295A: Plants feeling pain

Looking for paperback science fiction collection of short stories (probably from about 1958-65) with a story about plants and trees being able to cry out (at a pitch not audible to humans) when they feel pain. A scientist, who devises a way to convert the sounds to those audible to humans, goes mad when he is able to “hear” the effects of mowing a lawn.

294T: The Six

This book I read in 1984 and was a collection of six stories of a British youth gang; each story focused on a different member of the gang. One character may have been called Darkie Bates. One of the six stories took place in a disco where the gang member was ‘saved’ by the friend of a girl he had earlier been insulting with terms like “frog-eyes”, when she hit his assailant with a bottle. He ended up going out with her. The author may have been Tony someone but just as likely not. Great book for young adult fiction.

294O: Hans of Luck

I was hoping you could give me some information on a short story I read probably 46 years ago.

The story is about a young Hessian soldier who is captured during the American Revolution after the battle of Bennington in 1777. His captors, Vermont militiamen, have orders to kill any prisoners, but they wind up sparing him and one brings him back to his farm.

I think they story is titled either “Hans of Luck” or “Lucky Hans.” “Hans” may also be spelled “Hons.” I read this story in the 1970s.

 

294H: 70s/80s YA Science Fiction Anthology


I’m seeking the identification of an illustrated science fiction anthology I saw once in the children’s section of a library. This was back in the early 80s so the book was from that time period. I remember the ending of one story where some astronauts were walking along and a robot that was with them telling them to stop because there was danger up ahead. They laughed at the robot and told it there was nothing ahead of them. They kept walked and ended up stepping into quicksand. They begged the robot to help them, but the robot told them it wasn’t allowed to put itself into danger, so the astronauts ended up drowning.

I remember two illustrations from the book: one for the story mentioned, it was a drawing of the astronauts disappearing into the quicksand. The second illustration was of a dinosaur being scooped up by a payloader. I’ve wondered about this book for years. My Google skills have been fruitless, so if somebody here could figure this out for me I’d be ecstatic.  

293L: Teenager Horror Anthology Containing Invisible, Evil, Witch-Succubus

Young Adult Horror Anthology

Paperback about 5 in. x 7 in. x .25 to .50 in. thick

Read between 1989-1993

The book included multiple legends, such as a traditional re-telling of the Warsaw Golem and the Wendigo.  I would guess it was written in the 80’s because it already had creases and tape on the spine when I read the book.  The cover contained a boy sitting in a chair, whose hair was standing up on end, with a monster behind him; reading a book with the exact same cover, which had the exact cover, etc.  I remember it being similar to Bruce Coville and Beverly Cleary and R.L. Stine books, though I think this book was written prior to Stine.  It is not any of the “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” series.

The main story I remember is set in a western town, possibly a cowboy/farmer town.  It centers around a young boy who is mistreated by his older brother.  They both work as farmhands and the older brother fall asleep under a tree.  The young boy sees this baboon-looking creature with long hair sneak up behind the brother and attack the brother.

This baboon creature, who I remember as a witch with long hair and red skin for some reason, rides on the brother’s back and sucks his life force out. When the younger brother tries to help, the witch sinks her claws deeper into the brother’s back.  No one notices this creature but the young boy I think.

Eventually, the brother gives up and commits suicide by throwing himself over a cliff.  The boy looks down as the witch lets go of the brother.  She looks up at the younger brother and starts to climb up the cliff’s side as she tells him to wait because she is coming for him.

Any ideas?

293J: Domination of other by using weakness as a status symbol (Solved)

Science fiction short story where one planet maintains control of another by elevating some people to power on the subject planet. These elevated people have hereditary obsessive compulsive disorder which sets them apart from the common people and also disables them from actually leading their people who are then subjected to producing for the benefit of the alien overlords. The main character’s obsession is to follow a wood grain pattern. It takes her all day and she is exhausted from it. Somehow she meets a commoner and discovers that she might live a different life. I’ve tried very hard to find the story but no luck so far.

293G: Dell

A boy opens his eyes and begins to see Not a book, but a short story I read in 1959 in sophomore English, a slight “a-boy-goes-on-a -journey” kind of story and the first piece of literature in which I recognized myself and one that I still recall with goosebumps. I think it was named “Dell,” the name of an adolescent boy living on a Midwestern farm. He is awakened one summer night by distant honky-tonk music coming through his bedroom window, a foreign intrusion into his otherwise quiet life. Arising, he goes outside looking for its source. Following the sound, he crosses several dark fields, climbs a small hill and looks out in the distance to see, far away but close enough to clearly discern a highway truck stop, ablaze with tall lights and neon signs, like a light-bomb on the black prairie floor. Some rigs are parked, their radios blaring; others are pulling out into the night with the shafts of their headlights illuminating their journey into the darkness, going—where? That’s what Dell wants to know, with an immediacy, an insistence previously unknown to him. From that story to a degree in English several years later. It was my “first step” in the journey and I would love to recover it if possible. Any help would be sincerely appreciated.

293C: All the superhumans die

I’m looking for a book that I have only heard a colleague speak very briefly about. He is a teacher and remembers reading a short story within a book of a collection of short stories, when he was studying at Uni, which would have been approx. 1998-2002. But it could have been published much before that. He said the story was about a boy who caught the measles/mumps/chickenpox. He found this other planet/dimension/bubble??? (sorry) where everyone that lived there were basically superhumans. They hadn’t been ill at all. Then this boy entered their “world” and all of these superhumans died because they had been so protected from diseases that they had no immune system, so contact with the measles/mumps/chickenpox killed them. That is all I know. I’m guessing the moral of the story was to do with the benefits/detriments of vaccinations. I have tried searching everywhere with no luck. I searched this site and found one called “Brave New World” but that doesn’t sound like it. I would love to find this book – my colleague said he is so fond of it but doesn’t remember the title or book it was in.

Thank you for your help.

292S: Numbers who get angry

This is a book from my childhood that I have thought and talked about often.

The year was 1949-52.  Not sure!

The book had several short “stories” for young children.  The one I keep remembering was a story about how letters/numbers became upset when they were written backwards!  For example, the #3 was hurt or angry when a child wrote it backward.  He wanted to be written correctly. The numbers we’re living and capable of feelings.  Any thoughts/ideas?!?!

Thank you!

291V: Fox Trapped in a Smokehouse

This is a book of interconnected short stories. It was an oversized hardcover book with full-page text and color illustrations, meant for an older reader. The stories all concern a community of animals who live in the woods adjacent to a farm. I’m fairly sure the title of the collection has the name of the animals’ home in it — maybe the lake they all live around, or the name of the woods, or the name of the farm? The book was published in the 80s or 90s. Each short story ends with a well-known moral or saying. I think there is a story about a badger or raccoon who is sick of it all at home and doesn’t want to get out of bed. There might be a story about an animal collecting (quail?) eggs that then get destroyed or eaten — the moral is don’t count your chickens before they hatch (or don’t put all your eggs in one basket?). The story I remember most is about a fox (perhaps the main character in the book) who gets trapped in the farmer’s smokehouse. He sneaks in to steal some of the farmer’s ham (I think?) and gets his leg stuck in a claw trap or gets locked in, and he has to beg another of the animals to help him escape before the farmer finds out and shoots him with his shotgun. In one of the later stories, I think the fox runs away from the animal community. I loved this book as a kid but can’t seem to work my Google magic to identify it! Thanks in advance to all you sleuths out there!