Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Galaxy Science Fiction, January 1951

The fairly new magazine was still seeking its’ tone. This bunch of stories was mainly pretty bad and from today’s perspective very old fashionable.

Dark Interlude • shortstory by Fredric Brown and Mack Reynolds
A visitor from the future comes to observe what life was like in 20th century earth. He ends up in a rural area, falls in love with a beautiful local girl, and life seems to be pretty good. Until a horrible fact about his heritage is revealed: he is a quarter "nigger". Naturally there is only one thing girl's family can do: kill the bastard. And local sheriff is naturally very sympathetic, what else they could have done? Not a bad story with a small end twist revealing attitudes the visitor from the future could never even have suspected. ***½
Rule of Three • novelette by Theodore Sturgeon
Three aliens who each consist of three subunits come to evaluate earth. They are horrified as everyone in earth seems to be infected by a dangerous space parasite which causes erratic behavior. They divide into subunits and inhabit humans to get a grasp of the situation. Afterward they have a lot of trouble to get together again, as humans tend to pair, and units of three are uncommon. (a slight mishap from the superpowerful aliens...) After a LOT of talking and scheming, they manage to get together again. A badly overlong and very talky story. There are some aspects which are interesting, though: alien parasites which cause all human neurosis and harm thinking, and are the cause of psychological problems, wars and violence, and psychotherapy is an extremely clumsy way of trying to address the problem, but it is possible to get rid of the parasites and clear you thinking. It sounds like the most of the most secret teachings of the scientology were lifted directly from this story and when one considers the time period it is practically certain that Hubbard read this story. Smells fishy to me… **+
Susceptibility • shortstory by John D. MacDonald
An inspector comes to a colony planet which hasn't been in touch for long time. The last inspector who visited the planet sent his resignation taped on the controls of his space ship which was sent to return on automatic drive. All colonists seem to live on countryside living simple life, and no one lives in automatic cities enjoying food made automatic machines and using product made by automatic machines. Soon this inspector sends his resignation as the simple life is so much more enjoyable...not bad, simple story. ***
Made to Measure • novelette by William Campbell Gault
For some unstated reason there are much more women than men. The women live in some sorts of centers, and men can come to meet them in controlled "well lighted" situations. If they like what they see, they get the women they want as a wife - but at any time they can return her to the centre - no questions asked. A man isn't happy with his wife as she isn't perfect. So he returns her to the centre and creates an android using his own mind set as a model. As can be expecting that doesn't work well. A pretty bad story. There isn't a single one half believable character. The story feels like something written by a 14-years old boy with no experience at all about any kind of human relations. *½
The Reluctant Heroes • novelette by Frank M. Robinson
There is a change of shift in a lunar colony where only men are working. There is a LOT of talking, about how wonderful it will be to get back to earth and bickering by one guy whose turn will continue. Little happens except one man gets a "Dear John" letter. There is a good reason for the letter, however. The writing was average. **+


Mark Louis Baumgart said...

Sounds almost like a special issue in which writers mostly known for their mysteries and suspense fiction were asked to write in an alien genre. For that alone this seems to be an issue that would be of interest to mystery fiction fans of the fifties and sixties. It should be noted that I never really cared for the artwork of Galaxy from this period, although some artists (Freas, Don Martin, Mel Hunter) would contribute some interesting, if minor, stuff later.

PetrusOctavianus said...

" sounds like the most of the most secret teachings of the scientology were lifted directly from this story and when one considers the time period it is practically certain that Hubbard read this story. Smells fishy to me… "

Sadly Sturgeon was already sucked into Dianetics by the time he wrote this story.
So it was Sturgeon who was influenced by Hubbard, and not the other way around.