I shan't follow the exact classification of R. Bud Widner in this opus, as I am rather a fanatic on segregating my stories into run-of-the-mill commercial stuff, and what I lovingly call "literate". Thus, each of my categories will have at least one in each classification. Inasmuch as an article of this type is strictly filler, I should ramble on here for hours; but it is night, the shades of which have fell (damn that Degler influence, anyhoo!) some time since, so, without preamble, myffsaw.

BOOK-LENGTH STF. Favorite commercial: Galactic Patrol. This, of course, is space opera...but what space opera! Commercial, not very artistic, this yarn still rings the bell with me. Not only is it the first EESmith I ever read, but the depiction of utterly alien entities and environments has rarely been surpassed anywhere. Favorite "literate": Starmaker. For sheer, breathtaking magnificent place of philosophical reasoning and a lovely exposition of the insignificance of Homely Sap; but it creates a genuine atmosphere of alien-ness that makes 99% of other stf read like a comic book.

STF SHORT STORY. Favorite commercial: By His Bootstraps. Some may consider this tale to have an artistic slant; to me it is straight pulpuking, but is redeemed by the fact that it shows the utter idiocy of stories dealing with the mechanism of time travel. To my mind, By His Bootstraps strikes an all-time high in satire. Favorite "literate": Without hesitation, Mimsy Were The Borogroves. Though this appeared in a pulp magazine, Mimsy is literature. The daringness of the underlying concept, the beautiful restraint with which the theme was handled, and the starkly realistic characterization all combine to make this the best single short story that has ever appeared in science fiction. (Which statement covers considerable territory.)

BOOK-LENGTH FANTASY. Favorite commercial: Darkness And Dawn. This stinks. This is corn. The characterizations creak, the dialog reeks, the development is infantile. Even so, there is something about this story that has made me re-read it at least a half-dozen times. I'll never forget the evening Rimel and I stayed up half the night figuring out what actually WOULD have rottted away and what WOULDN'T (you'll remember the heap of rust that had been a typewriter with the only recognizable parts being the rubber key tops!) Anyway, sift out all the chaff, and there is still enough for me to to idolize this old stinkeroo. Favorite "literate": The Metal Monster. I realize that the trite plot and pulpy love-interest are almost enough to drag this tale down into the commercial bracket, but the tremendously alien atmosphere and the utterly novel ideas throughout save it for me. Old Abe was really in the groove with this one.

FANTASY SHORT. Favorite commercial: The Witch (AEvanVogt). Something about the way this story was handled has made it stand out in my mind above all other commercials I've read before and since. Not meaning to sound too stupid, I must confess that I don't remember just what it was,'s stuck in my mind for well over a year now. Perhaps it is the wonderfully stark ending, with the old hag lying there, mouth agape, with a complete lack of anything glamorous or beautiful. Favorite "literate": (ouch! how to pick one out of at least fifty?) The Hoard Of The Gibbelins (Dunsany). I'm afraid to give this a buildup for fear I'll change my mind and name one of my other favorites, but read it yourself. It's in The Book Of Wonder.

BOOK-LENGTH WEIRD. Favorite commercial: Dracula. 'nuf sed. Favorite "literate": City Of The Singing Flame (complete version as published in Out Of Space And Time). Some may argue that this is more fantasy or stf than weird; but I doubt if any will question this story's very real merit. After all, it has a plethera of Clark Ashton Smith at his best; what more could one ask?

WEIRD SHORT. Favorite commercial: I dislike commercial weirds--hate 'em with a holy hatred. Ghosts, vampires, werewolves--t'hell with 'em--(always retaining from limbo the work of such men as M. R. James, H. R. Wakefield, John Metcalfe, and the other better British weirdists. But then, none of their stuff is commercial, is it?) Favorite "literate": This is a dead heat between The Double Shadow and The Music Of Erich Zann. I could have flipped a coin (oh yeah? on March 16th?), but that would have been silly. Either one has everything that a good weird tale demands: strong characterization, realistic treatment, fine writing, convincing atmosphere, and a very real shudder here and there.

FAVORITE NON-STF NOVEL. Did you ever read Thirteen Steps, by Whitman Chambers? While it is more or less a hoodunnit, this novel consists entirely of the most terrible buildup that I've ever read. The awful suspense is made endurable by Chambers' hard boiled style, some lovely drunken parties, and much, much delightful rosebud. Try it sometime (Thirteen Steps, I mean!).

FAVORITE NON-STF SHORT STORY. If you like restrained, yet savagely realistic writing, and a masterful bit of female sexual perversion, The Snake (John Steinbeck) is your meat. It first appeared in Esquire several years ago and is in the recent pocket book collection of Thirteen Short Stories By John Steinbeck (Avon).

FAVORITE NON-STF NON-FICTION. A book that has influenced my personal philosophy and outlook on life more than any other single item is The Next Age Of Man, by Wiggam. Age is a rather rambling, yet lucid, discussion of heredity and eugenics, race improvement, and such-like; though dated by references to prohibition and Al Smith, the book gives such a fine presentation of the scientific attitude, and in addition gives one such a fine foundation in race improvement, that I cannot recommend it too strongly.

((Myffsawer Laney went on to name his twelve favorite phonograph records, but these will be included in an article on hot jazz which la Laney has dished up for you in the next issue of Channy.))

Data entry by Judy Bemis

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