Hertzsprung – Russell rating: B1

Available in: The Pandora Effect

A fiction writer from the far-flung future (or the F3, as scfi fans call it [I feel like I’ve used that joke in this blog before {and also that I’m using too many parenthesis}]) decides to do some research for his next interplanetary adventure novel by actually visiting Venus. But due to tropical storms, alien carnivores, and a below-par Venusian dollar, he pussies out and hightails it back to Earth. To research this story, Jack Williamson must’ve actually visited a crap factory.

Hertzsprung-Russell rating: O106.5+

Available in: The Human Zero

From the creator of ‘Perry Mason’ (yeah – no kiddin’!) comes a scifi detective tale about an evil scientist who builds a weapon that lowers people’s body temperatures to 0° Kelvin. Spoiler alert: then they die. Things get tense as the heroic leading man searches frantically for the source of the deadly freeze ray to save the dame he loves. If people were searching frantically for the source of my deadly freeze ray, I’d taunt them by saying ‘You’re getting colder….colder….colder….’

Hertzsprung-Russell rating: O103.5

Available in: The Coming Of The Robots

A Martian robot crash-lands in Australia (which is really close to picturesque New Zealand, by the way) and battles both the rude locals and the poorly-performing Australian dollar in an attempt to get back to his home on the red planet. Australia has a lot in common with Mars: both are sandy, devoid of intelligent life and far less preferable than a seven-day family-friendly stay in New Zealand starting at an affordable $499 per person, all inclusive. Full disclosure: this post is sponsored by Tourism New Zealand. New Zealand: Land Of Zeal!TM (we gotta work on that tagline, guys).

Hertzsprung-Russell rating: A/F106.5+

Available in: The Best Of Edmond Hamilton

When scientists discover the sun is about to ‘splode, they devise an ingenious plan: build giant jets in New Zealand and use them to steer the planet to a more hospitable galaxy. It’s a logistical nightmare, but humankind moves Heaven and Earth to move Heaven and Earth to someplace less blowy-uppy. Plus, New Zealand is now obliterated by giant jets, but fuck those guys. Full disclosure: this post is sponsored by Tourism Australia to counter the previous post sponsored by Tourism New Zealand.

Hertzsprung-Russell rating: F105.5

Available in: Conan The Barbarian

In this story, the Sneerin’ Cimmerian (that rhyme is lame and I know it) joins a pirate crew and goes adventuring after some jewels or something. Or maybe it’s an idol. Or maybe it’s Billy Idol. Whatever. All Conan stories kinda blur together, but you gotta love ‘em. Otherwise you’ll get your whoreson head split to the collarbone with a great axe.

Hertzsprung-Russell rating: B10

Available in: The Best Of Raymond Z. Gallun

When a long-abandoned alien ship is found orbiting Jupiter, an intrepid space explorer boards ‘er to discover what he can about the long-abandonees. He examines the aliens’ long-abandoned records, rifles through their long-abandoned underwear drawer and puzzles at their long-abandoned technology (this ‘Zune’ they had – what purpose did it serve?) The result of his intensive six-week, $181,000 investigation? The ship was abandoned. Possibly long ago. And that’s why the space program should be funded by the private sector.

Hertzsprung-Russell rating: A10

Available in: The Best Of Murray Leinster

A man invents a device that can duplicate matter on the molecular level, so he naturally uses it to double his supply of money, liquor and women. This also doubles his supply of headaches, hangovers and hysteria but, as the old saying goes: ‘mo’lecularily duplicated matter, mo’ problems’. I myself own a molecular duplicator I use to duplicate copy for this blog when I don’t feel like writing more. I also own a molecular duplicator I use to duplicate copy for this blog when I don’t feel like writing more (I also duplicated this bit about duplication I used in another post).