and Fangs for Reading
from Tellers of Weird Tales!
|Storm King Rides (1933)|
|Battling Buckaroos (1940)|
|Flyin' M Buckaroo, a British edition (date unknown). Observers and fans have asked the question Is science fiction dying?, but has anybody asked Are Westerns dying? Does anyone care in the same way they care about science fiction? Put another way, why should science fiction hold a special place when other genres have fallen by the wayside? Why are there no more railroad stories, boxing stories, or Oriental adventure stories? Did those genres have their time and place and should now be relegated to the past? If so, why shouldn't science fiction also have had its glory, now past?|
|Not at Night (1960), with Galen C. Colin's story "Teeth."|
|Two magazines with Valma Clark's byline on the cover, Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine for November 1944 (top) and for August 1949, Australian edition (bottom).|
Science fiction already has tales of giant amoebas that have escaped from the laboratory of some mad scientist. (p. 247)
"Sweeney Todd . . . is the earliest psychopath that I have found in literature."
The earliest psychopath as the central character, perhaps. Quite a few of the "bad knights" in mediaeval Arthurian stories show psychopathic features. One very early candidate as a psychopath is Procrustes in Greek mythology.
He is known chiefly for a famous, or infamous, bed which he offered, in the guise of hospitality, to his victims. If they were too short for the bed, he stretched their limbs until they fit. If they were too long for the bed, he lopped off whatever was necessary to make them fit. Theseus killed him by shortening him to fit his own bed. (p. 244)
[Hence our adjective procrustean: = "tending to produce conformity by violent means."] (The brackets are in the original.) (1)
His [Theseus'] idea of dealing with justice was simple, but effective: what each had done to others, Theseus did to him. Sciron, for instance, who had made those he captured kneel to wash his feet and then kicked them down into the sea, Theseus hurled over a precipice. Sinis, who killed people by fastening them to two pine trees bent down to the ground and letting the trees go, died in that way himself. Procrustes was placed upon the iron bed which he used for his victims . . . . (p. 210).