Science Fiction Though the Decades

Monday, February 27, 2012

1960: Store of Infinity (Sheckley, Robert)

Without all the polyunsaturated puns (5/5)

This is the third Sheckley book I've had the privilege of picking up. I've read another Sheckley collection in Citizen In Space (1955) and his novel Dimension of Miracles (1968)... I haven't been disappointed yet. Sheckley doesn't take the typical 50s-60s approach of science fiction comedy, that special type of juvenile humor which hones in on terrible puns and cheesy, paper-thin plots. The stories in Store of Infinity are rich with character without all the polyunsaturated puns, zero-calorie tropes, or mono-juvenile-glutamate.


The Prize of Peril (1959) - 4/5 - Jim Raeder has been running for his life for six days. As his seventh day draws to a close with only seven hours left until he is free, Raeder receives minute-by-minute updates on his predicament via his pocket TV.The television show named The Prize of Peril, of which Raeder is the subject, being the most popular show of its kind, the viewers either help his escape or hinder his passage through the city and country. 18 pages

The Humours (1959) - 5/5 - Alistair Crompton lives the stereotypical placid life of a monolithic clerk: "petty, punctilious, cautious, nervous, puritanical, resentful, driven, circumspect and repressed." This is all due to a trisecting of his personality when he was 11 years old. Now aged 34 and able to reintegrate his two missing personalities, Alistairmust travel to Mars to meet the embodiment of a sybaritic, Edgar Loomis. Subsuming Edgar's persona, the two travel to Vensus to track down the locally infamous figure Dan Stock so that Alistair can be a whole man again. 42 pages

Triplication (1959) - 5/5 - [1] The bucolic planet of Oaxe II is visited three times by the criminally infamous Timothy Mont and his lawyer with the charges of burning down an orphanage on three different planets. [2] Edmond Dritche and his wife duplicate themselves 500 times in order to form their own utopia, but the three cases of adultery point to divergent monogamy. [3] Professor Bolton and his robot Akka take a spaceship to Mars, but earth later receives three distress calls from the asteroid-wrecked ship indicating one survivor. 5 pages

The Minimum Man (1958) 4/5 - On an earth that is "crowder, cluttered and confused," the Planetary Exploration & Settlement Board selects extraterrestrial explorers to initially colonize planets by themselves.Once only hiring the most able-bodied men, the Board is now looking for the less-than-average bloke to settle the systems. Enter Anton Perceveral, a hard-working but terribly accident prone 34 year oldman. On the brink of suicide, Anton is serendipitously chosen as the new explorer for the planet Theta. As the Board is ultimately testing for "minimus-survival conditions," Anton's turn of luck is soon anything but that. 30 pages

If the Red Slayer (1958) - 3/5 - An unnamed trench soldier fighting the Reds gets shot in the leg and fatally shot in the chest, resulting in ten hours of death. Upon his revival by the "Brahmin" doctors, the soldier is miffed to realize that this has been the fourth such revival when in fact he wanted to remain dead, as is his right. Regardless, he's sent back into the trench where he's determined to render himself into metaphorical ground beef. 7 pages

The Store of the World (1958) - 5/5 - The temptation of temporary experiencing one's ideal life draws an unnamed man up a gray-rubbled lane where The Shop is located. The steep price of foregoing all of one's assets and the unfortunate drawback of a decade off one's life still draws people in, like this man, who must compare his subjectively dreary reality with the fantasy within his head. 8 pages

The Gun Without a Bang (1958) - 5/5 - Jungle-trekking on an alien planet with canine-like beats stalking hi, Alfred Dixon is field testing the Weapon. The man knows his guns and this Weapon is the hand-held defense unit to end them all, but it's the silence of the Weapon that concerns Alfred most. 9 pages

The Deaths of Ben Baxter (1957) - 4/5 - The World Planning Council of the Federated Districts of Earth choose world lines from parallel earth's which better reflect the ideal earth the council intends. Simply sliding into these world lines is done often enough, but the conundrum of having to personally intervene is finally at hand. The ideal earth must be realized by one of the three solutions to have Ned Brynne NOT kill his business colleague Ben Baxter. 32 pages


  1. Cool! I look forward to my collection of Sheckley's stories -- The People Trap.

  2. I look forward to your review of Sheckley's work. Hopefully, The People Trap is just as witty as the rest of his work that I've read. If so, you're in for a treat (if you've read some Anthony Piers short stories, you must compare the quality of the two).