Friday, February 05, 2021

Beautiful Things: Golden Age Space Opera Tales

Beautiful Things: Golden Age Space Opera Tales

Drugs can make a mess of things.

And few people know this better than the offspring of the rich and powerful. Or those who have bought or stolen their way into power.

Throughout our long history of fiction (and particularly biting satire) are stories that deal with drugs, their trafficking, abuse, and unforeseen consequences.

Here are a handful of these stories that have come down through the Golden Age of pulp magazine fiction – just to arrive in front of your eyes for your entertainment, and perhaps a barbed comment here and there at the expense of those who are unable to keep from their favorite addiction.

Quite regardless if evidence of their excesses wind up in public hands because of a computer repair…

Space Opera is a subgenre of science fiction that emphasizes space warfare, melodramatic adventure, interplanetary battles, chivalric romance, and risk-taking. Set mainly or entirely in outer space, it usually involves conflict between opponents possessing advanced abilities, futuristic weapons, and other sophisticated technology.

The term has no relation to music, as in a traditional opera, but is instead a play on the terms “soap opera”, a melodramatic television series, and “horse opera”, which was coined during the 1930s to indicate a formulaic Western movie. Space operas emerged in the 1930s and continue to be produced in literature, film, comics, television, and video games.

The Golden Age of Pulp Magazine Fiction derives from pulp magazines (often referred to as “the pulps”) as they were inexpensive fiction magazines that were published from 1896 to the late 1950s. The term pulp derives from the cheap wood pulp paper on which the magazines were printed. In contrast, magazines printed on higher-quality paper were called “glossies” or “slicks”.

The pulps gave rise to the term pulp fiction. Pulps were the successors to the penny dreadfuls, dime novels, and short-fiction magazines of the 19th century. Although many writers wrote for pulps, the magazines were proving grounds for those authors like Robert Heinlein, Louis L’Amour, “Max Brand”, Ray Bradbury, Philip K. Dick, and many others. The best writers moved onto longer fiction required by paperback publishers. Many of these authors have never been out of print, even long after their passing.

Anthology containing:

The Addicts by Joseph Samachson
Scent Makes a Difference by James Stamers
The Drug by C. C. MacApp
Asteroid of the Damned by Frederik Pohl & Dirk Wylie
The Thing of Venus by Wilbur S. Peacock
Mind-Stealers of Pluto by Joseph Farrell
The Derelict by W. J. Matthews
Prey of the Space Falcon by Wilbur S. Peacock

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