Monday, November 23, 2009

Galaxy April 1952

Some pretty old-style stories here..

Accidental Flight • novella by F. L. Wallace
Begins promisingly. A hospital planet has been established for "accidentals" or medical "freaks" who look so horrible that normal people can't stand seeing them. There is a glowing man with no arms, another with no lower body, a woman who grows so fast she must sit in a acid bath to shed extra mass and a beautiful young woman with symptoms which would nowadays called autistic. There might have been very good story there exploring the ethical implications of such segregative system. But this isn't unfortunately that story. Instead this is an adventure story, where our heroes capture a spaceship, learn to pilot it and travel to earth where they want to plead for a ship to travel to nearest star to get away from the people of earth. Pretty stupid story with very many illogicalities. E.g. the accidentals are practically immortal because "they bodies have struggled so much against extreme trauma". Not to mention extreme overall stupidity of that explanation somehow that somehow includes the autistic girl who has never had any trauma. The first few pages were promising, but as a whole very silly and old-fashionable story (even for fifties). **
Katahut Said No • shortstory by J. T. McIntosh
The central computer has decided that one community on Venus must be relocated to prevent a planet wide economic chaos. They decide to just say no. Fairly old-fashionable story, the society and gender norms seems to be from the 19th century. ***
The Moon Is Green • shortstory by Fritz Leiber

The atom war has ended, the last survivors are living in shelters. One woman is yearning to get outside. Then someone knocks on the lead-sheltered window from outside. Writing is nice, but the author has some pretty strange ideas of radio-activity. Of course, not entirely surprising when story is written in the beginning of the 50s. The plot isn't really special, either. ***
Martians Never Die • shortstory by Lucius Daniel
An inventor using a some sort of matter transport machine to journey to Mars didn't return when he was supposed to to. His wife, and especially her lover, were already hoping that he wouldn't return at all. He returns with a strange looking pet, which seems to guard him very carefully. The wife's lover decides to kill the pet off, so that it would be easier to finish off the husband later. But Martian pets have some unusual qualities. Fairly good story, but writing is probably not among the best. ***½
She Who Laughs • shortstory by Peter Phillips
Ghosts (or at least extracorporeal beings) and time travel are a bit unusual mix. Starts fairly well, but ending is pretty bad. **½
Ticket to Anywhere • novelette by Damon Knight
A man escapes from earth to Mars. There is an ancient portal to another worlds. Only trouble is that travel is totally random, and it is highly likely that there will be no return. As the earth has turned on to very stagnant place, due to system that oversees all actions, he takes his chances anyway. Fairly nice idea, but execution wasn't as good. Writing was so-and-so, and the plot felt like an outline for a novel. **+

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