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Wednesday, July 8th, 2020

Retro Hugo 1945: Best Short Story

Categories: [ Books/Retro Hugo 1945 ]

And the Gods Laughed

Fredric Brown (Planet Stories, Spring 1944)

Asteroid miners spend their free time telling ludicrous stories. In one of those, the narrator recalls a trip to Ganymede, where the natives were controlled by sentient beings in the form of earrings, who also took possession of his shipmates. He ends the story without telling how he escaped, convincing the audience it was all a lie. The narrator is in fact possessed as well, but without any visible item, proof that this form is suitable for invading Earth.

Desertion

Clifford D. Simak (Astounding Science Fiction, November 1944)

To study Jupiter, volunteers are transmuted into Jovian beings to be able to bear the enormous pressure and caustic atmosphere and sent down. As none has ever come back, the director of the program decides to go there himself with his dog, and discovers that under the Jovian form Jupiter appears as a paradise, his dog can communicate with him, and he feels better than ever. They too then decide not to return to earthling forms.

Far Centaurus

A. E. van Vogt (Astounding Science Fiction, January 1944)

A small crew has spent several hundred years in hibernation travelling to Alpha Centauri. Upon arrival, they are greeted by humans who had colonized it after their departure thanks to a faster-than-light travel technology, and because of their body odour are asked not to meet the population without an airtight suit. One of them, believed to have become mad during the trip actually finds a way to travel back through time and space to Earth only a year after their departure.

Huddling Place

Clifford D. Simak (Astounding Science Fiction, July 1944)

Telecommunications have allowed people to live in relative isolation from each other, causing an increase in agoraphobia among humans. When a surgeon is asked to got to Mars and save the life of a martian philosopher friend of his, he hesitate, but the martians announce they are sending a ship anyway. But the robot butler sends it away, as it is unthinkable that his master would leave his home.

I, Rocket

Ray Bradbury (Amazing Stories, May 1944)

A rocket tells its story, from its first commission as a warship, considering its crew somehow as its blood, and witnessing a failed sabotage attempt. After the war, it becomes a merchant ship, and eventually crashes on an asteroid, its whole crew dead. Some time later, its first captain finds its wreckage and plans to salvage it and use it in the coming war again.

The Wedge (The Traders)

Isaac Asimov (Astounding Science Fiction, October 1944)

A Foundation agent, posing as a merchant, is held prisoner on a planet which forbid buying atomic technology from other worlds, and demand a ransom in gold for the man. One merchant, sent to his rescue, demonstrates a matter transmuter as a way to produce the required gold, and succeeds in selling it to a high-ranking official, recording the transaction and blackmailing him into not denying it officially. As the official will use the machine to recoup his investment and progress his political career, this event will gradually change the society's opinion about atomic technology.

[ Posted on July 8th, 2020 at 11:57 | no comment | ]

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