Monday, September 25, 2017

The Lovecraftian Connections Of The Free Issue Of Fantastic Story Quarterly 1951 Winter v02n01 To The 'Old Solar System' Campaign Setting

Its eleven thirty  in the morning & over the weekend the latest OSR stuff is now dying as people get back to work.This was one of the successor reprint pulp magazines to the original runs. There were a number of these magazines after the original pulps houses closed down or evolved into animals on the wilds of the news stands. Many of these issues had a bit of the HP Lovecraft circle of writers in the background of the magazine. Perfect Appendix N fodder. What's this got to do with Dungeons & Dragons? Quite  a bit folks, the science fantasy aspect was hot as many stories were inspired by the various Fantastic Story Quarterly's stable of writers including Gordon R. Dickson's first sale, "Trespass", and stories by Walter M. Miller & Richard Matheson"  

You can read the whole history of Fantastic Story Magazine here.
What made Fantastic Story different was Ned Pines who was in many ways a visionary behind the scenes comic book & science fiction magazine publisher. If your into public domain comic books & super heroes then the name Ned Pines comes up frequently.
"Fantastic Story Quarterly was a pulp science fiction magazine, published from 1950 to 1955 by Best Books, a subsidiary imprint of Standard Magazines. The name was changed with the Summer 1951 issue to Fantastic Story Magazine. It was launched to reprint stories from the early years of the science fiction pulp magazines, and was initially intended to carry no new fiction, though in the end every issue contained at least one new story. It was sufficiently successful for Standard to launch Wonder Story Annual as a vehicle for more science fiction reprints, but the success did not last. In 1955 it was merged with Standard's Startling Stories. Original fiction in Fantastic Story included Gordon R. Dickson's first sale, "Trespass", and stories by Walter M. Miller and Richard Matheson" 
Ned Pines connection to Fantastic Story magazine is interesting because of the direction he pushed the publication  in;" In 1936, Ned Pines of Beacon Publications bought Wonder Stories from Gernsback.[3] Pines changed the title to Thrilling Wonder Stories,[4] and in 1939 and 1940 added two more sf titles: Startling Stories and Captain Future.[5][6] Pines had acquired reprint rights to the fiction published in Wonder Stories as part of the transaction, and he instituted a "Hall of Fame" department in Startling Stories to carry some of this material. Captain Future also carried reprint material, but neither Startling nor Captain Future had room for some of the longer stories in the backfile. At the end of the 1940s a boom in science fiction magazines encouraged Pines to issue a new magazine, titled Fantastic Story Quarterly, as a vehicle for reprinting this older material. The original plan was for the magazine to carry no new fiction, but this policy was changed shortly before publication, and at least one new story was included in every issue."

That brings me to our issue for free download

Fantastic Story Quarterly v02n01 (1951 Winter)


  This issue is pivotal to my campaign because it contains not one but three of the H.P. Lovecraft circle of writers. Endo Binder has his novel 'The Enslaved Brains' in this issue in the far future of an alternative 1973, this novel smacks of Great Race of Yith technology gone awry.

Clark Ashton Smith details his "Captain
Volmar"novel A Captivity in Serpens (1931, also known as The Amazing Planet) which has some awesome action as Captain Volmar leads a crew of space explorers  on the ether-powered ship Alcyone.  I've already talked about the connections between The Great Race of Yith, Forbidden Planet, and Captain Volmar here. But 'The Museum' by Frank Belknap Long is a whole other matter. This story services a perfect bridge gap between the Mythos and traditional science fantasy adventures. The concept is about a museum which alters its visitors and staff into alien life forms shapes ala polymorph spell technologies.  Perhaps your adventurers might work for the staff on a few expeditions across time & space. Again this sounds very similar to Great Race of Yith technologies. HP Lovecraft's The Shadow Out of Time contains many of the technologies described in these stories implied or within the background of the novella.  

 "Stephen Marlowe (born Milton Lesser, August 7, 1928 in Brooklyn, New York, died February 22, 2008 (aged 79), in Williamsburg, Virginia) was an American author of science fiction, mystery novels, and fictional autobiographies of Christopher Columbus, Miguel de Cervantes, and Edgar Allan Poe. He is best known for his detective character Chester Drum, whom he created in the 1955 novel The Second Longest Night. Lesser also wrote under the pseudonyms Adam Chase, Andrew Frazer, C.H. Thames, Jason Ridgway, Stephen Wilder and Ellery Queen.

Lesser attended the College of William & Mary, earning his degree in philosophy, marrying Leigh Lang shortly after graduating. The couple divorced in 1962. He was drafted into the United States Army during the Korean War"  
Stephen Marlowe wrote under his given name of Milton Lesser and is better known today for his detective fiction then his science fiction creations. In this issue his work on 'When Flame Globes Dance' is perfect fodder for an alien menace on one of the asteroid belt in the 'Old Solar System'. Perhaps these were artificial life form creations left behind by Hyperboreans many thousands of years before. Explorers should be very wary of them. Reign of the Reptiles by A.Connell is again exactly the sort of prehistoric weirdness that one could be finding when messing with time travel and alternative time lines. This novella first appeared in Wonder Stories v7 03. So what does all of this mean? Well  Fantastic Story Quarterly v02n01 (1951 Winter) could be used as a back Appendix S for my 'Old Solar' system campaign in which the PC's begin to suspect that there's far more to the background of the Great Race's time travel & alternative time line efforts. We really have no idea who created the time gateway from the classic original Star Trek Episode City On The Edge of Forever.  But the technology seems eerrily similar to the technologies used by Gary Seven including the Beta 5 computer hidden in his office in Apartment 12B at 811 East 68th Street in New York City. 
And some of the dimensional  travel, alien life forms,etc. described in the 'The Museum' by Frank Belknap Long. Are we really looking at the remains and door stops of the Great Race of Yith as it continues to poke and prod the little ape life forms that the Elder Things accidentally created so many centuries ago? Why? What does this all mean? It means that the war 'The Great Race of Yith' started  continues across many branches of alternative time and space.

This means that the Great Race or its agents could appear anywhere. The fact is that the giant machine from Forbidden Planet is only one of a vast array of mechanisms that have been designed for a slow war that has been fought for billions of years.
The danger of the Great Race of Yith & its various branches of the Pnakotic brotherhood become evident. In the 'Old Solar system 'campaign setting there are literally thousands of Great Race mega dungeons scattered across the universe waiting for adventurers to find them. Those players who have played through Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea's Taken From Dunwich know just how dangerous these bastards can be.

The Errol Otus depiction of the Great Race of Yith from
the original Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st edition
Deities & Demigods remains a personal favorite of mine.

The fact is that there are literally thousands of agents, facilities, & bases belonging to the Great Race scattered across time & space. They continue this horrid 'slow war' across a wide variety of alternative timelines and Earth with little regard for the safety and well being of anyone. 
  They're agents & the cult of the the Pnakotic brotherhood know the truth about the Flying Polyps & why the Mi Go have only the least warriors tending their hives in the Old Solar System. They know what waits in the darkness between the asteroids and its dire horrors only hinted about in this issue of Fantastic Stories. We'll get into that soon kids. Till next time keep those dice rolling!  Stay away from the nippers of the Great Race of Yith!

This post is not an attempt to violate the trade mark or copy right of the film  Forbidden Planet or Star Trek & its attendant properties.  The contents of this post are for entertainment & educational purposes only all writings are the copyright and trade mark of Dark Corner productions


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