GW Thomas on Interplanetary Graveyards, Cemetery Worlds, and Junkyard Planets

GW Thomas on Interplanetary Graveyards, Cemetery Worlds, and Junkyard Planets

Art by Chris Foss

GW Thomas’s Dark Worlds is one of the better blogs out there, at least for fans of classic SF, comics and pulps. In just the last few weeks he’s discussed Sword & Sorcery at Warren (Part 10: 1980), Bronze Age DC Werewolves (Parts 1, 2, and 3) and Golden Age Plant Monsters.

No one else is doing scholarship on plant monsters, and Thomas clearly deserves an award for that alone. But my favorite recent piece was his 2-part article on interplanetary graveyards, cemetery worlds, and junkyard planets in comics and pulps.

Here’s a taste.

In previous posts we have talked about exiles and castaways in space, but where do all those ships end up? Well, borrowing from nautical fiction once again, they usually collect in some Sargasso-like space backwater. Of course, as with the slimy monsters of William Hope Hodgson and his famous bottleneck, there are usually unpleasant surprises awaiting those who venture into such nasty places. Edmond Hamilton was the first to capitalize on the expression “Sargasso of Space” but it shows up again and again.

The other version of this is not so much a shipwreck as a cemetery. The Interplanetary Graveyard is another way to express this theme. R. R. Winterbotham may have coined that. Graveyards are equally chilling places. It is where things go to die… or do they? (the readers of Weird Tales certainly know the answer to that one!)

Thomas looks at pulp tales by Edmond Hamilton, Frederick A. Kummer, F. E. Hardart, Poul Anderson, James Blish, Frank Herbert, Milton Lesser, and Clifford D. Simak, and comic stories ranging from Strange Journey #4, Tales of the Unexpected #28, Action Comics #248, Star Trek #15, and Fantastic Four #209.

When you’ve enjoyed all that, check out GW’s latest book, Swords of Fire 2, featuring four new novellas of Swords & Sorcery by David A. Hardy, Jack Mackenzie, Michael Ehart, and G. W. Thomas.

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Eugene R.

Sure hope that Chris Foss floating palace of a ship does not wind up in the Sargasso nor in the ship graveyard. Way too beautiful to be broken up for scrap value. Great work, Mr. Thomas, on digging up the old stories and (above all!) the accompanying illustrations. Anyone have directions to the Black Nebula?

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