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[March 22, 1962] Provoking Thought (April 1962 Analog)


by Gideon Marcus

Ask the average citizen their opinion of science fiction and they’ll likely mention monsters, flying saucers, and ray guns.  SF has gotten a bad rap lately, largely due to the execrable movies nominally representing it, but there’s no question that the pulps of the 30s and 40s, and the lesser magazines of the 50s didn’t help much.  And yet, only Science fiction offers endless worlds in which to explore fundamental human issues.  Religion.  Philosophy.  Politics.  It is only in our fantastic genre that the concept “if this goes on” can be pushed to extremes, whether a story be set in the far future or on a remote planet.  SF isn’t just kiddie stuff – it can be the most adult of genres.

Case in point: Analog, formerly Astounding Science Fiction, set a standard in the pulp era as the grown-up magazine in the field.  And while I’ve had something of a love-hate relationship with the digest that Campbell built, this particular issue – the April 1962 edition – offers up some intriguing political predictions that, if not probable, are at least noteworthy.

Mercenary, by Mack Reynolds

Take four concepts and carry them to the nth degree: 1) unions and corporations increase in power such that they become virtual nations; 2) world disarmament is achieved – to the point that post-1900 weaponry is abolished; 3) the public’s demand for violence on television is insatiable; 4) economic class stratification gets stronger. 

The result is a United States where private entities no longer resolve disputes in court; they do literal battle with brigades, even divisions of professional soldiers.  Their conflicts are televised as circuses for the masses (whose bread needs have been met by automation).  Mercenary is the tale of a veteran-for-hire who is desperately trying to climb the social ranks with the one remaining avenue: a successful military career.

This novella is my favorite of the bunch.  Reynolds, who has traveled the world and seen both the Soviet Union and the Mahgreb first-hand, invests his work with a gritty realism that elevates it above its genre siblings.  It’s what Dickson’s Dorsai should have been in about half the space.  Four stars.

Toy Shop, by Harry Harrison

When no reputable government agency will look at your breakthrough scientific achievement, then it’s time to resort to unorthodox methods, right?  I’m disappointed with this one.  It’s clearly an opportunity for Harrison (normally quite good) to get a quick $100 from editor Campbell, who champions all sorts of quackery.  Two stars.

A Slave is a Slave, by H. Beam Piper

Take a colony of humans, reduce them to slavery at the hands of a rapacious space vikings, and let stew for seven centuries.  Then topple the viking-descended overlords and see what happens.  This story, set in Piper’s often presented Galactic Empire, is a clear analogy for decolonization.  It’s got some straw men, some broad strokes, some glib presentation, but I think it makes some good points.  The oppressed aren’t always the good guys.  The road to democracy is a long and fraught one.  Noble intentions do not guarantee positive outcomes.  Three stars.

Suppressed Invention, by John W. Campbell, Jr.

I rolled my eyes when I saw the title and the byline for this one, but I was surprised to find that this essay, about recent advancements in electric battery science, is both readable and informative.  Sure, it’s got a little bit of the Campbellian spin on things, but the basic facts are here and nicely presented.  Three stars.

The Circuit Riders, by R. C. FitzPatrick

We’ve seen the idea of “pre-crime” before, where police attempt to stop incidents before they occur.  The example that stands out most to me is Philip K. Dick’s Minority Report.  FitzPatrick, to all accounts, is a new author, but he’s arrived on the scene with a visceral sensitivity in his first story that suggests he’ll be offering up great stuff in the future.  A detractor from Riders is that, after a fantastic cold open first act, FitzPatrick then devotes an unnecessary scene to explaining the mechanics behind the “deAngelis” thought monitor.  Also, the resolution isn’t quite up to the build-up.  An invention that can monitor emotional patterns needs a book, is worth a book.  Three stars.

***

Thus, Analog finishes this month on the right side of decent 3-star quality.  Moreover, it presents a set of intriguing visions guaranteed to make you think.  And that’s exactly what science fiction should do.

[December 21, 1961] Reviewer’s Burden (January 1962 Analog)


by Gideon Marcus

I read a lot of stuff every month.  I consider it my duty, as your curator, to cover as broad a range of fiction as possible so that you can pick the stories most likely to appeal to you.  What that means is I wade through a lot of stones to find the gems.

Analog is the magazine with the highest stone/gem ratio, I’m afraid.  Nevertheless, it’s rare that an issue goes by without something to recommend it, and the January 1962 edition has at least one genuine amethyst amongst the quartz.

It is the first story, Naudsonce, by one of my favorite authors, H. Beam Piper.  Like his earlier classic, Omnilingual, it is an extra-terrestrial linguistic puzzle story.  Unlike the prior story, Naudsonce involves a living alien race, one with no discernible language, and which displays nonsensical reactions to human speech.  Is telepathy involved?  Is the Terran contact team missing a fundamental clue?

It’s an interesting riddle, to be sure, but what really sells this story is the social commentary.  From the beginning, we see that the human explorers, while not bad people, are interested in one thing: finding a colonizable planet.  The concerns of the aboriginals are casually treated, and the callous, jaded attitude of the scouts is evident, particularly at the end.  This kind of cynical self-awareness is quite rare for an Analog story, and it contrasts strongly with the utter lack of it in Mack Reynold’s serial (see below).  I also appreciated that the contact team was thoroughly integrated, ethnically and sexually; but then Piper has always been ahead of the curve on this issue.  This diversity of characters highlights that the casual rapine associated with imperialism is not an ethnic problem, but a human one.  Four stars.

Idiot Solvant, by Gordon Dickson, is a story that could have been much better.  The premise is exciting: You know how you often get flashes of inspiration when you are sleepy?  Or a solution comes to you in a dream?  Clearly, some magic happens when one’s left brain relinquishes control and lets the right go wild.  Something similar happens to the protagonist of Solvant, allowing him to accomplish some truly miraculous feats.  What kills this story, however, is the several pages of exposition that set up the gimmick.  Moreover, a story, especially a short story, only gets so much leeway before it exceeds its “hand-wave” allowance.  Dickson asserts too many premises in too short a space.  The result is a contrived mess.  Two stars.

E.C. Tubb’s Worm in the Woodwork is a competent interstellar thriller about an undertaking to save a Terran logician who has fallen into the hands of a hostile colonial star league.  The thoughtful bits involving the captive genius, Ludec, are particularly engaging.  Three stars.

The science fact pieces continue to be where Analog falls down.  Campbell went through the trouble of giving his magazine a “slick” section, using the kind of paper one normally finds in news periodicals like Time.  Nevertheless, the articles often aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on.  Big Boom in Forming, by Willis Cain, has an interesting topic – explosive formed metals (where big booms press metal plate against molds to make parts) – but the piece is, by turns, overly kiddie and excessively obtuse.  Two stars.

Editor John Campbell’s When the Glaciers Go is much worse, though.  Some garbage about how rapid climate change (over the course of hours!) is evidenced by the frozen Mastodons in Siberia.  The climate is changing, and our species is a big contributing factor these days, but it don’t work like that.  Bleah.  One star.

That brings us to Black Man’s Burden (Part 2 of 2), by Mack Reynolds.  I had high hopes for this piece, about Afro-Americans spearheading efforts in Africa to promote democracy and progress.  After all, Reynolds is an accomplished writer of political thriller, and he’s spend a good deal of time in the Mahgreb.  Africa, a continent that has seen nearly twenty new nations spring up in the wake of decolonization, is a rich (and unusual) setting. 

In the end, however, Burden was a disappointment.  While no one knows where Africa is heading, I like to think that, after the normal teething pains, its states will join the community of nations as vibrant, mature members.  Reynolds’ premise is that they simply can’t, that without the aid of Westerners (Free or Communist), Africa will remain a tribal and/or despotic mess.  Or at least, that’s what the protagonists of the story all believe.  At one point, it is even asserted that Islam is a dead-end for nation-building; no Islamic country on Earth has an advanced social system.  I take particular umbrage with this idea given the flowering of the Muslim world in the “Middle Ages.” 

This idea that Africa must be boot-strapped into modernity by its abducted sons, the descendants of American slavery, is an insulting one.  It slights Africans, and it paints a veneer of redemption on “that peculiar institution.”  There is a throwaway reference to the destruction of African culture in the process of “improving” it, but it feels perfunctory.  Worst of all is this bland superiority that suffuses the whole thing.  Africans are pawns.  Americans are superior.  I appreciate that the characters of Burden are all Black, but that quality is only skin-deep.  It is, ultimately, a story of White Americans, who happen to be of dark hue.  And unlike Naudsonce, it’s played completely straight.  2 stars.

Sum it all together, and you’ve got a 2.3 star issue.  This is worse than, well, any of the magazines that came out this month.  If this is the digest that will win the Hugo, I’ve got a closet full of hats to eat…

…but Naudsonce is worth reading!

[July 10, 1961] The Last Straw (Campbell’s wrong-headed rant in the August 1961 Analog)

Has John W. Campbell lost his mind?

Twenty years ago, Campbell mentored some of science fiction’s greats.  His magazine, Astounding (now Analog), featured the most mature stories in the genre.  He himself wrote some fine fiction.

What the hell happened?  Now, in his dotage, he’s used his editorial section to plump the fringiest pseudosciences: reactionless space drives, psionic circuits with no physical components, the assertion that the human form is the most perfect possible.  The world hasn’t seen an embarrassing decline like this since Sir Arthur Conan Doyle started chasing fairies. 

But this month, Campbell has gone too far.  This month, he replaced Analog’s science-fact column with a rant on the space race, a full twenty pages of complete poppycock, so completely wrong in every way that I simply cannot let it lie.

Campbell’s argument is as follows:

1) America could have had a man in space in 1951, but America is a democracy, and its populace (hence, the government) is too stupid to understand the value of space travel.

2) The government’s efforts to put a man in space are all failures: Project Vanguard didn’t work.  Project Mercury won’t go to orbit.  Liquid-fueled rockets are pointless.

3) Ford motor company produced Project Farside, a series of solid-fueled “rock-oons,” on the cheap, so therefore, the best way to get into space…nay…the only way is to give the reins to private industry.

Campbell isn’t just wrong on every single one of these assertions.  He’s delusional.

Regarding #1:

There’s a reason we didn’t launch an astronaut in 1951.  There was no point.

It is just conceivable that America could have put a man in space in 1951.  It took six years of development to bring the Atlas ICBM from inception to fruition.  Let’s say that we, as a country, decided that the national objective after the fall of Fascism would be to put a fellow in space.  Six years after the end of World War 2 is 1951; we might just have made it – if we didn’t bother to make sure the rockets and satellites were safe enough for a man to fly in.

But to what end?  What would have been the benefit?  Why would we have engaged in one of the more expensive projects in history for the privilege of sailing a person in an orbital cannonball?  Certainly, the scientific virtues of space travel had been barely conceived in 1945.  There would have been no money in the endeavor.  It would have been a stunt – a mass expenditure on a rickety aerospace infrastructure with no clear benefit to humanity.  A boondoggle wisely avoided.  The Soviets would have looked at our effort (and the likely trail of dead astronauts) and laughed.

So why do we have a non-military space program at all?  Because we have a military missile program.

Both the United States and the Soviet Union saw the value of blowing up the other’s cities on a moment’s notice.  Bombers are too slow and vulnerable.  Missiles can do the job in half an hour and cannot be stopped.  It is no coincidence that Sputnik first flew the year the first Soviet ICBM was finished, in 1957.  The military mission was foremost, the civilian one a political afterthought. 

Ditto our response.  What booster lofted Explorer 1?  The army’s Redstone.  Now, the American side had an unusual wrinkle.  We actually had also developed a “civilian” booster, the Vanguard, to launch our first satellite.  But Vanguard was a Navy-run affair and based on a Navy sounding rocket (the Viking, in turn based on the German V2).  It didn’t work right out of the gate, so the Redstone got the glory.  Either way, our unmanned space program was only possible because of our military missile program.

Currently, both manned space programs depend on their related ICBM programs.  Gagarin went up on a modification of the Sputnik missile.  Deke Slayton (or another of the Mercury 7) will go up on an Atlas, when we feel it is safe enough.  Both men are active-duty military officers. 

Like it or not, the peaceful development of space is only possible because of the military value of space.  There is no way either side would have spent this kind of dough on space travel just for the fun of it, or even for the potential scientific advancements.

Which leads me to assertion #2.

I couldn’t believe my eyes when Campbell said Mercury is not an orbital space program.  A quick perusal of an issue of Aviation Week, or even the daily newspaper, shows his assertion to be absurd. 

Sure, Shepard’s mission was, and the next two missions will be, suborbital ones.  These are to test the spacecraft and their pilots (and also a vain attempt to achieve a space record before the Communists – we missed by four weeks).  When Mercury is finished, it will have achieved the same goals as the Soviet Vostok program: to prove a man can survive for several days in space and come back safely. 

Mercury’s successor has already been announced.  Apollo will be a three-person ship that will go around, and perhaps even land on, the moon.  The Soviets have not announced a similar program, but then they only like to announce space shots after they’ve succeeded.  Who knows how many failures they’re hiding.

I have no doubt that an orbital Mercury will fly by next year.  I also have no doubt that an Apollo will take a crew to the Moon “before this decade is out” (the President’s recent words).  I don’t know where Campbell gets his information.

Campbell splutters that the Saturn moon rocket should be scrapped because liquid-fuel rockets are expensive failures, and Ford Motors likes solid-fuel rockets.  Campbell has forgotten that the Farside rockets and the new solid-fueled Scout are just as unreliable as the Vanguard was when it started, and ICBM-strength solid-fueld rockets ain’t cheap. 

As for Vanguard being a failure, well, that’s just not true either.  After some expected teething troubles, Vanguard launched three satellites into orbit, two of which are still beep-beeping away.  And guess what?  Project Echo, the communications balloon that Campbell touts as the pinnacle of commercial space success, was launched by a Thor-Delta, our most reliable space booster.  Know what the “Delta” is?  It’s the top half of a Vanguard.  Some “failure. ”

How about the “Thor” half?  That’s right.  It’s an Air Force missile.  Some “private enterprise.” 

And that brings us to #3.

It’s great that Ford Motor Company was able to launch a whopping six (count them!) sounding rockets from balloons, two of which actually worked.  Yes, science can sometimes be done on the relative cheap. 

Orbital missions cannot.  It takes far more energy to keep an object circling the Earth than to shoot it up real high, something the editor of a science fiction magazine should understand.  There’s a reason no company has invested the kind of money it takes to develop a private IRBM, let alone a private ICBM: It’s not worth it, liquid or solid fueled.  That’s not a matter of government jealousy, as Campbell maintains, or short-sightedness; it’s simple economics. By the way, who paid for Operation Farside (and developed its booster components)?  That’s right.  The government.

Private companies may build the rockets that get us into space.  But it takes government money to interest a Convair or a Douglas in multi-year, hundred-million dollar projects.  The space program is literally impossible without government involvement.

At least for now.  It is possible that in fifty years or so, after the government-run space projects result in a mature, cheaper space industry, that private enterprise will pick up the slack.  Rockets, nuclear engines, or anti-matter drives, will be inexpensive enough, and the commercial opportunities of space (communications, manufacturing, tourism) attractive enough, that we’ll see PanAm space stations and TWA moon bases. 

But it will take government investment first.  The interstate highway, the jet, the rocket, the atomic power plant, all of these developments required massive government spending before they could become commercially sustainable realities. 

Having shown every one of Campbell’s points for the utter nonsense they are, we are left to wonder: What brought on Campbell’s irrational rant?  I think it’s because Campbell, like a lot of Americans, is sore that our country seems to be behind in the Space Race. 

Are we really behind, though?  I count the current operating satellite score at 9 to 0.  Moreover, since 1957, we’ve launched 51 craft into orbit and beyond, the Soviets just 13.  The Discoverer series alone numbers 26, a good half of which were successes.  In other words, the CIA (with the help of the Air Force) has launched as many working flights as the entire Soviet Union!

Much is made of the fact that the Soviets launched the first satellite into orbit.  In fact, the rocket that launched Explorer 1 was ready in 1956, a full year before Sputnik.  Why did Eisenhower wait?  Why didn’t we seize the orbital high ground for a quick propaganda victory?

One: If we had, you can bet the Soviets would have made a stink in the UN about our having “violated” their air space.  By letting the Russians beat us to the prize (by a paltry four months), Ike cleverly sidestepped this fight.

Two: The Soviets used a plainly military missile to launch their first space vehicle.  Ike wanted the first American satellite to be lofted by a (technically) civilian platform.  Had Sputnik never flown, or had it flown six months later, the first American satellite would have been a Vanguard, not an Explorer.  We were more interested in preserving the moral high ground than being first. 

In any event, Sputnik was no surprise.  Both superpowers had announced their intention of flying a satellite in 1957-8.  The Soviets announced their plans for the October 1957 launch two months prior.  We announced our first orbital Vanguard flight would happen by the end of the year.  Sputnik was a great achievement, but it was not a coup.  The Soviet successes in space since then are admirable and should be applauded.  Then they should be assessed in light of our successes. 

It does no good to Chicken Little one’s way to insanity.  And that’s what’s happened to Campbell.  He is not making a rational argument.  He’s not presenting science.  He is throwing a tantrum. 

Analog’s readers deserve better from their “science fact” column.

So let me summarize:

Vanguard was and is a tremendous success.  It’s still working for us today.

Mercury is an orbital program in its suborbital phase.  In a few months, we’ll have an astronaut in orbit.

America’s government-run space programs, all ten plus of them, are doing just fine.

Commercial interests could not and would not have achieved our current successes on their own. 

Analog could use a new editor.

[September 10, 1960] Analog, Part 2 (The October 1960 Analog)

The October 1960 Analog is a surprisingly decent read.  While none of it is literature for the ages (some might argue that the Ashwell-written lead novella is an exception), neither is any of it rough hoeing.  Interestingly, it is an issue devoted almost entirely to sequels.  It works, I think.

The first story after the Ashwell is H.B.Fyfe’s Satellite System, and it’s the best of the three I’ve seen from him thus far.  An interstellar trader is ejected from his ship by hijackers.  But will orbital mechanics allow him to have the last laugh?  I liked the idea that trade between the stars is so expensive that only the exchange of ideas is profitable.

Mack Reynolds offers up the thoughtful and enjoyable Combat.  It’s another of his Cold War stories set in the mid 1970s, a la Revolution and (maybe) Pieces of the Game, where the Soviet Union is ascendant despite all of our current predictions.  It’s not a utopia, mind you, but it’s definitely something of a success story.  In Combat, advanced extraterrestrials appear, and to the West’s consternation, pick Moscow as their first stop. 

What makes this story compelling is the rather even-handed way with which Reynolds portrays Communism and the world behind the Iron Curtain.  There’s a lot of good political discussion, but it never gets too preachy or bogged down, as in some of Heinlein’s work.  Of course, I don’t buy Reynolds’ predictions, even with Jack Kennedy’s recent statement that Sputnik and Lunik were “twin alarm bells in the night.”  Some of Reynolds’ statements don’t even make sense.  For instance, in his story, both superpowers spend half of their GNP on the military.  Fundamentally impossible. 

But it’s worth seeing the tale through to the end, even if that end is a slight let-down.

Randall Garrett, under the name of “Darrel T. Langart,” wrote the next tale: Psichopath.  It’s a direct sequel to What the Left Hand was Doing and features the same psionic secret agency.  This time around, they are investigating what appear to be acts of sabotage at an antigravity research facility.  Given the two-page screed about scientists’ reluctance to acknowledge attacks on cherished scientific axioms (a thinly disguised paean to the much-abused Mr. Dean and his “drive”), I suspect Campbell had a strong hand in its editing.

Wrapping up the fiction is Isaac Asimov’s latest non-fact article on Thiotimoline, the a fictional substance that dissolves in water before its insertion!  Thiotimoline and the Space Age discusses some of the technological advances the substance allows.  For instance one can use it to send messages back in time to determine the success of a space mission or missile launch before it happens.  It’s a cute piece.

Finally, Campbell has yet another report on one of his home science projects.  In this case, it’s an overlong treatise on his attempts to grow crystals called The Self-Repairing Robot.  It would have been nice had he discussed at further length the concept behind the article’s title, that self-repairing crystals could be a pretty neat technological advancement.  Rather, we get to ooh and ahh at the descriptions of brightly colored inorganic growths–accompanied by drab black-and-white photos. 

All in all, its a solid three-star issue.  That’s pretty good for Analog.  Plus, it looks like “Mark Randall” will be back next month with another Malone and Boyd story.  Their last one was pretty good, so there’s something to look forward to. 

In other news, Hurricane Donna has made landfall in Florida.  This massive storm is a serious menace, and the folks at Cape Canaveral are taking no chances.  Both stages of the Atlas Able, which was deployed for a Pioneer Moon lshot ater this month, have been towed to protective hangars.  Antennas and cables have been disconnected from buildings and vehicles.  All of the large transport aircraft based at Patrick Air Force Base departed like a flock of frightened birds.  Their destination was San Salvador and other downrange islands.  The base personnel evacuated the base by noon after securing the hangars.  I understand that they had a harrowing ride back to their Cocoa Beach hotels as blinding rain lashed against their windshields and gusts of wind threatened to knock their cars off the road.

I suspect there will be another rough couple of days, not just for the engineers, but for all the residents of the Eastern seaboard.  Stay safe, my friends. 

Astounding Science Fiction, November 1958 (10-24-1958)

And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for: An actual review of an actual science fiction magazine! 

NOVEMBER 1958, ASTOUNDING SCIENCE FICTION

I usually save Astounding for last among my subscriptions.  I have mixed feelings about this magazine.  On the one hand, it is physically of the lowest quality compared to its competitors (F&SF being easily the highest).  Editor John Campbell, with his ravings about psionics, perpetual motion and Hieronymous machines, as well as his blatant human-chauvinism, is tough to take.  But he has a fine stable of authors, and some of the best stories come out of his magazine.

This issue’s headliner, Poul Anderson’s short novel, “Bicycle Built for Brew,” does not look like it will be among them.  It is the first half of a two-parter set some time in the next century in the Asteroid Belt.  The setting is interesting, and so is the set-up: a renegade faction of an Irish-colonized nation of asteroids has taken over Grendel, a small asteroid under the sovereignty of the “Anglians,” and the crew of the trader, Mercury Girl is stranded until it can find a way out. 

Unfortunately, this is one of those “funny” stories, the kind of which Bob Sheckley is a master and Poul Anderson is not.  Moreover, Anderson phonetically transcribes the exaggerated accents of his multinational cast of characters, which quickly becomes a slog to read.  I had high hopes for Anderson after “Brainwave” (1953), but everything since then has been generally (though not entirely) mediocre to turgid.  It’s all very chauvinistic stuff, too.  More so than most contemporary authors.

“Goliath and the Beanstalk,” by Chris Anvil is forgettable, like all of Anvil’s stuff I’ve read to date.  He and Robert Silverberg are much alike: prolifically generating serviceable, uninspired space-filler.

The next story is by a fellow named Andrew Salmond, a name so unfamiliar to me, that I suspect it is a pseudonym for one of the regular contributors.  “Stimulus” is a mildly interesting yarn about Earth being the one planet in the universe made of contra-terrene matter (also known as anti-matter), and the effect this has on spaceflight and humanity’s future in general.  The gotcha is that the situation was recently imposed upon the Earth–right before our first moon launch, in fact.  Can you guess how the Earth figured out what had happened?  I (he said smugly) did quite early on. 

By the end of the story, humanity is the most powerful race in the galaxy and rather insufferable about it, too.  I’m sure this appealed to Editor Campbell, given his taste (editorial requirement?) for stories where humans are better than everyone else. 

Gordy Dickson’s “Gifts…” is not science fiction at all, and it reads like a screenplay for a short television episode.  It is about a man given the opportunity to wish for whatever he wants, and his decision whether or not to use the power.  Slight stuff.

Katherine MacLean’s “Unhuman Sacrifice” is reason enough to buy this issue.  I had not read much of MacLean’s stuff before, but I will be on the look-out for her stories from now on.  Her tale of a spaceship crew’s encounter with an alien species with a singular life cycle, told from the viewpoint of both the humans and the aliens, is fascinating and haunting.  I won’t spoil it by telling you anything more. 

Asimov’s new science column continues.  This time, it attempts to answer why, in a galaxy filled with billions of suns, Earth has yet to be contacted by alien civilizations.  He ultimately concludes that galactic civilizations are likely to form in the center, where stars are densest, and may well avoid the backward edges, where we live.  He further opines that we may well have been discovered by vastly superior races (for any race that could find us must be far beyond us, at least technologically) and are being left alone so as not to disturb our development.  It’s a cute idea, but it is also indistinguishable from our being undiscovered.  Until the flying saucers announce themselves outside of the deep Ozarks, we have to assume We Really Are Alone.

P. Schuyler Miller’s book review column remains the most comprehensive available.  His comparing and contrasting of Bradbury with Sheckley, Matheson and Beaumont is interesting and arch.  The rest is good, too.

The issue wraps up, as always, with Campbell’s letter column, Brass Tacks.  I skipped it, as always.  Campbell may fill his magazine with fine stories, but I find the quality of his own opinions (like the quality of Astounding’s paper) to be lacking. 

New magazines come out on the 26th.  Stay tuned!

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