By Colleen McMahon:
Fritz Leiber (1910-1992) was a name that appeared multiple times in the Retro Hugo ballot this year. His Conjure Wife took the best novel Retro Hugo, and another Leiber novel, Gather, Darkness! was the second-place finisher. He was also in the hunt for Best Novelette for “Thieves’ House”.
While none of these works are currently in the public domain, I did find a podcast with an hour-long discussion of Conjure Wife on Internet Archive. The podcast was Necronomipod (which appears to be from 2007 and a completely different iteration than the current day podcasts of the same title, which discusses weirdness and true crime).
Conjure Wife was adapted as a movie called Inner Sanctum in 1948, and the movie is in the public domain and available on Internet Archive. Interestingly, Fritz Leiber Sr., father of the writer, was an actor and played Dr. Valonius in the movie.
However, there are plenty of other Lieber works, from short stories to full-length novels, available on Project Gutenberg and Librivox, so I thought this would be a good time to take a look.
- The Moon is Green (Galaxy, April 1952)
- What’s He Doing in There? (Galaxy, December 1957)
- The Last Letter (Galaxy, June 1958)
- Later Than You Think (Galaxy, October 1950)
- A Bad Day for Sales (Galaxy, July 1953)
- Kreativity for Kats (Galaxy, April 1961)
- A Hitch in Space (Worlds of Tomorrow, August 1963)
- The Big Engine (Galaxy, February 1962)
- Coming Attraction (Galaxy, November 1950)
- X Marks the Pedwalk (Worlds of Tomorrow, April 1963)
- A Pail of Air (Galaxy, December 1951)
- Bread Overhead (Galaxy, February 1958)
- Nice Girl with 5 Husbands (Galaxy, April 1951)
- Time in the Round (Galaxy, May 1957)
- Dr. Kometevsky’s Day (Galaxy, February 1952)
All of these stories except “Dr. Kometevsky’s Day” and “Time in the Round” have been recorded for various collections on Librivox.
Novelettes, Novellas, and Novels:
- Yesterday House (Galaxy, August 1952)
- Appointment in Tomorrow (Galaxy, July 1951)
- Bullet With His Name (Galaxy, July 1958)
- No Great Magic (Galaxy, December 1963) (Librivox)
- The Creature from the Cleveland Depths (Galaxy, December 1962) (Librivox Version 1 and Version 2)
- The Night of the Long Knives (Amazing Science Fiction Stories, January 1960) (Librivox)
- The Big Time (Galaxy, March and April 1958) (Librivox)
Librivox volunteers sometimes make their own anthologies by recording a set of stories as a stand-alone audiobook project, either on their own or with a group of volunteers. Lieber features in several of these audiobooks:
- Three Science Fiction Stories by Fritz Lieber (includes “The Moon is Green”, “Bread Overhead”, and “What’s He Doing in There?”)
- Nice Girl With 5 Husbands (includes “Nice Girl With 5 Husbands”, “A Pail of Air”, “The Last Letter”, and “A Bad Day for Sales”)
- Kreativity for Kats and Other Stories (includes “The Last Letter”, “The Big Engine”, and “Kreativity for Kats”)
One more interesting Librivox anthology is X Minus One Project. This collects an assortment of short SF tales that were adapted by the radio show X Minus One that ran from 1955-1958. The anthology includes “The Moon is Green” by Leiber, along with other stories by authors like Robert Sheckley, H. Beam Piper, Frederik Pohl, and several others. (X Minus One adapted even more famous stories by the likes of Asimov, Heinlein and Bradbury, but those stories aren’t in the public domain yet.)
Speaking of X Minus One, the series adapted three Leiber stories during its run, and they are available on Internet Archive:
Recent Librivox releases:
A world that actively seeks to kill the colonists. Not a pleasant place. The hordes of ferocious animals all come with deadly poison and a will to kill as many humans as possible. Even the plants have teeth and claws and toxins dripping from every surface. They fly, crawl and run for the chance to sink something terrible into a human arm or leg. Oh, and did I mention the 2G gravity? Pyrrus is its name. The settlers there were supermen… twice as strong as ordinary men and with instantaneous reflexes. They had to be. For their business was murder…a 3 year old Pyrrian had a loaded gun strapped to his forearm and knew how to use it or he was a dead 3 year old. It was up to Jason dinAlt, interplanetary gambler, to discover why Pyrrus had become so hostile during man’s brief habitation…if he could stay alive long enough to even make a start…
- A Martian Odyssey
and A Valley of Dreams by
Stanley Weinbaum (1902-1935)
The first of these stories was originally published in the July 1934 issue of Wonder Stories. It was followed four months later by a sequel, “Valley of Dreams” in the same magazine. These classic stories take us to Mars where we meet a Martian, or at least something very different from us, and several other completely original specimens of life. The Martian “Tweel” looks like an ostrich and the Egyptian god Osiris – for good reason, as you will find out if you listen to the story!
- With Her
in Ourland by
Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1860-1935)
Third in the trilogy of the feminist classics, after Moving the Mountain and Herland. In Herland, three American young men discover a country inhabited solely by women, who were parthenogenetic (asexual procreation), and had borne only girl children for two thousand years; they marry three of the women. Two of the men and one woman leave the country of Herland to return to America; Jeff Margrave remaining in Herland with his wife, Celis, a willing citizen; Terry O. Nicholson being expelled from Herland for bad conduct; and Ellador electing to leave Herland with her husband, Vandyck Jennings. We now continue the story, told from the viewpoint of Vandyck Jennings, as they return to America.
Eve by Robert
Moore Williams (1907-1977)
In the midst of the war—that terrible conflict that threatened humanity’s total destruction—the “new people” suddenly appeared. Quietly performing incredible deeds, vanishing at will, they were an enigma to both sides. Kurt Zen was an American intelligence officer among the many sent to root them out. He found them. Taken captive in their hidden lair, he waited as the enemy prepared to launch the super missile, the bomb to end all bombs—and all life. If only he could find the source of the new people’s power, Kurt alone might be able to prevent obliteration of the Earth….