Sunday, September 5, 2010

Galaxy Science Fiction June 1952

Mostly fun, simple stories in this issue. Also, the first episode of The Space Merchants, one of the best sf books there is.

The Highest Mountain • shortstory by Bryce Walton
The fifth Mars expedition lands at the root of giant mountain. The abandoned ships for the former expeditions are parked in a line next to each other. One of the crew seems to go mad, claims that he saw something, and when another member shoots at that direction as a joke, he kills him. According to the space law, those with mental problems should be killed as threat to others. The crew however wants to be lenient, and promise not to kill him, but they are going to leave him to Mars with ample food supplies, even after he threatens to kill all other members of the group. But first they want to climb the mountain, and ask the “crazy guy” to take care of the ship, and record their messages. Sounds very smart. Climb to a mountain, which apparently has already killed all crew members of four ships, and leave a madman (who has threaten the lives of everyone) alone to take care of the ship. And apparently all recording equipment have been forgotten. Ending is about what you would expect (The “mad” guy is the only one who is so “spiritual” that the Martians want to have something to do with. Others all die while climbing an imaginary endless mountain). ***-
Shipping Clerk • shortstory by William Morrison
A vagrant finds a small thing which looks like a nut. He eats it and starts soon to be even more hungry than usual. No amount of food satisfies his hunger. After taking part in a eating competition, and being ravenously hungry even after that (and without gaining an ounce) he ends up in a hospital. It turns out that a pair of aliens have lost a sort of intradimensional device which transports matter to another universe. They rescue the vagrant, rig the device so that it can be used from inside the poor man's stomach, as it is easier to keep track of in that way. Apparently, the aliens have not yet discovered the high technology of pockets with buttons. Fairly stupid tale, though entertaining. ***
Orphans of the Void • novelette by Michael Shaara
An expedition lands on a planet filled by mind-reading robots which only want to serve. Their makers have died out, and the robots have lived alone for generations feeling empty as they haven't been able to serve anyone. And now they will be able to fulfill their need. Doh. Not much drama or conflict. Very simple story. Writing was adequate. **½
The Hoaxters • novelette by Richard Wilson
Two man are supervising automatic ore analysis machines on an isolated asteroid. When they get bored they stage an invasion small indigenous animals. First time works pretty well, there are excitement, visitors and attention. When they fake the attack for the second time there are a lot of suspicions, and they decide never to do it again. It isn't too hard to guess what happens next. A fun simple tale. ***½
The Luckiest Man in Denv • shortstory by C. M. Kornbluth
Paranoia and plotting apparently on a futuristic high rise. Fairly confusing and boring story. **-

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