Short version:

I need to know when "Fast Trip" by James White was first published because I might be experiencing a "Mandala effect" about its publication date.

Long Version:

This feels like an example of the "Mandala effect" when someone finds evidence which contradicts their memories.

I have a clear memory of how I became a Tolkien fan.

In 1963 I bought the first science fiction magazine I ever bought, an issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. The cover showed a man at the controls of a spaceship while a gaunt-looking man enters through a door behind him.

And the cover story involved a spaceship accident which destroyed most of the food supply. So they had to go on starvation rations for the rest of the time. And the pilot was injured, so a passenger who was also a space pilot had to pilot the spaceship, and he rearranged the controls to the pattern he was used to instead of the arrangement the regular pilot liked.

And there was a very short story about a time traveler called Ferdinand Feghoot by Grendel Briarton/Reginald Bretner. He introduced someone to a drug which would increase their imagination. And that person complained to Feghoot that the drug had really weird effects, making him see a tiny man who told him a fantastic story. He accused Feghoot of lying about the effects of the drug. And Feghoot said something like: "My dear Professor Tolkien, I said that the drug was harmless. I never said it was non Hobbit forming."

[The Reginal Bretner stories about Ferdinand Feghoot were well known amoung science fiction writers. Decades later editor Staney Schmidt considered it necessary to warn writers against "Feghoots", stories ending with puns.]

And I remember being puzzled by not understanding the pun when I read that story.

Later in 1963, I borrrowed an anthology of children's stories from the children's room of the Abington Free Libary (which is in neighboring Jenkintown, Pennsylvania). I remember it had a Moomintroll story and "An Unexprcted Party", the first chapter of The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien.

And I asked about that anthology in this question:

Childrens Anthology with the first chapter of the Hobbit and a Moomintroll story

And the answer turned out to be a complicated story of retitling and reprinting and reediting of an anthology. And in short there was a publication of the first chapter of The Hobbit in 1962, in time for me to read it in 1963.


And I naturally found that chapter "Hobbit forming" and borrowed and read The Hobbit as soon as I could.

Later, my family went to visit family friends on the Fourth of July, 1966. The teenage boy in that family recommended The Lord of the Rings highly to me, so I traded a paperbook book I had brought along to read for his Ace edition of The Fellowship of the Ring and started reading it about noon and finished it some time after midnight.

That is how I remember becoming a Tolkien fan.

But this morning I looked at this question:

Short Story. Spaceship controls are designed to perfectly match the pschological make up of the pilot. Emergency attempt to fly another's ship

And thought that the story asked about was the one in the first science fiction magazine I ever bought.

An answer said it was "Fast Trip" by James White. There was also a link to an earlier question it was a duplicate of.

70s? Sci-Fi Novel Pilot tears apart cockpit to rebuild it in a pattern he is familiar with

The answer there also said "Fast Trip" by James White. But it gave the date as 1965. And it had a link to James White's website and the page about "Fast Trip". That also says that "Fast Trip" was published in 1965, in the April 1965 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction.

And that conflicts with me finding the Feghoot pun "Hobbit forming" in the same issue before reading the The Hobbit in 1963.

Did I already read the The Hobbit and know what a hobbit is and not know what "habit forming" means in 1965?

Did The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction print "Fast Trip" twice, in 1963 and 1965?

Did The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction print "Fast Trip" in 1965, just two years after printing a different story with a similar plot in the same issue as the Feghoot story I remember?

Did The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction print "Fast Trip" only once, in 1963, and the answer and White's own website get the publication date wrong?

And this is involved with other memories of mine. I remember that the library had a sign that only people older than 16 were allowed in the main part of the library, but I was allowed in long before I turned 16. If that is correct I would not spend much time in the children's room in 1965 and probably wouldn't have have found the anthology with the first chapter of The Hobbit and so wouldn't have read The Hobbit in 1965, when I was two years older than I think I was when I read The Hobbit. I would probably have read The Hobbit after reading LOTR in that case.

So I need to know when "Fast Trip" was first published, or whether The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction published a similar story in 1963 along with a Ferdinand Feghoot story mentioning Tolkien and Hobbits.

  • 8
    Just a very minor nitpick, but the name of that phenomenon you cited is "Mandela Effect", like Nelson Mandela, because the first description of it that popularized the idea came from some people misremembering him dying in prison. A mandala is instead a circular shape filled with symbols instead. Commented Apr 2 at 11:08

2 Answers 2


"Fast Trip" by James White first appeared in the April 1963 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. The magazine never reprinted the story.

You can read the entire issue for free at the Internet Archive.

It contains the cover story and the Ferdinand Feghoot story as you remember them.


This question about the story:

Short Story. Spaceship controls are designed to perfectly match the pschological make up of the pilot. Emergency attempt to fly another's ship

Has an answer by sueelleker indentifiying it as "Fast Trip" by James White.

And a comment by user 14111 to the answer has a link to where it can be read at the Internet Archive.


It has the whole issue, included the front page, which has the date of April but no year. The inside of the front page has the table of contents, and at the top the date of April, but no year.

And way down at the bottom in rather small print is:

The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, volume 24, no. 4, whole number 143, Apr. 1963...

And from the table of contents I found that Ferdinand Feghoot: LXI is on page 63. And it is the one with the Hobbit pun.

On James White's website linked to in the answer to this question:


there is a link to the page on "Fast Trip" in James White's website.


And it has a small picture of the cover of the April issue of Fantasy and Science Fiction I remember.

And under first publication it says FANTASY & SF, April 1965. And the publication history also lists:

FANTASY & SF Brutish Edition, August 1963

"Brutish edition"? Should that be "British edition", or is it a snobbish comment about an edition in a country considered occupied by brutes?

And if there was a publication in August 1963, how could it be after the first publication in April 1965?

I note that the Internet Seculative Fiction Database lists the first Publication Feghoot LXI in 1975.


The bibliography of James White at the International Speculative Fiction Database puts the first publication of "Fast Trip" in the April 1963 issue of *Fantasy and Science Fiction.


So for the moment I will decide my memory is correct and "Fast Trip" was published in the April 1963 issue of Fantasy and Science Fiction until and unless more evidence to support the April 1965 date shows up.

  • 1
    Not correcting the obvious Brutish/British typo leads me to believe they also mistyped 1965 instead of the correct 1963. And your Ferdinand Feghoot link for 1975 is for a variant title when it was reprinted in book form. The same page contains a link to the original 1963 publication directly below the 1975 date. Commented Apr 1 at 23:57
  • 4
    I have contacted the James White website about their incorrect date listed for the story. Hopefully, they will fix it soon. Commented Apr 2 at 0:24

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