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[personal profile] galacticjourney

I’m a bit of an etymology nut, so when I recently heard the hit song, “Kookie, Kookie (Lend me your Comb),” I became intrigued by the provenance of the final lyric, “Baby, you’re the ginchiest.”

Turning to my Dictionary of American Slang, I found that ginch was 30s slang for a woman, a rather unflattering depersonalizing word.  It is akin to, and possibly related to “wench.”  Some people have taken “ginchiest” to mean “tops” or “the best,” but seeing how the male singer is a self-absorbed, beat-spouting jerk, and the girl (from his viewpoint) keeps pestering him, I think he really means, “Man… you’re such an annoying chick!”

Maybe I think too hard on trivial matters.

I’m happy to announce that this month’s Astounding starts with a bang, but first, I want to detour to the issue’s non-fiction article.  It’s the second of its kind that I’ve seen recently, an overdramatic, underrational speculation into the effects of weightlessness and space on the human psyche.  The author opines that, in the absence of normal sensory input or gravity, a person trapped in a tin can for any length of time will go nuts.

Well, people have survived on submarines for 50 years just fine (save for the occasional unfortunate build-up of carbon dioxide).  I suspect our future astronauts will remain sane.  It’s not as if we’re sending them into space inside of sensory deprivation tanks.

Now the fiction.  Murray Leinster has a really excellent story in this ish that I hate to spoil with too much description.  It’s a story of first contact, of an encounter between spaceships, of the interplay between crews, alien and familiar.  And it features a female bridge officer!  Leinster’s penchant for repetitive sentences, like he’s orally reciting an Homeric ode, is a little off-putting, but not cripplingly so.

I give it 5 stars.  How about you?

P.S. I’d planned to write more, but the next story in the book is a Randall Garrett, and I fell asleep five pages in.  I shall try again tonight.  Until next time, dear readers…

(Confused? Click here for an explanation as to what's really going on)

Date: 2014-07-12 02:36 am (UTC)
onyxlynx: Blue bkgrd, large red 7th, words "decade of fabulous." (As in "I'm in my 7th decade of fabulousn)
From: [personal profile] onyxlynx
I was actually young enough only to know of that song. That is, I've heard the chorus (and the parody version, "Spooky, Spooky, Lend Me Your Tomb"). "Kookie" apparently only appeared for 50 seconds every fourth episode of 77 Sunset Strip, at least while I was awake. (Side trip to look up Mr. Byrnes. Sad.)

Now to go look at the Leinster story.

Date: 2014-07-12 04:23 am (UTC)
solarbird: (Default)
From: [personal profile] solarbird
One of my students in summer quarter is all over this Edd Byrnes fellow - I'm sure she has this record and is swooning over it every night. I... truly cannot see it. But she keeps going on about how he's the utmost, just like in the song. Utmost what, I cannot say, and she just doesn't.

I've heard this Connie Stevens somewhere else, though. Something pleasant enough... but I'm not placing it.

As for the idea of space madness - I can tell you somewhat authoritatively that men in the submarine service don't go mad from submarine service, they go into the submarine service because they are already quite mad. :) But they seem to do well enough at it, so I'm sure we'll have our fair share of astronuts soon enough...

Perhaps this is how writers keep thinking it's a good idea to put disturbed people in space - as in this Lennister story that I agree was really quite nice, other than that.

(On a more serious note, I do wonder, though - do these writers think space service personnel will have nothing to do but stew all day? If the space fleet of the future is like every other navy ever, they'll be kept quite busy, thank you...)
Edited Date: 2014-07-12 04:39 am (UTC)

Date: 2014-07-12 06:04 am (UTC)
laurose8: (Shiveria)
From: [personal profile] laurose8
Thank you for an excellent read. I found Mr Leinster's style quite attractive, actually. I think it helped the good suspense and action.

I loved the build up to the aliens. The one disappointing thing, to me, was they were a bit too humanoid, but that's just my taste.

A female officer was good. Perhaps a reference or glimpse of one or two other women would have been even better, but Mr Leinster wasn't writing a novelette, after all.


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