That's how Harlan Ellison described veteran pulpster Stuart J. Byrne's SF novella "Beyond the Darkness" after it appeared in Other Worlds for July 1951. It's no wonder he was so enthusiastic; that story, like "Martian Honeymoon" with which it is paired in this eBook edition, contained Byrne's compelling blend of adult romance, hard physics and hard metaphysics.
"Beyond the door was darkness," read the original magazine blurb, "and beyond that darkness, what? Nad knew it was important that he find out what secret the Navigators guarded so jealously, even though he knew that disaster had a habit of overtaking those who asked too many questions." The author says that "In 'Beyond the Darkness' I take the Doppler effect idea to the extreme."
Then strap yourself in for the most heartbreakingly happy ending, or the happiest heart-breaking ending, in the history of science fiction, in "Martian Honeymoon." Here is the very human story of a man and woman from different worlds whose love, and lives, were put to the test when each was forced to betray the other to save their own world from peril! According to the original blurb, "The Vanyans came from outer space bearing invaluable gifts, and Earth received them and their gifts with open arms. But what was behind it all? What would the Vanyans ask in payment? With these questions came fear, and distrust, and hatred." The author warns that in this story he uses that "favorite tool of the writer's trade, which is known as the surprise twist. In 'Martian Honeymoon,' if you don't cheat by over-leaping the story plants, you may also experience the jolt of that extra twist." Another enthralling read at the enduring legacy of the writer Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry admired so much he said he would "stand in the rain for one of Stu Byrne's stories." Cover art: Jeff Fisher