Archive for February, 2012

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NSF: “The Pumpernickel” by Ray Bradbury

February 20, 2012

The Book: “The Pumpernickel” by Ray Bradbury.   Originally published in Collier’s in May, 1951, the story was read in Long after Midnight published by Bantam in 1978.

The Setting: Small town Earth.

The Story: Bread reminds an old man of a happy time in his life.

The Science: Old people get a bit carried away by memory. This is not science fiction.

The Reaction: Another Bradbury vignette. Ho hum.

The Cover: Still not thrilled by it.

Next Up: Sands of Mars by Arthur C. Clarke.

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“Here There be Tygers” by Ray Bradbury

February 15, 2012

The Book: “Here There be Tygers” by Ray Bradbury. The story was first published in the anthology New Tales of Space and Time  in 1951. The edition read is in R is for Rocket, published by Bantam Books in 1978.

The Setting: A planet far far away.

The Story: Prospecting space men find a planet which provides them with all their wants and desires, unless it’s threatened…

The Science: Sentient planets? Or at least reactionary eco-systems? Eh, why not?

The Reaction: Like so much of Bradbury, it’s vivid and fun to read. And, in this case, classic. So many others have ripped this idea off – paradise with a bite.

The Cover:Still not impressed. 

Next Up: “The Pumpernickel” by Ray Bradbury

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“And the Walls Came Tumbling Down…” by John Wyndham

February 10, 2012

The Book: “And the Walls Came Tumbling Down…” by John Wyndham. Originally published in Startling Stories, May 1951. The version read was in Beachheads in Space, edited by August Derleth, published by Berkeley Books in 1952.

The Setting: Earth, the desert, maybe in the Southwest US.

The Story: Invisible silicate life forms land in the desert and investigate.

The Science: It’s interesting to read stories written from non-human points of view. Particularly when the life forms in question break at individualized frequencies. I’m a little unclear as to which noises are destroying these life forms, but it’s cute.  Cute idea.

The Reaction: Cute idea, but I had a little trouble following the story. I get that the reader was supposed to put together a lot of the pieces on the way, but it was a kind of a difficult puzzle, and I’m not sure I got enough pieces to complete the picture.

The Cover: Still awesome. 

Next Up: “Here There be Tygers” by Ray Bradbury.

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“Breeds There a Man…?” by Isaac Asimov

February 4, 2012

The Book: “Breeds There a Man…?” by Isaac Asimov. Originally published in Astounding, June 1951. The version read was in Beachheads in Space, edited by August Derleth, published by Berkeley Books in 1952.

The Setting: Contemporary Earth.

The Story: A scientist on the edge of a breakthrough becomes relentlessly suicidal. Because of aliens?

The Science: Well. Huh. So the scientist in question invents a force-field. And it works. The story doesn’t much go into why, and frankly I’m getting a bit bored trying to be scientific in this science section. I’m a pretty well informed lay person, so I can hoot and holler when stuff is just ridiculous, but some folks, like Asimov, make the explicit stuff seem pretty plausible.

The Reaction: A good story. The idea that humans are the experiment of some other force is a pretty old one. Actually, isn’t that the idea behind a lot of major religions…?

The Cover: Still a truly lovely cover. 

Next Up: “And the Walls Came Tumbling Down…” by John Wyndham