Science Fiction Though the Decades

Friday, July 13, 2012

1955: Citizen in Space (Sheckley, Robert)

Entertainment and imagination like no other! (5/5)
From December 5, 2009

This was my very first Sheckley collection and I savor the sight of it as it graces my wooden shelves. Equal in greatness is his other collection Store of Infinity. Sheckley knack for creating whimsical, silly, and fun stories is unparalleled. I'd go so far as to say that whatever Sheckley you shake a stick will be the next best thing to science fiction you'll ever get. Before Red Dwarf and before Hitchhiker's was Sheckley--the man, the legend. Open and indulge!


Mountain Without a Name (1955, shortstory) - 3/5 - A terraforming company is struck with bad luck and the failure to destroy the huge mountain is the last straw. Who or what is making these setbacks occur and why is Earth having the same poor luck? 16 pages

The Accountant (1954, shortstory) - 4/5 - A hopeful wizard-to-be boy is failing his witchery class and his parents are concerned about his adept accounting. This calls for strict measures and maybe even a demonic intervention. 10 pages

Hunting Problem (1955, shortstory) - 4/5 - Avian alien `boy scout' hunts a trio of humans on a gem expedition. If he returns with a pelt he will be rewarded but will he be able to outwit the human animals? 13 pages

Thief in Time (1954, novelette) - 4/5 - University professor is visited by a time traveler who says he's guilty of theft. Not only that, but he is also the inventor of the time machine. When the professor escapes and finds that his future self has left him a hoard of stolen good to facilitate a new escape into the future. Whew! 26 pages

Luckiest Man in the World (1955, shortstory) - 3/5 - A weatherman learns to be a dentist, plumber, carpenter among other things during his solitude. But hey, he's lucky he likes to be alone! 4 pages

Hands Off (1954, novelette) - 4/5 - Humans land on a planet after discovering an alien craft. They force their way inside while the alien finds ways to survive outside his own ship. The ethical alien confronts himself while the human tackle their stupidity. 25 pages

Something for Nothing (1954, shortstory) - 4/5 - A djinn-like machine, the Utilizer, appears in Collin's room. It seems to grant him any wish he desires- something for nothing. But wait, Collin doesn't have a Class-A rating! 13 pages

Ticket to Tranai (1955, novelette) - 5/5 - You're perfectly safe as long as you pay your taxes, but the rumor of a far-flung utopia takes one man takes him beyond the galactic rim. When there is no crime and no poverty yet the immigration official has a scoped and silenced rifle over his desk... yes, be apprehensive. 40 pages

The Battle (1954, shortstory) - 3/5 - The military prepares its Final Battle with Satan and his forces in the Sahara desert. After the robotic battle has been won, what should one wear when meeting Him? 6 pages

Skulking Permit (1954, novelette) - 5/5 - A colonial planet of Imperial Earth is requested to present itself to an Earth conformity inspector. Having 200 years of hermetic harmony, the colony naively creates a jail, white roofed church, red roofed school and a post office... even though they have no use for these things. And if there's a need for a jail, there MUST be a need for a criminal. Hence, Tom becomes the government sanctioned criminal in which he's legally required to break the law by thieving and murdering. 27 pages

Citizen in Space (1955, shortstory) - 3/5 - Sick of `big brother' and their infernally noisy cameras, a man takes his new found freedom to the stars. Unfortunately, his stowaway and hitchhiker are both spies from Earth. When finding a lone Earth-like planet for themselves, will Earth finally leave him alone? 11 pages

Ask a Foolish Question (1953, novelette) - 5/5 - The alien constructed Answerer knows all the answers. Two species of aliens confront the Answerer with their most important questions and yet are turned away because they didn't ask the right question. Will the humans be able to properly approach the delicate situation? 42 is NOT the answer! 10 pages

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