Thursday, March 1, 2012

Galaxy Science Fiction, May 1953

A fairly average issue.

Wherever You May Be • novella by James E. Gunn (aka The Reluctant Witch) [as by James Gunn ]
A man who has rented a cottage on countryside to finish his dissertation about witchcraft encounters a young girl in scruffy clothing, who invites herself to live with him. She turns out to be somewhat older than she first seems, and much more beautiful than the first impression was. And she turns out to have some very special powers, and turns out to be extremely persistent if she doesn't get what she wants. When angry she has almost limitless psi- powers. As the protagonist tries to study those powers, he makes her angry - something he really, really comes to regret. A pretty fun story, maybe a bit long. ***½
Specialist • shortstory by Robert Sheckley
A spaceship which has lost its "pusher" comes to earth. The earth is inhabited by pushers who have been cut from the galactic civilization, and have not been able to meet their needs - and in compensation have developed a strange mechanical world and started to fight wars. A pretty good story, above average as such, but below average for Scheckley. ***+
A Gleeb for Earth • shortstory by Charles Schafhauser
A bunch of letters is found in a hotel room beside an empty set of clothes - underwear in their proper place inside trousers and so, as if the man inside had disappeared into thin air. The letters tell a story about visitors from a parallel world which try to find a way to stop the influence our world has to it. There are several misunderstandings. Finally the visitors have found a way to destroy humans, it will only take a gleeb to take effect. But how much is a gleeb? A fairly clumsy story from a fairly worn subject. **
Not Fit for Children • shortstory by Evelyn E. Smith
Tourists stop on an asteroid on which lives a “primitive tribe” who trades trinkets for a few coins. In reality they are the children of powerful aliens who live inside the asteroid while they repair the engine of their spacecraft. And they need some copper and silver for that purpose. A nice humorous tale. ***
Junkyard • novelette by Clifford D. Simak
A spaceship finds some strange artifacts from an unremarkable planet. It seems like some unknown time ago an alien ship landed on the planet, and its’ crew disassembled ship’s engines, and used another, older alien ships’ engines to replace them. And when the earth ship tries to leave, the crew discovers that all members the crew have forgotten how to fly the ship. (the planet turns out to be a “mind trap” which siphons knowledge from visitors. It is possible to get information out from there, but only in such order that the crew learns first to use the engines of the other ship). Not a major Simak. Very loosely written, a fair amount of condensing would have vastly improved the story. **½

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