Friday, October 25, 2013

Astounding Science Fiction, January 1956

A pretty readable issue for its time. At least the writing was tolerable.

The Executioner • novelette by Algis Budrys
A judge of a future religious oligarchic society is going to have a trial. The accused is a young girl who has committed a serious crime. She has talked in public with her lover, a member of ruling family. Guilt seems to be clear and naturally the verdict is guilty. The accused of course has the privilege to hope for the god's reversal of the judgment. It has never happened - the bulled shot by the judge has always killed the stripped accused. But this time someone throws a gun for a girl, and she gets out one shot before she dies. The judge has been absolute in his believe of the god and on the right of the ruling families, but now he starts to think about the situation. Ultimately, he comes to a shocking, but logical conclusion. A pretty good, slightly overlong story with a moving and even surprising end. ***½
Indirection • shortstory by Everett B. Cole

A new and very successful fantasy writer has a secret. He allows his friend, who is a literary critic, to see his newest "story". It is in form of letters and testimonials of several kinds of aliens. They are all true, and the man is making the world ready of the reveal large interstellar civilization. I would imagine this was a very tired plot even in the 1950s.**
Won't You Walk— • novelette by Theodore Sturgeon (variant of "Won't You Walk...")
A man is desperate enough to be ready to kill himself. He tries to steal a car to drive it off a cliff, but the car happens to be a "trap" of a psychologist, who promises to change his life. The writing was ok, the plot wasn't anything really special - I saw the “surprise” ending straight away. ***-

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