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.
"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.
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