Horr Haus for the Vroog ...or something like that.
April 14, 2009 11:07 AM   Subscribe

Having had such luck in my last AskMe post, I trying again. I want to find if anyone recalls the title of another science fiction short story I read when I was young*. It involved a nightmare scenario where sinister predatory aliens were snatching drivers and passengers from speeding vehicles on a fast moving freeway.

*Which means this story was written in the late 50s to early 60s.

It was about a man who had invented some sort of transport or teleportation machine that carried people to other various dimensions. In the story, the inventor had fallen on hard times and was looking for some venture capital and took someone, possibly an amusemnt park owner, to another dimension where the people--or nonthreatening alien beings--there drove around on enormous freeways at insanely breakneck speeds while being preyed upon by some larger and very sinister creatures in larger and very sinister vehicles--monsters in monster trucks, so to speak--who were snatching (and presumably eating) drivers and passengers from their vehicles almost as if they were opening cans of tuna.

At the next to last moment in the story, the monsters--who went by some one syllable, four or five letter long, name ending in the letters 'oog,' as in hroog, droog. vroog or something similar--ended up breaking on through from the other side and snatching the putative venture capitalist and/or amusement park owner from the inventor's lab.

After this the inventor allowed as to how he was going to build 'a horr hous for the vroog.'

Does anyone remember this story ?

Spoiler alert: it was not, by the way, the story Roog by Philip K Dick.
posted by y2karl to Media & Arts (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
"Horror Howce", by Margaret St. Clair.
posted by j.edwards at 11:55 AM on April 14, 2009

Best answer: Apologies, I accidentally fixed a non-typo -- "Horrer Howce".
posted by j.edwards at 11:56 AM on April 14, 2009

Response by poster: It only took 40 minutes to find out. That was fast. Thank you, j. edwards. Now, tell me, had you read the story or just figured it out ?

I had tried Googling but the variation Horrer was not one I used. S'funny, when I was young, graffiti was a very rare thing, something you would only find under a railroad bridge in the middle of nowhere. And it was all dirty words.

Hoar was the preferred spelling for whore for the average Idahoan illiterate. Or so it seemed. So, Horrer Howce seemed awfully close to Hoar Howce to my sensitive eyes. It never occurred to me then that such a play on words was intentional.

And Horrer Howce was in the 4th Galaxy Reader, eh ? I will look for it. That was a story that stayed with me.

And now I find that Margaret St. Clair was a very interesting person. It figures.
posted by y2karl at 2:19 PM on April 14, 2009

Indeed, I had read the story, in "Isaac Asimov Presents the Great SF Stories: 18" (which is still somewhere on one my my bookshelves -- I think I bought it for Leinster's awesome short story "Exploration Team"). I was able to google that volume and find a listing of the contents.
posted by j.edwards at 2:37 PM on April 14, 2009

Response by poster: And from all this,I find that she wrote the short story An Old-Fashioned Bird Christmas, tas well. Now that title I remember, too, and have a spooky feeling in doing so.
posted by y2karl at 2:40 PM on April 14, 2009

Response by poster: By any chance, j. edwards, do you happen to remember the name of the monsters in Horrer Howce ?
posted by y2karl at 2:44 PM on April 14, 2009

I want to say "Voom", but I can actually verify that for you later tonight.
posted by j.edwards at 3:29 PM on April 14, 2009

It is the "Voom".
posted by Justinian at 4:49 PM on April 14, 2009

Response by poster: Well, I thought it was the Vroog. I got the V and the oo.

Voom ? Considering what a cliche that word was in advertising in the 50s, that is an odd choice of a name for a race of aliens. Now, I wonder when that word came in the common parlance and where its first usage was. Of course, the Voom did indeed voom around, if I recall correctly. Well, I even think I have a 4th Galaxy Reader floating around in a box somewhere in my cabinets. And actually an entire Margaret St. Clair collection sounds interesting now.

There were some interesting women writers in science fiction in the 50s. As it turns out, many of these stories which I have made a point of looking up lately have been written by one of them. Another story that stuck in my mind until I tracked it down was Vintage Season by C.L. Moore. There is yet another exquisite story of science fiction later made into a horrible movie.

So far, these questions about half remembered yet unforgettable stories have worked out quite well. I'm glad to finally figure out the who, what, where and when of them. And I just recalled yet one more story I will ask about in another post in a day or two. It will be interesting to see how fast a response I get for it. So far I have been very impressed.
posted by y2karl at 8:08 AM on April 15, 2009

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