X Minus One

  • by Ray Bradbury, Philip K. Dick, Robert A. Heinlein, Frederik Pohl, Theodore Sturgeon, Isaac Asimov, Ernest Kinoy, George Lefferts
  • Narrated by Old Time Radio
  • 20 hrs and 5 mins
  • Radio/TV Program

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.

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What the Critics Say

"'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

Greatly enjoyable except for one Big error

First off let me say this was greatly enjoyable, I listened to it while I was working and I would imagine a family sitting around the radio, the kids laying on the floor with their heads proped on their hands with maybe a bowl of popcorn in front of them. The stories took me out of my head and gave me great pleasure.

I would have rated this 5 stars but there are two Major errors, The book is listed as running for 20 or so hours but there are two stories repeted.

One is a story about a lifelike little doll that a little girl and mother buy in a shop and the other is people living under ground to excape the radiation from world war 3 and they are careful about genetic mutation and a perfect woman falls in love with a geneticly flawed man.

I dont know what they were repeted but it caused me confusion when the first one repeted and I thought somehow my played had somehow gone in to shuffle mode.

Other then that one error I honestly think it is a wonder audio book and any lovers of old radio drama will love it,
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- Vincent Patterson

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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- Amazon Customer

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-04-2013
  • Publisher: BN Publishing