X Minus One -- "Wherever You May Be" by James E. Gunn

Saturday, 25 January 2014 16:00 Dave Truesdale

X Minus One aired James E. Gunn's "Wherever You May Be" on June 26, 1956. This novella first appeared in the May 1953 issue of Galaxy. It tells the frightening tale of a man on his way to the Missouri Ozarks where he has rented a cottage in order to further his research on witchcraft. He encounters a young farm girl along the road (a girl who appears younger than she really is), but who holds dark secrets he discovers much too late, for she uses them only when unhappy. The unwitting stranger learns the hard way that a female with special powers can easily make a man do whatever she desires. I really enjoyed this one and how it worked itself out.

Also appearing in the May 1953 Galaxy were stories by Robert Sheckley ("Specialist"), Charles Schafhauser ("A Gleeb for Earth"), Evelyn E. Smith ("Not Fit for Children"), and Clifford D. Simak's novelette "Junkyard."

Play Time: 24:37

{June of 1956 -- and 1956 in general -- was a bad time for the SF magazines. While looking for covers to showcase below I found that the usual suspects for June of 1956: Amazing, Galaxy, Astounding, and F&SF, had been previously used and I didn't want to repeat them so soon. So I went looking for others, only to find that all of the following had folded either in 1954 or 1955 and were no more: Planet Stories, Startling Stories, Thrilling Wonder Stories, and the venerable Weird Tales. All gone in the pulp publishing abattoir to hit the mid-1950s. Left standing were the four major SF magazines listed above but precious little else. Of the few still publishing I found the covers below, and they are all coincidentally tied to one man: Raymond A. Palmer. Palmer (pictured on the Mystic cover below) began Imagination in October of 1950 but would relinquish his editorship after the second issue. Mystic and Other Worlds were both Palmer creations which he also edited, but for Mystic it was a relatively short run, the magazine folding with its July 1956 issue. Aside from the "Big Four" stable SF magazines remaining in 1956, it was probably a very wise decision for X Minus One to launch in 1955, filling the void for SF fans to some degree due to the relative dearth of their favorite reading material.}

[Left: Imagination, June 1956 -- Center: Mystic, May 1956 -- Right: Other Worlds, June 1956]