This Used to Be the Future: Mail Rider to the Stars!

Welcome to the exciting world of The Future! I’m your host, Dave Lartigue, and each Wednesday I’ll be taking you on an exciting and educational journey into the time to come! Sit back, pull up a cosmo chair, pour a space drink, and enjoy!

In previous incarnations of this feature we’ve seen futuristic treatments of cab drivers and insurance agents. Today we look at the exciting life of a mailman in the 30th century!

The action starts on the planet Soria, which is surrounded by a host of moons and three suns (and probably four Jupiters and like a dozen Marses.) Right now on Soria, everyone has a single, unifying thought: where the hell is the mail?

What’s keeping the mail? It seems that Ed Cameron, the mail rider, has had a bit of a problem in getting to Soria. It all starts with a near-miss of a black hole.

Cameron narrowly avoids the space hazard, but according to his slide rule, the delay will never let him get to Soria in time. I guess all those suns and moons and Plutos mean he’s got to hit the Soria system just right or else wait months for the next opportunity.

The only way he can get there in time is to do what the manual expressly forbids: exceed the speed of light! This is something that should only be used in cases of extreme emergency, and Cameron figures that the response to some kid’s space school application letter is worth the risk! So, without even making the proper calculations, he grabs the speed control handle:

It doesn’t take long before Cameron sees the effects of his increased velocity. He is visited by three phantasmal beings. The ghosts of mail runs past, present, and yet to be all descend upon him in turn.

(The other two visions are a giant ape-man creature and a group of warriors in full plate mail with shields and maces that he describes as Huns.)

Still, Ed Cameron is made of pretty stern stuff, and he perseveres through these “weird ancestral hallucinations”. Soon he arrives at Soria, but his troubles aren’t yet over.

See, although Soria now contains wholesome white Earth-people, it was originally the home to some other folks who aren’t as civilized as we are, and who every now and then take out their irrational hatred on innocent Earth ships. This is one of those times.

Thankfully, the space torpedo turns out to be a dud (it hits the mail ship with a “BUNG”) and Cameron takes refuge from his attackers by actually flying IN to the network of orbiting moons. It takes expert piloting skills to navigate through them, and the inferior natives just aren’t up to the task!

Cameron successfully weaves through the maze of moons and soon:

Ed Cameron is clearly a master among space mailmen, but sadly, this was the only delivery he ever made. How awful must it feel to be told that your job isn’t as interesting as the guy who sells space insurance?

And just in case you thought I was joking about that reply to the kid:

“Mail Rider to the Stars!”
Mystery in Space #42 (DC Comics, February-March 1958)
Writer: John Broome
Penciler: Sid Greene
Inker: John Giunta
Editor: Julius Schwartz

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3 Responses to This Used to Be the Future: Mail Rider to the Stars!

  1. damanoid says:

    Weirdly, the one genuinely realistic detail here turns out to be the shark.

    There is in fact a deep-sea species called the ‘goblin shark’ which sports a unicorn-like rostrum eerily like the one in the picture.

    The nasal appendage is an electroreceptor which enables the shark to locate its prey in total darkness (and also, apparently, to travel faster than light).

  2. Sniffnoy says:

    Was there an actual story anywhere in this story? It’s a bit bewildering.

  3. Dave says:

    What are you talking about? People wondered where the mail was and then the mail arrived! It’s got everything!