Eight stories from 1953,54,57,68,69,70. Favorites:
“Breaking Point” (1953 novelette) – The Earth ship Ambassador lands on a far off plant to see if it’s fit for a colony. They don’t see anything that could be intelligent life but get a message of welcome. When they try to leave they can’t get through the airlock. The pilot tries to lift the ship into orbit. They’re not going anywhere. The pilot has reached his breaking point. The rest of the crew approaches theirs.
‘A Monster Named Smith” (1954) – Space explorers bring back an alien sheep. Breaking out of it is a blob like substance. They don’t know it’s intelligent. It escapes and enters the mind of a drunk named George Smith. All around him the hunt for the alien continues and everyone in a restricted area is gunned down if they can’t get out. A friendly soldier allows George to escape.
“The Man Who Owned Tomorrow” (1953) – A man goes to see a psychiatrist saying he can see the future. It’s a curse and it’s driving him crazy. The psychiatrist isn’t much help but the man knows exactly what he needs to do.
“The Listeners” (1968 novelette) – Basis for the 1972 novel about what happens when a message is received from interstellar space. There are a lot of quotes from real authors. After the story Gunn has a section called “Translations” that explains them.
Good collection overall? I LOVE James Gunn and have this collection on my shelf.
No question that this is overall a good collection. I just picked the stories that I liked the best out of a good collection. They’re all worth reading.
Have you read The Joy Makers? Or The Immortals? Or even the somewhat average The Burning? All worth reading… I have The Listeners waiting to be read and another collection (forgot the name).