Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Death Quotient and Other Stories

A new John D MacDonald book has been published!

Twenty-three years after the author's death we get to add one more title to the JDM oeuvre. It's a science fiction anthology called Death Quotient and Other Stories and it contains seven previously-published works of short fiction, primarily from two issues of the old Super Science Stories pulp. The great news is that five of these stories have never been anthologized before, meaning they are available again for the first time since 1949. Two of the new pieces are novellas and one of the shorter works is an ultra-rare JDM experiment in horror from Weird Tales. The price is an incredibly-low $4.49 and it can be purchased and read right now without leaving your chair.

And that's the catch: it's not a hardcover or paperback, it's available only as an ebook from Wonder eBooks.

One doesn't need a Kindle or any special eBook device to be able to read it, though. I purchased a copy in the PDF format and was able to read it on my Acrobat Reader. The purchase allows you to save a copy and share it on a limited number of other compatible devices, but you won't be able to print it. It's not hard to get... if an Internet moron like me can purchase and read a copy, anyone can.

Here's what is included:

From the April 1949 issue of Super Science Stories:

"Death Quotient"
A 14,000-word novella.

"All Our Yesterdays"
A short story originally published under the "house name" of John Wade Farrell

"Delusion Drive"
A 2,400- word short story originally published under the house name of Peter Reed

From the September 1949 issue of Super Science Stories:

"Minion of Chaos"
A 15,500-word novella

"The Miniature"
A 4,500-word short story originally published under the house name of Peter Reed and previously anthologized in MacDonald's Other Times, Other Worlds

From the July 1951 issue of Galaxy:

"Common Denominator"
A 4,000-word short story that was previously anthologized in MacDonald's Other Times, Other Worlds

From the January 1949 issue of Weird Tales:

"The Great Stone Death"
A 3,600-word short story

I will be the first to admit that I have zero experience with eBooks. I don't own a specifically-dedicated reading device, and this is the first eBook I've ever purchased. But a review of the other titles available from Wonder eBooks -- an incredible assortment of rare old pulp, including MacDonald's novel A Bullet for Cinderella -- makes me hopeful that this may be the way to obtain and finally read a lot of old JDM that has never been reprinted. It would be especially wonderful if some of his old mystery short stories found their way back into the world. The format is not without its problems -- I don't particularly enjoy reading a book on my computer, and I spotted two typos in the one story I read last night -- but this seems to be the future in a world where reading is becoming more and more marginalized.

Incidentally, the cover is taken from the original cover of the September 1949 issue of Super Science Stories.

To check it out and purchase a copy, click here.

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