ORBIT SCIENCE FICTION. September-October 1954. Vol. 1, No. 4. Overall rating: 2 stars.

ALFRED COPPEL “Last Night of Summer.” The study of reactions to knowledge of Earth’s sudden destruction in a burst of flames. (4)

Comment: According to my view at the time, this was a best story in this issue. Reprinted in The End of the World, edited by Donald A. Wollheim (Ace, paperback, 1956) and Catastrophes!, edited by Isaac Asimov, Martin Harry Greenberg & Charles G. Waugh (Fawcett Crest, pb, 1981).

MICHAEL SHAARA “Death in the House.” A creature from a flying saucer disguises itself as a dog. (1)

Comment: Reprinted in Uncollected Stars, edited by Piers Anthony, Martin H. Greenberg, Barry N. Malzberg & Charles G. Waugh (Avon, pb, 1986). I suspect that this was due more to Shaara’s name value on the cover more than the quality of the story. (I could be wrong about this.)

JAMES E. GUNN “Danger Past.” Sabotage of a time machine leads to murder. (2)

Comment: As of last year, at 95 years old, Gunn was still active as a published writer. This story, however, has never been collected or reprinted.

MAX DANCEY “Me Feel Good.” Child from asteroid has strange powers. (0)

Comment: “Dancey” was one of several pen names used by author Peter Grainger. Others include Robert Flint Young and Peter Cartur. Under these various names he has thirteen SF tales to his credit, appearing between 1947 and 1974.

IRVING E. COX “No More the Stars.” A conspiracy to escape Earth’s oppression is broken up but does not fail. Quite familiar. (2)

Comment: Cox was the author of several dozen short stories between 1951 and 1965. This one has never been reprinted or collected in the US.

AUGUST DERLETH “The Thinker and the Thought.” A thinking machine mirror its inventor’s thoughts. (0)

Comment: Collected in Harrigan’s File (Arkham House, hardcover, 1975). I don’t know much about Tex Harrigan, the leading protagonist in this collection, but one online source says that he was a newspaperman who continually runs “up against strange inventions and curiously weird-science occurrences.” I do not seem to have been much impressed by this one.

ALAN E. NOURSE “The Image of the Gods.” Colonists of Baron IV find help from the natives in their struggle against Earth’s dominion. (3)

Comment: Reprinted in The Counterfeit Man: More Science Fiction Stories (David McKay, hardcover, 1963) and still in print electronically today.

PHILIP K. DICK “Adjustment Team.” [Novelette] An error in timing allows Fletcher to see the underlying reality of his existence, maintained by outsiders. Weak ending. (3)

Comment: First collected in The Book of Philip K. Dick (Daw, paperback, 1973) as well as several later collections. I do not believe that anything Dick ever wrote has not been reprinted or collected.

MILTON LESSER “Intruder on the Rim.” [Novelette] A husband-wife team of reporters are sent to Pluto’s moon and uncover a plot by the military in charge to take over the solar system. (1)

Comment: Lesser eventually changed his name legally to Stephen Marlowe; under this name he is well known as the author of many mystery and suspense novels. I do not believe any of his SF tales are at all memorable. This one has never been collected or reprinted in the US.

– August 1967