Saturday, February 22, 2014

Galaxy Science Fiction, January 1955

The lead novelette is pretty good and interesting – otherwise most stories were slightly past they due date.

The Tunnel Under the World • novelette by Frederik Pohl
A man has a strange dream: he feels like he is blown apart. His work day is pretty standard, except for some strangely irritating advertisements. The next day starts the same way, and it IS the same day, except some of the ads are even more irritating, but the protagonist doesn’t seem to have any memories of the former day. And there are some strange encounters. This night he happens to be trapped to his cellar by accident at the midnight. And this time when the same day starts he remembers. Groundhog Day meets Truman Show with some shades of Matrix. A pretty interesting story, which would be ready for a movie version – but with a slight rewrite of some of the characters, especially all the female ones. ****
The Vilbar Party • shortstory by Evelyn E. Smith
A grumpy professor from Saturn comes to earth as a part of an exchange program. He is sure that he will be hated and discriminated, but it turns out to be something else… A very stupid story on many levels aims for cute funniness, but mostly fails - at least from modern perspective. **
Perfect Control • novelette by Richard Stockham
A space ship arrives to earth after decades in space. It was aiming at a nearby solar system, but had an engine failure on the way. For some undescribed reason to has drifted back to earth (apparently the author had no knowledge whatsoever of orbital mechanics and how trajectories work in space). The crew members are very old, but they want to repair and refuel their ship and continue their voyage. But why? Cue to long stupid interviews of the crew members on radio by a psychologist. A pretty stupid story on many levels, some psychological thoughts are mildly interesting. **
When You're Smiling • novelette by Theodore Sturgeon
Two old friends meet and discuss their lives. One seems to be moderately successful, another somewhat down on his luck. One has a theory that there are people who superhuman, and sometimes kill people who are causing too much trouble those around them. An overlong story which consists practically only from discussion. The writing as such is ok, but there is nothing really surprising. **+
Brknk's Bounty • shortstory by Jerry Sohl
A long tailed invisible furry squirrel-like trans-dimensional being starts to channel writing through a newspaper reporter. Doesn’t sound too good and is even worse. Tries to be funny but isn’t. **
Squirrel Cage • [AAA Ace] • novelette by Robert Sheckley
The Interplanetary decontamination service gets a new job: they must get rid of an infestation of rodents which threats to consume all crops of a farm. When they arrive on site they notice a little catch: the vermin are invisible. A lighthearted well written story which manages to be amusing. ***+

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