“Critical Mass” by Arthur C. ClarkeDecember 24, 2010
The Book: “Critical Mass” by Arthur C. Clarke. Originally published in Lilliput in March 1949 according to the ISFDB. Copyright on the story is listed as 1957. Whatever the case, the story was read as part of Tales from the White Hart published by Ballantine Books in 1957.
The Setting: Earth, Southern England.
The Story: A truck carrying boxes, possibly from a radiation research establishment, crashes. Some boxes break open and something emerges…
The Science: Not really applicable here, unfortunately.
The Reaction: Very short, builds a sense of suspense quickly and effectively, with a cute ending. It’s alright.
The Cover: Cover appears to be signed “Powers.” I like this cover a lot. Very fitting for the book. Whimsical and delightful, with a nice spaceship and a drunken octo-alien.
Next Up: “Dark They Were and Golden-eyed” by Ray Bradbury.