Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Amazing Ebert

I was just leafing through Amazing Stories, Vol. 30, No. 6, June, 1956, and found a letter from Roger Ebert of Urbana, Illinois. Roger writes:

"Dear Mr. Browne:
  The 30th Anniversary issue of AMAZING STORIES was superlative. The artwork was masterful, the predictions spellbinding, the stories themselves classics, and the overall issue the finest ever published by you..."

The issue Roger refers to would be that of April, 1956, which features "John Jones's Dollar" by Harry Stephen Keeler! Apparently Roger read it, granted it a place among the classics, enjoyed the masterful Visaphone illustration, and was spellbound by the predicted rise of the Psycho-Erg, all at the age of 13.

Read the story, if you haven't:

Oh, and here's the story Roger didn't like so much:

[Thank you, Clark, for the pulp magazines!]

And here's another letter to "Amazing Stories," from August, 1957, discovered by Ian Schoenherr!


  1. What a cool discovery.

    I like that illustration, an updated version of the original which has appeared on some back issue of Keeler News.

    "The Day Time Stopped Moving" reminds me of Philip K. Dick's "Counter-Clock World," a novel about a world where things happen backwards. It doesn't really make logical sense but it's a lot of fun.

  2. Yes, "Amazing" dusted off "John Jones" and souped up the Visaphone for their anniversary.

    I wonder if this is Roger's first appearance in a professional publication? If so, he would have been amused to note that his entry upon the world stage was inspired by Harry Stephen Keeler (and the other contributors, of course.).

  3. CAD has a great way of finding obscure, worthwhile stuff. Ebert was opinionated even at that age. Buckner's story isn't that great but not quite for the reasons Ebert mentioned.