Writing a column is 50% inspiration and 50% deadline. Normally, I get pleny of ideas for articles from the fiction I read, the movies I watch, the news I hear. But sometimes, nothing seems to spark that desire to put fingertips to typewriter, and I wrack my brain trying to thing of something interesting to convey to my readers (both of you) before the all-powerful deadline sweeps over me.
The problem, ya see, is that the rest of this month’s Galaxy just isnt very good. Nevertheless, it’s all I have to write about.
Robert Silverberg’s Mugwump Four is, like most of his work, strictly mediocre. A poor fellow gets stuck in a temporal and interdimensional war between roly-poly mutants and baseline humans only to find himself in an endless time loop (though the protagonist jumps to that conclusion awfully quickly). About the most noteworthy aspect of the story is the illustration provided by Mad Magazine’s Don Martin. The style is very recognizable.
License to Steal, by Louis Newman, is this month’s “Non-fact” article, Galaxy’s attempt at humor. I wish they’d stop bothering. In summary: alien obtains a License to Steal, abducts an apartment building from Earth, sells its inhabitants off as willing slaves (read “guests”) to a very pleasant family, and then runs into legal troubles.
I did rather enjoy W.T. Haggert’s Lex, about a fellow who invents an automated factory that ultimately develops intelligence and becomes his “wife.” The science behind the invention seems pretty sound (a combination of organic and electronic computing), and I’m happy to see a robot story that doesn’t end in disaster, though this tale’s end is bittersweet.
William Tenn’s The Malted Milk Monster, about a fellow who gets trapped in a deranged girl’s dream world, is suitably horrifying but not terribly rewarding.
Finally, rounding out the issue is Fred Pohl’s The Waging of the Peace, a “funny” story about the dangers of outlawing advertisement in conjunction with building automated factories. I skimmed, truth to tell.
The best part of the latter half of this month’s book was Floyd Gale’s review of Mario Pei’s The Sparrows of Paris, a modern werewolf tale. For those of us who are fans of Pei’s linguistic work, it’s a treat to learn that he also does fiction.
Not that interesting today? My apologies. I’ll be better next time…
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