The Resurrected Press publication, Adventures in the Fifth-Dimension, brings together two novellas from the 30’s that first appeared in Astounding Stories of Super-Science” one of the best known of the pulp magazines of the era, “The Fifth-Dimension Catapult” and the sequel, “The Fifth-Dimension Tube.” Murray Leinster was certainly no stranger to the pulp magazines having had numerous stories published in them starting in 1919.
The “Fifth-Dimension” stories have all you would expect from the period, adventure, a plucky hero, a beautiful girl-friend, a diabolical enemy, even monsters. But whereas the science in most of the pulps was pretty thin, Leinster always tried to present a premise that was at least engaging if not completely believable. His mechanism for reaching the fifth dimension, while it may violate the laws of physics, does have a certain amount of mathematical rigor to it. After all, if turning at right angles will get you into the second and third dimension, why shouldn’t it work to reach the fourth and fifth. Of course that third turn is a doozie. Still, it does provide for some interesting imagery and props.
Another interesting scientific concept is that of metallic ammonium. While such a substance cannot exist under normal terrestrial conditions, it can exist under conditions of extremely low temperatures. Leinster was always conversant with the science of his time.
While his science was credible Leinster was a good enough writer to never rely too much on scientific gizmos to get his heroes out of trouble. For them, the dangers are real and in the end they use their two fists and good old fashioned fire power to survive. This makes his stories the more believable and because of that, more entertaining.
As times changed, so did Leinster, which is one of the reasons his career lasted so long. His stories of the 50’s and 60’s are as up to date scientifically as those of the 20’s and 30’s. Even his characters and plot lines kept up with times. The “Fifth-Dimension” stories may be products of their day, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t enjoyable to read.
About the Author
Murray Leinster was the pen name William Fitzgerald Jenkins (1896-1975), which he used for most of his science fiction. The exception was when he had more than one story in a magazine issue at which time he would use Will F. Jenkins for one of them. His first science fiction story was The Runaway Skyscraper which appeared in the February 22, 1919 issue of Argosy. He continued to write numerous stories and novels into the 60’s. Among his best known stories are First Contact, Sidewise in Time, A Logic Named Joe and Exploration Team. In addition to science fiction he wrote a number of mysteries and westerns. He also wrote novelizations for a number of television series in the 60’s.
More from Editor's Notes - Science Fiction .