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McNab, Josh. Josh McNab was created by Arthur J. Burks (Professor Barter, Black Falcon, Duff Braden, Jack Brady, Edward D’Strange, Harlan Dyce, The Guillotine, Eddie Kelly, Dorus Noel, Allan Swain) and appeared in four stories in Astounding Science-Fiction in 1938 and 1939, beginning with “Hell Ship” (Astounding Science-Fiction, Aug. 1938).

Josh McNab is an “old-time Scots engineer.” He is the Chief Engineer on the spaceship Arachne, which had been “first of the spider fleet of spaceships, first to use gravitic lines of force as a means of travel,” but which has now been relegated to a mere freighter, as it is the oldest ship of the Caperton lines. So McNab is forced to intervene, many times, to fix malfunctioning engines and machinery, to save the lives of the crew. Worse, his captain, Parsons, is bull-headed, and he and McNab fight constantly, although when in danger they work well together. McNab is emphatically Scottish: “his Scotch dialect was broad enough to cut with a knife when he was aroused, or talking to himself.”

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