Thursday, July 12, 2018

Astounding Science Fiction, April 1954

A surprisingly good issue for its time.

Fighting Philosopher • [Philosophical Corps] • novelette by Everett B. Cole [as by E. B. Cole]

A new civilization has been found on a planet. It seems pretty barbaric and primitive. Usually, all contact with such worlds has been prohibited, but now a new commander has something else in mind. There are already a few rogues living on the planet illegally. Would it be possible to change the society from the inside? A fairly nice story, but slightly overlong. ***+
Marshmallow World • short story by Joseph Whitehill
An absolute dictator learns that there is a man who got almost absolute power after a scientific experiment. What to do? A very short story, which wasn’t bad at all. ***
Rite of Passage • novelette by Chad Oliver
Most of the crew of a spaceship are killed by a strange disease. As there are no longer enough people to properly fly the ship, they must land on a strange, unknown planet. There appear to be pretty primitive natives on the planet who live in small communities. All communities seem to be on the same technological level. But something seems to be off, and one crew member finds a cigarette on the ground. It is better quality than anything made on Earth, and it is clearly produced in a factory. What is going on? A fairly good story – eventually. The first part was far too long and the description of the death of the crew was completely unnecessary for the main plot. ***
The Thousandth Year • novelette by Robert Abernathy
An alien race has spotted another race near its territory. It has prepared for centuries to intercept a ship that is approaching. Everything is ready for a very demanding capture. The ship is a human ship with few arms and it is bearing colonists to a new world. They are captured and interrogated. As this story is published in Astounding, the humans are the bestest race ever, anywhere, anytime and eventually are able to beat everybody without even really trying. A pretty readable story in spite of that. ***
Age of Retirement • short story by Hal Lynch
A military commander is facing retirement, as he is considered too old to fight, with too many other interests and declining conviction – at 15. A short story, not bad. ***-

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