james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
Nightfall

And we close out DX with Asimov's classic tale of a civilization that only sees true, dark night once every couple of millennia. They don't deal with it particularly well. Don't ask yourself how these people manage things like mines or tunnels.
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
Requiem

You know how I said "the regulation that nearly screws over/saves Rhysling at the end of his career, the one intended to keep him from joy-riding in space, is "The Harriman Code", named after Delos Harriman. There's a certain amount of irony to that, given the issues Harriman had getting into space"? Well, this is the story of the man the Harriman Code is named after, a visionary tycoon who developed crewed space flight at the cost of pretty much everything of value in his life but was himself denied the chance to go to space.

Do last minute injunctions turn up a lot in Heinlein?
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
(no link available)

A human starship encounters an alien craft near the Crab Nebula. With no idea what the capabilities of the aliens are or if their true intentions towards humans are hostile or benign, the humans struggle to find a way out of their dilemma that doesn't require them to destroy the aliens or spend their lives wandering the stars lest they lead the aliens to Earth.

This is another story where the adapters took liberties with the original to make it more downbeat. I think this was reused, actors and all, for X Minus One. It was also adapted by Exploring Tomorrow; DX and XMO had the better actors but ET stays truer to the original.
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
Marionettes, Inc.

A husband plagued by a suddenly too-affectionate wife learn that his friend, also married to an insufficiently considerate wife, has a solution for his problem: a realistic robot replica able to pass as the husband and every bit - arguably more - in love with his wife as the human original! I can see no way in which this cunning scheme can go horribly wrong!

I was struck by the tone of horror that crept into the protagonist's voice when he asked if his pal was divorced. If divorce had been an acceptable option, nobody would have been buying robot replicas to distract their spouses.
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
Untitled Story

A PI does his best to find out if the elixir his employer has been sold is really an elixir of life or deadly poison. It turns out he should have been more curious why someone might want to preserve his boss's life.

I like Robinson's work in general but this is a relatively weak example of it. The romance in particular feels forced.
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
The Vital Factor

Determined to be the man to conquer space despite the absence of the means to do so, a ruthless billionaire applies the Green Lantern theory of R&D to the problem of space travel. Amazingly, this actually works but the results are not entirely to his liking.

The ending he gets is amusing enough (and the ones he narrowly escapes ditto) but some day I'd like to read one of these where the limits of the Green Lantern model are what brings the villain-protagonist down.
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
The Veldt

In a future when the whims of little children are indulged far more than they should be, a well-meaning pair of parents becomes concerned over what they see manifesting in their children's virtual-reality-enabled, telepathic nursery. As turns out, they were not worried enough.

Another example of the children as monsters genre that was so popular in the 1950s. Looking at Bradbury's reflexive nostalgia and his distrust of kids and anything new, it's easy to see how ended up the person he did.
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
Courtesy.

A settlement of Earthmen left on the planet Landro to civilize its backward natives as Earthmen have done to many other backward races discovers that their vital supplies of serum, the sole protection against a deadly local contagion, are expired. Desperate, they turn to the natives for help.

Interesting enough set-up but the resolution is very bunnies and light. Also, the protagonist is surprisingly comfortable with letting his pal torture a native to death; Simak makes it clear who his sympathies are with and it isn't the Earthmen.
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
Dwellers In Silence

A generation after atomic war killed most of the life on Earth, three men return from the colonies on Mars to survey the wreckage. They are surprised to find a lone survivor and even more surprised to discover his family survived as well. Or so it seems. Read more... )
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
Time and Time Again

Mortally wounded by an atomic blast, a soldier wakes to find himself a boy again. Armed with knowledge of the future, can he avert the calamities to come?

As it turns out Read more... )
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
Child's Play

A hapless loser, equally inept at work and love, is inadvertently given an advanced toy from the future, which he uses to make himself a brand new man.

I think this was used by X Minus One. As I recall, although his would have been one of Tenn's first stories, it was reasonably popular.
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
Nightmare

A nebbish attempts to warn the world of the coming Machine Uprising, only to be judged insane and locked away.

It's entirely possible that he really is completely nuts and that all of his evidence is the creation of a demented mind.
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
A Pebble in the Sky

In a galaxy where the twenty million inhabitants of Earth are considered the lowest vermin, Imperial archaeologist Arvarden finds himself the one man in a position to oppose a terroristic and genocidal attack by Earth fanatics on the two hundred million worlds of the civilized galaxy.

So, the two striking differences between this and the novel of the same name are Read more... )
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
(No link for this episode that I can see).

A young man is shown the forgotten truth about his world, that it is a giant star ship wandering through interstellar space. He does his best to help bring peace between Muties (mutant descendants of mutineers) and crew but this ends badly.

I'm very curious why Lefferts gave this the downer ending he did and why he changed details like the nature of Joe-Jim's mutation.
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
The Last Objective

Driven underground by the radiation of the final war, the survivors of the two factions struggle to prevail in the great war through the use of artificial men and weapons of mass destruction; both prove entirely too successful
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
The Martian Death March

A young boy is caught up in a religious nut's quest to help the Martian natives return to their homeland; the majority of human settlers oppose this and express their disapproval with heavy weapons fire. Thousands set out from the reservation; hundreds are left by the end of the march.

This is a fairly pointed commentary on settler/native american relations and the first time I ran into this (on X Minus One) I was a bit surprised to see it in a story of this vintage.
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
Competition

Following the death of her parents, a young woman is on her way to settle in with her sister when she learns despite what it says on her ticket, all emigrants get dumped on one world (supposedly picked by a vote but the election is fixed) and the one she is headed for is not the one her sister lives on.

She is assured by a smirking crewman that a pretty girl like her will have no trouble finding employment and sure enough in short order she is abducted, poisoned and used as the bait in a trap for a local businessman.

I don't know how old the girl is but apparently not old enough to live on her own. This makes the bit at the end Read more... )
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
The Professor was a Thief

An embittered scientist, armed with a device based on an absurd understanding of Relativity, takes revenge on a city that refuses to acknowledge him.

The news paper editor who has to unravel the situation sounds like an old 70 and is in fact two years older than I am.
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
And The Moon Be Still As Bright

The first three missions to Mars reached that world and then vanished (if I recall correctly, one was bamboozled by Martians and killed, one got attacked by a jealous husband and killed, and one was taken for a group of madmen and killed) The fourth mission arrives to discover that one of the previous three gave the Martians chicken pox; lacking any resistance, the entire population has apparently died.

Many of the crew are happy to discover they are on what amounts to a latch-key planet but one crewman, upset at this accidental genocide and the lack of respect shown to the Martians, decides to adopt the identity of a Martian and take the vengeance the dead Martians cannot.

This is a cousin to Dances with Wolves, isn't it?
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
: Dr.Grimshaw's Sanitorium

Intrigued by the fact that the "body" someone is removing under cover of night is not a body at all, living or dead, an ambitious PI convinces the supposedly dead man's father to pay him to look into this. The trail takes him to the sanitorium where the man supposedly died, where the PI soon finds himself in over his head.

Huh. Fletcher Pratt. Haven't read much by him, at least not solo work by him. Oh, it dates from 1934. I thought it felt a little pre-Golden Age.

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