art by Al Williamson, story by Al Feldstein & Harlan Ellison
Weird Science-Fantasy #24[#2] (1954)
Some sources seem to indicate that this was an unauthorized adaptation (a la the first few Bradbury adaptations) of an early Ellison short story, "Mealtime", others seem to indicate that it was authorized. In any case, it was the only Ellison story published by EC. The story concerns an exploration mission, looking (so far in vain) for signs of intelligence on other worlds. The captain is convinced that humanity is the pinnacle of evolution and they won't find anything, until they come onto a seemingly empty world, which swallows up their spaceship and the crew. After barely getting out with their lives, the skeptical captain is now convinced that he was wrong, and the world they just left is an evolved intelligent world, far superior to the parasite based evolutionary model of Earth.
Cute story, but more interesting for some really nice Williamson artwork. In addition to the usual great space-men there's a nice sequence of flash-backs to the evolution of life on earth, and any chance to see Williamson drawing battling dinosaurs and cavemen (separately, of course), even for just one panel each, is well worth reading.
Monday, December 26, 2005