The Fritz Leiber Home Page

The Mind Spider and Other Stories

First published in 1961 by Ace as a Paperback

Originally printed as an Ace Double with the Big time.

I believe the Ace Double edition is the only version to contain all the stories, Try and Change the Past is missing from later editions.

Fritz’s introduction…

Years ago my window at the University of Chicago overlooked the west stands of Stagg Field. One evening I watched a lightning storm playing over the Loop.

Nature was badly off key that night. The thunder didn’t rumble or roar. It screamed faintly, four seconds after each flash. I remember thinking that if lightning could twang the rails of Chicago’s elevated tracks they might make such a sound. Several other persons heard it and shivered as I did.

Ten years later electronic experts discovered that on rare occasions lightning generates a radio signal which circles the earth and returns to its point of origin as an audible whistle. Maybe that was my scream.

But also ten years later there was built below the west stands of Stagg Field the graphite-dark atomic furnace that first released on earth the energy of the suns. Maybe the molecules felt that coming and screamed a warning.

Either way it’s a weird and wonderful world. Just consider: an infinite universe . . . stars that are living hydrogen bombs . . . trillions of atomic worlds in a grain of dust . . . jungles in a drop of water . . . black gulfs of space around each planet . . . black Freudian forests around each conscious mind—you know, I sometimes think the powers that created the universe were chiefly interested in maximizing its mystery.

That’s why I write science fiction.

Contains the following short stories (listed in alphabetical order)

Damnation Morning

Midnight in the Mirror World

The Haunted Future

The Mind Spider

The Number of the Beast

The Oldest Soldier



  1. sambson

    The Ace PB with the hell hound styled creature on the cover is by someone with the name “Walter Parie”. Or it could be Malter Parrie; depending on how you interpret cursive script. It’s very faint and hard to read, but the signature is located under the dog’s ear nearest the spine. Search on the various spellings has returned no results. I’m certain it wasn’t scrawled there by an owner, as the ‘W’ (or ‘M’?) wraps around the spine and is absolutely no evidence of indentations from any angle. I can send a pic if you like.

  2. FranzWesten

    Just had a rummage aound and it seems it is a chap called Walter Rane…

  3. sambson

    Oh, it also contains Midnight In The Mirror World (p.95), and is only missing Try And Change The Past.

  4. sambson

    Ah! Nice! I hadn’t consider it as an ‘R’. Excellent. Keep up the good work. This site is invaluable to Fritz fans.

  5. sambson

    Looks like he also did the 1976 edition of Leiber’s, Ships To The Stars (orig 1964).

  6. FranzWesten

    Thanks, I have amended the listing.

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