Review: Science Fiction Short Story: "Mississippi Saucer" by Frank Belknap Long

@msiduri (5750)
United States
January 25, 2017 8:29am CST
Jimmy is a shantyboat boy, living with his Uncle Al and his little sister Pigtail Anne on the Father of Waters , the Mississippi River. Jimmy knew how to annoy the riverboat captains enough to amuse them without seriously irritating them. He had a genius for pantomime. One of his favorite tricks was to hold up a bullfrog by the legs, reminding the captains that men and frogs are brothers under the skin. In this way, he was able to amass a small treasure of empty tobacco tins and rolled up newspapers that would come sailing off the riverboats. Jimmy could read. Uncle Al made sure of that, no matter how much he needed a new pair of shoes or wanted a trip to Mardi Gras, Jimmy’s education came first. So when he saw the headline NEW FLYING MONSTER REPORTED BLAZING GULF STATE SKIES, he could read the article aloud to Pigtail about a New Orleans resident who saw a big bright object “roundish like a disk” flying north. This story taps into a great deal of nostalgia for a past that never was and dreams of a future for a special boy, as the reader knows Jimmy must be despite his humble surroundings. There is a sweetness to it, despite his tussles with his sister, whose face he threatens to push in the mud. This isn’t a bad story, but the ending is too pat for my taste. Author Frank Belknap Long got his professional writing start in 1924 in Weird Tales with “The Desert Lich” and “Death-Waters.” He was a friend of H. P. Lovecraft’s until the latter’s death in 1937. After the end of World War II, he wrote more science fiction, emphasizing future-earth situations. He later took on editorial work, specifically for Fantastic Universe. This story is available from Project Gutenberg and as an audiobook from Librivox: ______ Title: “The Mississippi Saucer” Author: Frank Belknap Long (1901-1994) First published: Weird Tales March 1951 Source: ISFDB
http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/23568
5 people like this
3 responses
@teamfreak16 (41181)
• Colorado Springs, Colorado
26 Jan 17
I bet I would have ate this up when I was a kid.
2 people like this
@msiduri (5750)
• United States
26 Jan 17
I would have. It's the type of thing I would have gotten yelled at for being late for supper for.
1 person likes this
@JohnRoberts (57224)
• Los Angeles, California
25 Jan 17
I guess the flying saucer is the sci fi aspect. It's sounds like a straight nostalgic story.
2 people like this
@msiduri (5750)
• United States
25 Jan 17
It's very nostalgic. And yes, the flying saucer doesn't just stay in the newspaper.
2 people like this
@FayeHazel (18027)
• United States
26 Jan 17
Sounds interesting, thanks for the review
1 person likes this
@msiduri (5750)
• United States
26 Jan 17
thanks for the comment.