by Poul Anderson . Originally Published in Astounding Science Fiction January, 1960. Usually there are two "reasons" why something is done; the reason why it needs to be done, and, quite separate, the reason people want to do it. The foul-up starts when the reason-for-wanting is satisfied ... and the need remains!! THE message was an electronic shout, the most powerful and tightly-beamed short-wave transmission which men could generate, directed with all the precision which mathematics and engineering could offer. Nevertheless that pencil must scrawl broadly over the sky, and for a long time, Continue reading


by Clark Ashton Smith. from Weird Tales, November 1933. Yet it is less the horror than the grace which turns the gazer's spirit into stone. -- Shelley. I have no reason to expect that anyone will believe my story. If it were another's tale, probably I should not feel inclined to give it credence myself. I tell it herewith. hoping that the mere act of narration, the mere shaping of this macabre day-mare adventure into words will in some slight measure serve to relieve my mind of its execrable burden. There have been times when only a hair's-breadth has intervened betwixt myself and the Continue reading


by Mary Shelley. Originally Published in The Keepsake, 1829. Years after the murder of his wife, Dmitri of the Evil Eye decides to take revenge on his privileged younger brother! The wild Albanian kirtled to his knee, With shawl-girt head, and ornamented gun, And gold-embroider'd garments, fair to see; The crimson-scarfed man of Macedon.--Lord Byron.[*] [* Childe Harold II. lviii] The Moreot, Katusthius Ziani, travelled wearily, and in fear of its robber-inhabitants, through the pashalik of Yannina; yet he had no cause for dread. Did he arrive, tired and hungry, in a solitary village--did he Continue reading


by Kenneth Robeson. from Clues-Detective Stories 09/42. For Dick Benson to refuse a killer's demand would mean Nellie Gray's death. And he refused! CHAPTER I. PROWL. The Avenger was on the prowl tonight. Swiftly, the word spread through the slimy alleys and the dark corners of the great city's underworld. Hard men who flaunted the police and scoffed at the law sought hurried cover as the word reached them. At fly-specked bars, in closed and shuttered rooms, men buzzed in furtive whispers: "What's he after? Has anybody got the dope? Who's The Avenger gunning for?" Those were the questions Continue reading


by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. From Strand Magazine, Jan. 1924.     Holmes had read carefully a note which the last post had brought him. Then, with the dry chuckle which was his nearest approach to a laugh, he tossed it over to me.    "For a mixture of the modern and the mediaeval, if the practical and of the wildly fanciful, I think this is surely the limit," said he. "What do you make of it, Watson?"    I read as follows:     46, OLD JEWRY,     Nov. 19th.     Re Vampires Continue reading


by Ayn Rand. Originally Published in 1938. In a post-calaclysmic world, Equality 7-2521 defies the will of the ruling councils and strives to find the freedom of the Unmentionable Times! Chapter One It is a sin to write this. It is a sin to think words no others think and to put them down upon a paper no others are to see. It is base and evil. It is as if we were speaking alone to no ears but our own. And we know well that there is no transgression blacker than to do or think alone. We have broken the laws. The laws say that men may not write unless the Council of Vocations bid them so. May Continue reading


by William Hope Hodgson. Originally Published in The Idler, March 1910. Dr. Carnacki, the famous Investigator of "real" ghost stories, relates his peculiar and weird investigations of The Whistling Room. Carnacki shook a friendly fist at me, as I entered, late. Then, he opened the door into the dining-room, and ushered the four of us - Jessop, Arkright, Taylor and myself - in to dinner. We dined well, as usual, and equally as usual, Carnacki was pretty silent during the meal. At the end we took our wine and cigars to our accustomed positions and Carnacki - having got himself comfortable in Continue reading


by Robert C. Blackmon. from The Avenger, October 1939. They told a smart cop the story of a killer! "THAT card offering you a free reading was sucker bait, Nelda. Just an advertising come-on for the spirit racket." Mike Varne spoke to the girl beside him in the coup, but his hard gray eyes watched the wet street pavement glinting under the headlights. There was a gruff gentleness in his voice. "We won't get anything out of this trip to Madame Nola's seance parlor tonight. Time they see you with Detective Mike Varne they'll pull the old unsympathetic spirits gag and tell you to come back Continue reading