Monday, January 2, 2012
Galaxy Science Fiction, April 1953
An average issue. The gender roles in most stories were more than a little quaint, the stories were entertaining nevertheless.
Made in U.S.A. • novelette by J. T. McIntosh [as by J. T. M'Intosh ]
A man sues his new wife for divorce as she didn't tell before marriage that she is an "android". (an android in this story means what a clone today means, the androids are completely human, they just are artificially grown and have a stamp "made in USA" in their navels. ) For some undefined reason androids cannot have children and that is the grounds for the divorce. in principle the androids have exactly the same rights as humans, they don't ever have to tell if they are androids or not. A pretty good story which addresses racism and intolerance. Well written, but the gender attitudes in this future are extremely fifties like. ***½
Seventh Victim • [Victim] • shortstory by Robert Sheckley
It is common and legal to murder someone if you want. The only catch is that if you want to kill someone, you must later be a voluntary victim, and it is up to you survive the murder attempt and be able to eliminate the would-be murderer. A man who has already done six murders (and survived six attempts against his own life) gets a name of his seventh victim, and it is a woman! Not fair! An amusing story with a nice end twist. A woman is very beautiful, seems to be helpless and is very afraid. The “hunter” can’t help himself and naturally falls in love with her and drops his guard. Then the woman shoots him in cold blood – it was her tenth case already. A very readable story in spite of the “slightly” old-fashioned gender roles. ****-
University • novelette by Peter Phillips (1920-)
A spaceship with multinational crew is travelling its' destination: another planet. The members of the crew are suspicious and are watching each other closely. They are apparently afraid that a member of the crew would plant a flag of his nation and claim the planet for that country. Apparently that would be an irreversible and legally binding and effective procedure for all time. The crew is then kidnapped by an advanced civilization so that humanity’s maturity could be evaluated. The result isn't a surprise. A pretty clichéd story, the writing wasn't too good. Was a struggle to read. Might be suited for reading aloud in a convention.., **-
Origins of Galactic Law • [Origins of Galactic . . .] • shortstory by Edward Wellen
Short "amusing" case studies how the law is interpreted in different galactic cultures. Better that most of the episodes in this series, but these vignettes would be better suited as space fillers between real stories. **+
Unready to Wear • shortstory by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
A part of humanity has become "amphiphious" which means they are able to leave their bodies at will. They have a reserve of very healthy are good looking bodies which can be used at will, most of time they spent as incorporeal happy beings. Those humans who haven't left their bodies consider them deserters. A fairly good story with a nice ironic tone running through it. Nice writing as could be expected from Vonnegut. ***+
The Sentimentalists • novelette by Murray Leinster
Two aliens in love stop to an outer planer of a solar system. In an inner planet is a human colony, where a man is slaving to keep his farm. The company which owns the planet is scheming to take over his farm and to force him to be a day laborer at a cut rate wage. The female observes this and starts to pity him. The male alien starts to feed the man’s mind with some nice inventions. A fairly nice story, but might have been a lot more tightly written. A fair amount of things happen in the story, but pretty slowly. ***