Thursday, January 21, 2021

Appendix X Minus 1: A Pulp Solar System Anthology

I've written a number of posts about old-style inhabited solar systems. Given that the literature that might prove inspirational for games in that setting are old and mostly out a print, I thought I might give a guide.

These stories were selected because they present and interesting (and gameable) take on the celestial body in question, not necessarily for quality--though I do think a number of them are good stories.

Since Mars and Venus stories are probably most famous and most available, I figured I'd start with the more obscure, Galilean Moons of Jupiter.

"Monsters of Callisto" (1933) by Edward R. Hinton - Lost at the bottom of the mysterious aquasphere, they struggle on!

"Mad Robot" (1936) by Raymond Z. Gallun - Did it ever occur to you that a machine could be complex enough to go insane? This one did! 

"The Callistan Menance" (1940) by Isaac Asimov - What was on Callisto, the tiny moon of vast Jupiter, that was deadly enough to make seven well-armed, well-equipped space expeditions disappear? And could the Eight Expedition succeed where the others had failed?

"Redemption Cairn" (1936) by Stanley Weinbaum - Here is one of the last stories by one of the outstanding writers of science- fiction. Remember him as you read it.

"Mutiny on Europa" (1936) by Edmond Hamilton - An unnerving spectacle we must have been to them!

"Repetition" (1940) A.E. van Vogt - Because a people live on a planet, it does not mean that they have a civilization on that planet. First they need to learn the old tricks and make them new.

"Tidal Moon" (1938) by Stanley and Helen Weinbaum - Shackled by the Gravity of Mighty Jupiter, Three Vertical Miles of Water Rush on to Blanket the Surface of Ganymede!

"World of Mockery" (1941) by Sam Moskowitz - When John Hall walked on Ganymede, a thousand weird beings walked with him. He was one man on a sphere of mocking, mad creatures—one voice in a world of shrieking echoes.
"Crypt-City of the Deathless One" (1943) Henry Kuttner - Only once could a man defy the deathless guardians of the Ancient's tomb-city deep in Ganymede's hell-forest and expect to live. Yet Ed Garth had to return, had to lead men to certain doom—to keep a promise to a girl he would never see again.

"Tepondicon" (1946) by Carl Jacobi - He was not the savior-type. He certainly did not crave martyrdom. Yet there was treasure beyond price in these darkened plague-cities of Ganymede, if a man could but measure up to it.

"The Dancing Girl of Ganymede" (1950) by Leigh Brackett - She was like a dream come to life--with hair of tawny gold and the glowing face of a smiling angel--but she was not human!

"The Mad Moon" (1935) by Stanley Weinbaum - The great, idiotic heads, the silly grins and giggles--those infernal giggles--would drive him crazy. 

"Invaders of the Forbidden Moon" (1941) Raymond Z. Gallun - Annihilation was the lot of those who ventured too close to the Forbidden Moon. Harwich knew the suicidal odds when he blasted from Jupiter to solve the mighty riddle of that cosmic death-trap.

"Outpost on Io" (1942) by Leigh Brackett - In a crystalline death lay the only release for those prisoners of that Ionian hell-outpost. Yet MacVickers and the men had to escape—for to remain meant the conquering of the Solar System by the inhuman Europans. 


Dick McGee said...

Some excellent choices there, and a few I'm unfamiliar with that I'll have to check out.

I would also recommend Malcolm Jameson's work, particularly the "Bullard of the Space Patrol" stories, which have been collected and published in several editions under the same name.

On the comic side of things, Basil Wolverton's Spacehawk stories are also not to be missed.

Anne said...

Thanks for finding all of these! Between its Crypt Cities and Plague Cities, it's no wonder Ganymede is the Forbidden Moon!

The Malum said...

I am kind of shocked you didn't include the Callisto series from Lin Carter. Granted, they weren't written in the pulp era. However, they are Carter's homage to Edgar Rice Burroughs, and fit in the genre nicely.

Trey said...

I left it off because I wasn't really doing "Sword & Planet."