The 1939 novella that inspired John W. Campbell’s short-lived fantasy magazine Unknown, appearing now for the first time in hardcover.
Nebbishy Stevie Jebson finds himself penniless and on the streets, homeless and hungry, when a research scientist offers him not charity, but a job. He needs a volunteer—a human guinea pig—to test a machine that is meant to “bridge the gap between our plane of existence and any one of the countless others which coexist with us.” Stevie reluctantly agrees and finds himself transported to the mythical City of Brass from Arabian Nights, where, in order to survive, he must outsmart Jinns, Ifrits, Ghouls and other terrors with nothing but his wits and a few items carried over from the real world. If the reader turns off his brain and just plows through this extremely short work, he should find it pleasing, if middling, entertainment. But this is very much a product of its time, and the pulpy prose, plot and characterizations will not appeal to most.
For Scientologists and die-hard pulp fiction aficionados only.