Friday, May 10, 2013

Galaxy Science Fiction, December 1951

An average or even above average issue for its’ time. An impressive array of authors.

A Pail of Air • shortstory by Fritz Leiber
A dark star has pushed earth away from the sun. Atmosphere has frozen. One family still manages to survive by mining oxygen from outside and melting it for air. Not to original, but not too bad. The writing wasn't nearly as good as his later works, but was competent and readable. ***+
World Without Children • novella by Damon Knight
Humans have been near immortal for hundreds of years. The youngest people alive are in their hundreds, and it has been illegal to bear children since that. A scientist makes a discovery: the fertility is going down, and if there won't be new children in a few years or decades it will soon be impossible to reproduce at all. The government tries to suppress that discovery, and a group of scientists go undercover. The idea itself isn't bad. It is a pity that the story isn't too good. The most of the story is spent discussing how to get underground and how to start getting children again. Little actually happened before the more or less deus ex machina ending. **
With These Hands • novelette by C. M. Kornbluth
Art isn't popular any more, as everyone can create beautiful pictures and sculptures by a machine, Estheticon. Is there a place of artists any more anywhere? A slightly disordered story with some interesting viewpoints. ***-
Winner Lose All • shortstory by Jack Vance
A ship has landed to a planet which was supposed to be entirely barren. On the top of the richest uranium deposit grows a very strange looking plant which has roots which seem to bore into the ore. A scientist dies trying to study it. What is the plant and from where it has appeared? ***-
Not a Creature Was Stirring • shortstory by Dean Evans
A man has been digging gold in his very deep gold mine for weeks. When he comes up, everyone is frozen in place and dead. Apparently there has been a Russian attack by a secret weapon. He drinks, performs a little bit of vandalisms, gambles on casino and so on. That is about it. The ending is apparently meant to be moving, but it is mainly boring. ***
Pillar to Post • novelette by John Wyndham
An idiot who has been confined to a mental institution since his birth suddenly has started to speak and co-operate. He claims to be another person, and the story is a letter which tells how his mind was transferred to an “empty” body. He has been an invalid with the amputations of both feet with severe pains. His mind has been transferred to the body of a scientist from the far future. An ok story. I don’t entirely see why the framing story was needed. ***+

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