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Murray Leinster

First Contacts: The Essential Murray Leinster

Murray Leinster

A collection of the trend-setting stories of "the Dean of Science Fiction" which opened and explored such topics as first contact with aliens, the Internet, transfers among parallel universes, and many more. This collection contains two stories not previously published, and it contains an introduction by Hal Clement, with cover art by Hannibal King.

Table of Contents:

  • Will - (1998) - essay by Hal Clement
  • Editor's Introduction and Acknowledgments - (1998) - essay by Joe Rico
  • A Logic Named Joe - (1946) - short story
  • If You Was a Moklin - (1951) - novelette
  • The Ethical Equations - (1945) - short story
  • Keyhole - (1951) - short story
  • Doomsday Deferred - (1949) - short story
  • First Contact - (1945) - novelette
  • Nobody Saw the Ship - (1950) - short story
  • Pipeline to Pluto - (1945) - short story
  • The Lonely Planet - (1949) - novelette
  • De Profundis - (1945) - short story
  • The Power - (1945) - short story
  • The Castaway - (1953) - novelette
  • The Strange Case of John Kingman - (1948) - short story
  • Proxima Centauri - (1935) - novella
  • The Fourth-Dimensional Demonstrator - (1935) - short story
  • Sam, This Is You - (1955) - novelette
  • Sidewise in Time - (1934) - novella
  • Scrimshaw - (1955) - short story
  • Symbiosis - (1947) - short story
  • Cure for a Ylith - (1949) - short story
  • Plague on Kryder II - (1964) - novella
  • Exploration Team - (1956) - novelette
  • Introduction to the Unpublished Stories - (1998) - essay by Joe Rico
  • The Great Catastrophe - (1998) - novelette
  • To All Fat Policemen - (1998) - short story

Operation Terror

Murray Leinster

Operation Terror, written by one of the giants of the golden age of sci-fi, is a thrilling tale about a rather unconventional type of alien invasion. The story tells of an unidentified, large object that touched down in Boulder Lake Park, Colorado. What had initially been perceived as a meteor turned out to be a large, unusual alien vessel carrying many strange beings with paralyzing rays that could render their victims blind.

Can the lone survivors who have yet to be caught by the aliens actually escape? And is it really an alien attack, or a coordinated offensive that is secretly based on a Russian agenda?

Proxima Centauri

Murray Leinster

Proxima Centauri is a novella by Murray Leinster. It originally appeared in Astounding Stories, March 1935.

Sidewise in Time

Murray Leinster

This novella originally appeared in Astounding Stories, June 1934. It can also be found the anthologies Worlds of Maybe (1970), edited by Robert Silverberg, and Before the Golden Age: Science Fiction Classics of the Thirties (1974), edited by Isaac Asimov, among others. The story is included in the collection Sidewise in Time (1950), The Best of Murray Leinster (1978) and First Contacts: The Essential Murray Leinster (1998).

The Sidewise Award for alternative history is named after this story.

The Greks Bring Gifts

Murray Leinster


They came to Earth in their space ship, bearing fabulous gifts - such as machines that did any day job automatically, and fertilizer that made plants shoot up overnight. But they presented their gifts with contempt, and with a look in their eyes that made people feel "creepy".

Still, because of the brave new world they promised, they Greks could be forgiven anything - until they left and people discovered the machines were breaking down. Then their only choice was to beg the Greks to come back, on their own terms. And they knew the terms would be hard...

The Pirates of Zan

Murray Leinster

Because Bran Hoddan was a serious electronice engineer, he didn't want any part of his planet's heritage. For he was from Zan -- and Zan's only occupation was spaceship piracy!

The Strange Case of John Kingman

Murray Leinster

The Strange Case of John Kingman is a novella by Murray Leinster. It originally appeared in Astounding Stories, May 1948. It can also be found in the anthologies The Best Science Fiction Stories: 1949, edited by Everett F. Bleiler and T. E. Dikty, The Arbor House Treasury of Science Fiction Masterpieces (1983), edited by Martin H. Greenberg and Robert Silverberg, and The Great Science Fiction Stories Volume 10, 1948 (1983), edited by Isaac Asimov and Martin H. Greenberg. The story is included in the collections The Best of Murray Leinster (1978) and First Contacts: The Essential Murray Leinster (1998).

The Wailing Asteroid

Murray Leinster

There was no life on the asteroid, but the miles of rock-hewn corridors through which the earth party wandered left no doubt about the purpose of the asteroid.

It was a mighty fortress, stocked with weapons of destruction beyond man's power to understand.

And yet there was no life here, nor had there been for untold centuries.

What race had built this stronghold? What unimaginable power were they defending against? Why was it abandoned? There was no answer, all was dead.

But--not quite all.

For in a room above the tomb-like fortress a powerful transmitter beamed its birdlike, fluting sounds toward earth. Near it, on a huge star-map of the universe, with light-years measured by inches, ten tiny red sparks were moving, crawling inexorably toward the center.

Moving, at many times the speed of light, with the acquired mass of suns... moving, on a course that would pass through the solar system.

The unknown aliens would not even see our sun explode from the force of their passing, would not even notice the tiny speck called Earth as it died....

The Weapon Shops of Isher / Gateway to Elsewhere

Ace Double D-Series: Book 53

Murray Leinster
A. E. Van Vogt

The Weapon Shops of Isher

By the year 4784, the Empire of Isher ruled the universe and an impetuous willful girl ruled the empire. Into this epoch, the most scientifically powerful period humanity ever knew, a time-staggering bombshell was tossed. It came in the form of a man from today, a victim of a conflict which was as old as that empire and which now threatened to be the end of both Isher and its worlds.

Gateway to Elsewhere

Tony Gregg was just an ordinary everyday American until the day he came into possession of an old Barkut coin. He knew that it was more than just a collector's curio because there was no such place on any map of Earth, past or present. He learned then that it could be used as a key - a key to a GATEWAY TO ELSEWHERE.

The Brain-Stealers / Atta

Ace Double D-Series: Book 79

Francis Rufus Bellamy
Murray Leinster

The Brain-Stealers

Strange exiles were landing throughout the night... exiles from the unknown depths of outer space -- seeking human beings for food!


A microscopic man fights for survival in a world of ants...

When Brokell awoke, e was less than half an inch tall. Suddenly his apple orchard had become an exotic landscape, and the insects in it terrifying monsters. Helpless, without food or weapons, Brokell faced certain death-but for the friendship of the ant called ATTA.

One Against Eternity / The Other Side of Here

Ace Double D-Series: Book 94

Murray Leinster
A. E. Van Vogt

One Against Eternity

Did their world rest on a pariah's shoulders? Robert Hedrock had been declared a kill-on-sight outcast, even by those who had once been his own faction. Neither they not their empress foe suspected that he alone could provide the solution to their deadliest cosmic crisis.

The Other Side of Here

A flick of the wrist - and whole cities plunged into a void of lifelessness. Steve Waldron plunged to the very center of a dead city and gaped at a truth he could not believe. What could he do against so fearsome a force that threatened to engulf the whole nation?

Contraband Rocket / The Forgotten Planet

Ace Double D-Series: Book 146

Lee Correy
Murray Leinster

Contraband Rocket

To the Moon - or Bust!

The Forgotten Planet

THE FORGOTTEN PLANET is a world where the Terraforming stopped too soon. Result: insects evolved to human size plus. Non-chlorophyll plants also prospered and killed off the trees and grasses, then evolved into hugeness themselves. You would not expect a shipload of people stranded on such a world to survive, but humans are stubborn and resourceful. This is the story of their many-times descendants, and it's a great one.

Men on the Moon / City on the Moon

Ace Double D-Series: Book 277

Murray Leinster
Donald A. Wollheim

Men on the Moon

An anthology of short stories about the future of mankind on the moon. Stories include:

  • Operation Pumice, by Raymond Z. Gallun
  • Jetsam, by A. Bertram Chandler
  • Reluctant Heroes, by Frank M. Robinson
  • Moonwalk, by H.B. Fyfe
  • Keyhole, by Murray Leinster

City on the Moon

Life on the moon under anything less than optimal conditions had always been a nightmare, and as Joe Kenmore and his colleague, Moreau, drove back to the City On The Moon on that day the Earth shuttle was due to land, the nearby mountain supporting critical elements of the shuttle's landing mechanisms crumbled causing an avalanche and resulting in chaos. Optimal conditions were no where in sight that day and as Kenmore and Moreau's investigations lead to their conclusion that explosions had been responsible for the avalanche.

Now they realized that they were in a race against the clock to restore the landing beam before the shuttle had reached it's point of no return prior to landing. Kenmore had more than strictly humanitarian reasons for wanting to prevent a mishap aboard the shuttle that day, because on this particular mission, Arlene Gray was aboard. Kenmore had been anxiously awaiting her arrival, and while in the scope of things Kenmore's comparatively meaningless love life might hang in the balance...

The Mutant Weapon / The Pirates of Zan

Ace Double D-Series: Book 403

Murray Leinster

The Mutant Weapon

The only links between the far-flung space colonies were the Medical Services spaceships. When these lonely travelers paid a call, they were always given a royal welcome. So why did the landing grid on Marix III try to destroy Med Serviceman Calhoun's ship?

The Pirates of Zan

Because Bran Hoddan was a serious electronice engineer, he didn't want any part of his planet's heritage. For he was from Zan -- and Zan's only occupation was spaceship piracy!

The Duplicators / No Truce with Terra

Ace Double F-Series: Book 275

Philip E. High
Murray Leinster

The Duplicators

The Duplicators is an expansion of the novella Lord of the Uffts.

A planet where everyone has a machine which can duplicate anything would be the wealthiest world in the galaxy, right? Wrong. And unless the hapless voyager who's trapped on the planet can find a solution to its problem, his voyaging will be over -- permanently.

No Truce with Terra

From: The Shaldron Race
To: The Human Race
Your presence has been noted and the reason for your visit analyzed by our instruments. We have, therefore, taken the liberty of selecting one of your party for first contact, one whom we feel is best suited to grasp the motivations of both our races and arrange for future group contacts.

Peter Collard stared at the message with a cold feeling of foreboding. He felt pity for the poor devil.

"Who is this selected contact:"

"Ah now," Dyson became suddenly interested in the papers on the table. 'Well, I'm sorry and all that, but, as a matter of fact, they want you."

Space Captain / The Mad Metropolis

Ace Double M-Series: Book 135

Philip E. High
Murray Leinster

Space Captain

Interstellar chase of a space buccaneer.

The Mad Metropolis

Given: Earth 400 years from now--a rotten society in which mankind is doomed to die out.

A solution to the problem--an ultra-intelligent computer to govern humanity.

One man of seemingly average intelligence, but with an incredible I.Q. potential.

And you have: A corrupt society turned into a world where there is not corruption, because Mother Machine knows what's best for her human children and does it. Where that same all-powerful computer is rapidly turning men into zombies.

And where the world's only hope turns out to be one outlawed not-average man.

Result: An unusual science-fiction thriller.

The Best of Murray Leinster

Ballantine's Classic Library of Science Fiction: Book 13

Murray Leinster

Note that this is the 1978 US edition, not the similarly titled 1976 UK edition (Corgi) which has different contents.

Table of Contents:

  • The Dean of Science Fiction - essay by John J. Pierce
  • Sidewise in Time - (1934) - novella
  • Proxima Centauri - (1935) - novella
  • The Fourth-Dimensional Demonstrator - (1935) - shortstory
  • First Contact - (1945) - novelette
  • The Ethical Equations - (1945) - shortstory
  • Pipeline to Pluto - (1945) - shortstory
  • The Power - (1945) - shortstory
  • A Logic Named Joe - (1946) - shortstory
  • Symbiosis - (1947) - shortstory
  • The Strange Case of John Kingman - (1948) - shortstory
  • The Lonely Planet - (1949) - novelette
  • Keyhole - (1951) - shortstory
  • Critical Difference - (1956) - novelette

Exploration Team

Colonial Survey

Murray Leinster

Hugo Award winning novelette. It originally appeared in Astounding Science Fiction, March 1956. The story can also be found in the anthologies The Hugo Winners, Volume 1: (1955-61) (1962), edited by Isaac Asimov, Spectrum 3 (1963), edited by Kingsley Amis and Robert Conquest, The Great SF Stories 18 (1956) (1988), edited by Isaac Asimov and Martin H. Greenberg, and The Good Old Stuff: Adventure SF in the Grand Tradition (1998), edited by Gardner Dozois. It is included in the collection First Contacts: The Essential Murray Leinster (1998).

The Black Galaxy

Galaxy Science Fiction: Book 20

Murray Leinster

Unexpectedly the starship Stellaris hurtled off the earth and into the farthest reaches of space. If only that was the only problem! No star maps, killer aliens and a ship that was only partially built.

The Last Space Ship

Galaxy Science Fiction: Book 25

Murray Leinster

Note: A fix up of all 3 Kim Rendell stories: "The Disciplinary Circuit", "The Boomerang Circuit" and "The Manless Worlds".

Operation: Outer Space

Golden Science Fiction Library: Book 2

Murray Leinster

Jed Cochrane -- sophisticate in a world grown too crowded to breathe, newsman, interviewer, television personality -- begins this tale when he's sent on a wild goose chase (literally, to the moon) after the wayward son of one of his network's principals. But the path he follows will lead him to the stars -- and beyond them!

The Forgotten Planet

Masters of Science Fiction: Book 17

Murray Leinster

The story of an experiment gone wrong--a planet seeded with primitive bacterial, plant, and insect life forms, then forgotten until a spaceship crash-lands, stranding its crew. The crew must fight to survive in a savage nightmare world. From the Hugo Award-winning author, Murray Leinster.

Quarantine World

Masters of Science Fiction: Book 27

Murray Leinster

A classic adventure from a Sci-Fi Hall-of-Famer. The only connecting links between the galaxy's countless colonized new worlds are the Med ships--lone starships each carrying one man and one beast. Roving the uncharted vastness of deep space, Calhoun and his tormal are one such pair, and at each planetfall, they fight not only plagues and epidemics, but humans bent on death and destruction.


  • 3 - The Mutant Weapon - [Med Service - 2] - (1959) - novel
  • 101 - Plague on Kryder II - [Med Service] - (1964) - novella
  • 155 - Ribbon in the Sky - [Med Service] - (1957) - novelette
  • 203 - Quarantine World - [Med Service] - (1966) - novella

The Brain-Stealers

Science Fiction from the Great Years: Book 13

Murray Leinster

Strange exiles were landing throughout the night... exiles from the unknown depths of outer space -- seeking human beings for food!

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