"Ship of Darkness"
Short Fiction 1948 6,600 words
  • Sometimes printed as "The Ship of Darkness" (with "The" in the title).

Included In
The Far-Out Worlds of A.E. van Vogt 1968
The Worlds of A.E. van Vogt 1974
Fantasy Book magazine
1948 February Fantasy Publishing Co.
bedsheet Vol 1, No 2 — Issue #2 44 pages $0.25

cover art by
Roy Hunt

Alternate Cover

First appearance

Alternate cover by
Lora Crozetti:

William Crawford was the editor and publisher of Fantasy Book along with his wife Margaret, but for some reason they worked here under the pseudonym of Garret Ford. Due to financial and technical problems, it was rare for any two issues of FB to be the exact same size — issue #1 is somewhat larger than the bedsheet format, while issue #2 is somewhat smaller than the bedsheet format, while issues #3 and onward were digest size (more or less!).

And to further confuse things, some individual issues were released in two formats, with different covers and different prices. Such is the case here with issue #2. The larger edition, with blue-and-black cover art by Roy Hunt, was printed on extremely low-quality pulp paper, while the slightly smaller edition, with black-and-yellow cover art by Lora Crozetti, was printed on much higher quality book paper. The contents of the magazine, however, are identical, so Crozetti is (rather confusingly) given cover art credit on the contents page in both editions. Fortunately, Hunt has put a clearly legible signature to his artwork:

Nonetheless, for all its faults and eccentricities FB vividly conveyed Crawford's endless enthusiasm for SF and fantasy. He helmed numerous short-lived publishing ventures over the years — including Marvel Tales in the '30s, Fantasy Book in the late '40s, Spaceway in the early '50s (and again in the late '60s!), and Witchcraft & Sorcery in the early '70s — each of which exhibited the same endearing shoddiness. I find his to be a inspiring example of plunging ahead to do something you love, with exuberant spontaneity and a refreshing lack of cringing apologetics.

1 illustration by
Charles McNutt

Cover & other images: Walwyn
Illustration image: Walwyn
Data: Walwyn
Fantastic Stories of Imagination magazine
1961 September Ziff-Davis
digest Vol 10, No 9 132 pages $0.35

cover art by
Alex Schomburg

Introduction — Page 1

Introduction — Page 2

Introduction by Sam Moskowitz

SF historian Sam Moscowitz wrote an interesting introduction to this unusual short story which is available as two separate JPG files (see above).

Artist Dan Adkins became famous later on for his comic book art. (Thanks to Michael for identifying this artist and supplying more information about him.)

Technical note: Enhancing the artwork for this illustration distorted the text, so I blocked most of it out for this particular scan.

1 illustration by
Dan Adkins

Cover & other images: Walwyn
Illustration image: Walwyn
Data: Walwyn
Award Science Fiction Reader anthology
edited by Sam Moskowitz & Alden H. Norton
1966 Award Books
paperback A181X 188 pages $0.60

cover artist: unknown

Cover image: ISFDB Data: ISFDB
Amazing magazine
1982 March Ultimate Publishing
digest Vol 55, No 6 — Issue #502 132 pages $1.75

cover art by
Stephen Fabian

(no illustration images available)

2 illustrations by
Stephen Fabian

Cover image: ISFDB Data: ISFDB
Earth is But a Star anthology
edited by Damien Broderick
2001 UWA Press
trade 1-876268-54-9 466 pages A$34.95

cover art by
Anders Sandberg

Cover image: ISFDB Data: ISFDB