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Author: John Boston

An Astounding Science Fiction Testimonial

An Astounding Science Fiction Testimonial

Astounding Science Fiction February 1958-smallI started reading Astounding with the February 1958 issue. 1958 was the last good year under editor John W. Campbell.

Consider the short fiction:

L. Sprague de Camp’s “Aristotle and the Gun”
Charles V. de Vet and Katherine MacLean’s “Second Game”
Fritz Leiber’s “Try and Change the Past”
Jack Vance’s “The Miracle Workers”
Clifford D. Simak’s “The Big Front Yard”
Rog Phillips’s “The Yellow Pill”
Katherine MacLean’s “Unhuman Sacrifice”
J.F. Bone’s “Triggerman”

(Also Randall Garrett’s “The Queen Bee,” but we won’t think about that right now.)

The serials: two substantial ones by Poul Anderson, “The Man Who Counts” (a/k/a War of the Wing Men) and “We Have Fed Our Sea” (a/k/a The Enemy Stars), Hal Clement’s admirable if clumsy Close to Critical, and another Anderson, very lightweight but appealing to a 10-year-old, “A Bicycle Built for Brew” (The Makeshift Rocket).

Then the bottom dropped out. The only short fiction in 1959 on a level with the 1958 items cited were Ralph Williams’ “Cat and Mouse,” Chad Oliver’s “Transfusion,” A. Bertram Chandler’s “Familiar Pattern” (undeservedly obscure), and Theodore L. Thomas’s “Day of Succession” — and that’s being generous.

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