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What Mad Universe Hardcover – May 12, 1976
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Top Customer Reviews
It's the story of a very strange couple of days in the life of Keith Winton, an underpaid editor of a hack science fiction magazine rather remarkably like Startling Stories. As the book begins, Winton is engaged in the drudgiest of drudge work, editing the letters to the editor column, all of which come from youthful, pimply, passionate fans such as Joe Doppelburg, whose latest letter he is trying to fit into the monthly paste-up.
It's about 1950, a time when both a pulp science fiction magazine and a good cheeseburger cost about $0.25. In Winton's retro-precocious world, the first unmanned lunar probe has recently been launched. Laying aside Joe's letter aside for the moment, he goes outside to see if he can spot the anticipated landing. It will be marked by a humongous flash, you see, from a new kind of on-board generator that is supposed to be visible to the naked earthside eye. The flash, it turns out is not all the difficult to see, for the probe has been a colossal failure and is falling back to earth even as Winton peers upwards. It so happens that the impact point is the top of his head....
After which, he finds himself in a strangely altered New York, a New York in which pulp SF magazines cost 2.5cr and in which the nighttime streets are actually a little bit more dangerous than ours today. Women go into space in revealingly transparent spacesuits. Moonies trace their origins to the moon, not to Korea. Interstellar ships are powered by wholly unexpected developments in sewing machine technology.Read more ›
Next thing you know he is on a strange Earth, where having coins minted after 1935 will get you shot as a spy, aliens from the Moon work and play along side Earthlings and mankind is fighting for its very survival against battle fleets from Arcturus.
This is a classic sci-fi story. First printed around 1949 this story has held up very well and is a delightful read on a lazy day afternoon or a few slow hours on a train.
This book is amazingly funny and non-stop in its action. From the moment Keith(a fish out of water) finds himself being hunted as an Archturian spy, one calamity after another occurs as he realizes he doesn't know the rules of this new world at all.
I don't want to give too much away, because what is great about this novel is how it constantly has some new twist up its sleeve. But I will mention one part that I love. Since Keith is accidentally placed in this universe, there is a Parallel Keith living his life here. And lets just say, he wants to kill our hero.
Fredric Brown is one of America's great writers, and very under appreciated. We have a tradition of doing this to our great authors like Edgar Allen Poe and HP Lovecraft. In their lifetime, they are written off. However, Poe and Lovecraft are now recognized, one wonders, when is Brown going to get his appreciation?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is a fun read. It has a bit of everything. Today's reader may feel it is uncomfortably dated in some places, perhaps with even suspect science for 1948. Read morePublished on May 12, 2013 by MysteryLover19
I'm an old fan of Fredric Brown's novels and short stories. I think 'What Mad Universe' is one of the most enjoyable and exciting SF novels.Published on March 16, 2013 by Shugo Tsuruoka
What Mad Universe is certainly one of the finest SF novels ever written. It originally appeared in a pulp magazine, and the book version slightly expanded the "Startling Stories"... Read morePublished on February 10, 2013 by Kindle Customer
The Easton Press edition includes 6 illustrations. They are black and white drawings that resemble pulp science fiction magazine covers. Read morePublished on March 12, 2012 by The Movie Guy
Outdated science fiction. Some parts are original and enjoyable, others naive. Read this book in the same mind as you'd read a book by Jules Verne or H.G. Wells.Published on October 29, 2007 by Michel
... and not really all that dated, given the plethora of sf adventure movies being made since Star Wars. Read morePublished on June 13, 2007 by dizzheart
I read this book for the first time when I was 15 and I didn't think I was going to like it, because it is not one of my favorite genres. Read morePublished on August 9, 2001 by Anabella Raymi Royo