Thursday, September 22, 2016

Astounding Science Fiction, July 1953

Only three stories in this issue – most of the space is taken by the last installment of Mission of Gravity – one of the classics of hard science fiction.

Enough Rope • [Wing Alak] • novelette by Poul Anderson
An Interstellar League encounters an alien race which is militaristic and is trying to conquer nearby solar systems. They are located pretty far from leagues area, but some of the threatened planets are asking for help. And the projections show that in just a few centuries the race might turn out to be a real threat. What to do - without risking lives? The League sends parties to strategic solar systems nearby and establishes military bases. The aliens threaten the bases, but the League withdraws. (But establishes a new base on another strategically valuable planet). But the League withdraws from there, without resistance, and establish another base. And so on. A pretty nice story with a wry humor prevalent. ***½
Solution Delayed • shortstory by Mark Clifton and Alex Apostolides
A group of people decides to steal a spaceship. They have been involved in building it, but they are not supposed to be among the colonist. A security man gets wind of that plot and tries to stop them, but something more is going on... A pretty bad story with a LOT of lecturing both at the start and the end with pretty bad and pompous writing. **-
Survival • novelette by Don Green
A passenger space ship has an accident on way to Mars. It hits an unknown asteroid which is large enough to have about 1/10 g gravity and has in spite of the light gravity an oxygen atmosphere - which is dense enough for breathing. And accidents apparently happened so suddenly that the crew wasn't able to prepare for it in any way or even warn passengers. Apparently, the only survivor is a businessman who tries to find survival equipment from the wreck. There a lot of weapons (for what?), but it takes some work to find a single flashlight. The writing was well below average and the plot surely must have been preposterously silly already in 1954. From today’s viewpoint, it is unbelievably bad. *

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