X Minus One was a half-hour science fiction radio series broadcast from April 24, 1955 to January 9, 1958 in various timeslots on NBC. Initially a revival of NBC's Dimension X (1950-51), X Minus One is widely considered among the finest science fiction dramas ever produced for radio. The first 15 episodes were new versions of Dimension X episodes, but the remainder were adaptations by NBC staff writers, including Ernest Kinoy and George Lefferts, of newly published science fiction stories by leading writers in the field, including Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Philip K. Dick, Robert A. Heinlein, Frederik Pohl and Theodore Sturgeon, along with some original scripts by Kinoy and Lefferts.
Episodes of the show include adaptations of Robert Sheckley's "Skulking Permit", Bradbury's "Mars Is Heaven", Heinlein's "Universe" and "The Green Hills of Earth", Pohl's "The Tunnel under the World", J. T. McIntosh's "Hallucination Orbit", Fritz Leiber's "A Pail of Air", and George Lefferts' "The Parade".
The program opened with announcer Fred Collins delivering the countdown, leading into this introduction (although later shows were partnered with Galaxy Science Fiction rather than Astounding Science Fiction).
Countdown for blastoff.... X minus five, four, three, two, X minus one.... Fire! [Rocket launch SFX] From the far horizons of the unknown come transcribed tales of new dimensions in time and space. These are stories of the future; adventures in which you'll live in a million could-be years on a thousand may-be worlds. The National Broadcasting Company in cooperation with Street and Smith, publishers of Astounding Science Fiction presents...X Minus One.
©2012 BN Publishing (P)2012 BN Publishing
Many of the stories in this radio drama are staples of the Sci Fi canon, and it was fun to hear them acted out with the serious tones of the times. I'm a sucker for radio dramas in many ways, and wish audible would get more of these old shows in their collection.
While many of the concepts might be dated and pulpy, there is a sincerity in the voices of the actors. I was immediately transported back to the days of my childhood (in the 70's - not THAT far back), when I would curl up under my blanket at night to listen to scary and fantastical stories in my room, while my parents watched Gun Smoke, Bonanza, The Waltons or whatever was on that night - we had different tastes.
The special effects come off surprisingly well, and there's plenty of room to flesh out the images in your head.
Ray Bradbury has always been one of my favorites, so I enjoyed the dramatizations of the stories included. Nightfall by Asimoz was also a standout. But if I had to pinpoint what makes this a memorable collection, it's that we get to hear stories that haven't been published, i.e. the stories written by Lefferts and Kinoy specifically for the program. Whereas nowadays we can see reruns of classic shows on TV and see the skill that many script writers had, sadly we are not able to get so many of the stories from radio easily.
Hard to choose a favorite scene or story. There were many "corny" scenes, which when filtered through the lens of "that was the 50's" are still more enjoyable than cringe worthy.
As for being moved, it was more about being taken back to the "tell me a bedtime story" era of my youth, the nostalgia that keeps me optimistic and wanting to go to bed with just the slight sense of unease that the universe is huge and there just might be a monster under the bed.
If there is something to complain about, it's that the collection is not complete as it states. It ends after about the first third of episodes. I knew this coming in to the purchase. Though there are many repeats on the original broadcast run, there's no way 20 hours can fit 120+ episodes. I'm hoping with get the rest out soon and correctly call this Volume 1 of 3.
First off let me say this was greatly enjoyable, I listened to it while I was working and I would imagine a family sitting around the radio, the kids laying on the floor with their heads proped on their hands with maybe a bowl of popcorn in front of them. The stories took me out of my head and gave me great pleasure.
I would have rated this 5 stars but there are two Major errors, The book is listed as running for 20 or so hours but there are two stories repeted.
One is a story about a lifelike little doll that a little girl and mother buy in a shop and the other is people living under ground to excape the radiation from world war 3 and they are careful about genetic mutation and a perfect woman falls in love with a geneticly flawed man.
I dont know what they were repeted but it caused me confusion when the first one repeted and I thought somehow my played had somehow gone in to shuffle mode.
Other then that one error I honestly think it is a wonder audio book and any lovers of old radio drama will love it,
X – 1 does a wonderful job boiling down some of the best science fiction of early 20th century into 30 minute dramas. Like with any abridgement, the stories as written by their original authors are almost always better, but this radio series gives you exposure to stories and authors you might otherwise have missed.
Additionally, the show is just entertaining. It was well put together and performed.
Finally, this is an interesting peek into entertainment history. Before the TV was king, these radio shows were are central part of the American persona.
Sound quality is excellent and acting is top notch. I re-listen to these over frequently and they are always enjoyable.
The Sci-Fi element is what attracted me to this collection and the setup for each story did not disappoint me. However, in many of the stories, the ending tends to leave things unresolved or the story just ends as if the author's creative energy ran out. Not true of all of the stories, as some are from famous authors like Isaac Asimov. But don't expect to be blown away by a surprise ending or great revelation at the end of most... seems to be a theme in this series. Stories just don't have the zing factor of Twilight Zone, Suspense!, Inner Sanctum, etc.
Overall I like this series a lot and it's great that every single episode is there. However, I have heard one of the episodes of X-Minus One in another collection and discovered that the one contained here didn't actually have the entire story. It's as if the last part after a commercial was just left off.
"Splendid stuff from the Golden Age"
The Golden Age of sci-fi (1940s, 50s and 60s) was a wonderful period. These stories mostly illustrate it beautifully. This download is wonderful value - over forty half hour dramatisations of science fiction stories from the period.
Many of the stories are by famous writers - Ray Bardbury, Robert Bloch, et al, but some are not well-known but still memorable.
The best thing about these stories is how they are very much of their time, filled with the uncertainty associated with the '50s: spy scandals, McCarthyism, the growing cold war and the fear of nuclear disaster. The inherent psychological fear is beautifully portrayed in most of these short radio plays. There's a real feeling of paranoia running through them all.
On the whole, apart from one or two which are simply Westerns in space, the majority of these stories are a wonderful snapshot of the best of sci-fi at the very worst of times.
"Fabulous listening from Amazing Stories"
Largely much better although these are radio dramatisations of classic science fiction stories. What is lovely is that when these were recorded they weren't classics-and some of the stories and authors on the audiobook are new to me.
I have always loved 'The Green Hills Of Earth" by Robert Heinlein and the audio did it justice.
Everything-and adding the little bits about baseball games next week etc made me feel much more as if I was back in the 50s-couldn't have been given my age!
Several of the stories do that short story 'thing' of leaving a miserable upsetting ending and unresolved problems. Given the Cold War at the time it seems fair enough.
I bought this from pure nostalgia. I have early print editions of several of the stories, not because of collecting but as they were at home since my father had bought them new and can't throw books out. I enjoyed them immensely and the very long school runs/commutes became bearable. It felt as if I was in 1950s America waiting for the radio. There are some repeats which seems to reflect laziness in compilation. I listen to them in the car and fast forwarding 25 minutes using the hands free controls is not feasible, so I listened to some twice. Unfortunately they weren't the particularly good ones. Overall though if there were a volume 2 I would willingly buy it despite minor gripes.
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