Ten years ago, a World War Two vet named H. L. Gold decided to try his luck as editor of a science fiction digest. His Galaxy was among the first of the new crop of magazines in the post-war science fiction boom, and it quickly set an industry standard.
A decade later, Galaxy is down to a bimonthly schedule and has cut author rates in half. This has, predictably, led to a dip in quality, though it is not as pronounced as I’d feared. Moreover, the magazine is half-again as large as it used to be, and its sister publication, IF, might as well be a second Galaxy. All told, the magazine is still a bargain at 50 cents the issue.
The reliable J.T. McIntosh leads off with The Wrong World, in which the Earth is conquered…accidentally. There was some misunderstanding by our invaders as to the technological level of our world; for the more advanced planets, we’re supposed to get an invitation to interstellar society, not a savaging. It’s kind of an oddball piece, but it kept my attention despite the late hour at which I began it. Three stars.
Next up is brand-newcomer, Bill Doede with Jamieson, an interesting tale of teleporting humans whose talents are viewed as akin to witchcraft. Not a perfect tale, but definitely a promising beginning to a writing career, and with a female protagonist. Three stars.
For Your Information is interesting, if not riveting, stuff about a Polynesian feast involving thousands of mating sea worms. I understand they’re a delicacy. I’ll take their word for it… Three stars.
Charles V. de Vet is back with Metamorphosis, a story about a symbiotic life form that makes one superpowered… but which also turns the host into a ticking time bomb. You spend much of the story pretty certain that you know how to defuse the bomb, such that it strains the credulity that there should be anything to worry about. The ending, however, addresses the issue nicely. Three stars.
Finally (for today) we have Snuffles by the rather odd but compelling R.A. Lafferty. He writes stories in a style that shouldn’t work but somehow does. That’s either some innate talent or blind luck. Given his track record, I’m betting on the former. In any event, the novelette details the misadventures of a six-person planetary exploration crew (two women, life scientists–women are always cast as biologists for some reason) who are at first charmed and then menaced by a sexless Teddy Bear monster with delusions of Godhood. A fascinating story. Four stars.
Next time, we’ll have works by Ron Goulart, H.B. Fyfe, Jim Harmon, Patrick Fahy, and Daniel Galouye. That’s a pretty good lineup!