A Tale of Two Covers: If This Goes On edited by Charles Nuetzel and Cat Rambo

A Tale of Two Covers: If This Goes On edited by Charles Nuetzel and Cat Rambo

If This Goes On Charles Nuetzel If This Goes On Cat Rambo-small

Art by Albert Nuetzell and Bernard Lee

If This Goes On seems like the perfect title for a science fiction anthology; I’m surprised it hasn’t been used more often. It was first used by Robert A. Heinlein for his 1940 famous novella, which became a key part of his massive science fiction Future History. The story won a Retro Hugo in 2016, but was renamed Revolt in 2100 for its publication as a novel in 1953. Charles Nuetzel co-opted the title 25 years after Heinlein used it for his first (and only) anthology, published in paperback in 1965, reprinting stories by Fredric Brown, Richard Matheson, A. E. van Vogt, Isaac Asimov, Fritz Leiber, Forrest J. Ackerman, and others (above left).

My recent interest springs, of course, from Cat Rambo’s brand new anthology If This Goes On (above right), funded by a June 2018 $12,000 Kickstarter campaign and published in trade paperback by our friends at Parvus Press in March. It contains 30 brand new SF tales by some of the most exciting writers in the field today, including Andy Duncan, Nisi Shawl, Sarah Pinsker, Scott Edelman, Beth Dawkins, and many more. Subtitled The Science Fiction Future of Today’s Politics, this ambitious anthology looks at what today’s politics and policies will do to shape our world a generation from now. Tales within include:

  • “Green Glass: A Love Story” by Lily Yu, Hugo and World Fantasy Award nominee, and winner of the 2012 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, filters the future of now through a wholly relatable lens: relationships and marriage.
  • Hugo-winning editor Scott Edelman’s “The Stranded Time Traveler Embraces the Inevitable” expertly employs an age-old science fiction convention to tell a deeply human tale of love, loss, and desperate hope.
  • Streaming our everyday lives has become commonplace, but in “Making Happy” Zandra Renwick examines a very uncommon consequence of broadcasting your every experience.
  • Former Minnesota Viking and noted equal rights advocate Chris Kluwe’s “The Machine” deals with one of the most important and hotly contested questions of the day: what truly defines citizenship and American identity?
  • Nebula winner Sarah Pinsker’s “That Our Flag Was Still There” uses possibly the most powerful symbol in American iconography to create a frightening and darkly illuminating vision of freedom of speech.
  • NAACP Image Award winner for Outstanding Literary Work Steven Barnes offers up the consequences of integrating technology and surveillance into our daily lives with his detective story “The Last Adventure of Jack Laff: The Dayveil Gambit”

Here’s the complete Table of Contents.

[Click the images for political-sized versions.]

If This Goes On Charles Nuetzel-back-small If This Goes On Cat Rambo-back-small

“Green Glass: A Love Story” by E. Lily Yu
“Twelve Histories Scrawled in the Sky” by Aimee Ogden
“Dead Wings” by Rachel Chimits
“Welcome to Gray” by Cyd Athens
“The Stranded Time Traveler Embraces the Inevitable” by Scott Edelman
“Good Pupils” by Jack Lothian
“All the Good Dogs Have Been Eaten” by Gregory Jeffors
“The Sinking Tide” by Conor Powers-Smith
“Mustard Seeds and the Elephant’s Foot” by Priya Srdhar
“Mr. Percy’s Shortcut” by Andy Duncan
“A Gardener’s Guide to the Apocalypse” by Lynette Mejía
“But for Grace” by Hal Y. Zhang
“Hurrah! Another Year, Surely This One Will Be Better Than the Last; The Inexorable March of Progress Will Lead Us All to Happiness” by Nick Mamatas
“The Last Adventure of Jack Laff: The Dayveil Gambit” by Steven Barnes
“Three Data Units” by Kitty-Lydia Die
“One Shot” by Tiffany E. Wilson
“King Harvest (Will Surely Come)” by Nisi Shawl
“Counting the Days” by Kathy Schilbach
“Making Happy” by Camille Alexa
“The Machine” by Chris Kluwe
“That Our Flag Was Still There” by Sarah Pinsker
“The Editor’s Eyes” by Calie Voorhis
“Free WiFi” by Marie Vibbert
“Discobolos” by James Wood
“Fine” by Jamie Lackey
“Bulletproof Tattoos” by Paul Crenshaw
“Call and Answer” by Langley Hyde
“A Pocketful of Dolphins” by Judy Helfrich
“Tasting Bleach and Decay in the City of Dust” by Beth Dawkins
“The Choices You Make” by Sylvia Spruck Wrigley

Charles Nuetzel’s 1965 anthology packs a lot of classic SF into 256 pages, including the complete novella “The Climbing Wave” by Marion Zimmer Bradley, cover story of the February 1955 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, with a very early cover by Frank Kelly Freas.

The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction February 1955-small The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction February 1955-back-small

The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, February 1955. Art by Frank Kelly Freas

Here’s the complete Table of Contents for Nuetzel’s anthology.

Introduction by Forrest J. Ackerman
Preface by Charles Nuetzel
“The Test” by Richard Matheson (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, November 1954)
“The Earth Killers”e by A. E. van Vogt (Super Science Stories, April 1949)
“The Racer” by Ib Melchior (Escapade, October 1956.)
“All the Troubles of the World” by Isaac Asimov (Super-Science Fiction, April 1958)
“Friends and Enemies” by Fritz Leiber (Infinity Science Fiction, April 1957)
“No Land of Nod” by Sherwood Springer (Thrilling Wonder Stories, December 1952)
“A Very Cultured Taste” by Charles Nuetzel (1960)
“The Mute Question” by Forrest J. Ackerman (Other Worlds Science Stories, September 1950)
“The Homo Sap” by Charles Nuetzel
“Aquella” by Donald A. Wollheim (Super Science Stories, November 1942)
“The Climbing Wave” Marion Zimmer Bradley (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, February 1955)
Your Life In “1977” essay by Willy Ley (Science Fiction Digest, Vol 1 No 1, 1954)
“Preposterous” Fredric Brown (Angels and Spaceships, 1954)

I usually like to pass judgment on the covers in these A Tale of Two Covers columns, but in this case I think both pieces of art service their respective volumes nicely. The cover of the 1965 paperback is by Albert Nuetzell (any relation to Charles, I wonder?), and it’s definitely got an I-dread-the-future vibe. Bernard Lee’s cover for Cat Rambo’s version, with its submerged, post climate change Lincoln Memorial, is moody and effective, even if it’s not as colorful.

If I were forced to pick a favorite though, I think I’d go with Frank Kelly Freas’ gorgeous F&SF cover from February 1955, illustrating Marion Zimmer Bradley’s “The Climbing Wave,” with its action poses, 50s spaceship-interior chic, and that crazy pastel lighting. There’s a reason Freas is one of the most famous SF artists to ever wield a brush.

Our recent articles in the Tale of Two Covers series include:

Skullsworn by Brian Staveley
The Loney by Andrew Michael Hurley
Infinity Engine by Neal Asher
Chasers of the Wind by Alexey Pehov
Only the Dead Know Brooklyn
The Race and The Rift by Nina Allan
The Mammoth Book of Dracula / In the Footsteps of Dracula edited by Stephen Jones
More Human Than Human by Neil Clarke
Akata Warrior by Nnedi Okorafor
Nightflyers by George R.R. Martin
Outside the Gates by Molly Gloss

If This Goes On was edited by Charles Nuetzel and published by Book Company of America in 1965. It is 256 pages, priced at 75 cents. The cover is by Albert Nuetzell. It was reprinted in French by Marabout in 1970, but it has never been reprinted in English, and there is no digital edition.

If This Goes On was edited by Cat Rambo and published by Parvus Press on March 5, 2019. It is 296 pages, priced at $19.99 in trade paperback and $9.99 for the digital edition. The cover is by Bernard Lee. Check out all the details at the Parvus Press website.

See all our recent New Treasures here.

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x