9 VINTAGE SCI-FI TALES FROM THE 1950s, 60s, & 70s
DISCOVER NINE ADDITIONAL UNEARTHED TALES FROM THE 1950S, '60S, & '70S IN JOHN HAYDEN HOWARD'S (1925-2014) REAWAKENED WORLDS: MORE VINTAGE DYSTOPIAN AND SCI-FI STORIES BY A MASTER STORYTELLER, VOLUME TWO!
The timeless allure of Hayden Howard's storytelling is evident even a half-century later, skillfully merging subtle humor, distinctive characters, and extraordinary settings with technology that, even today, feels remarkably ahead of its time.
Written between the 1950s and '70s and compiled by Laurie Winslow Sargent, these thought-provoking tales wrap ecopolitical concerns of that era—energy conservation, the space race, and spies—in futuristic and interplanetary stories.
PART ONE: DECEPTIVE DIGNITARIES
"Kendy," a student is lured to a strange California university; in "500 Points for Father Image," a computer chooses the President; and in "Counterattack," a CEO is deceived by a Venusian twin.
PART TWO: TOUCHY TECHNOLOGY
In "I've Got to Save JFK," an inventor's future-altering laser changes 1993, while in "March of Time" and "Breakout," inventions go awry.
PART THREE: COSMIC ECOPOLITICS
In "Oil-Mad Bug-Eyed Monsters," an alien poses as a California oil company man; in "To Grab Power," a bodyguard craves control; and in "The Last Surfer," a dystopian government employee rebels to save Earth's natural resources.
In Reawakened Worlds, the late sci-fi author John Hayden Howard treats us to a glimpse of the future based on his perspective over a half-century ago. His stories ingeniously depict what he reasoned to be the logical outcomes of the most dangerous scientific and political trends of his day. Readers who remember the 50s, 60s, and 70s will identify with his observations and warnings, and younger readers will marvel at how hauntingly on-the-mark some of his predictions were. With the satire and humor of Kurt Vonnegut and the social commentary and poetic justice of Rod Serling, Hayden illustrates the pitfalls of combining futuristic technology with human greed, as well as the civic and environmental disasters that can occur when people become lazy and apathetic.
In “500 Points for Father Image,” Hayden gives us a sardonic twist on electronic balloting, forcing us to look in the mirror at an electorate with misplaced priorities. “Kendy” shows not only how too-good-to-be-true promises can manipulate overeager minds, but also how selfish motives transform idealistic leaders into villains. “I’ve Got to Save JFK” plays on our innate desire to right past wrongs, demonstrating how small changes can sometimes have enormous short-term effects while long-term effects can stubbornly remain the same. “March of Time” is reminiscent of old Twilight Zone episodes in which science experiments go wrong with ironically tragic results. “Oil-Mad, Bug-Eyed Monsters” and “The Last Surfer” describe how colliding priorities can create irreparable ecological ruin. “To Grab Power” suggests that even the most elaborate efforts to create better worlds are futile as long as humans retain a desire to dominate one another.
Hayden’s human characters are sometimes courageous, other times predatory, often selfish, though frequently sincere. His alien characters show great intelligence, but often display the worst human-like traits. Whether human or alien, they almost always act eerily similar to people we know; thus we can alternately sympathize with them and also be repelled by them. In that way they draw us into the narrative, enabling us to identify with their struggles and dilemmas, no matter how fanciful or freakish.
In Reawakened Worlds, John Hayden Howard not only reawakens our affection for old-time tales of alternate worlds, but also gives us an opportunity to reawaken our awareness of the perils in our own current society, reminding us that, for our benefit or to our detriment, we alone control our collective future.
—NICK WALKER, TV broadcaster, voiceover artist and writer at NickWalkerBlog.com
JOHN HAYDEN HOWARD lived in Santa Barbara, CA and St. Augustine, FL. A 1960s Nebula and Hugo award finalist, he is listed in The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and the Internet Speculative Fiction Database. He has reached readers worldwide, including in the US, UK, Australia, France, Italy, and Estonia.
LAURIE WINSLOW SARGENT, as an author, has contributed to eighteen books and twenty-two magazines. She is the executor of the estate of John Hayden Howard. Find her at CrossConnectMedia.com.