Sunday, September 25, 2011

Galaxy March 1952

Somewhat above average issue, the stories are ok, but perhaps a little past their time.

The Year of the Jackpot • novelette by Robert A. Heinlein
Strange things start to happen – people are behaving in surprising manner and the tensions are rising everywhere. One scientist, a statistician who analyzes trends believes that all trends are going in the worse direction at the same time and will bottom down in a few months. He runs to mountains with a girl (who he met earlier when she took away all her clothes in the middle of a street and who later for some hard to understand reason fell in love with him). After they have settled to live on the mountains (there are some small problems, like a nuclear war on the outside world) the sun goes nova. The writing is pretty good, but I really didn’t get the real point of the story if there was any. Things just happen and everything ends badly.
Manners of the Age • shortstory by H. B. Fyfe
People have no social interaction at all, have a lot of robots to take care of their needs and have contact with each other via a TV system. A man finds out that a woman lives in a nearby mansion. He decides to visit her in person. As they haven't interacted with other people in years, they have no social graces at all and irritate each other’s immensely, but they manage to have (off screen) sex nevertheless. The man then returns to his mansion after filing a marriage.
The 7th Order • shortstory by Jerry Sohl
A robot who is the seventh order of being comes to earth to evaluate if it is a good and safe place to produce more robots of the seventh order. Humans as lesser beings would be workers in that project. If the robot cannot be stopped, he will call the invading force. If he is stopped, earth will be written off as a dangerous place and will not be bothered again. The robot is able to read all minds inside a circle of dozens of miles, so stopping it won’t be so easy. The story reminds me of a Spider Robinson story which is based on more or less on the basic premise. A somewhat old fashionable story, but all right.
Catch That Martian • shortstory by Damon Knight
A "Martian" is on loose. Or at least noisy and irritating people start to find themselves partly dislocated from this universe, and are partly transparent and totally silent. An investigator is trying to find who is doing that, but ends up as one of the victims. Nothing really surprising, writing is fairly mediocre. Some tightening would really have served the story.

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