Friday, January 22, 2010
Galaxy October 1950
The first ever issue of Galaxy. Most of the stories are fairly mediocre.
Third from the Sun • shortstory by Richard Matheson
The giant war is starting. A couple of neighbors are planning to capture the only starship in existence, and escape to another planet. They succeed, and start their journey to the third planet. This MUST have been ages old story in 1950. The title of the story removes even the slightest uncertainty what the “end-twist” is.
The Stars Are the Styx • novelette by Theodore Sturgeon
People are leaving earth from a base near moon alone or in pairs. They are embarking on six thousand year trip, and almost half of them will be destroyed. After the six thousand years, their ships will establish a kind of net which makes FTL flight possible and the travelers are able to return to earth and no time has passed for them. The premise isn't established too well, but the main point of the story is the relationships of the people who are getting ready for the journey. Writing is fairly nice, but the behavior of most protagonists have a very fifties vibe. ***+
Later Than You Think • shortstory by Fritz Leiber
An explorer and a historian discuss a new, surprising, find the historian did, while the explorer was on a journey on the space. Not very surprising story, but there was however a little twist in a ending. It wasn't the remains of humans the squid civilization found, it was the remains of rats. **+
Contagion • novelette by Katherine MacLean
An expedition is starting the evaluation of a strange planet. To their surprise, they find a handsome man there. They are afraid of contagions, and invite him to their starship only after rigorous disinfection process. But all males of the ship start falling ill. Why only males? Fairly well told tale, some pretty bad medical inconsistencies, but considering the writing time nothing really bad. Probably the best story in the magazine. ***½
The Last Martian • shortstory by Fredric Brown
A drunk tells a strange story: he is from Mars. He noticed that everyone was seemingly dead, and there was a big button on a platform on the largest city on Mars. He pushed it, and found himself on Earth, in the body of an earthling. Fairly good story, with a little twist in the end. All Martians have escaped their dying planet, and are going to take the control of the earth. One poor mental defective, who has only about the same intelligence as a average earth man, was left behind by a mistake. ***½
Darwinian Pool Room • shortstory by Isaac Asimov
Mainly a discussion about evolution with a small (very small) twist in the end. One of the least impressive Asimov stories I have read. **