Sunday, June 12, 2016

Astounding Science Fiction, August 1958

A serial takes a lot of space, and there is room for only three stories.

They've Been Working On ... • shortstory by Anton Lee Baker

A train car is facing the wrong way and it cannot be unloaded. A computerized system tries to find a way to solve the problem causing cascading effects; an overlong, stupid, and boring story. **
Cargo for Colony 6 • [The War with the Outs • 7] • novelette by Christopher Anvil
A human world is invaded. A single ship with high-level automation and only few men as a crew is sent with super-secret cargo to help defeat the invasion. The crew notices that the cargo is some sort of new, very powerful space-drive. They meet the hostile aliens, who lead them to believe that a huge fleet is coming just behind them; then they have some mechanical trouble and land on a primitive planet to repair it, have interactions with the natives there, and ultimately manage to bluff the alien invaders. This is a horribly loose story with some strange unneeded and illogical twists. **-
Point of Focus • shortstory by Robert Silverberg
A galactic federation lands on a newly discovered planet of chlorine breathers. They are going to invite them to be members of their grand commonwealth. They are surprised and irritated when they find that the only species ever to say no to the empire already has a base on the planet. The humans have already corrupted the chlorine breathers and they are very suspicious about the federation. Why are humans so against galactic co-operation? This story very much follows the paradigm of Astounding Science Fiction magazine from the fifties: humans are _special_. In spite of that, it is easily the most readable and best written story in this issue. ***½

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