Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Galaxy Science Fiction, July 1951

An average or even slightly above average story. Quaintly entertaining stories – most of them probably weren’t meant to funny at the time of writing.

Venus Is a Man's World • novelette by William Tenn
The world is ruled by females and there is a shortage of eligible husbands. There are more men in Venus and a shipload of hopeful brides-to-be is flying to Venus. A young boy, who is a ward of one of the women, finds a stowaway: a Venusian man who is returning from the Earth after a failed mission to find a wife. The end is just what you would expect of a sf story from the beginning of the fifties: of course the most feminist and confident woman must have A Real Man to be happy. Attitudes in the story almost seem to be irony, but probably weren’t meant to be. ***
Common Denominator • shortstory by John D. MacDonald
Humans encounter aliens, who are really pleasant, but also mellow and their civilization has been on the same level for centuries if not more. On the other hand they apparently haven’t had wars and have little violent crime. The chief of the bureau of racial maturity travels to their home world to find out how they have managed that. It turns out that they have a really novel approach: everyone is able to commit totally painless and fast suicide at will. That has removed all mental instabilities out from the race. ***-
Syndrome Johnny • shortstory by Katherine MacLean [as by Charles Dye ]
Several plagues have ravaged earth. It seems that they are spread by the same man – even when several decades have passed. There is an explanation and an ulterior motive for that, of course. A fairly stupid story – the wring wasn’t too good, either. **½
Pen Pal • shortstory by Milton Lesser
An old spinster (about thirty and almost already getting too old to marry) finds an intriguing (it is hard to understand why she finds the ad so interesting – it reads like something written by an egoistic idiot) corresponding advertisement. She is so fascinated by it that she isn’t satisfied by just writing a letter but drives to meet the man who wrote the add. She gets captured for a night, but is eventually released as she doesn’t believe what the man tells her. An extremely stupid story at so so many levels. **+
Appointment in Tomorrow • novelette by Fritz Leiber
Two factions compete for power in a post nuclear world: Thinkers (scientist) have had a lot of power and popularity due to fantastic inventions (some of those might be only a deception), but there are opposing forces. Little happens in the story. The writing was pretty good, but the story was excruciatingly boring and there was far too much idle talking. **

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