55. Interplanetary Hunter


Arthur Kelvin Barnes (1909-1969) started his f&sf career with a novelette in a 1931 issue of Hugo Gernsback’s Wonder Stories. He wasn’t quite 22 at the time. Most of his later work appeared in Thrilling Wonder Stories, a second-tier magazine with a distinctly juvenile audience. He only managed to break through to the big-time, Astounding, once, and that was both pre-Campbell and under a pseudonym. He stopped writing in 1946, with nothing appearing for the next 23 years of his life. He never wrote an f&sf novel. He is known, if at all, only for these stories about Gerry Carlyle, a hunter for an interplanetary zoo. “Catch-’em-alive” Carlyle was unquestionably based on “Bring ‘Em Back Alive” hunter Frank Buck, a superstar in the 1930s, with one notable difference: Carlyle was a woman.

Though it is not mentioned anywhere within the book, “Almussen’s Comet” was a collaboration with Henry Kuttner and also featured his character Tony Quade, from his Hollywood on the Moon series. They also collaborated on a second Carlyle story, “The Energy Eaters,” which never saw a reprint until she got her due in a 2009 ebook, The Complete Interplanetary Huntress: The Adventures of Gerry Carlyle. That also includes Barnes’ “The Dual World.” Not included, and apparently never reprinted anywhere is his first story about the Interplanetary Patrol, “Green Hell,” Thrilling Wonder Stories, June 1937, probably because Carlyle hadn’t been invented yet, even though the ISFDB lists it under her name.

art by M. Marchioni

Gnome Notes

Unless Marty Greenberg deliberately dredged up these creaking oldies to give girls a book starring a heroine (unlikely, since her gender is not mentioned on the flaps), his bringing them back into print is as baffling as any other odd Gnome decision, perhaps more so given that almost all the surrounding books in the mid-50s were newer works by younger authors. Perhaps he thought of the book as another young adult adventure that would appeal to libraries. Or it might be the pictures.

Each of the five stories is introduced by a page of drawings illustrating the weird animals Carlyle’s interplanetary ship, The Ark, encounters on the four planets and one comet she travels to. CHALKER states that Ed Emsh did the interior drawings and W. I. Van der Poel simply copied and pasted a few when he designed the cover, his first of 16 for Gnome, where he was the uncredited art director.

Kirkus Reviews gave the expected publication date as February 20, 1956.

Cover art by Howard V. Brown


Floyd C. Gale, Galaxy Science Fiction, October 1956
Astonishingly, these stories are still surprisingly readable. If you like a huge collection of assorted BEMs and well thought-out gimmicks in tight situations, you will assuredly go for this.

P. Schuyler Miller, Astounding Science Fiction, October 1956
These, then, are old-line space melodramas of twenty years ago, good fun in their time, but by no means outstanding.

Contents and original publication

• “Almussen’s Comet,” (Thrilling Wonder Stories, May 1940, as “The Seven Sleepers” as by Henry Kuttner and Arthur K. Barnes).
• “Saturn,” (Thrilling Wonder Stories, February 1941, as “Trouble on Titan”)

Bibliographic Information

Interplanetary Hunter, by Arthur K. Barnes, 1956, copyright registration 15Mar56, Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 56-7844, title #55, back panel #31, 231 pages, $3.00. 4000 copies printed. Hardback, gray cloth, spine lettered in red. Jacket design by: Ed Emsh and W. I. Van der Poel. “First Edition” on copyright page. Manufactured in the U.S.A. by H. Wolff, New York. Interior art uncredited but by Ed Emsh. Back panel: 36 titles. Gnome Press address given as 80 East 11th Street, New York 3.


None known.


Interplanetary Hunter, gray cloth, red lettering