Friday, February 20, 2009

Friday Radio: The Stars Are the Styx (X Minus One)

Based on the story by Theodore Sturgeon, published in Galaxy Science Fiction, October 1950.

Originally broadcast on NBC, July 24, 1956.

(A novella by Theodore Sturgeon, "The Golden Helix," appears in Thrilling Wonder Stories, Volume 2.)

UPDATE: It looks like this is one of those files that won't work in the player for some reason. So click here to download the mp3 file, and listen to it however you can.

Did Theodore Sturgeon have a thing for albinos? I ask because there's a beautiful albino woman in this episode*, and there's also one in the above-mentioned "The Golden Helix." I can't find anything about it via Google.

The narration in this episode seems extraordinarily clumsy to me, with Charon narrating action at one point literally while he's in the midst of performing it, gasping with the effort. It kind of kills suspension of disbelief when you picture him continually giving a past-tense account of his present activity to no one. (After all, we're not there, are we?)

And incidentally, "Charon" is the name, like the (then-undiscovered) moon of Pluto. The scene in which Flower apparently recognizes the mythical source points up the differences between text and audio. In text, we're less likely to ask ourselves why no one who hears the name Charon asks, "Karen? What, were your parents expecting a girl?"

Note that at the end, the announcer misattributes the story to H.L. Gold. They'd just done his "The Old Die Rich" the previous week, so maybe the staff accidentally handed the announcer the wrong copy to read.

One last thing: This copy of the episode is so clear that you can tell how worn-down the stock-music records were. The music sounds distinctly crackly and lacking in range.

*- I have to admit, I haven't read the story, and I don't have any magazine or book it appeared in, but I assume she's in the story, too. If not, perhaps it was adapter Ernest Kinoy who had a thing for albinos.

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