Recursive Science Fiction

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Paine, Michael  pseudonym for Curlovich, John Michael

Palmer, Raymond A. (as Frank Patton), "Mahaffey's Mystery"

[The Mahaffey in the title is fan and editor Bea Mahaffey who worked for Raymond Palmer]. Almost all the characters in the story are actual people in the science fiction field. Much of the action takes place at the 7th World Science Fiction Convention (Cinvention I) at the Hotel Metropole in Cincinnati, Ohio, 1949. The narrator of the story is Charles R. Tanner, honorary chairman of the convention. Tanner is trying to fake a murder in order to get publicity for the convention. This runs into problems as an alien entity tries to use the situation to gain permanent possession of Bea Mahaffey's body. This dastardly attempt is foiled by Tanner and the noble fen.

Other Worlds 1:3 March 1950 (pp.122-138)

Palmer, Stuart, "Mertorious Windows"

Reuben Dearik creates total immersion entertainment stories. However, his boss, Jonah N. Powell hates anything "artsy" and has given Reuben a deadline to come up with something more commercial or be fired. Reuben re-invents the soap opera, but leaves a trap in it. Once the term "science fiction" is uttered in the total immersion, the viewers will be dumped into an alien world where there will need all their wits to survive.

Aboriginal Science Fiction 49&50 Summer 1996 (pp.38-44)

Panshin, Alexei, "A Taste of Immortality"

Broker Smith, disillusioned with his job, meets a SF fan at a bookstore and winds up at a party of many SF fans in Manhattan. There he sells his soul to the Devil for immortality. However, the Devil makes him immortal, but places him outside the universe. finding this not to his liking, he becomes a hippie. When he dies, he is going to be sorry. The apartment is based upon an actual slanshack in the late 1960s on West 16th Street, Manhattan.

Fantastic 21:5 June 1972 (pp.6-9; 127-128)

Patrick, Lynn, Double or Nothing [Romance]

Valerie Lindahl is a published fantasy writer; Anne Delaney is a fantasy artist. They meet at a science fiction convention and form a partnership to create a comic book of Valarya the Valiant, a swordswoman and her mage sidekick, the Dark Angel. When they begin dating what seems to be the same man, they find new characters for the story. [This a pseudonym for Patricia Pinianski and Linda Sweeney.]

Dell (Candlelight Ecstasy Supreme 87) 12123-X, August 1985

Patrick, Lynn, More Than a Dream [Romance]

Chrysalis, one of the works of the famous SF writer Olga Griffin-Chavez, is planned to be made into a television miniseries. The director is Adriadne (Randi) St. Martin, who just happens to be her goddaughter. The leading man, chosen by the studio is Dion Hayden with whom Randi had an brief and somewhat unsatisfactory affair three years earlier. As expected, they get together in the end (and many times before that). In some ways the plot of the story reflects their own relationship.

Dell (Candlelight Ecstasy Romance 334) 15828-1, May 1985

Patton, Frank pseudonym for Raymond A. Palmer

Peirce, Hayford, "Progress"

Jeffrey Alkine is the editor of the prestigious and successful magazine Preposterous Science Fiction.  His office is the most modern available. Presented with three manuscripts of identical length from R. J. Delgardo, D.D.S. he cannot choose between them. Unfortunately, the building has no staircase down which he can throw them in order to select the farthest traveler. Horrors.

Analog Science Fiction - Science Fact 104:13 Mid-December 1984 (pp.78-82)

Pelz, Bruce, "Cold Service"

At the opening session of the 1964 Worldcon in the Bay Area, LA fan Ted Johnstone, invokes a combination of science and magic to transport the hotel to Mordor, near Mount Doom, for the Labor Day weekend.

Alternate Worldcons and Again, Alternate Worldcons (ed, by Resnick, Mike), WC Books, September 1996 (pp.171-175)

Peters, Elizabeth, The Love Talker [Mystery]

A marginal item—interesting in this context for the use of fantasy figurines as props in an attempted criminal action. One of the characters, Doug Morton, reads SF (he says 'sci-fi') and attends conventions. The artist is Frank Fulkes, a talented amateur living in upstate New York. This is the only stfnal element in the story.

Dodd, Mead 07780-3, 1980

Phillips, Peter, "Dreams Are Sacred"

Fantasy writer Marsham Craswell has overworked himself following an illness and now lies in a form of unconsciousness where he is living out one of his fantasy worlds. His doctor is afraid if Marsham as Hero dies in the fantasy, then Marsham will be dead in the real world also. The doctor calls upon an old friend, Pete Parnell, hard-headed reporter, to enter the fantasy world using a device developed at the hospital. Marsham tries to write Pete into the fantasy world but the reporter's cynical realism is enough to bring it all crashing down and to release the writer from his self-induced coma. This is one of the earliest stories of its type. Compare it, for example, with the psychiatric technique used by Lindner in "The Jet-Propelled Couch." Also see Ian McDonald's "Empire Dreams."  This was adapted for television in 1969 for the British anthology series Out of the Unknown by David Climie.

Astounding Science Fiction, 42:1 September 1948 (pp.51-70)

Imagination Unlimited, (edited by Everett F. Bleiler & T. E. Dikty), Farrar, Straus & Young, 1952

Berkley G233, April 1959 [abridged]

Men of Space and Time, (edited by Everett F. Bleiler and T. E. Dikty), Bodley Head, 1953 [7 of the 13 stories in Imagination Unlimited ]

Spectrum 3, (edited by Kingsley Amis and Robert Conquest), Harcourt, Brace and World, 1964

Berkley Medallion X1108, July 1965; S1784, December 1965

The Astounding-Analog Reader, Volume 2, (edited by Harry Harrison and Brian W. Aldiss), Doubleday, 1973

Out of This World 10, (edited by A. Williams-Ellis and Michael Pearson), Blackie & Son, 1973

The Arbor House Treasury of Science Fiction Masterpieces, (edited by Robert Silverberg and Martin H. Greenberg), Arbor House, April 1983 [reprinted as Great Tales of Science Fiction, Galahad 701-5, 1985 (pp.261-278)]

Isaac Asimov Presents the Great Science Fiction Stories 10 (1948), (edited by Isaac Asimov and Martin H. Greenberg), DAW (no. 543/UE1854) 854-6, August 1983 (pp.94-116)

The Golden Years of Science Fiction #5, (edited by Isaac Asimov and Martin H. Greenberg), Bonanza 47566-9, 1985

Isaac Asimov's Magical Worlds of Fantasy #7: Magical Wishes, (edited by Isaac Asimov, Martin H. Greenberg, and Charles G. Waugh), Signet 14579-5, November 1986 (pp.182-205)

The Night Fantastic, (edited by Poul & Karen Anderson), DAW 484-5 (#848), April 1991 (pp.120-146)

Pierce, John R., "John Sze's Future"

The SF editor John Sze (John W. Campbell) winds up in a future world. All attempts to explain it to him fail; he transforms all information according to his particular mindset. This is particularly ironic as it was just these types of mindsets that Campbell fought against in his editorials.

Great Science Fiction by Scientists, (edited by Groff Conklin), Collier AS218, 1962 (pp.257-265); 01903, 1966; 1967; 1972

Pierce, John R., "The Rhyme of the SF Ancient Writer, or Conventions and Recollections" [Poem]

A brief poem looking at the "purity" of SF writing as opposed to the evils of the mainstream and its steady compensation. The poem is glossed as in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

Fantastic Science Fiction-Fantasy, December 1968 (pp. 139-140)

Best SF: 1968, (edited by Harry Harrison and Brian W. Aldiss), Putnam, 1969 [the title is changed to "The Rime of the Ancient SF Author, or Conventions and Recollections"]

The Year's Best Science Fiction No. 2, (edited by Harry Harrison & Brian W. Aldiss), Sphere, 1969 Severn House, 1977

Pinkwater, Daniel, The Afterlife Diet

This farce interweaves our society's obsession with weight loss, afterlife malaise, and ancient eastern European vengeance based upon eating (or not eating) sentient alien life forms. One of the major characters, Milo Levi-Nathan is a sometime science fiction writer whose work is dreadful.

Random House 0-679-41936-5, 1995

Piper, H. Beam, "Crossroads of Destiny"

A group of television executives are discussing the structure of an alternate historical series to be called Crossroads of Destiny (alternatively, Fifth Dimension) to deal with what would have happened if Columbus had been funded by Henry VII of England, or if George Washington had not died at the battle of Germantown. They are not aware that one of the participants is from our timeline where General Benedict Arnold was not the first president of the United States.

Fantastic Universe 11:4 July 1959 (pp4-13)

The Worlds of H. Beam Piper, Ace 0-441-91052-1, 1983

Piper, H. Beam, Murder in the Gunroom [Mystery]

A marginal item as the underlying ethos is antique gun collecting. However, one of the collectors—and murder suspects—is Pierre Jarrett who is a science fiction writer. His space operas have appeared in Space-Trails, Other Worlds, and Wonder-Stories.  His better work has been in Astonishing.  Jarrett says that he has read J. W. Dunne's Experiment with Time and has based some of his plotting upon the ideas of General Semantics from Korzybski's Science and Sanity.

Alfred Knopf Borzoi, 1953

Pohl, Frederik joint author with Elizabeth Anne Hull

Pohl, Frederik, "The Golden Years of Astounding"

Editor John Campbell is caught smoking once too often in violation of Fire Department rules; this means a big fine for Street & Smith, and the gate for Campbell. He is replaced by Donald A. Wollheim who brings the magazine to new heights with writers such as L. Ron Hubbard, Tennessee Williams, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Tolkien, Stapledon, S. Fowler Wright, and Lovecraft. Campbell flourished as a writer (mostly in Amazing) and is best known for the stories based upon his Three Laws of Robotics.

Alternate Skiffy (edited by Mike Resnick and Patrick Nielsen Hayden), The Wildside Press 1-880448-54-8, December 1997 [dated 1996] (pp. 17-23)

Pohl, Frederik, Jem

There is a marginal reference in this novel of Earth divided into three power blocs (Food, Fuel, People) and the exploration of an extra-Solar planet with intelligent life. In chapter 9, Margie Menninger visits a woman who was formerly president of the MISFITS (sic ). There is also a reference to the early 1950s course in Creative Engineering. An article on this course, "Space, Time and Education", written by its teacher—Professor John E. Arnold, was printed in Astounding Science Fiction 51:3 May 1953 (pp.9-25) with a cover by Baer illustrating it.

Galaxy Science Fiction 39:8-11 & 40:1 Nov/Dec 1978 (pp.4-58), Mar/Apr 1979 (pp.46-102), Jun/Jul 1979 (pp.81-114), Sep/Oct 1979 (pp.89-121), May 1980 (pp.40-57)

St. Martin's, SFBC 5603 J32, 1979

Pohl, Frederik & Kornbluth, C. M., "Mute, Inglorious Tam"

An English peasant in the Middle Ages could have been the first SF writer. But he does not have the vocabulary and the times are not right for this. So he wonders and works and is terribly unhappy.

The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, October 1974 (pp. 111-120)

Best Science Fiction Stories of the Year (1974), (edited by Lester del Rey), Dutton, 1974

Our Best: The Best of Frederik Pohl and C. M. Kornbluth, (edited by Frederik Pohl), Baen 65620-1, February 1987

Inside the Funhouse, (edited by Mike Resnick), AvoNova 76643-4, August 1992 (pp.59-69)

Pohl, Frederik, "The Reunion at the Mile-High"

This is the fiftieth reunion of the Futurians in New York in 1989 in the Mile-High skyscraper building. However, it takes place in an alternate universe in which the U.S. won World War II with biological weapons. Here many of the Futurians became famous, but not as they did in our world. Robert Lowndes is a world-renowned poet, Dave Kyle became a General, Frederik Pohl is still a writer (keeping track of the number of his publications), and Cyril Kornbluth is still alive with three Pulitzer prizes. Of course, Isaac Asimov is world famous for his biological expertise and has essentially written nothing. The last statement leads us to believe that this must be a fantasy world.

Foundation's Friends, (edited by Martin H. Greenberg), Tor 93174-3, September 1989 (pp.173-186); 50980-3, October 1990

Inside the Funhouse, (edited by Mike Resnick), AvoNova 76643-4, August 1992 (pp.122-135)

Pohl, Frederik, "Sad Solarian Screenwriter Sam"

Astronauts are bringing live Martians back to Earth. Screenwriter Sam Harcourt is trying to capitalize on the fad by getting a movie produced about Barsoom. Unfortunately, he is one of the three sample humans chosen by the Great Ones to represent to fact of all life in the Solar System. Even more unfortunately, he flunks the test and by 64000 AD, all life in the Solar System will be randomized. Well, that's show biz—

The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction 42:6 June 1972 (pp.130-143)

Pohl, Frederik, "Waiting for the Olympians"

In an alternate Earth, the Roman Empire has endured and expanded. They now receive word that aliens from outer space are heading towards Earth. The government censors clamp down on the local version of SF (sci-roms) as these might portray the aliens in an offensive manner. With some assistance the writer works out the concepts of alternate worlds. During this time, the aliens break off contact and restrict humanity to the solar system.

Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, August 1988

The 1989 Annual World's Best SF, (edited by Donald A. Wollheim & Arthur W. Saha), DAW 353-9, June 1989

DAW SFBC 15197, September 1989

What Might Have Been, Volume 1: Alternate Empires, (edited by Gregory Benford and Martin H. Greenberg), Bantam 27845-2,

August 1989 (pp. 231-277)

Porges, Arthur, "Story Conference"

Gryzzl Pfrafnik, a Martian poet is stranded on Earth when his father's ship crashes. He attempts to make a living at poetry, but fails. Finally he submits a story about Mars to Sober Science Fiction (read Astounding). The editor explains to him why the chemistry, biology, and society is all wrong. Revealing that he is actually a Martian has no effect upon the editor who says the story is still not convincing.

The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction 4:5 May 1953 (pp.33-38)

Pournelle, Jerry joint author with Larry Niven

Pournelle, Jerry joint author with Larry Niven & Michael Flynn

Powers, Tim, The Stress of Her Regard

Another look at the Villa Diodati in 1816 — the usual cast of romantic poets and writers (John Polidori, Mary Shelley et al.) are there. But this time many of the problems are being caused by supernatural creatures called nephelim. These creatures can take on many shapes some of which are traditional mythical creatures. They can inspire artistic creation, but at a price. [The name "nephelim" may be from the Greek "nepheli" meaning cloud, with the Hebrew plural ending. The Nepheliads were cloud nymphs. Mark Keller points out that they are more likely the giants of the antediluvian epoch, hybrids of angels and the daughters of men—see Genesis 6:4, Numbers 13:33.]

Charnal House 00-2, August 1989; 01-0, August 1989

Ace 79055-0, September 1989

79097-6, June 1991

Priest, Christopher, The Space Machine

While visiting Sir William Reynolds, Edward Turnbull is taken on a trip in his time traveler by Amelia Fitzgibbon, Sir William's secretary. Due to a mistake they wind up on Mars as the machine can travel in space as well as time. There they find that the Martian humans had created a race of blood-drinking monsters who now plan on conquering the Earth. Escaping in one of the first shells to land in England, they run into the writer H. G. Wells. He knows Sir William, having done a fictional version of his time traveling notes. The three rebuild a time/space machine to fight the Martians.

Faber & Faber 10931-4, March 1976

Harper & Row 013429-1, 1976

Orbit 939-2, March 1977; September 1977

Gollancz 03994-9, March 1988

Pronzini, Bill, "Dry Spell"

SF writer John Kensington has a terrible writer's block. Then an idea comes - aliens are building a mind-control machine to conqueror Earth. At its present development it seeks out the minds of those who have stumbled upon their plans and erase all memory of them. He also comes up with a perfect method of defeating the aliens. Seconds later he no longer remembers the idea for his new story.

Amazing Stories, 44:3 September 1970 (p.27)

100 Great Science Fiction Short Short Stories, (edited by Isaac Asimov, Martin H. Greenberg & Joseph Olander), Avon 50773-0, August 1980

Laughing Space, (edited by Isaac Asimov & Janet O. Jeppson), Houghton Mifflin 30519-5, March 1982 (pp.504-505)

Pronzini, Bill & Malzberg, Barry N., "Prose Bowl"

In the future writers compete as professional athletes. In the prose bowl, two writers vie to see who will complete 10,000 words first (in four quarters of 2,500) while 100,000 paying fans look on. Rex Sackett, the young challenger picks the topic "Mid-Twentieth Century Detective" while the defending champion Leon Culp (the Cranker) gets "Futuristic Love-Adventure."  In the fourth quarter, Culp finally realizes that what they are doing is garbage and he stops writing. Sackett wins but decides that Culp is right and he, too, will retire from the field. Expanded to Prose Bowl, St. Martin's Press 65194-5, November 1980.

The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction 57:1 July 1979 (pp135-156)

Shared Tomorrows,(edited by Bill Pronzini & Barry N. Malzberg), St. Martin's Press 71637-0, October 1979

Isaac's Asimov's Wonderful World of Science Fiction #2: The Science Fictional Olympics, (edited by Isaac Asimov, Martin H. Greenberg, & Charles G. Waugh), NAL/Signet 12976-8, May 1984

The Passage of the Light: the Recursive Science Fiction of Barry N. Malzberg (edited by Mike Resnick & Anthony R. Lewis), NESFA Press

0-915368-59-5, June 1994 (pp.147-164)

Pronzini, Bill & Malzberg, Barry N., Prose Bowl

This is expanded from the short story of the same title. Material has been added explaining why the New-Sports concept and the Prose Bowl came about—to encourage people to learn to read in order to follow their idol's prose. The Semi-Finals are detailed. A subplot has been added wherein Rex Sackett's girl friend, Sally, has been kidnapped by evil gamblers who want him to throw the Prose Bowl this year. The authors attack not just hack writing, but all writing.

St. Martin's Press 65194-5, November 1980

Ptacek, Kathryn, In Silence Sealed

The story is mostly of two vampiric sisters, August and Athina Kristonosos, and their effect on the English Romantic poets, painters, etc. of the early nineteenth century. Much is told from the viewpoint of Lord Byron and of Winston Early, an English artist. It is Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein, who first realizes what they are and that they drain the life force as well as blood from the most creative people. However, men being the usual fools they are, this information is almost useless and the tragedy has to be played over and over again.

Tor 52449-7, March 1988

Purtill, Richard, Murdercon [Mystery]

Professor Athena Pierce is attending a science fiction convention in San Diego, California. One of the unscheduled events on the program turns out to be a murder. More importantly, coming to the surface is an old issue of Kosmic Tales with a previously unknown story by Stanley G. Weinbaum.

Doubleday 17334-2, 1982

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