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27. März 2020


Collected here in this massive one hundred story anthology are more than three hundred thousand words of world class science fiction, fantasy, and horror by some of the greatest writers the field has ever known. Hours and hours of reading enjoyment await!

Jackie Sees a Star by Marion Zimmer Bradley
All Cats are Gray by Andre Norton
Song in a Minor Key by C. L. Moore
Travel Diary by Alfred Bester
Pythias by Frederik Pohl
The Good Neighbors by Edgar Pangborn
The Sound of Silence by Barbara Constant
The Intruder by Emil Petaja
An Ounce of Cure by Alan Edward Nourse
Longevity by Therese Windser
The Ghost of Mohammed Din by Clark Ashton Smith
Of Time and Texas by William F. Nolan
Native Son by Thelma Hamm Evans
Gorgono and Slith by Ray Bradbury
The Eyes Have It by Philip K. Dick
The Putnam Tradition by Sonya Dorman
Gods of the North by Robert E. Howard
Small World by William F. Nolan
Nightmare on the Nose by Evelyn E. Smith
Collector’s Item by Robert F. Young
Crossroads of Destiny by H. Beam Piper
The Hoofer by Walter M. Miller, Jr.
Doorstep by Keith Laumer
The Jovian Jest by Lilith Lorraine
Dream World by R. A. Lafferty
Shatter the Wall by Sydney Van Scyoc
The Big Engine by Fritz Leiber
Misbegotten Missionary by Isaac Asimov
The One and the Many by Milton Lesser
Off Course by Mack Reynolds
The Glory of Ippling by Helen M. Urban
Where There’s Hope by Jerome Bixby
2BR02B by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
Disqualified by Charles L. Fontenay
No Strings Attached by Lester del Rey
Zeritsky’s Law by Ann Griffith
Say Hello for Me by Frank W. Coggins
Navy Day by Harry Harrison
The Undersea Tube by Lucile Taylor Hansen
Probability by Louis Trimble
No Shield from the Dead by Gordon R. Dickson
I’ll Kill You Tomorrow by Helen Huber
The Secret of Kralitz by Henry Kuttner
Never Stop to Pat a Kitten by Miriam Allen deFord
More than Shadow by Dorothy Quick
The Monkey Spoons by Mary Elizabeth Counselman
Witch of the Demon Seas by Poul Anderson
The Piebald Hippogriff by Karen Anderson
The Vampire of Wembley by Edgar Wallace
Riya’s Foundling by Algis Budrys
Ask a Foolish Question by Robert Sheckley
Flight From Tomorrow by H. Beam Piper
Robots of the World! Arise! by Mari Wolf
The Worlds of If by Stanley G. Weinbaum
The Adventurer by C. M. Kornbluth
Decision by Frank M. Robinson
The Waker Dreams by Richard Matheson
A Matter of Proportion by Anne Walker
One-Shot by James Blish
McILVAINE’S Star by August Derleth
The Man with the Nose by Rhoda Broughton
Operation Haystack by Frank Herbert
The Nothing Equation by Tom Godwin
The Man Who Saw the Future by Edmond Hamilton
Common Denominator by John D. MacDonald
The Natives by Katherine MacLEAN
The Lonely by Judith Merril
Happy Ending by Mack Reynolds and Fredric Brown
The Street That Wasn’t There by Clifford D. Simak and Carl Jacobi
Food for Friendship by E. C. Tubb
Half Around Pluto by Manly Wade Wellman
Project Hush by William Tenn
Time Enough At Last by Lynn Venable
Bride of the Dark One by Florence Verbell Brown
The Corpse on the Grating by Hugh B. Cave
The Cosmic Express by Jack Williamson
The Next Logical Step by Ben Bova
They Twinkled like Jewels by Philip José Farmer
Postmark Ganymede by Robert Silverberg
Hot Planet by Hal Clement
The Tenth Scholar by Steve Rasnic Tem and Melanie Tem
A Little Journey by Ray Bradbury
Strain by L. Ron Hubbard
The Time of Cold by Mary Carlson
The Customs Lounge by Annie Proulx
I, Executioner by Ted White and Terry Carr
27. März 2020

Über den Autor

Ray Bradbury (22 August 1920 – 5 June 2012) published some 500 short stories, novels, plays and poems since his first story appeared in Weird Tales when he was twenty years old. Among his many famous works are 'Fahrenheit 451,' 'The Illustrated Man,' and 'The Martian Chronicles.'

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One Hundred - Ray Bradbury

Jackie Sees a Star

by Marion Zimmer Bradley

So you want to hear about the Edwards child? Oh, no, you don’t get by with that one! You can just put on your hat again, and walk right back down those stairs, Mister, We’ve had too many psychologists and debunkers around here, and we don’t want any more.

Oh—you’re from the University? Excuse me, professor. I’m sorry. But if you knew what we’ve put up with, from reporters, and all kinds of crackpots . . . and it isn’t good for Jackie, either. He’s getting awfully spoiled. If you knew how many paddlings I’ve had to give that kid in just this past week.

His mother? Me? Oh, no! No, I’m just Jackie’s aunt. His mother, my sister Beth, works at the Tax Bureau. Jackie’s father died when he was only a week old. You know . . . he’d been in the Big Bombings in ‘64, and he never really got over it. It was pretty awful.

Anyhow, I look after Jackie while my sister works. He’s a good little kid—spoiled, but what kid isn’t, these days?

It was I who heard it first, as a matter of fact. You see I’m around Jackie a lot more than his mother is.

I was making Jackie’s bed one morning when he came up behind me, and grabbed me round the waist, and asked, real serious, "Aunt Dorothy, are the stars really other suns like this one, and do they have planets too?"

I said, Why, sure, Jackie. I thought you knew that.

He gave me a hug. Thanks, Aunt Dorothy. I thought Mig was kidding me.

Who’s Mig? I asked. I knew most of the kids on the block, you see, but there was a new little girl on the corner. I asked, Is she the little Jackson girl?

Jackie said, "Mig isn’t a. girl!" And did he sound disgusted! Besides, he said, Mig doesn’t live ‘round here at all. His name is really Migardolon Domier, but I call him Mig. He doesn’t really talk to me. I mean, just inside my head.

I said, Oh. I laughed a little bit, too, because Jackie isn’t really an imaginative kid. But I guess most kids go through the imaginary-playmate stage. I had one when I was a kid. I called her Bitsy—but anyway, Jackie just ran out to play, and I didn’t think about it again until one day he asked me what a spaceship looked like.

So I took him to see that movie—you know the one Paul Douglas played in about the trip to Mars—but would you believe it, the kid just stuck up his nose.

I mean a real spaceship! he said. "Mig showed me a lot better one than that!"

"So I spoke kind of sharp. You know, I didn’t like him to be rude. And he said, Well, Mig’s father is building a spaceship. It goes all the way across the Gal—the gallazzy, I guess, and goes through—Aunt Dorothy, what’s hyperspace?

Oh, ask Mig what it is, I said, real cross with him. You know how it is when kids act smart.

The next day was Saturday, so Beth was at home with Jackie, and I stayed with Mother. But when I came over Monday morning, she asked me, "Dorrie, where on earth did Jack pick up all this rocketship lingo? And what kind of a phase is this Mig business?"

I told her I’d taken him to see socket mars, and she was quite provoked. Beth still thinks rockets are kind of comicbook stuff, and she gave me a long talk about trashy movies, and getting him too excited, and overstimulating his imagination, and so forth.

Then she gave me the latest developments on this Mig affair. It seemed that Jackie had given with the details. Mig was a little fellow who lived on a planet halfway across the gallazzy, and his father was a rocketship engineer.

Well, you know how kids are about spaceships. Jackie wasn’t quite six, but he’s always been kind of old for his age. That afternoon he started teasing me to take him to the Planetarium. He kept on about it until I finally took him, that evening, after Beth got home.

It was quite late when we left. The stars had all come out, and while we were walking home, I asked him which one of the stars Mig lived on. And, professor, do you know what that child said? He said, "You can’t live on a star, dummy! You’d burn up! He lives on a planet around the star!"

He pointed off toward the north, fidgeted around for a few minutes, and finally said, Well, the sky kind of looks different where Mig lives. But I think it’s up there somewhere, and he pointed into the Big Dipper.

I didn’t encourage the Mig business, but, good gosh, it didn’t need encouraging, I guess it was two or three days later when Jackie told me that Mig’s sun was going to blow up, so his father was building a spaceship, and they were coming here to live.

I kept a straight face. But I couldn’t help wondering what would happen when Jackie got his Mig, so to speak, down to earth. Probably it would just ease the fantasy off into a more normal phase, and it would gradually disappear.

One night in August, Beth wanted to go to a movie with some girls from her office, so I stayed with Jackie. I was reading downstairs when I suddenly heard him bawling upstairs—not very loud, but real unhappy and pitiful.

I ran upstairs and took him up, thinking he’d had a bad dream, and held him, just shaking and trembling, until he finally quieted down to a hiccup now and then.

And then he said, in the unhappiest little voice, "Mig has to leave his—his erling on the planet, to get blowed up with the sun! It’s a little bitty thing like a puppy, but his Daddy says there isn’t any room on the spaceship for it! But he got it for his—well, I guess it was kind of like a birthday—and he wanted to show it to me when he got here!"


I guess the lecture I gave him about imagination had something to do with it, because I didn’t hear any more about Mig for quite some time. He kept Beth posted, though. He even told her when the spaceship was going to take off and when Mig’s sun was going to blow up, or else where we’d see it. I don’t know which. But anyway, he made her mark it down on the Calendar. The fifth of November, it was.

Well, in September I went back to college, and—well, I don’t just talk about—things outside of the family, but my boy friend, Dave, he was almost like one of the family, and this year he’d got a job working with Professor Milliken at the Observatory.

You know Professor Milliken, don’t you? I thought so. I told Dave about this Mig phase of Jackie’s, and one night when Dave was over at Beth’s with me, he got the kid talking about it. He humored the kid a lot. He even took him over to the Observatory and let Jackie look through the big telescope there. And of course Jackie gave Dave all the latest details on Mig.

It seems that this spaceship had already taken off—that was why he hadn’t heard much from Mig lately, because—"Mig’s Daddy sealed him up in a little capsule, so he won’t wake up till they are ‘way out in hyperspace. Because the spaceship will go faster and faster and awful fast, and unless he is sealed up, and asleep, it will hurt him something awful!" And Dave humored Jackie, and talked about acceleration and hyperspace and shortcuts across the Galaxy, and I don’t know what all, and Jackie just sat there and drank it all in as if he understood every word. Dave even wrote down the day when Mig’s sun was supposed to blow up, and promised to keep an eye on it.

Jackie started to kindergarten, of course, about then, and I thought he’d forgotten all about Mig. I didn’t hear anything more for at least six weeks. But one night—I was babysitting for Beth again—the telephone rang, and it was Dave.

Dorothy! Remember Jackie’s little Galactic citizen whose world was supposed to go up in smoke tonight?

I glanced at the calendar. It was November fifth. Now, look here, Dave, I said firmly. You are not going to disillusion the kid like that. He’s forgotten all about the silly business. Besides, he’s in bed.

Well, get him up! said Dave. Dorrie, get a load of this. The biggest supernova I ever saw just exploded in the North. Get Jackie over here! I want to ask him some questions!

He meant it. I could tell that he meant it. I ran upstairs and bundled Jackie up in a blanket—I didn’t even bother to put his clothes on, just a blanket over his pajamas—and took him down to the Observatory in a taxi.

I wish you could have seen the place. Jackie sitting on atable, in his pajamas, telling Professor Milliken all about Migand the spaceship and the little sealed capsule and the erlingand all the rest of it.


I guess you can imagine what a week we went through. Scientists, and reporters, and psychologists and parapsychologists and just plain debunkers. And the crackpots. Oh yes, the crackpots. And then they dug up the records about Jackie’s father.

They couldn’t even let the poor man rest quiet in his grave, and when they found out about the Bombing, they talked about hard radiations and mutations until I darn’ near went crazy, and Beth had to quit her job.

They even talked about telepathy. Just as if Jackie was some kind of a freak. We had to take the poor kid out of kindergarten. He hated that—he was getting so much good out of it. And he enjoyed it so much, having the other children to play with, and painting, and making those cute little baskets, and he’d learned to tell time, and everything.

And then the spaceship landed, and I tell you, we haven’t had a minute’s peace since.

Oh, that’s all right! I was going to call them in for lunch in a few minutes, anyway. "Jackie! Jackie—will you and Mig come in here for a few minutes? A friend of your uncle Dave’s wants to talk to you two boys."

All Cats are Gray

by Andre Norton

Steena of the spaceways—that sounds just like a corny title for one of the Stellar-Vedo spreads. I ought to know, I’ve tried my hand at writing enough of them. Only this Steena was no glamour babe. She was as colorless as a Lunar plant—even the hair netted down to her skull had a sort of grayish cast and I never saw her but once draped in anything but a shapeless and baggy gray space-all.

Steena was strictly background stuff and that is where she mostly spent her free hours—in the smelly smoky background corners of any stellar-port dive frequented by free spacers. If you really looked for her you could spot her—just sitting there listening to the talk—listening and remembering. She didn’t open her own mouth often. But when she did spacers had learned to listen. And the lucky few who heard her rare spoken words—these will never forget Steena.

She drifted from port to port. Being an expert operator on the big calculators she found jobs wherever she cared to stay for a time. And she came to be something like the master-minded machines she tended—smooth, gray, without much personality of her own.

But it was Steena who told Bub Nelson about the Jovan moon-rites—and her warning saved Bub’s life six months later. It was Steena who identified the piece of stone Keene Clark was passing around a table one night, rightly calling it unworked Slitite. That started a rush which made ten fortunes overnight for men who were down to their last jets. And, last of all, she cracked the case of the Empress of Mars.

All the boys who had profited by her queer store of knowledge and her photographic memory tried at one time or another to balance the scales. But she wouldn’t take so much as a cup of Canal water at their expense, let alone the credits they tried to push on her. Bub Nelson was the only one who got around her refusal. It was he who brought her Bat.

About a year after the Jovan affair he walked into the Free Fall one night and dumped Bat down on her table. Bat looked at Steena and growled. She looked calmly back at him and nodded once. From then on they traveled together—the thin gray woman and the big gray tom-cat. Bat learned to know the inside of more stellar bars than even most spacers visit in their lifetimes. He developed a liking for Vernal juice, drank it neat and quick, right out of a glass. And he was always at home on any table where Steena elected to drop him.

This is really the story of Steena, Bat, Cliff Moran and the Empress of Mars, a story which is already a legend of the spaceways. And it’s a damn good story too. I ought to know, having framed the first version of it myself.

For I was there, right in the Rigel Royal, when it all began on the night that Cliff Moran blew in, looking lower than an antman’s belly and twice as nasty. He’d had a spell of luck foul enough to twist a man into a slug-snake and we all knew that there was an attachment out for his ship. Cliff had fought his way up from the back courts of Venaport. Lose his ship and he’d slip back there—to rot. He was at the snarling stage that night when he picked out a table for himself and set out to drink away his troubles.

However, just as the first bottle arrived, so did a visitor. Steena came out of her corner, Bat curled around her shoulders stole-wise, his favorite mode of travel. She crossed over and dropped down without invitation at Cliff’s side. That shook him out of his sulks. Because Steena never chose company when she could be alone. If one of the man-stones on Ganymede had come stumping in, it wouldn’t have made more of us look out of the corners of our eyes.

She stretched out one long-fingered hand and set aside the bottle he had ordered and said only one thing, "It’s about time for the Empress of Mars to appear again."

Cliff scowled and bit his lip. He was tough, tough as jet lining—you have to be granite inside and out to struggle up from Venaport to a ship command. But we could guess what was running through his mind at that moment. The Empress of Mars was just about the biggest prize a spacer could aim for. But in the fifty years she had been following her queer derelict orbit through space many men had tried to bring her in—and none had succeeded.

A pleasure-ship carrying untold wealth, she had been mysteriously abandoned in space by passengers and crew, none of whom had ever been seen or heard of again. At intervals thereafter she had been sighted, even boarded. Those who ventured into her either vanished or returned swiftly without any believable explanation of what they had seen—wanting only to get away from her as quickly as possible. But the man who could bring her in—or even strip her clean in space—that man would win the jackpot.

All right! Cliff slammed his fist down on the table. I’ll try even that!

Steena looked at him, much as she must have looked at Bat the day Bub Nelson brought him to her, and nodded. That was all I saw. The rest of the story came to me in pieces, months later and in another port half the System away.

Cliff took off that night. He was afraid to risk waiting—with a writ out that could pull the ship from under him. And it wasn’t until he was in space that he discovered his passengers—Steena and Bat. We’ll never know what happened then. I’m betting that Steena made no explanation at all. She wouldn’t.

It was the first time she had decided to cash in on her own tip and she was there—that was all. Maybe that point weighed with Cliff, maybe he just didn’t care. Anyway the three were together when they sighted the Empress riding, her dead-lights gleaming, a ghost ship in night space.

She must have been an eerie sight because her other lights were on too, in addition to the red warnings at her nose. She seemed alive, a Flying Dutchman of space. Cliff worked his ship skillfully alongside and had no trouble in snapping magnetic lines to her lock. Some minutes later the three of them passed into her. There was still air in her cabins and corridors. Air that bore a faint corrupt taint which set Bat to sniffing greedily and could be picked up even by the less sensitive human nostrils.

Cliff headed straight for the control cabin but Steena and Bat went prowling. Closed doors were a challenge to both of them and Steena opened each as she passed, taking a quick look at what lay within. The fifth door opened on a room which no woman could leave without further investigation.

I don’t know who had been housed there when the Empress left port on her last lengthy cruise. Anyone really curious can check back on the old photo-reg cards. But there was a lavish display of silks trailing out of two travel kits on the floor, a dressing table crowded with crystal and jeweled containers, along with other lures for the female which drew Steena in. She was standing in front of the dressing table when she glanced into the mirror—glanced into it and froze.

Over her right shoulder she could see the spider-silk cover on the bed. Right in the middle of that sheer, gossamer expanse was a sparkling heap of gems, the dumped contents of some jewel case. Bat had jumped to the foot of the bed and flattened out as cats will, watching those gems, watching them and—something else!

Steena put out her hand blindly and caught up the nearest bottle. As she unstoppered it she watched the mirrored bed. A gemmed bracelet rose from the pile, rose in the air and tinkled its siren song. It was as if an idle hand played.... Bat spat almost noiselessly. But he did not retreat. Bat had not yet decided his course.

She put down the bottle. Then she did something which perhaps few of the men she had listened to through the years could have done. She moved without hurry or sign of disturbance on a tour about the room. And, although she approached the bed she did not touch the jewels. She could not force herself to that. It took her five minutes to play out her innocence and unconcern. Then it was Bat who decided the issue.

He leaped from the bed and escorted something to the door, remaining a careful distance behind. Then he mewed loudly twice. Steena followed him and opened the door wider.

Bat went straight on down the corridor, as intent as a hound on the warmest of scents. Steena strolled behind him, holding her pace to the unhurried gait of an explorer. What sped before them both was invisible to her but Bat was never baffled by it.

They must have gone into the control cabin almost on the heels of the unseen—if the unseen had heels, which there was good reason to doubt—for Bat crouched just within the doorway and refused to move on. Steena looked down the length of the instrument panels and officers’ station-seats to where Cliff Moran worked. On the heavy carpet her boots made no sound and he did not glance up but sat humming through set teeth as he tested the tardy and reluctant responses to buttons which had not been pushed in years.

To human eyes they were alone in the cabin. But Bat still followed a moving something with his gaze. And it was something which he had at last made up his mind to distrust and dislike. For now he took a step or two forward and spat—his loathing made plain by every raised hair along his spine. And in that same moment Steena saw a flicker—a flicker of vague outline against Cliff’s hunched shoulders as if the invisible one had crossed the space between them.

But why had it been revealed against Cliff and not against the back of one of the seats or against the panels, the walls of the corridor or the cover of the bed where it had reclined and played with its loot? What could Bat see?

The storehouse memory that had served Steena so well through the years clicked open a half-forgotten door. With one swift motion she tore loose her spaceall and flung the baggy garment across the back of the nearest seat.

Bat was snarling now, emitting the throaty rising cry that was his hunting song. But he was edging back, back toward Steena’s feet, shrinking from something he could not fight but which he faced defiantly. If he could draw it after him, past that dangling spaceall.... He had to—it was their only chance.

What the.... Cliff had come out of his seat and was staring at them.

What he saw must have been weird enough. Steena, bare-armed and shouldered, her usually stiffly-netted hair falling wildly down her back, Steena watching empty space with narrowed eyes and set mouth, calculating a single wild chance. Bat, crouched on his belly, retreating from thin air step by step and wailing like a demon.

Toss me your blaster. Steena gave the order calmly—as if they still sat at their table in the Rigel Royal.

And as quietly Cliff obeyed. She caught the small weapon out of the air with a steady hand—caught and leveled it.

Stay just where you are! she warned. Back, Bat, bring it back!

With a last throat-splitting screech of rage and hate, Bat twisted to safety between her boots. She pressed with thumb and forefinger, firing at the spacealls. The material turned to powdery flakes of ash—except for certain bits which still flapped from the scorched seat—as if something had protected them from the force of the blast. Bat sprang straight up in the air with a scream that tore their ears.

What...? began Cliff again.

Steena made a warning motion with her left hand. "Wait!"

She was still tense, still watching Bat. The cat dashed madly around the cabin twice, running crazily with white-ringed eyes and flecks of foam on his muzzle. Then he stopped abruptly in the doorway, stopped and looked back over his shoulder for a long silent moment. He sniffed delicately.

Steena and Cliff could smell it too now, a thick oily stench which was not the usual odor left by an exploding blaster-shell.

Bat came back, treading daintily across the carpet, almost on the tips of his paws. He raised his head as he passed Steena and then he went confidently beyond to sniff, to sniff and spit twice at the unburned strips of the spaceall. Having thus paid his respects to the late enemy he sat down calmly and set to washing his fur with deliberation. Steena sighed once and dropped into the navigator’s seat.

Maybe now you’ll tell me what in the hell’s happened? Cliff exploded as he took the blaster out of her hand.

Gray, she said dazedly, it must have been gray—or I couldn’t have seen it like that. I’m colorblind, you see. I can see only shades of gray—my whole world is gray. Like Bat’s—his world is gray too—all gray. But he’s been compensated for he can see above and below our range of color vibrations and—apparently—so can I!

Her voice quavered and she raised her chin with a new air Cliff had never seen before—a sort of proud acceptance. She pushed back her wandering hair, but she made no move to imprison it under the heavy net again.

"That is why I saw the thing when it crossed between us. Against your spaceall it was another shade of gray—an outline. So I put out mine and waited for it to show against that—it was our only chance, Cliff.

It was curious at first, I think, and it knew we couldn’t see it—which is why it waited to attack. But when Bat’s actions gave it away it moved. So I waited to see that flicker against the spaceall and then I let him have it. It’s really very simple....

Cliff laughed a bit shakily. "But what was this gray thing? I don’t get it."

"I think it was what made the Empress a derelict. Something out of space, maybe, or from another world somewhere. She waved her hands. It’s invisible because it’s a color beyond our range of sight. It must have stayed in here all these years. And it kills—it must—when its curiosity is satisfied." Swiftly she described the scene in the cabin and the strange behavior of the gem pile which had betrayed the creature to her.

Cliff did not return his blaster to its holder. Any more of them on board, d’you think? He didn’t look pleased at the prospect.

Steena turned to Bat. He was paying particular attention to the space between two front toes in the process of a complete bath. I don’t think so. But Bat will tell us if there are. He can see them clearly, I believe.

But there weren’t any more and two weeks later Cliff, Steena and Bat brought the Empress into the Lunar quarantine station. And that is the end of Steena’s story because, as we have been told, happy marriages need no chronicles. And Steena had found someone who knew of her gray world and did not find it too hard to share with her—someone besides Bat. It turned out to be a real love match.

The last time I saw her she was wrapped in a flame-red cloak from the looms of Rigel and wore a fortune in Jovan rubies blazing on her wrists. Cliff was flipping a three-figure credit bill to a waiter. And Bat had a row of Vernal juice glasses set up before him. Just a little family party out on the town.

Song in a Minor Key

by C. L. Moore

He had been promising himself this moment for how many lonely months and years on alien worlds?

Beneath him the clovered hill-slope was warm in the sun. Northwest Smith moved his shoulders against the earth and closed his eyes, breathing so deeply that the gun bolstered upon his chest drew tight against its strap as he drank the fragrance of Earth and clover warm in the sun. Here in the hollow of the hills, willow-shaded, pillowed upon clover and the lap of Earth, he let his breath run out in a long sigh and drew one palm across the grass in a caress like a lover's.

He had been promising himself this moment for how long—how many months and years on alien worlds? He would not think of it now. He would not remember the dark spaceways or the red slag of Martian drylands or the pearlgray days on Venus when he had dreamed of the Earth that had outlawed him. So he lay, with his eyes closed and the sunlight drenching him through, no sound in his ears but the passage of a breeze through the grass and a creaking of some insect nearby—the violent, blood-smelling years behind him might never have been. Except for the gun pressed into his ribs between his chest and the clovered earth, he might be a boy again, years upon years ago, long before he had broken his first law or killed his first man.

No one else alive now knew who that boy had been. Not even the all-knowing Patrol. Not even Venusian Yarol, who had been his closest friend for so many riotous years. No one would ever know—now. Not his name (which had not always been Smith) or his native land or the home that had bred him, or the first violent deed that had sent him down the devious.paths which led here—here to the clover hollow in the hills of an Earth that had forbidden him ever to set foot again upon her soil.

He unclasped the hands behind his head and rolled over to lay a scarred cheek on his arm, smiling to himself. Well, here was Earth beneath him. No longer a green star high in alien skies, but warm soil, new clover so near his face he could see all the little stems and trefoil leaves, moist earth granular at their roots. An ant ran by with waving antennae close beside his cheek. He closed his eyes and drew another deep breath. Better not even look; better to lie here like an animal, absorbing the sun and the feel of Earth blindly, wordlessly.

Now he was not Northwest Smith, scarred outlaw of the spaceways. Now he was a boy again with all his life before him. There would be a white-columned house just over the hill, with shaded porches and white curtains blowing in the breeze and the sound of sweet, familiar voices indoors. There would be a girl with hair like poured honey hesitating just inside the door, lifting her eyes to him. Tears in the eyes. He lay very still, remembering.

Curious how vividly it all came back, though the house had been ashes for nearly twenty years, and the girl—the girl . . .

He foiled over violently, opening his eyes. No use remembering her. There had been that fatal flaw in him from the very first, he knew now. If he were the boy again knowing all he knew today, still the flaw would be there and sooner or later the same thing must have happened that had happened

twenty years ago. He had been born for a wilder age, when man took what they wanted and held what they could without respect for law. Obedience was not in him, and so—

As vividly as on that day it happened he felt the same old surge of anger and despair twenty years old now, felt the ray-gun bucking hard against his unaccustomed fist, heard the hiss of its deadly charge ravening into a face he hated. He could not be sorry, even now, for that first man he had killed. But in the smoke of that killing had gone up the columned house and the future he might have had, the boy himself— lost as Atlantis now—and the girl with the honey-colored hair and much, much else besides. It had to happen, he knew. He being the boy he was, it had to happen. Even if he could go back and start all over, the tale would be the same.

And it was all long past now, anyhow; and nobody remembered any more at all, except himself. A man would be a fool to lie here thinking about it any longer.

Smith grunted and sat up, shrugging the gun into place against his ribs.

Travel Diary

by Alfred Bester

By the end of the Twenty-second century, and at a cost of lives and money exceeding that of the final World War, communication between the planets of the solar system was finally established.

History of Solar Cities

John W. Lackland


June 10. Venus. Staying at the Excelsior. Everybody speaks English so no trouble at all. But they simply have no idea how to make Martinis. Nuisance. Went to that marvelous dressmaker Linda told me about. Bought five divine creations for practically peanuts. Tom said: Exchange favors us. I said: What means? Tom: Our dollars buy more here than home. Self: Then why can’t buy six gowns? Tom: "Doesn’t favor us that much." But I notice he bought another camera. Pig!

Ran into the Trumbulls and the Rogers. Took us to a marvelous bistro where Clyde Pippin from the old Key Club is playing. Love his songs. Love that man. Tom too embarrassing adding up check with pencil. It’s true they all cheat us, but why can’t he show them we don’t give a D— Mars and Saturn next. Then Alpha Centaurus.


Speed was the one barrier to practical communication with the planetary systems of the far stars. When faster-than-light propulsion was at last developed after centuries of research, it became possible to travel to the far stars within weeks rather than years.

Development of Galactic Travel

Ezra Coudert


July 19. Alpha Centaurus. Staying at the Excelsior. Everybody speaks English so no trouble at all. But can’t drink the water. Nuisance. Went to that marvelous lace man Linda told me about. Bought five yards for practically peanuts.

People here too dirty and positively amoral. Disgusting. And rude? ! ! ! ! Tom took pictures of some kind of silly ceremony. People began screaming at us. Tried to steal T’s camera. Official came along and jabbered in broken English. They say no more take, please. Break. Tom: Break what? Official: Religious. Sacred. No take look-see. Break. Tom: You got the nerve to tell me that clowning is religion? Official: Yes, please. (Pointing to camera) Give, please. Must break please. Tom: (to me) How about that for nerve? Give them my four-hundred-dollar camera to bust just because it’s taken a few religious pictures. Self: If it’s good enough for Notre Dame, it’s good enough for them. Tom gave them some money and we left.

Ran into the Trumbulls and Rogers. Took them to a marvelous bistro where Clyde Pippin is playing now. Made me homesick to hear the old Key Klub tunes. Love that man. Tom too funny pretending to be visiting dignitary. Said was famous Senator from Saturn. Said was here investigating. Scared them all to death. Laugh? I tho’t I’d die! Betelgeuse next.


Conflicting cultures brought about inevitable clashes which culminated in the Great Galactic War. Betelgeuse, bankrupt and desperate, attempted a costly and controversial experiment. The government was overthrown and a one-party business despotism established under the leadership of an economic dictator.

The Political Economy of Space

Arthur Raskober


July 23. Betelgeuse. Staying at the Excelsior. Everybody speaks English, so very convenient. Can’t understand talk about poverty and shortages here. Not true. Food marvelous. Plenty cream, butter, eggs, etc., here in hotel. Not true about unhappiness. All waiters, maids, etc. in hotel cheerful and smiling. And Mudinna certainly has made the planes run on time.

Went to that marvelous beautician Linda told me about. Took all my courage in both hands and cut my hair. Tres chic but was afraid to show Tom. When he finally saw, furious! ! ! Said made me look like a d—ed foreigner. He’ll get used to it.

Ran into the Trumbulls and Rogers. We all went to a marvelous bistro where Clyde Pippin is playing. Love that man! After two months travel finally became cosmopolitan enough to introduce myself to him. Something would never have dared before. Now, was tremendously poised. Said: Mr. Pippin, admired you for twenty years. Ever since was child. He: Thanks honey. Self: "Always adored the way you sang Tree Top. He: No, that’s Charley Hoyt’s number. I never sing it, honey. Self: Well I never asked Charley Hoyt for his autograph, but I’m asking you." I was too sophisticated.

Leave for Andromeda tomorrow. Very excited. Will be high spot of entire trip.


Perhaps the most amazing incident in the course of the exploration of space was the discovery that time-travel had already been developed in Andromeda. Permission for limited use by scientists, historians and students was granted in 2754.

The Exploration of Time

Stark Robinson


August 1. Andromeda. Staying at the Excelsior. Everybody speaks English divinely. Tom and self to authorities armed with letters from Chamber of Commerce, N.A.M., Senator Wilkins, and Joe Cates whose nephew practically runs the State Dept. We wanted time-trip. They said no, not for tourists. Too expensive, only for study. Tom finally laid down the law, told a few lies and made a few threats. They said yes. You have to be firm with these eggheads.

Tom picked Sept. 5, 1665 in London. Self: Why? Tom: Because is date of Great Fire that destroyed London. Always dreamed about. Always wanted to see.: Self: Don’t be childish. A fire’s a fire. Want to see Marie Antionette’s clothes. Tom: No. I swung it. So we see what I want." Selfish! Had to exchange money for Seventeenth century money. Had to wear old Seventeenth century clothes. Not properly cleaned, I tho’t. Almost didn’t go.

Was right. Fire is just a fire. But bought some heavenly silver and china and ten place-settings of divine flatware. Also tea set. Tom couldn’t complain for once. He bought six swords and a helmet for the rumpus room decorations. Funniest thing about the trip is fact that we could hardly understand the people there. In 1665 they couldn’t speak their own English.

Next week, home!


Faster-than-light speed while travelling through the universe produces a physical paradox. Although the traveler is conscious of the passage of time within the space ship (Subjective Time), actually he is being transported so rapidly that the trip seems to have taken no time at all to the rest of the world. (Objective Time). In other words, a space ship leaves Andromeda on August 1, bound for earth. It is August 1 when the ship arrives. No time has elapsed in the universe. But on board the ship, travelling at faster-than-light speed, seven days have elapsed.

Paradoxes of Space Travel

Oliver Nielson


August 20. Home. Although is August 20 in this diary, is actually only June 14 here on earth. Can not get used to Subj. and Obj. time. Have been gone three months by our counting, but only 14 days by earth’s counting. Hate this. Makes me feel as if I’d never left home.

Distributed all gifts we brought back. Linda was imposs. Insists she told me get her a Shocking Pink peignoir on Callisto. Not Powder Blue. That’s a D—ed lie and she knows it. She can’t wear Shocking with her hair. Tom furious. Forgot to take lens cap off new camera when photographing Great Fire. All pictures blank. Now nobody believes he was important enough to wangle time-trip.

The Trumbulls and the Rogers called. Want us to get together and have reunion. Suggested the new Kolony Klub. Clyde Pippin there with his marvelous act. Dying to go, but had to refuse. Too exhausted. The universe is a great place to visit, but I’d sure hate to live there.


by Frederik Pohl

Sure, Larry Connaught saved my life—but it was how he did it that forced me to murder him!

I am sitting on the edge of what passes for a bed. It is made of loosely woven strips of steel, and there is no mattress, only an extra blanket of thin olive-drab. It isn’t comfortable; but of course they expect to make me still more uncomfortable.

They expect to take me out of this precinct jail to the District prison and eventually to the death house.

Sure, there will be a trial first, but that is only a formality. Not only did they catch me with the smoking gun in my hand and Connaught bubbling to death through the hole in his throat, but I admitted it.

I—knowing what I was doing, with, as they say, malice aforethought —deliberately shot to death Laurence Connaught.

They execute murderers. So they mean to execute me.

Especially because Laurence Connaught had saved my life.

Well, there are extenuating circumstances. I do not think they would convince a jury.

Connaught and I were close friends for years. We lost touch during the war. We met again in Washington, a few years after the war was over. We had, to some extent, grown apart; he had become a man with a mission. He was working very hard on something and he did not choose to discuss his work and there was nothing else in his life on which to form a basis for communication. And—well, I had my own life, too. It wasn’t scientific research in my case—I flunked out of med school, while he went on. I’m not ashamed of it; it is nothing to be ashamed of. I simply was not able to cope with the messy business of carving corpses. I didn’t like it, I didn’t want to do it, and when I was forced to do it, I did it badly. So—I left.

Thus I have no string of degrees, but you don’t need them in order to be a Senate guard.


Does that sound like a terribly impressive career to you? Of course not; but I liked it. The Senators are relaxed and friendly when the guards are around, and you learn wonderful things about what goes on behind the scenes of government. And a Senate guard is in a position to do favors—for newspapermen, who find a lead to a story useful; for government officials, who sometimes base a whole campaign on one careless, repeated remark; and for just about anyone who would like to be in the visitors’ gallery during a hot debate.

Larry Connaught, for instance. I ran into him on the street one day, and we chatted for a moment, and he asked if it was possible to get him in to see the upcoming foreign relations debate. It was; I called him the next day and told him I had arranged for a pass. And he was there, watching eagerly with his moist little eyes, when the Secretary got up to speak and there was that sudden unexpected yell, and the handful of Central American fanatics dragged out their weapons and began trying to change American policy with gunpowder.

You remember the story, I suppose. There were only three of them, two with guns, one with a hand grenade. The pistol men managed to wound two Senators and a guard. I was right there, talking to Connaught. I spotted the little fellow with the hand grenade and tackled him. I knocked him down, but the grenade went flying, pin pulled, seconds ticking away. I lunged for it. Larry Connaught was ahead of me.

The newspaper stories made heroes out of both of us. They said it was miraculous that Larry, who had fallen right on top of the grenade, had managed to get it away from himself and so placed that when it exploded no one was hurt.

For it did go off—and the flying steel touched nobody. The papers mentioned that Larry had been knocked unconscious by the blast. He was unconscious, all right.

He didn’t come to for six hours and when he woke up, he spent the next whole day in a stupor.

I called on him the next night. He was glad to see me.

That was a close one, Dick, he said. Take me back to Tarawa.

I said, I guess you saved my life, Larry.

Nonsense, Dick! I just jumped. Lucky, that’s all.

The papers said you were terrific. They said you moved so fast, nobody could see exactly what happened.

He made a deprecating gesture, but his wet little eyes were wary. Nobody was really watching, I suppose.

I was watching, I told him flatly.

He looked at me silently for a moment.

I was between you and the grenade, I said. You didn’t go past me, over me, or through me. But you were on top of the grenade.

He started to shake his head.

I said, "Also, Larry, you fell on the grenade. It exploded underneath you. I know, because I was almost on top of you, and it blew you clear off the floor of the gallery. Did you have a bulletproof vest on?"


He cleared his throat. Well, as a matter of—

Cut it out, Larry! What’s the answer?

He took off his glasses and rubbed his watery eyes. He grumbled, Don’t you read the papers? It went off a yard away.

Larry, I said gently, I was there.

He slumped back in his chair, staring at me. Larry Connaught was a small man, but he never looked smaller than he did in that big chair, looking at me as though I were Mr. Nemesis himself.

Then he laughed. He surprised me; he sounded almost happy. He said, Well, hell, Dick—I had to tell somebody about it sooner or later. Why not you?

I can’t tell you all of what he said. I’ll tell most of it—but not the part that matters.

I’ll never tell that part to anybody.

Larry said, I should have known you’d remember. He smiled at me ruefully, affectionately. Those bull sessions in the cafeterias, eh? Talking all night about everything. But you remembered.

You claimed that the human mind possessed powers of psychokinesis, I said. You argued that just by the mind, without moving a finger or using a machine, a man could move his body anywhere, instantly. You said that nothing was impossible to the mind.

I felt like an absolute fool saying those things; they were ridiculous notions. Imagine a man thinking himself from one place to another! But—I had been on that gallery.

I licked my lips and looked to Larry Connaught for confirmation.

I was all wet, Larry laughed. Imagine!

I suppose I showed surprise, because he patted my shoulder.

He said, becoming sober, Sure, Dick, you’re wrong, but you’re right all the same. The mind alone can’t do anything of the sort—that was just a silly kid notion. But, he went on, "but there are—well, techniques—linking the mind to physical forces—simple physical forces that we all use every day—that can do it all. Everything! Everything I ever thought of and things I haven’t found out yet.

Fly across the ocean? In a second, Dick! Wall off an exploding bomb? Easily! You saw me do it. Oh, it’s work. It takes energy—you can’t escape natural law. That was what knocked me out for a whole day. But that was a hard one; it’s a lot easier, for instance, to make a bullet miss its target. It’s even easier to lift the cartridge out of the chamber and put it in my pocket, so that the bullet can’t even be fired. Want the Crown Jewels of England? I could get them, Dick!

I asked, Can you see the future?

He frowned. That’s silly. This isn’t supersti—

How about reading minds?


Larry’s expression cleared. Oh, you’re remembering some of the things I said years ago. No, I can’t do that either, Dick. Maybe, some day, if I keep working at this thing— Well, I can’t right now. There are things I can do, though, that are just as good.

Show me something you can do, I asked.

He smiled. Larry was enjoying himself; I didn’t begrudge it to him. He had hugged this to himself for years, from the day he found his first clue, through the decade of proving and experimenting, almost always being wrong, but always getting closer... He needed to talk about it. I think he was really glad that, at last, someone had found him out.

He said, Show you something? Why, let’s see, Dick. He looked around the room, then winked. See that window?

I looked. It opened with a slither of wood and a rumble of sash weights. It closed again.

The radio, said Larry. There was a click and his little set turned itself on. Watch it.

It disappeared and reappeared.

It was on top of Mount Everest, Larry said, panting a little.

The plug on the radio’s electric cord picked itself up and stretched toward the baseboard socket, then dropped to the floor again.

No, said Larry, and his voice was trembling, I’ll show you a hard one. Watch the radio, Dick. I’ll run it without plugging it in! The electrons themselves—

He was staring intently at the little set. I saw the dial light go on, flicker, and hold steady; the —speaker began to make scratching noises. I stood up, right behind Larry, right over him.

I used the telephone on the table beside him. I caught him right beside the ear and he folded over without a murmur. Methodically, I hit him twice more, and then I was sure he wouldn’t wake up for at least an hour. I rolled him over and put the telephone back in its cradle.

I ransacked his apartment. I found it in his desk: All his notes. All the information. The secret of how to do the things he could do.

I picked up the telephone and called the Washington police. When I heard the siren outside, I took out my service revolver and shot him in the throat. He was dead before they came in.


For, you see, I knew Laurence Connaught. We were friends. I would have trusted him with my life. But this was more than just a life.

Twenty-three words told how to do the things that Laurence Connaught did. Anyone who could read could do them. Criminals, traitors, lunatics--the formula would work for anyone.

Laurence Connaught was an honest man and an idealist, I think. But what would happen to any man when he became God? Suppose you were told twenty-three words that would let you reach into any bank vault, peer inside any closed room, walk through any wall? Suppose pistols could not kill you?

They say power corrupts; and absolute power corrupts absolutely. And there can be no more absolute power than the twenty-three words that can free a man of any jail or give him anything he wants. Larry was my friend. But I killed him in cold blood, knowing what I did, because he could not be trusted with the secret that could make him king of the world.

But I can.

The Good Neighbors

by Edgar Pangborn

The ship was sighted a few times, briefly and without a good fix. It was spherical, the estimated diameter about twenty-seven miles, and was in an orbit approximately 3400 miles from the surface of the Earth. No one observed the escape from it.

The ship itself occasioned some excitement, but back there at the tattered end of the 20th century, what was one visiting spaceship more or less? Others had appeared before, and gone away discouraged—or just not bothering. 3-dimensional TV was coming out of the experimental stage. Soon anyone could have Dora the Doll or the Grandson of Tarzan smack in his own living-room. Besides, it was a hot summer.

The first knowledge of the escape came when the region of Seattle suffered an eclipse of the sun, which was not an eclipse but a near shadow, which was not a shadow but a thing. The darkness drifted out of the northern Pacific. It generated thunder without lightning and without rain. When it had moved eastward and the hot sun reappeared, wind followed, a moderate gale. The coast was battered by sudden high waves, then hushed in a bewilderment of fog.

Before that appearance, radar had gone crazy for an hour.

The atmosphere buzzed with aircraft. They went up in readiness to shoot, but after the first sighting reports only a few miles offshore, that order was vehemently canceled—someone in charge must have had a grain of sense. The thing was not a plane, rocket or missile. It was an animal.

If you shoot an animal that resembles an inflated gas-bag with wings, and the wingspread happens to be something over four miles tip to tip, and the carcass drops on a city—it’s not nice for the city.

The Office of Continental Defense deplored the lack of precedent. But actually none was needed. You just don’t drop four miles of dead or dying alien flesh on Seattle or any other part of a swarming homeland. You wait till it flies out over the ocean, if it will—the most commodious ocean in reach. *It, or rather she, didn’t go back over the Pacific, perhaps because of the prevailing westerlies. After the Seattle incident she climbed to a great altitude above the Rockies, apparently using an updraft with very little wing-motion. There was no means of calculating her weight, or mass, or buoyancy. Dead or injured, drift might have carried her anywhere within one or two hundred miles. Then she seemed to be following the line of the Platte and the Missouri. By the end of the day she was circling interminably over the huge complex of St. Louis, hopelessly crying.

She had a head, drawn back most of the time into the bloated mass of the body but thrusting forward now and then on a short neck not more than three hundred feet in length. When she did that the blunt turtle-like head could be observed, the gaping, toothless, suffering mouth from which the thunder came, and the soft-shining purple eyes that searched the ground but found nothing answering her need. The skin-color was mud-brown with some dull iridescence and many peculiar marks resembling weals or blisters. Along the belly some observers saw half a mile of paired protuberances that looked like teats.

She was unquestionably the equivalent of a vertebrate. Two web-footed legs were drawn up close against the cigar-shaped body. The vast, rather narrow, inflated wings could not have been held or moved in flight without a strong internal skeleton and musculature. Theorists later argued that she must have come from a planet with a high proportion of water surface, a planet possibly larger than Earth though of about the same mass and with a similar atmosphere. She could rise in Earth’s air. And before each thunderous lament she was seen to breathe.

It was assumed that immense air sacs within her body were inflated or partly inflated when she left the ship, possibly with some gas lighter than nitrogen. Since it was inconceivable that a vertebrate organism could have survived entry into atmosphere from an orbit 3400 miles up, it was necessary to believe that the ship had briefly descended, unobserved and by unknown means, probably on Earth’s night-side. Later on the ship did descend as far as atmosphere, for a moment...

St. Louis was partly evacuated. There is no reliable estimate of the loss of life and property from panic and accident on the jammed roads and rail lines. 1500 dead, 7400 injured is the conservative figure. *After a night and a day she abandoned that area, flying heavily eastward. The droning and swooping gnats of aircraft plainly distressed her. At first she had only tried to avoid them, but now and then during her eastward flight from St. Louis she made short desperate rushes against them, without skill or much sign of intelligence, screaming from a wide-open mouth that could have swallowed a four-engine bomber. Two aircraft were lost over Cincinnati, by collision with each other in trying to get out of her way. Pilots were then ordered to keep a distance of not less than ten miles until such time as she reached the Atlantic—if she did—when she could safely be shot down.

She studied Chicago for a day.

By that time Civil Defense was better prepared. About a million residents had already fled to open country before she came, and the loss of life was proportionately smaller. She moved on. We have no clue to the reason why great cities should have attracted her, though apparently they did. She was hungry perhaps, or seeking help, or merely drawn in animal curiosity by the endless motion of the cities and the strangeness. It has even been suggested that the life forms of her homeland—her masters—resembled humanity. She moved eastward, and religious organizations united to pray that she would come down on one of the lakes where she could safely be destroyed. She didn’t.

She approached Pittsburgh, choked and screamed and flew high, and soared in weary circles over Buffalo for a day and a night. Some pilots who had followed the flight from the West Coast claimed that the vast lamentation of her voice was growing fainter and hoarser while she was drifting along the line of the Mohawk Valley. She turned south, following the Hudson at no great height. Sometimes she appeared to be choking, the labored inhalations harsh and prolonged, like a cloud in agony.

When she was over Westchester, headquarters tripled the swarm of interceptors and observation planes. Squadrons from Connecticut and southern New Jersey deployed to form a monstrous funnel, the small end before her, the large end pointing out to open sea. Heavy bombers closed in above, laying a smoke screen at 10,000 feet to discourage her from rising. The ground shook with the drone of jets, and with her crying.

Multitudes had abandoned the metropolitan area. Other multitudes trusted to the subways, to the narrow street canyons and to the strength of concrete and steel. Others climbed to a thousand high places and watched, trusting the laws of chance.

She passed over Manhattan in the evening—between 8:14 and 8:27 P.M., July 16, 1976—at an altitude of about 2000 feet. She swerved away from the aircraft that blanketed Long Island and the Sound, swerved again as the southern group buzzed her instead of giving way. She made no attempt to rise into the sun-crimsoned terror of drifting smoke.

The plan was intelligent. It should have worked, but for one fighter pilot who jumped the gun.

He said later that he himself couldn’t understand what happened. It was court-martial testimony, but his reputation had been good. He was Bill Green—William Hammond Green—of New London, Connecticut, flying a one-man jet fighter, well aware of the strictest orders not to attack until the target had moved at least ten miles east of Sandy Hook. He said he certainly had no previous intention to violate orders. It was something that just happened in his mind. A sort of mental sneeze.

His squadron was approaching Rockaway, the flying creature about three miles ahead of him and half a mile down. He was aware of saying out loud to nobody: Well, she’s too big. Then he was darting out of formation, diving on her, giving her one rocket-burst and reeling off to the south at 840 MPH.

He never did locate or rejoin his squadron, but he made it somehow back to his home field. He climbed out of the cockpit, they say, and fell flat on his face.

It seems likely that his shot missed the animal’s head and tore through some part of her left wing. She spun to the left, rose perhaps a thousand feet, facing the city, sideslipped, recovered herself and fought for altitude. She could not gain it. In the effort she collided with two of the following planes. One of them smashed into her right side behind the wing, the other flipped end over end across her back, like a swatted dragonfly. It dropped clear and made a mess on Bedloe’s Island.

She too was falling, in a long slant, silent now but still living. After the impact her body thrashed desolately on the wreckage between Lexington and Seventh Avenues, her right wing churning, then only trailing, in the East River, her left wing a crumpled slowly deflating mass concealing Times Square, Herald Square and the

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