Publisher's Summary

X Minus One was a half-hour science fiction radio series broadcast from April 24, 1955 to January 9, 1958, in various timeslots on NBC. Initially a revival of NBC's Dimension X (1950-51), X Minus One is widely considered among the finest science fiction dramas ever produced for radio. The first 15 episodes were new versions of Dimension X episodes, but the remainder were adaptations by NBC staff writers, including Ernest Kinoy and George Lefferts, of newly published science fiction stories by leading writers in the field, including Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Philip K. Dick, Robert A. Heinlein, Frederik Pohl, and Theodore Sturgeon, along with some original scripts by Kinoy and Lefferts.
Episodes of the show include adaptations of Robert Sheckley's "Skulking Permit", Bradbury's "Mars Is Heaven", Heinlein's "Universe" and "The Green Hills of Earth", Pohl's "The Tunnel Under the World", J. T. McIntosh's "Hallucination Orbit", Fritz Leiber's "A Pail of Air", and George Lefferts' "The Parade".
The program opened with announcer Fred Collins delivering the countdown, leading into this introduction (although later shows were partnered with Galaxy Science Fiction rather than Astounding Science Fiction):
"Countdown for blastoff.... X minus five, four, three, two, X minus one.... Fire!" [Rocket launch SFX] "From the far horizons of the unknown come transcribed tales of new dimensions in time and space. These are stories of the future; adventures in which you'll live in a million could-be years on a thousand may-be worlds. The National Broadcasting Company, in cooperation with Street and Smith, publishers of Astounding Science Fiction presents...X Minus One.
©2012 BN Publishing (P)2012 BN Publishing
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Critic Reviews

"'X Minus One' hatches a new fictional universe with each episode. The series is united, however, by a consistent auditory aesthetic. It is rich with quavering theremins and faint, crackling radio transmissions. Heroes speak in plain voices while villains dither in mid-Atlantic accents. Robots and aliens, equally unreal at the time, sound and act tellingly alike. Horns blare and strings scream. Silence is employed liberally. The aesthetic is convincing and total, and it flatters the show's content. It lulls you through the most regressive episodes and intensifies the best. In 2015, it is twice transporting, from now to then and back again." (John Herrman, New York Times Magazine)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Amazon Customer on 19-03-2013

The Dying Art Form: Great Old Time Radio Sci Fi

What did you love best about X Minus One?

Many of the stories in this radio drama are staples of the Sci Fi canon, and it was fun to hear them acted out with the serious tones of the times. I'm a sucker for radio dramas in many ways, and wish audible would get more of these old shows in their collection.

While many of the concepts might be dated and pulpy, there is a sincerity in the voices of the actors. I was immediately transported back to the days of my childhood (in the 70's - not THAT far back), when I would curl up under my blanket at night to listen to scary and fantastical stories in my room, while my parents watched Gun Smoke, Bonanza, The Waltons or whatever was on that night - we had different tastes.

The special effects come off surprisingly well, and there's plenty of room to flesh out the images in your head.

What was one of the most memorable moments of X Minus One?

Ray Bradbury has always been one of my favorites, so I enjoyed the dramatizations of the stories included. Nightfall by Asimoz was also a standout. But if I had to pinpoint what makes this a memorable collection, it's that we get to hear stories that haven't been published, i.e. the stories written by Lefferts and Kinoy specifically for the program. Whereas nowadays we can see reruns of classic shows on TV and see the skill that many script writers had, sadly we are not able to get so many of the stories from radio easily.

Which scene was your favorite?

Hard to choose a favorite scene or story. There were many "corny" scenes, which when filtered through the lens of "that was the 50's" are still more enjoyable than cringe worthy.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

As for being moved, it was more about being taken back to the "tell me a bedtime story" era of my youth, the nostalgia that keeps me optimistic and wanting to go to bed with just the slight sense of unease that the universe is huge and there just might be a monster under the bed.

Any additional comments?

If there is something to complain about, it's that the collection is not complete as it states. It ends after about the first third of episodes. I knew this coming in to the purchase. Though there are many repeats on the original broadcast run, there's no way 20 hours can fit 120+ episodes. I'm hoping with get the rest out soon and correctly call this Volume 1 of 3.

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15 of 16 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Niels J. Rasmussen on 04-07-2014

Probably the Best Radio Show Ever Created

Any additional comments?

Out of all of those old radio shows produced from the 40's to the 60's, "X-Minus One" is by FAR my favorite.
Not only is the acting quality superb, but the production, writing, & sound effects couldn't be as good if they were made today.

X-Minus One was a series that rehashed a previous series known as "Dimension X". Both sci-fi radio dramas used scripts adapted from the VERY best science fiction authors of the time. Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Robert Sheckley, Philip K. Dick, & Robert A. Heinlein are just a few of the fantastic authors behind these short stories.

If you're a fan of science fiction, you WILL enjoy this series.


9.7 / 10.0

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10 of 11 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Angela on 05-06-2013

Splendid stuff from the Golden Age

The Golden Age of sci-fi (1940s, 50s and 60s) was a wonderful period. These stories mostly illustrate it beautifully. This download is wonderful value - over forty half hour dramatisations of science fiction stories from the period.

Many of the stories are by famous writers - Ray Bardbury, Robert Bloch, et al, but some are not well-known but still memorable.

The best thing about these stories is how they are very much of their time, filled with the uncertainty associated with the '50s: spy scandals, McCarthyism, the growing cold war and the fear of nuclear disaster. The inherent psychological fear is beautifully portrayed in most of these short radio plays. There's a real feeling of paranoia running through them all.

On the whole, apart from one or two which are simply Westerns in space, the majority of these stories are a wonderful snapshot of the best of sci-fi at the very worst of times.

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6 of 6 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Alison on 29-12-2013

Fabulous listening from Amazing Stories

Would you consider the audio edition of X Minus One to be better than the print version?

Largely much better although these are radio dramatisations of classic science fiction stories. What is lovely is that when these were recorded they weren't classics-and some of the stories and authors on the audiobook are new to me.

What was one of the most memorable moments of X Minus One?

I have always loved 'The Green Hills Of Earth" by Robert Heinlein and the audio did it justice.

What about Old Time Radio’s performance did you like?

Everything-and adding the little bits about baseball games next week etc made me feel much more as if I was back in the 50s-couldn't have been given my age!

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Several of the stories do that short story 'thing' of leaving a miserable upsetting ending and unresolved problems. Given the Cold War at the time it seems fair enough.

Any additional comments?

I bought this from pure nostalgia. I have early print editions of several of the stories, not because of collecting but as they were at home since my father had bought them new and can't throw books out. I enjoyed them immensely and the very long school runs/commutes became bearable. It felt as if I was in 1950s America waiting for the radio. There are some repeats which seems to reflect laziness in compilation. I listen to them in the car and fast forwarding 25 minutes using the hands free controls is not feasible, so I listened to some twice. Unfortunately they weren't the particularly good ones. Overall though if there were a volume 2 I would willingly buy it despite minor gripes.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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