Fourth Volume of Free Stories Eligible for 1941 Retro Hugos

Short Fiction Eligible for the 1941 Retro-Hugos Vol. 4, a collection of 13 12 public domain novellas published in 1940, is the latest collection from File 770 commenter von Dimpleheimer. (Earlier posts contain links to Volume One, Volume Two, and Volume Three.)

Volume Four is the all novella volume, with nine eight new novellas and four others repeated from previous volumes.

These books are created to help MidAmeriCon II members who will vote next year on the Retro Hugos (along with the regular Hugos).

The links lead to a Google storage drive.

Von Dimpleheimer’s introduction explains the limits of his own collection, and drops loud hints where to find the others, at least some of which are still be under copyright.

The 13 novellas included here constitute 20% of the approximately 62 novellas published in 1940. So if you dust off your copy of The Complete Compleat Enchanter, rummage though your stack of Heinlein paperbacks, and shell out a few bucks for a collection or two, you will not only become an authority on the novellas of 1940 and be invited to speak at conferences around the world, you will be able to nominate with a confidence unobtainable in the short story category.

And he obligingly includes a list of 49 other 1940 novellas that are not in the collection.

Meanwhile, here is the table of contents of Volume Four.

  • Nelson S. Bond “The Ultimate Salient” Planet Stories, Fall 1940
  • Ray Cummings “Space-Liner X-87” Planet Stories, Summer 1940
  • Oscar J. Friend “Roar of the Rocket” Thrilling Wonder Stories, April 1940
  • André Maurois “Fatapoufs and Thinifers” Fatapoufs and Thinifers French 1930. Translated from French by Rosemary Benét. Fattypuffs and Thinifiers, English, 1940
  • Phil Nowlan “Space Guards” Astounding Science-Fiction, May 1940
  • Norvell W. Page “But Without Horns” Unknown, June 1940
  • Ray Palmer “Black World” Amazing Stories, March 1940 and April 1940
  • John Murray Reynolds “Goddess of the Moon” Planet Stories, Spring 1940
  • Nat Schachner “Master Gerald of Cambray” Unknown, June 1940
  • Don Wilcox “The Robot Peril” Fantastic Adventures, January 1940
  • Don Wilcox “The Whispering Gorilla” Fantastic Adventures, May 1940
  • Robert Moore Williams “The Golden Princess” Fantastic Adventures, August 1940
  • Robert Moore Williams “Jongor of Lost Land” Fantastic Adventures, October 1940

A fifth volume is in the works, and he says, “Barring the unforeseen inheritance of a literary estate or a pile of 75 year-old magazines, all new stories in Volumes Five and up will be less than 17,500 words long.”

Update 12/07/2015: Von Dimpleheimer has removed “Fattypuffs and Thinifiers” from Volume Four and uploaded a new file without the story. He says: “Someone pointed out they had a version that has a copyright renewal date of 2006. After doing some more research, I don’t know if it is protected by copyright or not, so I have to assume it is.”

11 thoughts on “Fourth Volume of Free Stories Eligible for 1941 Retro Hugos

  1. I’m pretty sure that the Nelson Bond story is not in the Public Domain. Nelson was very strict about maintaining his copyrights.

  2. I checked again after I saw your comment. I did separate searches of “Bond”, “Salient”, and “Ultimate”. Then I did a manual check from 1967 to 1969 and found nothing. The earliest copyright renewal I can find for him is for a story from 1945.

    The mask of Medusa. (In Bluebook
    magazine, Dec. 1945) © 28Nov45;
    B705041. Nelson Bond (A);
    22Jan73; R544659.

    I even checked the 1978 Catalog of Copyright Entries, since ocassionally things missed in the proper year were published in 1978. Found nothing there either.

    The copyrights of maybe 5% of the short fiction from 1940 were renewed by the authors or their representatives. The only reason all of the remaining 95% are not in the public domain is that some of the magazines renewed the copyrights to their issues and that sometimes renewed the copyright of the stories in them. Bond’s go-to magazines in 1940, Fantastic Adventures and Planet Stories, were not around in 1968 to do that. Astounding, Unknown, and Thrilling Wonder Stories did do that, even though 2 out of 3 of them no longer existed, so Bond’s stories from those magazines are likely still protected by copyright and won’t be included in any ebook I make.

    Maybe Bond got very strict about copyright renewal later in life. Do you have anything more than a gut feeling? I certainly will remove the story if it is protected by copyright, but it really seems like it is not.

    Volume Five is almost ready and has Bond stories in it, so if you know anything concrete, please do let me know.

  3. Fattypuffs and Thinnifers is a fun book. However the copyright page of the latest edition (Vintage 2013) declares it was renewed by The Estate of Andre Maurois in 2006

  4. Maurois was the only one I had any concerns about, because he was French and well-known and people are still trying to make money off him. He renewed copyrights on some of his works, mostly non-fiction, in the US, but not Fattypuffs. Going by just US law, it is in the public domain. If he had renewed it in the late 1960s, then it would have eventually had life+70 years (2037 for Maurois) applied to it (as was done for his non-fiction works), so renewing it in 2006 makes no sense at all. Not saying your book doesn’t say that, just that I can’t see the point or legality of it. Works haven’t had to have their copyrights renewed since 1992 and can’t be re-copyrighted if they have fallen into the public domain.

    I’ll look into it further, but in the meantime, I’ll take it out of Vol 4 and upload a version without it. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. From now on, I think I may steer clear of all but US authors who were residing in the US in 1940 and driving pickup trucks draped in American flags.

    @Soon Lee, You’re welcome.

  5. Fattypuff-free version of Volume Four is now what you will get from the above links.

  6. @Matthew Davis, Again, thanks. I’ve killed two hours and am more confused than before I began, but I have to say, it is not looking good. So I’ll just admit I screwed up and move on. That seemingly unnecessary 2006 renewal will have to remain an unsolved mystery.

    There was going to be a story translated from French in Vol 5, but I’ll take it out now, unless someone can assure me that the mysterious F. B. Ghensi was a native of New Orleans or died before 1945.

  7. @von Dimpleheimer, your work on these is very much appreciated.

    An addendum to your list of Novellas NOT included in this volume (unless MidAmericon lowers to upper range of the novella category):
    L. Ron Hubbard “The Indigestible Triton” Unknown Fantasy Fiction, April 1940

  8. Unfortunately the Maurois leapt out at me as a result of the illustrator Fritz Wegner dying earlier this year. I’d had a look then to see what was still in print by him and had been pleased to note that a brand new edition of Fattypuffs had been issued within the last couple of years.

    I’m a fan of short fiction, so thanks for all the work compiling.

  9. You guys are welcome.

    I added the Hubbard story to the list that will be in version 1.2. Thanks.

    The following links are to the preliminary short story and novelette lists (as html files). If anybody notices anything missing or miscategorized, let me know.

    Short Stories


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