GALAXY June and July, 1952 reviewed by T. K-W.

These two issues contain 8 stories and two parts of a serial, the last part coming in the August issue.
The serial will be treated separately.

June: I consider "Luckiest Man in Denv" the best short in this issue. Author Simon Eisner shows one probable outcome of the isolated, self-sustained military installation. (For another, and in my opinion better, probable outcome, see "Specter General" in June 1952 ASF.) Richard Wilson's "The Hoaxters" transplants the "wolf-wolf" story onto the asteroids: "formula" ending, but some interesting scenes. "The Highest Mountain" (Bryce Walton) uses the hypnotic-projection concept, Mars locale - but not anywhere near to the excellence of this theme in Bradbury's "Mars is Heaven." "Orphans of the Void" (Michael Shaara) gives a stock-plot "abandoned robots" theme - with the inevitable ending. Question: Must 99 percent of robot stories (from R.U.R. to Mari Wolf) assume the Asimov "Three Laws"? Or in other words why anthropocentrism? Would the avoidance of this trend in a story make it so very unpalatable to the readers? Was not vV's "Process" a satisfactory proof of the possibility of non-human-centered stories? In my opinion, this issue does not hold to the general high level which has characterized GALAXY from its first issue. It remains, nevertheless, the outstanding magazine in the field.

July:Again, GALAXY fails to hold high the standard. Mark Clifton's "Star, Bright" is a tale in company with "Mimsy were the Borogroves" and with Wilmar Shiras' "In Hiding" and "Opening Doors." The super-children, innocent but far from ignorant, messing around with dimensions. Intriguing, suspenseful. "Shipshape Home" (Richard Matheson) has a suggestive title, a very low cost apartment house but of good quality, and the strangest machinery in the basement ... This is a good 2nd class story. Roger Dee's "Wailing Wall" is a fairly interesting sociological story (GALAXY'S hallmark?) of a homo saps colony which has been enslaved, then abandoned, by aliens. The central govt. sends out exploratory teams to find and report on such colonies. John Wyndham's "Dumb Martian" turns out not so dumb at all! This story, while an intriguing idea, tightly plotted, sharply characterized, smoothly written, failed for me to "come off." Hero-identification was lacking: neither the space-station keeper with his cruelty and callousness, nor the "poor, innocent" Mars-girl really invites much sympathy - at least from me.

Gravy Planet: 1 and 2 of 3: This roaring serial is again of the "sociological" type - utopia - for hucksters. The logical extrapolation of one trend in society with decreased emphasis on the (perhaps) more important aspects of life, forming an hypothetical societal situation. The action is placed within this framework, and concerns itself with the "sweep of events" rather than the characters, as such, except as they are involved and as they are foils for the action. In my opinion, following Mr. Wagner's definition of science-fiction (Rd 18, p.49), this story falls into that category. It moves fast, with continued and heightened suspense. I personally can't wait for the 3d part.

By W.W. Wagner

This is the first issue of this magazine in which the general caliber of the science-fiction exceeds that of the fantasy. In view of the very high literary quality of the stories in THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY & SCIENCE-FICTION, the August issue is quite encouraging to those who believe that science fiction can be favorably compared with other types of contemporary literature.

There are four very good science fiction stories in this issue; "Hobson's Choice", "The Tooth", "Listen", and "The Hour of Letdown">. In order, these stories are excellent treatments of time travel, extra-terrestrial visitors, conflist between man and "inferior races", and the results of creating independent thinking machines.

In addition to these four, there are five other science fiction stories, all far better than the usual run of ASF or GALAXY offerings, but still not top quality. I was particularly disappointed in Boucher's "Nine-Finger Jack". Upon reflection, I think most of my disappointment was due to the fact that this was not another Dr. Verner tale. Then, too, I guessed the ending, and this added to the anti-climactic effect. However, I induced a friend to read the magazine, and he, with virtually no experience in reading science fiction or fantasy picked "Nine-Finger Jack" as the best story in the issue. I can be wrong.

The fantasy stories are an odd mixture. "Proof Positive" and "W.S." are quite poor resurrections that can't have been very interesting even when they were first published. August Derleth contributes another of his vampire series which seems nothing but a rerun of his earlier stories. To balance these there is "Stair Trick" by Mildred Clingerman which more than makes up for the generally poor quality of the fantasy stories.

Last but by no means least, there is a delightful little poem by Leonard Wolf entitled "Note on a Grave Situation" which is one of the best examples of modern poetry that I have read in a long time.


This is one of the poorest issues in months. The only feature worth the price of the magazine is an excellent article on transistors by J.J. Coupling. He presents a concise, not too technical summary of the nature, past history and present development of transistors, in language that practically anyone can understand.

On the fiction side there are four stories that range from mediocre down to stuff that would look bad even in AMAZING. "The Ghost Town" by Donald Kingsbury is almost worthwhile. It concerns the plight of the inhabitants of a military outpost on the Moon which is made obsolete by the establishment of world wide peace. A lot could have been done with this theme, but the continuity of the story is so bad that it is difficult to keep interested.

"The Specter General" and "Ascent Into Chaos" are standard hack science-fiction and typical of the declining standards of ASF. "Blood Bank", by Walter M. Miller is the poorest story that Campbell has published in years, and can be compared only with the worst of the Old Doc Methuselah series.


Reviewed by L. E. Brandt

This little magazine is from England, brother to the magazine New Worlds - or should I say step-child.

One of the s-f stories has already appeared in Amazing, which should give one some idea of the type of material run in Science Fantasy - although that statement may be a little misleading. When I first read the story it was the best in Amazing, whereas, it is about average for this magazine.

Nothing in this issue is particularly bad, or particularly new, but what is worse, nothing is particularly good.

A. Bertram Chandler has a story in which he has modernized the rats used in his excellent "Giant Killer" of some years ago, and although they are not as dangerous as the earlier mutants, neither is the story as startling. Chandler would have been better off had he rested on his laurels.

The whole issue is as weak as watered gruel; the only surprise story in it is one trite piece, peopled with dim characters. However, the ending was not the usual stereotype that was expected; accolades to author Sydney J. Bounds, but the story is hardly worth reading just to be surprised at the end.

Data entry and page scans provided by Judy Bemis

Data entry by Judy Bemis

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