Hertzsprung-Russell rating: K10-3.5

Available in: Dagon And Other Macabre Tales

Cthulhu was Lovecraft’s bread and butter, but among his admirable repertoire of non-Cthulhu tales is this one. Read it: if you fail to pick up on its overarching themes of desperation, personal failure and the futile repetition of history, you’ll at least learn the location of the Pole Star, the preferred celestial body of firemen, strippers and Polish people.

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Hertzsprung-Russell rating: A/F10-2.5

Available in: Weird Tales, Volume VIII, No. 3

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A man employed by a news wire service (sigh…remember the news?) hears the story of a mysterious fog that has enveloped a small town and subjected its inhabitants to bizarre lights and noises, vertigo and a general sense of temporal displacement. If that small town were only full of stupid hippies selling t-shirts for thirty bucks a pop, it’d be just like a Grateful Dead concert. Or, I guess maybe a Foghat concert, since it’s a story about fog. But definitely not Ram Jam.

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: O/B102.5

Available in: Great Science Fiction About Doctors

A young couple buys a robo-nanny to care for their newborn baby in all the ways a real mother would. The robot feeds the baby, rocks the baby and writes about the baby on an insufferably self-righteous mommy blog. In the end, however, the baby grows to love the robot more than its human parents. Children eschewing their progenitors in favour of machines is nothing new. In the 80s I spent so much time playing Nintendo I forgot my father’s name. I think it was ‘Mario’. Is this thing on? The computer, I mean – is it on? Yep. Green light’s flashing. It’s on.