Howard B. Fyfe (1918-1997) is not as famous as many of the science fiction authors that wrote in the period between World War II and the Vietnam War. His body of work is not as extensive or as well known as that of such names as Anderson and Sturgeon. But he had a knack for imagining alien cultures and their interactions with human explorers. True, his aliens were sometimes a bit wacky, and his humans might not be quite as intrepid as some, but that just made them more entertaining.
My first exposure to Fyfe’s work was the book D-99. At the time my access to science fiction was the racks next to the magazines in grocery and drug stores, racks that might include a dozen science fiction books at any one time. My personal collection of books was pretty limited and so each new purchase made a big impression, but D-99 with its yellow cover and the picture of goofy looking green aliens carrying a pair of humans on stretchers certainly held my attention. The novel itself, about a secret agency whose purpose was to rescue humans who had fallen afoul of local laws or customs on alien worlds, was engaging. This was in the Cold War era when shows like “The Man from Uncle,” “Secret Agent” and the “Prisoner” were playing on TV, so the concept fit the times.
But it was a good book. The four intertwined stories of captive humans were inventive and well told. In the forty odd years since I first bought D-99 I’ve pulled it out every decade or so to reread it, which is more than I can say for many of the books in my now much larger collection.
Resurrected Press is happy to return this forgotten classic to print. And, if you like what you read, we have also collected a number of his stories in a companion volume, Fyfe Resurrected, for your enjoyment.