Planet Stories

Planet Stories was an American pulp science fiction magazine, published by Fiction House between 1939 and 1955. It featured interplanetary adventures, both in space and on other planets, and was initially focused on a young readership. Malcolm Reiss was editor or editor-in-chief for all of its 71 issues. Planet Stories was launched at the same time as Planet Comics. Planet Stories also included stories from many well-known authors including Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Philip K.Dick and Clifford Simak.

Planet Stories two main writers are Leigh Brackett and Ray Bradbury, both of whom set many of their stories on a romanticized version of Mars that owed much to the depiction of Barsoom in the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs. Bradbury’s work for Planet included an early story in his Martian Chronicles sequence. Brackett’s best-known work for the magazine was a series of adventures featuring Eric John Stark, which began in the summer of 1949. Brackett and Bradbury collaborated on one story, “Lorelei of the Red Mist”, which appeared in 1946; it was generally well-received, although one letter to the magazine complained that the story’s treatment of sex, though mild by modern standards, was too explicit. The artwork also emphasized attractive women, with scantily clad damsels in distress or alien princesses on almost every cover.

Although science fiction (sf) had been published before the 1920s, it did not begin to coalesce into a separately marketed genre until the appearance in 1926 of Amazing Stories, a pulp magazine published by Hugo Gernsback. By the end of the 1930s the field was undergoing its first boom Fiction House, a major pulp publisher, had run into difficulties during the Depression, but after a relaunch in 1934 found success with detective and romance pulp titles. Fiction House’s first title with sf interest was Jungle Stories, which was launched in early 1939; it was not primarily a science fiction magazine, but often featured storylines with marginally science fictional themes, such as survivors from Atlantis. At the end of 1939 Fiction House decided to add an sf magazine to its lineup; it was titled Planet Stories, and was published by Love Romances, a subsidiary company that had been created to publish Fiction House’s romance titles. The first issue was dated Winter 1939. Two comics were launched at the same time: Jungle Comics and Planet Comics; both were published monthly, whereas Planet Stories was quarterly.

Malcolm Reiss edited Planet Stories from the beginning, and retained editorial oversight and control throughout its run, though he was not always the named editor on the masthead; when other editors were involved, his title was “managing editor” The first of these sub-editors was Wilbur S. Peacock, who worked from 1942 until 1945, after which he was replaced by Chester Whitehorn for three issues, and then by Paul L. Payne, from 1946 to Spring 1950. Published science-fiction writer Jerome Bixby, edited the next issue together with Jungle Stories and did much to improve the magazine, persuading the established writers to find unusual variations on the interplanetary adventure theme such as Poul Anderson’s “Duel on Syrtis” which is about an Earthman tracking an alien on Mars, and Theodore Sturgeon’s “The Incubi on Planet X”, which is about aliens who kidnap Earth women. Bixby was replaced by Malcolm Reiss in 1951. Following Bixby’s departure Planet’s major contributor was Philip K. Dick, who wrote five stories including “Beyond Lies the Wub” and “James P. Crow”, in which a human suffers discrimination in a world of robots. Jack O’Sullivan took over in 1952.

The letter column in Planet was titled “The Vizigraph”; it was also very active, with long letters from an engaged readership. It often printed letters from established writers, and from fans who would go on to become well known professionally. Most editions of Planet Stories initially focused on interplanetary adventures,often taking place in primitive societies that would now be regarded as “sword and sorcery” settings, and were a mixture space opera, planetary romances and tales of action and adventure on alien planets and in interplanetary space. Brackett and Bradbury set many of their stories on a romanticized version of Mars that owed much to the Barsoom of Edgar Rice Burroughs. Leigh Brackett wrote a series of stories featuring adventurer Eric John Stark, which began with “Queen of the Martian Catacombs”. Ray Bradbury also wrote “The Million Year Picnic” which was included into The Martian Chronicles and also co-wrote “Lorelei of the Red Mist” with Leigh Brackett. Ray Bradbury often demonstrated his reservations about the advance of technology, particularly in “The Golden Apples of the Sun”. Several other well-known writers appeared in Planet Stories, including Clifford Simak, James Blish, Fredric Brown, Damon Knight and Isaac Asimov whose story, originally titled “Pilgrimage”, appeared in 1942 as “Black Friar of the Flame”.

Almost every story that appeared in Planet could be described as space opera, basic themes included Earth being threatened by aliens or Earthmen being drawn into conflicts on alien worlds, such as Carl Selwyn’s “Venus Has Green Eyes”, which features a Venusian princess who hates humans. Many of Leigh Brackett’s female heroines were also head strong, hot tempered but brave and intelligent and would fight alongside the hero. Stories like “Lorelei of the Red Mist”, also depicted sexuality which caused controversy among readers. As did what the characters were wearing with functional spacesuits worn by the men, while the women wore transparent suits through which bikinis could be seen, this was sarcastically referred to as “sexual dimorphism in space” by many, with many of the covers also emphasizing sex. Hannes Bok contributed much of the interior artwork, and the covers were often by Allen Anderson during the early years. Later, Kelly Freas became a frequent cover artist. One of the best artists to work on Planet was Alexander Leydenfrost, whose work, epitomized much of what Planet Stories represented in the 1940s”. Sadly though despite it’s popularity the Summer 1955 issue was the final edition of Planet Stories.

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Stephen Baxter

British hard science fiction author Stephen Baxter was born 13 November 1957 in Liverpool, England and studied mathematics at Cambridge University, obtained a doctorate in engineering at Southampton University, and received an MBA from Henley Management College. Baxter taught maths, physics, and information technology before becoming a full-time author in 1995. He is also a chartered engineer and fellow of the British Interplanetary Society. He has degrees in mathematics and engineering. Strongly influenced by SF pioneer H. G. Wells, Baxter has been a distinguished Vice-President of the international H. G. Wells Society since 2006. His fiction falls into three main categories of original work plus a fourth category, extending other authors’ writing; each has a different basis, style, and tone.

Baxter’s “Future History” mode is based on research into hard science. It encompasses the monumental Xeelee Sequence, which as of September 2015 is composed of seven novels (including the Destiny’s Children trilogy), plus three volumes collecting the 52 short pieces (short stories and novellas) in the series, all of which fit into a single timeline stretching from the Big Bang singularity of the past to his Timelike Infinity singularity of the future.[2] These stories begin in the present day and end when the Milky Way galaxy collides with Andromeda five billion years in the future The central narrative is that of Humanity rising and evolving to become the second most powerful race in the universe, next to the god-like Xeelee. Character development tends to take second place to the depiction of advanced theories and ideas, such as the true nature of the Great Attractor, naked singularities and the great battle between Baryonic and Dark Matter lifeforms. The Manifold Trilogy is another example of Baxter’s future history mode, even more conceptual than the Xeelee sequence – each novel is focused on a potential explanation of the Fermi Paradox. The two-part disaster series Flood and Ark (followed by three additional stories, “Earth III,” “Earth II,” and “Earth I”) which also fits into this category, where catastrophic events unfold in the near future and Humanity must adapt to survive in three radically different planetary environments. In 2013, Baxter released his short story collection entitled Universes which featured stories set in Flood/Ark, Jones & Bennet and Anti-Ice universe Baxter signed a contract for two new books, titled Proxima and Ultima, both of which are names of planets, and they were released in 2013 and 2014, respectively.

A second category in Baxter’s work is based on readings in evolutionary biology and human/animal behaviour. Elements of this appear in his future histories (especially later works like the Destiny’s Children series and Flood/Ark), but here it is the focus. The major work in this category is Evolution, which imagines the evolution of humanity in the Earth’s past and future. The Mammoth Trilogy, written for young adults, shares similar themes and concerns as it explores the present, past, and future of a small herd of mammoths found surviving on an island in the Arctic Ocean.

A third category of Baxter’s fiction is alternate history, based on research into history. These stories are more human, with characters portrayed with greater depth and care. This includes his NASA Trilogy, which incorporates a great deal of research into NASA and its history, and the Time’s Tapestry series, which features science-fictional interventions into our past from an alternate-history future. The novel Anti-Ice is an earlier example of Baxter’s blending of alternate history with science fiction. His most recent work in this direction is the Northland Trilogy, an alternate prehistory that begins with Stone Spring, set ten thousand years ago in the Stone Age, followed by Bronze Summer and Iron Winter, set in alternate versions of the Bronze Age and the Iron Age. In 2009, Baxter became a judge for the Sidewise Award for Alternate History, the first former winner among the panel.

Another category, outside of the main body of Baxter’s independent work, is sequels and installments of science-fiction classics. His first novel to achieve wide recognition (winning three literary awards) was The Time Ships, an authorised sequel to H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine. The Time Odyssey series, a trilogy co-authored with Arthur C. Clarke, is connected to Clarke’s four Space Odyssey novels. Another novel is based on a synopsis written by Clarke, The Light of Other Days. Baxter has also published a Doctor Who novel, The Wheel of Ice. In 2010, Baxter began working on a new series with Terry Pratchett. This collaboration has produced five books, The Long Earth, The Long War, The Long Mars, The Long Utopia and The Long Cosmos. He has also written a follow up to War of the Worlds entitled Massacre of Mankind. Baxter has also written non-fiction essays and columns for such publications as Critical Wave and the British SF Association’s Matrix.

Carl Sagan

American astronomer, cosmologist, astrophysicist, astrobiologist, author, science popularizer, and science communicator in astronomy and other natural sciences, Carl Edward Sagan was born November 9, 1934. Sagan First became interested in science and astronomy when parents took him to the 1939 New York World’s Fair when he was four years old. The exhibits became a turning point in his life. He later recalled the moving map of the America of Tomorrow exhibit which showed beautiful highways and cloverleaves and little General Motors cars all carrying people to skyscrapers, buildings with lovely spires and, flying buttresses. At other exhibits, he remembered how a flashlight that shone on a photoelectric cell created a crackling sound, and how the sound from a tuning fork became a wave on an oscilloscope. He also witnessed the future media technology that would replace radio: television.

Soon after entering elementary school he began to express a strong inquisitiveness about nature. Sagan recalled taking his first trips to the public library alone, at the age of five, when his mother got him a library card. He wanted to learn what stars were, since Nobody else could give him a clear answer. He and a close friend took trips to the American Museum of Natural History across the East River in Manhattan. While there, they went to the Hayden Planetarium and walked around the museum’s exhibits of space objects, such as meteorites, and displays of dinosaurs and animals in natural settings. His parents bought him chemistry sets and reading materials. His interest in space, however, was his primary focus, especially after reading science fiction stories by writers such as H. G. Wells and Edgar Rice Burroughs, which stirred his imagination about life on other planets such as Mars. In 1947 he discovered Astounding Science Fiction magazine, which introduced him to more hard science fiction speculations than those in Burroughs’s novels. That same year inaugurated the “flying saucer” mass hysteria with the young Carl suspecting the “discs” might be alien spaceships.

Sagan lived in Bensonhurst where he went to David A. Boody Junior High School. He had his bar mitzvah in Bensonhurst when he turned 13. In 1948, his family moved to the nearby town of Rahway, New Jersey for his father’s work, where Sagan then entered Rahway High School. He graduated in 1951. Sagan was made president of the school’s chemistry club, and set up his own laboratory at home, teaching himself about molecules by making cardboard cutouts to help him visualize how molecules were formed and also remained interested in astronomy.

Sagan attended the University of Chicago. Its Chancellor, Robert Hutchins, structured the school as an “ideal meritocracy,” with no age requirement. The school also employed a number of the nation’s leading scientists, including Enrico Fermi and Edward Teller, along with operating the famous Yerkes Observatory. Sagan worked in the laboratory of the geneticist H. J. Muller and wrote a thesis on the origins of life with physical chemist Harold Urey. Sagan joined the Ryerson Astronomical Society, received a B.A. degree in self-proclaimed “nothing” with general and special honors in 1954, and a B.S. degree in physics in 1955. He went on to earn a M.S. degree in physics in 1956, before earning a Ph.D. degree in 1960 with the dissertation “Physical Studies of Planets” submitted to the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics. From 1960 to 1962 Sagan was a Miller Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley. he also published an article in 1961 in the journal Science on the atmosphere of Venus, while also working with NASA’s Mariner 2 team, and served as a “Planetary Sciences Consultant” to the RAND Corporation.

After the publication of Sagan’s Science article, in 1961 Harvard University astronomers Fred Whipple and Donald Menzel offered Sagan the opportunity to give a colloquium at Harvard, and they subsequently offered him a lecturer position at the institution. Sagan instead asked to be made an assistant professor. Sagan lectured, performed research, and advised graduate students at the institution from 1963 until 1968, as well as working at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, both located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Cornell University astronomer Thomas Gold then asked Sagan to move to Ithaca, New York and join the faculty at Cornell. and remained a faculty member at Cornell for nearly 30 years until his death in 1996. Following two years as an associate professor, Sagan became a full professor at Cornell in 1970, and directed the Laboratory for Planetary Studies there. From 1972 to 1981, he was associate director of the Center for Radiophysics and Space Research (CRSR) at Cornell. In 1976, he became the David Duncan Professor of Astronomy and Space Sciences.

Sagan was associated with the U.S. space program from its inception. From the 1950s onward, he worked as an advisor to NASA, where one of his duties included briefing the Apollo astronauts before their flights to the Moon. Sagan contributed to many of the robotic spacecraft missions that explored the Solar System, arranging experiments on many of the expeditions. Sagan assembled the first physical message that was sent into space: a gold-anodized plaque, attached to the space probe Pioneer 10, launched in 1972. Pioneer 11, also carrying another copy of the plaque, was launched In 1973. He continued to refine his designs; the most elaborate message he helped to develop and assemble was the Voyager Golden Record that was sent out with the Voyager space probes in 1977. Sagan often challenged the decisions to fund the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station at the expense of further robotic missions.

He became known for his work as a science popularizer and communicator. His best known scientific contribution is research on extraterrestrial life, including experimental demonstration of the production of amino acids from basic chemicals by radiation. Sagan assembled the first physical messages sent into space: the Pioneer plaque and the Voyager Golden Record, universal messages that could potentially be understood by any extraterrestrial intelligence that might find them. Sagan argued the now accepted hypothesis that the high surface temperatures of Venus can be attributed to and calculated using the greenhouse effect.

Sagan published more than 600 scientific papers and articles and was author, co-author or editor of more than 20 books. He wrote many popular science books, such as The Dragons of Eden, Broca’s Brain and Pale Blue Dot, and narrated and co-wrote the award-winning 1980 television series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage. The most widely watched series in the history of American public television, Cosmos has been seen by at least 500 million people across 60 different countries. The book Cosmos was published to accompany the series. He also wrote the science fiction novel Contact, the basis for a 1997 film of the same name. His papers, containing 595,000 items, are archived at The Library of Congress.

Sagan advocated scientific skeptical inquiry and the scientific method, pioneered exobiology and promoted the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI). He spent most of his career as a professor of astronomy at Cornell University, where he directed the Laboratory for Planetary Studies. Sagan and his works received numerous awards and honors, including the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal, the National Academy of Sciences Public Welfare Medal, the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction for his book The Dragons of Eden, and, regarding Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, two Emmy Awards, the Peabody Award and the Hugo Award. He married three times and had five children. After suffering from myelodysplasia, Sagan died of pneumonia at the age of 62, on December 20, 1996.

The Man in the High Castle by Philip K.Dick

I am currently reading The man in the high castle by Philip K.Dick. It is a Dystopian Science fiction novel set in an alternative history where the Axis Powers (Nazi Germany and Japan) have won World War II and German Rockets regularly explore the Solar System and provide global transport. It examines the conflicting ideas of totalitarianism and Eastern philosophy. These two Superpowers share an uneasy truce and now control the world. the Germans now control Europe and Africa, the United States is divided up into three sections controlled by Nazi Germany and Japan, who also control all of Asia.

The novel follows the fortunes of Robert Childan who works for the American Artistic Handcrafts Inc. distributing Native American Art, Collectibles, Americana and Antiques who is sent to meet Nobusuke Tagomi, the head of the Japanese Imperial Trade Mission in San Francisco. Robert Childan is then sold a fake firearm by a wholesaler named Ray Calvin.

Elsewhere Frank Frink ex-employee of the Wyndham Motson Company gets encouragement to start his own business from his work Colleague McCarthy. Meanwhile Frank’s ex-wife Juliana, works as a Judo instructor in Colorado and find s herself drawn into a conspiracy after she meets a Fascist War hero named Joe Cinnadella and learns about an enigmatic chap named Hawthorn Abendsen who wrote a book called The Grasshopper Lies Heavy which is banned by the Japanese and German authorities but is openly on sale in the Rocky Mountain States and details an alternative world in which the Allies won the Second World War. Juliana later journeys to where Abendsen supposedly resides –in the fortified High Castle of the title.

Michael Crichton

Best known for his work in the science fiction, medical fiction and thriller genres The best-selling author, physician, producer, director and screenwriter, John Michael Crichton MD sadly died November 4, 2008. Born October 1942, he was raised on Long Island, in Roslyn, New York and showed a keen interest in writing from a young age; at 14, he had a column related to travel published in The New York Times. He enrolled at Harvard College in 1960 as an undergraduate studying literature and obtained his bachelor’s degree in biological anthropology summa cum laude in 1964 and was initiated into the Phi Beta Kappa Society. He received a Henry Russell Shaw Traveling Fellowship from 1964 to 1965 and was a visiting lecturer in Anthropology at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom in 1965.Crichton later enrolled at Harvard Medical School, when he began publishing work under the pen names “John Lange” & “Jeffrey Hudson”( a famous 17th-century dwarf in the court of Queen consort Henrietta Maria of England). His novels are usually within the action genre and heavily feature technology and epitomize the techno-thriller genre of literature, often exploring technology and failures of human interaction with it, especially resulting in catastrophes with biotechnology. Many of his future history novels have medical or scientific underpinnings, reflecting his medical training and science background.

In 1966 Michael Crichton published his first novel Odds On under the pseudonym of John Lange. Which concerns an attempted robbery in an isolated hotel on Costa Brava, which is planned scientifically with the help of a critical path analysis computer program, however unforeseen events get in the way. Then In 1967 he published Scratch One, which concerns A handsome, charming and privileged Chap named Roger Carr, a who practices law, as a means to support his playboy lifestyle than a career. Who is mistaken for an assassin after being sent to Nice, France, and finds his life in jeopardy, implicated in the world of terrorism. In 1968, he published two novels, Easy Go and A Case of Need, Easy Go relates the story of Harold Barnaby, a brilliant Egyptologist, who discovers a concealed message while translating hieroglyphics, informing him of an unnamed Pharaoh whose tomb is yet to be discovered. A Case of Need, is a medical thriller in which a Boston pathologist, Dr. John Berry, investigates an apparent illegal abortion conducted by an obstetrician friend, which caused the early demise of a young which earned him an Edgar Award in 1969. In 1969, Crichton published three novels. The first, Zero Cool, dealt with an American radiologist on vacation in Spain who is caught in a murderous crossfire between rival gangs seeking a precious artifact. The second, The Andromeda Strain, follows a team of scientists investigating a deadly extraterrestrial microorganism that fatally clots human blood, causing death within two minutes. In 1969, Crichton published the Venom Business which concerns a smuggler who uses his exceptional skill as a snake handler to smuggle rare Mexican artifacts while importing snakes to be used by drug companies and universities for medical research. Crichton also wrote a review for The New Republic (as J. Michael Crichton), critiquing Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut.

In 1970, Crichton published three more novels: Drug of Choice, Grave Descend and Dealing: or the Berkeley-to-Boston Forty-Brick Lost-Bag Blues with his younger brother Douglas Crichton. “Dealing”, was written under the pen name ‘Michael Douglas’, using their first names. This novel was adapted to the big screen and set a wave for his brother Douglas as well as himself. Grave Descend earned him an Edgar Award nomination the following year. He also worked at Boston City Hospital, and graduated from Harvard, obtaining an MD in 1969, after which he undertook a post-doctoral fellowship study at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California, where he experimented with astral projection, aura viewing, and clairvoyance, coming to believe that these included real phenomena which other scientists had dismissed as paranormal.

In 1972, Crichton published two novels. Binary, which concerns a villainous middle-class businessman, who attempts to assassinate the President of the United States by stealing an army shipment of the two precursor chemicals that form a deadly nerve agent. He also published, The Terminal Man, which concerns psychomotor epileptic sufferer, Harry Benson, who after suffering seizures conducts himself inappropriately and blacks out, only to wake up hours later with no knowledge of what he has done. Believed to be psychotic, he is investigated by the medical profession who implant electrodes in his brain with novel results. The novel was also adapted into a film starring George Segal, Joan Hackett, Richard A. Dysart and Donald Moffat, released in June 1974.

In 1975, Crichton wrote the historical novel The Great Train Robbery, which concerns the Great Gold Robbery of 1855, a massive gold heist, which took place on a train traveling through Victorian era England. The novel was also made into a 1979 film directed by Crichton himself, starring Sean Connery and Donald Sutherland. And was nominated for Best Cinematography Award by the British Society of Cinematographers, also garnering an Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Motion Picture by the Mystery Writers Association of America. In 1976, Crichton published Eaters of the Dead, a novel about a tenth-century Muslim named Ahmed ibn Fadlan who travels with a group of Vikings to their settlement and recounts his journey north and his experiences with the early Russian peoples, whilst the remainder is based upon the story of Beowulf, culminating in battles with the ‘mist-monsters’, or ‘wendol’, a relict group of Neanderthals. The novel was adapted into film as The 13th Warrior, In 1980, Crichton published Congo, which centers on an expedition searching for diamonds in the tropical rain forest of Congo. The novel was loosely adapted into a 1995 film, starring Laura Linney, Tim Curry, and Ernie Hudson. In 1987 Crichton published Sphere, a novel which relates the story of psychologist Norman Johnson, who is required by the U.S. Navy to join a team of scientists assembled by the U.S. Government to examine an enormous alien spacecraft discovered on the bed of the Pacific Ocean. The novel was adapted into a film in 1998, starring Dustin Hoffman as Norman Johnson, (renamed Norman Goodman), Samuel L. Jackson, Liev Schreiber and Sharon Stone.

In 1990, Crichton published the novel Jurassic Park. A cautionary tale Which features a biological preserve” created by Billionaire John Hammond Housing genetically recreated dinosaurs including Dilophosaurus, Velociraptor, Triceratops, Stegosaurus, and Tyrannosaurus rex, which all manage to escape and cause chaos. Director Steven Spielberg then learned of the novel in October 1989, while he and Crichton were discussing a screenplay that would become the television series ER and Crichton’s novel Jurassic Park, and its sequels, were made into films starring Sam Neill as Dr. Alan Grant, Laura Dern as Dr. Ellie Sattler, Jeff Goldblum as Dr. Ian Malcolm (the chaos theorist), and Richard Attenborough, as John Hammond, the billionaire CEO, of InGen.

In 1992, Crichton published the novel Rising Sun, an international best-selling crime thriller about a murder in the Los Angeles headquarters of Nakamoto, a fictional Japanese corporation. The book was instantly adapted into a film, released the same year of the movie adaption of Jurassic Park in 1993, and starring Sean Connery, Wesley Snipes, Tia Carrere and Harvey Keitel. His next novel, Disclosure, published in 1994, addresses the theme of sexual harassment previously explored in his 1972 Binary. Particularly sexual politics in the workplace, emphasizing an array of paradoxes in traditional gender functions, by featuring a male protagonist who is being sexually harassed by a female executive. The novel was made into a film the same year by Barry Levinson, and starring Michael Douglas, Demi Moore and Donald Sutherland. Crichton then published The Lost World in 1995, as the sequel to Jurassic Park. It was made into a film sequel two years later in 1997, again directed by Spielberg and starring Jeff Goldblum, Julianne Moore, Vince Vaughn and Pete Postlethwaite. In 1996, Crichton published Airframe, an aero-techno-thriller concerning a quality assurance vice-president at the fictional aerospace manufacturer Norton Aircraft, who investigates an in-flight accident aboard a Norton-manufactured airliner.

Then In 1999, Crichton published Timeline, a science fiction novel which tells the story of a team of historians and archaeologists studying a site in the Dordogne region of France, where the medieval towns of Castelgard and La Roque stood. They time travel back to 1357 to uncover some startling truths. The novel, addresses quantum physics and time travel.A film based on the book was released in 2003, directed by Richard Donner and starring Paul Walker, Gerard Butler and Frances O’Connor. In 2002, Crichton published Prey, another cautionary tale Which features a Nanorobotics company called Xymos, which is testing a revolutionary new medical imaging technology based on nanotechnology, which is sabotaged by a rival company, MediaTronics with disasterous consequences. In 2004, Crichton published State of Fear, a novel concerning eco-terrorists who attempt mass murder to support their views. Michael Crichton’s final novel was Next, This follows transgenic animals, in the quest to survive in a world dominated by genetic research, corporate greed, and legal interventions, wherein government and private investors spend billions of dollars every year on genetic research. Sadly Crichton died however the novels Pirate Latitudes and Micro were found and both published posthumously.

Crichton also wrote Five Patients, which recounts his experiences of practices in the late 1960s at Massachusetts General Hospital and the issues of costs and politics within American health care. The book follows each of five patients through their hospital experience and the context of their treatment, revealing inadequacies in the hospital institution at the time, which also includes abrief history of medicine up to 1969. Then In 1983, Crichton authored Electronic Life, a book that introduces BASIC programming and defined basic computer jargon, which was intended to introduce the idea of personal computers to a reader who might be unfamiliar and using them at work or at home for the first time.

War of the Worlds

Orson Welles broadcast his radio play of H. G. Wells’s The War of the Worlds on 30 October 1938 as an episode of the American radio drama anthology series The Mercury Theatre on the Air. It was performed as a Halloween episode and caused widespread panic. Directed and narrated by actor and future filmmaker Orson Welles. The first two thirds of the 60-minute broadcast were presented as a series of realistic news bulletins, which suggested to many listeners that an actual alien invasion byMartians was currently in progress. Compounding the issue was the fact that the Mercury Theatre on the Air was a sustaining show (it ran without commercial breaks), adding to the program’s realism. In the days following the adaptation, however, there was widespread outrage from certain listeners, who had believed the events described in the program were real. The program’s news-bulletin format was described as cruelly deceptive by some newspapers and public figures, leading to an outcry against the perpetrators of the broadcast. Despite these complaints it secured Welles’ fame as a dramatist.

The program, starts with an introduction from the novel, describing the intentions of the aliens and noting that the adaptation is set in 1939, a year ahead of the actual broadcast date.The program continues with a weather report and a dance band “Ramon Raquello and His Orchestra” (actually the CBS orchestra under the direction of Bernard Herrmann). This is interrupted by news flashes about strange explosions on Mars. Welles makes his first appearance as the (fictional) famous astronomer and Princeton professor Richard Pierson, who dismisses speculation about life on Mars. The news grows more frequent and increasingly ominous as a cylindrical meteorite lands in Grover’s Mill, New Jersey. A crowd gathers at the site. Reporter Carl Phillips (Readick) relates the events. The meteorite unscrews, revealing itself as a rocket machine. Onlookers catch a glimpse of a tentacled, pulsating, barely mobile Martian inside before it incinerates the crowd with Heat-Rays. Phillips’s shouts about incoming flames are cut off in mid-sentence. (Later surveys indicate that many listeners heard only this portion of the show before contacting neighbors or family to inquire about the broadcast. Many contacted others in turn, leading to rumours and confusion.)Regular programming breaks down as the studio struggles with casualty updates, firefighting developments And other information.

‘A shaken Pierson speculates about Martian technology as The New Jersey state militia declares martial law and attacks the cylinder. There I s a message from their field headquarters concerning the infantry and the helplessness of the Martians in Earth’s gravity until a Tripod alien fighting machine rears up from the pit and obliterate the militia. the studio returns, now describing the Martians as an invading army. Emergency response bulletins give way to damage reports and evacuation instructions as millions of refugees clog the roads. Three Martian tripods from the cylinder destroy power stations and uproot bridges and railroads, reinforced by three others from a second cylinder as gas explosions continue. An unnamed Secretary of the Interior (Kenny Delmar) advises the nation. (The secretary was originally intended to be a portrayal of Franklin D. Roosevelt, then President, but CBS insisted this detail, among others, be changed. However Welles directed Delmar to imitate Roosevelt’s voice.)

A live connection is established to a field artillery battery. Its gun crew reports damaging one machine and a release of black smoke/poison gas before fading into the sound of coughing. The lead plane of a wing of bombers broadcasts its approach and remains on the air as their engines are burned by the Heat-Ray and the plane dives on the invaders. Radio operators go active and fall silent, after reporting the approach of the black smoke. The bombers destroy one machine, but cylinders keep falling all across the country. This section ends with A news reporter, broadcasting from atop the CBS building, describes the Martian invasion of New York City – “five great machines” wading across the Hudson River, poison smoke drifting over the city, people running and diving into the East River “like rats”, others “falling like flies” – until he, too, succumbs to the poison gas. Finally, a despairing ham radio operator is heard calling, “2X2L calling CQ. Isn’t there anyone on the air? Isn’t there anyone on the air? Isn’t there… anyone?

Pyramids of Mars

I’ve recently watched the exciting Doctor Who science fiction story Pyramids of Mars again, starring Tom Baker as Doctor Who and Elizabeth Sladen as Sarah Jane Smith. It starts when an archeologist named Marcus Scarman discovers an undisturbed tomb in a Pyramid in Egypt with a door inscribed with the Eye of Horus. Scarman’s Egyptian assistants panic and flee, however the Professor decides to enter the chamber alone. Meanwhile The Doctor (Tom Baker) and Sarah Jane Smith (Elizabeth Sladen) land the TARDIS at a Victorian Priory, belonging to the Scarman Family. (Which is really Stargroves estate in Hampshire, and was owned by Mick Jagger at the time) This is filled with Egyptian Artefacts.

Here they meet Dr Warlock, a friend of Scarman’s and a sinister Egyptian named Ibrahim Namin and soon find themselves being chased by murderous Mummies. They escape and go to see Professor Scarman’s brother. Laurence, who is an amateur scientist. Laurence has intercepted a strange signal coming from Mars, warning of a Powerful evil alien called Sutekh, who left a trail of devastation and destroyed many planets across the galaxy before being imprisoned on Earth by his brother Horus, who defeated Sutekh by means of the Eye of Horus which is hidden in a pyramid on Mars. Meanwhile Sutekh’s servant arrives at the Priory disguising himself as Marcus Scarman and begins work on a diabolical plot to free Sutekh from imprisonment.

Elsewhere The Servant of Sutekh/ Scarman clobbers Doctor Warlock. The Doctor and Sarah Jane discover that Sutekh intends to destroy all life on Earth and turn it into a desolate wasteland. So with some help from Laurence Scarman, the Doctor attempts to foil Sutekh’s evil plan. Sadly Sutekh detects the Doctor’s activities and orders Marcus Scarman/Servant of Sutekh to investigate. Laurence is then clobbered and The Doctor finds himself trapped inside the Tomb with Sutekh who discovers that the Doctor is in fact a Time Lord from Gallifrey. So Sutekh forces the Doctor and Sarah Jane to travel with Scarman aboard the TARDIS to the pyramid of Mars to destroy the Eye of Horus to free him and the Doctor Must use all his cunning to ensure that Sutekh does not escape from his prison and destroy Earth…