The first story in Out of the Unknown (1970), is by A.E. Van Vogt, and might best be categorized as adventure-horror. Titled “The Sea Thing,” the eponymous creature, which we learn is “the god of sharks,” goes on land and takes human form to wreak vengeance upon the isolated fishermen of a remote island. Van Vogt begins, and for much of the story continues, by using this creature as the viewpoint character. This is the unique thing about “The Sea Thing” — otherwise it is very old-fashioned, a sea-based horror fantasy.

Despite that apparently damning judgment of “very old-fashioned,” I do not seek to dismiss this collection of tales. First, they were all originally published in Unknown, a short-lived pulp edited by the great John W. Campbell — hence the book’s title. Second, the authors of the stories are a husband-wife writing “team” who, despite their alleged status as a team, wrote each story in the book separately.

The penultimate tale of this collection, Lord Dunany’s “The Sack of Emeralds,” is simple and effective. It is so simple that one might blink and wonder why we should take any notice of it. Dunsany wrote many similar stories. But they are timeless, and flawless in their own way. This is a little longer, I think, than his best short shorts, like “Charon,” from Fifty-One Tales, and is nowhere near as moving. But it is a worthy inclusion.

This anthology also contains Ray Bradbury’s grand exercise in low-key bizarrerie, “The Jar.”

This paperback, with its unfortunate torn top-right corner, is of a slightly smaller size than what we think of as a normal-sized pocketbook paperback. It was published in 1963, during the period when this size was most popular.