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the genre's premiere review magazine for short SF & Fantasy since 1993

Lights Out -- State Executioner

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Lights Out (1934-47) aired "State Executioner" on March 17, 1937 just over 76 years ago. Set in the time of King George III, it is the tale of the King's official executioner--a hangman--who revels in his job, especially when paid five guineas per hanging. He has gleefully listened to the snap of the neck 777 times. Then comes a condemned man who swears his innocence, but to no avail. Who is this young man, and why is the snapping of his neck any different than the hundreds before him? Listen to "State Executioner" to learn the horrible answer. And remember, "It...Is...Later...Than...You...Think."

A few memorable genre landmarks from 1937 include the publication of Olaf Stapledon's Star Maker and J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit. Everyone is familiar with C.L. Moore's Jirel of Joiry and Northwest Smith stories, but did you know that once they appeared together? They did, in the November 1937 issue of Weird Tales (see the racey cover below). The story was titled "Quest of the Starstone" and was penned by the husband and wife team of C.L. Moore & Henry Kuttner.

(Above right: John Ellis, United Kingdom Executioner from 1901-24, fated to be the victim of a killer's curse.)

Play Time: 22:04