Murray Leinster


Murray Leinster (1896 - 1975) was an award-winning American writer of science fiction and alternate history. He wrote and published over 1,500 short stories and articles, 14 movie and hundreds of radio scripts and television plays.

Leinster is credited with the invention of parallel universe stories. Leinster published his "Sidewise in Time" in the June 1934 issue of Astounding. This was probably the first time that the concept of alternate worlds appeared in modern science fiction. Leinster's vision of extraordinary oscillations in time ('sidewise in time') had a long-term impact on other science fiction authors such as Isaac Asimov and Jack Williamson.

Murray Leinster's 1946 short story "A Logic Named Joe" contains one of the first descriptions of a computer (called a "logic") in fiction. In the story, Leinster was decades ahead of his time in imagining the Internet. He envisioned logics in every home, linked through a distributed system of servers (called "tanks"), to provide communications, entertainment, data access, and commerce; one character says that "logics are civilization." 

Leinster was also an inventor, best known for the front projection process used in special effects.



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From LibriVox:

 1.  Space Tug (1953 Novel)

30 MINUTES TO LIVE!   Joe Kenmore heard the airlock close with a sickening wheeze and    then a clank. In desperation he turned toward Haney. "My God, we've been locked out!"


2Operation Terror

An unidentified space ship lands in a Colorado lake. Equipped with a paralyzing ray weapon, the creatures begin taking human prisoners. A loan land surveyor and a journalist are trapped inside the Army cordon, which is helpless against the mysterious enemy. Can they stop the aliens before it is too late?


3.  The Aliens

The human race was expanding through the galaxy … and so, they knew, were the Aliens.   When two expanding empires meet … war is inevitable. Or is it …?


4.  The Pirates of Ersatz

Bron is the offspring of infamous space pirates but instead of following in the family footsteps he decides to become an electronic engineer. Unfortunately, every time he tries to get out, something pulls him back in. It was originally published in the FEB-APR issues of Astounding Science Fiction in 1959.

5.  Talents, Incorporated

Bors planned and carried out the destruction of a warship because the information of its existence and location was verified by a magnetometer.

Arthur Chamberlain has problems. His one-man engineering firm is faltering and his pretty secretary Estelle barely notices him. But these problems are put aside when his Manhattan office building falls into the fourth dimension. Madison Square is filled with wigwams and it’s up to Arthur to engineer a way to make his building to fall back to the future. – The Runaway Skyscraper first appeared in the February 22, 1919 issue of Argosy magazine. 

7.   This World Is Taboo - Calhoun is an Interstellar Medical Serviceman, and he's needed on Dara. Trouble is: Dara is forbidden. Taboo. And breaking quarantine will make Calhoun a presumed plague-carrier and subject to being shot on sight by anyone from Weald. But hey! If he did the smart thing, we wouldn't have a story! But why are men from Dara shooting at him? 

8.  Evidence  (2nd short story from Mystery Story Collection Vol 003)


9.  Invasion  (4th story in sci fi collection 27)


10.  Attention Saint Patrick (1st story in sci fi collection 28)


11.  Scrimshaw  (8th story in sci fi collection 28)

12.  Sam, This Is You (16th story in Sci Fi Collection 43)

13.  The Ambulance Made Two Trips by Murray Leinster (1st story in Sci Fi Stories # 42)

14.  The Hate Disease Dr. Calhoun and his pet tormal Murgatroyd work for the Interstellar Medical Service making routine public health inspections on far-flung colonial planets. When they reach Tallien Three they are greeted with a rocket attack by the Paras, a mutated form of human rapidly replacing the “normals”. The normals think it’s a pandemic of demonic possession but Calhoun has his doubts. If he can keep from turning into a Para, or being assassinated by them he just might figure this thing out. – The Hate Disease was first published in the August 1963 edition of Analog Science Fact and Fiction magazine.

15.  The Mad PlanetFirst published in the June 12, 1920 issue of Argosy, The Mad Planet was eventually to become one third of Murray Leinster’s fix-up novel The Forgotten Planet. But there were plenty of standalone republications too. It was, for instance, in the November 1926 issue of Amazing Stories

It is 30,000 years following dramatically changed climate conditions on earth which had let massive amounts of carbon dioxide belch from the interior of the planet into the atmosphere.  Much of the human and animal population would not survive the climate change, and indeed those few humans who did survive knew nothing of all which their predecessors had learned and built. Indeed, they knew not even of their existence. On the other hand insects and fungi would flourish over time.

16.  Operation: Outer Space - Jed Cochrane is about to take off on man's first interstellar voyage. His mission: Make sure it's good television!

 17.   The Machine That Saved the World - They were broadcasts from nowhere--sinister emanations flooding in from space--smashing any receiver that picked them up. What defense could Earth devise against science such as this? In the far future of 1972, on a secret military installation, Staff Sergeant Bellews is an expert on the latest scientific discovery: a way for ordinary machines like vacuums and lawnmowers to gather experience in their jobs, becoming error free over time. Then the strange broadcasts began to blow up transmitters everywhere. Were they from space? Enemies? the future? He didn't care until they started messin' with his machines. Then he took it personally. 

18.  Pariah Planet - When the blue plague appeared on the planet of Dara, fear struck nearby worlds. The fear led to a hate that threatened the lives of millions and endangered the Galactic peace. But the Med Service ship Aesculapius 20 with Calhoun and Murgatroyd the Tormal aboard are on the job and have stumbled into the horrible mess caused by unreasoning hatred, quarantine, mass starvation and worse. Calhoun must use all his medical knowledge and significant skills to even understand the situation here in neglected Sector 12. Can he and Murgatroyd untangle this Gordian's knot and live to tell the tale? 

19.  Pariah Planet (Version 2) - When the blue plague appeared on the planet of Dara, fear struck nearby worlds. The fear led to a hate that threatened the lives of millions and endangered the Galactic peace.

20.  The Ambulance Made Two Trips - Big Jake Connors is taking over his town through violence, intimidation and bribery but Detective Sergeant Fitzgerald can only grind his teeth in frustration. The gangsters seem to have everything going their way until the day that a little dry cleaning establishment declines their offer of 'protection' and strange things start to happen. 

21. Tanks - Tanks and the future of war is what Murray Leinster applies his inventive and unorthodox mind to in this story. Written in the 1920's he observed the terrible new inventions that were used in World War I to kill people, armored tanks and poisoned gas and then tells us how war will be fought in the future. In this case the war will occur in 1932 and be between the US and the 'Yellow enemy'. It was published in the very first issue of Astounding Stories of Super Science, January 1930.

22.  The Red Dust - This story is the sequel to "The Mad Planet".  The world, in a far distant future, is peopled with huge insects and titanic fungus growths. Life has been greatly altered, and poor puny Man is still in the process of becoming acclimated to the change even after 30,000 years. We again meet our hero Burl, but this time a far greater danger menaces the human race. The huge insects are still in evidence, but the terror they inspire is as nothing compared to the deadly Red Dust. 

23.  The Forgotten Planet - The "forgotten" planet had been seeded for life, first with microbes and later with plants and insects. A third expedition, intended to complete the seeding with animals, never occurred. Over the millennia the insects and plants grew to gigantic sizes. The action of the novel describes the fight for survival by descendants of a crashed spaceship as they battle wolf-sized ants, flies the size of chickens, and gigantic flying wasps. 

24.  Creatures of the Abuss - Orejas de ellos, "the things that listen", whispered the superstitious fishermen when the strange occurrences began off the Philippine coast. How else explain the sudden disappearance of a vessel beneath a mysterious curtain of foam? The writhings of thousands of maddened fish trapped in a coffin-like area of ocean? What monsters gorged at the bottom of the Luzon Deep and what were their plans? Radar expert Terry Holt and the crew of the Esperance had to devise a weapon against the horrifying creatures which threatened mankind with extinction. Here are terror, excitement, and the clutch of cold death as combined by a monster hand in the field of science fiction.

25.  Planet of Dread - Humans have expanded to myriads of worlds throughout the galaxies but they have found that the only way for colonies to be self sustaining, was to reproduce the total ecology of their home world; the original Earth. This meant bringing the entire ecosystem, the good, the bad and the ugly. Viruses as well as grass, goats as well as stink bugs and allowing the whole mixture to ultimately produce an inhabitable world for humans. 

26.  Murder Madness - Murder Madness! Seven Secret Service men had completely disappeared. Another had been found a screaming, homicidal maniac, whose fingers writhed like snakes. So Bell, of the secret "Trade," plunges into South America after The Master--the mighty, unknown octopus of power whose diabolical poison threatens a continent!

27.  Space Platform - Space Platform tells the exciting story of a young man helping to build this first station. With scientific accuracy and imagination Murray Leinster, one of the world's top science-fiction writers, describes the building and launching of the platform. Here is a fast-paced story of sabotage and murder directed against a project more secret and valuable than the atom bomb! 

28.  Nightmare Planet - In science-fiction, as in all categories of fiction, there are stories that are so outstanding from the standpoint of characterization, concept, and background development that they remain popular for decades. Two such stories were Murray Leinster's The Mad Planet and Red Dust. Originally published in 1923, they have been reprinted frequently both here and abroad. They are now scheduled for book publication. Especially for this magazine, Murray Leinster has written the final story in the series. It is not necessary to have read the previous stories to enjoy this one. Once again, Burl experiences magnificent adventures against a colorful background, but to the whole the author has added philosophical and psychological observations that give this story a flavor seldom achieved in science-fiction. 

29.  The Wailing Asteroid- There was no life on the asteroid, but the miles of rock-hewn corridors through which the earth party wandered left no doubt about the purpose of the asteroid. It was a mighty fortress, stocked with weapons of destruction beyond man's power to understand. And yet there was no life here, nor had there been for untold centuries. What race had built this stronghold? What unimaginable power were they defending against? Why was it abandoned? There was no answer, all was dead. But—not quite all. For in a room above the tomb-like fortress a powerful transmitter beamed its birdlike, fluting sounds toward earth. Near it, on a huge star-map of the universe, with light-years measured by inches, ten tiny red sparks were moving, crawling inexorably toward the center. Moving, at many times the speed of light, with the acquired mass of suns ... moving, on a course that would pass through the solar system. The unknown aliens would not even see our sun explode from the force of their passing, would not even notice the tiny speck called Earth as it died.... 

30. JuJu-A 1919 pulp-press tale of deepest darkest Africa.

31.  Med Ship Man  - Join Space Medical Service officer Calhoun and his sidekick Murgatroyd the tormal on another exciting adventure, this time on what should be a routine visit to the planet Maya, which upon arrival appears to be completely devoid of all life! 



From Archive .Org


1.  Scrimshaw    A mining colony on the moon is home to a murderer and to his victim who is slowly recovering memories lost when he was left for dead.

2.  The Street of Magnificent Dreams

Couples walk together dreaming magnificent dreams, passing others who are older but have not yet achieved the stuff their dreams were once made of.


3.  Tanks

This is a Military Science Fiction story from the January 1930 issue of Astounding Stories of Super-Science

In an eerie future that never was, but might have been, two ordinary soldiers hold the fate of a war in their nicotine-stained hands.


4.  Morale

While America fights a war on one coast, a new front is about to open -- the home front -- as the enemy attacks civilian towns with a giant war-machine like no other. But the enemy war-machine is a target, too, and there are more ways to win than with guns.   First published in the December 1931 issue of Astounding.  This story stands alone, but is set ten years after the events of the story "Tanks" (see above).



From SFFAudio:


1.  The Aliens

The human race was expanding through the galaxy … and so, they knew, were the Aliens. When two expanding empires meet … war is inevitable. Or is it …?

2.  Sam, This Is You?

3.  Night Drive by Will F. Jenkins (a.k.a. Murray Leinster) - In which a young woman at night is faced with a life-or-death choice (Episode 135 from Forgotten Classics)



From Hard SF.Org


Murray Leinster Radio Stories.  Look for "Murray Leinster". Site contains:

  • First Contact
  • A Logic Named Joe
  • If You Was a Moklin
  • The Lost Race
  • Sam, Is That You