Tuesday, July 21, 2009

"Wanderer of Infinity" by Harl Vincent

We here at the Johnny Pez blog continue our lonely but determined effort to revive interest in Harl Vincent, one of the forgotten pioneers of the Gernsback Era of science fiction. Vincent, the pen name of mechanical engineer Harold Vincent Schoepflin (1893 - 1968), published over seventy science fiction stories in the pulp magazines between 1928 and 1942. Only a handful have ever been reprinted in anthologies.

One of that handful was "Wanderer of Infinity", first published in the March 1933 issue Astounding Stories magazine. The story reappeared eight years after Vincent's death in an anthology of pulp fiction called The Pulps: Fifty Years of American Pop Culture, edited by Tony Goodstone. Now, thanks to the good people at Project Gutenberg, "Wanderer of Infinity" can be found online here.

"Wanderer of Infinity" bears an uncanny resemblance to the British science fiction series Doctor Who. The Wanderer is an alien who travels between the dimensions alone in his interdimensional timeship. The last of his race, the Wanderer has dedicated his life to helping preserve other races threatened by interdimensional conquest. When Earth is threatened by a spider-like race called the Bardeks, the Wanderer recruits a human named Bert Redmond to help him save the world.

Published 30 years before Doctor Who premiered on the BBC, "Wanderer of Infinity" is proof that any science fictional idea you care to mention can be found in the pulps of the Gernsback Era.

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