 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: Beyond The Door by Philip K. Dick


The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #122 – a complete and unabridged reading of Beyond The Door by Philip K. Dick, followed by a discussion of it with Scott, Jesse, Tamahome and Gregg Margarite (who narrated the story).

Talked about on today’s show:
Beyond The Door is a story about a very angry bird, is it a puff-piece or a potboiler?, Rod Serling, Twilight Zone, “My name is Talky Tina and I’m going to kill you.”, Living Doll, Telly Savalas, Clown Without Pity (from Treehouse of Horror III), Night Gallery, Chucky, were clowns always scary?, automaton, fantasy, is it a haunted cuckoo clock?, what does that mean?, why is that in there?, who is Pete?, Pete has to be her dead brother, did Pete die in the same way?, the Black Forest, what’s wrong with this woman?, “it was written in the fifties!”, she’s happy and she’s sad, Umberto Eco and the role of the reader, Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Eric S. Rabkin, Warehouse 13, is the first line a moral lesson (or merely a magazine call out)?, Project Gutenberg’s etext edition of Beyond The Door, Fantastic Universe Science Fiction, this story is not about a cuckoo clock, it’s about the cuckoo bird and the cuckoo egg, and the egg’s name is Pete, Perky Pat, Gregg has read Philip K. Dick’s Exegesis, James Joyce, what am I thinking?, what am I feeling?, “keep thinking about that”, “it’s wholesale baby”, this is sex, Bob is her lover (in the 1950s sense), anthropomorphizing cuckoo clock’s bird is not that uncommon, “you’ll love it Bobby”, this is a really strange clock, it would keep you up all night, the cuckoo clock fad (they were ubiquitous), “like a new member of the family”, what is the symbol of?, the cuckoo is a brood parasite, the characteristics of cuckoo eggs and chicks, “some important special accounts” sounds like a story, “how nice you look today”, “Mrs. Peters across the street you know…”, “oh oh oh”, Pete was only her half brother, “it’s 3 o’clock in the morning and you need 5,000 words by ten a.m.”, Clans Of The Alphane Moon, Dick’s many marriages, Tessa Dick, structuralism vs. post structuralism, writer’s intent vs. the text standing alone, does the author’s intent matter?, a bastard child, “she’s seen this thing in action before”, the great depression -> WWII -> many impulsive marriages, Bob isn’t gay, “no guy is interested in buttons!”, “does he realize he is next in line?”, “monogamy is designed to makes sure the male gets a genetic heir”, the cuckoo is her champion, “I like a good deal”, “he’s rude, he doesn’t deserve to die”, there’s no magic, no science fiction, folklore, mythology, proto-story, Scott read Beyond The Door aloud to his daughter, James Thurber’s The Princess And The Tin Box, Anthony Boucher, three or four princes, reverse-dowry, “red charger” vs. plow horse, mica and hornblende, she’s not an idiot, anyone who thought she was going to…, this is an overturning of that, it’s a fractured fairy tale, a noir fairy tale, Frank R. Stockton, The Griffin and the Minor Canon, Snow White as a horror story, Rocky And Bullwinkle, June Foray, William Conrad, Jake And The Fatman, “finish before it burns”, the Marx Bros., the self-deprecating stuff we like today, Forever Peace, we got it sorted, anecdotal proof.

Posted by Jesse Willis

CBS Radio Workshop: Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World

SFFaudio Online Audio

CBS Radio WorkshopThe CBS Radio Workshop was an experimental dramatic radio anthology series that aired on CBS radio from January 1956, until September 1957. Subtitled “radio’s distinguished series to man’s imagination,” it was a revival of the earlier Columbia Workshop, broadcast by CBS from 1936 to 1943, and it used some of the same writers and directors employed on the earlier series. Its first two episodes were a two-part adaptation of Aldous Huxley’s dystopian stunner Brave New World. It has some strong claims to being the definite adaptation as it is both introduced and narrated by Aldous Huxley himself. Here’s how Time magazine’s February 6, 1956 issue described it in their review:

“It took three radio sound men, a control-room engineer and five hours of hard work to create the sound that was heard for less than 30 seconds on the air. The sound consisted of a ticking metronome, tom-tom beats, bubbling water, air hose, cow moo, boing! (two types), oscillator, dripping water (two types) and three kinds of wine glasses clicking against each other. Judiciously blended and recorded on tape, the effect was still not quite right. Then the tape was played backward with a little echo added. That did it. The sound depicted the manufacturing of babies in the radio version of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World.”

Music for the series was composed by Bernard Herrmann, Jerry Goldsmith, Amerigo Moreno, Ray Noble and Leith Stevens. Other writers adapted to the series included Robert A. Heinlein, Sinclair Lewis, H.L. Mencken, Edgar Allan Poe, Frederik Pohl, James Thurber, Mark Twain and Thomas Wolfe. According to Bill Hollweg the two MP3 files have been “cleaned and the volume normalized” – and they do sound great!

PELICAN - Brave New World - based on the novel by Aldous HuxleyBrave New World
Based on the novel by Aldous Huxley; Performed by a full cast
2 MP3 Files – Approx. 1 Hour [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: CBS
Broadcast: January 27 and February 3, 1956

Part 1 |MP3| Part 2 |MP3|

Most interesting to me, however, is some of the commentary about this adaptation. On the back of the Pelican Records LP (LP-2013) edition there is critical essay on Huxley, Brave New World and this adaptation, by none other than Ray Bradbury! It is truly wonderful and I have reproduced it below:

There is science fiction and science fiction. There is science fiction still looked down upon by many intellectuals in our society, because it is written by the wrong people. And there is science fiction minus the label, written over in the main stream by acceptable A-1 main-line writers which is OK. And at the head of the list for some 40 years or more you would have to put Aldous Huxley and Brave New World. Whenever lists are drawn up for schools containing the acceptable authors who dare to be imaginative, it is Huxley and Orwell, ten to one.

Forget about Asimov, Clarke, Sturgeon, Heinlein, get lost.

There are a number of reasons beyond snobbishness of course. Huxley was in mid-career when he veered over into Future Country. Behind him lay half a dozen novels, most of which had good or fine reviews, and most of which are still selling moderately well and being read today. But mention Huxley and most people will name the one they know him by, Brave New World.

At the time it was published, much of the novel was fresh and innovative, properly cynical about human behavior and, at times, verging on territory laid out by Evelyn Waugh. Later on, Huxley and Waugh would indeed meet in the middle of the same cemetery. Huxley to dig graves and plant Hollywood types with his After Many A Summer Dies The Swan and Waugh with his The Loved One another shake of similar bones.

Since its publication, Brave New World has been skinned and boned and borrowed from by dozens of less competent writers who saw the serious fun Huxley had with his story and couldn’t resist imitating it.

As a satire today, reread when some of the things it talked about have moved straight on into our lives, the novel suffers as indeed it did back in 1932, from being a half-job. All the good stuff is up front in the book. Toward the end the fun and the imagination of Huxley diminish. Having the Indian hang himself seemed to me, even when I was younger, a bad solution to a good novel. Even Huxley, in 1952 when I first met him, expressed some doubt about his original ending.

But on his way to the finale, let’s face it, Huxley was the only referee we had for our impeding technological game. With foresight and precision he saw the Pill coming and ducked. He circled round cloning long before it became a tv Tale show mini-debate by mini-minds pretending to offer, as a result to most of us, mini-news. The drug culture of today noon occupied Huxley’s mind at breakfast 45 years back, long before he sprinkled mescaline on his Wheaties. While he was at it, old Aldous invented and reinvented the machined pornographies that have infiltrated our cinemas to slumber us better than Nembutal and bore us more than family picnics, well beyond 1984. And if we have not as yet birthed his ‘feelies’ into our world, we are on the thin dumb rim of doing so.

If there is a zero for failure to imagine at the center of the novel, and this radio play, it is the inability of Huxley (and Orwell, too later on) to in any way recognize or prophesy Space Travel. This may well be because of the time we lived in, then, when the Space Age seemed so remote, so impossible, that it could not be entered on any imaginary ledger to tip the scales toward an equally improbable better if not happy ending.

This was revealed in a lecture which I shared with Huxley onstage at UCLA some time in the early Sixties. Speaking first, he wondered again and again, what the next great development in literature might be.

I was stunned. In sat in my chair hardly daring to rise and deliver my speech, for suddenly my evening had changed. I had intended to make a few remarks about why I wrote what I wrote, but suddenly here was Huxley asking and not answering what was, to me, anyway, an obvious question with an obvious answer. What would the next great literature be?

Science Fiction! I wanted to shout. Good Grief and Jumping Jehoshaphat! Science Fiction!

Since every problem you can name in our time has to do with science and technology (name one that doesn’t) what else us there to write about except Pills, technological drugs, automobiles, smog, nuclear power, solar energy, space travel, tv, radio, transistors, free-ways, all, all of them scientific extensions of scientific dreams.

I rose and did not shout it. But I rose and said it, quietly, out of deference to my author hero.

Huxley shook my hand after the lecture and smiled at me with that dry quiet smile of his, and we spoke of Space Travel and how it might have changed Brave New World if he had thought to consider it in the full.

I still wish today that I might take his ghost to Cape Canaveral and whisk him to the top of the Vehicle Assembly Building where I have gone to stare down, with a wildly beating heart at the topmost part of the Apollo rockets lying ready below to give us alternative futures. We are not doomed to stay on Earth and share Huxley’s Indian suicide or Orwell’s Big Brother. When the time is ripe, we will just up and ‘go’.

All this said, when we return to the radio show, here captured to remind us once more that CBS, of all the radio networks, was the most open, the most adventurous, the most creative. Considering the year it was broadcast, 1956, long before Playboy made its real impact on our country, it is a fascinating work, of much imagination and good taste.

Let me step aside now, I have shouted my quiet shout. The next voice you’ll hear, a lovely gentleman’s voice, is that of Aldous Huxley. Would that he were alive today, for anther teatime chat and another long look into a sometimes dubious, sometimes exhilarating Future.

Ray Bradbury
Los Angeles
May 16, 1979

[Many thanks to Bill Hollweg and Rick]

Posted by Jesse Willis

Anthony Boucher’s All Stars: 52 best SF books (+6 More) and 12 Fantasy books

SFFaudio Commentary

The Magazine Of Fantasy And Science Fiction - October1958

The “All Star Anniversary Issue” of Fantasy And Science Fiction Magazine (for October 1958) featured famed editor Anthony Boucher’s regular “Recommending Reading” column – but with a twist. In celebration of the magazine’s 9th anniversary Boucher challenged himself to create a list of “Fifty Review Copies I Would Not Part With.” He failed in this herculean task – he just couldn’t pair down the list to fifty (even by restricting what would qualify in a number of ways). Instead, he ended up listing 52 Science Fiction novels or collections that he had no hand in publishing, another six that he did, and twelve Fantasy titles that were absolute must keepers as well. Of them Boucher wrote:

“These are novels and collections which have, from 1949 through 1957, given intense pleasure to a man professionally, obligated to read every s.f. book published in America; and I venture the guess that any reader, novice or habitué of our field, will find stimulation and delight in a high number of these titles.”

That’s good enough for me! I have reproduced as Boucher listed them (in alphabetical order by author). But I’ve added links to extant audiobook editions:

Boucher’s 52 best SF books:
Brain Wave by Poul Anderson |BLACKSTONE AUDIO|

I, Robot by Isaac Asimov [COLLECTION] |READ OUR REVIEW|
The Caves Of Steel by Isaac Asimov |READ OUR REVIEW|
The Naked Sun by Isaac Asimov |READ OUR REVIEW|
Earth Is Room Enough by Isaac Asimov [COLLECTION]

The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester
The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester

The Long Tomorrow by Leigh Brackett

The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury [COLLECTION] |READ OUR REVIEW|

What Mad Universe by Fredric Brown
The Lights In The Sky Are Stars by Fredric Brown
Angels And Spaceships by Fredric Brown [COLLECTION]

Cloak Of Aesir by John W. Campbell [COLLECTION]

No Blade Of Grass / The Death Of Grass by John Christopher |AUDIBLE FRONTIERS|

Prelude To Space by Arthur C. Clarke
Expedition To Earth by Arthur C. Clarke [COLLECTION]
Against The Fall Of Night (and The City And The Stars) by Arthur C. Clarke

Mission Of Gravity by Hal Clement

The Wheels Of If by L. Sprague de Camp [COLLECTION]
Rogue Queen by L. Sprague de Camp

Nerves by Lester Del Rey

Eye In The Sky by Philip K. Dick |BLACKSTONE AUDIO|

The Third Level by Jack Finney [COLLECTION]

The Man Who Sold The Moon by Robert A. Heinlein [COLLECTION]

Bullard Of The Space Patrol by Malcolm Jameson

Takeoff by C.M. Kornbluth
The Explorers by C.M. Kornbluth [COLLECTION]
Not This August by C.M. Kornbluth

Gather, Darkness by Fritz Leiber
The Green Millennium by Fritz Leiber |WONDER AUDIO|

The Big Ball Of Wax by Shepherd Mead

Shadow On The Hearth by Judith Merrril

Shadows In The Sun by Chad Oliver
Another Kind by Chad Oliver [COLLECTION]

A Mirror For Observers by Edgar Pangborn

The Space Merchants by Frederick Pohl and C.M. Kornbluth

The Other Place by J.B. Priestly [COLLECTION]

Deep Space by Eric Frank Russell [COLLECTION]

Untouched by Human Hands by Robert Sheckley [COLLECTION]

Strangers In The Universe by Clifford D. Simak

Without Sorcery by Theodore Sturgeon [COLLECTION]
The Dreaming Jewels by Theodore Sturgeon |BLACKSTONE AUDIO|
More Than Human by Theodore Sturgeon |BLACKSTONE AUDIO|

The Weapon Shops and The Weapon Makers by A.E. van Vogt

Player Piano by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. |AUDIBLE MODERN VANGUARD|

A Martian Odyssey by Stanley Weinbaum [COLLECTION] |LIBRIVOX|

The Throne Of Saturn by S. Fowler Wright

The Day Of The Triffids by John Wyndham |AUDIBLE FRONTIERS|
Re-Birth/The Chrysalids by John Wyndham |AUDIBLE FRONTIERS|

Excellent titles that had origins on the pages of Fantasy And Science Fiction:

Bring The Jubilee by Ward Moore

Tales From Gavagan’s Bar by Fletcher Pratt and L. Sprague de Camp [COLLECTION]

The Sinister Researches Of C.P. Ransom by H. Nearing Jr. [COLLECTION]

One In Three Hundred by J.T. McIntosh

The Star Beast by Robert A. Heinlein |FULL CAST AUDIO|
The Door Into Summer by Robert A. Heinlein |BLACKSTONE AUDIO|

Boucher’s best dozen Fantasy books:

The Devil In Velvet by John Dickson Carr

Fancies And Goodnights by John Collier [COLLECTION]

The Worm Ouroboros by E.R. Eddison |MARIA LECTRIX|

The Circus Of Dr. Lao by Charles G. Finney

The Private Memoirs And Confessions Of A Justified Sinner by James Hogg

Fear by L. Ron Hubbard |GALAXY PRESS|

The Lottery by Shirley Jackson [COLLECTION] |BBC AUDIOBOOKS AMERICA|

The Ghostly Tales by Henry James [COLLECTION]

Pogo by Walt Kelly

Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis |BLACKSTONE AUDIO|

Further Fables For Our Times by James Thurber [COLLECTION]

The Lord Of The Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien |RECORDED BOOKS|

Posted by Jesse Willis