Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Analog Science Fact -> Science Fiction, December 1964

A large size issue. Contains a serial which takes a fair amount of space. A varied bunch of stories.

Plague on Kryder II • [Med Service] • novella by Murray Leinster

A very strange medical emergency has happened and a medical ship is called to help. The emergency seems very strange, as there are several diseases in the same person in succession. There has already been one ship but it was not able to solve the problem, and the little "pet" which should be totally invulnerable to all disease had died the medical shop had been destroyed for some reason. It all turns out to be a criminal plot. The plot itself was moderately ok; the writing was fairly smooth, but horribly padded and poorly edited. There were detailed descriptions of everything, how radio waves spread in space, there were several mentions about how much the little pet loves the coffee (well, it was a plot point after all, but probably one mention would have been enough, also the background noises which are used in spaceships were described THREE times with about the same words, and they had no relation with the plot whatsoever. The story felt like it was written by a good author on bet: I can write a story without any rewrites in a day- or something. **½
Shortstack • [Willy Shorts] • novelette by Leigh Richmond and Walt Richmond
A story of a man who designed a system to get free power and water by using temperature difference between ground and upper atmosphere. Fairly mundane story, with a ridiculous cold war angle of using a similar system for the protection of the nuclear fall out. As a sheet of plastic over cities would really matter much, or at least after the food would run out. **
Contrast • [Federation of Humanity] • shortstory by Christopher Anvil
A man who lives alone on a very dangerous colony planet and is only just surviving among very dangerous animals gets a visitor: a very annoying sightseeing tourist. At least annoying until there is a role reversal. Pretty average story, not bad, not especially good. ***
Rescue Operation • shortstory by Harry Harrison
Fishers found an astronaut who has dropped to the bottom of sea. When he is rescued it is discovered that he is an alien. Everything doesn’t go well, though. Not a bad story, but there is some unrealistic stupid behavior by at least one character. ***+
The Equalizer • shortstory by Norman Spinrad
An Israeli scientist discovers an extremely powerful weapon (“more powerful than matter-antimatter reaction”) which is extremely easy and cheap to build and takes only little space. Should he use the invention to protect his country, as that would make invention eventually public and widespread? A very good and thought provoking story, especially the way the problem is examined through the eyes of a scientist and a military commander. ****-

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