What story was this?

Home Forums Main Lobby The Reading Room What story was this?

Viewing 8 posts - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
  • Author
  • #199893

    Back in the late 60s and early 70s, when I was but a wee lad, my family used to travel from Tampa to my Grandmom’s house in Jacksonville every year for the Christmas holidays.

    Those were nice visits, but sometimes I got a little bored. So, on at least one occasion, my Grandmom let me borrow her library card, and she took me to the nearby Willow Branch library facility to check out some books.

    On its shelves I found a Science Fiction Anthology that was truly magical.

    I’d love to know what book that was. I’m pretty sure it had “Kindness” by Lester Del Rey in it, which blew me away, but it had at least one other story in it that really rang my chimes. If I had to guess, I’d say it probably first appeared in an SF magazine in the 40s or 50s.

    There were these explorers who landed on Mars. They found some deserted ancient cities, with lots of little red jewels lying around on the ground. Being only human, they took some of these jewels back into their rocketship.

    My memory’s a bit hazy after all these years, but I know they found some hibernating Martians, too, and took one of them into their spaceship and managed to revive him.

    The Martian panicked at the sight of the red jewels, which, as it turned out, dissolved into murderous gas-creatures and threatened to wipe everybody out.

    Does that sound familiar to anybody? I wish I knew what story that was, and what anthology that was.

    Frankly, I think this is a long shot; this all happened before most of you were born. But maybe somebody will know what book I’m referring to.


      I read a lot of the old anthologies, but not that one. So I googled.

      Could it have been THE YEAR AFTER TOMORROW edited by Lester Del Rey, Cecile Matschat, and Carl Carmer? It has “Kindness” and a recent summary says, “And in Robert Moore Williams’ THE RED DEATH OF MARS you’ll find a horrifying mystery that springs from deadly red jewels and nearly wipes out the crew of the spaceship Kepler.” (Found at http://winstonscifi.blogspot.ca/2010/03/synopsis-for-anthology-year-after.html?m=1)

      The ISFDB says the anthology was published in 1954 (http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/pl.cgi?50678).

      Great at theory, terrible at practice.


      That must have been it! Thank you. :)


        You’re quite welcome; it only took a minute.

        Alas, the Mars story by Williams doesn’t seem to be on Project Gutenberg, though a few other of his novels and short stories are.

        ETA: But it is on archive.org at http://archive.org/details/TheRedDeathOfMars

        I haven’t looked at it to see whether it’s the one you mentioned. If you read it again, be wary of the Crap Fairy, who frequently visits things we read in our youth.

        Great at theory, terrible at practice.

        jhmcmullen wrote:
        be wary of the Crap Fairy, who frequently visits things we read in our youth.

        LOL! :) That was the story, all right. Back in the day, it struck me with the same gravity as the first couple of Star Trek episodes I saw, the one about the Salt Monster and that first encounter with the Romulans.

        Melodramatic, but good honest storytelling…

        Thanks again… :)

        Weird Jim

          I’ve run across several SF stories from the fifties on Gutenberg that didn’t have their copyright renewed. They probably come from failed magazines. Most are a bit disappointing. But even back then, when I was buying every SF magazine that I saw as it came out, I didn’t expect to enjoy more than about one story in ten.

          Weird Jim wrote:
          When I was buying every SF magazine that I saw as it came out, I didn’t expect to enjoy more than about one story in ten.

          I’d love to hear more about that.

          I’m a little younger than you, I guess. My introduction to Science Ficton was a Heinlein book I found at my local library. I soon discovered Andre Norton, as well. I also found great juvenile SF by Lester Del Rey, Alan E. Nourse, and Ben Bova.

          I did learn about the SF magazines. I remember buying Worlds of If from the local convenience store, and my Grandmom gave me a subscription to Analog for Christmas in 1968.

          Those were the days…


            I have a story I can’t find. I read it in an 8th grade anthology.
            It was a group of beings that at the end of the story we recognize as apes/monkeys and they have learned to recite something for generations now. It turns out to be the rules for engaging a rocketship to go home to earth.

            I thought it was Stephen Vincent Benet, but I cannot find it anywhere!

            Any help????
            *Crossing my fingers.

          Viewing 8 posts - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
          • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.