Good old Galaxy magazine. Dependable, occasionally brilliant, very thick.
So thick, that I traditionally break down my review of each bi-month’s issue into two articles, and who am I to buck tradition? Without further ado, the April 1960 Galaxy.
First up is Earl Goodale’s Success Story, a surprisingly entertaining satire on an interstellar soldier’s life and career. It’s sort of a cynical answer to Heinlein’s Starship Troopers. I don’t know much about Mr. Goodale—this is only his second story, as far as I can tell.
Clifford Simak must have a number of expensive bills to pay, for he’s published quite a number of stories this year already. His latest, Condition of Employment, about a down-on-his luck engineer who is desperate to make one last flight home to Mars, is not as good as All the Traps of Earth, but better than The Gleaners, both of which came out last month (in F&SF and IF, respectively). I particularly liked the disdain which the story’s protagonist felt for the ominpresent, oppressive greenery of Earth. I feel some empathy—I grew up in the desert, and I find an unbridled environment of foliage (and its attendant insect populations) unsettling rather than attractive.
The Nuse Man is back, compliments of author Margaret St. Clair. The Airy Servitor, about a thought-activated invisible butler much akin to Aladdin’s genie, is a lot of fun. My favorite line: “Bert and Franny wore expressions suitable to persons who have just seen a dining room explode.” Beware itinerant salesmen from the future bearing gifts they don’t understand.
When I saw Cordwainer Smith’s name on the cover, I became quite excited. After all, his No, no, not Rogov was a tour de force. The Lady Who Sailed the Soul has the trappings of a good story, it has the subject of a good story, but somehow it fails to be a good story. This tale of the first and only relativistic interstellar spaceship pilot is overwrought and somehow anti-feminist despite having feminist protagonists. Perhaps because they are such caricatures. I also dislike stories where women are motivated solely by love for their man.
Finally, we have James Stamers’ Solid State, a dull tale of crystalline teleportation (as in using enlarged crystal lattices as vessels for instant transit) that I barely remembered even just after reading. They can’t all be winners, I suppose.
That’s it for this batch. See you when the other shoe drops!
Galactic Journey is now a proud member of a constellation of interesting columns. While you’re waiting for me to publish my next article, why not give one of them a read!
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