With a grain of salt… (May 1959 Astounding, first half; 4-21-1959)

The penultimate magazine offering this month, at least that has made it into my house for review, is Astounding.  As always, my bar is pretty low with that mag, though last month’s issue made me dare to hope.

In fact, I’m not quite sure how I feel about the May issue.  This may come out rather stream of consciousness, so bear with me!

Gordy Dickson, who has written much I like, starts a new serial this month uninspiringly called Dorsai! I am both enjoying it and somewhat off-put by it.  It’s the story of a young mercenary from a planet whose primary export is mercenaries.  It is written in this sober, manly style, and there is lots of posturing and fighting.  At the center of it all is the sole female character, who is bound by contract to a rather odious fellow, and whom it appears the protagonist is trying to save, somehow.

Story-wise, it’s not really my cup of tea.  Yet it is well written, and I’ve seen enough of Dickson’s work to know that he is facile in a number of styles (i.e. he must be writing this way for a reason) so I’m going to go with it and see where it takes me.  I will send you postcards along the way.

We didn’t do anything wrong, hardly, by Roger Kuykendall (of whom I know nothing) might well be called I didn’t write anything, hardly.  Children build a space ship out of spare parts and snag a Russian satellite.  I guess Campbell is reduced to buying Danny Dunn rejects these days.

(Please note that Mr. Kuykendall has given me permission to distribute his story, but Mr. Campbell has not.  If he expresses his displeasure, I shall let you know.)


by EMSH

Cum Grano Salis isn’t bad.  Of course, I had to get past the distaste that just comes naturally from seeing “Randall Garrett” on the byline (or, in this case, his nom de plume, David Brown).  In this tale, a colonizing team (all men, natch) are stuck on a planet with too few provisions to survive until relief.  All of the food on the planet tests poisonous.  Yet one crewmember, a hypochondriac with a supply of nostrums, manages to eat the local fruit and thrive.  The solution is interesting.

(Again, I have distribution permission from the author, not the editor.)

So that takes me exactly half-way through the magazine, so I will leave the other half (including a rather good tale by George O. Smith) for day-after-tomorrow.  Thanks for reading, and let me know what you think!

(Confused?  Click here for an explanation as to what’s really going on)


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