Since then (…) Sixty-two great mountain chains had risen, to end as barren plains. Seventy huge fields of ice had covered him before retreating to their boreal home. Ocean islands had risen from the sea, had fallen beneath the waves, forgotten in eternity.
Somewhere a tiny cell formed, moving in brackish waters, dividing. He studied the phenomenon, excited because the single cell somehow was related to his makers. He sensed the same life force.
“Watch it,” Psychband cautioned. “It’s dangerous.”
from: “After Ixmal” by Jeff Sutton, in: Thrilling Science Fiction, June 1972 issue.
why do i enjoy these old sci fi magazines? i think i have found the dirty secret behind this guilty pleasure. ok the retro chic of the cover illustrations does play a role but in the end, i do read these things. and read them from cover to cover. the stories are, without exception, SHORT. the stories are, with few exceptions, about IDEAS not action or people. ok some of these magazines contain some (imho) very poorly written poetry which i try to skip but the stories just suck me in. you need no special effects to tell a good story. you need no handsome or shocking looking main character. you need an idea and you need to tell the story.
stories are as old as mankind, and i would not be surprised if man was not the only creature that tells stories. of all animals i guess owls would seem the most likely candidates to be telling their young good night stories. tell me a story is what millions of minds are saying when they pick up a book, a newspaper, the tv listings, the remote, you name it. we are the story eaters. without stories i believe we would not survive. we tell stories and live stories and create stories. we rely on stories. we write ourselves – and each other – who are you? the person who rescued that little dog from the rest stop, the kid that beats up every other kid, the girl whose daddy lives in heaven – or at a bus stop in chicago.
i notice that when i write my poems tend to tell stories. i think that’s ok. i think poetry is an ok medium for story telling, – it is great for short and strange. it is great for simple. no special effects. boom.
anyway. *takes a bow* my guilty pleasure, ladies and gentlemen: old sci-fi magazines. some of the stories are downright creepy, some are brilliant, some are… odd. i guess for me they are also a crash course in cultural history. gender, ethnicity, politics, – read these magazines with an eye on these things and double your pleasure.
(begin sales pitch) this one, from 72, is actually about ten years younger than most of the other ones i got, and got them almost all from sam weller’s bookstore in downtown salt lake. whatever your printed poison, i think he might have it. whoohoo! 🙂 and student discount too… (end sales pitch)