X Minus One
Cover of Dell paperback (1951) of original Heinlein's story "Universe".
|Country of origin||USA|
|Original release||24 April 1955– 9 January 1958|
|No. of episodes||126|
X Minus One was an American half-hour science fiction radio drama series broadcast from April 24, 1955 to January 9, 1958 in various timeslots on NBC. Known for high production values in adapting stories from the leading American authors of the era, X Minus One has been described as one of the finest offerings of American radio drama and one of the best science fiction series in any medium.
Initially a revival of NBC's Dimension X (1950–51), the first 15 episodes of X Minus One 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.
Included in the series were 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 the following introduction (although later shows beginning with Episode 37, 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 & Smith, publishers of Astounding Science Fiction presents... X Minus One.
The series was canceled after the 126th broadcast on January 9, 1958. However, the early 1970s brought a wave of nostalgia for old-time radio; a new experimental episode, "The Iron Chancellor" by Robert Silverberg, was produced in 1973, but it failed to revive the series. NBC also tried broadcasting the old recordings, but their irregular once-monthly scheduling kept even devoted listeners from following the broadcasts.
In November 2008, Counter-Productions Theatre Company became the first theatre company to stage three episodes, "The Parade", "A Logic Named Joe", and "Hallucination Orbit".
Episodes based on stories by famous writers
- Poul Anderson – "The Light"
- Isaac Asimov – "Nightfall", "C-Chute", "Hostess"
- James Blish – "Surface Tension"
- Robert Bloch – "Almost Human"
- Ray Bradbury – "And The Moon Be Still As Bright", "Mars is Heaven!", "The Veldt", "Dwellers in Silence", "Zero Hour", "To the Future", "Marionettes, Inc.", "There Will Come Soft Rains"
- L. Sprague de Camp – "A Gun for Dinosaur"
- Philip K. Dick – "The Defenders", "Colony"
- Thomas Godwin – "The Cold Equations"
- Robert A. Heinlein – "Universe", "The Green Hills of Earth", "Requiem", "The Roads Must Roll"
- Fritz Leiber – "A Pail of Air", "Appointment in Tomorrow", "The Moon is Green"
- Frederik Pohl – "The Haunted Corpse", "Tunnel under the World", "Target One", "The Map Makers"
- Robert Sheckley – "Skulking Permit", "The Lifeboat Mutiney", "Protection", "Early Model", "The Seventh Victim", "Something for Nothing", "The Native Problem"
- Robert Silverberg – "Double Dare", "The Iron Chancellor"
- Clifford D. Simak – "Courtesy", "Junkyard", "How-2", "Project Mastodon", "Drop Dead", "Lulu"
- Theodore Sturgeon – "Mr. Costello, Hero", "Saucer of Loneliness", "The Stars are the Styx"
- William Tenn – "Venus is for Men"
- 2000 Plus, (Mutual) The first adult science fiction series on U.S. radio.
- Dimension X, (NBC) The predecessor to X Minus One with 15 of the same stories.
- Exploring Tomorrow, (Mutual) A 1957-58 series narrated by John W. Campbell
- Old-time radio
- Tales of Tomorrow, (ABC) A short lived 1953 radio anthology with only 15 episodes, 4 stories of which were also made into X Minus One episodes.
- Dunning, John, On The Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio, Oxford University Press, 1998, ISBN 0-19-507678-8.
- Peter Nicholls with John Clute. The Science Fiction Encyclopedia (1993), St. Martin's Press
- John Dunning (1998). On The Air. Oxford University Press. p. 729. ISBN 0-19-507678-8.
- OTR Plotspot: X Minus One
- "X Minus One Podcast". Archived from the original on November 1, 2007.
- "Audion Theatre". Frank M. Passage log.
- "Episode Reviews: X Minus One". Old Time Radio.
- OTR Plot Spot: X Minus One - plot summaries and reviews
- X Minus One the official fansite! at xminusone.com
- "X Minus One, includes synopsis of each episode". Jerry Haendiges Vintage Radio Logs.
- "X Minus One single episodes". Internet Archive.
- X Minus One at Outlaws Old Time Radio Corner
- X Minus One at oldclassicradio.com