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The Omnibus Volumes of Murray Leinster

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Med Ship-small Planets of Adventure-small A Logic Named Joe-small

Last week, in my article on The Omnibus Volumes of James H. Schmitz, I noted how Eric Flint edited seven omnibus volumes collecting the science fiction of James H. Schmitz, starting in 2000. Those books were successful enough that Eric expanded his project to include other great SF and fantasy writers of the mid-20th Century.

And boy, did he expand it. By the time he was done, Baen had published volumes dedicated to A. E. Van Vogt, Michael Shea, Howard L. Myers, Keith Laumer, Randall Garrett, Christopher Anvil, Cordwainer Smith, Lois McMaster Bujold, A. Bertam Chandler, P.C. Hogdell, Andre Norton, and many others. Today I want to look at the three volumes dedicated to Murray Leinster, “The Dean of Science Fiction,” whose work I think still has enormous appeal even today.

Astounding Science Fiction May 1945-smallMurray Leinster was the pen name of William F. Jenkins, who wrote more than 1,500 short stories and articles, 14 movie scripts, and hundreds of radio scripts and television plays. He worked in many fields, but is remembered today almost exclusively for his science fiction.

He was a consistent innovator. His first SF story, “The Runaway Skyscraper,” (which Ryan Harvey discussed in detail here) appeared in the February 22, 1919 issue of Argosy, when he was just 23 years old. It was (and is) considered a classic of early SF, and was reprinted in the June 1926 issue of Hugo Gernsback’s Amazing Stories. His famous story “Sidewise in Time” (Astounding, June 1934) was perhaps the first alternate history tale, and helped inspire the Sidewise Awards for Alternate History.

His superb novella “First Contact” (Astounding, November 1945), is still one of the best tales of first contact with an alien race, and is credited as the first appearance of a universal translator in science fiction. It won a retro Hugo Award for Best Novelette in 1996.

He won one of the first Hugo Awards, in 1956, for his novelette “Exploration Team” (Astounding Science Fiction, March 1956). He continued writing into the 1960s, and died in 1975.

The three omnibus volumes from Baen appeared nearly 20 years after his death:

Med Ship (August 2002, 634 pages, $7.99, cover by Bob Eggleton)
Planets of Adventure (October 2003, 550 pages, $7.99, cover by Bob Eggleton)
A Logic Named Joe (June 2005, 600 pages, $7.99, cover by Kurt Miller)

Here are the back covers for all three (click for legible versions):

Med Ship back-small Planets of Adventure-back-small A Logic Named Joe-back-small

The Mutant Weapon-smallThe first volume, Med Ship, included all his stories about the interstellar Med Service, including the novel The Mutant Weapon (1959), five novellas, and two novelettes:

“Med Ship Man” (Galaxy Magazine, October 1963)
“Plague on Kryder II” (Analog, December 1964)
The Mutant Weapon (1959)
“Ribbon in the Sky” (Astounding Science Fiction, June 1957)
“Tallien Three” (Analog, August 1963)
“Quarantine World” (Analog, November 1966)
“The Grandfathers’ War” (Astounding Science Fiction, October 1957)
“Pariah Planet” (Amazing Stories, July 1961)
Editors’ Afterword, by Eric Flint and Guy Gordon

Planets of Adventure contains five stories and two novels, The Forgotten Planet (1954) and The Planet Explorer (1956, also released as Colonial Survey).

The Forgotten Planet  (1954)
The Planet Explorer (1957)
“Anthropological Note” (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, April 1957)
“Scrimshaw” (Astounding Science Fiction, September 1955)
“Assignment on Pasik” (Thrilling Wonder Stories, February 1949)
“Regulations” (Thrilling Wonder Stories, August 1948)
“Skit-Tree Planet” (Thrilling Wonder Stories, April 1947)

The Planet Explorer is a fix-up novel consisting of four linked stories about the Combat Team, including the Hugo-winner “Exploration Team.”

I previously covered Planets of Adventure in more detail here.

The-Forgotten-Planet-1956-smallA Logic Named Joe contains Leinster’s more light-hearted work, including the novels Gateway to Elsewhere, The Duplicators, and The Pirates of Zan:

The Dean of Gloucester, Virginia, by Barry N. Malzberg
“A Logic Named Joe” (Astounding Science Fiction, March 1946)
“Dear Charles” (Fantastic Story Magazine, May 1953)
Gateway to Elsewhere (1954)
The Duplicators (1964)
“The Fourth-Dimensional Demonstrator” (Astounding Stories, December 1935)
The Pirates of Zan (1959)

Our previous coverage of Murray Leinster includes:

Explore the Best of Early SF With Science Fiction From the Great Years
Vintage Treasures: The Brain-Stealers
Murray Leinster and the Moon by Tony Den
Vintage Treasures: Gateway to Elsewhere
New Treasures: Planets of Adventure
Vintage Treasures: The Pirates of Zan
When Aliens are Delicious: Murray Leinster’s “Proxima Centauri” and the Creepy Side of Pulp SF
Vintage Treasures: The Best of Murray Leinster
Murray Leinster’s “Runaway Skyscraper” by Ryan Harvey
Fiction Excerpt: “The Fifth-Dimension Catapult”

The-Pirates-of-Zan-Ace-Double-smallThe previous installments in this series on omnibus collections of interest to fantasy fans include:

The Omnibus Volumes of James H. Schmitz
The Omnibus Volumes of Steven Brust: The Adventures of Vlad Taltos
The Omnibus Volumes of P.N. Elrod: The Vampire Files
The Omnibus Volumes of Jack Vance, Part I: Planet of Adventure
The Omnibus Volumes of Jack Vance, Part II: Tales of the Dying Earth
The Omnibus Volumes of Jack Vance, Part III: The Demon Princes
The Omnibus Volumes of C.J. Cherryh, Part I
The Omnibus Volumes of C.J. Cherryh, Part II
The Omnibus Volumes of C.J. Cherryh, Part III
The Omnibus Volumes of H. Beam Piper
The Chronicles of Corum by Michael Moorcock
Von Bek by Michael Moorock
The Dhulyn and Parno Novels: Volume One by Violette Malan

See all our recent coverage of Series Fantasy here.

2 Comments »

  1. Love these, and PLANETS OF ADVENTURE came off the TBR shelf yesterday for a reread. The 1959 Astounding cover for PIRATES OF ZAN was terrific.

    Comment by R.K. Robinson - July 15, 2015 3:10 pm

  2. RK,

    Right you are. The ASTOUNDING cover for THE PIRATES OF ZAN, showing a pirate with a slide rule between his teeth, is one of Frank Kelly Freas’ true masterpieces, and I probably should have included it above.

    Here it is for those who are curious:

    https://www.blackgate.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Astounding-Science-Fiction-February-1959-2.jpg

    Of course, the book was called “The Pirates of Ersatz” in its original appearance in Astounding.

    Comment by John ONeill - July 15, 2015 3:39 pm


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