Throughout 2022, I’ll be reviewing short stories. Some of these may be classics, others forgotten. The two things that all will have in common is that they are part of my personal collection and they will be selected through a randomization process. What works and authors I look at will be entirely selected by a roll of the dice.
Lou Fisher published his first story in 1958 and then took a fifteen year break before his second story appeared. He published in spurts from 1973 through 1992, with four stories appearing between 1973 and 1975, three stories in the eighties, and two more in the 90s. After 1992, he took a break of 19 years before his most recent story appeared. In addition to those eleven short stories, he also published two novels, SunStop 8 and The Blue Ice Pilot.
Fisher’s fourth short story, “Nobody Named Gallix” appeared in the January 1975 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. It would be reprinted a year later in a German translation, but has never been reprinted in English.
The story follows a human who is emphatically not named Gallix, but since he is never given a name, that is how he’ll be referred to here. Gallix is a prisoner in a war between human forces and some form of alien army. Since His minders appear to be differently shaped creatures, it is possible that their army is made up of a variety of aliens, but it is never made clear. Instead, Gallix focuses his story on his current minder, and orangish-yellow triangle who seems more amendable to talk to him than most.
Gallix has been given a task, although it seems ridiculous on the surface. He must watch a bubble in a tube and if it rises too high or drops too low he must make an adjustment with a lever. He doesn’t know why he must do this and none of his minders feel the need to give him an explanation, except that if he lets the bubble get too high or too low he’ll receive a shock.