After too long a break, it’s time to restart Atomolinks! I’m going to take a break from spotlighting cover art and feature an author that I’ve really grown to like, Stephen Marlowe. Like so many other writers from the pulp era, Marlowe wrote under many different names: Adam Chase, Milton Lesser, C.H. Thames, Andrew Frazer, Jason Ridgeway and Ellery Queen. So, if you’ve a pulp sci fi, adventure or mystery fan, there’s a decent chance you’re read his work without knowing it.
There’s a nice bibliography of Marlowe’s work over at Wikipedia, but I’m going to focus on the first story of his that I read, The Graveyard of Space. Graveyard was published under the name Milton Lesser and first appeared in the April 1956 issue of Imagination magazine.
The plot is fairly straightforward – a couple is traveling back to Earth after a failed uranium mining operation on an asteroid. The two are unhappy, and all signs point to them splitting up once they get home. There’s guilt from the failure and a general sense of guilt from the impending failure of their relationship. They’re taking an old rocket home, a “battered old Gormann ’87.”
On the way, they fall into a sargasso of space – a roaming gravity anomaly that pulls them in and strands them, damaging their ship and leaving them helpless. But – and this is the part that really hooked me – they’re not alone. Over the years, this roaming anomaly has snagged dozens and dozens of other ships, dooming the crews of those ships to death from starvation, suffocation, and grimly, cannibalism.
I’m not going to tell you how it ends though. Head over to ManyBooks.net and grab The Graveyard of Space yourself. You can check out a few of Marlowe’s other works there too, which I strongly recommend.