Sunday, June 22, 2014

Time Trap by Rog Phillips

This 1949 pulp story is available again from Armchair Fiction as part of their double-novel reprints along with The Cosmic Destroyer by Alexander Blade. These reprints from Armchair Fiction are an inexpensive way for interested readers to create a golden age science fiction library. Time Trap isn’t a classic, it’s just cornball sci-fi fun. Ray Bradley and Joe Ashford are two scientists who discover a way to call the future using telephone wires and nuclear induction units. They make contact with Nelva, who assists them in their effort to create a time machine. Not content with simply talking with people in the future, Ray and Joe are intent on visiting the future. Their goal is May 19, 1999. Chapter three puts them squarely into the future and into trouble. Nelva, the mysterious voice from the future, had warned them about Varg Thrott, but hadn’t explained who Varg Thrott was. Ray and Joe soon discover that in the future the world is adorned with many large posters of a beautiful blonde with an extra eye in her forehead. She represents Varg Thrott, and they also learn that these posters are actually Vargian spy screens. Thrott is the equivalent of a territorial government, and Varg is what they call themselves, just as we call ourselves Americans. The Queen of the Vargians is, of course, the blonde with the extra eye, Vargia. The Vargians came to earth in flying saucers and conquered mankind. They are not friendly and the future is not such a nice place. Soon, they meet Nelva, a human working as a slave to the Vargians. You get all of this by chapter six. It’s breezy, implausible and ridiculous, but it’s also fun. This is the pulp equivalent to a low budget B-movie with cheesy sets, bad actors and laughable special effects (sort of like Jayne Mansfield in The Loves of Hercules) but you eat your popcorn and enjoy it anyway. The cool cover should be enough to spark your interest, but be careful. Queen Vargia can read your mind.

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