Off the Shelf
Writers of the Future
By Marcus Pan
In the mid-80s, the
science fiction and fantasy pulps were nearing the end of their heyday.
Astounding, Isaacs Sci-Fi Fiction/Fact they were beginning to shut
down. The result was a slew of new authors who had grown up reading pulp
magazines like this, started writing themselves then found hardly anyone
interested in new science fiction and fantasy with few exceptions. On the heels
of this, prolific author L. Ron Hubbard took some time out of shrinking heads
for Xenu and masterminded a writing contest in which new authors can submit
their work for 1-3rd place prizes, with the winners appearing in this here
There are fifteen science fiction and fantasy stories here,
all from unknown authors. Interspersed with them are some essays on fiction and
writing from some of the most notables in the business Roger Zelazny,
Theodore Sturgeon, Jack Williamson and others including Hubbard himself with
the introduction. Within are some pretty decent stories illustrated in
that black and white pencil style many of us have fallen in love with made
popular by the sci-fi pulps.
Out of the fifteen, many were unmemorable. But there are a
few here that really struck a chord with me as excellent ideas. Tysons
Turn is one such story, by Michael D. Miller and used to open this
collection. In it we are taken to a dystopian future where the DNA tampering of
humanity results in the creation of people perfect for their professions. The
inevitable happens who wants to be a waiter or a garbageman when the
engineers can create a doctor or a lawyer instead? Crime dwindles down, so even
the perfect cops bred to protect law arent necessary. There arent
too many sick people about, so doctors are bored. People dont die so
often, so morgues run dry. Now what? Create those you need to do your job
build criminals, create illness
Mary Frances Zambrenos A Way Out was wonderful.
How easy can one forget theres an outside when youve never gone
there? Only the old folks remember the days when the project buildings had
exits. And One Last Dance by Dean Wesley Smith reminds me of some
whimsical 80s movie whos name I forgot. If you wish hard enough for
something, cant it happen? Are you dreaming it or if you believe it hard
enough can the dream become real?
The Thing From the Old Seamans Mouth is
Lovecraftian horror and Anthonys Wives by Randell Crump has a Groundhog
Day appeal to it. Shanidar by David Zindell is a favorite, infused with
a post-apocalyptic style unlike most others. The subtle nuances of
mankinds last is brilliantly depicted and the twisting ending is worth
the read through.
Well the days of pulp are pretty much over. A few
exist, but publishers like Ace willing to publish anything with a flying saucer
in it have, probably for the better, disappeared. Here in this 1985 anthology
though we have a few gems. It was nice of Hubbard to put down his E-Meter for a
while and bring it to us.
Writers of the Future by Various
Copyright © 1985 by Bridge Publications, Inc.
Library of Congress Catalog Card Number:
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