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Birthday Reviews: Walter M. Miller, Jr.’s “Cruxifixus Etiam”

Birthday Reviews: Walter M. Miller, Jr.’s “Cruxifixus Etiam”

Astounding Science Fiction February 1953-small Astounding Science Fiction February 1953-back-small

Cover by Van Dongen

Walter M. Miller, Jr. was born on January 23, 1923 and died on January 9, 1996. He is best known for his novel The Canticle for Leibowitz, which won the 1961 Hugo Award for Best Novel. He had previously won the first Hugo Award for Best Short Story for “The Darfsteller” in 1955. He wrote numerous short stories and edited the anthology Beyond Armageddon with Martin H. Greenberg, and left a partial manuscript for a sequel to A Canticle for Leibowitz at his death, which was completed by Terry Bisson and published as Saint Leibowitz and the Wild Horse Woman.

“Crucifixus Etiam” was originally published in the February 1953 issue of Astounding Science Fiction, edited by John W. Campbell, Jr. It has been reprinted numerous times, including under the title “The Sower Does Not Reap” in The Best Science Fiction Stories: Fifth Series, edited by Everett F. Bleiler and T.E. Dikty (although it was published under its original title in the first edition of the book). Miller included the story in his collections The View from the Stars, The Science Fiction Stories of Walter M. Miller, Jr., The Best of Walter M. Miller, Jr., The Darfsteller and Other Stories, and Dark Benediction. It has been translated into Croatian, Dutch, German, and Italian.

“Crucifixus Etiam” tells the story of Manue Nanti, a poor Peruvian who has signed an indenturement contract to work on Mars for five years. Nanti figures that with little to spend the money on while he’s working, he can save up and have a good sized nest egg when he returns to Earth. Shortly after his arrival, however, he realizes that conditions on Mars are not exactly as he had expected.

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