ASTOUNDING SCIENCE FICTION – January 1954. Editor: John W. Campbell, Jr. Cover by H. R. Van Dongen [the magazine’s first specific Christmas cover]. Overall rating: ***

EVERETT B. COLE “Exile.” Short novel. A student of Archaeological Synthesis on an observational trip is stranded on a backward planet. Without means of transportation or communication, his attempts to get home must not disturb the local culture. Terribly muddy and often depending on glibness, the story would have improved tremendously if it had a point to be made. **

FRANK M. ROBINSON “The Lonely Man.” The death of a man living alne in a hotel room is investigated by a policeman who discovers he has blue blood. (3)

H. BEAM PIPER & JOHN J. McGUIRE “The Return.” Novelette. After the Bomb, a group of people with a strange religion is found. Abundant clues to the sacred Books make this a worthy addition to the Holmesian saga. (4)

ALGIS BUDRYS “A.I.D.” Anti-Interrogation Device. An organic servomechanism which satisfies the specification of both sides, but only Earth has it. The ending is a letdown, but is satisfactory upon reconsideration. (3)

RALPH WILLIAMS “Bertha.” Novelette. A somewhat unlikely premise: an undiscovered artificial satellite which welcomes Earth’s first astronauts. Exciting in spite of occasional lapses in scientific background. Hindsight. (4)

–January-February 1968