In this month’s F&SF editorial, editor Doug Mills reports that he’s gotten a number of complaints regarding the oversaturation of stories in the post-apocalyptic, time travel, and deal-with-the-Devil genre. Mr. Mills’ response was that any genre can be oversaturated, but quality will always be quality, and F&SF will publish quality stories in whatever genre it pleases. In fact, there are stories dealing with all three of the "oversaturated" genres in this issue.
What do you think? I have to agree with Mr. Mills. Personally, I can never get enough of After the Bomb stories, time travel is often a hoot, and the Devil features in relatively few tales these days, in my experience. But I’d like your opinion on the matter.
I had not realized that Poul Anderson’s Time Patrol story had taken up so much of the current issue; there isn’t much left to review. There is some goodness, however:Rosebud
, by Ray Russell, is teleological nonsense in a single-pager. Damon Knight’s book review column deals with horror, and is interesting, as usual. I wish he were still helming IF
(come to think of it, I just received this month’s copy… I wonder who’s in charge.)
Kit Reed’s Empty Nest
is well nigh unreadable, but I think it’s a horror about being eaten by anthropoid birds.Obituary
, by Isaac Asimov, is actually quite good, and one of his few stories from the viewpoint of a woman. It involves domestic abuse, a truly evil (yet in a plausible and everyday sort of way) villain, and a satisfactory, grisly come-uppance. I hope the good doctor is not writing from experience in this one…
Finally, we’ve got Pact
, by Poul Anderson (under his pseudonym, Winston P. Sanders). This is the aforementioned Devilish Deal story, and it is my favorite story of the issue. I hear you gasp--an Anderson story is my favorite? Yes! It's clever all the way through, this story of a demon summoning a human in the hopes of consumating a contract. Fine stuff.
My apologies for the shortness of this installment. I'll make it up next time. Perhaps.
P.S. One of the reasons I enjoy science fiction so much is the clever gadgets. In Asimov's story, the villain uses a "desktop computer" with some sort of typewriter keys attached. Boy, would that be a fine tool to have, and I've never seen the like in a story before. Something to look forward to in a decade or two?(Confused? Click here for an explanation as to what's really going on)