|Vintage Pulp||Nov 7 2021|
The search for alien life is over. Just look in the back.
Adam magazine's cover illustrations usually deal with criminals, ranchers, wild animals, runaway vehicles and the like, so what is this unusual thing on the front of this issue published this month in 1968? It's a shlunk, and it comes from Tod Kennedy's science fiction story, “To Catch a Shlunk,” about a bloodsucking alien—named for the sound it makes—that terrorizes a hunter. In form this alien is like a squid, but with four thick tentacles. “It moved with a glutinous rhythm [and had] a band of flickering lights around its domed head that blinked off and on like radar stations seeking contact. With one quick motion its body shot upward and the four legs distended like chewing gum.”
That's pretty scary. As the hunter watches in silent horror, the creature, which seems part organic and part machine, grabs a wallaby, crushes it, and sucks its insides out. Needless to say, the hunter flees at the first opportunity, and thinks he's dodged this creature, but misses the part where it jumps in the back of his truck and rides home with him. Whoops. From that point Kennedy's tale deals with the hunter's defeat of the creature, which is accomplished via unlikely means. In the end, “To Catch a Shlunk” is merely a ripe concept that goes rotten due to poor execution.
But Adam on the whole is as rich as always, filled as it is with more fiction, fun cartoons, exotic factual stories, and great illustrations. Primary artist Jack Waugh even signed a couple of his pieces, which later, during the 1970s, he mostly stopped doing. Will we ever stop buying these? Well, since we've bought more than one hundred, it seems not. They are, however, becoming more difficult to obtain without buying issues we already have, though most vendors are understanding about separating issues from a group. Still though, it may be time to find another magazine to obsess over. We have a few candidates. Meanwhile, thirty-plus scans below.