The Challenge from Beyond

As part of its third anniversary issue (September, 1935), Fantasy Magazine commissioned two stories with the same title. One was to be written by science fiction writers (Stanley G. Weinbaum, Donald Wandrei, Edward E. Smith, Harl Vincent and Murray Leinster) and the other to be by authors in the weird genre (C.L. Moore, A. Merritt, H.P. Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard, and Frank Belknap Long).

The science fiction story starts out with more promise for me than the weird story. Just the character names–Thaddeus Crabb–now there’s a name for you. The other story starts out with the rather mundane name of George Campbell. Weinbaum begins the science fiction story hilariously with some over-the-top humor which was carried on by Wandrei’s pleasant humor. I enjoyed the humor.

My liking for the two stories even out with the third segments as Lovecraft took over the weird story and E. E. “Doc” Smith began the actual adventure in the science fiction story.

Ultimately, I can’t choose a favorite. Both were fun to discover how each author carried on the plot left for him. The science fiction story was more to my personal taste but the weird story packed more of a punch.

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