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Birthday Reviews: Roger Dee’s “Worlds Within Worlds”

Birthday Reviews: Roger Dee’s “Worlds Within Worlds”

Science Fiction Plus September 1955-medium Science Fiction Plus September 1955-back-small Science Fiction Plus September 1955 contents-small

Front and back covers by Frank R. Paul

Roger Dee Aycock was born on December 6, 1914 and died on April 5, 2004. He wrote mostly using the pseudonym Roger Dee, although he also published one story as John Starr when he had two stories appear in the November 1951 issue of Planet Stories.

Dee’s story “Worlds within World” initially appeared in the October 1953 issue of Science Fiction +, the final science fiction publishing project of Hugo Gernsback. It was the penultimate issue of the magazine. The story was reprinted in Science Fiction Monthly issue one, in September 1955, an Australian magazine edited by Michael Cannon.

“Worlds within Worlds” may not have been a cliché when it was first published, but in many ways it reads like one now, not just for its central idea that modern readers will see coming, but for the techniques Dee uses to tell his tale. From the earliest part of the narrative, he uses undefined terms and technobabble to give it a futuristic feel and it is only well into the story that the reader fully begins to understand the situation that the main character, Racon, is in, although Racon is fully cognizant of where he is and what is going on. Mostly. He is wondering why he isn’t being allowed on an interstellar research ship that is about to launch.

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