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What thrill is there in going out among the stars if coming back means bitter loneliness? Frankston pushed listlessly at a red checker with his right forefinger. He knew the move would cost him a man, but he lacked enough interest in the game to plot out a safe move. His opponent, James, jumped the red disk with a black king and removed it from the board. Gregory, across the room, flicked rapidly through the pages of a magazine, too rapidly to... more...

Tarb Morfatch had read all the information on Terrestrial customs that was available in the Times morgue before she'd left Fizbus. And all through the journey she'd studied her Brief Introduction to Terrestrial Manners and Mores avidly. Perhaps it was a bit overinspirational in spots, but it had facts in it, too. So she knew that, since the natives were non-alate, she was not to take wing on Earth. She had, however, forgotten to correlate the... more...

What sort of world was it, he puzzled, that wouldn't help victims find out whether they had been murdered or had committed suicide?     he police counselor leaned forward and tapped the small nameplate on his desk, which said: Val Borgenese. "That's my name," he said. "Who are you?" The man across the desk shook his head. "I don't know," he said indistinctly. "Sometimes a simple approach works," said the counselor, shoving... more...

The general introduced them in the ship's shadow, a trim lieutenant, a clean-cut major. "You probably already think of each other as Carol and Ken. At any rate, there are no two people in the world who have heard as much about each other without previously meeting." She offered her hand and he took it, held it for a long moment while their eyes locked. "Hello, Carol," he said warmly. "I'd have known you from your pictures." And he realized as... more...

rom inside the dome, the night sky is a beautiful thing, even though Deimos and Phobos are nothing to brag about. If you walk outside, maybe as far as the rocket field, you notice a difference. Past the narrow developed strip around the dome, the desert land lies as chilled and brittle as it did for eons before Earthmen reached Mars. The sky is suddenly raw and cruel. You pull your furs around your nose and check your oxygen mask, and wish you... more...


ark knew he shouldn't stop. He was already late for Jennette's birthday party, but the sight of three people out in the open like this was too much. He pulled around and hovered over the undulating flow of glassy magma, frozen on its way to the long, dry Potomac river bed, with its shallow caverns and fascinating mile-wide potholes. Just under an overhanging cliff of half-vitrified soil were two cars, obviously damaged. The three men were... more...

Strange how often the Millennium has been at hand. The idea is peace on Earth, see, and the way to do it is by figuring out angles. When Gelsen entered, he saw that the rest of the watchbird manufacturers were already present. There were six of them, not counting himself, and the room was blue with expensive cigar smoke. "Hi, Charlie," one of them called as he came in. The rest broke off conversation long enough to wave a casual greeting at... more...

Anders lay on his bed, fully dressed except for his shoes and black bow tie, contemplating, with a certain uneasiness, the evening before him. In twenty minutes he would pick up Judy at her apartment, and that was the uneasy part of it. He had realized, only seconds ago, that he was in love with her. Well, he'd tell her. The evening would be memorable. He would propose, there would be kisses, and the seal of acceptance would, figuratively... more...

It was a very different thing, Algernon Weaver decided, actually to travel in space. When you read about it, or thought about it in terms of what you read, it was more a business of going from one name to another. Algol to Sirius. Aldebaran to Epsilon Ceti. You read the names, and the descriptions that went with them, and the whole thing—although breathtaking in concept, of course, when you really stopped to meditate on it—became... more...

n their ship just beyond the orbit of Mars the two aliens sat looking at each other. "No," Riuku said. "I haven't had any luck. And I can tell you right now that I'm not going to have any, and no one else is going to have any either. The Earthmen are too well shielded." "You contacted the factory?" Nagor asked. "Easily. It's the right one. The parking lot attendant knows there's a new weapon being produced in there. The waitress at the Jumbo... more...