Friday, April 27, 2012

A Sjambak, a Maneuver, and a Couple of Drones

Oops. Almost forgot that it was Friday, and that would mean that you guys wouldn't be getting your weekly dosage of new (well, maybe not quite brand spanking new) stories from around the web. And this week, I have a good handful for you. Here's the line-up: "The Dying Drones" by Christian A. Larsen, "The Johnson Maneuver" by Ian Douglas, and "Sjambak" by Jack Vance. So go and grab a freshly popped bag of popcorn and a tasty beverage of your choosing. It's time to sit back and enjoy the stories.

The Dying Drones by Christian A. Larsen -- Ray Gun Revival
The prospect of being stuck out in space with the same people for the majority of one's life can be a real drag. That's the way the crew onboard the Leif Ericsson have begun to see it. As they are about to pass a big mile marker on their journey, things, both weird and terrible, begin to occur. What's going on? (Well, what do you expect to happen to a crew in cramped quarters? Cabin fever!)

The Johnson Maneuver by Ian Douglas -- Armored (anthology edited by John Joseph Adams)
Sergeant Carl Schaeffer has been posted to guard the Earth's embassy on an alien world. He's sitting at the gated entrance where a mob has gathered, and things could turn unruly at any moment. When he tries to call for assistance, he doesn't receive a happy answer. Schaeffer has to find a way to subdue a mob without the use of his laser weapons.

Sjambak by Jack Vance -- If Magazine (July 1953)
Wilbur Murphy is sent to the planet Cirgamesç by his TV producer bosses to retrieve footage for the popular show Know Your Universe!. Murphy had heard rumors of a horseman who rides into space to greet ships coming into the planet. He wants to find out more about this because he thinks it would be great for the show. However, the inhabitants of the planet don't talk about this at all. So, Murphy does what any rational human being would do at this point: he digs deeper for the truth. And what he finds shocks him.

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