Saturday, March 19, 2016

Galaxy Science Fiction, July 1955

An average or perhaps above average issue.

The Mapmakers • novelette by Frederik Pohl

An interstellar space ship has an accident, and isn't able to find its location in hyperspace. Everything seems doomed, as the ship starts to heat up and there is not enough air to flush the heat out. (Fred Pohl should have known better in 1955 - the concept of the ship heating should have been totally ridiculous already at that time. According to quick back of an enveloped calculations, a decent size space ship should lose several hundreds if not thousands of kWs of energy just by black body radiation. Also, Pohl seems to think that rotating the ship would demand constant energy input). The dilemma is solved by a stupid fortuitous event: it turns out that blind people can “see” and navigate in the hyperspace, and one crew member was blinded in the accident. By far the worst story by Pohl I have ever read. **-
Spoken For • shortstory by William Morrison
A man arrives to a desolate farm on Jupiter’s moon. He wears pretty old fashionable clothes and is looking for his family. The farmer’s daughter is inexplicably attracted to the man. But where is his family? A simple story, writing ok, but nothing really special. ***
Property of Venus • novelette by L. Sprague de Camp
A group of men who are interested in raising unusual plants get seeds of Venusian plants from a friend who took part on the first expedition. The seeds sprout, and the plants seem very interesting, especially the one with the best tasting fruit ever. But those plants aren’t as innocuous as plants on Earth. A pretty standard story for its time. Pretty stupid people, but that isn’t surprising… ***
Deadhead • shortstory by Robert Sheckley
An apparent stowaway arrives to a Mars colony. He wants to get a job, but you need to have at least one doctorate to work at the colony. The scientists do the routine maintenance as well as they are able and have time, and it seems it really might be useful to have someone used to construction work at the colony, but the law is law, and the scientist think about sending the man back to Earth in the same ship he apparently arrived. But that ship was only for cargo and wasn’t even pressurized… A nice story, but not as good as could be expected from Sheckley. ***+
The Amateurs • shortstory by Alan Cogan
You must commit suicide at a certain age – but you may choose any method to do it. One guy wants a reenactment of Socrates’ death. That can be arranged, of course… Not very good, a little twist in the end, but a pretty forgettable story. **½

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