It’s hard to believe that I’ve been writing a Friday’s Forgotten Books just about every Friday since Patti Abbott invited me to join her online group back in 2009. My first Friday’s Forgotten Books featured Theodore Sturgeon’s The Dreaming Jewels (you can read the review here). For the past 12 years I’ve been presenting Science Fiction, Fantasy, Mystery, and Horror books in celebration of the great writers we all love. For this #600 review, I thought I’d choose a classic SF anthology from 1953, Crossroads of Time with a great Richard Powers cover.

Many of my favorite SF writers are here: Murray Leinster, Clifford D. Simak, Fritz Leiber, F. L. Wallace, and Chad Oliver. Notice that Groff Conklin included two women SF writers, Margaret St. Clair and Katherine MacLean, a rare event for anthologies from the early 1950s. I hope you’re enjoying my reviews and the great books from The Kelley Collection! Thank you for your participation and feedback over all these years! GRADE: A


Introduction by Groff Conklin
“Assumption Unjustified” by Hal Clement (Astounding Science Fiction, October 1946)
“The Eagles Gather” by Joseph E. Kelleam (Astounding Science-Fiction, April 1942)
“The Queen’s Astrologer” by Murray Leinster (Thrilling Wonder Stories, October 1949)
“Derm Fool” by Theodore Sturgeon (Unknown Fantasy Fiction, March 1940)
“Courtesy” by Clifford D. Simak (Astounding Science Fiction, August 1951)
“Secret” by Lee Cahn (Astounding Science Fiction, January 1953)
“Thirsty God” by Margaret St. Clair (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, March 1953)
“The Mutant’s Brother” by Fritz Leiber (Astounding Science-Fiction, August 1943)
“Student Body” by F. L. Wallace (Galaxy Science Fiction, March 1953)
“Made in U.S.A.” by J. T. McIntosh (Galaxy Science Fiction, April 1953)
“Technical Advisor” by Chad Oliver (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, February 1953)
“Feedback” by Katherine MacLean (Astounding Science Fiction, July 1951)
“The Cave” by P. Schuyler Miller (Astounding Science-Fiction, January 1943)
“Vocation” by George O. Smith (Astounding Science Fiction, April 1945)
“The Time Decelerator” by A. Macfadyen, Jr. (Astounding Stories, July 1936)
“Zen” by Jerome Bixby (Galaxy Science Fiction, October 1952)
“Let There Be Light” by H. B. Fyfe (If, November 1952)
“The Brain” by Norbert Wiener (Technical Engineering News, April 1952)

20 thoughts on “FRIDAY’S FORGOTTEN BOOKS #600: CROSSROADS IN TIME Edited by Groff Conklin

  1. Todd Mason

    As often with Conklin’s anthologies, this one is packed with good to excellent stories that Have Not become chestnuts, in the sense of constantly reprinted items in the years since…this one could be reprinted entire rather easily and though it would probably only sell to cognoscenti, they would be rewarded with some novel or rarely-repeated experiences…unless they’d doggedly kept up with all the folks who’d published collections, or read all the magazine back-files.

    Congratulations on your consistency and longevity at this! I started not too long after, but life defeated me for a while in my early years and has been slapping me around pretty hard for the last six months or so…but damned if I don’t have any number of books to finish and write up…with luck better Thant I have on balance…and there’s the little matter of gathering the links.

    1. Todd Mason

      Hm. Weird scramble there, where I meant to type “with luck better than I have on balance”–but the Macs around the house have been showing their age at least as much as I hav. Alice finally got fed up enough to buy a new Dell laptop).

      600 is a nice round number!

      1. george Post author

        Todd, that 600 number came up fast! It seems like yesterday when Patti Abbott invited me to contribute to FFB.

    2. george Post author

      Todd, thank you for your kind words. The World has been sloppy most of us around since the coronavirus hit. Hang in there!

  2. Jerry House

    600. Wow! That’s twice as many as the Spartans at the Battle of Thermopylae. The early Conklin anthologies were a gateway to SF for so many of my generation. Hard to pick a favorite here but the St. Clair, Sturgeon, and Oliver are near the top of my list.

    1. george Post author

      Jerry, you’re right about the Conklin anthologies being a Gateway Drug to Science Fiction. You can’t go wrong with St. Clair, Sturgeon, and Oliver!

  3. Patti Abbott

    Thanks for your constant participation, George. We have lost a few to death, boredom, illness, etc, but here we still stand.

    1. george Post author

      Patti, thank you for inviting me to participate in FFB. I’ll keep writing these reviews as long as people want to read them!

  4. Michael Padgett

    This looks interesting, especially since I assume it’s time travel stories. It’s odd that although I’m familiar with all but three of the authors (Kelleam, Cahn, and Macfadyen) I don’t recall reading a single one of the stories. My introduction to Conklin came when I joined the SFBC in the mid-50s and one of his huge anthologies was part of my introductory package. Always loved those Richard Powers covers.

    I didn’t know until today that it was Patti who started FFB. Thanks, Patti!

    1. george Post author

      Michael, I love Groff Conklin anthologies. And I think Patti Abbott’s FRIDAY FORGOTTEN BOOKS idea was great and it lives on!

  5. Fred Blosser

    Groff Conklin edited the first paperback I ever owned, in 1962 (well, technically my folks paid for it), TEN GREAT MYSTERIES, a fine collection of Poe stories, with introduction and notes by Conklin, from Scholastic Books.

  6. Steve Oerkfitz

    Had this as a teen so I must have read these but I can’t remember a single one. Seems like Conklin put out an anthology a month back then.

    1. george Post author

      Steve, I have at least a dozen Groff Conklin anthologies. Some I’ve read and enjoyed. The rest will probably show up here on FFB in the months ahead.

  7. wolf

    George reviewed 600 books – that’s more than many people read in their whole life …
    I just wish I had found your site earlier, thanks a lot for all the heart warming reviews
    I’ve probably written about this before:
    While still at school a friend of my mother allowed me to read books in their book store – in German translation of course.
    When I started university in 1962 every day I passed the America House and their library motivated me to better my English. I think all those Groff Conklin anthologies were available there …
    Of course I know most of the authors – and have probably also read all these stories – but as an old man I forget so much…

    1. george Post author

      Wolf, thank you for your kind words! As I recall, you’ve commented on many of these Friday Forgotten Book posts. I appreciate you insights and memories!


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