Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Galaxy Science Fiction, February 1955

A really bad issue with really badly dated stories. Plots were very ridiculous and in a bad way.

Helpfully Yours • novelette by Evelyn E. Smith
The first female of an alien species which has contacted earth has arrived. She goes to work on a newspaper which contains a help column for aliens who are baffled by earth customs. A very strange story with strange characterization. Extremely old fashionable attitudes, especially female ones. The alien looks like a bird, and behaves like a stupid "chick"; she is for example very flattered when her boss is hitting on her. Apparently, the aliens who come to earth know nothing about earth customs and human apparently have almost no interest at all for the aliens or they customs. I even thought if the story was meant as some sort of clever parody, but the writing was so bad, that it is hard believe that the author would have been able to try something so complex. **
The Cave of Night • shortstory by James E. Gunn
Americans have launched the first space ship in secret. It comes to public knowledge after the lone astronaut sends a distress signal - there has been an accident and he can't return to earth. There is a widespread sympathy around the world and a scramble to build a new ship for the rescue effort, which eventually turns out to be futile. The ship is left back as a tomb and mausoleum. Eventually space exploration gains huge popularity and it is truly international effort, which combines nations and eventually leads to world peace. An optimistic story, the end reveal could be seen for miles away, though (it was a scam, just a recording on a ship). ***+
Dead Man's Planet • shortstory by William Morrison
A widower and his son land on an alien planet. They are trying to find animals for a zoo and try to cope with the loss of wife/mother. They find a wild dog on a planet no human is supposed to have visited. The dog seems to be very wild, but the son would like to have it as a pet. A nice, melancholy story, with a small bitter sweet twist. (The dog is immortal, hundreds of years old and has lost all his memories of living with humans, guarding the grave of his master.)***
Open House • shortstory by J. T. McIntosh
Aliens come and bring gifts. No one can really remember what they look like, but things they give were pretty fabulous devices which give limitless energy, dresses which are durable, always warm and comfortable and nicely see through. And a fabulous reading device which can store two million words. (that’s not so impressive today…) But there is a hidden agenda. But as humans are _special_ as almost always in the 50s science fiction, they are able to show to the aliens who is the boss. Moderately readable story, probably made more so by all the stinkers in the issue. ***-
Pythias • shortstory by Frederik Pohl
A secret service agent has killed a man in cold blood, a man who was an old friend of the agent. He is waiting for a trial and almost sure execution. There was a good reason for what he did - the murdered man had made a discovery too powerful to exist. A well-written food story, however, if what the man did were so easy it would have been discovered centuries ago. ***
Blind Spot • shortstory by Bascom Jones, Jr.
Earth has colonized Mars and has established some sort of racist apartheid culture. All dissidents are sent to penal colonies from the slightest offense. A man how works for an office which purpose is namely to increase co-operation but apparently is to mainly keep up the status qua, is dating a beautiful girl. He goes to meet her father, but somehow doesn't notice his is an alien and goes to a forbidden zone and gets punished. Silly and stupid story. I wonder why Martian men would be so enthralled by freakish looking human women with only two eyes? **
Rich Living • novelette by Michael Cathal
A small group of rich people goes to a little planet which reverses aging. You just have to live there for a few weeks, and you are young again. Guess what, as everything is extremely poorly planned they have an accident and are marooned. And they grow younger and younger...another so stupid and badly written story, that it hard to believe. Really rotten plot and almost as bad writing. *½

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