Sunday, February 22, 2009

Galaxy August 1954

Pretty bad and juvenile stories in this issue. I haven’t read the last part of serial yet.

Party of the Two Parts • novelette by William Tenn
An alien criminal escapes to earth, and continues his criminal career by selling alien pornography. And what is even worse, his human accomplice uses those pornographic pictures for illustrations in a high school biology book. Ok story, nothing special, but not bad. Hard to believe that amoeba like species which procreates by asexual mitosis would even have a concept of pornography, or be so touchy about it. ***-
Subsistence Level • shortstory by Robert Sheckley Pioneering on a new planetoid can be very hard work. It might even demand up to four hour workdays, sometimes even longer. Also, it might be hard for your wife to live in a tiny five room cottage, where automation is so poor, that she must actually press the buttons on the robots to get things done. Also, simple, only about five course meals, are something you must get used to, but in the end such kind of rough living may be very rewarding. Pretty funny, but simplistic story. Not one of Sheckley’s best ones, but surprising that it has never been republished anywhere. ***½
The Impossible Voyage Home • novelette by F. L. Wallace
Spaceflight is very dangerous due to radiation which has cumulative effect, causing ultimately serious harm and hallucinations. A pair of fairly demented grandparents living in Mars want to journey back to Earth too see their grandchild, so they end up hijacking a spaceship. They manage to get to earth, and it turns out that radiation is beneficial for old people, and they are able to pilot space ships purely by intuition. Just as bad it sounds, or much, much worse. The plot is totally ludicrous, and writing is very clumsy. *
Invasion Report • novelette by Theodore R. Cogswell
Group of kids is playing on an abandoned space ship when an unknown alien ship approaches.
Totally ridiculous story which is written like an home essay by a not too bright high-school kid. A big interstellar spaceship with heavy armament was apparently built, and was then used just for a single trip to the closest sun, and when no life was found there, the ship was abandoned on orbit, so that nine to thirteen years old kids (who behave like five years younger ones) can use orbital space ships by themselves to go there for playacting. Believable - not. The writing is in par with the plot. Stinks to high heaven. *½
The Departed • shortstory by Arthur Sellings
War-torn and resource starved future (of 1990) sends its’ old people to future where it is assumed to be better possibilities to sustain them. But they are send a lot farther to the future than assumed.
Very talky piece, not surprising, the ending is irritating - why there must be “the last” human around languishing just when the troupe of clichéd characters arrive? **+

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