Friday, January 23, 2009

Friday Radio: Honeymoon in Hell (X Minus One)

Based on the story by Fredric Brown, published in Galaxy Science Fiction, November 1950.

Originally broadcast on NBC, December 26, 1956.

(Another story by Fredric Brown, "Arena," the basis for the Star Trek episode, appears in Thrilling Wonder Stories, Volume 2.)

I told you I might repay your patience for sticking around while I forsook regular website updates for actually getting Volume 2 finished and uploaded to the printers. Today, I start to make good, catching up with Friday Radio with two installments.

Sometimes, my fellow members of Generation X like to believe they invented irony and self-referential humor. Well, check out this episode at about 14:20. Being the Gen-Xer I am, I anticipated the gag, and yet was surprised that they actually did it. At least, I think it was a joke.

The radio version of "Honeymoon in Hell" kind of shortchanges us on the hell... in two ways. First, cutting for the timeslot left the story pretty much all setup and resolution, with very little left to our heroes' adventure on the Moon. Second, it leaves out the explanation of the title. Their landing is in Hell Crater, a real place really named, as the story states, after the astronomer Father Maximilian Hell.

The radio version also cuts the information that the disparity between female and male births is quickly getting greater, thus leaving listeners to have to deduce it for themselves, based on the statement that at this rate, the human race has a generation and a half left.

And in a really bizarre change, the justice of the peace who marries our heroes in the story becomes the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, who I don't think is empowered to perform weddings.

The notion that there would have been several manned missions to the Moon by 1962 must have seemed like wishful thinking when the story was originally published in 1950. (Most estimates in science fiction of the era proved instead to be on the far side of the actual date.) By late 1956, it must have seemed ludicrously so. And yet, that, the show kept just as it was.

No comments: