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
"'X Minus One' hatches a new fictional universe with each episode. The series is united, however, by a consistent auditory aesthetic. It is rich with quavering theremins and faint, crackling radio transmissions. Heroes speak in plain voices while villains dither in mid-Atlantic accents. Robots and aliens, equally unreal at the time, sound and act tellingly alike. Horns blare and strings scream. Silence is employed liberally. The aesthetic is convincing and total, and it flatters the show's content. It lulls you through the most regressive episodes and intensifies the best. In 2015, it is twice transporting, from now to then and back again." (John Herrman, New York Times Magazine)
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.
Dr. Nils Rasmussen
Out of all of those old radio shows produced from the 40's to the 60's, "X-Minus One" is by FAR my favorite.
Not only is the acting quality superb, but the production, writing, & sound effects couldn't be as good if they were made today.
X-Minus One was a series that rehashed a previous series known as "Dimension X". Both sci-fi radio dramas used scripts adapted from the VERY best science fiction authors of the time. Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Robert Sheckley, Philip K. Dick, & Robert A. Heinlein are just a few of the fantastic authors behind these short stories.
If you're a fan of science fiction, you WILL enjoy this series.
9.7 / 10.0
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.
I was born a long time ago in a small town far, far, away. Tanta stultitia mortalium est.
Very good overall... Fully dramatized with sound effects; a couple of stories are repeated. Highly Recommended.
My taste differs from kid books to gory horror books.
What a fantastic line up of authors and stories. I counted 47 stories. This has some of the absolute classics, such as Cold Equation by Tom Godwin, Tunnel Under the World by Frederik Phol, Knock by Fredric Brown, First Contact by Murry Leinster, and A Pail of Air by Fritz Leiber, just to name a tiny few. Other than the authors mentioned above there were several stories by Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein, and Clifford D. Simak. I had not heard of George Lefferts, William Tenn, Nelson Bond, Mark Clifton and Ernest Kinoy, but they also had some great stories. There were very few losers. (CONVICTS TELL THIER STORIES ON THE LOSERS TONIGHT)
CHILDREN ARE LIKE CARPETS, THEY SHOULD BE STEPPED ON OCCASIONALLY
One reviewer has mentioned repeats. I believe that the producers followed the show the way it aired, week after week. The original show repeated three of their more popular shows, yet they were entirely new productions with different actors. Their were minor changes to the scripts. Each episode is about 25 minutes, so out of the 20 hours, that's about one and quarter hours you might want to skip through or listen again, they were good stories. I believe this collection of stories to be a far superior collection. I will say I did not care for the loud introduction before each story, it was ear splitting.
NEVER QUESTION PROVIDENCE
The stories were adapted in order to fit the time period and to be preformed. I have read a lot of the stories and I feel they were mostly true to the originals. Universe by Robert Heinlein was way to long to fit into 25 minutes, so I believe it suffered. There was no Jim/Joe for instance. Performing made a lot of these even better. Cold Equations was even more heart rendering, when you listen to the voice of the female character. I enjoyed the commercials, they gave you a feel for the time period. Did you know that their was a Truth or Consequences, show on the radio, before Bob Barker?
This is a wonderful collection of classic sci fi short stories where, as the intro to the weekly show states: "you'll live in a million could-be years on a thousand may-be worlds."
This audio book consists of stories originally broadcast on radio in 1955. The dramas are very engaging and I enjoyed the voice production and background sounds. Each story runs about 25 minutes so they are great for little snippets although the introduction and ending credits for each one become a little annoying. I could just picture an older generation sitting in front of the radio listening.
My favorite was Heinlein's “The Green Hills of Earth” which tells the tale of a space mechanic who protects the ship when automation fails. He becomes a beloved space “sailor” traveling along the freight lines and writing songs to sing on his guitar. A very special song is about the green hill of his home planet.
Another one that I really liked was George Lefferts' "The Parade". A wealthy man asks a slick public relations man in New York to prepare a plan to announce “the Martians are Coming.” The PR man is thrilled to have the high paying job and thinks the ad plan is for a new spectacular movie. The campaign will culminate in a gala parade to introduce “the Martians” to the city.
The stories are classic sci fi with the twist of irony I have come to expect in science fiction. There is a bit of humor and a strong dose of creepy horror. I do think it is fun that some of the stories treat the 1970s or '90s as a future world. I recommend this to those who enjoy vintage sci fi and like the idea of the broadcast format.
Audio Notes: If you have ever listened to an old radio broadcast you know how they are presented with good actor voices and background stories, including music building to enhance the mystery and danger.
They don't write like this anymore. There is more imagination and inspired literary risk taking here then in the last 20 Hollywood Blockbusters, combined. I had forgotten what it felt like to be so utterly intrigued by a setting or plot, it was nice to feel that again.
The collection of radio dramatizations of different stories, many taken from the SCI-fi mags of the time was really fun to listen too.
The range of stories was very diverse and mostly reflective of their time. And the radio dramatization added flavor and drama. Makes one wonder how much we have up when society moved from radio to TV to the next thing.
This the radio show that inspired an entire generation of Sci fi artists. It is your grandmother's entertainment, but still some great stories and a glimpse into American history at the same time.
"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.
"Great selection of classic radio sci-fi"
These are classic golden age stories dramatised for radio. Production and sound quality is good.
Surprisingly the stories are still enjoyable and most of them do not feel too dated. The excellent quirky humour of writers like Robert Sheckley still shines.
"A brilliant back to the future listen"
Not just liked but loved every moment.
Would recommend to all who love nostalgia.
Ratings High Fives - across the board.
Hours in-which you just drift to another
"Can't beat the oldies."
Can't beat the oldies. fantastic stories from the best in sci-fi and excellent performances throughout.
"Nice to hear old SciFI ideas"
maybe some of the stories.
The material reflects the technology of that era (late 50's) and the early days of spaceflight and dreams of colonisation.
As an audio book it is nice to have dramatisation, but lacks some descriptive narrative.
Hearing early works of respected SciFi novelists
There are at least 4 episodes repeated toward end of list but as no titles in just "chapters" not easy to navigate.
very good listen
most enjoyable, getting lost in old time radio stories....the years just slipped away
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