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All Nfw Slofies by All Your Old Favorites in Galaxy’s OCTOBER 1965

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OCTOBER

PANGBORN

1965 SHtCKlEY

ISAAC ASIMOV Founding Father FREDERIK POHL The Age Of The Pussyfoot
H. L. GOLD Inside Man ROBERT SHECKLEY ShallWe Have A Little Tall?
FRITZ LEIBER The Good New Days CLIFFORD D. SIMAK Small Deer
EDGAR PANGBORN A Better Mousehole CORDWAINER SMITH Three To A Given Star
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Your Subscription Is Your Private Window On Baby Is Three


Theodore Sturgeon
The Ballad of

the stars Lost C'Melf


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The Big Time

in our galaxy Fritz Leiber


The Caves of Steel
Isaac Asimov
The only thing we know about tomorrow Day After Doomsday
Poul Anderson
is that it has its roots today. And out of the

fantastic facts of today's scientific wonders The Demolished Man


Alfred Bester
Galaxy's all-star lineup of contributors weave
stories that are sometimes wry, sometimes ter-
Do i Wake or Dream?
Frank Herbert
rifying— but always a delight to read.
The Dragon Masters
Would you like to join us, next issue and Jack Vance
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Keith Laumcr
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FREDERIK POHL
OCTOBER, 1965 • Vd. 24, No. 1 Editor

CONTENTS WILLY LEY


SERIAL — Part One Science Editor
DIANE SULLIVAN
THE AGE OF THE PUSSYFOOT 8 Associate Editor
by Frederik Pohl ROBERT M. GUINN
NOVELETTES Publisher
THREE TO A GIVEN STAR 105 DAVID PERTON
by Cordwoiner Smith Production Manager
SHALL WE HAVE A LimE TALK? 172 DAVE GEUER ASSOC.
Advertising
by Robert Sheckley
MAVIS FISHER
SHORT STORIES Subscription Mgr.
INSIDE MAN 71
GALAXY MAGAZINE is published
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A BETTER MOUSEHOLE 95 Corporation. Main offices: 421
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N. Y. 60c per copy Subscrip-
SAAALL DEER 129 tion: (12 copies) $6.00 per year
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THE GOOD NEW DAYS 151 Mexico, South and Central
by Fritz Leiber America and U. S. Possessions.
Elsewhere $7.00. Second-ctass
FOUNDING FATHER 165 postage paid at New York. N.Y.
by Isaac Asimov and at additional mailing of-
fices. Copyright New York 1965
SPECIAL FEATURE by Galaxy Publishing Corpora-
THE AAACHINES, BEYOND SHYLOCK .. 82 tion, Robert M. Guinn, Presi-

by Ray Bradbury dent. All rights Including trans-


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SCIENCE DEPARTMENT submitted must be accompani-
FOR YOUR INFORMATION 84 ed by self-addressed st-smped
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FEATURES solicited material All stories
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EDITORIAL 4 fiction and any similiarity be-
by Frederik Pohl tween characters and actual
GALAXY BOOKSHELF 142 persons is coincidental

by Algis Budrys Printed in the U.S.A.

FORECAST By The Guinn Co., Inc. N. y.


171 Pat. Off.
Title Reg. U. S.
Cover by PEDERSON from FOUNDING FATHER
The Daj After Tom4»rr<»^w

ened the
L
ness.
ooking into the future of
science fiction is tricky busi-
Any prediction is a risk. A
lives of
for nearly a decade.
lots of

Then a man named Stanley G.


i)eo])le

prediction of what so quintessen- Weinbaurn came along with a


tially a predictive technique as revolutionary idea. It was his
the writing of science fiction may thought that you could give some
be like at some later date than sort of three-dimensional reality
this one is not merely twice as to the characters in science-fic-
risky: it is folly squared. tion stories.He was not quite so
But it seems to us that there daring as to try it with his human
are trends. And this fifteenth an- beings, but his Martians, his Ven-
niversary issue of Galaxy may be usians and his Ganynicdan bal-
a good time to set a few remarks loon-heads are still vividly -c-
about them down. membered as persons a third of
The first real science-fiction a century later.
magazine appeared not quite for- Less than a decade later Jolin
ty years ago, in the spring of Campbell came up with a firsli
1926. was edited by Hugo
It and fascinating mixture: write
Gernsback and its principal sub- your stories, he told his writers,
stance was the kind of stories as though they were going to be
Gernsback himself used to write: printed as contemporary fiction
a sort of animated catalogue of in a magazine of the 22d century.
gadgets. Granting that was what And they did it; and they did it
he did, he did it superbly, and very well. L. Sprague de Camp,
as a matter of fact much of Robert A. Heinlein, Lester ilel
science fiction’s record of accur- Rey and any number of otliers
ate predictions stems from those responded with stories that an- in
early Gernsback-type stories: ra- print on the pocketbook racks
dar, television, atomic power, roc- right now. And about ten ye.irs
kets, etc,, et al. The mixture was after that it was Galaxy's turn;
flavored with a heavy admixture and with H. L. Gold as ediior
of H, G, Wells reprints (sermons another new batch of ingredients
and polemics, beautifully writ- were added. Thei.- names were wit^
ten), and a trace of Edgar Rice and relevance; and they were
Burroughs: and that tonic bright- compounded by writers like Roh .

4
Secrets
entrusted
to a
few

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5
ert Sheckley, Fritz Leiber, Alfred past; the only difference is that
Bester, Damon
Knight, the late now it is changing more rapidly

C. M. Kornbluth and
others — than ever before. It will be
including most of those in this changing tomorrow, too; but it
issue will be changing faster still.
Well, this is an attempt to look It is technology that is chang-
ahead, not a history of science ing us so rapidly, of course. As
fiction. But oversimplified and man remakes his environment he
sketchy though what we have changes the Darwinian criteria
just said may be, it illustrates a of what, exactly, is “fittest”. Cala-
principle.Science fiction ad- mity criers have made much of
vances in a series of quantum the black side of this picture: we
jumps. are breeding a race of cripples,
It may seem to you from the they say, pointing to what mod-
above timetable that we are ern medicine has done to take the
about due for another jump. sting out of incurable genetic
It seems so to us, too; and as flaws. (One of the traits the hu-
a matter of fact, we think we’re man race seems to have had for
in it rig.it now. a good many generations is this
same habit of preserving its “un-
’I XTith negligible exceptions fit”. How many remember that
' ’
(Wells, Stapledon and the first Neanderthal skeleton
who?), nearly every science-fic- gave a very erroneous picture of
tion writer up to a very few the species because it chanced to
years ago made one hidden — be that of a middle-aged man
and indefensible —
assumption. with an advanced case of arthrit-
They assumed that science is? He could not have survived
changed; that the world chang- by himself; he had to have been
ed that everything you could
; preserved, fed and cared for.
imagine changed, except one The interesting thing about
thing. They assumed that the technological change is that its
human race did not change at rate of growth gives every sign
all. of being exponential. The oldest
And of course the human race computer, if it were human,
does. It has been changing from would just barely be able to vote;
the day the first australopithe- but in rather less than a human
cine picked up an antelope femur generation the computers have
and broke it over a dire-wolf’s firmly and irrevocably changed.

head. It is changing now, just as the rate of change. Visiting the


it has throughout the human Harvard-Smithsonian Astrophysi-

6
cal Observatory the other day, on Masters (and in the new
we talked to a man named Owen manuscript,, just in, called Tho
Gingerich who, last Christmas, Last Castle, which we will be
duplicated the work of Johann bringing you before long.
Kepler in determining the laws of They may in fact differ from
planetary orbits. It took Kepler us in ways that we
can’t as yet
three or four years to work out guess; but whatimportant is
is
the laws a few centuries ago. to realize that they will differ
Last Christmas, using the same from us. As John Pierce says,
observed data and the same there is only one future in a tan-
mathematical procedures, Ging- gible sense; that is, when it gets
erich repeated the process in here there will only be the one
eight days. Eight days of his own single set of events that will take
human time, that is. Those eight place. But our discussions of the
days were spent merely in setting future can take the form of end-
up the problem so that a com- less alternative worlds. We don’t
puter could solve it; and the know which will be the “true”
actual operating time of the com- future —
so we might as well im-
puter was twelve point four sec- agine as many as we can.
onds. Well, that’s what we’re bend-
ing every effort to bring you in
'"T^o those who have been read- Galaxy’s future.
ing stories by, for example. Be specific? All right. As you
Jack Vance and Cordwainer can see, Robert Sheckley’s back
Smith in Galaxy lately, this news with us —
and to stay, it seems,
is no news. For that is what they because he’s working on a batch
and others have been writing of new ones for us right now.
about: Not you and we trans- Cordwainer Smith is off in
planted into the world of the the South Pacific on an an-
future, but the people of the thropological expedition but
world of the future operating on before he left he finished Under
their own terms. Perhaps they Old Earth which strikes us as one
will think faster and more surely of his best stories ever. Keith
than we (by a factor of three Laumer will be coming up again;
years divided by twelve point four so will Isaac Asimov: so will
seconds, for example). Perhaps Robert Silverberg; so will . . .

they will have traveled so far Well, that’s looking far enough
from us that even computers are ahead. The rest of the forecast-
no longer relevant to their lives, ing we’ll leave to the writers!
as Vance described in The Drag — THE EDITOR
7
Forresterbad made his mind up. He
was going to adjust to this mad new
world even if it killed him —again!
8
PUSSYFOOT by FREDERIK POHL

SERIAL
Illustrated by WOOD
PART ONE
9
I And he cried and he cried and
he cried —
/^ver everyone in the room, or (SPLASH)
perhaps it was a park, the With his rages and his cholers
lighting cast shapes and symbols he’s a puzzle to the scholars.
of color. The girl in the filmy And he’s got a quarter of a
gown had at one moment glitter- million dollars!
ing pink eyes, and at the next an Forrester!
aura of silvery hair. The man (SPLASH, SPLASH)
next to Forrester had golden skin
and a mask of shadow. Wisps of Forrescer ducked without
odor drifted past him, rosebuds thinking, then relaxed. He al-
following sage. There were lowed them to drench him with
snatches of a crystalline, far-off the warm, scented water. “En-
music. joy, enjoy!” he cried, grinning at
"I’m rich!” he yelled. “And the bare bodies. Bronze and
alive!” ivory, lean or soft, every body
Noone seemed to mind. For- was beautiful. He knew that
rester plucked one of the color- none of them would think the
less grapes Kara had recom- worse of him if he touched the
mended to him, rose, patted the two snaps at throat and waist
girl in the filmy dress and and .stepped out of his clothes
walked unsteadily down to the to join them. But he also knew
pool where the revelers splashed that his body would not compare
and swam in a naked tangle. well with the Adonises, would
In spite of the long post-revival not impress the full-breasted
indoctrinatior that had given him Venuses, and so he stayed on
so many new things and removed the rim. “Drink and be merry,
so much trash that For- was old, we died,” he called
for yesterday
rester had not lost the habit of and squirted them at random
prurience. with his joymaker. He didn’t
“It’s Forrester the rich man!” mind that he was not as beauti-
one of them shouted. Forrester ful as they. At least, not at this
smiled and waved. A girl cried, moment. He was happy. Nothing
“Sing him a song! A song!” And was troubling him. Not worry,
they all splashed and sang: not weariness, not fear. Not even
his conscience; for, although he
Oh, he died and died and was wasting time, he had a right
died — to waste time.
(SPLASH) Hara had said so. “Relax.” ad-

10 GALAXY
vised Hara. “Get acclimated. Go Is he damning? Is he doom-
slow. You’ve been dead a long ing?
time.” Forrester was well content For that matter, is he hu-
to follow his advice. In the morn- man?
ing he would take things serious- Forrester!
ly. In the morning he would go
out into this world and make a But he was too far away for
place for himself. With unas- them to splash him now, and he
suming pride he thought that he had seen someone he wanted to
would do this not because he talk to.
really needed to, for he had that It was a girl. She had just
quarter of a million dollars all come in and was still rather
right, but because it was proper sober. She was alone. And she
that he should work and earn was quite as tall as Forrester
joy. He would be a good citizen. himself.
Experimentally he shouted Hara would introduce him if

what he thought of as a friendly asked, Forrester knew, since this


obscene suggestion to one of the was more or less Hara’s party.
girls (although Hara had said But he did not at that moment
that the talk of this time con- see Hara. Didn’t need Hara,
tained no obscenities). In return either, he decided. He walked
she made a charming gesture, up and touched her
to the girl
which Forrester tried to think .of on the arm.
as an obscene one, and her com- “I am Charles D. Forrester,”
paiiion, stretched out at the edge he said. “I am six hundred and
of the pool, drowsily lifted his twenty-six old. I have a quarter
joymaker and drenched Forrest- of a million dollars. This is my
er with a tingling spray that, first day out of the sleep-freeze,
startlingly, brought him to an and I would appreciate it if you
instant thrill of sexual excite- would sit down and talk to me
ment and then left him replete for a while, or kiss me.”
and momentarily exhausted. “Certainly,” she said, taking
What a delightful way to live, his hand. “Let’s lie down here
Forrester thought. He turned and on the violets. Careful of my
walked away, followed by song: joymaker; it’s loaded with some-
thing special.”
And he slept and he slept
and he slept. TTalf an hour later Hara came
And he wept and he wept by and found them, lying
and he wept — on their backs, each with an arm

THE AGE OF THE PUSSYFOOT 11


under the other, heads inclined “You tilt,” said Forrester, “and
toward each other. you pour.”
Forrester noticed him at once, Hara looked at him more
but went on talking to the girl. carefully, shook his head and
They had been plucking and fingered his joymaker. “Don’t
eating the glass-clear grapes you remember anything I tell
from a vine over their heads. The you?” he chided, and sprayed
intoxicating fruit, the occasion Forrester with what felt for a
and his general sense of well be- moment like an invigorating, and
ing combined to erase social ob- not at all shocking, ice-cold
ligations from his mind. Any- shower. “Not too drunk tonight.
way, Hara would understand and Get adjusted. Do what I tell
forgive any offense. “Don’t mind you, will you? And now let’s see
him, dear,’’ Forrester said to the about this champagne wine.”
girl. “You were telling me not Forrester got up like an obed-
to sign up as a donor.” ient child and trailed after Hara
“Or as game. A lot of green- toward the dispensing tables, one
horns fall for that, because the arm around the girl. She had pale
money’s good. But the way they hair,up in a fluffy crown, and the
get you is that you don’t figure tricks of the lighting made it
what it will cost in the long look as though fireflies nested in
run.” it.

“That’s very interesting,” said In the event that he ever saw


Forrester, then sighed, looked Dorothy again, Forrester
away from the girl and nodded thought, he might have to give
up at Hara. “You know, flara,” this sort of thing up. But for the
he said, “you’re a drag.” time being it was very pleasant.
“And you’re a drunk,” said And reassuring. It was hard for
Hara. “Hello, Tip. You two seem him to remember, when he had
to be getting on well enough.” an arm around a pretty girl, that
“He’s nice,” the girl said. “Of ninety days before his body had
course, you’re nice too, Tip. Is it been a cryogenic crystal in an
time for the champagne wine?” ambience of liquid helium, with
“Well past. That’s why I came his heart stopped and his brain
looking for you. I went to a lot still and his lungs a clot of de-

of trouble to get this champagne stroyed scar tissue.


wine for the party, and Forrester He popped the cork of the
will damn well get up and drink champagne like a good fellow,
some to show the rest of us how toasted and drank. He had never
it’s done.” seen the label before, but it was

12 GALAXY
champagne all right. At Hara’s did not know when the paity
request he roared the verses of ended. He had a dreamlike
The Bastard King of England memory of the girl leading aim
amid much applause, and would across an empty way bet\\'een
not let anyone sober him though tall,dark structures like monu-
he knew he was beginning again ments, while he shouted and sang
to reel and stammer. “You de- to the echoes. He remembered
cadent sods,” he bellowed am- kissing the girl, and some vag-
iably, “you know so much! But rant aphrodisiac wisp from her
you don’t know how to get joymaker that filled him with a
drunk.” confused emotion of mingled de-
They were dancing, a linlisd sire and fear. But he did not re-
circle of all tv/enty-odd of them member returning to bis room
with foot-stamping and sudden or going to sleep.
changes of direction, a little like And when he woke In the
a Morris dance, a little like a morning he was buoyant, rested,
Paul Jones, to music like pizzi- vigorous and alone.
cato cello and the piping of
flutes. The girl cried, “Oh, II
Charles! Charles Forrester! You
almost make an Arcadian of '"T^he bed in which Forrester
me!” He nodded and grinned and woke was oval, springy and
clung to her on his right, and to gently warm. It woke him by
a huge creature in orange tights purring faintly at him, soothing-
on his left, a man who, some- ly and cheerfully. Then as he
one said, had just returned from began to stir the purring stopped,
Mars and was stumbling and and the surface beneath his body
straining in Earth’s gravity. But gently began to knead his
he was laughing. Everyone was muscles. Lights came on. There
laughing. A lot of them seemed was a distant sound of lively
to be laughing at Forrester, per- music, like a Gypsy trio. For-
haps at his clumsy attempts to rester stretched, yawned, ex-
follow the step. plored his teeth with his tongue
That was almost the last he and sat up.
remembered. There was some “Good morning, Man Forres-
shouting about what to do with ter,” said the bed. “It is eight-
him, a proposal to sober him up, fifty hours and you have an ap-
a veto, a long giggling debate pointment at nine seventy-five.
while he nodded happily like a Would you like me to tell you
whiskered head on a spring. He your calls?”

THE AGE OF THE PUSSYFOOT 13



“Not now,” said Forrester at enjoying for a moment the sen-
once. Hara had told him about sation of being uncommitted. It
the bed. It did not startle him. was like was like
a liberation. It
It was a convenience, not a that firstweek of basic training,
threat. It was one more com- in the Army, when he realized
fortable part of this very amiable that there was a hard way to get
world. through this hitch and an easy
Forrester, who had been thirty- one, and that the easy one, which
seven years old when he was entailed making no decisions of
burned to death and still con- his own and taking no iniciative,
sidered that to be his age, lit a but merely doing what he was
cigarette, considered his situation told, was like nothing so much
carefully and decided that it was as a rather prolonged holiday in
a state unmatched by any other a somewhat poorly equipped
thirty-seven year old man in summer camp for adults.
the history of the world. He had Here the accommodations
it made. Life. Health. Good were sumptuous. But the
in fact
company. And a quarter of a mil- principle was the same. He did
lion dollars. not have to concern himself with
He was not, of course, as obligations. He had no obliga-
unique as he thought. But as he tions. He didn’t have to worry
had not yet fully accepted the about making sure the kids got
fact that he had himself been up for school, because he no
dead and was now returned to longer had any children. He
life, much less that there were didn’t have to think about
millions upon millions like him, whether his wife had enough
it ielt unique. It felt very good. money to get through the day,
have just received another
“I because he didn’t now have a
message for you, Man Forrester,’’ wife. If he wanted to, ha could
said the bed. now roll over, pull the covers
“Save it,” said Forrester. “Af- over his head and go to sleep.
ter have a cup of coffee.”
I No one would stop him. no one
“Do you wish me to send you would be aggrieved. If he chose,
a cup of coffee, Man Forrester?” he could get drunk, attempt the
“You’re a nag, you know that? seduction of a girl or write a
I’ll tell you what I want and poem. All of his debts were paid
when I want it.” — or forgiven, centuries since.
What Forrester really wanted, Every promise was redeemed
although he had not articulated or had passed beyond the chance
it even to himself, was to go on of redemption. The lie he had

14 GALAXY
told Dorothy about that week- Tan Forrester,” said the
end in 1962need trouble him no bed, “I must insist. I
longer. If the truth now came have both an urgent- class mes-
out, no one would care; and it sage and a personal-visit not-
wa.s all but impossible that the ice.” And the mattress curled un-
truth should ever come out. der him, humped itself and de-
He had, in short, a blank posited him on the floor of the
check on life. room.
More than that, he had a pret- Staggering, Forrester growled,
ty underwritten
substantially “What’s urpnt?”
guarantee of continuing life it- “A hunting license has been
self. He wasn’t sick. He wasn’t taken out on you, Man Forres-
even threatened; even the lump ter. The licensee is Heinzlichen
on his leg, which he had once or Jura de Syrtis Major, male, dip-
twice gazed on with some worry ara-Zen, Utopian, eighty-six
in the days before 'nis death, elapsed, six feet four inches im-
could not be malignant or threat- port-export. He is extraterres-
ening, for if it were the doctors trial-human. No reason declared.
at the dormer would have fixed Bonds and guaranties have been
it. He need not even worry about posted. Would you like your
being run over by a car if — coffee now?”

there were cars since at worst While the bed was speaking it
that might mean only another had been rolling itself into a wall.
few centuries in the Oath of It disappeared into a sphincter
liquid helium, and then back to that closed and left no trace. It
life —
better than ever! was disconcerting, but Forrester
He had, in fact, everytliing he remembered Hara’s instructions,
had ever wished for. searched for and found his joy-
The only things he didn’t have maker, and said to it; “I would
were those he had not wished like my breakfast now. Ham and
for because he already had them eggs. Toast and orange juice.
. .e.g., family. Friends. Status.
. Coffee, and a pack of cigar-
In this life of the year 2527 ettes.”
A.D., Charles Forrester was en- “They will be delivered in five
tirely free. But he was not so minutes, Man Forrester,” said
joyous as to be blinded to the the joymaker. “May I give you
fact that this coin of his treasure the rest of your messages?”
had two sides. Another way of “Wait a minute. I thought it
looking at it was that he was was the bed that was giving me
entirely superfluous.

THE AGE OF THE PUSSYFOOT 15


””

‘We are all the same, Man at least, he reminded himself,


Forrester. Your messages follow: the taped voice of what at one
Notice of personal visit: Taiko time had been a human being
Hironibi will join you for break- . .anyway, it didn’t feel nat-
.

fast. Dr. Hara has prescribed a ural. He said guardedly: “I


euphoric in case of need, which don’t understand all this. I don’t
will be delivered with your know who these people are who
breakfast. Adne Bensen sends are calling me up, either.”
you a kiss. First Merchants Audit “Man Forrester, the personal
Be Trust invites your patronage. callers are as follows. Taiko Hir-
Society of Ancients states you onibi: Male, dendritic Confucian,
have been approved for mem- Arcadian, fifty-one elapsed, six
bership and relocation benefits. feet one inch, organizer, business
Ziegler, Durant and Colfax, at- political. He will bring his ow.n
tornies
— breakfast. Adne Bensen: Female,
“You can skipthe commer- Universalist, Arcadian-trimmer,
cials. What was that about a twenty-three declared, five feet
hunting license?” seven inches, experiencer-homes-
“A hunting license has been woman, no business stated. Her
taken out on you, Man Forres- kiss follows.”
ter. The licensee is Heinzlichen Forrester did not know what
Jura de — to expect but was pleasantly
“You said that. Wait a min- ready for anything.
ute.” Forrester regarded his joy- What he got was indeed a kiss.
maker thoughtfully. The prin- It was disconcerting. No kissing
ciple of it was clear enough. It lips were visible. There was a
was a remote input-output sta- hint of perfumed breath, then a
tion for a shared-time computer pressure on his lips warm and —
program, with certain attach- soft, moist and sweet.
ments which functioned as Startled, he touched his
pocket flask, first-aid kit, cos- mouth. “How the devil did you
metic bag and so on. It looked do that?” he shouted.
something like a mace, or a jes- “Sensory stimulation through
ter’s scepter. Forrester told him- the tactile net, Man Forrester.
self that it was really no less Will you receive Taiko Hiron-
natural to talk to something like ibi?”
a mace than it was to talk into “Well,” said Forrester, “frank-
something like a telephone. But ly I don’t know. Oh, hell. I guess
at the other end of a telephone so. Send him in . . . Wait a min-
had been a human being ... or ute. Shouldn’t I get dressed?”

16 GALAXY
” ” ”

“Do you wish other rhjth'njj, disconcerted. He also looked


Man Forrester?” quite non- Japanese: crew-cut
“Don’t confuse me. Just nc-ld golden hair, blue eyes. “They
on a minute,” he said, rattled change you around so,” he said
and angry. He thought for a apologetically. “Maybe I used to
minute. “I don’t know who this look different. Say! Did I get
Hirowhatsis is — here first?”
“Taiko Hironibi, Man For- “You got here before my
rester. Male, dendritic Confuc- breakfast even.”
ian
— “Great! That’s really great.
“Cut that out!” Forrester was Now, here’s the thing. We’re all
breathing hard. Abruptly the messed up here, you have to
joymaker in his hand hissed and get that straight right away. The
sprayed him with something that people are .sheep. They know
f( It damp for a second, then dis- they’re being expropriated, but
sipated. do they do anything about it?
Forrester felt himself relaxing. Sweat, no, they sit back and en-
“Oh, God,” he said, “what do joy it. That’s what we’re for m
care who he is? Go ahead. the Ned Lud Society. I lon’t
I

Send him in. And get a move on know your politics, Charley —
with my breakfast, will you?” “I used to be a Democrat,
mostly.”
tt'V/'ou’ll do!” cried Taiko “ —
Well, you can forget that.
Hironibi. “The greatest! It doesn’t matter. I’m registered
What a cranial index! You look, Arcadian myself, of cour^, but
cripes, I don’t know what to a lot of guys are Trimmers,
call it, you look like a brain. But —
maybe ” he winked —
“maybe
a swinger.” even something a little worse,
Charles Forrester, gravely and you know? We’re all in this
cheerfully, indicated a seat with together. everybody. If
Affects
his hand. “Sit down. I don’t you your kids with ma-
raise
know what you want but I’m chines you’re bound to have ma-
willing to talk about it.” He was chine-lovers growing up, right?
pretty sure that the joymaker Now—”
had given him some kind of a “Hey!” said Forrester, losking
tranquilizer, but he didn’t mind. at his wall. At a point as near as
“Sit down, Taiko,” he said. he could remember just about
“You’re the damnedest looking where the bed had disappeared,
Japanese I ever saw.” a sphincter was opening again.
“Really?” The man looked It disgorged a table set for two.

THE AGE OF THE PUSSYFOOT 17


one side bearing his breakfast, It crossed Forrester’s mind
the other a complete setting but that the capsule, plus what the
no food. joymaker had sprayed him witli,
“Ah, breakfast,” said Taiko might add up to something larg-
Hironibi. He opened a pouch in er than he was ready for. He felt
the kilt-like affair he wore and almost giddy. Better guard
took out a small capped bowl, against that, he thought, and de-
a plastic box which turned out manded unpleasantly as he
as
to contain something like could: “Who sent you here?”
crackers and a globe which, —
“Why the contact was Adne
squeezed, poured a hot, watery, Bensen.”
greenish tea into the cup at ais “Don’t know her,” snapped
place. “Care for a pickled Forrester, trying not to grin.
plum?” he asked politely, re- “You don’t?” Taiko stopped
moving the cap from the bowl. eating, dismayed. “Sweat, man,
Forrester shook his head. she told me you’d be —
Chairs had appeared beside the “Doesn’t matter,” cried For-
table, and he slid into the one rester, and prepared for the kill-
placed before the ham and eggs. ing question he had been saving.
Next to the steaming plate was “Just tell me this. What’s the
a small crystal tray containing advantage of my joining your
a capsule and a scrap of golden society?”
paper on which was written The blond man was clearly
disgruntled. “Listen, I’m not
I don’t know about that begging you. We got something
champagne wine. Take this if good here. You want in, come
you have a hungover. in. You want out, go.”
Hara “No, don’t give me an argu-
ment. Just answer the question.”
To the best of Forrester’s Forre,ster managed to light a cig-
knowledge he didn’t have a hang- arette, puffed smoke in Taiko’s
over, but the capsule looked face. “For instance,” he said,
too good to waste. He swallowed “would it be money that’s in-
it with some of the orange juice volved?”
and at once felt even more re- “Well, sure. Everybody needs
laxed. If that were possible. He money, right? But that’s not the
felt positively affectionate to- only thing —
ward the blond Japanese, now Forrester said, politely but
decorously nibbling at a dark, severely, restraining the impulse
withered object. to giggle: “You know, I had an

18 GALAXY
idea it would be like that. Well, guments from this joymaker.
thanks. You better be going “Man P’orrester,” it said,sound-
now, Hironibi. I’ll think over ing almost aggrieved, “it is bet-
what you said and maybe we ter to take a taxi! Do not walk.
can get together some time. But The guaranties do not apply to
don’t you call me. Let me call provocation and contributory
you.” And he bowed Taiko to neghgence.”
the door and watched it close “Shut up for a minute, will
behind him, face straight until you?” Forrester managed to get
the Japanese was gone. the door open and looked out.
Then Forrester bent over and The city of 2527 A.D. was very
howled with laughter. “Come lafge, very fast-moving and very
man!” he shouted. “Think I’m noisy. Forrester was standing in
an easy mark!” a sort of driveway, a clump of
“I do not understand, Man ethereal, thirty-foot-high ferns
Forrester,” said the joymaker. in front of him partially making
“Are you addressing me?” a twelve-lane highway packed to
“Not in this life,” Forrester its margins with high-speed
told the machine, still chuck- traffic in both directions. Occas-
ling. He might look like a coun- ionally a vehicle would cut in
try cousin, but there was one to the entrance to his building,
sharper who had got no farther pause before him for a moment
than first base. and then move on. Taxis? For-
He wondered who this Adne rester wondered. If so, he was
Bensen was, who had fingered giving them no encouragem^t.
him for the swindler and sent “Man Forrester,” said the joy-
him an electronic kiss. If she maker, “I have summoned
kissed in person like she kissed death-reversal equipment but it
through sensory stimulation of will not arrive for several min-
the tactile net she might be utes. I must warn you the costs
worth knowing. And no problem, may be challenged under the
either. If Taiko was the worst bonding regulations.”
this century could turn up, For- “Oh, shut up.” It seemed to
rester thought with pleasure and be a warm day, and Forrester
joy, his quarter of a million dol- was perhaps still slightly befud-
lars was safe! dled; the temptation to walk was
irresistible. All questions could be
'T'wenty minutes later he found deferred. Should be deferred, he
his way to the street level told himself. Obviously his first
of the building, not without ar- task was to get himself oriented.

THE AGE OF THE PUSSYFOOT 19


And —
he prided himself he had — buildings, one a soft, glowing
been something of a cosmopoli- orange, one the crystalline blue-
tan, back in those days before gray coloi of fractured steel. In
his death, as at home in San the court of a building across
Francisco or Montreal as in New the trafficway he could see,
York or Chicago. And he had al- dimly through the glass and the
ways made time to stroll around momentary gaps in the traffic,
a city a dot of plant growth with
He would .itroll this one now enormous scarlet fruits On a
Joymakers be damned, thought balcony above him scented foun-
Charles Forrester, right-faced, tains played.
hooked the joymaker to his belt The joymaker was addressing
and set off along a narrow pe- him again, but he could only
destrian walk catch art Oi it. “ —
on station
There were very few walkers now, Man Forrester.” A shadow
It didn’t do to lake snap judg-
.
passed over him and he looked
ments, Forrester thought, but up.
these people seemed soft. Per- Overhead a white aircraft of
haps they could afford to be. No —
some sort it had no wings was —
doubt someone like himself, he sliding diagonally down toward
considered soberly, seemed like him.
a hairy troglodyte, crude, savage It bore a glittering ruby
and flint-axed. insigne like the serpent staff of
“Man Forrester,” cried the Aesculapius on its sides. The
joymaker from his belt, “I must nearer end of it was all glass
inform you that Heinzlichen and exposed, and inside a young
Jura de Syrtis Major has waived woman in crisply tailored blue
protest of the bonding regula- was drowsily watching something
tions. The death-reversal equip- on a screen invisible to Forrester.
ment is on its way.” He slapped She looked up, gazed at him,
it and it w'a^ quiet, or if it con- spoke into a microphone, glanced
tinued to bleat at him it was at him again and went back to
drowned out by the sound of the watching her screen. The vehicle
clamoring traffic. Whatever took position over his head and
drove these cars it was not gas- waited, following with him as ne
oline. There were no fumes. walked.
There was only a roar of air and “That’s funny,” said Forrester
singing tires, multiplied by hun- aloud.
dreds and unending. The traffic- “It’s a funny world,” said
way lay between tall, bright somebody quite near him.

20 GALAXY
T Te turned around. Four men angle and the sidewalk struck
-* -*
were standing there, looking him on the forehead. He rolled,
at him with pleasant, open ex- clutching at his testicles, and
pressions. One of them was very found himself looking upward.
tall and very heavy. In fact, he The man from Mars said con-
was gross. He leaned on a cane, versationally, “Don’t hurry.
studying Forrester, his expres- Plenty of time for everybody.”
sion alert and interested. He lifted his cane and limped
Forrester realized that he was forward. It was quite an effort
the one who had spoken and, for him in Earth’s gravity, after
in the same moment, realized Mars, Forrester saw. The cane
that he knew him. “Oh, sure,” he came down on his shoulder and
said. “The Martian in orange upper arm, was lifted and came
tights.” down again, regularly, slowly
“Very good,” said the Mar- and strongly. It must have been
tian, nodding. He was not in or- weighted. It felt like a baseball
ange tightr now; he wore a loose bat.
white tunic and slate-gray shorts. The pain in Forrester’s gut was
He wasn’t really a Martian, like death. His arm was numb.
Forrester remembered; at least, All in all, though, he realized
his ancestors had come from quite —
clearly unable to move,
Earth. watching as they passed the cane
One of the other men took from hand to hand and the white
Forrester’shand and shook it. aircraft hovered overhead, the
“You’re the one with a quarter woman’s face peering patiently
of a million dollars,” he said. dovm —
all in all, it was hurting
“Look me up when this is all rather less than he might have
over. I’d like to know what a expected. Perhaps it was Hara’s
fellow like you thinks of our hungover medicine. Perhaps it
world.” was just shock.
He brought his knee up and He tried to speak, but his
kicked Forrester in the groin. lungs were not working.
Hard. He saw that someone was run-
Forrester felt the world ex- ning toward them, someone with
plode, starting inside him. He a black face under a green beret,
saw that the man was stepping but he could not keep his eyes
back, looking at him with inter- open.
est and pleasure; but it was hard He could not quite lose con-
to watch him because the city sciousness either, though he
was moving. It tilted up at an wanted to very much. Perhaps

THE AGE OF THE PUSSYFOOT 21


that was Hara’s euphoric pill too. Impatiently she moved her
Then he felt that he was suc- hand. The arena with the man
ceeding. The pain in his belly and girl disappeared just as —
grew/ alarmingly, and began to the man seemed to be raising the
recede again, and then felt gun —and Forrester found him-
nothing at all, or nothing phys- self looking at blue sky and
ical. .iouds “Lift up a little,” the girl
But there was something pain- in blue said. “You’ll see it.
ful in his mind, something th.at There.”
whimpered. Why? Why me? Forrester tried to raise himself
on an elbow, caught a glimpse of
Ill trees and rambling pastel build-
ings and fell back. “I can’t lift
TTowls of laughter rolled over myself up! Damn it, I’ve been
Forrester. A girl was scream- half killed.” He became aware
ing, “He’s spinning it! He’s spin- that he was on a sort of stretcher,
ning it! Gee. I think I saw the and that there was another one
cartridge!” beside him. The other one was
Forrester opened his eyes. He also occupied, by someone with
was in something that lurched a sheet over him. “Who’s that?”
and hummed. A girl in a tailored he cried.
blue suit, her back to him, was “How would I know? I just
staring at what seemed to be a bring them in, I don’t write their
window opening on a sort of are- life stories. Now relax or I’ll have
na, where the screaming girl, face to put you to sleep.”
flushed and happy, stamping “You silly bitch,” said Forrest-
with excitement, was standing er precisely. “I’m not going to
over a blindfolded man with a stand for this. I demand that
gun. you —
Wait a minute! What are
Forrester’s aches and bruises you doing?”
reminded him at once of what The girl had turned around,
had happened. He was surprised and she was holding something
that he was still alive. He croak- very like his joymaker, pointed
ed, “Hey!” at him. “Are you going to shut
The girlthe tailored blue
in up and lie still?”
looked over her shoulder at him. “I warn you! Don’t you dare!”
“You’re all right,” she said. “Just She sighed and something cool
take it easy. We’ll be there in a touched his face.
minute.” Forrester gathered all his
“Where?” strength to tell her what he

22 GALAXY
thought of her, her probable sex able hope, the largest industry
life and this world of hers, in of the late twentieth century had
which arbitrary and unpleasant been built.
things were done to well to do The reasonable hope was that
men like himself. He couldn’t. All the progress of medicine in past
that came out was, “Arr, a-r-r-r.” years would be matched by simi-
He was not unconscious, but he lar progress in the future so —
was very weak. that no matter what a person
The girl said, “You weep me, might die of, at some future time
greenie. You are a greenhorn, a way would be found to cure it,
aren’t you? I can always tell. to repair it, or at least to make
You people wake up in the dor- it irrelevant to continuing life

mer and you tliink you’re God’s and activity. (Including a meth-
own sweat. Mother! Sure you’re od of repairing the damage due
alive. Sure you’ve had the biggest to freezing to that temperature.)
break you can imagine. But do The fact was that freezing
you think we care?” stopped time.
All this time the aircraft was And the industry was Immor-
slipping and turning, coming in tality, Inc.

for a landing. The girl, who one In the city of Shoggo in which
would have thought to be the Forrester had awakened, a city
pilot, paid no attention. She was which was nearly nine hundred
very cross. She said, “Now, I years old and enormous, a thou-
know my job, and my job is to sand acres of park along a lake-
keep you alive, or keep you front had humped themselves
safely dead till they can take into a hill. All around was flat.
care of you. I don’t have to talk The hill itself was an artifact.
to you.” It was, as a matter of fact, the
Forrester said, “A-r-r-r.” freezing center for that part of
“I don’t even like you,” she the world.
said with vexation, “and you’ve A hundred and fifty million
made me miss my favorite pro- cubic yards of earth had been
gram. Oh, go to sleep.” eaten out of the ground to make
And she raised the joymaker a cold-storage locker for people.
again, just as Forrester felt the When the locker was built, most
aircraft touch ground, and he did. of the dirt was heaped back on
top of it for insulation.

^ tthe temperature of liquid The differential in temperature


helium chemistry stops. between ground level and the
On this fact, and one reason- heart of the frozen hill was near-

THE AGE OF THE PUSSYFOOT 23


ly five hundred degrees, Fahren- This last thing made him feel
heit, or three hundred and more better, whatever it was. He found
in the Kelvin scale on which the that he was able to speak.
dormer operated. “Thank you,” he said.
When Forrester realized where The young-looking, red-faced
the white aircraft had taken him man who was working over him
he was instantly submerged in a at that moment nodded casual-
terror he could not express. Be- ly, touched Forrester’s navel with
ginning to awaken, he was still the end of a silvery probe,
terribly weak, as though one of glanced at it and said, “All right,
those sprays from the girl’s joy- I guess we’re through with you.

maker had shorted out ninety per Get up and let’s see if you can
cent of his volitional muscle con- walk to Hara’s office.”
trol. (As in fact it had) He saw Forrester swung his legs out
the bright featureless ceiling ov- of the sort of low-walled crib he
erhead and heard the moan and was in and found he could walk
click of the thousand frightening as well as ever. Even his bruises
instruments that brought people didn’t hurt, or not much, al-
back to life, and fugued into a though already he could detect
terrifying certainty that they what seemed to be the beginning
were going to freeze him again. return of pain.
He lay there, groaning inarticu- The red-faced man said,
lately, while things were done to “You’re fine. Stay out of here for
him. a while, will you? don’t for-And
But they were not freezing get to see Hara, because you’re
him. in some kind of trouble.” He
They were just patching him turned away as Forrester started
up. The blood was washed away. to ask questions. “How would
The bruises were scrubbed with I know what kind? Just go see

something metallic, then touched Hara.”


with a transparent stiff jelly in
a long silvery tube that looked A slim green arrowhead skip-
something like a large lipstick. ped along the floor ahead
His left thigh was pressed for a of him, guiding him to Hara’s of-
moment between two glowing fice, but actually Forrester
screens which he knew to be a thought he could have found it
sort of X-ray, and a fine wash without the guide that had been
of something that glistened wet provided. Once he left the emer-
and dark was painted over his gency rooms he was in the part
heart. of the dormer he remembered.

24 GALAXY
Here he had wakened out of a time with any of them there was
frozen sleep that lasted half something about this shared ex-
a milennium. There he had gone perience that had made him
every day for a week for bath- know them quickly.
ing in some sort of light, warm But when they were discharg-
oil had vibrated and tingled,
that ed they all went in separate direc-
and made him feel drowsy but tions, apparently for policy rea-
stronger each day. It was on the sons. Forrester regretted they had
level below this that he had done lost touch.
his exercises, and in the building Then he laughed out loud. A
across the bed of poinsettias (ex- blue-jacketed woman, walking
cept that these poinsettias were toward him along the haU and
bright gold) that he had slept. talking into an instrument on
He wondered what had be- her wrist, looked up at him with
come of the rest of what he curiosity and faint contempt.
thought of as his graduating class. “Sorry,” he said to her, still
The thawed Lazaruses were pro- chuckling, as the green beacon
cessed in batches — fifty at a of light turned a corner and he
clip, at least in his group— and followed He didn’t doubt he
although he had not spent much looked peculiar. He felt peculiar.

THE AGE OF THE PUSSYFOOT 25


He was missing these fellow- Tlien tardily recollection dawn-
graduates of the freezatorium ed. “Unless,” he finished thought-
with the fond, distant detach- fully, “that’swhat the joymaker
ment of his high-school class. Yet was mumbling about. It was all
it was less than forty-eight hours about bonds and guaranties and
since he had been with them. somebody named Heinz-some-
A busy forty-eight hours, he thing of Syrtis Major. That’s on
thought. A bit frightening, too. Mars, isn’t it? Say.” Recognition
Even wealth was not as secure a hardily dawned.
buffer against this world as he “Heinzlichen Jura de Syrtis
had thought. Major,” Hara supplied, toasting
The flickering green light led Forrester with his glass and tak-
him into Hara’s office and disap- ing a tiny sip of the drink. For-
peared. rester followed suit; it was cham-
Hara was standing at the door, pagne. Hara sighed and said, “I
waiting for him. “Damned don’t know, Charlie, but I don’t
kamikaze,” he said amiably, think I’ll acquire a taste for this
“can’t I trust you out of my sight stuff after all.”
for a minute?” “Never mind that! The Mar-
Forrester, who had never been tian! The fellow in orange tights!
a demonstrative man, seized his He’s the one who beat me up,
hand and shook it. “Jesus, I’m he and his gang!”
glad to see you! I’m mixed up. I Hara looked faintly puzzled.
don’t know what the hell is go- “Why, of course.”
ing on, and — “And then,” said Forrester,
“Just stay out of trouble, will working it out in his mind, “there
you? Sit down.” Hara made a was this colored fellow. I mean,
seat come out of the wall, and Negro. I guess he was a Negro

a bottle out of his desk. He — Anyway, he came along.”


thumbed the cork expertly and “There was,” said Hara, “an-
poured a drink for Forrester, say- other man brought in. with you.
ing, “Iexpected you under your Let’s see. Graphite-gray. Hair,
own power this morning, you black, kinked. Eyes brown. Is
know. Not in a DR
cart. Didn’t that what you mean?”
the center warn you somebody “Sure. I think he was trying
was after you?” to help me.”
“Positively not!” Forrester was “Oh,” Hara said, “there’s no
both startled and indignant. doubt of that. Messed things up
“What do you mean, after me? I for fair, he did. He’s in the freez-
had no idea — er now. They killed him. Nitro-

26 GALAXY
gen batch —we’re just holding Forrester searc’ned his mem-
him until we get parts. There’s ory. “Oh, that. Maybe I left it

a compatibility problem, so it at the party.”


might be a week or two . . “Well, that computes,” Hara
“Killed him?” said with some disgust. “I mean
Forrester tipped up his ruby- figures. I’ll see you get another
crystal glass and drained the one. Meanwhile, will you please

champagne heaven knevi; where try to bear in mind, first, that
Hara had found it, after Forres- you’re sort of my responsibility,
ter had mentioned it as one of second, that you don’t know your
the great goods of the past — way around? I’ll see you get an-
and it was by no means appro- other copy of the book. Read
priate to the occasion. It tickled it! Come back and see me tomor-

his nose. row; I’ve got work to do now.


But at least it contained al- On your way out stop at the
cohol, which Forrester felt he discharge office and pick up your
needed. stuff.”
He said humbly, “Please ex- He escorted Forrester to the
plain what happened.” door, turned, then paused.
“Sweat, Charles, where do I “Oh. Adne Bensen sends re-
start? What did you do to Hen- gards. Nice girl. She likes you,”
zie?” he said, closed the door and was
“Nothing! I mean — well, gone.
nothing, really. I might have
stepped on his feet when we were orrester completed his pro-
dancing.”
Hara
F cessing and was released by
said angrily, “A Mars- the medical section, receiving as
man? You stepped on his feet?" he left a neat white folder with
“What’s so bad about that? I his name imprinted in gold.
mean, even if I did. I’m not sure It contained four sets of docu-
I did. Would you blow your stack ments. One was a sheaf of medi-
about something like that?” cal records, a second the book
“Mars isn’t Shoggo,” Hara Hara had mentioned, slim and
said patiently, “and anyway, bronze-bound, with the title
maybe I would. Depends. Did printed in luminous letters:
you read your orientation book?”
“Huh?”' Your Guide to the 26th Century
“The book of information (1970-1990 Edition)
about the year 2527. You got it
when you were discharged here.” A third was what seemed to

THE AGE OF THE PUSSYFOOT 27


;

be a legal paper of some kind. lie slip with the same angular
At least, it was backed with a printing on it, but which Forres-
sheet of blue material that
stiff ter recognized as a check.
gave it the look of a subpoena. He fingered it lovingly and
Forrester remembered that the puzzled out the amount.
doctor who had patched him up It was made out to him, and
had spoken of trouble. This look- it was for $231,057.56.
ed like being the trouble, al- Forrester attempted to fold it
though the words were either un- — it sprang back like spring
familiar in context or totally steel — and put it away flat in
meaningless his pocket. It felt good there.
He was faintly puzzled by the
You, Charles Dalgleish For- fact that it was some twenty
rester, uncommitted, undeclared,
thousand dollars less than he had
elapsed thirty-seven years, un-
expected. But in terms of per-
employed-pending, take greeting
centage the amount didn’t seem
and are directed. Requirement;
very significant, and he was
To be present at Congruency
Hearing, hours 1075, days 15, cheerfully reconciled to the opin-
months 9 — ion that this society, like all so-
cieties, would do doubt have
It had the authentic feel of some sort of taxes. Twenty grand
legalese, he saw with dismay. was, after all, an amount he
Much of the face of the single could well afford as a sort of
sheet of paper the blue material initiation fee.
enclosed was covered with a sort Feeling much more he secure,
of angular, almost readable let- emerged into the sunlight and
tering —
something like the ma- looked about him.
chine script they used to put on It was late afternoon. The sun
checks, Forrester thought, and was to his right. Slate-blue water
realized that that was no doubt stretched to his left. He was
what it was. looking southward over the great
But it had a date on it, and as pinnacled mass of the city.
that date appeared to be a week Aircraft moved above it.

or more away, as near as For- Things crawled ih its valleys. The


rester could figure, he tabled it sun picked out reflections from
with some relief and turned to glass and metal and, although it
the next and last item in the was still daylight, the city was
folder. already exuding a building glow
This was a financial statement. of neon and fluorescence.
Attached to it was a crisp metal- There were at least ten mil-
28 GALAXY
lion persons in Shoggo, Forrester admitting that he was being mack
knew. There were theaters and self-conscious by what he knew
card parties and homes, places really to be nothing but a radio
where he might find a friend or connection with some distant
a lover. Or even an enemy. Down lash-up of cold-state transistors
there was the girl who had kissed and ferrite cores. He said finally;
him last night Tip — and the “Look. You. I think what I
Martian and his gang, who had ought to do is go back to my
tried to kill him. room and start over again from
But where? home base. What’s the best way
Forrester did not now virhere to get there?”
to begin. “Man Forrester,” said the joy-
Alive, healthy, with almost a maker, “the best way to get to
quarter of a million dollars in his the room you occupied is by cab,
pocket, he felt out of things. which I can summon for you.
Standing on a planet with a pop- However, the room is no longer
ulation of seventeen billion ac- yours. Will you accept your mes-
tive human beings, and at least sages?”
twice that number dreaming in “No. Wait a minute! What do
the slow cold of the helium you mean, no longer mine? I
baths, he felt entirely alone. didn’t check out.”
But he paused and thought,
rom his belt the voice of the and on consideration that didn’t
F“Man joymaker spoke up:
Forrester. Will you take
seem to matter much. He had
left nothing there. No bag, no
your messages?” baggage. No personal possessions,
“Yes,” said Forrester, discon- not even a shaving brush he—
certed. “No. Wait a minute.” wouldn’t have to shave for a week
He took the last cigarette out or two anyway, Hara had told
of the pack he had got that morn- him.
ing, lit it, crumpled the pack All that he had put of himself
and threw it away. He thought. into that room was the garments
Owning a joymaker was a little he had worn last night. And
like having a genie with three those, he remembered, were dis-
wishes. The thing’s promptness posable . and had therefore no
. .

and precision disconcerted him; doubt been disposed of.


he felt that it demanded equal “What about the bill?” he ask-
certitude from himself and did ed.
not feel up to it. “The charge was paid by the
He grinned to himself ruefully, West Annex Discharge Center.
THE AGE OF THE PUSSYFOOT 29
” ” ”

it entered on your financial


is The metal thing, apparently
statement, Man Forrester. Your espying Forrester’s discarded
messages include one urgent, two cigarette pack, scuttled over to
personal, one notice of legal, it and gobbled it down. Forres-

seven commercial — ter watched it for a second, then


“I don’t want to hear right nodded.
now. Wait a minute.” “You’ve got some idea, ma-
Once again Forrester tried to chine,” he said. “Take me to a
frame the right question. tea shop!”
He abandoned the effort.
Whatever his skills, he was not IV
a computer programmer and it
was no good trying to talk like 'T^he joymaker procured a cab
one. It seemed absurd to ask a for Forrester — a wingless
machine for value judgments, vehicle like the death-reversal
but — equipment that had brought him
“Gripes,” he said, “tell me in for repair, but orange and
something. What would you do, black instead of white; it looked
right now, if you were me?” like Hallowe’en. And the cab took
The joymaker answered with- him to the joy maker’s recommen-
out hesitation, as though that dation for a tea shop.
sort of question were coming up The shop was curious. It was
every day. “If I were you, Man located in an interior hall of a
Forrester, which is to say if I great, spidery building in the
were human, just unfrozen, with- heart of the city. The cab flew
out accommodations, lacking ma- in under a pierced-steel buttress,
jor social contacts, unemployed, actually into a sort of vaulted
unskilled — opening at least fifty feet above
“That’s the picture, all right,” ground.
Forrester agreed. “So answer the It halted and hovered be-
question.” Something was crawl- fore a baleony planted with
ing underfoot. He stepped aside, elimbing roses, and Forrester had
out of its way, a glittering metal to step over a knife-edge of emp-
thing. ty space. The cab did not quiver,
would go to a tea shop, Man
“I not even when his weight left
Forrester. I would then read my it.

orientation book while enjoying A girl with hair like transparent


a light meal. I would then think cellophane greeted him. “I have
things over. I would then — your reservation, Man Forres-
“That’s far enough.” ter. Will you follow me, please?”

30 GALAXY
He did, walking behind her — Managing Your Money
across a quartz-pebbled court • — Laws, Customs, Folkways
and into the hall that w/as the
tea room, admiring the swing of It was edge-indexed with help-
her hips and wondering just what ful headings: Making Friends;
it was that she did to her hair Living on a Budget; How to Get
to make it stand out like a sculp- the Most Out of Your Toymaker;
tured puffball and rob it of opaci- Job Opportunities; Where to Get
ty- Needed Training it went on
. .

She seated him beside a reflect- and on. Forrester, flipping


ing pool, with silvery fish swim- through the pages, was aston-
ming slowly about. Even with ished to find how many of them
the peculiar hairdo, she was a there were.
pretty girl. She had dimples and He had a good week’s rea.iing
dark, amused eyes. here, estimated. Obviously
he
He said, “i don’t know what the thing to do was for liim
first
I want, actually. Anyway, who to decide what was the first thing
do I order from?” to do.
“We are all the same, Man Making friends could wait a
Forrester,” she said. “May I bit. He seemed already to have
choose for you? Some tea and made more friends —
and ene-
cakes?” mies! — than he could assimilate.
Numbly he nodded turned and
Living on a budget? He smiled
as she turned and left watched
to himself and patted the pocket
the sway of her hips with an-
that held his check.
tirely different kind of interest.
He sighed. This was a confus- How to get the most out of your
joymaker, though. That was a
ing world!
good place to start, thought For-
rester, opened the book to the
TTe took the book out of the
^ right page and began to read.
folder he had been given
at the West Annex Discharge
Center and placed it on the The remote-access computer
transponder called the “joymak-
table. Its cover was simple and
er” is your most valuable single
direct:
possession in your new life. If
you can imagine a combination
Your Guide to the 26th Century of telephone, credit card, alarm
(1907-1990 Edition) clock, pocket bar, reference li-
— Where to Go brary .and full-time secretary,
— How to Live you will have sketched some of
THE AGE OF THE PUSSYFOOT 31

the functions provided by your you on religious bus’iriess, but is


joymaker. at present not available and will
Essentially a transponder
it is
contact you later. Adne Bensen
connecting you with the central
asks you to return her mes.sage
computing facilities of the city
of thismorning. The Nineteenth
in which you reside on a shared-
Chromatic Trust informs you
time self-programming basis.
“Shared-time” means that many that arrangements have been
made for you to establish bank-
other joymakers use the same
central computer —
in Shoggo, ing facilities with them —
something like ten million of “That’s enough,” he said, tnur-
them. If you go to another city velling at how nicely a shared-
your joymaker will continue to time transponder could be pack-
serve you, but it must be reset
aged. “I’ll take the rest later.”
to a new frequency and pulse-
code. This will be done auto- There was no sugar for the
matically when you travel by tea, but it was physically hot and
public transportation. However, chemically cool at the same time
if you use private means, or if — rather like a mentholated cig-
for any reason you spend any arette, except that there was no
time in the agricultural areas, particular taste associated with
you must notify the joymaker of
it. Forrester returned to his book.
your intentions. It will Inform
you of any steps you must take.
“Self-programming” means “Self-programming” means
that the programmed software that the programmed software
includes — includes procedures for trans-
lating most normal variations of
voice, idiom, accent and other
The self-programming, shared- ,

variable modalities into a com-


time girl with the dark, grave
puter-oriented simscripl and
eyes brought Forrester his tea thence to the mathematical ex-
and cakes. “Thank you,” he said, pressions on which the comput-
staring at her. He was not
still ers operate. As long as your
quite sure of his deductions about personal joymaker is within re-
her. He tried an experiment. ception range of your voice you
“Can you give me my messages?” may communicate via other
he asked. shared-time transponders if you
wish. Appropriate modulation
“Certainly, Man Forrester, if
will be established automatically.
you wish,” she promptly.
said
However, do not attempt to use
“Alfred Guysman wishes to see
another individual’s joymaker
you on political business. Rever- when yours is not within range.
end Sam Tshumu wishes to see Proper coding cannot be tissur-

32 GALAXY
” ”

ed. In the event that your joy- idual, Man were


Forrester. You
maker is lost or damaged — beaten up by four persons in
the one recorded incident of at-
Forrester sighed and ate one tack. Their names were Shloino
of the cakes. It was rich with Cassavetes, Heinzlichen Jura de
flavors like butter and cinna- Syrtis Major, Edwardino —
mon and others he could not “That one. Heinzlichen Jura
but strange.
identify. Pleasant de Syrtis Major. Or, for that
Very much like this world that matter, all of them — why did
had been given him. they rumble me?”
have a priority message re-
“I
ttAyTan Forrester,” said the garding Heinzlichen Jura de Syr-
joymaker at his belt, its tis iviajOi', Man Forrester. Per-
tones muffled by his coat and haps it will be informative. May
the tablecloth, “it is necessary 1 give it to you?”
for you to accept some messages. “Oh, hell. Why not?”
I have a notice of personal visit “Heinzlichen Jura de Syrtis
and — Major is protesting enforcement
Forrester said, “Look, I’m do- of guaranties and has enjoyed
ing what you said, right? I’m disbursements under his bond.
reading my book. Let me figure You are notified, Man Forrest-
it out a little before you throw er.”
messages at me. Unless,” he said Forrester said “That’s
hotly,
as an afterthought, “there’s what you call informative? Look,
something that’s life-and-death.” skip the damned messages and
“There are no messages involv- answer the question. What was
ing life or death, Man Forrester.” that scene all about?”
“Then wait a while.” He was “You have asked three ques-
aware — he didn’t know how tions, Man Forrester. May I offer
long it had been going on — a synoptic reply?”
that a distant wind instrument “Please do, old friend.”
was hooting faintly. Pleasant but “Heinzlichen Jura de Syrtis
strange. Spiced cool breezes blew Major, a guest in the rep-rooms
from the paneled wall^, also utilized by Alin Hara, conceived
pleasant but strange. a grievance against you, cause
He said hesitantly, “Joymaker, unstated. Calling into association
answer me a question. did Why Shlomo Cassavetes, Edwardino
what’s-his-name, Heinzie, beat Wry and Edwardeto Wry, they;
me up?” formed an ad hoc club and filed
“I cannot identify the indiv- appropriate conformance in re-

THE AGE OF THE PUSSYFOOT 33


gard to bonds and guaranties. this information to the joymak-
The intention was stated as mur- er it will be remembered and
der, first phase, ad lib. The mo- you can then refer to the per-
tivation was stated as grievance son in later calls by a reciprocal

as to de Syrtis Major, practical name or any other personal iden-

joke as to the others. Conform- programmed into your


tification
joymaker. If you have been
ances were recorded and the sub-
called by any person, the joy-
ject, that is, yourself, Man For-
maker will have recorded the
rester, was notified. Does that necessary ortho-name and iden-
answer your three questions, Man tification spectrum. Simply ask
Forrester?’’ the joymaker to call the person
“What do you think?” Forres- you wish to speak to. If you
ter snapped. “Well, maybe it wish to establish a priority rat-
ing with any person, that person
does. Sort of. You mean those
must so inform his joymaker.
other three finks lumped me for
Otherwise your calls may be de-
a joke?”
ferred or canceled as directed
“They so stated, yes, Man For- by the called person.
rester.” To use your joymaker as cred-
“And they’re still running it card: You must know the
around loose?” institutional designation and ac-
“Do you wish me to ascertain count spectrum —
their present whereabouts, Man
Forrester?” A belated thought percolated
“No, I mean, aren’t they in jail to the surface of Forres-
or something?” mind. Messages. Financial
ter’s
“No, Man Forrester.” One of the messages
institutions.
Forrester said, “Joymaker, had been from something that
leave me alone for a while. I bet- sounded like that.
ter get back to my orientation He sighed and looked around
book. I see I don’t know as much the room. Most of the tables were
as I thought I did.” empty. But it was a targe room,
Forrester drank the rest of his and there were perhaps fifty oth-
tea, ate the rest of his cakes and er persons in it, all of them seat-
plowed back into his book. ed at tables in twos and threes
and larger groups. Through some
To use your joymaker as effect of the sound-conditioning
telephone: You must know the he could not hear their voices,
ortho-name and identification only the distant hooting flute nnd
spectrum of the person you wish a faint splashing from tl^c (p.int
to reach. Once you have given fish in the reflecting pools.

34 GALAXY

He wondered if any of these curiosities as and


the B.P.O.E.
fiftypeople would mind if he got the Industrial Workers of the
up and walked over to them. World (Memorial Association) in
Touching the faintly sore spots small type at the end of the sec-
on his shoulders and neck, he de- tion.
cided against it. Puzzling. If it existed at all,

But gave him an idea, and he


it should it not have a member-

turned to the section of the book ship in the billions?


on “Making Friends”. Evidently, it did not, but . . .

“I have an urgent notice of per- “Man Forrester,” shrilled the


sonal visit, Man Forrester,” joymaker, “I must inform you of
grumbled the joymaker from his personal visitation by —
waist. “Wait a minute,” said Forres-
“Just save it,” said Forrester, ter, suddenly looking up, startl-
preoccupied. He was startled at ed.
the length of the list of ways of There was a hint of perfume
making friends. Above all, there in the air.
were clubs. Clubs in such pro- Forrester put down his book,
fusion that he wondered even frowning.
seventeen billion people could The scent was familiar. What
fill their rolls. Social clubs, gym- was it? Another tactile-tape mes-
nastic clubs, professional clubs. sage from this Adne Bensen, who-
Political groups, religious groups, ever she might be?
therapeutic groups. There was a He felt a touch on his shoulder,
Society of First Families of Mars, then warm arms around him, a
and a Loyal Order of Descen- hug.
dants of Barsoom Fans. There These tactile tapes were cer-
were forty-eight bird-watching tainly convincing, he thought
groups in Shoggo alone. There momentarily, then realized this
were stamp-collectors and coin- was not atape. He was not mere-
collectors and tax-token collec- ly feeling and smelling the pres-
tors and jet-car transfer collec- ence of the embracing arms. He
tors. saw them, from the corner of his
There was something called eye, and awkwardly, like a wrest-
the Society of Ancients which ler struggling to break a hold,
looked interesting, as it appeared he turned inside them.
to be an organization of persons He saw the face of the girl
like Forrester himself, revived from the party, very near to his.
from the dead heart of the freez- “Tip!” he cried. “My God but
ers. Yet it was listed with such I’m glad to see you!”

THE AGE OF THE PUSSYFOOT 35


TT^hen you came right down to She said, “Oh, I think not. I
Forrester hardly knew
it, mean, not here, anyway. I came
the barring a little friendly
girl, to see if you’d like to come to

kissing at a party, but at this my place for dinner.”


moment she was very dear to "Yes!”
him. It was like a chance meet- She laughed, “You are such
ing in Taiwan with somebody an impetuous man, Charles. Is
who sat at the far end of the that why they call you the kami-
commuter train for years. Not a kaze people? I mean, your cen-
friend. Hardly even an acquain- tury and all.”
tance; but promoted by the acci- “As to that, Adne, I don’t
dent of unexpected meeting to know,” he said, “because, when
the status of near and dear. He you come right down to it, I
hugged her tight. She laughed don’t know who calls me what.
breathlessly and shook free. I am, you might say, confused.
“Dear Charles,” she gasped, One of the many reasons why
“not so hard.” I am
pleased to see you is that
“I’m sorry.” He seated her and I need somebody to talk to.”
sank down opposite, admiring her She settled in a chair opposite
dark hair and pale skin, her him and took some tea, after all.
cheerful, pretty face and her fig- It came without being asked for;
ure. The others in the tea room, apparently the joymaker had
some of whom had turned to monitored their conversation and
look at them, were losing inter- drawn the inferences any good
est and returning to their own waiter would draw. She threw
affairs. Forrester said, “It’s just back her filmy, puffy wrap —
that I’m so glad to see you. Tip,” it had floated around her shoul-

She looked startled, then faint- ders like a cloud, but it lay back
ly reproving. “My name is Adne against the chair quite incon-
Bensen, dear Charles. Call me spicuously, Forrester noticed —
Adne.” and revealed a deep-cut, tight-
“But last night Hara called fitting, flesh-colored vest or jer-
you —oh!” he said, remember- kin of some sort that was start-
ing. “Then you’re the girl who ling at first.
has been sending me the mes- At second look it was still

sages.” startling.
She nodded! She said, “Dear Charles. Don’t
“Very nice messages they you ask your joymaker tilings!’”
were,” he said. “Would you like “I would except I don’t know
some tea?” what to ask.”
36 GALAXY
*‘Oh, anything! What do you “Where are you going?” For-
want? Have you filed a profile?” rester asked, rising with her.
“I don’t think so.” “To the shelter, of course!
“Oh, do! Then it will tell you Hurry it up, Charles, will you?
what programs are on, what par- I hate it when I’m out in a public
ties you will be welcomed at, place in one of these things.”
who you would wish to know. “-NINETY-ONE. NINETY.
It’s terrible go on impulse,
to EIGHTY-NINE—”
Charles,” she said earnestly. “Let He said, swallowing hard; “Air
the joymaker help you.” raid? A war?”
He discovered that his own tea She had his hand, tugging him
cup had been replenished, and along toward an exit at the rear
sipped it. “I don’t understand,” of the tea room, where the other
he said. “You mean I should let patrons were already beginning
the joymaker decide what I’m to stream out. “Not exactly,
going to do for fun?” Charles dear. Don’t you know
“Of course. There’s so much. anything?”
How could you know what you “Then what?”
would like?” “Aliens. Monsters. That’s all.

He shook his head. . . . Now hurry, or we’ll never get a


But that was all of that con- seat.”
versation, all for then. His joy-
maker said suddenly, its voice V
curiously tinny, “PRIORITY
URGENT! THIS IS A DRILL!
TAKE COVER! TAKE COVER! A walk, an elevator ride, a short
stretch through a light-walled
TAKE COVER!!” corridor, and they came out into
“Oh, dear,” said Adne, pouting. a great shadowy auditorium.
“Well let’s go.” There was just enough light to
“TAKE COVER!” blared the find their way to seats. It was
joymaker again, and Forrester filling rapidly, and behind them
discovered the reason for its Forrester heard heavy doors
metallic sound. Not only his but slamming.
the girl’s, those of patrons at When about three-quarters of
other tables, all the joymakers at the seats were filled a man in
once were repeating the same black climbed onto the stage and
message. “TAKE COVER! said, “Thank you all for your co-
COUNTDOWN STARTS NOW! operation. I’m pleased to be able
ONE HUNDRED SECONDS. to tell you that this building has
NINETY-NINE . .
.”
achieved four-nines compliance

THE AGE OF THE PUSSYFOOT 37


in exactly one hundred and forty- n the life that had begun with
one seconds. I his birth in 1932 and ended
There was a stir of interest with the inhalation of a lungful
from the audience. Forrester, of flame thirty-seven years later,
craning his neck to find the source Forrester had been a successful,
of the P.A. system —
it seemed self-sufficient and substantial
to murmur from all over the hall man.
—located it at last as the man He had a wife — her name
spoke again. It was his joymaker, was Dorothy, small, blonde, a
and all the joymakers, repeating littleyounger than himself. He
what the man said. had three sons, and a job as copy
“This is one of the best show- chief of a technical writing ser-
ings we’ve ever had,” he said vice, and a reputation among his
warmly, “and I appreciate it. friends as a fine poker player
You may leave.” and useful companion.
“You mean that’s all there is Although he had missed par-
to it?” Forrester asked the girl. ticipation in a war, he was a Boy
“That’s all. Are you coming Scout in World War II, partici-
up to my place?” pating in scrap-metal drives and
He persisted, “But — if there’s Slap the Jap waste fat collections.
going to be a raid, or any chance As a young adult he had lived
of one, shouldn’t we wait and through the H-bomb hysteria of
see — the early fifties, when every city
“See what, Charles dear? street blossomed out with signs
There’s no need to grovel in the directing the nearest way to a
ground like moles. It’s just a bomb shelter. He had seen enough
test.” movies and television shows to
“Yes, but —
” He hesitated, know what air raid drills meant.
and followed her out of the He was not very satisfied with
auditorium thoughtfully. the one he had seen. He tried to
was confusing. No one had
It phrase his dissatisfaction to Adne
mentioned wat to him. as she changed clothes behind a
But when he said as much to screen, but she was not very in-
Adne, she laughed. “VFar? Oh, terested. Drills were an annoy-
Charles! You’re so funny, you ance to her, it was clear.
kamikazes! Now we’ve wasted She came out from behind
enough time —
are you coming the screen, wearing something
to my place for dinner or not?” filmy and pale, and not at all
He sighed. practical for cooking dinner. On
“Oh, sure,” he said. tlie other hand, Forrester thought.

38 GALAX'V
who knew how these people out clothes, small packets which
cooked their dinners? She rustled might have been cosmetics, some
over to him, lifted his hand, things like appliances.
kissed his fingers and sat down “Oh, no, Charles dear. It’s my
beside him, pulling her joy- job.” She was preoccupied with
maker from the place by the arm a billowy green thing, strok-
soft,
of the chair where she had left ing it against her cheek thought-
it: “Excuse me, Charles dear,” fully. With a twist of her arms
she said, and, to the joymaker; she threw it around her shoulders
“Receiving messages.” and it became a sort of Eliza-
Forrester could not hear what bethan ruff. “Like it, dear?”
the joymaker said to her because “Sure. I mean, I guess I do.”
she was holding it close to her “It’s soft. Feel.” She drew it
ear and had evidently somehow over his face. It felt like fur,
turn^'d the volume down ^which — though its points thrust out again
he resolved to learn how to do. immediately they left his skin,
But he heard what she said to it, looking starched and throny. “Or
though it was largely incompre- this,” she said, taking it off and
hensible: “Cancel. Hold Three. replacing it with what looked
Comissary four, two as pro- liked oiled silk in the box it came
grammed, two A-varied.” And, in, but on her shoulders dis-
“That takes care of that,” she appeared entirely, except that it
said to him. “Would you like a gave luster and color to her skin.
drink?” “Or—”
“All right.” She lifted glasses “They’re all beautiful,” he said.
out of the well of the —Forrester “What do you mean, it’s your
would have called it a cocktail job?”
table, and perhaps it was. He
noticed her eyes were on a stack t tT’m a reacter,” she said proud-
of parcels on a low table across A ly. “Weighted nearly 50 mil-
the room. “Excuse me,” she said, lion, with two-nines reliability.”
pouring a minty liquid for him “Which means?”
and one for herself. “I just have “Oh, you know. If I like things,
to look at these things.” She took chances are ninety-nine out of a
a small sip of her drink and hundred that the others will too.”
crossed to the packages. “Fifty million of them?”
Forrester decided he liked his She nodded, flushed and
drink, which was not sweet and pleased.
made “Been shop-
his nose tingle. “And this is how you make a
ping?” he asked. Adne was taking living?”

THE AGE OF THE PUSSYFOOT 39


"It’s how I get rich,” she cor- smoke got me. Or the combi-
rected him. “Say!” She looked at —
nation did smoke and heat. And
him thoughtfully, “I wonder . . maybe booze, because I’d just
Do you have any idea how many come from a party. Hara said 1
others like you have come out must have inhaled pure flame
of the dormers? Maybe you could because my lungs were burnt.
get a job doing the same thing My face must have been, too, of
I could ask.” course. ! mean, you wouldn’t
He patted her hand, indulgent know, but I don’t think I look

and amused. “No. thanks,” he quite the same as I used to. A


said, carefully not to mention the little leaner now, and maybe a
fact that he was rich —
although, little younger. And I don’t think
he remembered dimly, he had my eyes were quite as bright
been far less reticent about it blue.”
at theparty the night before. She giggled. “Hara can’t help
Well, he had made a lot of mis- editing.Most people don’t mind
takes at the party —
as witness a tvw improvements.”
his troubles with the Martian. Dinner had arrived as his
“I never asked,” said Adne, breakfast had that morning,
putting the things away. “How through a servadoor in the wall.
did you die, Charles?” Adne excused herself for a mo-
“Why,” he said, sitting down ment while the table was setting
again and waiting for her to join up.
him, “I died in a fire. As a matter She was gone more than a
of fact, I understand I was a moment and came back looking
hero.” amused. “That’s that,” she said
“Really!” She was impressed. without explaining. “Let’s eat.”
“I was a volunteer fireman,
you know, and there was an /^f the foods served him For-
apartment fire one night it was — rester was able to identify
January, witchy cold, if you stood little or nothing. The textures
still in the spill water you’d were .sort of Oriental, with crisp
freeze to the ground in two things like water chestnuts and
minutes —
and there was a child gummy things like sukiyaki vary-
in the upper part of the building. ing the crunch of lettuce and the
And I was the nearest one to the plasticity of starches. The flavors
ladder.” were queer but palatable.
He sipped his drink, admiring “You must have been one of
its milky, golden color. “I forgot the first to be frozen,” she com-
my Air-Pak,” he admitted. “The mented. “1969? That’s only a few

40 GALAXY
years after the freezing began.” would let her marry again
“First on the book,” he agreed. hope she did ... I mean ” He— . .

“It was because of the fire com- broke off, wondering what he did
mean.
pany, I guess. I know they had
“Anyway,” he said “Kara had
the new death - reversal truck
some records. She lived nearly
standing by for several months,
fifty more years, died in her
waiting for a victim. I didn’t think
eighties of the third massive
I’d be the one to christen it. .

stroke. She’d been partly para-


He ate a forkful of something
lyzed for some time.” He shook
like creamed onions in a pastry
his head, trying to visualize small,
crust and said, “It must have
blonde Dorothy as a bedridden,
been confusing for Dorothy.”
beldame.
“Your wife?”
“Had enough?” asked Adne.
He nodded. “I wonder if there’s
He came back to present time,
any way I can find out about her.
faintly startled. “Dinner? Why,
What she did. How the children
I guess so. It was delicous.” She
made out. She was young when
I was killed — let’s see. Thirty- did something that caused the
three, about. I don’t know if table to retract itself and stood
having a husband dead but frozen up. “Come over here and have

THE AGE OF THE PUSSYFOOT 41


your coffee. I ordered it specially sorry,but I don’t know much
for you. Would you like some about kamikaze ways. If there’s
music?” a ritual tabu. I’m sorry.”
He started to say, “Not par- “No tabu. Just a mi,sunder-
ticularly,” but she had already standing.” He picked up his glass
started some with visions of Bar- and held it to her. “Any more of
tok and music-concrete. But it this stuff around?”
turned out to be something very “Charles dear,” she said,
like violins, playing something stretching, “there’s all you want.
very like detached, introspective And 1 have an idea.”
T schaikowsky “Shoot.”
She sank back against him, and “I’m going to find you a place
she was very warm and fragrant. to live!” she cried. “You ju.st
“We’ll have to find you a place stay here. Order what you want.”
to live,” she said. She touched something that he
Heput his arm around her. could not see and added, “If you
“This is a condominum build- don’t know how, the children will
ing,” she said thoughtfully, “but show you while they’re keejjing
I think there might be something. you company.”
Do you have any preferences?” What had seemed like a floor-
“I don’t know enough to have length mural opened itself into
preferences,” he said, caressing a door. Forrester found himself
her soft hair. “In a place to live, looking into a bright gay room
anyway.” where two small children were
She said drowsily, “That’s racing each other around a sort
And in the same
nice.” tone, a of climbable maze.
moment later, “But I think I “We ate our dinner, Mim,”
should warn you I’m natural- cried one of them, then saw For-
flow And this is about M-day rester and nudged the other. The
minus four, so all I want is to be two looked at him with calm
cuddled.” She yawned and appraisal.
touched her mouth with her “You don’t mind this either,
hand. ‘Oh! Excuse me.” do you, Charles dear?” Adne
Then she caught a glimpse of asked. “That’s another thing
his face. “You don’t mind, do about being natural-flow.”
you?” she asked sitting up. “I

mean,
Charles,
could take a pill
i

why are you that color?” T here were two of them, a boy
and a girl, about seven and
“Nothing, Nothing at all!” five. Forrester guessed. They ac-
She said apologetically, “I’m cepted him without question. . . .

42 GALAXY
” ”

Or not exactly that, thou^t said boy seriously. “You


the
Forreater ruefully. There were could have died. I heard Mim
questions. talking to the medoc.”
“Charles! Did people really Forrester said, “Are you chil-
smell bad in the old days?” dren in school?”
“Oh, Charles! You rode in They looked at him, then at

automobiles?” each other.


“When the little children had “I mean, are you old enough
to work in the coal mines, to start lessons?”
Charles, didn’t they get anything The boy said, “Well, sure,
to eat?" Charles. Tunt ought to be doing
“But what did they play with, hers right now, as a matter of
Charles? Dolls that didn’t talk?” fact.”
He tried his best to answer. “So should you! Mim said —
“Well, the child-labor time was “We have to be polite to guests.
over when I lived, or almost. And Tunt!” The boy said to Charles,
dolls did talk, sort of. Not very “Is there anything we can get

intelligently . . . . you? Something to eat? Drink?
“When did you live, Charles?” Watch a program? Sex - stini?
“I was burned to death in Although I guess you ought to
1969 —” know,” he said apologetically,
The little girl shrieked, “For “that Mim’s natural-flow and

witchcraft?” “Yes, yes, I know about that,”
“Oh, no. No, that was hundreds Forrester said hastily, and
of years earlier too.” Charles thought. Sweet God!
tried not to laugh. “You see, But being in Rome, he thought,
houses used to catch on fire those was what the Romans did that
days — it

counted, and he would do his


“The Shoggo fire!” shouted the best. He
resolved it earnestly.
boy. “Mrs. Leary’s cow and the It was
like being at a party.
earthquake!” You gotthere at ten o’clock,
“Well —
something like that. with your collar too tight and a
Anyway, there were men whose little grouchy at being rushed and
job it was to put the fires out, your starched shirt-front wet
and I was one of them. Only then where the kids splashed it when
I got caught and died there.” you supervised their bedtime
“Mim drowned once,” the little tooth-brushing. And your host
girl bragged. ‘“We haven’t died was old Sam who’d been such a
at all.” drag, and his wife Myra was in
“You were sick once, though,” one of her nouveau-riche moods.
THE AGE OF THE PUSSYFOOT 43
showing off the new dishmaker, old Ebent'zes Scsouge gravely ex-
and the conversation started out amined Forrester’s check, pains-
about politics, which was Sam’s takingly showed him how to draw
most offensive side. . . against it, severely supervised his

But then you had the second signing the necessary documents
drink: And then the third. Faces to open an account, and only at
grew brighter. You began to feel the end revealed himself by say-
more at ease. The whole bunch in, “Man Forrester, good day.”
laughed at one of your jokes. The They took him to a Titanian
music on the stack of records restaurant for lunch, a lark for
changed to something you could them, a shattering test of nerve
dance to. You began to catch to him, for the Titanians ate
the rhythm of the party . . . only live food and he was barely
Oh, I’ll try vowed Forrester, able to cope with an aspic that
joining the children in a sort of writhed and rustled on his spoon.
board game played against their They showed him their play-
own joymakers. I’ll catch the school, where for three hours a
mood of this age if it kills me. week they competed and jdotted
Again. with their peers (their lessons
were learned at home, via their
VI child-modified joymakers), and
Forrester found himself playing
Y Tp betimes, and set out to con- London Bridge is Falling Down
quer a world. with fourteen children and one
The home that Adne found for other adult, symbolically acting

him was fascinating walls that out the ritual murder and en-
made he needed them,
closets as tombment in the bridge’s foun-
windov/s that were not windows dations that the nursery rhyme
but something like television celebrated. They took him to
screens — Forrester resolutely where the poor people lived,
spent no time exploring its mar- with half-fearful giggles and in-
vels. After a disturbed night’s junctions against speaking to any-
sleep he was up and out, testing one, and Forrester found himself
his new world and learning to out of pocket change, having
cope with it. The children were given it all away to pale, mum-
marvelous. He begged the loan bling creatures with hard-luck
of them from Adne and they stories about Sol-burn on Mer-
were his guides. They took him cury and freezer insurance firms
to the offices of the Nineteenth that had gone bankrupt. They
Chromatic Trust where a portly took him to a park —indoors.

44 GALAXY
underground —where the land- “I believe you,” said Forres-
scaping was topologically grotes- ter.
que and a purling stream flowed “Then this way, Charles.
through a hill’s base and up the Come on, Tunt.” And the boy led
other side, and ducks and frogs off between two towering build-
and a feathery sort of Venusian ings, on the margin of a grassy
fish ate morsels of food the chil- strip where huge hovercraft
dren tossed them. They took him swished by at enormous speeds.
to a museum where animated, The joymaker complained,
enlarged cells underwent mitosis “Man Forrester, I have dicho-
with a plop like a cow lifting tomous instructions. Please re-
her foot from a bog, and a recre- solve them.”
ated Tyrannosaurus Rex coughed “Oh, God,” said Forrester,
and barked and thumped its feet tired and irritable, “what’s your
dangerously, its orange eyes trouble now?”
glaring straight at Forrester. “You have instructed me to
They showed him all their trea- hold messages, butI have several

sures and pleasures. But they which are high-priority and ur-
did not show him a factory, or gent. Please reaffirm holding or-
an office building, or a store of der, stipulating a time limit if
any size. For it did not seem that possible, or receive them now.”
any of these existed any more. The boy giggled. “You know
They showed him all of Shoggo why, demanded.
Charles?” he
until their joymakers chided “It tickles them. youIt’s like if

them, and Forrester’s own said have to go to the bathroom.”


severely: “Man Forrester! The The joymaker said, “The an-
children must be returned for alog is inexact, Man Forrester.
their naps. And you really must However, please allow me to dis-
receive your messages.” charge my message load.”
The children looked at him Forrester sighed and prepared
with woe. “Ah, well,” said For- to contemplate reality again.
rester, “we’ll do it again another But something distracted him.
day. How do we get home from Besides
the steady whush,
here?” whush of the passing hovercraft,
“A cab,” said the girl doubt- besides the distant chant of a
fully, but the boy shouted: choir —
they were passing some
“Walk! We can walk! I know sort of church —
there was an-
where we are. Ten minutes will other sound. Forrester looked up.
do it. Ask your joymakers, if you A faint tweeting sound of
don’t believe me.” communications equipment was
THE AGE OF THE PUSSYFOOT 45
coming from a white aircraa't, “Not if I can help it. Looh.
glass-fronted, hanging overhead. Do you know any short-cuts
It bore the shining ruby cadu- from here? Any secret ways —
ceus, and a dark-skinned man in through cellars, over rooftops,
blue was regarding Forrester you know.”
gravely. The boy looked at the girl.
Forrester swallowed. The girl’s eyes got very big.
“Joymaker,” he demanded, “is “Tunt,” she whispered. “Char-
that a death-reversal vehicle les wants to hide.”
overhead?” “That’s it,” said Forre,ster.
“Yes, Man Forrester.” “What about it, son? You must
“Does that mean — ” He know some special way. Any kid
cleared his throat. “Does that would.”
mean that crazy Martian is after The boy said, “Charles. I know
me again?” a way, all right. But are you
“Man Forrester,” said the joy- sure —
maker primly, “among your ur- “I’m sure. I’m sure!” snapped
gent priority messages is a legal Charles Forrester. “Come on!
notice. The twenty-four hour Where?”
hold period having expired and The boy surrendered. “Follow
appropriate notices and action me. You too, Tunt.”
having been filed and taken, the They turned and dived into
man Heinzlichen Jura de — one of the buildings. Forrester
“Cut it out! Is he after me?” took a last look around for Heinz-
“Man Forrester,” said the joy- lichen whatever-his-name-was.
maker, “yes. As of seventeen min- He was not in sight. Only the
utes ago, the hold period having hovercraft thrumming past, and
expired then, he is.” the few uncaring pedestrians . . .

and overhead the man in blue in


A t least the Martian
crazy the death-reversal vehicle, star-
wasn’t in sight, thought ing down at him, his expression
Forrester, scanning the few visi- both surprised and angry.
ble pedestrians. But the presence
of the death-reversal aircraft was X/^hen he was safely in the con-
a poor omen. dominium building, the chil-
“Kids,” he said, “we got trou- dren returned to their own home
bles. I’m being chased.” to await the arrival of their moth-
“Oh, Charles!” breathed the er, Forrester hurried to his
bojr, fascinated. “Will you get apartment, closed the door and
killed?” locked it.
46 GALAXY
“Joymaker,” he said, “you “That crazy Martian doesn’t
were right. I admit it. So now waste time, does he? Well, what
let’s have all those messages. about the other stuff? Any of it
And take it slow.” important?”
The joymaker said serenely, “As to that, Man Forrester, f
“Man Forrester, your messages have no parameters.”
follow. The Reverend Sam Tsh- “You’re a big help,” said For-
umu asked you to call him, but rester bitterly. “Get me a drink
he is no longer receiving mes- while I’m thinking. Uh, gin and
sages. Vincenzo d’ Angostura tonic.” He waited for it to ap-
states that he is still available pear and took a long pull.
for legal representation but will His nerves began to feel like
not call again under Bar Associ- tangled barbed-wire. “All right,”
ation rules. Taiko Hironibi feels he said. “Now, what was that
there was some misunderstand- about a package?”
ing and would like to discuss it “You have a document pack-
with you. Adne Bensen sends age in our receiving chute, Man
you an embrace. A document Forrester. Envelope. Approxi-
package is in your receiving mately nine centimeters by 25
chute. Will you receive the em- centimeters, less than one-half
brace?” centimeter in thickness, weighing
"Hold it a minute. Gives me approximately eleven grams. In-
something to look forward to. scription; ‘Mr. Charles Dalgleish
Who’s this Reverend Sam Tsh- Forrester, Social Security Num-
umu?” ber 145-10-3088, last address
“Sam Tshumu: Male, Chris- while living 252 Dulcimer Drive,
tian entelechist, Utopian, five Evanston, Illinois. Died of burns
feet eight inches, proselytizer, received 16 October 1969. To be
business in regard to the assault delivered upon revival.’ Contents
on your person by Heinzlichen unknown.”
Jura de Syrtis Major.” “Hum. Is that all it says?”
“Well. All right. What about “No, Man Forrester. There are
it? What does he have to say?” machinescript handling instruc-
“I am sorry, Man Forrester. tions on the document. I will
That ends the message.” phonemize them as close as pos-
“Can I call him back?” sible;‘Sigma triphase ooty-poot
“No, Man Forrester. Reverend baker tare sugar aleph,
trip toe,
Sam Tshumu is at present in paraphase ”— ’

freeze due to injuries sustained “Yeah, well, that’s enough of


at the same time.” that.I mean, is there anything in

THE AGE OF THE PUSSYFOOT 47


English? Anything T could under- be another century or more —
stand?” — is that which has to do with

“No, Man Forrester. Faint car- troubles. Not your troubles, of


course. Not any more. Usually
bonization marks are visible
the troubles are mine.
where the envelope has been
Although t must say that real-
creased. There are several minor
ly my life has not been a burden
discolorations which may repre-
to me. I remember that you
sent latent human skinprints. At made me happy, Charles. I must
some time a mild corrosive liquid you that
was spilled — tell

ribly. But I must


I missed you
also tell
ter-
you
“Say, joymaker,” said Forres- that I got over it.

ter, “I’ve got an idea. Why don’t To begin with: You will want
I open it up? Where’d you say it to know what you died of, I
was?” know, and perhaps the people
who bring you back to life will
not be able to tell you. (I am
T3 etrieved from his receiving
assuming that you will be
chute, the envelope turned brought back to life. I didn’t
out to be a letter from his wife. believe it time atbut the —
He stared at it and felt some- since then I’ve seen it happen.)

thing tingling in the corners of You were burned to death in


his eyes. The handwriting was a house fire on Christie Street
very strange to him. The signa- on October 16th, 1969. Dr. Ten
ture was Still with atiection, Eyck, who was with the first
aid squad, pronounced you dead
Dorothy .but the hand that
. .

and. with some difficulty, per-


had formed those letters scrawled
suaded them to use their death-
and shook, and had even aban- reversal equipment to freeze
doned her little finishing-school you. There was some trouble
affectations of penmanship, the about lacking glycerol for per-
open-circle dots over the i’s, the fusion, but the whole fire com-
flowing crosses on the f’s. He pany, you will be glad to know,
could read it only with difficulty. dug into their liquor closets and
came up with several bottles of
bourbon and it was that
. . .

Dear Charles,
which was used as a buffer. (If
This is, I think, the tenth or you woke up with a hangover,
eleventh
time I have written you now know why!)
you. I seem to do it
this letter to There was some question as
every
time there is a death or to whether too much time had
bad news, as though the only elapsed, too. They thought you
gossip I have that is worth the might have spoiled during (he
effort to pass on for what may you see. But as it
discussion,

48 GALAXY
was cold weather for October Vance is now married, and is

they decided to take a chance, in fact a grandfather. It was his

and you were ultimately con- second marriage; the first was
signed to a freeze-dormer at annulled. His present wife was a
liquid helium temperatures. schoolteacher before their mar-
Where, as 1 write this, you now riage .and they have been
. .

lie . , . and where, or in one happy. And I really can think


like it, I expect to be myself of nothing else to tell you about
before long. your son Vance that does not
I should tell you that I didn’t involve attempting to explain
pay for any of this. Your fire what broke up his first marriage
company turned
insurance, it and why his second wife could
out, was adequate to cover all not stay in the United Slates
I he costs and was in fact ear- 1 suppose you may meet him
marked purpose. If it
for that some dav You can ask h-im
harl been up to me 1 don’t think yourself.
I would have gone to the ex- Billy, you will be astonished
pen.se, Charles, because after all to learn, is now a Great Man.
there were the children to raise. Let me see. He was two wlieii
What can 1 tell you about you died. Now he’s our senator
them? They missed you very from Hawaii, and they say he
much. will be president one day. But
Vance, in particular, played you will find out more about
truant from school for the best him in the history books than
part of a month, forging notes I can tell you, I think. Let me
to his teacher, persuading some only say, what I know will in-
adult —
.suspected our clean-
I terest you, that his first cam-
ing woman at the time — to paign was on a platform of free
phone the principal to explain freezing for everyone, paid for
his absence, before found out
1 out of Social Security funds,
about it. But then he joined a and you were mentioned in
Boy .Scout troop and, as they every speech. He won easily.
say, developed other interests. And I am seventy-nine
, .

David didn’t say much. But I years old.


don’t think he ever got over it. Since you died forty years ago
At least not during his lifetime. I cannot now remember you
He joined the Peace Corps four well enough, my Charles, to
years later and was executed know if you will mind what
by insurgents during the Huk I have to say next. Three years
uprising in 1974. Since his body after your death I remarried.
was mutilated before being My husband my other hus- —
found he could not be frozen. band —
was a doctor. Still is,
So he, at least, we will never though he is out of practice
see again. now. We have been very happy.
THE AGE OF THE PUSSYFOOT 49
” ” ”

(oj. We
had two other children. “Yes, Man Forrester. Williams,
Both girls. You never met him, Harrison E. Kaapp, Leonard.
but he is a good man, barring Stanchion, Karen P. Forrester,
the tact that at one time he
Wilton N. Tschirky, Leon —
drank too much. He gave it up.
“Well, my God,” said Forres-
He looks a little like you . . .

ter softly, and sat marveling


If I remember correctly, he
does.
while the joymaker droned on to
And I am now in brittle the end of the twenty-first cen-
health and this is the last time tury, and stopped.
I will write you this letter. Per- Little two - year - old Willy.
haps we will meet again. I won- Baby Bill. A senator and
. . .

der what it will be like. president. It was an unsettling


Still with affection, idea.
Dorothy The joymakersaid, “Man For-
rester! Notice of physical visit.
Forrester put down the letter Adne Bensen is to see you, pur-

and cried: “Joymaker! Was pose unstated, time of arrival


there ever a president named less than one minute.”
Forrester?” “Oh,” said Forrester, “good.
“President of what, Man For- Let her right in.” And he re-
rester?” hearsed what he would tell her,
“President of the United but not to any effect. Geneaol-
States!” ogy was not in her mind. She
“Which United States is that, was angry.
Man Forrester?” “You,” she cried, “what the
“Oh, for God’s sakes! The sweat do you think you’re doing
United States of America. Wait to my kids?”
a minute. First off, do you know
the presidents of the United tt'll^hy, nothing. I don’t know
States of America?” what you’re talking
“Yes, Man Forrester. Washing- about.”
ton, George. Adams, John. Jef- “Dog sweat!” The door
ferson, Thomas — crashed closed behind her.
“Later on! starting with the “Twitching kamikaze!” She flung
middle of the 20th century:” her cape against the wall; it
“Yes, Man Forrester. Truman, dropped to a chair and arranged
Harry S. Eisenhower, Dwight D. itself in neat squares. “Pervert
Kennedy — creep, you get a kick out of this,
“Move it up! Start with around don’t you? Want to make my
1990 .” kids like you! Want to change
50 GALAXY
” ” ” ”” ”

them hand-
into chatter-toothed feed a sick pup or— character
working dogsweaty cowardly — enough to make him a dog. Go
Forrester guided her to a chair. rot!”
“Honey,” he said, attempting to “Now, wait a minute! We’re
get her a drink, “shut up a min- not married. You can’t talk to
ute.” me like that!” He got up and
“Oh, sweet! Give me that
— stood over her, the glass un-
She quickly produced drinks for heeded in his hand. Now he was
them, without a pause in her getting angry, too. He opened his
talking. “My kids! You want to mouth to speak, gesticulating.
ruin them!” Six ounces of icy, sticky fluid
“Look, I’m sorry, but I didn’t slopped into her face.
mean to get them in a danger- She stared up at him, and be-
ous — gan to laugh.
“Dangerous! Go crawl! I’m not “Oh, Charles!” She put down
talking about danger.” her own glass and tried to wipe
“I didn’t let them get hurt— her face. “You know you’re an
“Sweat!” idiot, don’t you?” But the way
“Well, it isn’t my fault if some she said it was almost affection-
crazy Martian — ate.
“Dog sweat!” She was wearing “I’m sorry,” he said. “Times,
a skintight coverall which seemed let’s see, times three, anyway.
to be made of parallel strands of For spilling the drink on you, for
fabric running top to bottom, getting the kids in trouble, for
held together God knew how; yelling back at you —
with every movement, as she She stood up and kissed him
turned, as her breast rose and swiftly. As she reached up to
fell, tiny slivers of skin showed him the strands of fabric parted
disturbingly. “You’re not even provocatively. She disappeared
a man. What do you know into the protean cubicle of the
about — lavatory.
“I said I was sorry. Listen, I Forrester picked up the rest
don’t know what I did wrong, but of his drink, drank it, drank hers
I’ll make it up to them.” and carefully ordered two more
She sneered. from the dispenser. His brows
“No, I will! I know. There furrowed with thought.
must be something they want. When she came back he said,
I’ve got plenty of money, so — “Honey, one thing. What did you
“Charles, you’re pathetic! You mean when you said I didn’t
haven’t got money enough to have a lot of money?”
THE AGE OF THE PUSSYFOOT 51
he fluffed her hair, looking ab- thought, embarrassed
S
.

stracted. where the devil did you put i?’


He said persistently, “No, I It was a silly joke anyway and
mean it. I mean, I thought you I’m tired of it.”

knew Kara pretty well. He must Numbly he stood up with her,


have told you about me.” numbly found the folder from
“Oh, yes. Of course.” the West Side Discharge Center
“Well, then. I had this insur- and placed it in her hands What
ance thing when I died, see. joke? If there was a joke, he
They banked the money or some- didn’t know what it was.
thing, and it’s had
hundred six She fished out the sheaf of
years to grow. Like John Jones’s glossy sheets in the financial re-
Dollar, if you know what that port, glanced them, beganat
was. I didn’t have much to be- handing them to him. The first
gin with, but by the time they was headed Cryotherapy, Main-
took me out of the cooler it was tenance, Schedule /. It bore a
over a quarter of a million dol- list of charges under headings
lars.” like Annual Rental, Biotesting,
She picked up her new drink, Cell Retrieval and Detoxifica-
hesitated, then took a drink of it. tion, as well as a dozen or more
She said, “As a matter of fact, recurring items with names that
Charles dear, it was a lot more meant nothing to —
him Schlick-
than that. Two million seven Tolhaus Procedures, Homiletic.s
hundred thousand, Hara said. and so on. The second sheet bore
Didn’t you ever look at your a list of charges for what ap-
statement?” peared to be financial servicing,
Forrester stared. Two million presumably investing and super-
sev — Two mill vising his capital. The third was
“Oh, yes.” She nodded. “Look for diagnostic procedures, there
it up. You had the papers with were several for what seemed to
you in the tea room yesterday.” be separate surgeries, sheets for

“But but Adne! Somebody nursing car and for pharmaceu-

must’ve 1 mean, your kids were ticals used . there were in all
. .

with me when I deposited the nearly thirty sheets and the to-
check! It was only two hundred tals at the bottom of each of
and some thousand .” . . them were impressive, but the
“Dear Charles. Will you please last sheet of all took Forrester’s
look it up in your statement?” breath away.
She stood up, looking somewhat It was a simple arithmetical
annoyed and somewhat, he statement
52 galaxy
” ”

Aggregate of converted as- “You did,” she pointed out.


sets $2,706,884.72 “Given time, people can. At
Aggregate of Schedules compound interest, they can,”
1-27: $2,443,182.09 “But it’s — —
it’sit’s medical
Net due patient on dis- profiteering! I don’t know what
charge: $263,702.63 they did to me, but surely there
should be some attempt to con-
Forrester gasped and coughed trol fees!”
and cried, half strangled: “Two Adne took his arm and sat him
and a half million dollars for down again on the couch beside
medical Sweet Jesus God!” her. She said with patience, but
He swallowed and looked up un- not very much patience, “Dear
believingly. “Holy A.M.A.! Who Charles, I wish you would learn

can afford that kind of money?” a little something about the


Adne said, “Why, you can, for world before you tell us all
one. Otherwise you’d still be what’s wrong with it. Do you
frozen.” know what they did to you?”
—” a He admitted, “Well Not ex- —
“Christ!
struck him —And
“look at this!
thought
Even actly, no. But I know something
so they’re cheating says me! It about what medical treatment
two hundred and sixty thousand,, costs.” He frowned. “Or used to,
and they only gave me two thir- anyway. I suppose there’s infla-
ty!” tion.”
Adne was beginning to look “Idon’t think so. I I think —
faintly angry again. “Well, after that’s the wrong word,” she said.
all, Charles. You did go back “I mean, that means things cost
there for extra treatment. You more because the money is worth
might get some of that back from less, right? But that isn’t what
Heinzie, I don’t know. Of course, happened. Those operations
he’s protesting it because you would have cost just as much
messed things up.” in the nineteenth century, but

He looked at her blankly, then “Twentieth!”
back at the statement. He “Oh, what’s the difference?
groaned. Twentieth, then. That is, they
“Reach me my drink,” he said, would have cost just as much if
and took a long pull of it. He anybody had been able to do
announced, “The whole thing’s them. Of course, nobody was.”
crazy. Millions of dollars for Forrester nodded unwillingly.
doctors! People just can’t have “All right, admit I’m alive and
thatmuch money.” I
I

shouldn’t kick. But still



THE AGE OF THE PUSSYFOOT 53
” ” ” —
Impatiently the girl selected people worked on you. All sorts
another document from the sheaf, of specialists. All their helpers.
glanced at it and handed it to Using all their equipment. They
him. Forrester looked, and was get a case like yours, it’s like
very nearly sick. Full color, near- one of those great big enormous
ly life size, he thought at first jigsaw puzzles. They have to put
thatit was Lon Chaney made up it all back together, piece by
as The Phantom of the Opera. piece . only they don’t have
. .

But there was no makeup. It all the pieces, so they have to


was a face Or what was left of get or make new ones and of . . .

one. course the stuff spoils so. They


He gagged. "What—What— have to

“Do you see, Charles? You “Quit it!”
were in bad shape.” "You’re awfully jumpy, Char-
“Me?” les.”
“Oh, yes, dear. You really “All right! I’m jumpy.” He
must read your report. See here. took a deep drag on the ciga-
Evidently you fell forward into rette and asked the question that
the flames. Besides being killed had been developing in his mind
“the whole anterior section of the for ten minutes now. “Look. At
head was destroyed. At least, the a normal rate of expenditure
soft parts. Mm—lucky your oh, you know; the way you see
brains weren’t cooked, at that.” —
me living roughly how long is
He saw with incredulity that this my quarter of a million dollars
tender, charming girl was study- going to last?”
ing the photograph with as little She looked into space and
passion as though the charred tapped her teeth. “There are
meat represented were a lamb
it those custom items of yours,” she
chop. She went on, “Didn’t you said thoughtfully. “They come
say you noticed your eyes were high.Those things you smoke,
different? New eyes.” and fowl eggs, and what was —
Forrester croaked, “Put that thing? The oransh
thing away.”
that
juice
—other
He took a swallow of his drink, “Leaving out that kind of
regretted it, fished out what re- stuff! How long?”
mained of his second pack of She pursed her lips. “Well, it
cigarettes and lit one. “I see what depends.”
you mean,” he said at last. “Roughly! How long?”
“Do you? Good, deai. You She said, “Well, maybe the
know, I bet four or five hundred rest of this week.”
54 GALAXY
T T e goggled at her. He re- ening him from sleep. It took him
pressed a laugh that sound- a minute to realize what it was,
ed like a sob. emerging from his bemused state.
The end
of the week? Then he said, “In a minute, ma-
He had
been building himself chine. Adne, let me get this
up to an answer he wouldn’t like straight

. but this exceeded his expec-
. . But she was looking urgent
tations. He said wretchedly, and abashed. “Charles dear,
“Adne —what am I supposed to you’d better take this message.”
do?” “Man Forrester! I have a
“Well,” she said, “you could priority notice of personal visit!”
always get a job.” “Yeah, but, Adne—”
“Sure,” he said bitterly. “Got “Charles,” she said, “please
one up your sleeve? One that take Or never mind. I’ll tell
it.

pays a million dollars a week?” you myself.” She looked down at


To his surprise she took him her hands, avoiding his eyes. “I
half seriously. “Oh, Charles! Not guess I should have told you be-
that much. I mean, you’re not fore. I think that’s Heinzie com-
skilled. Twenty, twenty-five ing now.”
thousand a day I don’t think — “Heinzie? The Martian? The

you can really expect more than one
that.” She said apologetically, “I told
He said, “You mean you can him to come, Charles dear. You’d
find me a job like that?” really better let him in.”
what do you think
“Well,
Taiko would have paid?” VII
“Wait a minute! You mean
Taiko would have given me a A s Forrester admitted the man
job? But I thought I mean, he — named Heinzlichen Jura de
said it was his club what did — Syrtis Major he was in the state
he call the Ned Lud So- described as “ready for any-
ciety
— it,

thing”. What this actually means


“Yes, that’s right.” She nod- is that he was totally unready.
ded. “But he was quite aston- He did not know what to expect.
ished at the way you acted, He could feel his heart pounding;
Charles. I don’t know whether he felt that his hands were be-
he’s angry or not.” ginning to shake. Even Adne
“Man Forrester!” seemed stimulated; she was
The sound of the joymaker watching them, her small face
was almost like an alarm, wak- and she was
intensely interested,

THE AGE OF THE PUSSYFOOT 55


fumbling something out of her Forrester exhaled sharply
joymaker. A tranquilizer? No; through his nose. It tingled. He
more likely something to pep her felt the adrenalin flushing
up, thought Forrester. Whatever through his blood. He opened his
it was, she popped it in her mouth; but Adne cut in swiftly
mouth and swallowed before she before he could speak:
said; “Hello, Heinzie. Come on “Heinzie, dear! You prom-
in. I think you and Charles have ised.”
met.” “Promised? What promised?
Forrester gave her a look, then I promised to talk, dat’s all. So
returned to Heinzlichen. He let’s talk.”
started to put out his hand, then “But Charles doesn’t under-
stopped, standing on the balls of stand how things are, Heinzie,
his feet, half ready to shake Sit down. Have a drink.”
hands, half in something like the “Oh, sure I’ll have a drink. You
attack position of karate. “We’ve pick me out something nice. But
met, all right. Too damned often.” make it fast, because I only have
Heinzlichen came in, allowed a couple of minutes.” He re-
the door to close behind him, and turned to Forrester. “Well? You
stood still, studying Forrester like want to talk?”
a specimen in a museum. Adne Forrester said belligerently,
had been playing with the lights “You’re damned right I want to
again, and mottled reds and yel- talk.And no, Adne, I don’t want
lows flecked his face. They fit a drink. Now, look here, you

his personal color scheme. He he hesitated, finding it hard to
was a tall, fat man. His hair was think of the right thing to say
red, and he wore a close-cut red “well, what I want to know is,

beard that covered all of his face why the devil do you want to
except for nose, lips and eyes, killme?”
like the mask of a chimpanzee. The Martian looked baffled.
He rubbed his beard thought- He glanced at Adne helplessly,
fully while he examined Forrest- then returned to Forrester.
er’s face attentively, glanced ap- “Sweat, I don’t know,” he said.
praisingly at his arms and body, “Up dere at de party you
stared at the stance of his feet stomped my foot and all . . .

and finally nodded. He returned but I guess I just don’t like you

his gaze to Forrester’s chest and anyway. What do you want to


stabbed at it with a finger. He ask a question like dat for?”
said, “Dat is where I will kill “Why? It’s my life!”
you. Dere. In de heart.” The Martian growled, “I knew
56 GALAXY
dis was a bad idea. Honey, I’m about it? Tell Charles what you
going. De more I see of dis guy, want to do exactly?”
de him.”
less I like “Oh, dat part’s all right.” The
But Adne had her hand on his Martian put down his own drink,
ann. “Please, Heinzie. Here.” scratched his beard thoughtfully
She handed him a fizzy orange and said: “Well, it’s like dis. 1
drink in a thing like a brandy want to beat him up good, and
inhaler with a hollow stem. “You den I will stomp on his chest
know Charles is just out of the cage until it breaks and ruptures
sleep-freeze. He’s kind of a slow de heart. De reason I like to do
learner, I’m afraid.” it dat way is it hurts a lot, and

“Dat’s his business. Killing you don’t get near de brain. Of


him, dat’s my business.” But the course,” he mused, “1 got to
Martian grumpily accepted the pay a little more, but de best
drink. The girl pressed her ad- pleasures are de ones you pay
vantage. for. Cheap’s cheap.” Then his
“Yes, but, Heinzie, dear, what’s —
expression lightened or seemed
the fun of it if he doesn’t know to; the beard hid most of his
what it’s all about?” transient looks. “Anyway,” he
“Trimmer,” Heinzlichen growl- added, “maybe I can get off
ed. “Maybe it’s more fun dat paying de bill. I talked to de
way. I can’t help dinking we lawyer and he said Forrester got
lose some of de important values himself in a jam wid de law when
when it’s all so cut and dried.” dis Oder fellow butted in, so may-
“All right, I-Ieinzie, maybe be we can fight de costs. But dat
you’re right, but there’s such a doesn’t matter in de long run.
thing as fair play, too. Why, I What de hell, if it costs it costs.”
don’t even think Charles really
knows what his rights are.” ^orrester nodded thoughtfully
The Martian shook his head. S and sat down. “I believe I’ll
“Dat’s not my business eider. have that drink now, Adne,” he
Dere’s his joymaker; let him said. He realized, with a certain
call up and find out.” amount of pride, that he was per-
Adne winked reassuringly at fectly calm.
Forrester, who was not in the The reason was that Forrester
least reassured. But she seemed had come to a decision v/hile
more confident and relaxed now. Heinzlichen was talking: he had
She leaned back, sipping her decided to go along with the gag.
drink, and said silkily. “Wouldn’t True, it v/asn’t really a gag.
it be nicer for you to talk to him True, when this man said he in-
THE AGE OF THE PUSSYFOOT 57
” — —
tended to cause Forrester a lot amount of sense, he realized. The
of pain and ultimate death, he thing you had to remember was
meant every word of it. But you that to these people death was
could not spend your life in not a terminal act but only an
weighing consequences. You had intermission.
to pretend that the chips were He said, “As I understand it
only plastic and did not repre- I mean, if I understand it the —
sent real currency of any sort, legal part of this business moans
otherwise you would lose the you have pay my
to guarantee to
game out of nerves and panic. freezer costs if you kill me.”
The very fact that the stakes “Nah! Not ‘if’. Odderwise you
were so important to Forrester got it.”
was a good reason for pretend- “So I don’t have anything to
ing they were only make-believe. say about it. The lawyer lets you

lie accepted a glass from Adne kill me and I’m stuck with it.”
and said reasonably, “Now, let’s “Dat’s right.”
get this straight. Did I under- Forrester said thoughtfully,
stand you right? You talked to a “But it doesn’t sound fair to me,

lawyer before you tried to kill everything considered.”


me?” “Fair? Of course it’s fair! Dat’s
‘Neh! Wake up, will you? All de whole idea of de guaranties.”
I did den was file de papers.”
— “Yes, of course — if the cir-
“But you just said cumstances are noinnal. But in
“Listen, why you? De
don’t with death-reversal out
this case,
paper,s was so I could kill you of the question . .
.”

all de usual stuff, bonds to cover The Martian snorted angrily.


de DR business, guaranties “Are you crazy?”
against damaging de brain and “No, really,” Forrester per-
like dat. Den de lawyer was just sisted. “You said you were going
yesterday, when I got de idea to try to get out of paying my
maybe I could kill you and save expenses. You know more about
all de bond and guarantie it than I do. Suppose you suc-
money.” ceed?”
“Excuse me. I didn’t under- “Oh, boy! Den you have to
stand that part.” Forrester nod- pay dem yourself.”
ded pleasantly, tipped back his Forrester said politely, “But
glass and swallowed it down. you see, I don’t have any money
“Another please, Adne,” he said, to pay them with. Ask Adne.”
thinking hard. The Martian turned to Adne
It began to make a certain with a look of unbelieving anger,
58 GALAXY
” ” ”

but she said, “As a matter of “De hell with how you’d feci.
fact, Heinzie, Charles is telling All right, look. I’m not promis-
you the truth. I didn’t think of ing anything, but I’ll talk to de
it,but it’s so. I mean, I haven’t lawyer again and see where de
checked his balance . . . but it hell we stand. Meanwhile, you
can’t be much.” get a job, hear?”
“De hell with his balance!
What de sweat do I care about showed the Martian
that
“You
I just want to kill him!”
you
FHe orrester
out. He was feeling elated.
see. Jura, stood thoughtfully at the
me — if kill
door, testing the feeling.For a
“Shut up, you!” man who had just discovered he
“But the way things are — was a pauper, who had reinforced
“Dogsweat!” The Martian’s the dislike of an enemy who pro-
face was working angrily under posed to kill him, Forrester was
the mask of beard. He was con- feeling pretty good. Probably it
fused, and mad about it. “What’s was all in an illusion, he thought
de matter with you, Forrester? fatalistically.
Why didn’t you get a job?” Adne was curled up on the
“Well, I will. As soon as I couch, study .ing him. She had
can.” been doing something with the
“Sweat! You want to chicken lights again; now they were
out, dat’s all!” misty blue, and her skin gleamed
“I simply didn’t understand through the lacy strands of her
my money situation. I didn’t plan coverall. Perhaps she had been
it way. I’m sorry. Jura, I
this doing something with that, too;
really am, but — it seemed to be showing more of

“Shut up!’ barked the Martian. Adne than it had earlier. For-
“Look, I got no more time for rester excused himself and went
dis talk. I have to go to de re- into the little lavatory room to
hearsal hall, we’re doing de splash cold water on his face:
Schumann lieder and I’m de And then he realized the cause of
soloist. Answer de question. Do his elation.
you want to chicken out?” He had managed to win a
“Well,” said Forrester, fiddling point.
with his glass and casting a side- He was not a bit sure it was
long glance at Adne, “yes.” a worthwhile point; he wasn’t
“Fink! Dogsweat fink!” even quite sure of what he had
“I knov7 how you feel. I guess won. But for better or for worse,
I’d feel the same way.” he had won a small victory over
THE AGE OF THE PUSSYFOOT 59

Heinzlichen Jura de Syrtis side him. It was like a mild elec-


Major. For days Forrester had tric shock, like a whiff of mingled
been a cork bobbing to the oxygen and musk.
thrusts of every passerby; now Adne studied him critically,
he was thrusting back. He came then leaned forward and kissed
smiling back into the room and him on the lips.
cried: “I want a drink!” A moment later he said, “Do
Adne was still on the couch, that again.”
murmuring into her joymaker. She did. Then she lay back
“— and be sure you’re locked against him with her head on his
up,” she was saying, “don’t for- shoulder.
get your prophylaxis and good “Dear Charles,” she said,
night,Mim.” She put it down “you’re such a nut.”
and looked up at him. Her ex- He stroked her and kissed her
pression was sulky but enter- hair. The parallel-strand fabric
tained. did not feel coarse or wirey; lie
“The kids?” She nodded. “My could hardly tell it was there.
God, is it that late?” He had for- “I don’t know if you did the
gotten the passage of time. “I’m right thing with Heinzie,” she
sorry. I mean, what about their said meditatively. “It’s kind of
dinners and all?” — you know. Almost chicken
She looked slightly less sulky, .
.” Then she turned inside his
.

slightly more entertained. “Oh, arm and kissed his ear. “I know
Charles! Youweren’t thinking I it embarrasses you when I talk
had to boil oatmeal or peel po- biology, —
but well, the reason
tatoes? They’ve had their din- I’m natural-flow, you see, is I’m
ners, of course.” a natural type of girl. Do you
“Oh. Well. I guess we should understand?”
be thinking about ours — “Sure,” he lied, hardly even
“Not yet.” hearing her.
Forrester said, reorienting his “I mean, if you want to you
thinking very quickly. “All right. can take the pills and use chem-
Then what about that drink?” osimulants and it’s just about the
“I’m not thirsty, you fool.” same. But I don’t do that, be-
She lifted her joymaker, looked cause if you’re going to do that,
him over with narrowed eyes, you might just as well go all the
kissed the soft spot at the base way and use the joy machine.”
of his throat and touched it with “I can see that, all right,” he
the joymaker. said, but she fended him off and
Forrester felt a sudden urge in- added:
60 GALAXY

one doesn’t have to be
"Slii’, pays —
he coughed before he

Cjinetimes you’re at a low
it

could get the figure out “around —



point, and something special hap- ten million bucks a year.”
pens and you’d like to be at a But the joymaker took it in
high point. Then you can take a stride. “Yes, Man Forrester.
pill if you want to, do you see?” Please inform me further as to
“Oh, yes! Say!” said Forrester, working conditions home or ex-—
pleasantly excited, “I wonder! ternal; mode of payment
How would you feel about taking straight cash or fringed; if fringe,
a pill now?” nature permitted —profit-shar-
She sat up, stretched and put ing, stock issue, allocated earn-
her arms around him. “Don’t ings bonus, or other; categories
have to,” she said, resting her not to be considered; religious,
cheek against his. “I took one moral or political objections, not
when you let Heinzie in.” stated in your record profile,
which may debar classes of em-
^J^ith two victories in one day, ploy—’
thought Forrester in a mood “Slow down a minute, ma-
of pleasant triumph and lassi- chine. Let me think.”
tude, this world could come pret- “Certainly, Man Forrester.
ty close to his first hopes for it Will you receive your messages
after all. After the girl had gone now?”
he slept for ten good hours, and “No. I mean,” he added cau-
woke with the conviction that tiously, “not unless there are
everything would come out right. some life and death ones, like
The father of a president and the that Martian being out to kill me
lover of Adne Bensen was, at again.” But there weren’t. That,
least in his own eyes, a figure of too, thought Forrester with pleas-
much mana. There were prob- ure, set this day off from other
lems. But he would cope with days.
them. He
ate thoughtfully and eco-
He ordered breakfast and add- nomically, bathed, put on clean
ed: “Machine! How do I go clothes and allowed himself an
about getting a job?” extremely expensive cigarette be-
“If you will state parameters, fore he tackled the joymaker
Man Forrester,I will inform you again. Then he said: “Tell you
as to openings which may be what you do, machine. Just give
suitable.” me an idea of what jobs are
“You mean what kind of job? open.”
I don’t know what kind. Just so “I cannot sort them unless you

THE AGE OF THE PUSSYFOOT 61


'

give me parameters, Man For- “A drill, Man Forrester.”


rester.” “Sure. Well, how long is that
“That’s right. Don’t sort them. going to go on?”
Just give me an idea of what’s “Perhaps five minutes, Man
going.” Forrester.”
“Very well, Man Forrester. I “Oh, well, that’s not so bad.
will give you direct crude read- I tell you what, why don’t you

out of new received in


listings as give me my messages while I’m
real time. Marking. Mark! Item, waiting.”
curvilinear phase-analysis major, “Yes, Man Forrester. There is

seventy-five hundred. Item, chef, one personal and nine commer-


full manual, cordon-bleu exper- cial. The personal message is
ience, eighteen thousand. Item, from Adne Bensen and follows.”
poll subjects, detergents and Forrester felt the light touch of
stress-control appliance, no ex- Adne’s hand, then the whisper of
perience required, six thousand. Adne’s voice: “Dear Charles,”
Item, child-care domestics but, — her voice whispered, “see me
Man Forrester,” the joymaker again soon, you dragon! And
broke in on itself, “that clearly you know we have to think about
specifies female employment. something, don’t you? We have
Shall I eliminate the obviously to decide on a name.”
inappropriate listings?”
“No. I mean, yes. Eliminate VIII
the whole thing for now. I get the
idea.” But it was confusing, '^XT^hen he reached Adne’s
^
thought Forrester uncomforta- apartment the children let
bly; the salaries mentioned were him in. “Hello, Tunt,” he said.
hardly higher than twentieth- “Hello, Mim.”
century scales They would not They stared at him curiously,
support a Pekingese pup in this then at each other. Blew it again,
era of joyful extravagance. “I he thought in resignation; it must
think ni go see Adne,” he said be the girl that’s Tunt, the boy
suddenly, and aloud. that’s Mim. But he had long since
The joymaker chose to reply. decided that if he tried to track
“Very well, Man Forrester, but down all his little errors he would
I must inform you as to a Class have time for nothing else, and
Gamma Transit outside
alert. he was determined not to be de-
your own dwelling will be inter- railed. “Where’s your mother?”
rupted for drill purposes.” he asked.
“Oh. God. An air raid?” “Out,”

62 GALAXY

“Do you know where?” For- boy. “Let’s see. There are eleven
rester asked. of us.”
“Uh-huh.” “Twelve!” the girl crowed. “I
Forrester said patiently, bet you forgot the robot again.”
“Would you like to tell me?” “MaybeI did. You and me,

The boy and girl looked at Tunt. Four boys. Three girls. A
each other thoughtfully. Then grown-up. A Martian and . . .

the boy “Well, not par-


said. the robot. Yeah, twelve.”
ticularly, Charles. We’re kind of “You mean a Martian like
busy.” Heinzlichen what’s-his-name?”
Forrester had always thought “Oh, no, Charles! Heinzie’s a
of himself as a man who liked dope, but he’s people. This is
children but, although he smiled one of the big green ones with
at these two, the smile was be- four arms.”
coming forced. “I guess I can Forrester did a double-take,
call her up on the joymaker,” he then said, “You mean like in Ed-
said. gar Rice Burroughs? But but ——
The boy looked scandalized. I didn’t think those were real

"Now? While she’s crawling?” The boy looked politely inter-


Forrester sighed. “Look, fel- ested. “Yes? What about it?”
lows, I want to talk to your “What do you mean by ‘real’,

mother about something. How do Charles?” asked the girl.

you recommend I go about it?”


“You could wait here, I guess,” n the old days before Forres-
the boy said reluctantly. I ter died he had been a sci-
“If you have to,” added the ence-lover. It had always seemed
girl. to him wonderful and exciting
“I get the impression you don’t that he should be living in an
want me around. What are you age where electricity came from
kids doing?” wall sockets and living pictures
“Well —” the boy overruled from a box on a bench. He had
his with a look and said
sister thought sometimes, with irony
sheepishly — “we’re having a and pity, of how laughably in-
meeting.” competent some great mind of
“But please don’t tell Taiko!” the past, a Newton or Archime-
cried the girl. des, would have been to follow
“He doesn’t like our club,” the his own six-year-old’s instructions
boy finished. about tuning a television set or
“Just the two of you?” operating his electric trains. So
“Sweet sweat, no!” laughed the here I am, he thought wryly, the

THE AGE OF THE PUSSYFOOT 63


bushman in Times Square. If a offer of a ^ job, assuming it was


"

not much fun. still open; and before he came


But by careful and single- to that worsthe would be better
minded questioning he got some off toknown something about it.
glimpse of what the children were “Display away,” he said. “What
talking about. Their playmates have I got to lose?”
were not “real”, but they were
a lot realer than, say, a Betsy- ^"T^he viewing wall, obedient to
Wetsy doll. They were analogues the little girl’s orders, wash-
— simulacra — the children call- ed out the forest glade and re-
ed thern “simulogs”, when press- placed it with a stage. On it a
ed. The little girl said proudly man in a fright wig was bound-
that they were very good at de- ing about and howling.
veloping inter-personal relation- With difficulty Forrester rec-
ships. “Got that much,” said ognized the blond, crew-cut
Charles, “or anyway I think I visitorhe had so unceremonious-
do. So what does Taiko have to ly got rid of — when? Was it

do with it?” only a couple of days ago? Taiko


“Oh, him!” was doing a sort of ceremonial
“He doesn’t like anything that’s step dance, a couple of paces in
fun.” one direction and a stomp; a
“Says we’re losing the will to couple of paces away, and an-
cope with —
with what you said, other stomp. And what he was
Charles. ‘Reality.’ ” shouting seemed like gibberish to
“And all that sweat,” added Forrester:
the girl. “Say! Would you like “Lud, lords, led nobly!”
to hear him?” (Stomp!) “Let Lud lead, lords
She glanced toward the view- (stomp!), lest lone, lorn lads lapse
well, now showing a placid back- loosely (stomp!) into limljo!”
ground scene of woody glades (Stomp!) He faced forward and
and small furry animals. “You threw his arms wide. The camera
mean on the television?” For- zoomed in on his impassioned,
rester asked. tortured face. “Jeez, kids! You
“The what, Charles?" want to get your goddam brains
“On that.” scrambled? You want to be a
“That’s right, Charles.” juiceless jellyfish If you don’t,
“Well,” said Forrester . . . then —
let Lud lead! (Stomp!)
And thought that, after all, he Let Lud lead! (Stomp!) Let Lud
might as well. If worst came to lead —
worst, he could take up Taiko’s The boy cried over the noise

64 GALAXY

From the view wall: “Now he’s At length the little girl sighed
going to ask for comments from and said, “Charles, you’re so
the viewers. This is where we sweaty ignorant I could freeze. I
usually send in things to make never heard of anybody being
tiim mad like. ‘Go back in the out of money, ’cept the Forgotten
freezer, you old icy cube’ and Men. Don’t you know how to get
'Taiko’s a dirty old Utopian!’ CH a job?”
course, we don’t give our names.” “Not very well.”
“Today I was going to send in. “You use the joymaker,” the
If itwas up to people like you boy said patiently.
we’d be swinging from our
still “Sure. I tried that.”
tails apes,’ ” said the girl
like The boy looked excited. “You
thoughtfully, “but it probably mean — look, Charles, you want
wouldn’t make him very mad.” me to help you? Cause I will. I
Forrester coughed. “Actually, mean, we had that last year in
I’d just as soon not make him Phase Five. All you have to do
mad. I may have to go to work is

for him.” His expression suddenly be-
The children stared at him, dis- came crafty. “Oh, sweat, Char-
mayed. The boy extinguished les,” he said carelessly, “let me
Taiko’s image on the view-wall do it for you. Just, uh, tell it to
and cried, “Please, Charles, don’t listen to me.”
do that! Mim said you turned Forrester didn’t need the girl’s
him down.” look of thrilled shock to warn
“I did, but I may have to re^ him. “Nope,” he said firmly. “I’ll
consider; I have to get some kind wait for your mother to come
of a job. Matter of fact, that’s home.”
why I’m here.” The boy grinned and surren-
“Oh, good,” said the girl. dered. “All right. Charles. I just
“Mim’ll get you a job. Won’t she, wanted to ask it something about
Tunt?” Mim’s other, uh, friends. Well,
“If she can,” the boy said un- here’s what you do. Tell it you
certainly. “What can you do?” want to be tested for an employ-
“That’s one of my problems. ability profile and then you want
But there has to be something; recommendations.”
I’m running out of money.” “I don’t exactly know what
They did not respond to that, that involves,” Forrester said
merely looked at him wide-eyed. cautiously.
They not only looked astonished, The boy sighed. “You don’t
they looked embarrassed. have to, Charles. Just do it. What
THE AGE OF THE PUSSYFOOT 65
— —
the sweat do you think the joy- vous system and learning more
maker’s for?” from the impulses that raced
through his brain than from his
\ nd actually, it turned out words, anyway. Which was con-
pretty easy, although the firmed when, at the end of the
“employability profile” testing questions, the joymaker said:
involved some rather weird ques- “Man Forrester, we will now ob-
tions serve you until you return to rest
What is ‘God’? state. I will then inform you as
Are your stools black and to employability.”
tarry? Forrester stood up, stretched
you happened to be a girl,
If and looked around the room. He
would you wish you were a boy? could not help feeling that he
Assume there are Plutonians. had been through an ordeal. Be-
Assume there are elves. If elves ing reborn was nearly as much
attacked Pluto without warning, trouble as being born in the first

whose side would you be on? place.


Why are you better than any- The children were discussing
one else? the scene on the view-wall, which
Most of the questions were like seemed to show a crashed airlin-
that. Some were worse —either er surrounded by emergency
totally incomprehensible to For- equipment, on what appeared to
rester, touching on matters
or be a mountain-top somewhere.
that made him blush and glance Men and machines were dousing
uneasily at the children. But the it with chemical sprays and
children seemed to take it as a carrying out injured and dead
matter of course, and indeed if they made that distinction
grew bored before long and wan- on litters, to what Forrester rec-
dered back to their own view- ognized by the ruby caduceus as
wall,where they watched what death-reversal vehicles. The
seemed to be a news broadcast. mountainside was dotted with
Forrester growled out the an- what looked like pleasure craft
swers as best he could, having tiny, bright-colored aircraft that
come to the conclusion that the had no visible business there,
machine knew what it was doing and that seemed to be occupied
even if he didn’t. The answers, by sightseers. No doubt they
of course, made no more sense —
were, thought Forrester reiiu'in-
than the questions tardily he ;
bering the crowds that had stood
realized that the joymaker was by the night he was burned to
undoubtedly monitoring his ner- death, heedless of icy spiny, icy

66 GALAXY
” — ”

winds and irritated police trying were moving about the star-map,
to push them back. and a voice was saying: “ probe —
“Old Hap’s never going to reports from 61 Cygni, Proxima
make it,” said the boy to the girl, Centauri, Epsilon Indi and Cor-
and looked up to see Forrester. doba 31353 show no sign of arti-
“Oh, you’re done?” factual activity and no change in
Forrester nodded. A drone net systemic energy levels.”
from the view-wall saying,” “Dopes!” shrilled the little
made it again, with a total to this girl. “They couldn’t find a Mar-

minute of thirty-one and fifty- tian in a mattress.”


five, out of a possible ninety- “ —at Groombridge 1830, how-
eight.Not bad for the Old Mas- ever, the unidentified object
ter! Yet Hap still trails the monitored days ago shows no
six
rookie Maori from Pore Mores- sign of emission and has been
by — tentatively identified as a large
“What are you watching?” he comet, although its anecliptic or-
asked. bit marks this large and massive
“Just the semi-finals,” said the intruder as a potential trouble
boy. “How’d you make out on spot. Needless to say, it is being
your tests?” carefully watched, and SEPF
“I don’t have the results yet.” headquarters in Federal City an-
The screen flickered and showed nounce that they are phasing two
a new picture, a sort of stylized additional monitors out of their
star-map with arrows and dots passive orbits . .
.”

of green and gold. Forrester said, “What are they talking


“Is ten million a year too much about?” Forrester asked the boy.
to ask for?” “The war, of course. Shut up,
“Sweat, Charles! How would won’t you?”
we know?” The boy was clearly “ —
Well, there’s good news to-
more interested in the view-wall night from 22H Camelopardis!
than in Forrester, but he was A late bulletin just received from
polite enough to add: “Tunt’s sortie-control headquarters states
projected life average is about that the difficult task of replac-
twelve million a year. Mine’s fif- ing the damaged probe has beenj
teen. But of course we’ve got uh, completed! The first of the re-,
more advantages,” he said deli- placements rushed out from BO
cately. 7899 has achieved stellar orbit
Forrester sat down and re- in a near-perfect, almost circular
signed himself to waiting for the orbit, and all systems are go.
results. The arrows and circles Seven back-up replacements —
fHE AGE OF THE PUSSYFOOT 67

“Sweat,” said the girl. “What “Hell, no.” The numbers and
a tedious war! Charles, you graphs were not only meaningless
used to do things better didn’t but disturbing. Forrester had a
you?” flash of memory which he iden-
“In what way?” tified as coming from the last
The girl looked puzzled. “More time a government agency had
killing, of course.” concerned itself with finding him
“If you call that better, maybe —
a job after his discharge from
we did. World War Two killed the peacetime conscription term,
like twenty million people, I when he joined the long lines of
think.” unemployables telling their lies
“Weep. Twenty million'' to a bored State Employment
breathed the girl. “And so far Service clerk. He could almost
we’ve killed, what is it, Tunt? see the squares of linoleum on
Twenty-two?” the floor, the queues of those
“Twenty-two million?” asked who, like himself, wanted only
Forrester. to collect unemployment insur-
The boy shook his head dis- ance for a while, in the hope that
gustedly. “Twenty-two individ- the world would clarify itself to
ual Sirians. Isn’t that rotten?” them.
But the joymaker was talking:
T)ut before Forrester could an- “Your profile, Man Forrester,
swer his joymaker spoke up: employ-
indicates relatively high
“Man Forrester! Your tests ability in personal-service and
have been
integrated and as- advocative categories. I have se-
sayed. May
I display the tran- lected ninety-three possible open-
script on Bensen children equip- ings. Shall I give you the list?”
ment?” “My God, no. Just give me
“Go ahead,” the boy said sul- the oneyou like best.”
lenly. “Can’t be any worse than “Your optimum choice, Man
that." Forrester, is as follows: Salary,
The star-map disappeared seventeen thousand five hundred.
from the wall and was replaced This is rather less than your
by shimmering sine-waves, punc- stated requirements, but an ex-
tuated with numbers that were pense —
quite meaningless to Forrester. “Hold on a minute! I’ll say it’s
“You may apply for re-evalua- less! I was asking for ten mil-
tion on any element of the pro- lion!”
file, if you wish. Do you wish to “Yes, Man Forrester. You
do this, Man Forrester?” stated ten million per year. This

68 GALAXY
is seventeen thousand five hun- accuracy of data. The employer
dred per day. At four-day week is relatively unfamiliar with hu-

norm, allowing for projected man culture and cus-


overtime as against health losses, toms —history,
three million eight hundred thou- “It fs!” cried the girl.
sand dollars per year. Expenses “ —and will supplement your
are also included, however, op- services with TIC data as need-
timized at five million plus in ed.” Forrester cut in. “Never
addition to salary.” mind that. Where do I go for my

“Wait a minute.” The numbers interview?”


were so large as to be dizzying. “Man Forrester, you have had
He turned to the children. it.”
“That’s almost nine million a “You mean I’ve got the job?
year. Can I live on that?” But —but what do I do next?”
“Sweat, Charles, sure, if you “Man Forrester, I was outlin-
want to.” ing the procedure. Please note
Forrester took a deep breath. the following signal.” There was
“I’ll take it,” he said. a mellow, booming chime. “This
message from your
will indicate a
'"^he joymaker did not seem employer. Under the terms of
particularly concerned. “Very your employment contract you
well, Man Forrester. Your duties may not decline to accept these
are as follows: Conversation. messages during the hours of ten
Briefing. Discussion. The orien- hundred to fourteen hundred on
tation is timeless, so your status working days. You are further
as a recent disfreeze will not be required to receive such messages
a handicap. You will be expected with no more than twelve hours’
to answer questions and be avail- delay even on non-worldng days.”
able for discussions, usually re- And that, thought Forrester,
mote due to habitat considera- was that.
tions. Some travel is indicated.” Except for trying to find out
“Sweat.” The Bensen children what was bugging the kids. He
showed signs of interest; the boy said, “All right. What’s eating
sat up and his sister stared wide- you?”
eyed at Forrester. They were whispering togeth-
“Supplementary information, er,their eyes on him. The boy
Man Forrester: This employer stopped long enough to ask,
has rejected automated services “Eating Charles?”
us,
for heuristic reasons. His desid- “Why are you acting like
eratum is subjectivity rather than that?” Forrester amended.

THE AGE OF THE PUSSYFOOT 69


“Oh, nothing,” the boy said. the expected effect. It was like a
“Nothing important ” correct- super- tranquilizer; it cleared his
ed the girl. mind, quieted his pulse and en-
“Come on!” abled him to say, quite calmly,
The little girl said, “It’s just “Machine! Just who the hell have
that we never knew anybody you got me working for?”
who’d work them before.”
for “Do you wish me to display a
“Work for who?” picture of your employer, Man
“The joymaker told you, Char- Forrester?”
les! Don’t you listen?” said the “You damn bet I wish!”

boy, and the girl chimed in: “Please observe the view-wall,
“Sweat, Charles! Don’t you Man Forrester.”
know who you’re working for?” And observe it Forrester did;
Forrester took a deep breath and swallowed hard, stunned.
and glared at them. He told him- In all justice to the joymaker,
self that they were only children, Forrester was forced to admit
and that in fact he was rather that he had placed no restrictions
fond of them; but they seemed on its choice of an employer for
on this particular morning to be him. He had been willing to ac-
determined to drive him mad. cept almost anything, but all the
He sat down and picked up his same he was surprised.
joymaker. Carefully he scanned He hadn’t expected his em-
the cluster of buttons until he ployer to have bright green fur,
found the crystal-clear, rounded or a diadem of tiny eyes, peering
one he was looking for, turned out of a ruff around a pointed
the joymaker until its spray- head, or tentacles. He had not,
nozzle was pointing at the ex- in fact, expected it to be one of
posed flesh on his arm and The Enemy, the race whose pres-
pressed the button. ence in space had scared man-
Happily it was the right but- kind into a vast series of raid
ton. What the fine mist that drills, weapons-programs and
danced into his wrist might be space probes ... in short, a Sir-
he did not know, but it achieved ian.
^

TO BE CONTINUED

70 GALAXY

INSIDE
by H. L. GOLD

He seemed fo be reading minds.


Bui whose? They certainly did
not belong io anybody be knew!

T ester Shay was married three “Exactly. And I know it’s not
months when he got his first overwork. I’m overworked my-
Erector set. Thalia, noting that self, but I’m in tiptop condition.”

he felt tired and rundown, or- “How do you manage it?” ask-
dered him to get a checkup. Too ed Les, interested in a tired, run-
tired and rundown to object, he down way.
went to see Dr. Peabody. “A hobby,” said Dr. Peabody.
“Very surprising,” the physi- “Gardening? Raising tropical
cian said after an embarrassingly fi,sh? Golf?”
thorough examination. “Married “The last thing you’d expect,”
three months, beautiful, affec- Dr. Peabody said, leaning for-
tionate bride —
but you get plen- ward excitedly. “I know a lot of
ty of sleep, outdoors a lot, a dentists. They give me old fillings
moderate amount of exercise.” and I’ve got this little smelter,
“I do all my own marketing,” see, and I break down the amal-
said Les, who owned a wholesale gam into silver and mercury,
grocery business. “I walk every then the stuff back to the
sell

chance I get, which is consider- dentists. Darn near pays for it-
able. Marketing is all outdoors, And fun? You ought to come
self!
you know. And I have to get to visitmy basement sometime!”
sleep early, because if I don’t get Shambling home, Les wonder-
up early, my competitors — ed what he could take up as a

71
hobby. Nightclubs and theaters or something,” he explained un-
wouldn’t do. They let out too late. comfortably.
Besides, they weren’t a hobby. “Wonderful!” she exclaimed.
Raising things was too close to “We can do it together!”
his actual work; it would make “You mean you like working
him think about produce and on Erector sets, too?” he cried.
canned goods. He did enough “Oh,” she said. “Well, that’s
outdoor walking to eliminate really a —
well, a man’s hobby.”
sports. She gave him the room that
That was when he saw the would some day be a nursery
Erector set in the store window. and he built a parachute jump,
a stake truck, a windmill and a
T T e stopped and studied it, ski tow. The spring came back
looking more wistful now to his walk and the roses to his
than tired or rundown. He had cheeks.
always wanted an Erector set, But than a week later, ly-
less
but his parents, believers in as ing in bed with his bride in his
the twig is bent so grows the arms, he could sense the old tired,
tree, had refused to buy him one. rundown feeling creep up on
They didn’t, they explained, want him.
their son to become a mechanic. “What’s the matter, darling?”
Not, mind you, they’d added, Thalia asked, disconcerted. “Is it
that there was anything wrong the onions I had for dinner?”*
with mechanics. But he was wor- “Oh, no, sweetheart!” he tried
thy of great things. They had to answer hastily, only it came
also been disappointed when he out a slow sigh. “It’s the Erector
went into the wholesale grocery set.”
line, were more pleased now be- “The — Erector set? Oh! The
cause he was doing well in it, but Erector set. Well, if it’s broken,
that wasn’t important. He still darling, you can always buy an-
wanted an Erector set. other.”
When he got home, Thalia “It’s not broken. That isn’t the
looked expectantly at the large, trouble,” he sighed again, and
heavy box. He had bought the turned over and moodily went to
biggest and most expensive set, sleep.
of course. The problem was still on his
“Oh, something for the house?” mind in the pre-dawn at the mar-
she asked, obviously hoping it ket. Kale was coming in nicely
wasn’t. and he had bought all the primes
“Doctor said I needed a hobby offered by the farmers. He mor-
72 GALAXY
osely helped Arnie, his driver, turn away in compassion and
load up. disgust. He left Arnie, puzzled
“What happened to the old enough to be silent for once, at
zip?” Amie asked concernedly. the service station and walked
“You were feeling great for a alone the rest of the way to the
while. Down in the dumps office.
again?” Les discovered he was sur-
“I guess so,” said Les. “Tem- rounded by sensations ranging
porarily, at least. I hope.” from purrs of pleasure all the
“You ought to try tooling one way to groans of pain. One purr
of these monmouths through city came from a trim little Porscht
traffic.Gotta judge every inch — new tune-up job, a little heavy
of the way. Boy, you drive one on the grease, but that would
and I bet you won’t have a min- thin out on the straightaway, he
ute to — thought, and the unexpected
Les found himself listening in- thought alarmed him.
tently,but not to Arnie’s good- Thought? He considered. It
natured chatter. Something was was a feeling, a very strong and
wrong. He knew it was wrong. explicit emotion. So was the sym-
But what? pathy for a passing cab that real-
No, not like walking barefooted ly wanted to lie down on some
in spilled sugar, he mused. nice, restful junkpile. A painful
Though it was a little like that click, click bothered him. He
— sort of gritty. But painful, too. looked up. It was a tower clock,
As if he were trying to run with desperately clawing its way
a sore socket in his leg. around the hours on eroded cams.
“You’ve got a bearing burning Damn the sadists who would put
out,” Les interrupted. a conscientious servant through
Arnie took a fast glance at him. such torture, he thought angrily.
“Since when you know about But he felt equally guilty
motors, Boss?” when he came into the office and
“A bearing,” said Les. “That’s heard Miss Zeichner typing. The
what it feels like.” dogs in the escape mechanism
Les nodded at a service sta- were practically howling and the
tion up ahead. “Pull in there. I keys were moving only because
want to have it checked.” her slim but powerful fingers
were beating them into moving.
'"T^he garageman examined the “Leave that alone!” Les said,
motor and found a bearing more sharply than he’d intended.
rubbed so raw that Les had to “I mean, no more typing for to-
INSIDE MAN 73
day,” he amended when she many cases of canned salmon,
jumped and looked frightened. was almost red-faced with strain.
“But the filing’s all done and Les leaped aboard, switched off
I have a perfect mess of corres- the motor, hauled out the man,
pondence to get out,” she ob- shoved him against the wall and
jected. “If I don’t do it today started a murderous swing.

“Mr. Shay!” yelped the man.
“Not on that battered hulk,” “What did I do wrong?”
he told her. It was Walt’s voice. Les blink-
He called and ordered a new ed, dropped his fist, slumped.
Miss Zeichner
electric typewriter. “Sorry, Walt,” he mumbled.
was, as she put it, thrilled. He “Guess I’m all on edge today.
shrugged. She always was either You had that fork-lift overload-
thrilled or absolutely —
com- ed and it —
it jarred me. Sorry.”
pletely and absolutely —
shatter- Walt picked his shirt button
ed. But only over unimportant up off the floor. “Hell, Mr. Shay,
things. it’s all right. I’d probably feel
For instance, was she com- the same if somebody was ruin-
and absolutely shattered
pletely ing my property.”
\”
by the pained limpings and “ Property shouted Les, going
clenched-teeth determination to for him again. “Things like ma-
do a job, to keep those pistons chines — property]”
pumping no matter what the cost; Arnie, back while
truck
his
completely and absolutely thrill- was being repaired, caught Les
'
ed by the sleek, contented mur- from behind and held and sooth-
murs, the happy little laughs of ed him into the office.
conscious strength, easy power, “You’re all tensed up. Boss,”
the cared-for feeling; or com- Amie said. “I’ll get you a cab
pletely and absolutely dismayed and you can go home and take a
by the breathless puffing under a hot bath and relax with your slip-
merciless load, like — pers and bathrobe and newspa-
He listened sharply. He felt per. How about it, huh?”
more sharply still. “I suppose so,” Les muttered.
It came from the warehouse “I’m not much help today.”
behind the office. He sprang out The cab was in good shape
of his seat savagely enough to — that new pinion hurt a little,
upset Miss Zeichner again, raced but it would break in soon —
into the warehouse. and Les sat back, easing, and
A valiant little fork-lift truck, even joined the comfortable, un-
overloaded by half again too worried motor hum.
74 GALAXY
” ” ” ”

T ike all affectionate brides, “I know what every real, hon-


' beautiful or otherwise, when est-to-goodness woman wants.
their husbands come home half a Let’s let the menu wait, because
day Thalia was flattered
early, every real, honest-to-goodness
and coy, then concerned when he man wants what every real, hon-
abstractedly pecked her only est-to-goodness woman — ”

once to her dozens of kisses on She wriggled out of his arms.


the face and mouth and ears and “And with me going frantic? I
neck, then relieved when he told was going to phone you to pick
her he wasn’t sick, and finally de- up those dietetic foods and bring
lighted because now he could them home with you tonight.
help plan the menu for tonight. Now we’ll have to get a special
“Menu?” he repeated. messenger.”
“The Fitches are coming for “Yeah,” he said. “It’s frus-
dinner.” trating,but you’re right. Why
“Fitch? Fitch good God— — can’t Miss Zeichner —
he has seventeen stores if I — “Oh, she’ll learn, darling. Just
get the account —
what do you give her time.”
mean, menu? Cavier, bluepoints, “Hah!” he said. “Why, you
vichysoisse, filet mignon, breast wouldn’t believe it, but — ”

of guinea hen — “The menu,” she told him


“Darling,” she said. “Mr. firmly. “And the messenger.”
Fitch has an ulcer.”
“Ulcer,” said Les. “Milk and ti'V^ell, look, damn it,” Les
crackers. Cottage cheese.” ’argued the next morning,
“What about that new line of waiting for an elevator with Tha-
dietetic food you said you could lia in the Medical Building. “Just

tie up if you only had the out- because I didn’t get the Fitch ac-
lets?” count is no reason to haul me to a
“Hey!” he cried. “Why’d I psychiatrist!”
have to go marry you and lose “Lower your voice. People are
the best office manager I ever looking,” she shushed. “It isn’t

had?” that and you know it, darling.”


“Because it was one or the oth- .
“You mean Mrs. Fitch’s watch?
er. Well, there were two damaged
He gave her a dirty grin. jewels in it!”
“Well, I was tired of being a “But to take it off her wrist
working girl,” she 'said defen- right in the middle of dinner and
sively. “Every real, honest-to- go racing out in search of a jew-
goodness woman wants — eler at that time of night —
INSIDE MAN 75
“I got one, didn’t I? And he as they do, living by the Golden
saw the cracked one on the top Rule, which is more than I can
and put up a battle when I hold say —
him about the chipped one under- “Mr. Shay?” inquired the
neath, but he took the watch nurse-receptionist at the desk.
apart and sure enough — “You may go right in. Dr. Hyde
“Yes, darling. I know. That’s is expecting you.”
not what’s important.” “Dr. Hyde,” snarled Les. “I
The elevator door opened and bet he’s got a silent partner
they got in. named Mr. Jekyll.”
“Then what is?” challenged He flung open the door and
Les. slammed it shut behind him.

She glanced at the elevator


operator and whispered, “What VYT^ith his hands behind his
you told me after Mr. Fitch said head, Les lay staring up at
they couldn’t wait any longer the ceiling, blinking once a min-
for you to get back and to send ute. Thalia inchwormed rapidly
the watch —
Les! You’re not toward him until her head was
listening!” under his chin.
But he was. He was listening “Darling?” she said in a very
very hard. little voice.
“The poor thing,” he said, He
breathed slightly harder on
shaking his head sadly. her hair to show he was paying
She looked around. Except for attention.
the operator, they were alone in “You know, we’ve only been
the elevator. married three months,” she said,
“Who?” she asked. “and already we act as if we’d
“The elevator. When are peo- grown old and gray together.”
ple going to learn that too much “Uh,” he told her.
oil —” “Well, I don’t feel old and
“That’s what I mean, darling.” gray.” She paused. “Do you?”
She guided him across the cor- “Um,” he elaborated.
ridor and opened the door to a “You just lie there,” she cried
waiting room. Shakily she said. angrily. “Don’t you give one
“Now there isn’t a thing to worry single, solitary thought to how
about.” — how undesirable it makes me
“Oh, no?” he snapped. “With feel?”
imbeciles and bunglers torment- He
forced his throat to move,
ing defenseless machines that ask then his tongue, finally his lips.
nothing more than to be done by “You’re not.”
76 GALAXY
“Then what —
” She stopped, shouted. “I loved that bike! And
was silent for a long moment. not only that, I didn’t even think
“I’m a heel,” she said against his once of an Erector set till Dr.
chest. “You’re trying to digest Peabody suggested 1 take up a
what Dr. Hyde said to you to- hobby!” He waited. “Go ahead,
day.” say it — I repressed the whole

Les sat up abruptly with his thing, didn’t I?”


back against the headboard, one “That’s what Dr. Hyde said,
stiff forefinger stabbing repeated- darling.”
ly at the mattress. “Not digest. “All right, smart guy, see v.?hat
Regurgitate.” you make of this. I told him the
“It made sense to me, darling.” truth, every bit of and he says
it,

“What? That I wanted to kill hallucinations. So say oh, yeah,


I

my father for me an
not buying what about the water cooler over
Erector set?” in the corner and he says what
“Well, didn’t you?” about the water cooler. And I
“Of course not! And why not tell him there’s a tiny leak in the

my mother, too? She had just as refrigerating coil and he takes


much to do with me not getting a look, only the crack is too small
it as he did.” to see, but in a month or two
“The Oedipal situation.” they’ll have to seal it up and put
“And if 1 say she loused me up in more refrigerant, you wait and
more than Dad ever did, you’ll see if they don’t.”
agree with Hyde that I’m dis- “And in the meantime?” she
placing or something. Oh, no. asked. “We can’t have you go
You’re not catching me in that around in this nervous state.”
no-exit trap. Besides, Dad bought “I know,” he said miserably.
me a bike right afterward and I “The rheostat on the electric
had a hell of a lot more fun with mixer is calibrated wrong, the
it than I’d have gotten out of an oil burner is feeding too fast, the
Erector set. Mom had plenty to bulb in the hall is about ready
say about the danger of riding a to blow, we got a lemon of a
bike in the city, but he trusted pre-amp in the hi-fi, the turn-
my judgment and bought one table is almost a full rpm too
just the same.” slow, and I bet there’s going to
“Infantilizing you, darling,” be a pip of a smashup on the
she said gently, “instead of help- highway —I don’t like the way
ing you learn to accept inevitable the traffic light feels.”
frustrations.” “Feels?”
“Who was frustrated?” he “Yes,” he said flatly. “Feels.”
INSIDE MAN 77
“Darling?” she started again. philosophy. It was as if dentists
“Urn.” hired thugs to bash in people’s
“You know you’re only person- teeth so there would always be
alizing these things the way you work, or veterinarians poisoned
did when you were so awfully animals just enough to need
disappointed about the Erector treatment. He decided he didn’t
set.” like Mike’s reasoning. He also
“Sure, sure.” decided not to argue about it;
“It’s just a matter of accepting he was tired of strange looks and
that emotionally.” counter-arguments.
“I’m working on it.” Mike climbed out of the pit,
“And you need your
don’t wiped his hands on a ball of dirty
mother any more. You have me.” cotton waste and got into the car
He rolled out of bed. “I never to start the motor. He cocked his
thought of that,” he said, and head like a music critic listening
began unbuttoning his pajama first to one section of the orches-
top. traand then the other.
“Darling, what have you got “Sounds pretty good,” he pro-
in mind?” she asked, wide-eyed. nounced.
“Taking a walk to clear my “The generator,” said Les.
head. You and Hyde have all the Mike frowned. “What about
explanations. Without the two the generator?”
of you to confuse me, maybe I “It’s undercharging.”
can find the answers.” “Hell it is!”
“Hell it isn’t.”
hiUed and tired, Les wandered Mike glanced at the needle and
C into Mike’s All Nite Garage. winked. “So, okay, more busi-
Mike jMDked his head out from ness.” Then he scowled at Les.
under a car on the grease pit and “How’d you know it was under-
asked, “Do something for you, charging?”
Mr. Shay?” “It’s a long story. You have
“No,” said Les. “You fix them any more jobs tonight, Mike?”
instead of ruining them.” “Nope. Why?”
“That’s how I make my living,” “You’ve got a bunch of cars
Mike said cheerfully. “If they on the lot. I’ve got ten bucks to
didn’t ruin ’em, I wouldn’t have either prove or disprove some-
’em to fix.” thing. Deal?”
Les, about to retort in sudden “Deal,” said Mike, leading the
rage, sat down on a fender in- way out to the lot.
stead and thought about Mike’s By the seventh car, Mike was
78 GALAXY
quiet and thoughtful. Les had “Then the answer is very sim-
found only one that murmured ple.” stated the Prof. “Telepa-
tranquilly and when he stated thy.”
what was wrong with each, and '^Telepathy!”
Mike checked, Les had pinpoint- “Of a very highly specialized
ed the trouble exactly. variety.” The Prof looked hope-
“Well, how do you account fully at Les. “Is the full explana-
for that?” Les wanted to know. tion worth the price of a drink?”
Mike did some meditative “I’ll say!” exclaimed Les.

scratching. “I go by ear myself,


Mr. Shay. I can listen to a motor ^y^halia opened red eyes and
and tell pretty near what’s wrong. watched Les pick his way
You just got a better ear than across the uncluttered floor to
me, that’s all.” the closet.
“And when the mo-
it isn’t “Well?” she said. “Did you find
tor? A lot of things in the body your answers?”
and chassis didn’t squeak or rat- “Ah —you bet,” said Les,
tle.” carefully dropping his clothes to
“Yeah,” said Mike. “I was the floor.
thinking about them. I can’t fig- “In a bottle.”
ure it out.” “Over a bottle. With the most
“I can,” another voice said. profound —
makes your Dr.
Les leaped. A solemn face Hyde sound —
listening with the
with a slight stubble and a greasy third ear when he should be using
homburg was leaning out of a all three!”
car window. “Okay, go on,” she said re-
“Sorry, Prof,” said Mike. “I signedly.
didn’t mean to wake you. Prof, “Nothing to it. I’m a specia-
Mr. Shay. I let the Prof sleep list.”

in the cars, provided he takes his “A specialist?”


shoes off and keeps his hat on.” He sat down on the bed to
“My pleasure, Mr. Shay,” an- tangle with his shoelaces. “A
nounced the Prof. born mechanic.”
“H-hello,” said Les. “You did “Now look here, Lester Shay!
say you could figure it out?” If you think you’re going to give
“No mystery at all,” the Prof up a perfectly good business to
said. “Can you do this only with go rummaging around in cars

automobiles or all kinds of ma- “Don’t have to,” he answered
chinery?” peacefully. “Just gotta harden
“All kinds.” myself. That’s what the Prof says.
INSIDE MAN 79
” ” ”

He’s not really a professor, only “Affliction, darling. It’s like


talks that way because he claims when a surgeon goes down the
it intimidates people.” street and he sees people in dras-
“A bum!” tic need of operations and can’t
‘‘No, sweetheart. A different do anything about it. Couldn’t
kind of specialist. Damn shoe- club them, haul them away to
laces!” He snapped them and the hospital, operate on them,
kicked his shoes across the room. could he?”
‘‘His notion is that evolution al- “No, of course not.”
ways starts with simple, general “So he has to steel himself. Or
types and works up to highly take the gardener who feels what
specialized ones.” flowers feel. And grass. Srubbery.
“Like born mechanics!” He has to cut the flowers, mow
He
smiled delightedly. “That’s the lawn, clip the hedges. If he
it.Or born mathematicians. Or felt every slash into every bit of
born laborers. Or born artists, vegetation, weeds included —
salesmen, farmers — well, you can imagine.”
“Bums.” She thought. “Yes, I think I
“Oh, just the very, very, very, can. And what about you, darl-
good ones,” he corrected her ing?”
owlishly. “The others work at it, “Same thing. Steel myself. The
but they’re not specialists. Way Prof says I can’t take care of
he puts it, the difference is in the all the machines in the world and
degree of success.” he’s right. So I gotta shut out
“And,” she said, “you’re a bom the cries and groans and moans
mechanic.” of the machinery. You see?”
“Right, Just never got a chance “I see, but can you do it?”
to start. Better this way, though. she asked worriedly.
You see, I know what machines “Diversion does the trick. If I
feel because I feel it, too. If I’d receive, I just make sure I re-
been doing that all these years, ceive something else. The Prof
I’d be nothing but nerves. A lot suggested trying people. So I did,
of people don’t treat machines down at the tavern.”
right, you know. Feeling how the “How did you make out?”
machines suffer would put me in “Noisy damned place,” he
just as bad shape as they are.” said. “And full of alcoholic
She sat up interestedly. “This thoughts. But I concentrated and
Prof of yours sounds bright. Did it blanked out the screeching fan
he tell you how to get rid of and the pump in the cellar that
your —
your — needs cleaning so badly —
80 GALAXY
“People’s thoughts,” said Tha- “Mm-fiumm. Your radiator is

lia uneasily. “I don’t know if I boiling over.”


like that. I know I wouldn’t feel “What a crude way to put it!”
comfortable around you.” He continued standing there,
He plumped up the pillow, ac- his gaze gone remote and unsee-
cidentally dropped it on the floor, ing.
tired to decide whether to pick “Well?” Thalia asked ir-

it up, realized he would fall on ritably. “How’s your radiator?”


top of it. “That’s what I’m trying to find
“Doesn’t work that way at all, out,” he replied in a distant voice.
sweetheart. It’s ” He hunted — “And?”
for an analogy. “It comes out “It’s percolating a little,” he
likemachinery.” answered.
“Like what?” she exclaimed. She threw the covers aside.
“Here, maybe I can show you.” “Come on, get in,” she said. “It’s
He stood beside the bed and better than nothing.”
gazed down searchingly at her. H.L. — GOLD

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INSIDE MAN 81
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83
f©i-

Sfour
information

BY WILLY LEY
FIFTEEN YEARS OF GALAXY -
THIRTEEN YEARS OF F.U

G
column
alaxy Magazine is 15 years
old with this issue, but my
even though was
is not, I
represented in Vol. I. No. 1. It
was an article on Flying Saucers,
written at the editor’s request
and then considerably shortened
by the same editor —
but I no
longer recall just what it was he
snipped out. Flying Saucers were

84
a recent (phenomenon) at the point the police grew suspicious,
time, stories about them had the newspapers did at about the
been in the daily press for about seventh case, when the assailant
three years running. And while was described as a young blond
three years of stories without the —
man but the damage he ha;l
faintest bit of evidence that done was hard to sVe.
would be considered as such in That girl then admitted that
a court of law made me quite she only had wanted Co get her
doubtful, one could not yet dis- picture into the newspaper. Then
miss the whole thing. the “case” before her admitted
did not say so in print, but
I deception and so all the way
I had
a nagging feeling that the back to the first case where the
“saucers” would turn out to be loss of hair had been due to an
something like the case of the accident —
with the afterthought
“Washington D.C. hair fetishist” that it should be exploited in
that occupied space in the Wash- some way.
ington newspaper at the same
time when the first flying saucer "VTow, eighteen years after the
report from Boise, Idaho, made ^ first saucer report in
flying
the front pages of the same the Washington papers and fif-
newspaper which I read with teen years after my article in the
great astonishment while sitting first issue of Galaxy I see a great
in the street car that brought me deal of similarity in the two per-
to my laboratory in College formances.
Park, Maryland, every morning. During the second year of
What happened was this: a girl Galaxy’s existence I contributed
turned up at the police station a few scattered articles, one on
(or at the newspaper office. I the “Loon” missile which then
don’t know which, since
I paid received a great deal of publicity
no attention to the report)
first (in retrospect I fail to see why),
claiming that somebody had cut one on the African aardvark and
off a heavy strand of her beauti- one on the “meteoric procession”
ful blonde hair while she was of February 9, 1913.
riding one of these self-same The last one, I admit, was
street cars during the morning written for the purpose of point-
rush hour. The police had hardly ing out that there can be very
started an investigation, when strange displays in the sky that
another girl told the same story. have perfectly natural causes. Of
Two days later a third incident course, neither efficient aircraft
occurred. I don’t know at what nor atom bombs existed in 1913,

FOR YOUR INFORMATION 85


hence people seeing something were recent when Galaxy was
unusual had less reason to be- started. There was, of course, the
come jittery. “atom bomb” as it was then call-
The first regular column ap- ed, <-he fission bomb as we call it
peared in the March issue of 1952, now. To people who knew some-
the idea that I should write a thing about atomic energy it was
regular column, ranging at ran- clear that the fusion or hydrogen
dom overthe whole field of bomb would follow its devel- —
science, originated with Horace opment was then ordered by
L. the first editor. The
Gold, President Truman in January
overall title of the column, I was 1950.
told, was suggested by Theodore Two recent astronomical d>s-
Sturgeon. Everything else was up coveries had been made by the
to me, except that there was a same American astronomer, Ger-
rule in the beginning, that my ard P. Kuiper. They were the
column should resemble a news- fifthmoon of Uranus which he
paper column in that it consisted had named Miranda (1948) and
of a number of short items. And the second moon of Neptune
since Galaxy did not carry a reg- which he had named Nereid
ular “letters to the editor” fea- (1949).
ture, the letters containing scien-
tific questions were shunted to '^he active space age was still
me for incorporation in the col- five years in the future when
umn. As regular readers know, I Vol. I., No. 1. of Galaxy appear-
still answer such letters in my ed on the newsstands. Few
column if I feel the answer might people knew at the time that
be of general interest; provided, space had already been reached,
of course, that I know the an- namely by Bumper No. 5 on Feb-
swer. But “answerable” letters ruary 24, 1949. The rocket had
do not come in frequently; the been the fifth in a series of eight
majority of the letters I receive two-stage liquid fuel rockets, the
either ask questions that have no first stage being an ex-German
answer (e.g. “what are quasars”) V-2, the upper stage a AC-Cor- W
or else the answer is not likely poral rocket developed in Cali-
to be of general interest, as for fornia. The upper stage reached
example the title and publication a total altitude of 250 miles. It
date of a book my correspondent cannot be said that actual satel-
remembers incompletely. lite plans of any kind existed at
But let me backtrack a bit to the time. A few years earlier
the scientific news events that Arthur C. Clarke had suggested

86 GALAXY
the possibility of “Extra-terres- of the twelfth moon of Jupiter
trial Relays”, as he called them, (J-XII) by Seth B. Nicholson on
in an article in the British Mag- September 29, 1951, before my
azine Wireless World. These re- column existed. But it was re-
lays were three satellites in the ported in my column in the Au-
24-hour orbit — three “syncoms” gust issue of 1952. In 1954 he
as they would now be called. But eighth moon of Jupiter (J-VIII)
this was mainly a suggestion that had been “lost” was re-
pointing out what might be done discovered with the aid of high-
in the future, it was not a detail- speed computers, but I had to
ed plan. I am hanpy to report pass this one up because I did
that Arthur C. Clarke, after the not learn about it until about
first actual communications satel- a year later.
liteshad been put into orbit, re- All along I had to keep in
ceived the Gold Medal of the mind that considerable time
Franklin Institute for his sug- would go by between the writing
gestion. of a column and its appearance
But the actual satellite plans on the newsstands. Even when
came several years later, around Galaxy was still on a monthly
19.53. Wernher von Braun’s con- schedule that time interval was
cept of a wheel-shaped manned seven weeks — and seven weeks
space station received most of would have required a special
the publicity. I devoted two effort on the part of everybody,
columns to the space station con- a twelve week interval was clos-
cept (April and May 1953 and er to normal. Hence I was never
then again in December 1962). able to pay much attention to
It is still a good concept and I “nev/s” for by the time they could
feel still confident that we’ll build have appeared in Galaxy every-
a space station of this kind at body had read about them. That
about the time of the first band- long interval between writing
ing on the moon or soon after- and publication caused a few
wards. The first satellite project other complications too. Once,
that was actually carried out, for example. I had prepared a
though with endless delay and piece on new manipulating de-
countless heartaches, was, of vices, steel fingers that could not
course. Project Vanguard, to only handle red-hot metal or
which the column in the Sep- strongly radioactive substances
tember, 1956 issue was devoted. but could also perform feats of
The first astronomical discov- strength simultaneously if their
ery after Galaxy existed was that operator desired. I had even ob-

FOR YOUR INFORMATION 87


tained a set of half a dozen pho- though “passive” Echo satellite.
tographs. But about three days By the time such results be-
before sending the material to came known, another active com-
the editor, Life Magazine devoted munications satellite had been
several of its pages to the same thrown into orbit. Always keep in
device, needless to say with color mind that I could not just wait,
pictures. If I had gone ahead I still had to produce a column
with my ownpiece it would have per issue and sometimes a sub-
been the coldest of cold hash (or ject needed two successive col-
at least would have looked that umns. So the article on communi-
way) so I put my photographs cations satellites languished while
away for filing and wrote a dif- other columns (equally interest-
ferent column in a hurry. ing, I hope) saw the light of
day. By the time I looked at my
'T^he fact that Galaxy is not a folder on this subject again, Tel-
weekly —
for which I am star I was orbited, got front page
quite grateful, otherwise —
also articles everyplace and a double-
saw to it that a few articles never spread in Life. Then I gave up,
got written at all. There was one by now communications satellites
I remember: a nice thorough had become so thoroughly known
piece on communications satel- to the public that there was no
lites, carefully explaining their use wasting space in Galaxy on
purpose, the way they worked, them.
the orbits they should be in and The same story was repeated
so forth. By the time I had block- at a somewhat later date with
ed out the piece itself and made masers and lasers. To my knowl-
a few diagrams. Echo I was put edge this is the first time these
into orbit and was clearly visible words are mentioned in my col-
to everybody. Now this required umn, but once they were intend-
an additional section on “passive” ed to be a column. But the
communications satellites, those maser-laser story exhibited a
that only reflect radio waves strong kinship to the behavior of
without amplifying them. Natur- the mythological Hydra. Cut off
ally I had to wait for some re- one head and two new ones will
sults, nobody was quite sure at grow. This is a gratifying thing
the moment how the perform- as far as progress is concerned,
ance of the early and naturally but it can prevent a man from
primitive “active” communica- finishing an article he had in
tions satellites would compare mind.
with that of the much bigger, While I could not hope to keep

88 GALAXY
up with a rapidly developing nitrogen and keep it, intestinal
story, such as the space age with bacteria and all, nearly indefin-
its hundreds of satellites, dozens What was left was enough
itely.
of space probes and multiple to convince Prof. Smith that a
spurts of development in all pos- most unusual discovery had been
sible directions, an addition to an made. It was one of the fishes
older discovery is often a fine known to paleontologists as coe-
starting point for a survey. This lacanth, a group that had been
is especially the case if the older believed to be extinct for at least
discovery is of the cliff-hanger 50 million years.
type, of which Latimeria was the The discovery was exciting for
prime example of the first half more than one reason. It was not
of the twentieth century. only a “long extinct” form, it was
also unusual in being much larger
A few days before Christmas, than any coelacanth known. The
1938, a very strange fish had fossils usually measured only
been brought ashore by a com- eight inches in length. A twelve-
mercial fishing vessel at the port inch coelacanth was a big one
of East London on the east coast and one incomplete fossil indi-
of South Africa. The fish was cated an over-all length of twen-
large-mouthed, bright blue in ty inches. The living version was
color, about four and a half feet which had
fifty-five inches long,
long and had strangely shaped, been the main reason why Prof.
very powerful fins. The captain Smith had been doubtful about
of the trawler had never seen the sketch that had been enclos-
anything like this and neither had ed in the letter he had received
Miss M. Courtenay-Latimer, the from Miss Courtenay-Latimer.
museum. She
curator of the local The shape had suggested coela-
wrote to ProfessorJ. L. B. Smith canth and nothing else, but the
at Rhodes University in Gra- measurements had spoken against
hamstown. South Africa, who was that conclusion. (After the Sec-
an expert on the marine fishes ond World War was over, a
of the area.But there were de- sixty-inch fossil coelacanth came
lays, when Prof. Smith finally to light in West Germany.)
got to East London, the internal Professor Smith named the
organs of the fish had to be fish Latimeria chalumnae, the
thrown out for very natural rea- species name was derived from
sons —
by now Miss Courtenay- the name of the river that emp-
Latimer would probably be able ties intothe ocean at East Lon-
to drop it into a tank of liquid don. Naturally he wanted a fresh

FOR YOUR INFORMATION 89


specimen. But he ran into two bones had been found in southern
kinds of trouble. The first one England, near a place called Pilt-
was that the Second World War down. In the end they produced
was underway and most people a human skull, hailed as one of
had other worries than supposed- the earliest inhabitants of Eng-
ly extinct fishes, no matter how land named Eoanthropus daw-
rare and how important to sonii, or Dawson’s Dawn Man.
science. The second was that In 1954 British paleontologists
Smith had distributed his thou- proved conclusively that the
sands of leaflets with a picture Dawn Man had been a hoax. The
of the fish, a description and an upper part of the skull actually
offer of reward, in the wrong was human and even fossil, but
area. It so happens that the first not particularly old. Now, that it
specimen caught had strayed is known what it is one may say
southward from its normal habi- of it that it does not present
tat by about 1,800 miles. Nor- either a puzzle nor an insight.
mally it can be found around the The lower jaw was the hoax, it
Comores Islands and the second was the jaw of an ape, almost
specimen was found there, again certainly of an Orang-Utan. The
just before Christmas, in 1952. whole jaw had been made to look
Now, that the normal habitat and feel fossil with considerable
was known, the waiting time skill and especially the teeth had
shrank; the third specimen was been filed and otherwise treated
caught in September 1953 and to lose their pronounced apish
the fourth in January 1954. Since character and to look like the
the Comore Islands are French, worn teeth of a primitive human.
French scientists took over and It must have been the work of
published preliminary reports on many months to accomplish this
their observations and then a and one can only wonder why
reasonably comprehensive popu- some people devote so much
lar report became possible. It ap- work and so much skill to such
peared in the May, 1956, issue of agob. If a painter spends a year
Galaxy. painting a “lost old master” and
another year in “aging” the
'"T^he year 1954 did not only painting so that he can sell it at
bring additional information a high price his behavior is un-
on the fish Latimeria, it also solv- -ethical, despicable and criminal;
ed, in a rather unexpected man- but one can at least see the rea-
ner, an older puzzle. During the son! But whoever changed the
years from 1908 to 1915 fossil Orang-Utan jaw around neither
90 GALAXY
reaped reward nor questionable Piltdown manin with other fossil
fame. humans and pre-humans, hut
Of course it had been just the naturally without any good re-
combination of a fairly modern sult. German authors did the
skulltop and a most primitive- same and one or two of them
looking lower jaw which had voiced a suspicion. It was not
made Piltdown man such a scien- the suspicion of forgery (nobody
tific puzzle. As soon as the fact thought of that) but possibly it
that it was a forgery had been was a fossil ohne Beweiskraft, a
published, I started reading up fossil that did not prove anything.
on everything that had been writ- What they did was to ponder
ten about Piltdown man while it the possibility that Piltdown
was believed to be genuine. man, when alive, had not been
I could do most of this read- typical of its tribe but had been
ing at home because my library a freak.
is full of books on paleontology; If one started with the lower
a recent count revealed that I jaw one should expect a some-
own more books on paleontology what smaller skullcap of differ-
than on rockets, missiles and ent built. But possiblv just this
space travel — due. no doubt, to individual had an abnormally
the fact that paleontologists have large (for its type) skull. This
been around for a much longer did not necessarily make him a
time than space scientists and genius: even now a moron oc-
had more time to write. At any casionally has an extra large
event, the results were surpris- brain, a brain that is voluminous
ing. The French authors I con- 'but fails to function properly Or
sulted usually made short shift else, beginning with the skull and
of Piltdown man, just mention- considering the skull as normal
ing the characteristics and end- for its type, we had the bad luck

ing up with: “more investigation to find the remains of an indi-


is necessary”. In retrospect this vidual with a lower jaw that was
almost sounds as if they were a throwback to a much earlier
suspicious, but they probably type. Maybe, if the whole skele-
were just puzzled. An Austrian ton were known, some other de-
expert. Prof. Othenio Abel, de- formities would be found.
voted a great deal of space to The write-ups of Piltdown man
Piltdown man, but ended up showed an extraordinary expen-
with precisely the same sentence, diture of words like “perhaps”,
though in another language. “possibly”, “if one assumes”, and
British authors tried hard to fit so forth —quite naturally be-

FOR YOUR INFORMATION 91


cause the fossil in question was that Pluto is a “run-away moon”
not genuine, as finally proved by of Neptune. (The same sugges-
the two British experts. But Pilt- tion had been made in 1936 by
down man never had a column R. R. Lyttleton in England but
devoted to him and I no longer had failed to attract much atten-
remember why not. I had all of tion.) This was an item I ex-
the material available, most of pected to remain confined to as-
it even at home. I can only con- tronomical journals, hence it was
clude that something else which written up in the column for the
I considered to be of more in- August 1956 issue.
terest to my readers got in the Another astronomical discov-
way at the time. Or possibly I ery was made in the process of
felt that it had been sufficiently being accomplished at the same
covered elsewhere — people who time by the discoverer of Pluto,
do articles for science-fiction Dr. Clyde W. Tombaugh. But
magazines are always aware that this one was connected with the
their readers read many other space age. That there would be
journals too. artificial satellites soon, and prob-
ably both Russian and American,
\ nybody who sits back think- was certain in 1955. Of course
ing about the scientific dis- they would have to be tracked
coveries of the last fifteen years and one man even assumed that
is likely to fall into the trap of our military men intended to
believing that most of them were track the Russian satellites some-
due to the space effort. True, what more carefully than our
the space effort is responsible for own. But there was a possible
a number of them, among them problem, hadn’t there been a
things nobody expected to find, number of reports, never con-
but this fifteen year period also firmed to be sure, about small
produced great strides elsewhere. satellites of earth? If they really
Not even all astronomical
the existed they would confuse the
discoveries are due to the space trackers. The thing to do was to
effort. establish the orbits of such minor
Very early in 1956 — and the satellites, they existed.
if

active space age began late in Clyde W. Tombaugh proposed


1957 if a reminder of the date a method for such a search and
should be necessary Dr. Ger- — designed the necessary instru-
ard P. Kuiper pointed out that mentation which was not only
the unusual orbit of Pluto could small enough to be carried on a
best be explained by assuming truck, but sensitive enough (in

92 GALAXY
a phrase that was to become ed “brightside” with puddles of
famous) “to detect a white ten- molten lead and tin, the perma-
nis ball in orbit a hundred miles nently frozen “darkside” where
from the surface, and a V-2 the remains of the former atmo-
rocket, if painted white, at the sphere of the planet lay frozen
distance of the moon.” In 1957 on the ground and, last but not
his report was out, and I could least, the interesting “twilight
tell of the results of the search belt” where the sun appeared
in my column for the July, 1957, above the horizon for a few days
issue. The result had been nega- every 88 days.
tive, there were no minor satel-
lites of earth so that anything XTow it is known that Mercury
that could be detected and track- ^ rotates a little faster than
ed had to be artificial. once every 88 days, the preli-
Two other astronomical dis- minary figure is 65 days. But
coveries also have no direct con- that means that the sun shines
nection with the space age. One on every part of Mercury’s sur-
is the diseovery of the mysterious face for a fairly long time. No
“quasi-stellar objects”, something more permanently nearly red-hot
that was quickly shortened to brightside, no more permanently
“quasars” without improving our frozen darkside. And no more
understanding of them. The dis- twilight belt. Mercury is still a
covery of the quasars was the most inhospitable planet, but it
result of radio astronomy. And has lost the distinctive features
the most recent discovery, an- we thought were there.
nounced only four days prior to Of course some of the major
my writing this, is the result of discoveries are the outcome of
using radar techniques. It is the putting instruments into space.
discovery that planet Mercury The first big discovery was that
does not have a period of rota- of the inner Van Allen belt in
tion of 88 days, as Giovanni Vir- 1958, accomplished by Explorer I,
ginio Schiaparelli had announced the first American artificial satel-
in 1889. The orbital period is 88 lite which, incidentally, is still in
days and Schiaparelli’s announce- orbit. Later the outer Van Allen
ment therefore meant that Mer- belt was found by another space
cury always points the same device. Then we have the first
hemisphere toward the earth. The determination of the thickness of
outcome of Schiaparelli’s an- the cloud layer of Venus, its in-
nouncement had been several credible height above the surface
fascinating concepts: the scorch- of Venus and the measurement

FOR YOUR INFORMATION 93


of the very high surface temper- what every chemical handbook
ature of the planet, all carried has said for the last half century.
out by Mariner II. We have the But many of the mysteries
very sharp and detailed photo- that were written up at one time
graphic close-ups of the surface or another in my column, are
of the moon, produced by Ran- still mysteries. Of the clouds of

gers VII, VIII and IX. And by Venus, we now know the extent,
the time you read this we may but we still don’t know their
have some nice close-up photo- chemical composition, though the
graphs of Mars, transmitted over top layer seems to consist of ice
more than sixty million miles of crystals. The Red Spot of Jupiter
space by Mariner IV. is still unexplained, the Gegen-
Some of the very important schein is still a mystery in spite
discoveries other than space can of (or rather because of) four
only be mentioned here: increas- different explanations. We still

ed (though still fragmentary) don’t know when and how ball


understanding of the inner struc- lightning will form. And the large
ture of the atom; vastly increas- rotating “luminous wheels” of the
ed understanding (not yet quite Indian Ocean certainly need
complete) of the basic mechan- more investigation. And I refuse
ism of life and especially of here- to think about quasars until more
dity; and the interesting and is known. •

completely unexpected discovery I suspect, however, that the


that at least the heaviest ones of majority of these mysteries will
the so-called noble gases, namely have been explained, not another
xenon and krypton, will form fifteen years from now but in
chemical compounds, in spite of about five years. WILLY LEY —
At last! Retief's first full-length novell

RETIEFS WAR
by Keith Laumer
The galaxy's farthest-out diplomat takes on the wildest planet of all!

AN OUNCE OF EMOTION by Gordon R. Dickson

ORIGIN OF SPECIES by Robert F. Young


These cHid many others in the October If — get your copy fodayl

94 GALAXY
A
Better Mousehole
by EDGAR PANGBORN

Trouble with those blue bugs


was they didn't hurt you . . .

they did something far worse/

o now Irma will be at me to six feet five, (looking back at


S do something about them what he thinks the world used to
blue bugs. I got to do something be. Still if you was old like him,
about Irma. you might want big dreams more
Dr. West is wise too, as good as than ever, about being young.
said so when him and Judge Van If you could te/I them bugs, if
Anda was in today for a couple you could name your own dream!
beers. Pity Dr. West is not the No way, I guess. I take the
doctoring type doctor but just dreams I can get.
has letters and stuff. Sort of ex- Dr. West certainly knows
plorer people say, account of his something. I’d no sooner drawed
Independent Income, gone for them beers when he starts men-
months till the town’s forgot him tioning mice. I told him, Look, I
and then he turns up full of what said, you do not see the Health
the buU was done with. Department climbing all over my
I don’t think the Judge knows back the way they would if I had
about the blue bugs. If they bit mice. He asks me, so what is that
him like they done me he’d never hole in the floor below tlie liquor
go to dreaming, not him up there. shelves? I had to make like hunt-

95
ing for it, and act surprised. Oh, she says, maybe the Sta-
Knothole, I says. Oh, knothole, dium, game over, crowd gone and
he says, knothole the regal twin- you know, empty popcorn bags
cushioned back of my lap, how and match cards and spit.
come a knothole in linoleum? So You, Al? he says to me. What’s
I had to say it could be mice. desolation?
Judge Van Anda says Ha. I said, oh, maybe a dark night
and nobody shows you where to
went down the bar to pass the go. I believe Dr. West is sad in
I time with Lulu who doesn’t his heart in spite of that educa-
get much business in the after- tion which is over my head. It
noon because the light is too would be like him to take off in a
strong. Lulu is like blonde this borrowed plane for the flat side of
week. If only I could tell the nowhere. * I like to watch him
bugs to put Lulu into a dream standing by Judge Van Anda
with me! The only time they who he is always telling siddown
done it she turned into Irma. I siddown and the Judge merely
can’t figure that. says Ha. I can feel sad without
What if Lulu got bit and had no Independent Income. I am 42
some dreams herself? and I have this ulcer.
suppose Irma thinks I mar-
I The tundra, says Dr. West —
ried her so I can’t do nothing a nothing of dun colors, rotting
without she comes clomping in snow, and you wonder when the
onto it? If she’s solid gold why whole earth will look like that.
don’t she move to Fort Knox? No! says Lulu about to cry.
I had not hardly started talk- Don’t talk thataway!
ing to Lulu when Dr. West goes Never mind, chicken, he says,
to booming. Desolation, he says, I was just bleating.
do you think you know what
desolation is? It’s the sub-Arctic uppose you took Irma to this
tundra, he says, and me alone S here Tundra and told her to
in that borrowed Cessna that walk home. Flies, she says last
might’ve got its engine tuned night, flies all over you and you
three or four months earlier, and drunk as a pig. God, I pretty near
no reason to be there except my shut her up for good. But she just
itch to see more of the poor don’t know no better. She don’t
wonderful planet before they have too much of a life with a
blow it up. Lulu, what do you busted-down hack like me that
think? What do you say desola- couldn’t even last five rounds
tion is? with Willie Donohue.

96 GALAXY
Dr. West went on about bor- after forty years on what they
rowing a plane from a friend has call the bench, and keeps saying
got this lodge in the north woods, with his experience he ought to
and flying over the tundra till he write detective stories. Yes sir, he
saw like a blue spark down there. says, if the walling off has been
Landed and picked up the ob- done right, proper pains taken,
ject, size and shape of a basket- you can give the whole thing a
ball he said, not really blue, more very attractive finish. I guess he
like daylight split and turned a meant the wall. You never know,
million ways. It hummed when with the Judge. I must of said
he held it to his ear. That’s when to him a hundred times. Look,
he broke off to ask me is there a I’ve said, the surprising type
basement under this part of the things that have happened to me,
bar. you ought to put them into a
He knows damn well it’s got no book if you’re going to write one.
basement. He was in town when He just goes hrrm hrrm and Ha.
I added on. Al-
got this addition I hated him sounding off about

ready a under the main


cellar bodies that way, account of Lu-
part, I need another, got
didn’t lu’s nerves. Before Dr. West be-
this part done with merely the gun story Lulu was talking
his
footing and concrete under the to me
about that murderer over
lino, I mean if there is any exca- to the one that
Lincolnsville,
vation in forty miles Dr. West done in his whole family with a
will be there watching. It’s the kitchen knife, and the shooting
people with an Independent In- down in Jonesburg a couple
come or them with not any that weeks ago. She was real nerved
get the excavation watched. Guys up. His whole family, and with a
like me that work for a living, we plain kitchen knife. When the
are up that creek with a little bity cops come for him —Jesus, he
plastic spoon and no breeze. was like asleep, it said. Lulu takes
All’s I said was Hell no, this the news pretty personal, it’s the
here is an addition was added on, woman of it.

it’s got no basement.

Unless somebody walled it off T^r. West’s little blue eyes —


on you, says Judge Van Anda. why, damn, they’re near
You won’t find a better way to the same color as my bugs, like
dispose of a body, the Judge sky with the sun caught in it.
says, that’s if you have time and Maybe the bugs are something
materials and don’t mind the new to science that Dr. West has
labor. Well, the Judge is retired to keep top secret? Then this

A BETTER MOUSEHOLE 97
tundra story would be the edu- his bed, only a devil in him
cated crappola he’s obliged to couldn’t ever let him rest. And
shovel over it? His eyes are I have this ulcer.
bloodshot like mine have been The Bible or somebody says if
getting the last few weeks. I been you build a better mousetrap
losing weight too and it ain’t my they’ll like put you on teevy.
ulcer. The blood the bugs take All’s I got is a better mousehole.
out couldn’t make no such differ- What do they you for that?
give
ence, and them so gentle —I Dr. Lulu come
West waited till

float off into the dreams almost back from the Ladies to go on
as soon as they come settle on with his story. He wasn’t telling
me. it for her, though, spite of her

I’d give anything to have an- coming to sit on the stool by him
other dream where Irma is like and give him a feel or two for
when we got married, not bony friendship’s sake. Not for the
and mean but soft, brown hair Judge neither. It was for me and
with all them goldy lights, voice that hole in the floor. I could
like country cream. of told him they never come out
When Dr. West quit talking till I close the bar and dim the

Lulu was crying. She says she lights.

feels sometimes like everything He said he smuggled the blue


was on top of her, usually goes ballhome, not a word to anyone.
to the Ladies and comes back As a story it wasn’t nothing,
with a rebuilt mouth and a fresh which is one reason I can’t be-
bounce to her. Lulu could put lieve he was making it up. He
her shoes in my trunk any time. kept calling the thing a sphere. I
She ain’t had a real happy life. always thought a sphere was
Aw, who does? For young peo- some type musical instrument.
ple it’s always a maybe-tomor-
row, for the rest, it’s where-did- "I l^hen he says home he means
everything-go? The Judge, he ^ ’ the ram-and-shackle man-
should be happy looking across sion at the edge of town with
all them years of playing God back land running up Ragged
and sticking people in jail? Dr. Rock Hill and Johnny Blood rat-
West never married, chases tling around in the mansion being
moonblink over the world with caretaker with one eye that used
his Independent Income, but to be an actor and still lets go
once he told me what he honestly with some Shakespeare if any-
craved was hearth and home, nice thing startles him. He said he
woman to warm his slippers and sent Johnny away for two
98 GALAXY
months vacation to this sister ed like it was melted through,
in Maine who has been trying the ends of copper wire fused
to make Johnny come to Jesus so the hole looked like a grom-
anyhow thirty-forty years, only met.
when Johnny hears that special Judge Van Anda asked him
tone of voice he shuts the good did he keep the busted eggshell.
eye and lets go with something Dr. West says. Now I did try to
from this Shakespeare. make it plain it was not an egg,
I wish I had the education to nor do I know why I waste my
make with Shakespeare when experiences on you, like when I
Irma is at me about talking to showed that comb my mermaid
Lulu or drinking up the profits gave meit could of been a paper
which I never could do with this clip, the impression it made.
all
ulcer unless I would drop dead, So it could, says the Judge kind
she never thinks of that, or why of brisk, seeing they make such
don’t I at least try to earn combs in Bridgeport and you can
enough we would spend winters buy them in any drugstore for
in Florida if I had any zing. upwards of nineteen cents plus
Sent Johnny away, he says, tax. All right, says Dr. West, so
and kept the sphere at room tem- if she did happen on it in the
perature. Dr. West is always billows off Bridgeport, God damn
talking thataway. A room don’t it,she gave it to me, didn’t she?
run temperature, or if he
a Oh, don’t get red-eyed about it,
means hot like some room what’s says Judge Van Anda.
so scientific if somebody mon-
keys with the thermostack or ’m not, says Dr. West. Al’s the
leaves the God-damn door open? I one with bloodshot eyes, late
Winter in Florida for Christ’s hours likely. He was watching
sake. me real sharp. No sir, you too,
The blue thing hatched one Sid, says the Judge, you look in
night after he’d gone to bed — the mirror you’ll see you’re red-
except he says it was not an eyed like a weasel, I snow you
egg but a figure of speech. He not. Now if you could have
found the two halves in the brought home just one mermaid
morning not chipped like a hatch- And Dr. West says they do
scale.
ed egg, just separated, like they’d not have scales, no more reason
been fitted together originally so to have scales than a seal or a
good you couldn’t find the joint. whale or any other ocean-dwell-
Nothing else disturbed, but a hole ing mammal. Ocean-dwelling
in the window-screen that look- mahooha, says Judge Van Anda.
A BETTER MOUSEHOLE 99
And I suppose, says Dr. West, patch of soft earth in the thicket
back there ninety-six years ago thatshowed no footprints.
in the little red schoolhouse the Weleft it at that. Ever since,
only biology you ever learned I been thinking about it. Only
was out in the bushes during re- minutes now till closing time or
cess. Which was a friendly re- I would flip my lid.
mark because the Judge could Dr. West was not lying or he
go hrrm reminding himself how would of done a mermaid story.
he wants you to think he used That don’t mean it was the whole
to be. All the same I quick took truth. How could anybody ever
them another round of beers. tellthat like they say in the
Lulu says, You got out of that law courts? Maybe the bugs bit
too easy. Doc. I remember she him before they went off through
pushed her shoulders back show- the hole in the screen? One bite
ing what she has got. She could would be enough to show him
put her shoes in my trunk any what it does to you. Could we
time. She says, Do you still have sort of share them?
the eggshell or do you don’t?
I do not, says Dr. West. I do would like that. Something’s
not still possess the two halves I gentled me down lately. I got
of that vehicle. no jealousy about him and Lulu
Well excuse me for living, says going off together like they done
Lulu, but she wasn’t mad. She this afternoon. I don’t seem to
likes everybody, you could call have no angry feelings of no
it a weakness. kind except about drowning Irma
And why don’t you? says the in the bathtub if it was practi-
Judge. As if I didn’t know. cal. Aw, I guess I mean I might
Because, says Dr. West, I car- make that type joke, a man
ried them outdoors to see them couldn’t do no such thing. Be-
in the sun, was disturbed by the sides it could be my fault Irma
telephone, set them down in a is like she is. How about that,
thicket, answered the phone, at Al?
which you bent my ear for a Anyhow I’d sooner Lulu went
half-hour about a detective story off with Dr. West than with say
you plan to start writing any this salesman looks like a shaved
day. When I got back the two pig and wants a beer.
halves were gone. Beer. Why
can’t they ask for
Naturally, says the Judge. Na- something unusual just once so I
turally. would have to think about it
Gone, says Dr. West, from a and stop thinking?

100 GALAXY
Five minutes still to closing. things like that — it can’t mean
It was last night Irma found these bugs are —
me with my bugs and called won’t have a dream tonight
I
them flies. I bet she believes though. I won’t, till I can get a
that. It was the finest part of my real talk with Dr. West. Well,
dream — gone,
clobbered, and speak of the —
here’s Irma her nightgown
in
come down and turned on the ft has come to be morning, hot
light, standing there all bones and quiet outside in that gold-
and bad temper saying Drunk as en street. I better try to think
a pig, now I see where the profits through what happened, and
go, all down your gut. Her that what Dr. West said.
used to talk like a lady, and had When he come in at closing
them goldy her hair.
lights in time I seen he wanted talk same
Flies, she says, flies everywhere. as me. I told him stick around, I
She don’t know about the hole, closed up, doused the front
my better mousehole, or she lights, we carried a Jameson into
would poured cleaning fluid
of the back room. He flung down a
down it, and they would of come shot and said, I took Lulu up
out and fixed her little red wag- to my place. The Judge too.
on. I would not like that to hap- Johnny Blood’ll be gone another
pen. It’s funny how gentle I feel couple weeks, but I suppose may-
nowadays. I used to be what they be the Judge’ll be missed.
call a Ruffed Diamond. Missed? I says.
I guess Irma will have took He says, Don’t be like that, ,A1.
her twenty-year grouch to bed The Judge is asleep and dream-
bv now. Oh no, it wasn’t like that ing, Lulu is asleep and dream-
all of them twenty years, not by ing, and don’t you go acting sur-
no means —
but my Jesus, I’m prised on me, because I come
sunnosed to be some damn God- back to talk to you. Beat-up
nlmighty Apollo Valentino Rock- crocks like you and me, Al, he
efeller or I’m no good? I’m good says, we’re into middle age, we
in them dreams. I been seven can wait a mite longer for our
feet tall and bronzy, ready when- dreams, seeing we’ve spent mor’n
ever T said so. half a lifetime doing not much
There they go again about that else.
thing in Tonesburg where the While poured him another
I

lady shot up a radio-teevy store he said, it was Lulu brought


account she claimed the noise them back to me. I asked him
spoiled her dreams. Look — how come.
A BETTER MOUSEHOLE 101
She didn’t do anything, he window. Coming for Lulu be-
says, she’s just overweight with a cause she’s right for them, they
big blood pressure. They like took care of the Judge too, and
that. They must need the blood, me. My dream was a short one,
maybe to help them breed. Only Al. I don’t have much blood in
a couple dozen came out of that me.
sphere, but now they might have He put down another Jame-
several colonies. I wasn’t quite son while I told him what I been
truthful,he says I saw them — going through. He stepped over
come out, and a few of them to one of the other back-room
flew around me with things in booths to pick something off the
the fifth pair oflimbs that look- floor. He’s a noticing restless
ed likeweapons. While I held man. Just a buckle like a gold
still because of that, one of them rosebud off of a girl’s shoe. The
bit me and I dreamed a journey back room gets lively Saturday
to Alpha Centauri. nights, and I ain’t been sweeping
Maybe, he says, they always up too good, last couple-three
do it merely to hold us quiet so weeks. Only light I turned on for
they can drink. Maybe it’s from us was the 25-watt bulb in our
lovingkindness. booth with the pink shade Irma —
I asked if it was true what chose them shades. They’re real
he’d told us about the halves of nice. You won’t find no God-
the shell disappearing. Yes, he damn interior desecrator that’s
said, and he said that afterward got taste like hers. Dr. West set
he went searching and grieving there playing with that gold rose-
all over till one night he caught bud and going slow on his Jame-
a bluish gleam up on Ragged son while I talked.
Rock Hill. He went to it, work- And I asked him, where do
ing his way through the trees they come from?
with a flashlight to where he Oh, he says, outer space, where
thought it had showed, and set- else? He was turning the buckle
tled down to wait. Sure enough in and out of the light, reflecting
they came and gave him a a glow into the drink itself, a
dream. It breaks his heart too, kind of glory. And he says, or
the way a man can’t name his else inner space.
own. I asked him did he think the
bugs had anything to do with
''T^hey come for Lulu. AU we them killings. He just wiggled his
did, he says, we turned off shoulders.
the lights and set by the open That’s when I said. Look,

102 GALAXY
couldn’t my Irma have a dream? light of the upstairs hall I seen
He give me no answer. I says, some of them goldy lights, I
maybe would change how she
it know I did.
acts and feels about some things? Dr. West had laid his head on
Maybe, he says. We don’t his arms. Small he was, and
know, he says, we don’t know clean as a dry stick, I don’t know
much of anything. More we why she would call him a dirty
know, better we get at asking old man. He hadn’t finished his
questions we can’t answer. Then Jameson. I thought he was hav-
he poured himself another Jame- ing a dream, for the bugs had
son and after a while I went up- eome, but he looked up and said,
stairs. I brought it on us, I brought it
Irma wasn’t asleep. When I on the world. I and some other
touched her shoulder she says, billions, he said. I don’t under-
God give me patience! and stand what he meant by that.
flounces clear acrost the bed. I Irma seen the bugs and she
says, Irma, honey, I ain’t after screamed. Only five-six of them,
you thataway, I just want you nothing scary. I put my arms
should come down talk some- around her to gentle her. Irma,
thing over with I and Doc West. I says, all they do is give you
West? she says. That dirty old beautiful dreams. I want you
man? What for? should have some like I’ve had.
I Irma, this is special,
says, Let ’em bite a little, it don’t
you give me lip I’m big enough hurt. But she screamed and tried
to make you. You get up and to fight me off. She said, I don’t
fling some
clothes on and you want to, I just want — I just
take that God-damn
cold cream want —
off your face and come down. I didn’t listen.So hell-bent
All’s we want is have a couple she should have dreams like
drinks, talk something over. mine, I didn’t listen. The way
she was perking around, the p-js
V^e//, she says, aren’t we the got twisted away from her little
^ ^ lord and master breasts, and I just hung on, too
all of a
sudden! You goddam right, I lame-brain dumb for anything
says, and get going. I didn’t say else. Them little things is like
that mean, nor she didn’t take it when she was a girl, I used to
mean, just wiped the guck off her kid her about what would the
face as meek as anything, put babies eat, only we never could
on slippers, and a bathrobe over have any. One bug lit there, and
her p-js, and come along. In the I just held her —
why, them bites

A BETTER MOUSEHOLE 103


don’t hurt, I got a hundred onto dream. It’s not right, it’s not
me, they don’t even itch. rightsome-way.
She didn’t scream again. I felt Dr. West said more, I can’t
a shock go through her and she just bring it back. I think he said,
said. Oh, oh, oh, a kind of cry- dreaming’s not a sickness but it’s
ing like what I used to hear in like one, partly. It made the
bed, and her with a voice like world what it is, different from
country cream. The bug flew off. ancient days, and it could un-
I found her mouth and kissed make it.

her. Her face sagged away from I asked him not to notify no
me and she was dead. one, just go away and leave us
I think Dr. West said, your be.
little lady, she’s asleep? People will figure the bar is
I carried her over to this closed, they’ll give us a bit of
lounge chair, sat here with her. time before they start crowding
I don’t know what to do. I re- in.
member Dr. West, he come over And there was something he
and stood by us, though I want- said about how things might even
ed him to go away. I know I said get better with the bugs taking
something about maybe some over, if that’s what they meant
people just couldn’t have such to do. I told him I didn’t care
dreams. much about the
world, all’s I
ever wanted was to have a de-
T Te says, maybe it’s that, or cent life with work I knowed how
maybe she dreamed more to do and a nice woman and
than us, Al. Maybe this thing maybe some kids. I guess that’s
gave her too big a dream for her when Dr. West went away. He’s
to stand. Dreaming’s a dangerous just a lonesome little guy trying
thing, he said, it’s got a dark to figure things out, I shouldn’t
side. If the bugs shoot in some- of spoke harsh.
thing that makes the dreaming See, it wasn’t like I was trying
part of us blaze up, the way the to make you have my dream.
rest of us can’t take it — You look like you was dream-
I told him I wasn’t going to ing. You look real sweet, I meant
try to understand it no more. I to tell you. I don’t know why I
said I ought to knowed you can’t couldn’t ever tell you.
make another person have a —EDGAR PANGBORN

T04 GALAXY
THREE TO
A GIVEN STAR
by CORDWAINER SMITH

Illustrated by MORROW

They were the outcasts of Earth,

and Earth had given them a destiny


that fitted their terrible crimes I

I both of them caught from his


mind, riding clear and wise be-
CCCtick your left arm straight side them, a “sense of the situa-
^ forward, Samm,” said tion.” His “sense of the situa-
Folly. tion” could be summed up in the
He stretched his arm out. one-word comment, which he did
“I can sense it!” cried Folly. not need to utter;
“Now wiggle your fingers!” “Foolishness!”
Samm wiggled them. “It is not foolishness, Finster-
Finstemis said nothing, but nis,” cried Folly. “Here are the

105
threv! ot us, riding empty space niswas a perfect cube, fifty met-
millions of kilometers from no- ers to the side, packed with ma-
where. We
are people once, Earth chinery which could blank out a
people from Old Earth Itself. Is sun and contain its planets until
it foolish to remember what we they froze to icy, perpetual death.
used to be? I was a woman once. Samm was a man, but he was
A beautiful woman. Now I’m this a man of flexible steel, two hun-
— this thing, bent on a mission of dred meters high. He was de-
murder and destruction. I used to signed to walk on any kind of
have hands myself, real hands. planet, with any kind of inhabi-
Is it wrong for me to enjoy look- tant, with any kind of chemistry
ing at Samm’s hands now and or any kind of gravity: he was
then? To think of the past which designed to bring antagonists,
all three of us have left behind.” whomever they might be, the
Finsternis did not answer; his message of the power of man.
mind was blank to both of them. The power of man followed
. . .

There was nothing but space by terror, followed if necessary


around them, not even much by death. If Samm failed, Fin-
space dust, and the bluish light sternis had the further power of
of Linschoten XV
straight ahead. blocking out the sun, Linschoten
From the third planet of that XV. If either or both failed. Fol-
star they could occasionally hear ly had the job of adjusting them
the cackle and gabble of the so that they could win. If they
man-eaters. had no chance of winning, she
Once again Folly cried to Fin- then had the task of destroying
sternis, “Is that so wrong, that I Finsternis and Samm, and then
should enjoy looking at a hand? herself.
Samm has well-shaped hands. I Their instructions were clear:
was a person once, and so were “You will not, you will not un-
you. Did I ever tell you that I der any circumstances return.
was a beautiful woman once?” You will not, you will not un-
der any conditions turn back to-
he had been a beautiful wom- ward Earth. You are too danger-
S an once and now she was the ous to come anywhere near
control of a small spaceship Earth, ever again. You may live
which fled across emptiness if you wish. If you can. But you

with two grotesque companions. must not —


repeat not come —
She was now a ship only eleven back. You have your duty. You
meters long and shaped roughly asked for it. Nowyou have it.
like an ancient dirigible. Finster- Do not, come back. Your forms
106 GALAXY
fityour duty. You will do your Or, if needful, to put out that
duty.” particular sun.
Folly had become a tiny ship, Folly, who had become a ship,
crammed with miniaturized wa,- the most volatile of the
equipment. three.
Finsternis had become a cube She had been a beautiful wom-
blacker than darkness itself. an once.
Samm had become a man. but
a man differentfrom any which II
had ever been seen on Earth. He
had a metal body, copied from were a beautiful wom-
(,^'% 7'on
the human form down to the last an once,” Samm had said,
detail. That way the enemies, some years before. “How did you
whoever they might be, would be end up becoming a ship?”
given a terrible glimpse of the “I killed myself,” said Folly.
human shape, the human voice. “That’s why I took this name.
Two hundred meters high he Folly. I had a long
ahead of
life
stood, strong and solid enough to me, but I killed myself and they
fly through space with nothing brought me back at the last min-
but the jets on his belt. ute. When I found out I Vi/as still
The Instrumentality had de- alive, I volunteered for some-
signed all three of them. De- thing adventurous, dangerous.
signed them well. They gave me this. Well, I
Designed them to meet the asked for it, didn’t I?”
crazy menace out beyond the “You asked for it,” said Samm
stars, a menace which gave no gravely. Out in the middle of
clue to its technology or origin, nothing, surrounded by a tre-
but which responded to the sig- mendous lot of nowhere, courtesy
nal “man” with the counter-sig- was still the lubricant which gov-
nal, “gabble cackle! eat, eat! erned human relationships. The
man, man! good to eat! cackle- two of them observed courtesy
gabble! eat, eat!” and kindness toward one another.
That was enough. Sometimes they threw in a bit of
The Instrumentality took steps. humor, too.

And the three of them the ship, Finsternis did not take part in
the cube and the metal giant their talk or their companionship.
sped between the stars to con- He did not even verbalize his
quer, to terrorize or to destroy answers. He merely let them
the menace which lived on the know his sense of the situation
third planet of Linschoten XV. and this time, as in all other
THREE TO A GIVEN STAR 107
times, his response was “Neg- — to make their own away to the
ative. No operation needed. Com- danger.)
munication nonfunctional. Not Samm said, as he always did,
needed here. Silence, please. I kill “You were a beautiful woman.
suns. That is all I do. My part is Folly, but you wanted to die.
my business, not yours. My past Why?”
is my business. All mine.” This “Why do people ever want to
was communicated in a single die, Samm? It’s the power in us,
terrible thought, so that Folly the vitality which makes us want
and Samm stopped trying to so much. Life always trembles
bring Finsternis into the conver- on the edge of disappointment.
sations which they started up, ev- If we hadn’t been vital and
ery subjective century or so, and greedy and lustful and yearning,
continued for years at a time. if we hadn’t had big thoughts and

Finsternis merely moved along wanted bigger ones, we would


with them, several kilometers have stayed animals, like all the
away, but well within their range little things back on Earth. It’s
of awareness. But as far as com- strong life that brings us so close
pany was concerned, Finsternis to death. We can’t stand the
might as well not have been there beauty of it, the nearness of the
at all. things we want, the remoteness of
Samm went on with the conver- the things that we can have. You
sation, the conversation which and me and Finsternis, now, we’re
they had had so many hundreds monsters riding out between the
of times since the planoform ship stars. And yet we’re happier now
had discharged them “near” than we were when we were back
Linschoten XV
and left them to among people. I was a beautiful
make the rest of their way alone. woman, but there were specific
(If the menace were really a things which I wanted. I wanted
menace, and if it were intelligent, them myself. I alone. For me.
the Instrumentality had no in- Only for me. When I couldn’t
tention of letting an actual plan- have them, I wanted to die. If I
oform ship fall within the powers had been stupider or happier I
of a strange form of life which might have lived on. But I didn’t.
might well be hypnotic in its I was me —
intensely me. So here
combat capacities. Hence the I am. I don’t even know whether
ship, the cube and the giant were I have a body or not, inside this
launched into normal space at ship. They’ve got me all hooked
high velocity, equipped with jets up to the sensors and the view-
to correct their courses, and left ers and the computers. Some-

108 GALAXY

times I think that I may be a name either, so perhaps we did


lovely woman still, with a real know each other back on Old
body hidden somewhere inside Earth when we were still people.”
this ship, waiting to step out and
to be a person again. And you, C4T can tell something,” said
Samm, don’t you want to tell me Samm, “from the shape of
about yourself? Samm. SAMM. words, from the ring of thoughts,
That’s no name for an actual even when we’re not out here in
person —
Superordinated Alien nothing. You were a lady, per-
Measuring and Mastery device. haps highborn. You were truly
What were you before they gave beautiful. You were really im-
you that big body? At least you portant. And I— I was a tech-

stilllook like a person. You’re nician. A good one. I did my


not a ship, like me.” work and I loved my family, and
“My name doesn’t matter. Fol- my wife and I were happy with
ly, and if I told it to you, you every child which the Lords gave
wouldn’t know it. You never us for adoption. But my wife died
knew it.” first. And after a while my chil-
“How wouldn’t I know?” she dren, my wonderful boy and my
cried. “I’ve never told you my two beautiful, intelligent girls

THREE TO A GIVEN STAR 109


my own children, they couldn’t mentality came along with this
stand me anymore. They didn’t warning, and I volunteered.”
like me. Perhaps I talked too “But you’re all right now,
much. Perhaps I gave them too Samm,” said Folly gently. “I’m a
much advice. Perhaps I remind- ship and you are a metal giant
ed them of their mother, who was but we’re off doing work which
dead. I don’t know. I won’t ever is important for all mankind.
know. They didn’t want to see We’ll have adventures together.
me. Out of manners, they sent Even black and grumbly here,”
me cards on my birthday. Out of she added, meaning Finsternis,
sheer formal courtesy, they “can’t keep us from the excite-
called on me sometimes. Now ment of companionship or the
and then one of them wanted hope of danger. We’re doing
something. Then they came to something wonderful and impor-
me, but it was always just to get tant and exciting. Do you know
something. It took me a long time what I would do if I had my life

to figure out, but I hadn’t done again, my ordinary life with skin
anything. It wasn’t what I had and toenails and hair and things
done or hadn’t done. They just like that?”
plain didn’t like me. You know “What?” asked Samm, know-
the songs and the operas and the ing the answer perfectly well
stories. Folly, you know them from the hundreds of times they
all.” had touched on this point.
“Not all of them,” thought Fol- “I’d take baths. Hundreds and
ly gently, “not all of them. Just hundreds of them, over again.
a few thousand.” Showers and dips in cold pools
“Did you ever see one,” cried and soaks in hot bathtubs and
Samm, his thoughts ringing rinsesand more showers. And I
fiercely against her mind, “did would do my hair, over and over
you ever see a single one about a again, thousands of different
rejected father? They’re all ways. And I would put on lip-
about men and women, love and stick, in the most outrageous col-
sex, but I can tell you that re- ors, even if nobody saw me, ex-
jection hurts even when you don’t cept for my own self looking in
ask anything of your loved ones the mirror. Now I can hardly re-
but their company and their hap- member what it used to be to be
piness and their simple genuine dry or wet. I’m in this ship and
smiles. When I knew that my I see the ship and I do not really
children had no use for me, I had know if I am a person or not any
no use for me either. The Instru- more.”
110 GALAXY
Samm stayed quiet, knowing ship-self, which had seemed so
what she would say next. metal, so reliable, so inalterable.
“Samm, what would you do?” She threw a thought of inquiry
Folly asked. at Samm and instead got another
“Swim,” he said. command from Finsternis, Don’t
“Then swim, Samm, swim! think.
Swim for me in the space be-
tween the stars. You still have a Ill
body and I don’t, but I can
watch you and I can sense you amm floated like a dead man
swimming out here in the noth- S in his gargantuan body.
ing-at-all.” Folly drifted like a fruit beside
Samm began to swim a huge his hand.
Australian crawl, dipping his face At last there came words from
to the edge of the water as if — Finsternis
there were water there. The ges- “You can think now, if you
tures made no difference in his want to. You can chatter at each
real motion, since they were all of other again. I’m through.”
them in the fast trajectory com- Samm thought at him, and the
puted for them from the point thought-pattern was troubled
where they left the Instrumen- and confused: “What happened?
tality’s ship and started out in I felt as though the immaculate

normal space for the star listed grid of space had been pinched
as Linschoten XV. together in a tight fold. I felt you
This time, something very do something, and then there was
sudden happened, and, it hap- silence around us again.”
pened strangely. “Talking,” said Finsternis, “is
From the dark gloomy silence not operational and it is not re-
of the cube Finsternis, there quired of me. But there are only
came an articulate cry, called three of us here, so I might as
forth in clear human speech; well tell you what happened.
Stop it! Stop moving right Can you hear me. Folly?”
now. 1 attack. “Yes,” she said, weakly.
Both Samm and Folly had in- “Are we on course,” asked Fin-
struments built into them, so sternis, “for the third planet of
they could read space around Linschoten XV?”
them. The instruments, quickly F oily paused while checking all
scanned, showed nothing. Yet her instruments, which were more
Folly felt odd, as though some- compheated and refined than
thing had gone very wrong in her those carried by the other two,
THREE TO A GIVEN STAR 111
since she was the maintenance that this was unnecessary, since
unit. “Yes,” said she at last. “We the first motion toward return
are on course. I don’t
exactly would trigger destruction devices
know what happened, if anything which had been built into each
did happen.” of the three of them, beyond
“Something happened, all reach, beyond detection, beyond
right,” said Finsternis, with the awareness. When the Instrumen-
gratified savagery of a person “Do not come back,”
tality said,
whose quick-and-cruel nature is the Instrumentality meant it.
rewarded only by meeting and She said nothing.
overcoming hostility in real life.
She watched Finsternis instead.
“Was it a space dragon, like Something began to happen.
they used to meet on the old, old It was very odd.
ships?” Space itself seemed to rip and
“No, nothing like that,” said leak.
Finsternis, communicative for
In the visible band, the intrud-
once, since this was something
er looked like a fountain of water
operational to talk about. “It
being thrown randomly to and
doesn’t even seem to be in this
fro.
space at all. Something just rises
But the intruder was not water.
up among us, like a volcano com-
ing out of solid space. Something In the visible light-band, it

violent and wild and alive. Do glowed like wild fire rising from
you two still have eyes?” a shimmering column of blue ice.
Here in space there was nothing
“Seeing devices for the ordi-
to burn, nothing to make light:
nary light band?” asked Samm.
she knew that Finsternis was
“Of course we do!” said Fin- phen-
translating unresolvable
stemis. “I will try to fix it so that
omena into light.
you will have a visible input.”
She sensed Samm moving one
There was a sharp pause from
of his giant fists uncontrollably,
Finsternis.
in a helpless, childish gesture of
The voice came again, with protest.
much strain. She herself did nothing but
“Do not do anything. Do not watch, as alertly and passively
try to help me. Just watch. If it as she could.
wins, destroy me and destroy Nevertheless, she felt wren-
yourselves very quickly. It might ched. This was no material phe-
try to capture us and get back nomenon. It was wild unformed
to Earth.” life, intruding out of some other
Folly felt like telling Finsternis proportion of space, seeking ma-
112 GALAXY
terial on which to impose its “What happened to it?” asked
vitality, its frenzy, its identity. Samm.
She could see Finsternis as a “I ate it,”said Finsternis.
solid black cube, darker than “You what?” cried Folly.
mere darkness, drifting right in- “I ate it,” said Finsternis. He
to the column. She watched the
was talking more than he ever
sides of Finsternis.
had before. “At least, that’s the
On
the earlier part of the trip,
only way I can describe it. This
since they had left the people
machine they gave me or made
and the planoform ship and had
been discharged in a fast tra-
me into or whatever they did,
it’s really rather good. It’s power-
jectorytoward Linschoten XV,
ful. I can feel it absorbing things,
Finsternis’ sides had seemed like
taking them in, taking them
dull metal, slightly burnished,
apart, putting them away. It’s
so that Folly had to brush him
something like eating used to be
lightly vdth radar to get a clear
image
when I was a person. That wild
of him.
thing attacked me, wrapped me
Now had changed.
his sides
up, devoured me. All I did was
They had become as soft and
to take it in, and now it’s gone.
thick as velvet.
The strange volcano-fountain
I feel sort of full. I suppose my
machines are sorting our samples
did not seem to have much in the
of it to send away to rendezvous
way of sensing devices. It paid no
points in little rockets. I know
attention to Samm or to herself.
that have sixteen small rockets
I
The dark cube attracted it, as
inside me, and I can feel two of
a shaft of sunlightmight attract them getting ready to move. Nei-
a baby or as the rustle of paper
ther one of you could have done
might draw the attention of a what I do. I was built to a’osorb
kitten. whole suns if necessary, break
With a slight tvdst of its vital- them down, freeze them down,
ity and direction, the whole change their molecular structure
column of burning, living bright- and shoot their vitality off in one
ness plunged upon Finsternis, big useless blast on the radio
plunged and burned out and went spectrum. You couldn’t do any-
in and was seen no more. thing like that, Samm, even if
ycu do have arms and legs and
and a head and a voice —
if we ever

F insternis’
cheerful,
voice,
sounded
clear
out to get into an atmosphere for you
to use it in. You couldn’t do
both of them:
“It’s gone now.” what I have just done. Folly.”
THREE TO A GIVEN STAR 113
“You’re ^ood,” said Folly, with watched him with pleasure —
emphasis. But she added: “I can great pleasure, and a little bit of
repair you.” envy.
Obviously offended, Finsternis
withdrew into his silence. Rasher O’Neill and the Lady
Samm said to Folly, “How Celalta had finished with
much further to destination?” making love.
Said Folly promptly, “Seven- They had lain with their bodies
ty-nine earth years, four months tired and their minds clear, re-
and three days, six hours and two laxed. They had stretched out
minutes, but you know how little on a blanket just above the big
that means out here. It could gushing spring which was the
seem like a single afternoon or it source of the Ninth Nile. Both
could feel to us like a thousand telepaths, they could hear a bird-
lifetimes. Time doesn’t work couple quarreling inside a tree,
very well for us.” the male bird commanding the
“How did Earth ever find this female to get out and get to
place, anyhow?” said Samm. work and the female answering
“All I know is that it was two by dropping deeper and deeper
very strong telepaths, working to- into a fretful and irritable sleep.
gether on the planet Mizzer. An The Lady Celalta had whis-
ex-dictator named Casher O’Neill pered a thought to her lover and
and an ex-Lady named Celalta. master, Casher O’Neill.
They were doing a bit of psionic “To the stars?”
astronomy and suddenly this sig- “The stars?” thought he with
nal came in strong and clear. You a grumble. They were both strong
know that telepaths can catch di- telepaths. He had been imprinted,
rections very accurately. Even in some mysterious way, with
over immense distances. And the greatest telepath-hypnotist of
they can get emotions, too. But all time, the Honorable Agatha
they are not very good at actual Madigan, who had gone down in
images or things. Somebody else history as the Hechizera of Gort-
checked it out for them.” falon, the only person in history
“M-m-m,” said Samm. He had to hypnotize the men and robots
heard all this before. Out of sheer of a battle fleet so that it des-
boredom, he went back to swim- troyed itself in open space. Cash-
ming vigorously. The body might er O’Neill had also retained dim
not really be his, but it made him memories of a half-grown girl, in-
feel good to exercise it. credibly lovely in a simple blue
Besides, he knew that Folly dress, lost to him somewhere be-
114 GALAXY
yond amnesiac stars, but in the not even speak to her, nor did he
Lady Celalta he had a compan- telepath a word to her; he ivas
ion worthy of his final talents, a conserving his strength for a good
natural telepath who could her- jump.
self reach not only all of Miz- He merely nodded to her.
zer but some of the nearer stars. The Lady Celalta, too, began
When they teamed up together, the deep breathing, but she seem-
as she now proposed, they could ed to need it less than did Cash-
plunge into dusty infinities of er.
depth and bring back feelings or They were both sitting up, side
images which no Go-Captain had by side, breathing deeply.
ever found with his ship. The cool night sands of Mizzer
He sat up with a grunt of as- were around them, the harmless
sent. gurgle of the Ninth Nile beside
She looked at him fondly, pos- them, the bright star-cluttered
sessively, her dark eyes alight sky of Mizzer was above them.
with happiness, pos-
alertness, Her hand reached out and took
sessiveness and adventure. hold of his.
“Can I lift?” she asked, almost She squeezed his hand. He
timidly. looked at her and nodded to her
When two telepaths worked to- again.
gether, one cleared the vision for Within his mind, Mizzer and
both of them as far as their com- its entire solar system seemed
binded minds could reach and to burst into flame with a new
then the other sprang, with enor- kind of light. The radiance of
mous and as fast as
effort as far Celalta’ s mind trailed off uneven-
possible toward any target which ly in different directions but
presented They had found
itself. there, almost 2° off the pole of
strange things, sometimes beauti- Mizzer’s ecliptic, he felt some-
ful or dramatic ones, by this thing wild and strange, a kind
method. of being which he had never
Casher was already drinking sensed before. Using Celalta’s
enormous gulps of air, filling his mind as a base, he let his mind
lungs, holding his breath, letting dive for it.

go with a gasp, and then inhaling The distance'of the plunge left
deeply and slowly again. In this them both dizzy, sitting on the
way he reoxygenated his brain quiet night sands of Mizzer. It
very thoroughly for the huge ef- seemed to both of them that the
fort of a telepathic dive into the mind of man had never reached
remote depth of space. He did so far before.
THREE TO A GIVEN STAR 115
The reality of the phenomenon IV
was undoubtable.
There were animals all around Asa matter of fact, the three
them, the usual categories: run- wanderers later on felt a
ners, hunters, jumpers, climbers, vague, remote telepathic contact
swimmers, hiders and handlers. which they sensed as being warm-
It was some of the handlers who hearted and human, and there-
were intensely telepathic them- fore did not try to track down,
selves. with their minds or their wea-
The image of man creat- pons. It was O’Neill and Celalta,
ed an immediate, murderous re- many years later by Mizzer time,
sponse : reaching to see what the Instru-
“Cackle gabble, gabble cack- mentality had done about Lins-
le, man, man, man, eat them, eat choten XV.
them!” Folly, Samm and Finsternis
Casher and Celalta were both had no suspicion that the two
so surprised that they let the con- most powerful telepaths in the
tact go, after making sure that human area of the galaxy had
they had touched a whole world stroked them, searched them, felt
full of beings, some of them tele- them through, and seen things
pathic and probably civilized. about them which the three of
How had the beings known them did not know about them-
“man”? Why had their response selves or about each other.
been immediate? Why anthropo- Casher O’Neill said to the
phagous and homicidal? Lady Celalta:
They took time, before com- “You got it, too?”
ing completely out of the trance, “A beautiful woman, encased
to make a careful, exact note of in a little ship?”
the direction from which the Casher nodded: “A red-head
danger-brains had shrieked their with skin as soft and transparent
weaning. as living ivory? A woman who
This they submitted to the In- was beautiful and will be beauti-
strumentality, shortly after the ful again?”
incident. “That’s what I got,” said the
And that was how, unknown Lady Celalta. “And the tired old
to Folly, Samm and Finsternis, man, weary of his children and
the inhabitants on the third weary of his own life because his
planet of Linschoten had XV children were weary of him.”
come to the attention of man- “Not so old,” said Casher
kind. O’Neill. “And isn’t that a spec-
116 GALAXY
tacular piece of machinery they question. “The third person, the
put him into? A metal giant. It one in the cube.” She stopped,
felt like something about a quar- as though she could neither ask
ter of a kilometer high. Acid- nor say more.
proof. Cold-proof. Won’t he be “It was not a robot or a person-
surprised when he finds that the ality cube,” said Casher O’Neill.
Instrumentality has rejuvenated “It was a human being all right.
his own body inside that mon- But it’s crazy. Could you make
ster?” out, Celalta, as to whether it was
“He certainly will be,” said the male or female?”
Lady Celalta happily, thinking “No,” said she, “I couldn’t tell.
of the pleasant surprise which The other two seemed to think
lay ahead of a man whom she that it was male.”
would never know or see with “But did you feel sure?” asked
her own bodily eyes. Casher.
They both fell silent. “With that being, I felt sure of
Then said the Lady Celalta, nothing. It was human, all right,
“But the third person .” There
. . but it was stranger than any lost

was a shiver in her voice as hominid we have ever felt around


though she dared not ask the the forgotten stars. Could you
THREE TO A GIVEN STAR 117
tel!, Casher, whether it was Do you realize that you may
young or old?” have spoken the actual literal
“No,” said he. “I felt nothing truth?” Her whisper darted at
— only a desperate human mind him like a snake.
with all its guards up, living only At last, he whispered back
because of the terrible powers of “What did you sense? What could
the black cube, the sun-killer in you guess?”
which it rode. I never sensed “They have sent a madman to
someone before who was a person the stars. Or a mad woman. A
without characteristics. It’s fright- real psychotic.”
ening.” “Lots of pilots,” said Casher,
“The Instrumentality are cruel speaking more normally, “are
sometimes,” said Celalta. cushioned against loneliness with
“Sometimes they have to be,” real but artificially activated psy-
Casher agreed. choses. It gets them through me
“But I never thought that they real or imagined horrors of the
would do that.” sufferings of space.”
“Do what?” asked Casher. “I don’t mean that,” said Celal-
Her dark eyes looked at him. ta, still whispering urgently and
It was a different night, and a secretly. “I mean a real psy-
different Nile, but the eyes were chotic.”
only a very little bit older and “But there aren’t any. Not
they loved him just as much as loose, that is,” said Casher,
ever. The Lady Celalta trembled stammering with surprise at last.
as though she herself might think “They either get cured or they
that the all-powerful Instrumen- are bottled up in thought-proof
tality could have hidden a micro- satellites somewhere.”
phone in the random sands. She Celalta raised her voice a little,
whispered to her lover, her mas- no longer
just a little, so that she
ter: whispered but spoke urgently.
“You said it yourself, Casher, “But don’t you see, that’s what
just a moment ago.” they must have done. The In-
“Said what?” He spoke tender- strumentality made a star-killer
ly but fearlessly, his voice ring- too strong for any normal mind
ing out over the cool night sands. to guide. So the Lords got a
psychotic somewhere, a real psy-
'T'he Lady Celalta went on chotic, and sent a madman out
whispering, which was very among the stars. Otherwise we
unlike her usual self: “You said could have felt its gender or its
that the third person was ‘crazy.’ age.”
118 GALAXY
Casher nodded in silent agree- “That’s what I got, too,” said
ment. The air did not feel colder, Casher. “It sounds like a weird
but he got gooseflesh sitting be- team.”
side his beloved Celalta on the “But a powerful one, a terribly
familiar desert sands. powerful one,” said the Lady
“You’re right. You must be Celalta. “You and I, my lover
right. It almost makes me feel and master, have seen strange
sorry for the enemies out near things and dangers between
Linschoten Fifteen. Do you see the stars, even before we met
nothing of them this time? I each other, but we never saw any-
couldn’t perceive them at all.’’ thing like this before, did we?”
“I did, a little,” said the Lady “No,” said he.
Celalta. telepaths have
“Their “Well, then,” said she, “let us
caught the strange minds coming sleep and forget the matter as
atthem with a high rate of speed. much as we can. The Instrumen-
The telepathic ones are wild with tality is certainly taking care of
excitement but the others are Linschoten Fifteen, and we two
just going cackle-gabble, cackle- not need botlier about it.”
gabble with each other, filled with And all that Samm, Folly and
anger, hunger and the thought Finsternisknew was that a light
of man.” touch, unexplained but friendly,
“You got that much?” he said had gone over them from the far
in wonder. star region near home. Thought
“My lord and my lover, I dived they, they thought anything
if

this time. Is it so strange that I about at all, “The Instrumen-


it

sensed more than you did? Your tality, which made us and sent
strength lifted me.” us, has checked up on us one
“Did you hear what the wea- more time.”
pons called each other?”
“Something silly.” He could V
see her knitting her brows in the
bright starshine which illuminat- few years later, Samm and
ed the desert almost the way that Folly were talking again
the Old Original Moon lit up the while Finsternis —
guarded,
nights sometimes on Manhome impenetrable, uncommunicating,
Itself. “It was Folly, and some- detectable only by the fierce glow
thing like ‘Superordinated Alien of human life which shone tele-
Measuring and Mastery machine’ pathically out of the immense
and something like ‘darkness’ in cube —rode space beside them
the Ancient Doyches Language.” and said nothing.
THREE TO A GIVEN STAR 119
Suddenly Folly cried out to kind of being. Most forms of life
Samm loudly: think first through their noses
can smell them.”
“I and then figure out the rest of ex-
“Smell who?” asked Samm perience later. After all, I was
mildly. “There isn’t any smell out built to intimidate, to frighten,
here in the nothingness of to destroy. The Instrumentality
space.” did not make this giant to be
“Silly,” thought Folly back, friendly with anybody. You and I
“I don’t mean really smell. I can be friends. Folly, because you
mean that I can pick up their are a little ship which I could
sense of odor telepathically.” hold like a cigar between my
“Whose?” said Samm, being fingers, and because the ship
dense. holds the memory of a very love-
“Our enemies’, of course,” ly woman. I can sense what you
cried Folly. “The man-remem- once were. What you may still
berers who
are not man. The be, if your actual body is still in-
cackle-gabble creatures. The be- side that boat.”
ings who remember man and “Oh, Samm!” she cried. “Do
hate him. They smell thick and you think 1 might still be alive,
warm and alive to each other. really alive, with a real me in a
Their whole world is full of real me, and a chance to be my-
smells. Their telepaths are get- selfsomewhere again, out here
ting frantic now. They have even between the stars?”
figured out that there are three “I can’t sense it plainly,” said
of us and they are trying to get Samm. “I’ve reached as much as
our smells.” I can through your ship with my
“And we have no smell. Not sensors, but I can’t tell whether
when we do not even know there’s a whole woman there or
whether we have human bodies might be just a memory of
not. It
or not, inside these things. Im- you dissected and laminated be-
agine this metal body of mine tween a lot of plastic sheets.
smelling. If it did have a smell,” I really can’t tell, but some-
said Samm, “it would probably times I have the strangest hunch
be the very soft smell of work- that you are still alive, in the old
ing steeland a little bit of lubri- ordinary way, and that I am alive
cants, plus whatever odors my too.”
jets might activate inside an at- “Wouldn’t that be wonderful!”
mosphere. If I know the Instru- She almost shouted at him.
mentality, they have made my “Samm, imagine being us again,
jets smell awful to almost any if we fulfill our mission and con-

120 GALAXY

quer this planet and stay alive can’t.” She thought again to him,
and settle there! I might even “But I’ve never studied astrono-
meet you and — my or navigation, so I couldn’t
They both fell silent at the im- tell whether we were at the edge
plications of being ordinary-alive of the galaxy or not.”
again. They knew
that they loved “Nowhere near the edge,” said
each other. Out here, in the im- Samm. “We’re not John Joy
mense blackness of space, there Tree and we’re nowhere near the
was nothing they could do but two-headed elephants which weep
streak along in their fast trajec- forever in intergalactic space.”
tories and talk to each other a
little bitby telepathy. C( T°hn Joy Tree?” sang Folly;
“Samm,” said Folly, and the av there was joy and memory
tone of her thought showed that in her thoughts as she sounded
she was changing a difficult sub- the name. “He was my idol when
ject. “Do you think that we are I was a girl. My
father was a
the furthest out that people have subchief of the Instrumentality
ever gone? You used to be a and always promised to bring
technician. You might know. Do John Joy Tree to our house. We
you?” had a country and it was unusual
“Of course I know,” thought and very fine for this day and
Samm promptly. “We’re not. age. But mister and Go-Captain
After all, we’re still deep inside Tree never got around to visiting
our own galaxy.” us, so there I was, a big girl
“I didn’t know,” said Folly with picture-cubes of him all
contritely. over my room. I liked him be-
“With all those instruments, cause he was so much older than
don’t you know where you are?” me, and so resolute-looking and
“Of course I know where I am, so tender too. I had all sorts of
Samm. In relation to the third romantic day-dreams about him,
planet of Linschoten XV. I even but he never showed up and I
have a faint idea of the general married the wrong man several
direction which Old Earth
in times, and my children got given
must and how many thou-
lie, to the wrong people, so here I am.
sands of ages it would take us But what’s this stuff about two-
to get home, travelling through headed elephants?”
ordinary space, if we did try to “Really?” said Samm. “I don’t
turn around.” She thought to see how you could hear about
herself but didn’t add in her John Joy Tree and not know
thought to Samm, “Which we what he did.”
THREE TO A GIVEN STAR 121
“I knew he flew far, far out, was nothing at all. The ships
but I didn’t know exactly what were made by nothing which man
he did. After all, I was just a has ever even seen. We still don’t
child when I love with his
fell in know where they came from or
picture. What
did he do? He’s what made them. Each open ship
dead now, suppose, so I don’t
I had a sort of animal, something
suppose it matters.” like an elephant with four front
Finsternis cut in, grimly and legs and a head at each end, and
unexpectedly: “John Joy Tree as he passed the unimaginable
is not dead. He’s creeping around ships, these animals howled at
a monstrous place on an aban- him. Howled grief and mourning.
doned planet, and he is immortal Our best guess was that the
and insane.” ships were the tombs of some
“How did you know that?” great race of beings and the howl-
cried Samm, turning his enor- ing elephants the immortal half-
mous metal head to look at the living mourners who guarded
dark burnished cube which had them.”
said nothing for so many years. “But how did John Joy Tree
There was no further thought ever get back?”
from Finsternis, not a ghost, not “Ah, that was beautiful. If you
an echo of a word. go into spaces, you take noth-
Folly prodded him: ing more than your own body with
“It’s no use trying to make you. That was the finest engineer-
that thing talk if it doesn’t want ing the human race has ever done.
to. We’ve both tried, thousands They designed and built a whole
of times. Tell me about the two- planoform ship out of John Joy
headed elephants. Those are the Tree’s skin, fingernails and hair.
big animals with large floppy ears They had to change his body
and the noses that pick things chemistry a bit to get enough
up, aren’t they? And they make metal in him to carry the coils
very wise, dependable under- and the electric circuits, but it
people out of them?” worked. He came back. That was
“I don’t know about the under- a man who could skip through
people part, but the animals are space like a little boy hopping on
the kind you mention, very big familiar rocks. He’s the only pilot
indeed. When John Joy Tree got who ever piloted himself back
far outside our cosmos by flying home from outside our galaxy. I
through space he found an enor- don’t know whether it will be
mous procession of open ships worth the time and treasure to
flying in columns where there use spaces for intergalactic trips.
122 GALAXY
After all, some very gifted people doing nothing. Folly wove death
may have already fallen through and destruction, uncoded langu-
by accident, Folly. You and Fin- ages, drew maps, showed Samm
sternis and I are people who the strong-points and the wea-
have been built into machines. pons which had to be destroyed.
We are now ourselves the ma- Part of the technology was very
chines. But with Tree they did advanced, other parts were still
it the other way around. They tribal. The dominant race was
made a machine out of him. And that of the beings who had evolv-
itworked. In that one deep flight ed into handlers and thinkers;
he went billions of times further it was they who were the tele-

than we will ever go.” paths.


“You think you know,” said All hatred ceased as the haters
Finsternis unexpectedly. “You died.
think you know. That’s what you Only the submissive ones lived
always do. You think you know.” on.
Folly and Samm tried to get Samm tore cities about with
Finsternis to talk some more, but his bare metal hands, ripped
nothing happened. After a few heavy guns to pieces while they
more rests and talks they were were firing at him, picking the
ready for landing on the third gunners off the gun carriages as
planet of Linschoten XV. though they were lice, swimming
oceans when he had to, with
''X^hey landed. Folly darting and hovering
They fought. around or ahead of him.
Blood ran on the ground. Fire Final surrender was brought
scorched the valleys and boiled by their strongest telepath, a very
the lakes. The telepathic world wise old male who had been
was full of the cackle-gabble of hidden inside a deep mountain;
fright, hatred throwing itself in- “You have come, people. We
to suicide, fury turning into sur- surrender. Some of us have al-
render, into deep despair, into ways known the truth. We are
hopelessless, and at last into a Earth-born, too. A cargo of chick-
strange kind of quiet and love. ens settled here unimaginable
Let us. not tell that story. times ago. A time-twist tore us
It can be written some other out of our convoy and threw us
time, told by some other voice. here. That’s way, v/hen we sensed
The beings died by thousands you far across space, we caught
and tens of thousands while Fin- the relationship of eat-and-eaten.
sternis sat on a mountain-top, Only, our brave ones had it
THREE TO A GIVEN STAR 123
wrong. You eat us: we don’t eat your terms. We belong to you.” t,

you. You are the masters now.


We will serve you forever. Do "^XThen this was done, the war
you seek our death?” was over.
“No, no,” said Folly. “We Strange things began to hap-
came only to avert a danger, and pen.
we have done that. Live on, and Wild voices sang from within
on, but plan no war and make Folly and Samm, voices not their
no weapons. Leave that to the own:
Instrumentality.” Mission gone. Work finished.
“Blessed is the Instrumentality, Go to hill with cube. Go and re-
whoever that may be. We accept joice!
124 GALAXY
Samm and Folly hesitated. “Alan.”
They had left Finsternis where Ellen, land, sang the rejoic-
they landed, halfway around the ing voices to Folly. Folly, herself
planet. a little ship, landed at Samm’s
The singing voices became feet. She was bewildered with
more urgent: happy confusion and a great deal
Go. Go. Go now. Go back to of pain which did not seem to
the cube. Tell the chicken-people matter much.
to plant a lawn and a grove of Alan, come forth, sang the
trees. Go, go, go now to the voices. Samm felt a sharp pain
good reward! as his forehead — his huge metal
They told the telepaths what forehead, two hundred meters
had been said to them and voy- above the ground —
burst open
aged wearily up out of the atmo- and closed again. There was
sphere and back down for a something pink and helpless in
landing at the original point of his hand.
contact, a long low hill which The voices commanded, Alan,
had been planted with huge put your hand gently on the
patches of green turf and freshly ground.
transplanted trees even in the Samm obeyed and put his hand
hours in which they flew off the on the ground. The little pink toy
world and back on it again. The fell on the fresh turf. It was a
bird-telepaths must have had tiny miniature of a man.
strong and quick commands. Ellen, stand forth, sang the
The singing became pure music voices again. The ship named
as they landed, chorales of re- Folly opened a door and a naked
ward and rejoicing, with the hint young woman fell out.
of martial marches and victory Alma, wake up. The cube
fugues woven in. named Finsternis turned darker
Alan, stand up, said the voices than charcoal. Out of the dark
to Samm. side, there stumbled a black-
Samm stood on the ridge of haired girl. She ran across the
the hill. He stood like a colos- hill-slope to the figure named
sus against the red-dawning sky. Ellen. The man-body named
A quiet crowd of the
friendly, Alan was struggling to his feet.
chicken-people fell back. Thethree of them stood up.
Alan, put your hand to your The voices spoke to them:
right forehead, sang the voices. “This our last message. You
is
Samm obeyed. He did not have done your work. You are
know why the voices called him well. The boat named Folly con-
THREE TO A GIVEN STAR 125
tains tools, medicine and the oth- VI
er equipmentfor a human colony.
The giantnamed Samm will ''T^en years later, they had the
stand forever as a monument to proof of happiness playing
human victory. The cube named in theyard before their house —
Finsternis will now dissolve. a substantial building, made of
Alan! Ellen! Treat Alma loving- stone and brick, which the local
ly and well. She is now a for- people had built under Alan’s di-
getty.” rections.(They had changed their
The three naked people stood whole technology in the process
bewildered in the dawn. of learning from him, and —
“Good-by and a great high thanks to the efficiency and
thanks from the Instrumentality. power of the telepathic priestly
This is a pre-coded message, ef- caste —things learned at any
fective only if you won. You one spot on the planet were swift-
have won. Be happy. Live on!” ly disseminated to the whole
Ellen took Alma —
who had group of races on the planet.)
been Finsternis —
and held her The proof of happiness consisted
tight. The great cube dissolved of the thirty-fivehuman children
into a shapeless slag-heap. Alan, playing in the yard. Ellen had
who had been Samm, looked up had nine, four sets of twins and
at his former body dominating a single. Alma had had twelve,
the skyline. two sets of quintuplets and a
For reasons which the travelers pair of twins. The other fourteen
did not understand until many had been bottle-grown from ova
years had passed, the bird-peo- and sperm which they found in
ple around them broke into ulu- the ship, the frozen donations of
lant hymns of peace, welcome complete strangers who had done
and joy. their bit for the offworld settling
“My house,” said Ellen, point- of the human race. Thanks to the
ing at the little ship which had careful genetic coding of both the
spat forth her body just minutes womb-children and the bottle-
ago, “is now a home for all of children, there was a variety of
us.” types, suitable for natural breed-
They climbed into the success- ing over many generations to
ful little ship which had been come.
called Folly. They knew, some- Alan same to the door. He
how, that they would find clothes measured the time by the place
and food. And wisdom, too. They where the great shadow fell. It
did. was hard to realize that the gigan-
126 GALAXY
tic, indestructible statue which dinners together — one dinner
loomed above them all had once for the human, now numbering
been his own self. A small glacier thirty-seven,and the other for the
was beginning to form around bird-people, who were tremen-
the feet of Samm and the night dously appreciative of getting
was getting cold. cooked food, Irut v/ho had odd re-
“I’m bringing the children in quirements in the recipes, such
already,” said Ch-tikkik, one of as “one quart of finely ground
the local nurses they had hired granite gravel to each gallon of
to help with the huge brood of oatmeal, sugared to taste and
human babies. She, in return, served with soybean milk.”
got the privilege of hatching her Alan stood behind his wives
eggs on the warm shelf behind the and put a hand on the shoulder
electric stove; she turned them of each.
every hour, eagerly awaiting the “It’s hard to think,” he said,
time that sharp little mouths “that a little over ten years ago,

would break the shell and hrunan- we didn’t even know that we were
like little hands would tear an still people. Now look at us, a

opening from which a human- family, and a good one.”


like baby would emerge, oddly- Alma turned her face up to be
pretty-ugly like a gnome, and kissed, and Ellen, who was less
unusual only in that it could sentimental, lifted 'ner face to be
stand upright from the moment kissed too, so that her co-wife
of birth. would not be embarrassed at be-
One little boy was arguing ing babied separately. The two
with Ch-tikkik. He wore a warm liked each other very much. Al-
robe of vegetable-fiber veins ma came out of the cube Finis-
knitted to serve as a base for a ternis as a forgetty, conditioned
feather cloak. He was pointing to remember nothing of her long
out that with such a robe he sad psychotic life before the In-
could survive a blizzard and strumentality had sent her on a
claiming, quite justly, that he wild mission among the stars.
did not have to be in the house When she had joined Alan and
in order to stay warm. Was that Ellen, she knew the words of the
Rupert? thought Alan. Old Common Tongue, but very
He was about to call the child little else.

when his two wives came to the Ellen had had some time
door, arm in arm, flushed with and to
to teach her, to love her
the heat of the kitchen where mother her before any of the
they had been cooking the two babies were born, and the re’T-
THREE TO A GIVEN STAR 127
tionship between the two oi’ thein “And I,” said Alan, who had
was warm and good. been “Samm,” “became a metal
giant between the stars because
^'T^he three parents stood aside my first wife was dead and my
as the bird-women, wearing own children forgot me and neg-
their comfortable and pretty lected me. Nobody can say I’m
feather cloaks, herded the chil- not a father now. Thirty-five, and
dren into the house. The smallest more than half of them mine.
children had already been I’ll be more of a father than
brought in from their sunning and any other man of the human race
were being given their bottles by has ever been.”
bird-girls who never got tired of There was a change in the sha-
watching the cuteness and help- dow as the enormous right arm
lessness of the human infant. swung quietly but heavily to-
hard to think of that time
“It’s ward the sky as a prelude to the
at all,” said Ellen,who had been sharp robotic call that nightfall,
“Folly.” “I wanted beauty and calculated with astronomical pre-
fame and a perfect marriage and cision, had indeed come to the
nobody even told me that they place where he stood.
just didn’t go together. I have The arm reached its height,
had to come to the end of the pointing straight up.
stars to get what I wanted, to “I used to do that,” said Alan.
be what I might become.” The cry came, something like
“And me,” said Alma, who had a silent pistol-shot which all of
been “Finsternis,” “I had a worse them heard, but a shot without
problem. I was crazy. I was echoes, without reverberations.
afraid of life. I didn’t know how Alan looked around. “All the
to be a person. I didn’t even children are in. Even Rupert.
know how a woman, a
to be Come in, my darlings, and let us
sweetheart, a female, a mother. have dinner together.” Alma and
How could I ever guess that I EUen went ahead of him and he
needed a sister and wife, like the barred the heavy doors behind
one you have been, to make my them.
life whole? Without you to show This was peace and happiness;
me, Ellen, I could never have that at last was goodness. They
married our husband. I thought I had no obligation but to live and
was carrying murder among the to be happy. The threat and the
stars, but I was carrying my own promise of victory were far, far
solution as well. Where else behind.
could I turn out to be me?” —CORDWAINER SMITH
128 GALAXY
SMALL DEER
by CLIFFORD D. SIMAK

Something killed the dinosaurs.


And where's that Something now?

Willow Bend, Wisconsin Dennis doesn’t read too well. It


June 23, 1966 is a chore for him.
Dr. Wyman Jackson, Maybe I should tell you, to
Wyalusing College, start with, that my name is Alton
Muscoda, Wisconsin James. I live with my widowed
mother and I run a fix-it shop. I
My dear Dr. Jackson: fix bicycles and lawn mowers and
radios and television sets I fix —
I am writing to you because anything that is brought in to me.
I don’t know who else to write I’m not much good at anything
to and there is something I have else, but I do seem to have the
to tell someone who can under- knack of seeing how things go
stand. I know your name because together and understanding how
I read your book, “Cretaceous they work and seeing what is
Dinosaurs,” not once, but many wrong with them when they
times. I tried to get Dennis to aren’t working. I never had no
read it, too, but I guess he never training of any sort, but I just
did. All Dennis ever was inter- seem to have a natural bent for
ested in were the mathematics getting along with mechanical
of his time concept —
not the contraptions.
time machine itself. Besides, Dennis is my friend and I’ll

129
admit right off that he is a Dennis put on paper. Maybe
strange one. He doesn’t know Dennis used symbols he made up,
from nothing about anything, but inventing them as he went along,
he’s nuts on mathematics. Peo- because no one had ever told
ple in town make fun of him be- him what the regular mathemati-
cause he is so strange and Ma cians used. But I don’t think
givesme hell at times for having that’s it —I’m inclined to lean to
anything to do with him. She the idea Dennis came up with a
says he’s the next best thing to new brand of math, entirely.
a village idiot. I guess a lot of There were times I tried to
people think the way that Ma talk with Dennis about this math
does, but it’s not ei^J:irely true, of his and each time he was sur-
for he does know his math. prised that I didn’t know it, too.
I guess he thought most people
don’t know how he knows it. knew about it. He said that it
I He didn’t learn it at school was simple, that it was plain as
and that’s for sure. When he got day. It was the way things work-
to be 17 and hadn’t got no far- ed, he said.
ther than eighth grade, the school I suppose you’ll want to ask

just sort of dropped him. He how come I understood his equa-


didn’t really get to eighth grade tions well enough to make the
honest; the teachers after a while time machine. The answer is I
got tired of seeing him on one didn’t..! suppose that Dennis and
grade and passed him to the next. I are alike in a lot of ways, but
There was talk, offand on, of in different ways. I know how to
sending him to some special make contraptions work (without
school, never got nowhere.
but it knowing any of the theory) and
And don’t ask me what kind Dennis sees the entire universe
of mathematics he knew. I tried as something operating mathe-
to read up on math once because matically (and him scarcely able
I had the feeling, after seeing to read a page of simple type.)
some of the funny marks that And another thing. My family
Dennis put on paper, that maybe and Dennis’ family live in the
he knew more about it than any- same end of town and from the
one else in the world. And I still time we were toddlers, Dennis
think that he does or that — and I played together. Later on,
maybe he’s invented an entirely we just kept on together. We
new kind of math. For in the didn’t have a choice. For some
books I looked through I never reason or other, none of the kids
did find any of the symbols that would play with us. Unless we

130 GALAXY
iwanted to play alone, we had to figure out everything but time,
play together. I guess we got so, and now it seemed he was get-
through the years, that we under- ting that down in black and
stood each other. white, like all the rest of it.
I don’t suppose there’d been IMostly I didn’t pay too much
any time machine if I hadn’t attention to what he said, for a
been so interested in paleontol- lot of it didn’t make much sense.
ogy.Not that I knew anything But after he’d talked, incessantly,
aboutit; I was just interested. for aweek or two, on time, I be-
From the time I was a kid I gan to pay attention. But don’t
read everything I could lay my expect me to tell you what he
hands on about dinosaurs and said or make any sense of it,
saber-tooths and such. Later on for there’s no way that I can.
I went fossil hunting in the hills, To understand what Dennis said
but I never found nothing really and meant, you’d have to live
big. Mostly I found brachiopods. with him, like I did, for twenty
There are great beds of them in years or more. It’s not so much
the Platteville limestone. And understanding what Dennis says
lots of times I’d stand in the as understanding Dennis.
street and look up at the river I don’t think we actually made
bluffs above the town and try any real decision to build a time
to imagine what it had been like machine. It just sort of grew on
a million years ago, or a hundred us. All at once we found that we
million. When I first read in a were making one.
story about a time machine, I We took our time. We
had to
remember thinking how I’d like take our time, for we went back
to have one. guess that at one
I a lot and did things over, almost
time I thought a little about from the start. It took weeks to
making one, but then realized I get some of the proper effects —
couldn’t. at least, that’s what Dennis called
them. Me, I didn’t know any-
'TAennis had a habit of coming thing about effects. All that I
to my shop and talking, but knew was that Dennis wanted to
most of the time talking to him- make something work a certain
self rather than to me. I don’t way and I tried to make it work
remember exactly how it started, that way Sometimes, even when
but after a while I realized that it worke'd the way he wanted it,

he had stopped talking about it turned out to be wrong. So


anything but time. One day he we’d start all over.
told me he had been able to But finally we had a working

SMALL DEER 131


model of it and took it out on a \\Ts were lucky, that was all.
big bald bluff, several miles up We could have sent that
the river, where no one ever camera back another thousand
went. I rigged up a timer to a times, perhaps, and never caught
switch that would turn it on, a mastodon —
probably never
then after two minutes would re- caught a thing. Although we
verse the field and send it home would have known it had moved
again. in time, for the landscape had
We mounted a movie cam- been different, although not a
era inside the frame that car- great deal different. But from the
ried the machine,and we set the landscape we could not have told
camera going, then threw the if it had gone back in time a hun-
timer switch. dred or a thousand years. When
I had my doubts that it would we saw the mastodon, however,
work, but it did. It went away we knew we’d sent the camera
and stayed for two minutes, then back 10,000 years at least.
came back again. I won’t bore you with how we
When we developed the cam- worked out a lot of problems
era film, we knew without any on our second model, or how
question the camera had traveled Dennis managed to work out a
back in time. At first there were time-meter that we could cali-
pictures of ourselves, standing brate to send the machine a speci-
there and waiting. Then there fic distance into time. Because
was a little blur, no more than all this is not important. What
a flicker, across a half a dozen is important is what I found
frames, and the next frames when I went into time.
showed a mastodon walking I’ve already told youread
I’d
straight into the camera. A frac- your book about Cretaceous di-
tion of a second later his trunk nosaurs and I liked the entire
jerked up and his ears flared out book, but that final chapter about
as he wheeled around with clum- the extinction of the dinosaurs
sy haste and galloped down the is the one that really got me.
ridge. Many a time I’d lie awake at
Every now and then he’d night thinking about all the the-
swing his head around to take a ories you wrote about and trying
look behind him. I imagine that to figure out in my own mind
our time machine, blossoming how it really was.
suddenly out of the ground in So when it was time to get into
front of him, scared him out of that machine and go, 1 knew
seven years of growth. where I would be headed.

132 GALAXY
Dennis gave me no argument. and debated whether I should
He didn’t even want to go. He take along a gun. All I had was
didn’t care no more. He never a shotgun and I decided not to
was really interested in the time take it. If I’d had a rifle, there’d
machine. All he wanted was to been no question of my taking
prove out his math. Once the it, but I didn’t have one. I could

machine did that, he was through have borrowed one, but I didn’t
with it. want to. I’d kept pretty quiet
I worried a going as far as
lot, about what I was doing and I

I meant to go, about the rising didn’t want to start any gossip
or subsidence of the crust. I knew in the village.
that the land around Willow
Bend had been stable for millions went up to the bluff top and
of years. Sometime during the I climbed up to the frame and
Cretaceous a sea had crept into set the time-meter for 63j4 mil-
the interior of the continent, but lion years into the past and then
had stopped short of Wisconsin I turned her on. I didn’t make
and, so far as geologists could de- any ceremony out of it. I just
termine, there had been no dis- turned her on and went.
turbances in the state. But I still I told you about the little blur

felt uneasy about it. I didn’t want in the movie film and that’s the
to come out into the Late Cre- best way, I suppose, to tell you
taceous with the machine buried how it was. There was this little
under a dozen feet of rock or, blur, like a flickering twilight.
maybe, hanging a dozen feet up Then itwas sunlight once again
in the air. and I was on the bluff top, look-
So I got some heavy steel pipes ing out across the valley.
and sunk them six feet into the Except it wasn’t a bluff top
rock on the bald bluff top we any longer, but only a high hill.

had used that first time, with And the valley was not the rug-
about ten feet of their length ex- ged, tree-choked, deeply cut val-
tending in the air. I mounted the ley I had always known, but a
time frame on top of them and great green plain, a wide and
rigged up a ladder to get in and shallow valley with a wide and
out of it and tied the pipes into sluggish river flowing at the far
the time field. side of it. Far to the west I
One morning I packed a lunch could see a shimmer in the sun-
and filled a canteen with water. light, a large lake or sea. But a
I dug the old binoculars that had sea, I thought, shouldn’t be this
been my father’s out of the attic far east. But there it was, either

SMALL DEER 133


a great lake or a sea — I never tilted forward. Here and there
did determine which. were small groups of triceratops.
And there was something else But strangest of all was a large
as Vv'ell. I looked down to the herd of brontosaurs, ambling ner-
ground and it was only three feet vously and gingerly along, as if
under me. Was I ever glad I their feet might hurt. And it
had used those pipes! struck me strange, for they were
Looking out across the valley, a long ways from water and from
I could see some moving things, what I’d read in your book, and
but they were so far away that in other books, it didn’t seem too
I could not make them out. So likely they ever wandered too far
I picked up the binoculars and away from water.
jumped down to the ground and And there were a lot of other
walked across the hilltop until things that didn’t look too much
the ground began to slope away. like the pictures I had seen in
I sat down and put the binocu- books.
lars to my eyes and worked
across the valley with them. '"T^he whole business had a
There were dinosaurs out there, funny feel about it. Could
a whole lot more them than
of it I wondered, that I
be, had
I had expected. They were in stumbled on some great migra-
herds and they were traveling. tion, with all the dinosaurs head-
You’d expect that out of any ing out for some place else?
dozen herds of them, some of I got so interested in watching
them would be feeding, but none that I was downright careless and

of them was. All of them were it was foolish of me. I was in


moving and it seemed to me there another world and there could
was a nervousness in the way have been all sorts of dangers
they moved. Although, I told and I should have been watching
myself, that might be the way out for them, but I was just sit-
it was with dinosaurs. ting there, flat upon my back-
They all were a long way off, side, as if I were at home.
even with the glasses, but I could Suddenly there was a pound-
make out some of them. There ing, as if someone had turned
w'ere several groups of duckbills, loose a piledriver, coming up be-
waddling along and making hind me and coming very fast. I
funny jerky movements with dropped the glasses and twisted
their heads. I spotted a couple around and as I did something
of small herds of thescelosaurs, big and tall rushed past me, no
pacing along, with their bodies more than three feet away, so
134 GALAXY
close it almost brushed me. I Up over the brow of the hill
got just a brief impression of it came something else. I say some-
as it went past —
huge and gray thing else because I have no idea
and scaly. what it really was. Not as big as
it went tearing down
Then, as rex, but ten times worse than
the I saw what it was and
hill, him.
I had a cold and sinking feeling It was long and sinuous and it
clear down in my gizzard. For I had a lor of legs and it stood six
had been almost run down by feet high' or so and was a sort of

the big boy of them all Tyran- sickish pink. Take a caterpillar
nosaurus rex. and magnify it until it’s six feet
His two great legs worked like then give it longer legs so
tall,

driving pistons and the light of thatit can run instead of crawl

the sun glinted off the wicked, and hang a death mask dragon’s
recurved claws as his feet pump- head upon it and you get a faint
ed up and down. His tail rode idea. Just a faint idea.
low and awkward, but there was
no awkwardness in the way he t saw me and swung its head
moved. His monstrous head I toward me and made an
swung from side to side, with eager whimpering sound and it
the great rows of teeth showing slid along toward me with a side-
in the gaping mouth, and he left wheeling gait, like a dog when
behind him a faint foul smell — it’s running out of balance and
I suppose from the carrion he lop-sided.
ate. But the big surprise was that I took one look at it and dug
the wattles hanging underneath in my heels and made so sharp
his throat were a brilliant irri- a turn that I lost my hat. The
descence — red and green and next thing that I knew, I was
gold and the color of
purple, pelting down
the hill behind old
them shifting as he swung his T yrannosaurus.
head. And now I saw that myself and
I watched him for just a sec- rex were not the only things that
ond and then I jumped up and were running down the hill.
headed for the time machine. I Scattered here and there along
was more scared than I like to the hillside were other running
think about. I had, I want to creatures, most of them in small
testify right here, seen enough groups and herds, although there
of dinosaurs for a lifetime. were some singles. Most of them
But I never reached the time were dinosaurs, but there were
machine. other things as well.

SMALL DEER 135


I’m sorry I can’t tell you what roundup of some sort, with all
they were, but at that particular the reptiles and the dinosaurs
moment wasn’t what you might
I and myself being driven to a
call an astute observer. I was common center.
running for my life, as if the I knew my life depended
that
flames of hell were lapping at on getting somehow, and be-
lost
my heels. ing left behind. I had to find a

I looked around a couple of place to hide and I had to dive


times and that sinuous creature into this hiding place without be-
was still behind me. He wasn’t ing seen. Only trouble was there
gaining on me any, although I seemed no place to hide. The
had the feeling that he could if valley floor was naked and noth-
he put his mind to it. Matter of ing bigger than a mouse could
fact, he didn’t seem to be fol- have hidden there.
lowing me alone. He was doing a Ahead of me a good-size swale
lot of weaving back and forth. rose up from the level floor and
He reminded me of nothing quite I went pelting up it. I was run-
so much as a faithful farm dog ning out of wind. My breath was
bringing in the cattle. But even getting short and I had pains
thinking this, it took me a little throbbing in my chest and I
time to realize that was exactly knew I couldn’t run much farth-
what he was —
an old farm dog er.
bringing in a bunch of assorted
dinosaurs and one misplaced hu- reached the top of the swale
man being. I and started down the reverse
At the bottom of the hill I slope. And there, right in front
looked back again and now that of me, was a bush of some sort,
I could see the whole slope of the three feet high or so, bristling
hill, I saw that this was a big- with thorns. I was too close to
ger cattle drive than I had imag- it and going too fast to even try

ined. The entire hill was alive to dodge it, so I did the only
with running beasts and behind thing I could —
I jumped over

them were a half dozen of the it.

pinkish dogs. But on the other side there


And I knew when I saw this was no solid ground. There was,
that the moving herds I’d seen instead, a hole. I caught just a
out on the valley floor were not glimpse of it and tried to jerk

migratory herds, but they were my body to one side, and then
moving because they were being I was falling in the hole.
driven — that this was a big It wasn’t much bigger than I

136 GALAXY
was. It bumped me as I fell and shook up, but now I became
I picked up some bruises, then aware of a musky smell. Not an
landed with a jolt. The fall overpowering odor, but a sort of
knocked the breath out of me scent — faintly animal, although
and I was doubled over, with my not quite animal.
arms wrapped about my belly. A smooth-sided hole and a
My breath came slowly back musky smell — there could be no
and the pain subsided and I was other answer: I had fallen not
able to take a look at where I into just an ordinary hole, but
was. into a burrow of some sort. And
The hole was some three feet it must be the burrow of quite

in diameter and perhaps as much an animal, I thought, to be the


as seven deep. It slanted slightly size it was. It would have taken
toward the forefront of the slope something with hefty claws, in-
and its sides were worn smooth. deed, to have dug this sort of
A thin trickle of dirt ran down burrow.
from the edge of it, soil that I And even as I thought it, I
had loosened and dislodged when heard the rattling and the scrab-
I had hit the hole. And about half- bling of something coming up the
way up was a cluster of small burrow, no doubt coming up to
rocks, the largest of them about find out what was going on.
the size of a human head, pro-
jecting more than half their did some scrabbling myself. I
width out of the wall. I thought, I didn’t waste no time. But
idly, as I looked at them, that about three feet up I slipped. I
some day they’d come loose and grabbed for the top of the hole,
drop into the hole. And at the but my fingers slid t’nrough the
thought I squirmed around a sandy soil and I couldn’t get a
little to one side, so that if they grip. I shot out my feet and stop-
took a notion to fall I’d not be ped my slide short of the bottom
in the line of fire. of the hole. And there I was, with
Looking down, saw that I’d
I my back against one side of the
not fallen to the bottom of the hole and my feet braced against
hole, for the hole went on, deep- the other, hanging there, half-
er in the ground. I had come to way up the burrow.
rest at a point where the hole While all the time below me
curved sharply, to angle back the scrabbling and the clicking
beneath the swale top. sounds continued. The thing,
I hadn’t noticed it at first, I whatever it might be, was getting
suppose because I had been too closer, and it was coming fast.

SMALL DEER 137


Right in front of me was the past me and I could get the
if

nest of rocks sticking from the bush between myself and the
wall. reached out and grabbed
I valley side of the swale, ! might

the biggest one and jerked and have a chance. Otherwise, sure
it came loose. It was heavier than as hell, one of those dogs would
I had figured it would be and I see me and would come out to
almost dropped it, but managed bring me in.

to hang on. For a while there was no ques-


A snout came out of the curve tions that they were dinosaur
in the burrow and thrust itself herders, they probably couldn’t
quickly upward in a grabbing tell the difference betv/een me
motion. The jaws opened up and and a dinosaur. 1 was ali've and
they almost filled the burrow could run and that would qualify
and they were filled with sharp me.
and wicked teeth. There was always the chance,
I didn’t think. I didn’t plan. of course, that the owner of the
What I did was instinct, I drop- burrow would come swarming
ped the rock between my spread- out, and if he did I couldn’t stay
out legs straight down into that behind the bush. But I rather
gaping maw. It was a heavy rock doubted he’d be coming out, not
and it dropped four feet or so right away, at least. It would
and went straight between the take him a while to get that stone
teeth, down into the blackness of out of his throat.
the throat. When it hit it splash-
ed and the paws snapped shut crouched behind the bush and
and the creature backed away. I the sun was hot upon my
How I did it, I don’t know, but back and, peering 'through the
I got out of the hole. I clawed branches, I could see, far out on
and kicked against the wall and the valley floor, the great herd
heaved my body up and rolled of milling beasts. All of them
out of the' hole onto the naked had been driven together and
hillside. there they were, running in a
Naked, that is, except for the knotted circle, while outside the
bush with 'the inch-long thorns, circle prowled the pinkish dogs
the one that I’d jumped over be- and something else as well —
fore i fell into the burrow. It what appeared to be men driv-
was the only cover that there ing tiny cars. The cars and men
was and I made for the upper were all of the same color, sort ,-i

side of it, for by now, I figured, of greenish gray, and the two of
the big cattle drive had gone them, the cars and men, seemed

138 GALAXY
to be a single organism. The men had roughly, a diameter of a
didn’t seem to be sitting in the mile or more — a mile of milling,
cars; they looked as if they grew frightened creatures. A lot of pal-
out of the cars, as if they and the eontologists have wondered
cars were one. And while the whether dinosaurs had any voice
cars went zipping along, they and I can tell you that they did.
appeared to have no wheels. It They were squealing and roaring
was hard to tell, but they seemed and quacking and there were
to travel with the bottom of them some of them that hooted — I

flatupon the ground, like a snail think it was the duckbills hoot-
would travel, and as they trav- ing,but I can’t be sure
elled, they rippled, as if the body Then, all at once, there was
of the car were some sort of flow- another sound, a sort of flutter-
ing muscle. ing roar that seemed to be com-
1 crouched there watching and ing from the sky. I looked up
now. for the first time, I had a quickly and I saw them coming
chance to think about it, to try down —a dozen or so spaceships,
to figure out what was going on. they couldn’t have been anything
I had come here, across more but spaceships. They came down
than sixty million years, to see rather fast and they didn’t seem
some dinosaurs, and I sure was too big and there were tails of
seeing them, but under what you thin, blue flame flickering at
might say were peculiar circum- their bases. Not the billowing
stances. The dinosaurs fit, all clouds of flame and smoke that
right. They looked mostly like our rockets have, but just a thin
the way they looked in books, blue flicker.
but the dogs and car-men were For a minute it looked like
something else again. They were one of them would land on top
distinctly out of place. of me, but then I saw that it was
The dogs v/ere pacing back and too far out. It missed me, mat-
forth, sliding along in their sinu- ter of fact, a good two miles or
ous and the car-men
fashion, so. It and the others sat down
were zipping back and forth, and in a ring around the milling herd
every once in a while one of the out in the valley.
beasts would break out of the
circle and the minute that it did, should have known what
a half dozen dogs and a couple I would happen out there. It
of car-men would race to inter- was the simplest explanation one
cept it and drive it back again. could think of and it was logical.
The circle of beasts must have I think, maybe, way deep down.

SMALL DEER 139


I did know, but my surface mind ed my way and I froze, and after
had pushed it away because it a time he looked away.
was too matter-of-fact and too Then I was over the top of the
ordinary. swale and heading back toward
Thin snouts spouted from the the time machine. But half way
shipsand purple fire curled mist- down the slope, I turned around
ily atthe muzzle of those snouts and came back again, crawling
and the dinosaurs went down in on my belly, squirming to the
a fighting, frightened, squealing hilltop to have another look.
mass. Thin trickles of vapor It was a look I’ll not forget.
drifted upward from the snouts The dogs and car-men had
and out in the center of the circle swarmed in upon the heap of
lay that heap of dead and dying dead dinosaurs, and some cf the
dinosaurs, all those thousands of cars already v.'ere crawling back
dinosaurs piled in death. toward the grounded spaceships,
It is a simple thing to tell, of which had let down ramps. The
course, but it was a terrible thing cars were moving slowly, for
to see. I crouched there behind they were heavily loaded and the
the bush, sickened at the sight, loads they carried were neatly
startled by the silence when all butchered hams and racks of
the screaming and the squealing ribs.
and the hooting ceased. And And in the sky there was a

shaken, too not by what shakes muttering and I looked up to see
me now as I write this letter, but yet other spaceships coming
shaken by the knowledge that down —the little transport ships
something from outside could do that would carry this cargo of
this to the earth. fresh meat up to another larger
For they were from outside. It ship that waited overhead.
wasn’t just the spaceships, but It was then I turned and ran.
those pinkish dogs and gray- I reached the top of the hill

green car-men which were not and piled into the time machine
cars and men, but a single organ- and set it at zero and came
ism, were not things cf earth, home. I didn’t even stop to hunt
could not be things of earth. for the binoculars I’d dropped.
I crept back from the bush,
keeping low in hope that the A nd now that I am home, I’m
bush would screen me from the not going back again. I’m
things down in the valley until I not going anywhere in that time
reached the swale top. One of machine. I’m afraid of what I
the dogs swung around and look- might find any place I go. If
140 GALAXY
Wyalusing College has any need out the dinosaurs, they learned
of it, I’ll give them the time ma- their lesson,and left Africa for
chine. breeding stock.
But that’s not why I wrote. And now I come to the point
There is no doubt in my mind of this letter, the thing that has
what happened to the dinosaurs, me worried.
why they became extinct. They Today there are just a few less
were killed off and butchered than three billion of us humans
and hauled away, to some other in the world. By the year 2,000
planet, perhaps many light years tliere may be as many as six bil-
distant, by a race which looked lion of us.
upon the earth as a cattle range We’re pretty small, of course,
—a planet that could supply a and these things went in for ton-
vast amount of cheap protein. nage, for dinosaurs and mastodon
But that, you say, happened and such. But there are so many
more than sixty million years of us! Small as we are, we may
ago. This race did once exist. But be getting to the point where
in sixty million years it would we’ll be worth their while.
almost certainly have changed its —CLIFFORD D. SIMAK.
ways or drifted off inits hunting

to some other sector of the gal-


axy, or, perhaps, have become
extinct, like the dinosaurs.
Butdon’t think so. I don’t
I

think any of those things hap-


pened. I think they’re still

around. I think earth may be


only one of many planets which
supply their food.
And I’ll tell you why I think
so. They were back on earth
again, I’m sure, some 10,000 or
1 1 ,000 years ago, when they
killed off the mammoth and the
mastodon, the giant bison, the
great cave bear and the sabre-
tooth and a lot of other things. Prevent heartbreak and hunger
Oh, yes, I know they missed Af- across the world — each dollar
rica. They never touc.hed the big sends a Food Crusade package
game there. Maybe, after wiping through CARE, New York 10016.

SMALL DEER 141


^'T^he hardcover science-fiction though they were essentially


-* books of today are of course one-man operations started by
published by the same people people who had scraped together
who publish the straight fiction a little capital or credit. In some
and mysteries and westerns hope of profit, they were in the
Doubleday, Simon 8b Schuster business of reprinting what each
and so forth. This wasn’t always personally considered the best
so; it didn’t begin to be so until magazine science fiction pub-
about the time, fifteen years ago, lished to that date.
when this magazine’s first issue What they produced was var-
began a similarly meaningful ious. It varied from one com-
revolution on the newsstands. In pany’s systematic resurrection of
1950, the biggest names in sf every big name undermined by

books almost the only names the new techniques of the 1940s
were Arkham House, Fantasy Astounding, through Hadley’s
Press, F.P.C.I., Gnome Press, editions of such interesting but
Hadley, Prime Press and Shasta. idiosyncratic pieces as L. Ron
Some of them were on their way Hubbard’s Final Blackout, to
out, but these were isolated in- Arkham House’s beautifully
firmities: commercially fool-
a made volumes not only of How-
ish editorial policy in one in- ard Phillips Lovecraft but of
stance, the publisher’s personal A. E. van Vogt’s Sian and Ray
circumstances in another. As a Bradbury’s first and best collec-
group they were promising, tion, Dark Carnival.

142
They did most of their business specially conscious of great de-
by mail order; their ads were privation in this area, however
column inches in the prozines, — not very many people knew
mimeographed pages in the fan- the area existed. It was entirely
zines. But in any largish city you possible to be a science-fiction
could usually find one bookstore fan in 1945 and not realize that
which was not above stocking one there had been a Golden Age
copy each for the nut trade, and just before World War II; it was
here and there you could find only when these books began
booksellers who boasted that coming out that the shape and
they specialized in it. nature of that work became fully
1950 was about the time when apparent.
book review columns became reg- I would not want you to think

ular features in the prozines. Be- that I believe some cosmic switch

fore that, reviews, like books, had clicked over in 1939 and
had been occasional pieces. They then back in 1944. Neither is it

had run as fillers at the bottoms true between these arbi-


that
of pages short on story text, and trary dates Astounding Science
they were often obviously too Fiction published seventy-two
thrilled at the thought that any- issues of solid immortal litera-
thing at all had found its way ture while none of its competi-

into boards. By
volume
1950, the tors did a thingbut move in
had not only gotten high enough place. What Astounding did do,
to justify regular columns, it over a period of years, was to
had gotten high enough to justify develop and, until 1950, keep
a nice cathartic bent of expres- writers who fairly often wrote a
sion when a bad one came in, be- certain broad type of story well.
cause the bad ones were in hope- It was a type of story which was
less contrast to the good ones. better received by articulate sci-
ence-fiction readers of those days
'’
od grant that such a luxuriant than was any other type of story;
C ' time will never again come those same readers were now
to science fiction book publish- ready to buy these same stories
ing. The great board of top- again in book form, and it so hap-
rank material waiting to be put pened that a good number of peo-
into books was the bittersweet re- ple who had never read that kind
sult of persistent neglect. Writers of science fiction before were able
had lived, written and died with- to share their taste.
out ever seeing permanent pub- The ASF “Golden Age” in sci-
lication. Most of them were not ence fiction had been slightly an-

GALAXY BOOKSHELF 143


ticipated by a similar phenome- and Shasta; while Shasta brought
non in crime fiction, with Dashiell out Heinlein’s Future History se-
Hammett and Raymond Chan- ries, for example. Gnome was
dler, among others, emerging busy doing Asimov’s Foundation
from the crumbled pages of Black stories. Arkham House, Sian
Mask. Apparently something just aside, was meanwhile tending
before the War acted to create toward selections from such
pulp writers who were willing to fantasy magazines as Weird
break out of the post-World War Tales and Unknown, which had
I shell of neverland cliches which had little golden ages of their
persisted in the pulps until the own and which Fantasy Press’s
middle of the 1930s. It may have program also included. Prime
been an echo of the same tough Press did a little of both, in-
attitude toward life that had cluding collections by Lester del
produced Hemingway and Stein- Rey ( .And Some Were Hu-
. .

beck in the “mainstream” some- man) and Theodore Sturgeon


what earlier. Crime stories in the {Without Sorcery) which split
new mode had been getting ser- their sources mainly between As-
ious book publishing attention founding and Unknown, and by
all during World War II. Now George O. Smith (Fenus Equila-
it was perhaps science fiction’s teral) which was without peer
turn. The material was there. The as an example of ASF wiring-dia-
new publishers picked it up and gram fiction. Shasta brought out
made books of it. the Don A. Stuart stories {Who
Fantasy Press went back a lit- Goes There?, Cloak of Aesir),
tle farther, to publish the early and Gnome did Van Vogt’s The
E.E. Smith and Stanley Wein- Mixed Men and Henry Kuttner’s
baum as well as other forerun- Gallegher stories {Robots Have
ners of “modern” science fiction No Tails, by “Lewis Padgett”).
as these same book publishers In other words, in the few
now proceeded to define it, creat- years between the end of the war
ing sharp distinctions from the and the earliest 1950s, these var-
past, and from Flash Gordon, ious people with their varied re-
simply by running full notices of sources brought out the books
previous publication and thus which are still the liver and
making it clear where the “good” lights ofany permanent collec-
— the most readable material— tion of good science fiction. Ran-
had come from. Centering their dom House had issued its legen-
attention exactly on the Camp- dary Healy-McComas anthology,
bellian writers were Gnome Press Adventures in Time and Space,

144 GALAXY
and Crown had brought out Groff T)y 1951, these people had ac-
Conklin’s A Treasury of Science complished two major things,
Fiction, but Gnome had counter- both suicidal. They had exhaust-
ed with Martin Greenberg’s Men ed the supply of easily found,
Against the Stars, an entry fully high-quality reprints from the
qualified to run in that field. magazines, and they had estab-
If it hadn’t been for the houses lished the financial value of the
listed in Paragraph One of this sf book market. They had gotten
necessarily breathless history, to that point because you can
grown up science fiction might succeed with almost any sensible
have taken years to find a per- small venture in publishing as
manent place in literature via long as you’re not doing some-
the library catalogues. With the thing the potential major com-
few exceptions mentioned imme- petitors want to do as well. At
diately above, the established that point, the first Science Fic-
major houses hadn’t touched tion Book Club had appeared on
anything but Verne and Wells in the back cover of a prozine. Ex-
years, the only significant war- cept for differences of detail, it
time exceptions being Poc’^et’s looked and read exactly like its
original paperback, The Pocket sister ads for the Detective Book
Book of Science Fiction, and Vik- Club, which had been riding the
ing’s Portable Novels oj Science. back covers of the crime maga-
Doth of these had been edited zines for years. Merchandising
and one assumes fought into life had come to the business of pub-
by Donald Wollheim, who has lishing sf books for profit, and
gone on to do his impressive job the incidence of major company
of making bricks without stnaw names on new sf titles had be-
for Ace paperbacks. He, Healy gun to rise sharply.
and McComas, Groff Conklin A major publishing house has,
and a few others might eventual- by definition, the equipment
ly have succeeded by applying needed to be a major publisher
unremitting pressure over a —a staff of editorial specialists,
long period of time. The little a production staff which does
specialist houses, operating out nothing all day but buy supplies
of lofts, book stores and their and services having to do with
owners’ basements, cut that time publishing and a sales staff which
dramatically short. They made can consist of hundreds of speci-
the 1950s into boom year . . . alists, some of them out on the
from which they themselves road calling on bookstore owners
would draw little but disaster. they have known for years and
GALAXY BOOKSHELF 145
others sitting home and writing in science fiction and the spe-
punchy brochure copy. This is cialists in publishing. In the area
what these people do for a living. of simple packaging — of pro-
They have been trained for it un- ducing at a profit a book which
der the impetus of believing that appears to be worth the retail
this is all they can do for a liv- customer’s money —
the contest
ing. They are paid to do their was only a little longer in the
one thing at least as well as their drawing out. It was in fact ex-
opposite numbers at the next ma- tended past its natural run by
jor house. With this sort of or- something like a happenstance.
ganization, it is possible to pro- The merchandising machinery
duce a million copies of some- having gotten turned on, the var-
thing that may look and be frac- ious sales organizations sponsor-
tionally better than the work of ed by the major publishers im-
one busy man working for him- mediately needed more product
self. If you have a hundred such than the publishers themselves
specialists, they can produce, say, were yet able to furnish. So for
ten times as many things to make a little while the small houses
a million copies of. were able to supply copies to the
Once such major organization
a book club operations owned more
has been put in train, it is com- by their direct competitors.
or less
mitted by the inertia of sched- Thus they acquired a little more
ules and capital investment. The money to operate on, at the same
sight of a major publishing com- time that their choice of produc-
pany winding up to give birth tion standards was sharply nar-
to a new program is so impres- rowed to the more expensive
sive that few of its rivals can bands of the book-making spec-
restrain themselves from follow- trum.
ing suit. Once the herd has been What this meant for the retail
set in motion it must, by the customers was that more con-
nature of the beast, proceed along ventional-looking science fiction
the line of least resistance for an books in far greater quantities
indefinite period of time, leaving had become available. Shopping
nothing in its wake but a stubble for books became considerably
of grasses cropped too short to more convenient. Book prices
sustain life. were reduced, in several senses;
over the short terms, there was
fn the area of wholesale book- the benefit of having the speci-
JL selling, the brief contention alist houses throw their stocks
was thus between the specialists on the cut-rate market in an
146 GALAXY
effort to get hold of additional I, Robot, why in Heaven’s name
working capital or simply to bail couldn’t a giant outfit like Dou-
out. Over the long term, book bleday do better than Nelson
prices were reduced (not abso- Bond’s Lancelot Biggs series dis-
lutely, but relative to the still guised as a novel? Answer, Dou-
rising cost of production) by the bleday wasn’t about to do I, Ro-
combination of high-volume sales bot —
yet. Gnome’s excellently
and production economies of manufactured edition, with its
which only major publishers are flossy Cartier jacket making it
capable. look exactly like a big-time book,
In fact, the only place the sf was still very much on sale. Dou-
book-reading public lost anything bleday would of course get to
tangible at all was one from itin the course of time, but mean-
which the small publishers could while there was Max Ehrlich’s
not have rescued them, but from The Big Eye, that was
and
which the big publishers could. science fiction too. You
could tell
That was in the paucity of re- by the rocket on the title page.
maining publishable book-length
material. The result was that the t wasn’t all bad. Gnome’s City,
middle 1950s v/ere bad years for I by Clifford Simak, was the
quality,and looked worse by outstanding example of a pasteup
comparison to the immediate that had been begging to be done.
past. Doubleday’s The Martian Chro-
The middle 1950s were the from that time
nicles dates a —
years in which we got the beautiful Bradbury collection
“novels” pasted together from se- which owes part of its charm to
ries short stories, the “science fic- the loose connecting passages be-
tion” by outside writers who had tween stories, which may be the
obviously seen a monster movie fragile vestiges of earlier plans
once and the unfortunate experi- to make a novel. Simon 85
ments in hapless antiquarianism Schuster did take the bit in its
reminiscent of that pioneering teeth and publish an edition
California company which had of Sian. Grossett 85 Dunlap
staked its all on Ralph Milne came out with a mass-priced
Farley. edition of Henry Kuttner’s Fury.
These were the years in which Frederick Fell, hitherto known
knowledgeable critics lambasted as the promulgator of Oscar J.
the major companies day and Friend’s The Kid from Mars —
night. If Gnome Press had been which is not quite as bad as its
able to bring out Isaac Asimov’s title — began publishing the
GALAXY BOOKSHELF 147
Bleiler-Dikty annual ‘best” col- pays more than he has to, but the
lections of magazine stories, major publishers have people
whic/i served the function of pro- trained to pay that minimum
viding the cinderblock base for with checks drawn on impres-
Judith Merril to later build big- sive banks, and with cheerily
ger and better for Simon 86 mesmerrhetic references to the
Schuster and Dell. And Twayne, freemasonry of the arts. In this
another small but nevertheless case the book publishers were not
full-scale publisher wh., hoped to only broadening the primary
ride up among the majors on the market for original sf, they were
strength of this new boom, did now applying the coup de grace
something very interesting with to the little specialists, as well as
its “Triplet” series, fostered by .shaking off the coattail riders in
Fletcher Pratt and Dr. John D. their own ranks.
Clark. Twayne was one oi the com-
These were anthologies of panies which dropped out of the
three novellas each by three ma- picture. But its program left
jor sf writers, who were given a some significant orphans. Among
loose outline of a basic story the ultimate results of Fletcher
problem and a detailed descrip- Pratt’s brainchild was James
tion of the solar system in which Blish’s Hugo-winning A Case oj
it was to occur, each writer then Conscience, which ran as a long
going his own way as he saw fit. one-parter in If before expanding
This was one attempt to create up to its prize book length. Two
books. With all the will and bud- other Twayne stories, an Asimov
get in the world, the science-fic- and a Poul Anderson, appeared
tion magazines of that time could as serials in Astounding. In its

only supply the best of the new own leflhanded way, this was the
gout of wordage the book pub- first major important
case of
lishers now needed as they jock- work being fed from a book pub-
eyed for control of the market. lisher into the magazines a —
They couldn’t supply all of it, by complete reversal of the estab-
a long shot. lished precedence.
Perforce, the book publishers
had to be willing to pay enough A t about this same time, two
for original material so that good ^ other interesting things hap-
writers could be induced to oc- pened.
casionally forego the magazines A publisher of paperback
as a primary market originals got on the stands with
No publisher in the world ever his edition of a middling-impor-

148 GALAXY

tant novel before it had finished the apprenticeship that magazine
running as a serial in Astound- work forces on its steady practi-
ing. And Doubleday published tioners. These flat souffles are
Cyril Kornbluth’s Takeoff, a ma- in turn subjected to the atten-
jor novel by a major magazine tions of blurb writers and sales
writer, which had seen no maga- promotion directors who des-
zine publication at all. cribe and package them to be
After the inevitable stumbling more attractive and rewarding
start, the big book houses were than they really are.
getting their programs into full It is my fervent hope that
flight. In every other impor- these easy promises will have
tant field of magazine fiction, their effect; that the second or
most of the long serials had in third time the customer is in-
fact been already under contract duced to part with four dollars
as books. That had now become for a two-dollar experience, a
the situation in science fiction, as certain chill will settle over the
well, and with various ups and romance.
downs, that is the situation today. In looking over the titles pro-
In all, it took the major houses duced by the pioneers of 1950
about five years, from 1950 to not all of whom were honest
1955, to make it so. men with the look of far hori-
After ten years, this pendulum zons in their eyes, and some of
may now be getting ready to whom rooked their customers
swing back the other v/ay. Too and writers unmercifully, some-
many new (novels) are not form- times from sheer naivete one —
er magazine — however
serials is struck by how odd a profession-

arrived at — but puffed-up nove- al production man for, say, Big-


lettes. Some of them were books gers 8s Better & Sons Co. would
all along, cut down for magazine find them. He might forgive them
use. But by far the greater per- for the early “hardcover” book
centage are not —
they are pad- which was bound in limp lea::iier
ded, patched together or pub- by the only bindery in town and
lished in a design form that looks exactly like a bible, or for
makes a lousy forty thousand the jobs which were obviously
words stretch across too many done on flatbed weekly newspa-
pages which are mostly margin per presses. He might under-
and elephantiasical type. They stand that the publishers were
are sometimes written by third- limited in their choices of pro-
rate writers who are being over- duction methods and sources of
paid in compensation for missing supply for such things as paper
GALAXY BOOKSHELF 149
and binding cloth. He, a book they didn’t even realize they had
designer and a professional pack- failed. They didn’t even know,
et copywriter might have the beyond a vague sense of some-
patience to understand that the thing not quite right, why their
publishers of these books had to books felt harder to read than a
handle those functions them- similar text composed and de-
selves and could not really be signed by a man drawing fifteen
faulted for not having as much grand a year from Biggers Sa Bet-
esthetic sense or writing ability ter — mostly for having on file
as they had editorial judgment the phone numbers of all the dis-
. .01 whatever it was they had. play type houses in town.
It is after all a truism in big- They weren’t all like that, of
time publishing that talent is ex- course. The bigger outfits, like
actly as deep as frosted glass par- Gnome and Shasta, farmed out
tition. What would puzzle and most problems to com-
of these
dismay the production man would mercial book manufacturers. Ark-
be the frequent appearance of ham House and Fantasy Press
expensive interior halftone illus- books are distinguishable from
strations — often done in the today’s commercial products by
publisher’s best self-taught style the simple fact that they are
— tipped in on expensive en- among the best-looking items in
ameled stock; the use of opulent your library. But there is not one
text papers, of foundry type, of in which the careful eye will not
cut initials, of attempts at full- detect some trace of ingenuous-
color reproduction of jacket de- ness, some certain sign that the
signs which were often even publisher concerned was copying
worse than the interior illustra- what he remembered from the
tions. books of his youth —
the J. Al-
These were struggling people. len St. John illustrations in his
They typed their own invoices, pre-War Grossett 8e Dunlap Tar-
wrapped their own product and zan books, the creamy paper of
stood in line at the post office the days when pulp forests were
to mail it, walking back to their not yet the property of news-
thirty-dollar-a-month offices with paper cartels.
sheafs of stamps sticking out of These are the things that catch
their shirt pockets. Almost to a the eye as one leafs through one
man, they thought they could of these productions. They are
solve problems that have wreck- the signs of love, dreams and
ed the careers of professional spirit, even among the scoundrels.
specialists, and almost to a man —ALGIS BUDRYS
150 GALAXY
BY FRITZ LEIBER

They were fearing our world


down atour. ^ i,:. Too ban' they
weren't tearing us down tool

tt^"T^hey don’t build slums like ed, slapping aside the dodderer’s
they used to,” VVhitey hands and thumbing the blue
Edwards told me, reaching up elastic panel back in place with
for a loose corner of the flexo a fast rub along its adhesive
and pulling it down to prove his edge. Again it decently covered
point. It domed springily over the flaccid tangle of what looked
our dreg-bottomed coffee cups, like rainbow-hued sheep’s gut
revealing in the hidden space and rubber unmentionables. “But
behind it the limp multicolored they built Ma like a bull and
spaghetti of the utilities piping: she’ll gore and trample you if
gas, water, metered syntho-milk, she finds you tearing down her
sewage, coaxed TV, med-mist, kitchen. It’s bad enough what
Musik, robo-talk, robo-juice, the giant centipedes are doing.”
tele, vele, elec, gelec, and such. The jumbo TV, jammed be-
Few of them running fat with tween sink and fridge flickered
their peculiar contributions to weak and ghostly. A gaggle of
the good life, I judged. and eight-job
five-job wives men
“That may be so,” I answer- were having a closed-end dis-
cussion of everything in creation started to tell Whitey 1 had
on the executive patio edge of I even more current job-sorrows
a swimming pool big enough to than his. Since Thursday I’d
hide a space-to-seabottom cruis- been terminated from my street-
er. Their sweet eldritch cackle smiler’s job for competing with
was unintelligible, but their state the psychiatrists, robot and hu-
of undress was a slight counter- man, and for all I know with
irritant to boredom. the giant centipedes. Just then
Whitey Edwards sighed, not my brother Dick erupted from
looking at these suburban god- the bed-closets, throwing clothes
desses, but squinting his rheumy over his sallow nakedness like a
eyes against the Monday sun Gypsy escaping from a Nazi gas
coming up like doom over the chamber —
or as if he were a
dusty flats between Beatsville six-job man at least and not a
and the Henleys’ happy if fragile sprint-in-the-gutter one- jobber.
little family castle. Earth’s spot- And with that job only since
ted, spitting, seething star shot Friday night after being three
its angry rays under the great weeks on probationary relief.
awning rigged in front of our I called sweetly at him, “Are
windows and door. you scared a customer vi/ill put
“Once,” the old boy said, shak- a gush of quarters into one of
ing the head -topping that gave your metal bandits with her own
him his name, “they built slums little pinkies if you’re a minute
solid with steel beams and heavy late?”
lath and great bloody pipes of Dick scowled, gyrating around
iron and tile and lead that made a stubborn trouser leg. “Don’t
’em think twice before they tore you worry, Dickie,” I kejit on.
’em down. But now .” He . . “All the women psyched
I illicitly

sighed his wheezy grief. Whitey’d were as nervous of machinery as


used to be a con-and-destruc- sex, they wanted a man to do it
tion worker decades back, be- for them.”
fore the robots took that over, Society, graciously, used to let
before I was born. people work vending and other
The TV zoomered in on a coin - operated machines, like
taut little job in bolero jacket laundromats. But now, like laun-
and loincloth. The sound clear- dromats too, you have to pay
ed for her fast happy words an attendant to do it for you —
“. . . caring for this pool put because machines are tempera-
my husband and I in the pool- mental and individual enterprise
counselor raquette . . and died. is almost as holy as money and

152 GALAXY
anyway, there aren’t enough jobs termined that it get recognition
to go around more than two or in the form of seven- or eight
three times. Though at the mo-
job careers.
Dick groggled something at me ment Dick was the only one of
and got the door open, all set us with any job at all, except
for a spring-heel take-off. But for Tom, who lives away with his
there in his way was a tiny wife and two kids. But obstruc-
man, dressed like a respectable tions and set-backs never daunt
beetle, with dimpled fist raised Ma. It’s not the money she’s
to knock. He had glasses with after, mostly, it’s the glory of
zoomer lenses; silver antennae the House of Henley pitted
quivered out of his gray hat; a against the whole bloody world.
flat black belly-box was his ven- Pricked by tender filial warmth
tral carapace. He looked around, I eyed her —
a murderous son-
especially at the cluttered floor, punishing behemoth but my
as if we were a touch unsavory, blessed mother —
while Whitey
but he held his ground. gave her an unseen wave. He’s
As Dick paused at this col- an old admirer she tolerates ever
eopterous apparition, Ma came since Pa recognized her superior
charging out of the bed-closets, nuclear power and died.
red in the face and black was Dick bit out and swallowed
the rest of her. She grappled the meat of the orange and ton-
Dick around the elbows and roar- gued aside the peel so as to yell
ed, “Stop! No son of mine is that the coffee was burning his
going out to give battle to the hand and what would it do to
21st Century on an empty stom- his throat? Ma
ripped the fridge
ach.” Grabbing a quarter orange open against the pull of the
she shoved it between his teeth great spring I’d fixed outside to
like a boxer’s mouthpiece and keep it shut since the latch
then snatching this way and that broke. She whisked out an ice-
she slammed a sandwich in his cube and tucked it in Dick’s cup.
one hand and a cup in the other The fridge door thudded shut
and on the next time around and the spring whirred like a
poured it steaming full. rattlesnake about to jump loose
and strike, but it didn’t.
"VTo one can deny that Ma Then Dick gulped his coffee
^ stands squarely in back of while Ma held him and screech-
her four sons, like the manager ed in his ear about using lunch
of a quartet of fistic champions, hour to scout for a second job
conscious of our genius and de- and not stalk girls. When he’d

THE GOOD NEW DAYS 153


finished his drink, she gagged ly, a peanut-vendor strolling
him with his sandwich and let across the ring. The red in her
him go. face went purple and she slowly
The beetle-man dodged aside. reached for the bubbling coffee
Dick took off with a straight- flask and slowly lifted it. The
line velocity that would have beetle-man innocently watched
broken his neck and scattered the lethal globe ascend with its
his bones if we’d still been living tip-tilting seething brown hemi-
on the twentieth floor and not core, as if all this were a job-
in thisground-level flat they indoctrination demonstration in
tricked us into exchanging for. astrophysics.
The TV blinked and presto — Whitey started up, but I push-
— there was a soldierly file of ed him back in his chair, saying
eight-job men (tabbed for that rapidly, “Not you. Even being
by the digit on their left shoul- an old friend of the family
der) single-footing with pleasant wouldn’t save you from the horns
monotony past the golden plas- at this moment.”
tic statue of a twelve- jobber. Then I rasped loud as ambu-
Each as he reached screen-cen- lance-brakes at Ma, “Hold your
ter turned head and shouted an hand, you murdering old frump!”
inaudible by optimistic some- She turned at once, as I’d
thing at me and bared all his known she would. I cited her
perfectly tended teeth in a daz- and she charged me with the
zling grin. coffee flask high, very much like
a small Miura, but armed in a
breathed a happy sigh and fashion to have made Manolete
I got set for a spell of quiet himself turn pale. But I slipped
— at least until the centipedes her with a half veronica and as
decided to start scuttling but — she went past I kissed her low
just then the beetle-man poked on the back of the neck, Just at
his head in and piped politely the spot where the matador’s
at Ma, “Good morning, Mrs. sword goes in. I whisked my
Henley, I’m your area med stat- arms around her beloved thick
istician, come to take your blood- waist, and the next instant she
pressure and photo-snap your and Whitey and I were as happy
insides and all for posterity, like as tin larks together flitting
we arranged for a week ago.” through a sparkling star cluster,
Ma
slowly turned her head and and she was pouring fresh tof-
glared at him like a bull that fee for us.
spots the matador, or, more like- But the bettle-man, never

154 GALAXY

dreaming the deadly peril he’d far, and piped soothingly, “Mrs.
been in, advanced another step Henley, there’s nothing vulgar or
into the kitchen and called, “Mrs. inferior about robo med. The
Henley, it’s very needful you Secretary of Mental Health him-
have your medical inspection. self prefers

” he started to take
You’re distorting area med stat- another step into the room.
istics and there are drastic pen- “That old sham!” Ma roared,
alties for evading med census. palpitating my grasp and
in
No need for you to undress, just purpling dark. “He’s the same
hold still now —” one whose minions are forever
sentencing my genius son Harry
pushed the coffee flask back to the clutches of the remedial
I against the wall and I stroked psychiatrists.”
Ma as I held her tight, so she “But Mrs. Henley,” the little
didn’t go quite as purple as she fellow went on with rash cour-
howled at him, “You filthy med- age, “I can see with my own
spy! —do you think I’ll submit eyes you’re not in the best of
to your peepings and be stuff for health. An immediate med-
your filt'ny pictures when I’m check —
not granted decent human med That gave me my
opening and
service if I do sicken? Here I I shoved Ma into Whitey’s arms

have four grand sons, supermen and advanced on the beetle-man


all — Meaghan here, who’s a quickly, wavering my finger like
master mind doctor, and Harry a sword between his bug eyes.
who’s still in bed, the greatest “You watch yourself, lad,” I

poet in the world, and Dick the cried, “or they’ll be terminating
Prince of Personalities, whom you for making diagnoses who
you saw speeding to work and I are only a census-taker. That’s
need not comment on, and Tom, what the licensed psychers did
who’s a bloody wonder and — to me for adding only a few
the filthy world takes so little words of insight and wisdom Co
note of them that if I go to the my street-smiling.”
clinic it’s only robot doctors At that very moment a ghost-
who’ll see me and never a flesh- ly pattering began and swiftly
and-blood physician!” grew louder. It seemed to come
Whatever the topic of her rant, from everywhere.
Ma always gets in a commercial “What’s that?” the little chap
for her boys. asked wonderingly.
The beetle-man quivered back “The giant centipedes,” I told
a little at all that, but not very him.

THE GOOD NEW DAYS 155


T T e paled and his zoomered I was thinking of how Harry

eyes searched the shadows might make a shuddery poem of


under table and sink as he scut- them: glittery cosmic crawlers
tled backwards, and just at that nibbling the gray rim of infinity,
moment, perhaps from the floor eating their way in toward us
being swayed by our movements, from the ends of the universe —
the great spring on the fridge when at that instant a weightier
came loose and went klishing chunk, rejected by one of the
across the floor very close to creature’s delicate digestive ap-
his feet —a twenty-inch coil of paratus, no doubt, came thank-
gray wire. He leaped for the lin- ing down like a meteor not four
tel of the doorway to hoist him- feet from us, denting the hard
self out of reach of the veno- ground and raising a geyser of
mous monster of his imagination, dust. The beetle-man darted off
but he missed and fell and went a dozen more steps while 1 duck-
leaping off as if old Fu-Manchu’s ed back under the awning, calling
whole blessed menagerie were at to him, “Now be off with you,
his heels. In pure pity I follow- little official, and trouble Ma no
ed him under the great awning, more. She’s too much for you,
polka -dotted now by the shad- but let that not cast you down.
ows showing through of the stuff Look on her as a revenant from
pattering down on it, and caught a hardier, crueller age —
a duch-
up with him just beyond the ess out of place.”
mounting flake-drift.
“Don’t be frightened,” I told ’d no sooner got back in the
him, grappling him gently and I kitchen, where Ma and Whitey
forcing him to lift his zoomers were chatting over their coffee,
to the ragged-topped wall be- than Ellie, Dick’s wife, came out
hind, now only four to six stories of the bed-closets full-dressed
high instead of the thirty it had with bright suitcases in her hands
been a week ago. Along its roll- and a dirty dark look in her
er coaster margin two sinuous eyes. She was saying, “Listen all
many-legged great silver beasties of you, for I’ll not tell it twice,

scampered, chomping great bites I’m leaving that one-job no-good


out of it and raining the digest- and going back to my last hus-
ed fragments down from their band, who’s still got the three
rear ends in concrete cornflakes. jobs I left him with when I
“Those are the giant centi- thought to better myself by en-
pedes,” I explained. “Demolish- tering this house of mad pride
ment robots, only.” and sloth and poets snoring,” and

156 GALAXY
she brushed past me, the silver fix that, Meaghan,” and then her
spring twinging again as she beloved claws were propelling me
chanced to kick it. to a seat at the table flush
“Meaghan, let her go, who against the blue flexo, with my
can’t appreciate the Prince of cup in front of me and beyond
Personalities,” Ma said to me that Tom’s great face as full of
loftily,her color down to lady- a smile of eager elder-brother
like brightpink again, but I still benignity as my cup was of
would have followed and argued steaming coffee — Ma having
with Ellie —
Dick didn’t deserve poured again and dropped in a
to be deserted when he’d just pinch of dexy (I saw her) to
got a toe on the bottom rung of give me spirit.

the ladder, which of course was


why she was leaving him though A 11 the while I was thinking
she didn’t know it, a jealous no- chiefly. What job’s he found
job little wifey — except that now that’s so bad he won’t take
just then who should appear in it himself but offer "^t to me?
the doorway but my eldest broth- It’d have to be pretty bad, for
er, Tom, filling it with his big at last count Tom’s three jobs
grin and his great shoulders and were grinding mirrors for leisure-
his aura of three-job success — time astronomers who hadn’t
or would it be four now? and — time to grind their own that’s —
saying, “Hi, Ma. Ellie leaving one —and selling retailers a
Dick again? Who’s the tiny one brand of all-cornsilk cancer-free
hanging around outside? Hous- cigarets with the genuine coal-
ing official come to coax you tar taste and the nicotine life —
once more from this death trap? that’s two — and answering for
Hello, Whitey. No, no coffee, a robot answering service when-
Ma, I want to talk to Meaghan ever the decibal-rating of the
here. I’ve got something for the caller’s voice began to indicate
lad!” extreme rage. He still had the
I knew what that meant, of third job, at any rate, by the
course, and I was already hunch- phone-rig hanging around his
ed on my hands and knees, start- neck.
ing to fix the spring to the fridge “Meaghan,” he beamed, “next
again — a job that might easily to an all-girl squad of revivalist
take the rest of the day, I decid- angels, there’s naught so won-
ed — when I felt Ma’s kindly tal- drous as brother-love. I got
ons on my shoulders, lifting me something great for you. By the
up, and she saying, “Whitey’U by, I’ve Number Four myself
THE GOOD NEW DAYS 157
now — I travel in ladies’ glow- world is good for any longer?”
in-the-dark underthings.” And then I added, reckless in
As Ma raised a cheer at that, my light-heartedness, “You were
1 looked around for escape, but saying . .
.?”
Whitey was squatting at the “Meaghan,” Tom began again,
fridge and blocking the door to “I know you had this trifling
the outer world, as happy with street-smiler’s job —
his tinkering as a great-grand- “Not so trifling or iittle,” I
father cockroach (one of which defended, though I hadn’t in-
was walking up while
his leg) tended to. “The sociologists de-
Ma, cheering still but with a cided people looked too tense
policeman’s eye on me, was tak- and glum going back and forth
ing a cup of coffee big and smok- to work and shopping and so on,
ing as a volcano into the bed- so they hired folk like myself to
closets —
to fire Harry’s poetic mingle among ’em and strike up
genius, no doubt, or in lieu of talk, casual-like, to cheer ’em
that toss him on his lazy feet. up. Not quite the worst idea in

“Meaghan ” Tom began, but the world, either.”
just then his neck phone rang
and he twitched it on and I CC^Tes, but you went too far,”
could hear a voice like angry Tom reminded me. “You
wasps. Tom listened and his face pried into people’s minds to find
grew pink —
he takes after Ma their real troubles and set ’em
in that —
and he said, “Certain- straight. That’s psychers’ v/ork,
ly, madam.
However and — ’’
my lad, and you can’t blame that
then his face grew purple and august profession for resenting
he began to bubble his mouth your competition and having you
like a fish. terminated.”
leaned across the table and
I “I helped the people I talked
put my lips to the mouthpiece to,” I countered stubbornly. “I
and shouted, “I love you dearly, couldn’t have talked to them at
unknown, indeed I do. I love all, Tom, if I hadn’t something
you dearly, madam, brood upon solid to say.”
that,” and I tw'itched the thing “I loveyou dearly, madam,
off. brood upon that,” Tom said.
“That won’t satisfy her,” Tom “Solid!”
said when he got his right color “I don’t worry ’em or push any
back and his breath. of their desperation buttons,
“It will for twenty minutes," though I glimpsed banks of
I told him, “and what in this those,” I protested on. “1 just

158 GALAXY
encouraged ’em to widen their Ma around to hold her down.”
minds and feelings a little and “Ma’s all right,” I told him
get some of the comic side-wash more courage
.sharply. “She’s got
of others’ troubles and cheer up and determination and vision
naturally.” than the four of us’ll ever have
“There you’ve hit the nub of together. And such a fierce self-
it,” Tom asserted, wagging a fin- punishing drive I wonder she’s
ger in my face. “You tried to still alive. How would you ever

deliver more than your job call - have got out of here to a place
ed for, instead of learning to do of your own without Ma boot-
itwith a minimum of effort and ing you?”
finding another job to go with
it, to swell your income — and tt'T^rue, true,” he agreed.
then another after that.” He gave “Nevertheless, Ma’s a
a quick look around —
to make hopeless romantic. She wants her
sure Ma hadn’t come back, I four sons to be Dukes of the
soon realized —
and then lean- World, lording it over all.”
ing forward said with a confi- I couldn’t help chuckling at
dential hush, “Oh, Meaghan, my that, “When I was still street-
boy, I’ve learned so much of the smiling,” I confided, “a little
world since I got away from man, who thought he was a
here and Ma’s no longer firing great romantic, opened his mind
me with resentments and wild to me wanting only to escape
ambitions. The world’s a very from the prison of his life and
tidy comfortable place if only aim a flashing sword at other
you’ll remember there are three men and capture with love their
billion other lunatic climbers in women — and corral all the sin-
it —
and do no more than you’re gle girls going around loose too.
told and watch the smiles .and After we both looked at this
frowns of your superiors and stirring picture a while, we rea-
keep your eyes open and your what he really wanted
lized that
nostrils flared for flicker or scent was to have all women mother
of another chance to make mon- him and puff him up and lead
ey. Step fast, keep adding one him through life like a great
job to the next like beads
little bobbing red balloon.”
on a necklace, and forget Ma “That’s the way with all ro-
and her wild dreams. Oh and did mantics, including Ma,” Tom
I tell you my
Katie’s got two said, taking advantage of me
jobs herself now too? and — straightway. “She wants her sons
never a one she’d have had with , to be princes and kings, or board

THE GOOD NEW DAYS 159


chairmen at all events, not rea- created by medical advance.”
lizing there’s a billion others “It doesn’t seem to be burn-
starting up the success-ladder ing you out,” Tom observed.
with them —
and not one with
a genuine ion drive. Not realiz- 4<XJow listen here, Tom my
ing that the competition’s too ^ ^ boy,” I continued, warm-
stiff any man to dream of
for ing tomy subject. “Isn’t there
being more than an eight-job something altogether crazy about
statistic with his peers. Or ten a world that wants to turn every-
at most.” one into merchants no matter
The TV now was sailing over what their natural psychological
a great pile of gently crumpled class —
a world that’s turned
bedclothes, which struck me as even scientists and poets and
most pleasant and unlikely. Then adventurers and soldiers and
I realized it was orbiting the priests into merchants busy sell-
Earth high above the clouds and ing themselves — a world that’s
there low in the foreground were feared so much that the machine
the backs of beautifully barber- would take away all jobs that
ed heads and now a sign flash- it’s gone ape creating jobs and
ing across the clouds: “Vacation financial ventures by the billions.
Jaunts through Space for Nine- With each reduction in working
Job Heroes of Democracy.” hours paralleled by an equal or
“You’re right about the com- greater increase in time spent on
petition,” I agreed quickly with part-time and side-line jobs — a
Tom. “I’m no enemy of democ- world that’s so money- conscious
racy, I’m one of its darlingest that a man who takes his eyes
friends, but there’s no question off the dollar for a month or a
it’s upped the competition more day or even ten seconds —
than ever it was in Earth’s his- “Your eyes don’t look red with
tory. We’ve got more machines, squinting at silver,” Tom observ-
more health, more freedom of ed like a lemon. “Besides, you’re
movement, more education, mcwe deafening me.”
leisure, more time for making Just then Ma came lumbering
money in our spare time, more daintily in again and asked Tom,
almost equal people, and more “What’s this wondrous jo’o
incentives, more quick showy re- you’ve got for Meaghan? I can’t
wards for the quickly successful wait any longer to hear.” Just
— with the result that the com- as if she hadn’t been hearing
petition burns us out fast enough every word and writhing at my
to equalize all the longevity negativisms.

160 GALAXY

I groaned as
on the verge
if said, “I suppose the robots
of defeat. Tom laughed and I they’re having the most trou-
said, “1 was forgetting about ble with are the ones that re-
that. with Mea talking
What pair heat-tunnels and sewers and
of billions of jobs, my one gst other delightful underground
lost the stampede. Well, it
in conduits.”
seems that the repair robots are “How did you know that?”
getting unpredictable every- Tom asked me very quickly.
where, spending too much time “Old sunken spillways and aqua-
on some jobs and not enough ducts and chimneys too, though
on others, and passing up still — some of the last poking thou-
others altogether. One repaired sands of feet high into the clear
a leak so well it built an armor heady air. A most healthful job,
wall six feet thick around the —
my boyo a regular mountain-
leak and himself —
Fortunata, climbing and spelunking vaca-
they called that one. Another tion.”
found a leak and did nothing I said softly, “I think I’d rath-
but start making identical leaks er drown parboiled in this coffee
in all the pipes he followed — cup than play psychiatric aide to
until thousands of them were a manic genius robot with a
squirting behind him. A demo- breakneck wander-urge who’s
lition robot started shooting waiting for his metal conscious-
rocks at a new-risen glastic ness to with its first
brighten
building. Yet the circuits of these jeweled unhuman
pictures and
robots are in perfect order and impulses. The
electricity-loving
they always behave properly un- machines are coming awake, did
der factory tests. So what must you know that, Tom? All the
be done is to have a man follow machines —
each metal trouble-shooter and “No, it’s but one machine,” a
note every move he makes, softer dreamier voice, mournful
watch his behavior day after as a breeze through dead leaves,
day —
taking weeks if necessary cut in on me. The adolescent
so the robot will get used to wraith with hair like blond spi-
his presence and not vary his derweb, who was Ma’s poet ge-
behavior to please or confuse or nius and my youngest brother
harm the watcher. Oh, it’s a Harry, came drifting in from the
fine sort of job —
no work at all bed-closets as if blown rather
— sort of like what they called than walking. I could tell from
Sidewalk Inspecting back in the the light-year look in his blue
depths of history.” eyes that he’d conned his re-

THE GOOD NEW DAYS 161


medial psycher out of some pills. Meaghan scorns it, how about
He went on, “The whole Earth Harry. Think of it, Harry, you
is one great metal machine, a always claim you want to be
dull steel marble amongst the alone. Roaming those cool tun-
aggies and glassies of the other nels and sewers all by yourself
planets. Ifanyone ever went out except for some witless machine
there with earth-eyes and not a you’ll catch onto in ten minutes.
spaceman’s, he’d see it rolling You’ll have all the time and
along, over and over, like a great quiet in the world to create your
silver shop-made tumblebug poetry. Why, underground your
spotted with cities and wet here poetry will sprout like roots, I’m
and there with oceans, blinking sure, and run fast as crabgrass.”
the eyes of its ice-caps and smok- “Ma,” Harry said, “sooner
ing its volcanos and folding and than take that job I’d head for
unfolding its harrow-footed Beatsville today rather than to-
space-crazy legs in time with the morrow.”
phases of the moon. And if you “You wouldn’t do that, Har-
looked real close you’d see mil- ry,” Ma wailed menacingly. “Tell
lions of fleas jumpin’ off it and me you wouldn’t.” Ma’s always
beginning the long fall to the prided herself that no matter
nadir.” how slumlike we
live and close
At that moment the TV jump- to we’d never get
Beatsville,
ed to a 24-hour satellite star- there. In Beatsville they pretend
ward of Terra and showed us even worse than in the suburbs,
the whole moonlit Earth backed pretend to be supermen and pre-
by the Milky Way, as if snared tend to be animals, and creep
by a diamond-dewy spiderweb. each night to the electrified
Ma squeaked a proud sigh at boundary to pick up the food
Harry’s words thus coming out and drink left for them.
illustrated. But Harry nodded again and
“Will you take the job?” Tom then Ma began yelling at Tom
rasped at me. that he was trying to break up
“Tomorrow I will for sure,” what was left of her family, hav-
I told him. “And that’s all the ing splintered himself off first.

answer you’ll ever get from me Whitey came alive and flapped
— tomorrow or any other day.” his hands at her cautiously, like
a torero ready jump the
to
TV Ta
tapped her hoof and flash- fence. I slitted my eyes as if I
ed a rageful eye at me. were falling asleep. Tom
got red
“Tom,” she said to him, “if as Ma and said the hell with us,

162 GALAXY
he was going for good. So Ma Ma screamed a great single
stamped this way and that, now scream and took a step forward
roaring at Harry and me for our, and then stiffened and fell back
sloth, now bellowing at Tom for and I caught her in my arms
his disloyalty. Then she lifted and lowered her to the floor and
her arms to heaven and froze. pillowed her head. Outside I
At that instant the beetle-man could hear the beetle-man buzz-
popped into the doorway and ing into his neckphone for an
pointed his antennae at her. No ambulance like the fool he was
one saw him but me. — for Tom’s head was smashed
Tom’s face grew redder and to the neck. Then I was wonder-
he gave a snort and turned on ing how Tom’s blood could have
his heel toward the door just got on Ma, for there was blood
as the beetle-man ducked out of on her chest and then more and
sight. Tom had no sooner stamp- more of it, like a bull fallen from
ed out than the beetle-man pop- the final thrust and pumping his
ped in again behind him, waving heart out, and then I realized
a gray-black transparency he’d it was Ma’s blood from her lungs,
whipped from his black belly- gurgling with her Cheyne-Stokes
box. breathing.
“Mrs. Henley,” he piped rap- Whitey came fluttering down
idly, “I got a perfect shot of all at her other side.
your insides, but that’s all that’s Harry was standing looking at
perfect about it. You must come us and he was trembling, and
to the clinic right away with me. then we heard the siren far off,
Your heart’s like a watermelon and then another, and then the
and your aorta and pulmonary two of them coming closer fast,
like summer squash.” He wag- and as they came closer and
gled a finger at me. “Diagnosis their angry wailing grew louder,
by a med-spector is permissable Harry began to tremble more,
in dire emergencies.” and as their sound burst into the
open of the razed blocks, he

M
ing
a’s face went purple.
that instant I felt the build-
quiver from the top down
At cried,

he
“I’m off to Beatsville,”
and he was sprinting by the time
through the door.
v,^ent

and a heartbeat later something I knew what was coming, al-

burst through tlie awning and though there was nothing I could
struck Tom as if he were a very do but hold Ma. Then I knew
thick spike and it a hammer that what was coming had come,
driving him into the ground. for there was a shout and a

THE GOOD NEW DAYS 163


great squealing of brakes and a of highly talented actors and
scream and a thud, and the actresses, all of them seven- job
brakes still squealing. folk and this the eighth job for
Then Ma
stopped breathing, all of them. Flights of smiles
but she looked angry.
still were going back and forth across
It was time before any-
a long the screen, like seagulls wheeling
one came in, I went on holding at sunset.
Ma and wiping her face clean, The
concrete cornflakes were
though it stayed red for all that. stillpattering on the awning. I
I heard one ambulance leave and marched us straight under the
then the other. Finally a doctor hole the rock had made that
came in, and the beetle-man too, killed Tom, and they pelted on
and the doctor looked at Ma our hair and shoulders and necks
and shook his head and said that like feathery hail.
if only she’d been med-checked We
climbed the flake-drift and
regularly it need never have I paused and turned round. The

happened, but I told him, “You giant centipedes were busily


didn’t know Ma.” And the crawling back and forth, the one
beetle-man buzzed into his neck- swinging aside most cleverly to
phone for an ambulance back. let the other pass. They’d chew-
I said, chokily, “She died ed their way here and there
brave, charging the muleta dead down to the second floor.
on, and I’m damned if I’ll award looked down to our shadow-
I
society a single hoof of her, let ed doorway with the faintest
alone the horns or the tail.” No flicker of TV still coming out
one got it. The beetle-man eyed of it, and I thought I’d like to
me and took a surreptitious note. drive a nail a mile long down
through the center of that room,
''T^hen for a while I was signing pinning it there forever, and en-
papers and listening to this grave in the head of the nail,
and that, but finally they were in letters a foot deep, “A Family
all gone, the living and dead, and Lived Here.”
I was alone with Whitey and I But that was a little beyond
remembered we ought to tell the scope of my engineering, so
Dick. pushing Whitey ahead of me, off
The TV was showing a great I went to tell Dick, laughing and
musical review with hundreds crying. — FRITZ LEIBER

-Ar

164 GALAXY
by ISAAC ASIMOV

Five of them had come fo the pianef.


Four were dead. The other had only
one chance left — to live forever!

''T^he original combination of tinged eyeballs still open, and a


-* catastrophes had taken place fifthwas yet on his feet.
five years ago —
five revolutions But it was no question of hero-
of this planet, HC-12549d by the ism at all. It had been five men
charts, and nameless otherwise. fighting off boredom and des-
Six-plus revolutions of Earth, but pair and maintaining their metal-
who was counting —any more? lic bubble of livability only for
If the men back home knew, the most unheroic reason that
they might say it was a heroic there was nothing else to do
fight, an epic of the Galactic while life remained.
Corps; five men against a hostile If any of them felt stimulated
world, holding their bitter own by the battle, he never mentioned
for five (or six-plus) years. And it. After the first year, they
now they were dying, the battle stopped talking of rescue, and
Three were in final
lost after all. after the second, a moratorium
coma, a fourth had his yellow- descended on the word, “Earth.”

165

But one word remained always intact was itself a near-mir u I
.-

present. If unspoken it had to be The five were given life for scr.ie
found in their thoughts; “Am- years at least. Beyond that, oaly
monia.” the blundering arrival of another
It bad come first while the ship could help, but no one ex-
landing was being scratched out pected that. They had had their
against all odds on limping mo- life’s share of coincidences, they
tors and in a battered space can. knew, and all had been bad.
You allow for bad breaks, of That was that.
course; you expect a certain And the key word was “am-
number —but
one at a time. A monia.” With the surface spirall-
stellar fries out the hyper-
flare ing upward, and death (merciful-
circuits —thatcan be repaired, ly quick) facing them at consider-
given time. A meteorite disaligns ably better than even odds, Chou

the feeder-valves they can be somehow had time to note the
straightened, given time. A tra- absorption spectrograph, which
jectory is miscalculated under was registering raggedly.
tension and a momentarily un- “Ammonia,” he cried out. The
bearable acceleration tears out others heard but there was no
the jump-antennae and dulls the time to pay attention. There was
senses of every man on board only the wrenching fight against
but antennae can be replaced a quick death for the sake of a
and senses will recover, given slow one.
time. When they landed finally, on
The chances are one in count- sandy ground with sparse, rag-
less many that all three will ged bluish vegetation; reedy
happen at once; and still less grass; stunted tree-like objects
that they will happen during a with blue bark and no leaves; no
particularly tricky landing when sign of animal life; and with
the one necessary currency for an almost greenish cloud-
the correction of all errors, time, streaked sky above the word —
is the one thing that is most came back to haunt them.
lacking. “Ammonia?” said Petersen
heavily.
'"T^he Cruiser John hit that one Chou said, “Four percent.”
chance in countless many, “Impossible,” said Petersen.
and it made a final landing, for But it wasn’t. The books
it would never lift off a planetary What the
didn’t say impossible.
surface again. Galactic Corps had discovered
That it had landed essentially was that a planet of a certain
166 GALAXY
;

mass and volume and at a certain cellent condition and it passed


temperature was an ocean planet the time. The planet was harm-
and had one of two atmospheres; less; no animal life; sparse plant
nitrogen/oxygen or nitrogen/car- life everywhere. Blue, always
bon dioxide. In the former case, blue ;
ammoniated chlorophyll
life was rampant in the latter, it arnmoniated protein.
was primitive. They set up laboratories, an-
No one checked beyond mass, alyzed the plant components,
volume and temperature any studied microscopic sections,
longer. One took the atmosphere compiled vast volumes of find-
(one or the other of them) for ings. They tried growing native
granted. But the books didn’t say plants in ammonia-free atmos-
it had to be so; just that it al- phere and failed. They made
ways was so. Other atmospheres themselves into geologists and
were thermodynamically pos- studied the planet’s crust; as-
sible, but extremely unlikely so tronomers and studied the spec-
they weren’t found in actual trum of the planet’s sun.
practice. Barrere would say sometimes,
Until now. The men of the “Eventually, the Corps will reach
Cruiser John had found one and this planet again and we’ll leave
were bathed for the rest of such a legacy of knowledge for them.
life as they could eke out by a It’s a unique planet after all.
nitrogen /carbon dioxide/ ammon- There might not be another
ia atmosphere. Earth-type with ammonia in all
the Milky Way.”
'^'^he men converted their ship “Great,” said Sandropoulos,
an underground bubble
into bitterly. “What luck for us.”
of Earth-type surroundings. Sandropoulos worked out the
They could not lift off the sur- thermodynamics of the situation.
face, nor could they drive a com- “A metastable system,” he said.
municating beam through hyper- “The ammonia disappears stead-
space, but all else was salvage- ily through geochemical oxida-
able. To make up for inefficien- tion that forms nitrogen; the
cies in the cycling system, they plants utilize nitrogen and re-
could even tap the planet’s own form ammonia, adapting them-
water and air supply within lim- selves to the presence of ammon-
its; provided, of course, they sub- ia. If the rate of plant formation
tracted the ammonia. of ammonia dropped two per-
They organized exploring par- cent, a declining spiral would set
ties since their suits were in ex- in. Plant life would wither, re-

FOUNDING FATHER 167


ducing the ammonia still further under extreme condition.s — All
and so on.” the better with which to seed the
“You mean if weenough
killed next planet.
plant life,” said Vlassov, “we The ammonia would kill any
could wipe out the ammonia.” Earth-plant, but the seeds at the
“If we had air-sleds and wide- disposal of the Cruiser John were
angle blasters, and a year to work not true Earth-plants but other-
in,we might,” said Sandropoulos, world mutations of these plants.
“but we haven’t and there’s a bet- They fought hard but not well
ter way. If we could get our enough. Some varieties grew in a
plants going, the formation of feeble, sickly manner and died.
oxygen through photosynthesis At that they did better than
would increase the rate of am- did microscopic life. The planet’s
monia oxidation. Even a small bacterioids were far more flour-
localized rise would lower the ishing than was the planet’s
ammonia in the region, stimulate straggly blue plant-life. The na-
Earth-plant growth further, and tive microorganisms drowned out
inhibit the native growth, drop any attempt at competition from
the ammonia further and so on.” Earth-samples. The attempt to
They became gardeners seed the alien soil with Earth-
through the growing season.
all type bacterial flora in order to
That was, all, routine for
after aid the Earth-plants failed.
the Galactic
Corps. Life on Vlassov shook his head, “It
Earth-type planets was usually wouldn’t do anyway. If our bac-
of the water/protein type, but teria survived, it would only be
variation was infinite and other- by adapting to the presence of
world food was rarely nourishing ammonia.”
and even more often happened Sandropoulos said, “Bacteria
(not always, but often) that won’t help us. We need the
some types of Earth-plants plants ;
they
carry the oxygen
would overrun and drown out the manufacturing systems.”
native flora. With the native “We could make some our-
flora held down, other Earth- selves,” said Petersen. “We could
plants could take root. electrolyze water.”
“How long will our equipment
T^ozens of planets had been last? If we could only get our
converted into new Earths plants going it would be like elec-
in this fashion. In the process trolyzing water forever, little by
Earth-plants developed hundreds little, but year after year, till the

of hardy varieties that flourished planet gave up.”

168 GALAXY
Barrere said, “Let’s treat the steadily. Each month there was
soil then. It’s rotten with am- less room for maneuver.
nnK)nium salts. We’ll bake the When the end came at last, it
salts out and replace the ammon- was with almost gratifying sud-
ia-free soil.” denness. There was no name to
“And what about the atmos- place on the weakness and ver-
phere?” asked Chou. tigo. No one actually suspected
“In ammonia-free soil, they direct ammonia poisoning. Still,

may catch hold despite the at- they were living off the algal
mosphere. They almost make it growth of what had once been
as is.” ship-hydroponics for years and
They worked like longshore- the growths were themselves
men, but with no real end in aberrant with possible ammonia
view. None really thought it contamination.
would work, and there was no It could have been the work-
future for themselves, personally, ings of some native microorgan-
even if it did work. But working ism which might finally have
passed the days. learned to feed off them. It might
The next growing season, they even have been an Earthly mic-
had their ammonia-free soil, but roorganism, mutated under the
Earth-plants still grew only feeb- conditions of a strange world.
ly. They even placed domes over So three died at last and did
several shoots and pumped am- so, circumstances be praised,
monia-free air within. It helped painlessly. They were glad to
slightly but not enough. They ad- go, and leave the useless fight.
justed the chemical composition Chou said, in a voiceless whis-
of the soil in every possible fash- per, “It’s foolish to lose so bad-
ion. There was no reward. ly.”
The shoots produced
feeble Petersen, alone of the five to
their tiny whiffs of oxygen, but be on his feet (was he immune,
not enough to topple the am- whatever it was?) turned a griev-
monia atmosphere off its base. ing face toward his only living
“One more push,” said San- companion.
dropoulos, “one more. We’re “Don’t die,” he said, “don’t
rocking it; we’re rocking it;but leave me alone.”
we can’t knock it over.” Chou tried to smile. “I have
no But you can follow us,
choice.
''T^heir and equipment
tools old friend.Why fight? The tools
blunted and wore out with are gone and there is no way of
time and the future closed in winning now, if there ever was.”

FOUNDING FATHER 169


Even now, Petersen fought off T T e buried each in a spot of
final despair by concentrating on ^ ^ ammonia-free soil they had
the fight against the atmosphere. so laboriously built up; buried
But his mind was weary, his them without shroud and with-
heart worn out, and when Chou out clothing; leaving them naked
died the next hour, he was left in the hostile ground for the slow
with four corpses to work with. decomposition that would come
He stared at the bodies, count- with' their own microorganisms
ing over the memories, stretching before those, too, died with the
them back (now that he was inevitable invasion of the native
alone and dared wail) to Earth bacterioids.
itself, which he had last seen on Petersen placed each cross,
a visit eleven years before. with its helmet and oxygen cylin-
He would have to bury the ders, propped each with rocks
bodies He would break off the then turned away, grim and sad-
bluish branches of the native eyed, to return to the buried ship
leafless trees and build crosses that he now inhabited alone.
of them. He would hang the He worked each day and even-
space helmet of each man on top tually the symptoms came for
and prop the oxygen cylinders him, too.
below. Empty cylinders to sym- He struggled into his space
bolize the lost fight. suitand came to the surface for
A sentiment for men
foolish what he knew would be one last
who could no longer care, and time.
for future eyes that might never He fell to his knees on the
see. garden-plots. The Earth plants
But he was doing it for him- were green. They had lived
self, to show respect for his longer than ever before. They
friends, and respect for himself, looked healthy, even vigorous.
too, for he was not the kind of They had patched the soil,
man to leave his friends untend- babied the atmosphere, and now
ed in death while he himself Petersen had used the last tool,
could stand. the only one remaining at his dis-
Besides posal, and he had given them fer-
Besides? He sat in weary tilizer as well
thought for some moments. Out of the slowly corrupting
While he was still alive, he flesh of the Earthmen came the
would fight with such tools as nutrients that supplied the final
were left. He would bury his push. Out of the Earth-plants
friends. came the oxygen that would beat
170 GALAXY
back the ammonia and push the and remain to give a hint as to
planet out of the unaccountable what happened. Their own rec-
niche into which it had stuck. ords, sealed away, might be
If Earthmen ever came again found.
(when? a million years hence?) But none of that mattered. If
they would find a nitrogen/oxy- nothing at all was ever found,
gen atmosphere and a limited the planet itself, the whole
flora strangely reminiscent of planet, would be their monu-
Earth’s. ment.
The crosses would rot and de- And Petersen lay down to die
cay, the metal rust and decom- in the midst of their victory.
pose. The bones might fossilize —ISAAC ASIMOV

FORECAST
Actually our editorial this month is our forecast, but it's on a some-
whdt longer-range scale than usual. Restricting our view to the single issue
coming up next, here's what it looks like now:
The lead is by C. C. MacApp, a writer who hitherto has appeared in
Galaxy only as the author of a couple of biting and sardonically funny
short stories like And All the Earth a Grave and A Flask of Fine Arcturan.
Next month's is quite different. It's an adventure story. The place is the
planet Mercury. The time, some hundreds of years in the future; and the
title is The Mercurymen. Pederson has done the cover for it; and if the

object you see in the background looks to you like a covered wagon —
if

is! It has to be, in fact —for reasons you will discover when you read the
story.
Robert Silverberg will join us again next issue with a long novelette
called The Warriors of Light. And we have a pointed and funny novelette
by a new writer named Norman Kagan (you may remember that he was
one of the "firsts" we print in every issue of our companion magazine, If,
some time ago. His story then was called The Mathenauts, and it was im-
mediately selected for "best of the year" honors). What Kagan is writing
about this time is politics —
the grandest game of them all, as they say;
but in Kagan's story the rules are those invented by Franz Kafka, and nat-
urally enough the story is called Laugh Along with Franz.
We also have a couple of shorts of special interest, since both mark
the first and long overdue appearance of their authors in Galaxy. One is
a very short one by Arthur C. Clarke (but he calls it the longest story ever
written, for reasons you will see when you read it); the other is by Harlan
Ellison. If they fit they'll be in!

FOUNDING FATHER 171


Shall We Have
a Little Talk?
by ROBERT SHECKLEY

Illustrated by GAUGHAN

Earth didn't just walk in and conquer


planets — there were definite rules!
Why wouldn't these people cooperate?

I The cloud cover broke up at


2000 feet. Jackson was able to
'"T^he landing was a piece of cake confirm his earlier sighting there :

despite gravitational vaga- was a city down there, just as


ries produced by two suns and sure as sure.
six moons. Low-level cloud cover He was in one of the world’s
could have given him some loneliest jobs; but his line of
trouble if Jackson had been com- work, paradoxically enough, re-
ing in visually. But he considered quired an extremely gregarious
that to be kid stuff. It was better man. Because of this built-in con-
and safer to plug in the computer tradiction, Jackson was in the
and lean back and enjoy the habit of talking to himself. Most
ride. of the men in his line of work

172
did. Jackson would talk to any- switched the status controls to
one, human or alien, no matter standby.
what their size or shape or color. He checked the analyzer for
It was what he was paid to do, oxygen and trace-element con-
and what he had to do anyhow. tent in the atmosphere, and took
He talked when he was alone on a quick survey of the local micro-
the long interstellar runs, and he organisms. The place was viable.
talked even more when he was He leaned back in his chair and
with someone or something that waited. It didn’t take long, of
would talk back. He figured he course. They — the locals, in-
was lucky to be paid for his com- digenes, authochtones, whatever
pulsions. you wanted to call them — came
“And not just paid, either,” he out of their city to look at the
reminded himself. “Well paid, spaceship. And Jackson looked
and with a bonus arrangement on through the port at them.
top of that. And furthermore, “Well now,” he said. “Seems
this feels like my lucky planet. like the alien life-forms in this
I feel like I could get rich on this neck of the woods are honest-to-
one; unless they kill me down Joe humanoids. That means a
there, of course.” five thousand dollar bonus for old
The lonely flights between the Uncle Jackson.”
planets and the imminence of
death were the only disadvan- ''X^he inhabitants of the city
tages of this job; but if the work were bipedal monocepha-
weren’t hazardous and difficult, They had the appropriate
loids.
the pay wouldn’t be so good. number of fingers, noses, eyes,
Would they kill him? You ears and mouths. Their skin was
could never tell. Alien life-forms a flesh-colored beige, their lips
were unpredictable —
just like were a faded red, their hair was
humans, only more so. black, brown or red.
“But I don’t think they’ll kill “Shucks, they’re just like
me,” Jackson said. “I just feel home-folks!” Jackson said. “Hell,
downright lucky today.” I ought to get an extra bonus for
This simple philosophy had that. Humanoidissmus, eh?”
sustained him for years, across The aliens wore clothes. Some
the endless lonely miles of space, of them carried elaborately
and in and out of ten, twelve, carved lengths of wood like
twenty planets. He saw no reason swagger-sticks. The women deco-
to change his outlook now. rated themselves with carved
The ship landed. Jackson and enameled ornaments. At a
SHALL WE HAVE A LITTLE TALK 173
flying guess. Jackson ranked member Jackson’s Law: All in-
them about equivalent to Late telligent life-forms share the di-
Bronze Age on Earth. vine faculty of gulli'Diiity; which
They talked and gestured means that the triple-tongued
among themselves. Their lan- Thung of Orangus V can be
guage was, of course, incompre- conned out of his skin just as
hensible to Jackson; but that easily as Joe Doakes of St. Paul.”
didn’t matter. The important And so, wearing a brave, arti-
thing was that they had a lan- ficial little smile, Jackson swung
guage, and that their speech the port open and stepped out
sounds could be produced by his to have a little talk.
vocal apparatus.
“Not like on that heavy planet tW'oll now, how jhall?” Jack-
last year.’’ Jackson“Those
said. ^ son asl.ed at once, just to
I had
supersonic sons of bitches! hear the sound of his own voice.
to wear special earphones and The nearest aliens shrank away
mike, and it was 110 in the from him. Nearly all of them were
shade.” frowning. Several of the younger
The aliens were waiting for ones carried bronze knives in a
him, and Jackson knew it. That forearm scabbard. These were
first moment of actual contact — clumsy weapons, but as effective
it always was a nervous business.
as anything ever invented. The
That’s when they were most
aliens started to draw.
apt to let you have it.
“Now take it easy,” Jackson
Reluctantly he moved to the
said, keeping his voice light and
hatch, undogged, it, rubbed his
unalarmed.
eyes and cleared his throat. He
They drew their knives and
managed to produce a smile. He
began to edge forward. Jackson
told himself, “Don’t get sweaty,
stood his ground, waiting, ready
member, you’re just a little old
to bolt through the hatch like a
Jackson, don’t choke up. Re-
jet-propelled jack-rabbit, hoping
member you’re just a little old
interstellar wanderer —
kind of he could make it.
galactic vagabond —
to extend Then a third man (might as
the hand of friendship and all well call them men Jackson de-
that jazz. You’ve just dropped in cided) stepped in front of the
for a little talk, nothing more. belligerent two. This one was
Keep on believing that, sweety, older. He spoke rapidly. He ges-
and the extraterrestrial Johns will tured. The two with the knives
believe right along with you. Re- looked.

174 GALAXY

“That’s right,” Jackson said just exactly what could happen.”


encouragingly. “Take a good look. “So what I say,” Herbie would
Heap big spaceship. Plenty strong continue, “I say, let’s not take
medicine. Vehicle of great power, any risks. I mean, sure, he looks
fabricated by a real advanced friendly enough, but he’s just got
technology. Sort of makes you too damned much power, and
stop and think, doesn’t it?” that’s not right. And right now is
It did. the best chance we’ll ever get to
The aliens had stopped; take him on account of he’s just
and ifnot thinking, they were at standing there waiting for like an
least doing a great deal of talk- ovation or something. So let’s
ing. They pointed at the ship, put this bastard out of his misery,
then back at their city. and then we can talk the whole
“You’re getting the idea,” thing over, and see how it stacks
Jackson told them. “Power up situationwise.”
speaks a universal language, eh, with you!”
“By Jesus, I’m
cousins?”
cries Fred. Others signify their
He had been witness to many assent.
of these scenes on many different
“Good for you, lads,” cries
planets. He could nearly write Herbie. “Let’s wade in and take
their dialogue for them. It usu- this alien joker like now!"
ally went like this: So they start to make their
Intruder lands in outlandish move; but suddenly, at the last
space vehicle, thereby eliciting second. Old Doc (the third
(1) curiosity, (2) fear and (3) autochthon) intervenes, saying,
hostility. Aftersome minutes of “Hold it a minute, boys, we can't
awed contemplation, one autoch- do it like that. For one thing,
thone usually said to his friend: we got laws around here

“Hey, that damned metal thing “To hell with that,” says P'red
packs one hell of a lot of power.” (a born troublemaker and some-
“You’re right, Herbie,” his what simple to boot).
friend Fred, the second autoch- “ —and aside from the laws,
tiion, would reply. it would be just too damned
“You bet I’m right,” Herbie dangerous for us.”
would say. “And hell, with that “Me’n Fred here ain’t scared,”
much power and technology and says valiant Herb. “Maybe you
stuff, this son of a gun could like better go take in a movie or
enslave us: I mean he really something, Doc. Us guys’ll handle
could.” this.”
“You’ve hit it, Herbie, that’s “I was not referring to a short-
SHALL WE HAVE A LITTLE TALK 175
range personal danger,” Old Doc “Maybe, maybe,” mimics wise
says scornfully. “What I fear is old Doc. “Well, baby, v-je can’t
the destruction of our city, the risk the whole ball game on a
slaughter of our loved ones and goddamned maybe. We can’t af-
the annhilation of our culture.” ford to kill this alien joker
Herb and Fred stop. “What or the chance that maybe his
you talking about, Doc? He’s just people wouldn’t do what any
one stinking alien; you push a reasonable-minded guy would do,
knife in his guts, he’ll bleed like which is namely to blow us all
anyone else.” to hell.”
“Fools! Schlemiels!” thunders “Well, I suppose we maybe
the wise old Doc. “Of course you can’t,” Herbie says. “But Doc,
can kill him! But what happens what can we do?”
after that?” “Just wait and see what he
“Huh?” says Fred, squinting wants . .

his china-blue pop eyes.


“Idiots! Cochons! You think II
this is the only spaceship these
aliens got? You think they don’t A scene very much like that,
even know whereabouts this guy according to reliable recon-
has gone? Man, you gotta assume struction, had been enacted at
they got plenty more ships where least thirty or forty times. It
this one came from, and you got- usually resulted in a policy of
ta also assume that they’ll be wait-and-see. Occasionally the
damned mad if this ship doesn’t contactor from Elarth was killed
show up when it’s supposed to, before wise counsel could prevail;
and you gotta assume that when but Jackson was paid to take
these aliens learn the score they’re risks like that.
gonna be damned sore and buzz Whenever the contactor was
back here and stomp on every- killed, retribution followed with
thing and everybody.” swift and terrible inevitability.
“How come I gotta assume Also with regret, of course, be-
that? asks feeble-witted Fred. cause Earth was an extremely
“Cause it’s what you’d do in a civilized place and accustomed to
deal like that, right?” living within the law. No civiliz-
guess maybe I would at
“I ed law-abiding race likes to
that,” says Fred, with a sheep- commit genocide. In fact, the
ish grin. “Yeah, I just might do folks on Earth consider genocide
that little thing. But look, may- a very unpleasant matter, and
be they wouldn’t. they don’t like to read about it
176 GALAXY
or anything like it in their morn- of the city. After a brief hesita-
ing papers. Envoys must be pro- tion, his new-found friends fell
tected, of course, and murder into step behind him.
must be punished ;
everybody Everything was moving accord-
knows that. But it still doesn’t ing to plan.
feel nice to read about a geno- all the other Con-
Jackson, like
cide over your morning coffee. tactors,was a polyglot of singu-
News like that can spoil a man’s lar As basic equip-
capabilities.
entire day.Three or four geno- ment, he had an eidetic memory
cidesand a man just might get and an extremely discriminating
angry enough to switch his vote. ear. More important, he possess-
Fortunately, there was never ed a startling aptitude for langu-
much occasion for that sort of age and an uncanny intuition for
mess. Aliens usually caught on meaning. When Jackson came up
pretty fast. Despite the language against an incomprehensible ton-
barrier, aliens learned that you gue, he picked out, quickly and
simply don’t kill Earthmen. unerringly, the significant units,
And then, later, bit by bit, they the fundamental building blocks
learned all the rest. of the language. Quite without
effort he sorted vocalizations in-
^"T^he hot-heads had sheathed to cognitive, volitional and emo-
their knives. Everybody was tional aspects of speech. Gram-
smiling except Jackson, who was matical elements presented them-
grinning like a hyena. The aliens selves at once to his practiced ear.
were making graceful arm-and- Affixes and suffixes were no
leg motions, probably of wel- trouble: word sequence, pitch and
come. reduplication were no sweat. He
“Well, that’s real nice,” Jack- didn’t know much about the
son said, making a few graceful science of linguistics, but he didn’t
gestures of his own. “Makes me need to know. Jackson was a nat-
feel real to-home. And now, sup- ural. Linguistics had been devel-
pose you take me to your leader, oped to describe and explain
show me the town and all that things which he knew intuitively.
jazz. Then I’ll set myself down He had not yet encountered
and figure out that lingo of yours, the language which he could not
and we’ll have a little talk. And learn. Henever really expected
after that, everything will proceed to find one. As he often told his
splendidly. En avanti” friends inthe Forked Totigue
So saying, Jackson stepped out Club in New York, “Waal, shu-
at a brisk pace in the direction kins, there just really ain’t nuthin
SHALL WE HAVE A LIHLE TALK 177
tough about them alien tongues. pared to the sparkling, ever-
Leastwise, not the ones I’ve run changing face of the sea. Like
across. I mean that sincerely. I the sea, you never know what
mean to tell you, boys, that the reefs may be concealed in its
man who can express hisself in pellucid depths. The brightest
Sioux or Khmer ain’t going to water hides the most treacherous
encounter too much trouble out shoals.
there amongst the stars.” Jackson, well-prepared for
And so it had been, to date . . . trouble, encountered none at first.
Once in the city, there were The main language (Hon) of this
many tedious ceremonies which planet (Na), was spoken by the
Jackson had to endure. They overwhelming majority of its in-
stretched on for three days — habitants (En-a-To-Na —
liter-
about par for the course. He ally, men of the Na, or Naians,
knew the reason for them, of as Jackson preferred of think of
course; it wasn’t every day that a them). Hon seemed quite a
traveller from Space came in for straightforward affair. It used
a visit. So naturally enough every one term for one concept, and
mayor, governor, president and allowed no fusions, juxtapositions
alderman, and their wives, wanted or agglutinations. Concepts were
to shake his hand. It was all very built up by sequences of simple
understandable, but Jackson re- words (‘spaceship’ was ho-pa-
sented the waste of his time. He aie-an — boat-flying-outer-sky).
had work to do, some of it not Thus, Hon was very much like
very pleasant, and the sooner Chinese and Annamite on Earth.
he got started the quicker it Pitch differences were employed
would be over. not only intentionally to differ-
On the fourth day he was able entiate between homonyns, but
to reduce the official nonsense to also positionally, to denote grad-
a minimum. That was the day ations of ‘perceived realism,’
in which he began in earnest to bodily discomfort and three class-
learn the local language. es of pleasurable expectation. All
of which was mildly interesting
A language, as any linguist will but of no particular difficulty to
tell you, is undoubtedly the a competent linguist.
most beautiful creation one is To be sure, a language like
ever likely to encounter. But Hon was rather a bore because of
with that beauty goes a certain the long word-lists one had to
element of danger. memorize. But pitch and position
Language might aptly be com- could be fun, as well as being ab-
178 GALAXY
solutely essential if one wanted
to make any sense out of the
sentence-units. So, taken all in
all,Jackson was not dissatisfied,
and he absorbed the language as
quickly as it could be given to
him.
It was a proud day for Jack-
son, about a week later, when he
could say to his tutor: “A very
nice and pleasant good morning
to you, most estimable and hon-
ored tutor, and how is your bless-
ed health upon this glorious
day?’
“Felicitations most ird wunk!”
the tutor replied with a smile of
deep warmth. “Your accent, dear
pupil, is superb Positively gor
!

nak, in fact, and your grasp of my


dear mother tongue is little short
of ur nak tai.”
Jackson glowed all over from
the gentle old tutor’s compli-
ments. He felt quite pleased with
himself. Of course, he hadn’t
recognized several words; ird
wunk and ur nak tai sounded
faintly familiar, but gor nak was
completely unknown. Still lapses
were expected of a beginner in
any language. He did know
enough to understand the Naians,
and to make himself understood
by them. And that was what his
job required.
He returned to his spaceship
that afternoon. The hatch had
been standing open during his
entire stay on Na but he found

SHALL WE HAVE A LITTLE TALK 179


that not a single article had been certain quantities of gold, plati-
stolen. He shook his nead rue- num, diamonds and other objects
fully at this, but refused to let it which are considered valuable on
upset him. He loaded his pockets Earth.”
with a variety of objects and “They are considered valuable
sauntered back to the city. He here, too,” Erum said. “Quanti-
was ready to perform the tinal ties,did you say? My dear sir, we
and most important part of his willhave no difficulties; not even
job. a blaggle shall mit or ows, as the
poet said.”
HI “Quite so,” Jackson replied.
Erum was using some words he
n the heart of the business dis- didn’tknow, but that didn’t mat-
trict, at the intersection of Um ter. The main drift was clear
and Alhretto, he found what he enough. “Now, suppose we begin
was looking for; a real estate of- with a nice industrial site. After
fice. He entered, and was taken all, I’ll have to do something with
to the office of Mr. Erum, a jun- my time. And after that we can
ior partner of the firm. pick out a house.”
“Well, well, well, well!” Erum “Most decidedly prominex,”
said, shaking hands heartily. Erum said gaily. “Suppose I just
“This is a real honor, sir, a very raish through my here
listings
considerable and genuine privi- . .Yes, what do you say to a
.

lege. Are you thinking of acquir- bromicaine factory? It’s in a first-


ing a piece of property?” class condition, and could easily
“That was my intention,” be converted to vor manufacture,
Jackson said. “Unless, of course, or used as it is.”
you have discriminatory laws “Is there any real market for
that forbid your selling to a fore- bromicaine?” Jackson asked.
igner.” “Well, bless my muergentan,
“No difficulty there,” Erum of course there is! Bromicaine is
said. “In fact, it’ll be a veritable indispensable, though its sales are
orai of a pleasure to have a man seasonable. You see, refined
from your distant and glorious bromicaine, or ariisi, is used by
civilization in our midst.” the protigash devolvers, who of
Jackson restrained a snicker. course harvest by the solstice-
“The only other difficulty I can season, except in those branches
imagine the question of legal
is of the industry that have switch-
tender. don’t have any of your ed over to ticothene revature.
I

currency, of course; but I have Those from a steadily


”’ —
180 GALAXY
“Fine, fine,” Jackson said. He almost the same as a bifur pro-
didn’t care what a bromicaine bishkai.”
was, and never expected to see “I beg your pardon?” Jackson
one. As long as it was a gainful said.
employment of some kind it fill- “It means — well, to elikate
ed his specifications. is really rather simple, though
“I’ll buy it,” he said. perhaps not in the eyes of the
“You won’t regret it,” Erum law. Scorbadising is a form of
told him. “A good bromicaine elikation, and so is manruv gar-
factoryis a garveldis hagatis, and ing. Some say that when V7e
menifoy as well.” breathe drorsically in the evening
“Sure,” Jackson said, wishing subsis we are actually elikating.
that he had a more extensive Personally, I consider that a bit

Hon vocabulary. “How much?” fanciful.”


“Well, sir, the price is no dif- “Let’s try mushkies,” Jackson
ficulty. But first you’ll have to suggested.
fillout the ollanbrit form. It is “By all means, let’s!” Erum re-
just a few sken questions which plied, with a coarse boom of
ny naga of everyone.” laughter. “If only one could —
eh?” He dug Jackson in the ribs
rum handed Jackson the form.
E The first question read:
with a sly elbow.
“Hm, yes,” Jackson replied
“Have you, now or at any past coldly. “Perhaps you could tell
time, elikated mushkies forsical- me what, exactly, a mushkie is?”
ly? State date of all occurrences. “Of course. As it happens,
If no occurrences, state the rea- there is no such thing,” Erum
son for transgrishal reduct as replied. “Not in the singular, at
found.” any rate. One mushkie would be
Jackson read no farther. “What a logical fallacy, don’t you see?”
does it mean,” he asked Erum, “I’ll take your word for it.
“to elikate mushkies forsically?” What are mushkies?”
“Mean?” Erum smiled uncer- “Well, primarily, they’re the
tainly. “Why, it means exactly object of elikation. Secondarily,
what it says. Or so I would im- they are halfsize wooden sandals
agine.” which are used to stimulate ero-
“I meant,” Jackson said, “that tic fantasies among the Kutor

I do not understand the words. religionists.”


Could you explain them to me?” “Now we’re getting some-
“Nothing simpler,” Erum re- place!” Jackson cried.
plied. “To elikate mushkies is “Only if your tastes happen to
SHALL WE HAVE A LITTLE TALK 181
” ”

run that way,” Erum answered “Well, it means — or rather it

with discernable coldness. expresses — an advanced and


“I meant in terms of under- intensified case of mushkie eliki-
standing the question on the dation, but with a definite nmog-
form — metic bias. I consider it a rather
“Of course, excuse me,” Erum unfortunate phraseology, person-
said. “But you see, the question ally.”
asks if you have ever elikated “How would you put it?”
mush kies forsically. And that “I’d lay it on the line and to
makes all the difference.” hell with the fancy talk,” Erum
“Does it really?” said toughly. come right
“I’d
“Of course! The modification out and say: ‘Have you now or
changes the entire meaning.” at any other time dunfiglers voc
“I was afraid that it would,” in illegal, immoral, or insirtis
Jackson said. “I don’t suppose circumstances, with or without
you could explain what forsically the aid and/or consent of a
means?” brachniian? If so, state when and
“I certainly can!” Erum said. why. If not, state neugris kris and
“Our conversation now could — why ”
not.’
with a slight assist from the “That’s how you’d put it, huh ?”
deme imagination be termed — Jackson said.
a forsically designed talk." “Sure would,” Erum said di-
I
“Ah,” said Jackson. fiantly. “These
forms are for
“Quite so,” said Erum. “For- adults, aren’t they? So why not
sically is a mode, a manner It come right out and call a spigler
means ‘spiritually-forward-lead- a spigler a spey? Everybody dun-
ing - by - way - of - fortuitous figlers voc some of the time, and

- frieindship.’ so what? No one’s feelings are
“That’s a little more like it,” ever hurt by it, for heaven’s sake.
Jackson said. “In that case, when I mean, after all, it simply in-
one elikates mushkies forsical- volves oneself and a twisted old
ly — piece of wood, so why should
• anyone care?”
ttT’m on
terribly afraid you’re “Wood?” Jackson echoed.
Ji- wrong track,” Erum
the “Yes, wood. A commonplace,
said. “The definition I gave you dirty old piece of wood. Or at
applies only to conversations. It least that’s all it would be if
is something rather different people didn’t get their feelings
when one speaks of mushkies.” so ridiculously involved.”
“What does it mean then?” “What do they do with the
182 GALAXY

wood?” Jackson asked quickly. loudly? Do you think perhaps I


“Do with it? Nothing much, was overheard?”
when you come right down to it. “Of course not. I found it all
But the religious aura is simply very interesting. I must leave
too much for our so-called in- justnow, Mr. Erum, but I’ll be
tellectuals. They are unable, in back tomorrow to fill out that
my opinion, to isolate the simple form and buy the property.”
primordial fact wood — — from “I’ll hold it for you,” Erum
the cultural volturneiss which said, rising and shaking Jackson’s
surrounds it at festerhius, and to hand warmly. “And I want to
some extent at Uuis, too.” thank you. It isn’t often that I
“That’s how intellectuals are,” have the opportunity for this
Jackson said.“But you can iso- kind of frank, no-holds-barred
late it, and you find — conversation.”
“I find it’s really nothing to “I found it very instructive,”
get excited about. I really mean Jackson said. He left Emm’s
that. I mean to say that a cath- office and walked slowly back
edral, viewed no
correctly, is to his ship. He was disturbed,
more than a pile of rocks, and a upset and annoyed. Linguistic in-
forest is just an assembly of comprehension irked him, no
atoms. Why should we see this matter how comprehensible it
case differently? I mean, really, might be. He should have been
you could elikate mushkies forsi- able to have figured out, some-
cally without even using woodl how, how one went about elikat-
What do you think of that?” ing mushkies forsically.
“I’m impressed,” Jackson said. Never mind, he told himself.
“Don’t get me wrong! I’m not You’ll work it out tonight. Jack-
saying it would be easy, or natur- son baby,and then you’ll go
al, or even right. But still, you back in there and cannonball
damned well could! Why, you through them forms. So don’t
could substitute cormed grayti get het up over it, man.
and still come out all right!” He’d work it out. He damned
Erum paused and chuckled. well had to work it out, since he
“You’d look foolish, but you’d had to own a piece of property.
still come out all right.” That was the second part of
“Very interesting,” Jackson his job.
said.
had come a long way
“I’m afraid I became a bit
vehement,” Erum said, wiping his E arth
since the bad old days of
forehead. “Was I talking very naked, aggressive warfare. Ac-
SHALL WE HAVE A LIHLE TALK 183
cording to the history books, a Nowadays one had to have an
ruler back in those ancient times excuse for taking.
could simply send out his troops Like for example a Terran citi-
to seize whatever the ruler want- zen who happened to own pro-
ed. And if any of the folks at perty all legal and aboveboard
home had the temerity to ask on an alien planet, and who urg-
why he wanted it, the ruler ently needed and requested Ter-
could have them beheaded, or ran military assistance in order
locked up in a dungeon, or sewn to protect himself, his home, his
up in a sack and thrown into the means of a legitimate liveli-
sea. And he wouldn’t even feel hood . . .

guilty about doing any of those But first he had to own that
things because he invariably be- property. He had to really own
lieved that he was right and they it,to protect himself from the
were wrong. bleeding-hearts Congressmen and
This policy, technically called the soft-on-aliens newsmen who
the droit de signeur, was one of always started an investigation
the most remarkable features of whenever Earth took charge of
the laissez fake capitalism which another planet.
the ancients knew. To provide a legal basis for
But, down the slow passage of conquest —
that was what the
centuries, cultural processes were Contactors were for.
inexorably at work. A new ethic “Jackson,” Jackson said to
came into the world; and slowly himself, “you gonna sit your-
but surely, a sense of fair play self that li'l ole bromicaine fac-
and justices was bred into the tory tomorrow and you gonna
human race. Rulers came to be own it without let or hindrance.
chosen by ballot, and were re- You heah me, boy? I mean it

sponsive to the desires of the elec- sincerely.”


torate. Conceptions of Justices, On
the morrow, shortly before
Mercy and Pity came to the noon, Jackson was back in the
forefront of men’s minds, ameli- city. Several hours of intensive
orating the old law of tooth and study, and a long consultation
talon, and amending the savage with this tutor, had sufficed to
bestiality of the ancient time of show him where he had gone
unreconstruction. wrong.
The old days were gone for- It was simple enough. He had
ever. Today, no ruler could simp- merely been a trifle hasty in
ly take; the voters would never assuming an extreme and invari-
stand for it. ant isolating technique in the
184 GALAXY
Hon use of radicals. He had IV
thought, on the basis of his early
studies, that word-meaning and n Emm’s office, he filled out
word-order were the only signifi- I the government forms with
cant factors required for an un- ease. That first question —
derstanding of the language. But “Have you now or at any past
that wasn’t so. Upon further ex- time, elikated mushkies forsical-
amination, Jackson found that ly?” —
he could now answer with
the Hon language had some unex- an honest no. The plural ‘mush-
pected recourses; affixation, for primary meaning, rep-
kies’ in its
example, and an elementary form resented in this context, the sin-
of reduplication. Yesterday he gular ‘woman.’ (The singular
hadn’t even been prepared for ‘mushkie’ used similarly, would
any morphological inconsisten- denote an uncorporeal state of
cies; when they had occurred, he femininity.)
had found himself in semantic Elikation was, of course, the
difficulties. role of sexual termination, unless
The new forms were easy one employed the modifier ‘forsi-
enough to learn. The trouble was, cally.’ If one did, this quiet term
they were thoroughly illogical took on a charged meaning in this
and contrary to the entire spirit particular context, tantamount
of Hon. to edematous polysexual advoca-
One word produced by one tion.
sound, and bearing one meaning Thus, Jackson could honestly
— that was the rule he had pre- write that, since he was not a
viously deduced. But now he dis- Naian, he had never had that par-
covered 18 important exceptions ticular urge.
— compounds produced by a va- It was as simple as that. Jack-
riety of techniques, each of them son was annoyed at himself for
with a list of modifying suffixes. not having figured it out on his
For Jackson, this was as odd as own.
stumbling across a grove of palm He filled in the rest of the
trees in Antarctica. questions without difficulty, and
He learned the 18 exceptions, handed the paper back to Emm.
and thought about the article he “That’s really quite skoe,’’
would write when he finally got Erum said. “Now, there are just
home. a few more simple items for us
And the next day, wiser and to complete. The first we can
warier, Jackson strode meaning- do immediately. After that I will
fully back to the city. arrange a brief official ceremony
SHALL WE HAVE A LIHLE TALK? 185
for the Property Transferral Act, of someone else’s planet. But in
and ttiat will be followed by one way or another, they usually
several other small bits of busi- got it.

ness. All of it should take no Most alien races realized that


more than a day or so, and then overt resistance was impossible,
the property will be all yours.” and resorted to various stalling
“Sure, kid, that’s great,” Jack- tactics.
son said. He wasn’t bothered by Sometimes they refused to
the delays. Quite the contrary, sell, or they required an in-
he had expected many more of finite multiplicity of forms, or
them. On most other planets, the the approval of some local offici-
locals caught on quickly to what alwho was always absent. But for
was happening. It took no great each ploy the Contactor always
reasoning power to figure out that had a suitable counter-ploy.
Earth wanted what she wanted, Did they refuse to sell proper-
but wanted it in a legalistic man- ty on racial grounds? The laws of
ner. Earth specifically forbade such
As for why she wanted it that practices,and the Declaration of
way — that wasn’t too hard to Sentient Rights stated the free-
fathom, either. A great majority dom of all sentients to live and
of T errans were idealist, and they work wherever they pleased. This
believed fervently in concepts was a freedom that Terra would
such as truth, justice, mercy and fight for, if anyone forced them
the like. And not only did they to.
believe, they also let those noble Were they stalling? The Terran
concepts guide their actions — Doctrine of Temporal Propriety
except when it would be incon- would not allow it.
venient or unprofitable. When Was the necessary official ab-
that happened, they acted ex- sent? The Uniform Earth Code
pediently, but continued to talk Against Implicit Sequestration in
moralistically. This meant that Acts of Omission expressly for-
they were hypocrites a term — bade such a practice And so . . .

which every race has its counter- on and so on. It was a game of
part of. wits Earth invariably won, since
Terrans wanted what they the strongest is usually judged
wanted, but they also wanted the cleverest.
that what they wanted should But the Naians weren’t even
look nice. This was a lot to ex- trying to fight back. Jackson con-
pect sometimes, especially when sidered that downright despic-
what they wanted was ownership able.
186 GALAXY
” ” ”

'"T^he exchange of Naian cur- is to say — ethybolically speak-


rency for Terran platinum ing —
was completed and Jackson was Jackson said in a low, danger-
given his change in crisp 50-Vrso ous voice, “Give me a synonym.”
bills.Erum beamed with pleasure, “There is no synonym,” Erum
and said, “Now, Mr. Jackson, we said.
can complete today’s business if “Baby, you better come up
you will kindly trombramcthulan- with one anyhow,” Jackson said,
chierir in the usual manner.” his hand closing over Erum’s
Jackson turned, his eyes nar- throat.
rowed and his mouth compressed “Stop! Wait! Ulp!” Erum cried.
into a bloodless downward-curv- “Mr. Jackson, I beg of you! How
ing line. can there be a synonym when
“What did you say?” there is one and only one term
“I merely asked you to — for the thing expressed —
if I

“I know what you asked! But may so express it?”


what does mean?” “You’re putting me on!” Jack-
— means—
it

“Well, it means it son howled. “And you better quit


Erum laughed weakly. — “ it it, on account of we got laws
means exactly what it says. That against willful obfuscation, inten-
SHALL WE HAVE A LITTLE TALK? 137
tional obstructionism, implicit pearances, he could have been a
superimposition and other stuff Naian, just as any Naian could
like you’re doing. You hear me?” have been a Terran.
“I hear you,” Erum trembled. Jackson located a cheerful sa-
“Then hear this: stop agglut- loon on the corner of Niis and
inating, you devious dog! You’ve Da Streets, and went in.
got a perfectly ordinary run-of- It was quiet and masculine in-
the-mill analytical-type langu- side. Jackson ordered a local
age, distinguished only by its ex- variety of beer. When it was
treme isolating tendency. And served, he said to the bartender,
when you got a language like “Funny thing happened to me
that, man, then you simply don’t the other day.”
agglutinate a lot of big messy “Yeah?” said the bartender.
compounds. Get me?” “Yeah, really,” Jackson said.
“Yes, yes,” Erum cried. “But “I had this big business deal on,
believe me,don’t intend to
I see,and then at the last minute
numniscaterate in the slightest! they asked me to trombramcthu-
Not noniskakkekaki, and you lanchierir in the usual manner.”
really must debruchili that!” He watched the bartender’s
Jackson drew back his fist, but face carefully. A faint expression
got himself under control in time. of puzzlement crossed the man’s
It was unwise to hit aliens if stolid features.
there was any possibility that “So why didn’t you?” the bar-
they were telling the truth. Folks tender asked.
on Terra didn’t like it. His pay “You mean you would have?”
could be docked; and if, by some “Sure I would have. Hell, it’s
unlucky chance, he killed Erum, the standard cathanpriptiaia,
he could be slapped with a six ain’t it?”
month jail sentence. “Course it is,” one of the loung-
But still . . . ers at the bar said. “Unless, of

“I’ll find out
you’re lying if course, you suspected they was
or not!” Jackson screamed, and trying to numniscaterate.”
stormed out of the office. “No, I don’t think they were
trying anything like that,” Jack-
T Te walked for nearly an hour, son said in a flat low, lifeless
mingling with the crowds in voice. He paid for his drink and
the slum quarters of Grath-Eth, started to leave.
below the gray, evil-smelling Un- “Hey,” the bartender called af-
gperdis. No one paid any atten- ter him, “You sure they wasn’t
tion to him. To all outward ap- noniskakkekaki ?”
188 GALAXY
“You never know,” Jackson This consisted of clasping his
said, walking slump-shouldered hands behind his neck and
into the street. rocking back on his heels.
Jackson trusted his instincts, He was required to perform
both with languages and with this action with an expres-
people. His instincts told him now sion of definite yet modest pleas-
that the Naians were straight, ure, in accordance with the total-
and were not practicing an elabo- ity of the situation, and also in
rate deception on him. Erum had accord with the state of his sto-
not been inventing new words for mach and nerves and with his re-
the sake of willful confusion. He ligion and ethical code, and bear-
had been really speaking the Hon ing in mind minor temperamental
language as he knew it. differences due to fluctuations in
But if that were true, then Na heat and humidity, and not for-
was a very strange language. In getting the virtues of patience,
fact, it was down-right eccentric. similitude and forgiveness.
And its implications were not quite understandable.
It v/as all
merely curious. And completely contradictory
all
They were disastrous. to everything Jackson had pre-
viously learned about Hon.
V It was more than contradic-
tory; it was unthinkable, impos-
'T^hat evening Jackson went sible, and entirely out of order.
back to work. He discovered It was as if, having discovered
a further class of exceptions palm trees in frigid Antarctica,
which he had not known or even he had further found that the
suspected. That was a group of fruit of tiiese trees was, not co-
29 multi-valued potentiators. conuts, but muscatel grapes.
These words, meaningless in It couldn’t be —but
was. it

themselves, acted to elicit a com- Jackson did what was required


plicated and discordant series of of him. When he had finished
shadings from other words. Their trombramcthulanchierering in
particular type of potentiation the usual manner, he had only to
varied according to their position get through the official ceremony
in the sentence. and the several small require-
Thus, when Emm had asked ments after it.

him “to trombramcthulanchierir Erum assured him that it was


in the usual manner,” he had allquite simple, but Jackson sus-
merely wanted Jackson to make pected that he might some-
an obligatory ritual obeisance. how have difficulties.

SHALL WE HAVE A LITTLE TALK? 189


So, in preparation, he put in some kind of rules.
gotta follow
three days of hard work acquir- Otherwise nobody can’t under-
ing a real mastery of the 29 ex- stand nobody. That’s the way it

ceptional potentiators, together works and that’s the way it’s got-
with their most common posi- ta be. And
anyone thinks they
if

tions, and their potentiating ef- can horse around linguisticwise


fect in each of these positions. with Fred C. Jackson

He bone-weary and with
finished, Here Jackson paused and drew
his irritability index risen to the blaster from his holster. He
97.3620 on the Grafheimer scale. checked the charge, snapped off
An impartial observer might have the safety and replaced the wea-
noticed an ominous gleam in his pon.
china-blue eyes. “Just better no one give old
Jackson had had it. He was Jackson no more doubletalking,”
sick of the Hon language and of old Jackson muttered. “Because
all things Naian. He had the ver- the next alien who tries it is go-
tiginous feeling that the more ing to get a three-inch circle
he learned, the less he knew. It drilled through his lousy cheating
was downright perverse. guts.”
“Hokay,” Jackson said, to him- So saying, Jackson marched
self and to the universe at large. back to the city. He was feeling
“I have learned the Naian lan- decidedly light-headed, but ab-
gauge, and I have learned a set solutely determined. His job was
of completely inexplicable excep- to steal this planet out from un-
tions, and I have also learned a der its inhabitants in a legal man-
further and even more contradic- ner, and in order to do that he
tory set of exceptions to the ex- had to make sense out of their
ceptions.” language. Therefore, in one way
Jackson paused, and in a very or another, he was going to make
low voice said; “1 have learned sense. Either that, or he was go-
an exceptional number of excep- ing to make some corpses.
tions. Indeed, an impartial ob- At this point, he didn’t much
server might think that this lan- care which.
guage is composed of nothing
but exceptions. prum was in his office, wait-
“But that” he continued, “is ing for him. With him were
damned well impossible, unthink- the mayor, the President of the
able and unacceptable. A lan- City Council, the Borough Presi-
guage is by God and by defini- dent, two aldermen and the Di-
tion systematic, which means it’s rector of the Board of Estimates.
19C GALAXY
All of them were smiling affab- — Mun mun.” He paused, and in a
ly, albeit nervously. Strong spir- somewhat nervous voice asked
its were present on a sideboard, the mayor: “Mun, mun?”
and there was a subdued air of “Mun mun mun,” the
. . .

fellowship in the room. mayor replied firmly, and the


All in looked as if Jack-
all, it other officials nodded. They all
son were being welcomed as a turned to Jackson.
new and highly respected prop- “Mun, mun-mun?” Erum
erty owner, an adornment to asked him, tremulously, but with
Fakka. Aliens took it that way dignity.
sometimes made the best of a
: Jackson was numbed speech-
bad bargain by trying to ingrat- less. His face turned a choleric
iate themselves with the Inevit- red and a large blue vein started
able Earthman. to pulse in his neck. But he man-
“Mun,” said Emm, shaking his aged to speak slowly, calmly and
hand enthusiastically. with infinite menace.
“Same to you, kid,” Jackson “Just what,” he said, “do you
said. He had no idea what the lousy third-rate yokels think
word meant. Nor did, he care. He you’re pulling?”
had plenty of other Naian words “Mun-mun?” the mayor asked
to choose among, and he had the Erum.
determination to force matters “Mun-mun, mun-mun-mun,”
to a conclusion. Erum replied quickly, making a
“Mun!” said the mayor. gesture of incomprehension.
“Thanks, pop,” said Jackson. “You better talk sense,” Jack-
“Mun!” declared the other of- son said. His voice was still low,
ficials. but the vein in his neck writhed
“Glad you boys feel that way,” like a firehose under pressure.
said Jackson. He turned to Erum. “Mun!” one of the aldermen
“Well, let’s get it over with, said quickly to the Borough
okay?” President.
“Mun-mun-mun,” Emm re- “Mun mun-mun mun?” the
plied. “Mun, mun-mun.” Borough President answered pit-
Jackson stared at him for sev- eously, his voice breaking on the
eral seconds. Then he said, in a last word.
low, controlled voice, “Erum, “So you won’t talk sense,
baby, just exactly what are you huh?”
trying to say to me?” “Mun! Mun-mun!” the mayor
“Mun, mun, mun,” Erum stat- cried his face gone ashen with
ed firmly. “Mun, mun mun mun. fright.

SHALL WE HAVE A LITTLE TALK 191


others looked, and saw not trying to put anything over
Jackson’s right hand on him. They were speaking, not
clearing the blaster and taking nonsense, but a true language.
aim at Erum’s chest. This language was made up at
“Quit horsing around!” Jack- present of the single sound ‘mun.’
spn commanded. The vein in his This sound could carry an exten-
neck pulsed like a python in sive repei'toire of meanings
travail. through variations in pitch and
“Mun - mun - mun!” Erum pattern, changes in stress and
pleaded, dropping to his knees. quantity, alteration of rhythm
“Mun-mun-mun!” the mayor and repetition, and through ac-
shrieked, rolling his eyes and companying gestures and facial
fainting. expressions.
“You get it now,” Jackson said A language consisting of infin-
to Erum. His finger whitened on ite variationson a single word!
the trigger. Jackson didn’t want to believe it,
Erum, his teeth chattering, but he was too good a linguist to
managed to gasp out a strangled doubt the evidence of his own
“Mun-mun, mun?” But then his trained senses.
nerves gave way and he waited He could learn this language,
for death with jaw agape and of course.
eyes unfocused. But by the time he had learned
Jackson took up the last frac- it, what would it have changed
tion of slack in the trigger. Then, into?
abruptly, he let up and shoved
the blaster back in its holster. ackson sighed and rubbed his
“Mun, mun!” Erum managed J face wearily. In a sense it
to say. was inevitable. All languages
“Shaddap,” Jackson said. He change. But on Earth and the few
Stepped back and glared at the dozen worlds she had contacted,
cringing Naian officials. the languages changed with rel-
He would have dearly loved ative slowness.
to blast them
all. But he couldn’t On Na, the rate of change was
do it. Jackson had to come to a faster. Quite a bit faster.
belated acknowledgement of an The Na language changed like
unacceptable reality. fashions change ’'on Earth, only
His impeccable linguist’s ear faster. changed like prices
It
had heard, and his polyglot brain change or like the weather chang-
had analyzed. Dismayingly he es. It changed endlessly and in-
had realized that the Naians were cessantly, in accordance with un-
192 GALAXY

known rules and invisible prin- 'and he looked upon the officials
ciples.It changed its form like with something approaching awe.
an avalanche changes its shape. “You’ve done it, boys,” he told
Compared with it, English was them. “You’ve beaten the system.
like a glacier. Old Earth could swallow you and
The Na language was, truly never notice the difference: yoU
and monstrously, a simulacrum couldn’t do a damned thing about
of Heraclitus’s river. it. But the folks back home like

You cannot step into the same their legalism, and our law says
river twice,said Heraclitus: for that we must be in a state of
other waters are forever flowing communication as a prior condi-
on. tion to any transaction.”
Concerning the language of “Mun?” Erum asked politely.
Na, this was simply and literally “So I guess that means I leave
true. you folks alone,” Jackson said.
That made it bad enough. But “At least, I do as long as they
even worse was the fact that an keep that law on the books. But
observer like Jackson could never what the hell, a reprieve 's the
hope to fix or isolate even one best anyone can ask for. Eh?”
term out of the dynamic shifting “Mun mun,” the mayor said
network of terms that composed hesitantly.
the Na language. For the observ- “I’ll be getting along now,”
er's action would be gross enough Jackson said. “Fair’s fair . . .

by disrupt and alter the


itself to But ifever find out that you
I

system, causing it to change un- Naians were putting one over on


predictably. And so, if the term me—
were isolated, its relationship to He left the sentence unfinished.
the other terms in the system Without another word, Jackson
would necessarily be destroyed, turned and went back to his ship.
and the term itself, by definition, In half an hour he was space-
would be false. worthy, and fifteen minutes after
By the fact of its change, the that he was underway.
language was rendered imperv-
ious to codification and control. VI
Tlirough indeterminacy, the Na
longue resisted all attempts to n Emm’s the officials
office,
coiu|uer it. And Jackson had I watched while Jackson’s
gone from Heraclitus to Heisen- spaceship glowed like a comet in
berg without touching second the dark afternoon sky. It dwin-
base. He was dazed and dazzled, dled to a brilliant needle-point,
SHALL WE HAVE A LITTLE TALK? 193
and then vanished into the vast- young mouth twisted downward
ness of space. in premature cynicism. He said
The officials were silent for a quite harshly, “Mun! Mun-mun!
moment; then they turned and Mun?”
looked at each other. Suddenly, His shocking words were no
spontaneously, they burst into more than the hasty cruelty of
laughter. Harder and harder they the young; but such a statement |
laughed, clutching their sides could not go unchallenged. And ^
while tears rolled down their the venerable first alderman ’

cheeks. stepped forward to essay a reply.


The mayor was the first to “Mun mun, mun-mun,” the old
check the hysteria. Getting a grip man said, with disarming sim-
on himself he said, “Mun, mun, plicity. “Mun mun mun-rnun?
mun-mun.” Mun mun-mun-mun. Mun mun
This thought instantly sobered mun; mun mun mun; mun mun.
the others. Their mirth died Mun, mun mun mun—mun mun
away. Uneasily they contemplat- mun. Mun-mun? Mun mun mun
ed the distant unfriendly sky, and mun!”
they thought back over their re- This straightforward declara-
cent adventures. tion of faith pierced Erum to the
At last Erum
young asked, core of his being. Tears sprang
“Mun-mun? Mun-mun?” unanticipated to his eyes. All
Several of the officials smiled postures forgotten, he turned to
at the naivete of the question. the sky, clenched his fist and
And none could answer that
yet, shouted, “Mun! Mun! Mun-
simple yet crucial demand. Why mun!”
indeed? Did anyone dare hazard Smiling serenely, the old aider-
even a guess? man murmured, “Mun-mun-
It was a perplexity leaving in mun; mun, mun-mun.”
doubt not only the future but the This was, ironically enough, ^

past as well. And, if a real an- the marvellous and frightening


swer were unthinkable, then no truth of the situation. Perhaps
answer at all was surely insup- it was just as well that the others

portable. did not hear.


The silence grew, and Emm’s —ROBERT SHECKLEY
OF GODLIKE POWER by Mack Reynolds f
I
CATCH A TARTAR by Gordon R. Dickson i
I
CYCLOPS by Frifz Leiber I
THEORIES WANTED by R. Richardson
S. I

—all in the September Worlds of Tomorrow, on sale now!

- GALAXY
194
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Olfei void oiler Dec. 31, 1965


.

Forgotten road to success in writing


By J. D. Ratcliff

T can’t imagine why more beginners don’t


take the short road to publication — by
writing magazine and newspaper articles.
I've made a good living for 25 years
writing articles, and I've enjoyed every
minute of it. I’ve interviewed Nobel Prize
winners and heads of state. I’ve covered
stories from Basel to Bangkok to Buffalo.
It’s a great life. No commuter trains to
catch, no office routine. Whether I’m at
home or abroad on a.ssignment, I write
from eight to noon every day — no more,
no less. My
afternoons are my own.
The market for articles is vast and hun-
gry. Over 350,000 were sold last year to
magazines alone. Editors want pieces on
almost any subject that comes natural to
you — but they demand that your writing
be sound and professional.
To teach professional writing techniques
to serious beginners, I joined with Rod
Serling, Faith Baldwin, Bennett Cerf, and
eight other leading authors to start the
Famous Writers School.
We poured everything we know about
successful writing into a new kind of
course which trains you at home, in spare "Jack" Ratcliff is one of Aninica's higlicst paid
time. You begin with the fundamentals of free-lance writers. Although he work.s only
four hours a day. he has h;id hundreds of articles
all good writing. Then, you specialize in published in top ni;i|Ul/ine.s, including over
articles and other non-fiction. (Or in Fic- lot) in KctiiU’r's DifiC.s! alone.
tion, Advertising or Business Writing.)
You
learn to write hy wriiinf’. Our in-
structors, themselves all published au-
thors, work with you by mail much as
Famous Writers School
Dept. 66K7, Westport Connecticut t)(iSK I

editors do with established writers.


I want (o know if J liave wriliiu’, apiiiiule.
Our School is young. Yet students, many IMcase mail me. without obliealitHi, voiii
still in training, have broken into print in Aptitiuic Jest and 48-pa[:e In ocluii r.
more than 60 publications. Several sold Mr,
pieces they wrote as School assignments. Mrs A tie
Miss ( please |n iiil )

Street
Writing Aptitude Test offered
City Zone.
To find out if you too can be a published
writer, send for the School’s revealing Apti-
County State.
tude Test. If you test well —
or olTer other
The Seliool
. . .

accredited by the Aectedilinp.


is
evidence of writing ability you may enroll. C'ommission of tlic Natiunid Home Sliitiv
However, there is no obligation to do so. Council, Washiiiyion. D.C.

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