Hertzsprung-Russell rating: F0.1

Available in: The Best Science Fiction Of Arthur Conan Doyle

In this story, Doyle postulates colonies of bloodthirsty creatures which inhabit the upper skies, attacking and beheading aviators and tossing their noggin-less corpses to the ground far below. So, technically, The Weather Girls were correct. Initially this premise is horrifying, but having recently sat through The Green Hornet on a four-hour Air Canada flight to Tampa, a mid-air beheading doesn’t sound so bad.

Hertzsprung-Russell rating: A106.5+

Available in: The Mammoth Book Of Golden Age Science Fiction

The language is corny, the characters are 1D and the title has an exclamation mark after it. But, despite all that, this classic story about a possessed and rampaging bulldozer is quite enjoyable. It is a testament to Sturgeon’s mastery of language that he is able to make a detailed technical description of heavy machinery interesting to read for more than fifty pages. Indeed, his skill at keeping the reader ‘hooked’ is why he eventually had a fish named in his honour.

Hertzsprung-Russell rating: F106.5+

Available in: 100 Years Of Science Fiction: Book One

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In this visionary tale of a glorious world-to-be, humankind’s airways have become populated with thousands of flying machines that criss-cross the globe delivering goods and sundries. ‘Sundries’ is always plural; you never hear of someone buying a single sundry. While we’re on the subject, what are ‘notions’?  And why are some ice cream desserts called ‘novelties’? Ice cream’s been around forever – there’s no novelty to it any more. Unless, of course, you had the notion to make a novelty ice cream sundry. Now that’s visionary – take note, Mr. Kipling.

Hertzsprung-Russell rating: G104

Available in: Galactic Cluster

Do you like surprise endings? For example; would it thrill you if, instead of the question mark you were expecting at the end of this sentence, there was a miniature picture of Bob Uecker instead Then you should read this story. It has a surprise ending that’ll make that question mark/Uecker thing seem hackneyed and pathetic by comparison. Much like Bob Uecker himself (bet you didn’t see that coming, Uecker!)


Hertzsprung-Russell rating: A103

Available in: The Fox Woman And Other Stories

An Artic explorer discovers an ancient subterranean city populated by intelligent but malicious globes of light which enslave him to do their bidding: washing their malicious laundry, mowing their malicious grass and some light malicious filing. Despite being sans ClapperTM  he escapes his luminescent bondage and dies wandering and insane in the forest. The ironic thing about going insane in a forest is that you’re among so many trees while simultaneously being out of yours (that joke kills with mentally-ill arbourists).

Hertzsprung-Russell rating: A106.5+

Available in: Fighting The Future War

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From the creator of Buck Rogers comes the tale of a futuristic America at war with a global Mongolian empire that wants to wipe them out. To combat these retarded Mongoloid schemes, a few brave fugitive ‘Muricans take to the skies in airships to do battle. Belligerent Americans – real creative, Phil. In reality, the only time we need to fear the Mongolians is during the high jump event at the summer Olympics; they’ve had 3000 years to practice on that wall the Chinese built.

Hertzsprung-Russell rating: G/K106.5+

Available in: A Mile Beyond The Moon

C.M.K. doesn’t seem to have a bad writing bone in his body; not a punny tibia or hackneyed distal phalange to be found. ‘Shark Ship’ begins as a story about a future civilization living at sea, and ends up touring the abandoned slums of New York City. Like a Nazi slipping on a banana peel it’s all at once scary and hilarious, and proves that the Jew-run banana peel industry is still very much a threat.