Thursday, August 25, 2016

Galaxy Science Fiction, August 1955

An above average issue. A combining theme on many of the stories seemed to be humor.

The Flat-Eyed Monster • novelette by William Tenn
A professor is kidnapped by aliens with a one-way matter transfer beam. The alien abhor the flat eyed monster who doesn't even communicate. They don't know that even when the professor can't send thoughts, he receives them very well and understands what the aliens are saying to themselves. And soon the flat eyed monster is on loose and rampaging through a peaceful city. A pretty fun subversion of a trope. Especially the ending was pretty surprising and refreshing. ****-
Whiskabroom • shortstory by Alan Arkin
A young man rents a room from an elderly couple. He tried to develop a time machine but actually manages to strip away the third dimension, not move in the fourth. A short amusing story, the humor doesn't work as well as in the first story. ***+
Country Estate • novelette by Daniel F. Galouye
Humans arrive on an alien planet. They try to civilize the natives who are beautiful people who live naked in the forest. Getting the natives to wear clothes is for some strange reason one of the most important priorities. It doesn't work well, not even at gunpoint. And aliens don't seem to eat at all. And they heal almost instantly. Maybe they aren't so undeveloped after all. The plot wasn't so bad, but the writing felt worse than average and some of the plot points were pretty strange. **+
A Gift from Earth • shortstory by Manly Banister
Humans arrive on an alien planet. This time, they sell first metallic kettles at a low price, pushing the clay pots away from the market. And then they bring in some new innovations like radios, roads, cars and debt. With an interest of course. It's hard to say if this story was meant as humorous or as a very dark one. It falls pretty much in the uncanny valley between those two. It is too depressing to be really fun and too light to be really dystopic. ***-
Twink • shortstory by Theodore Sturgeon
A telepath is facing a task: he must deal with Twink. He has a lot of trepidation and is at least partly afraid of what must be done. Slowly it is revealed what the actual task is: he must help his telepathic child – Twink -to be born. The writing was ok, but the story depends pretty much on the slow reveal of what is going on. ***

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