Search This Blog

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

The Rocket of 1955 by C. M. Kornbluth

There a question of when and where this story first appeared. Some claim the fanzine, Escape, in August 1939. Others claim Donald A. Wollheim's Stirring Science Fiction. It was reprinted in a few major retrospectives and elsewhere, by Melvin R. Colby, Christopher Cerf, Isaac Asimov, Martin H. Greenberg, and Joseph D. Olander, 


Two men rally a nation behind sending a professor to Mars on a rocket.

Analysis with Spoilers:

This is the shortest of Kornbluth's published works but still packs quite a wallop.

The purpose of the rocket was not to send anyone anywhere, but to explode. What the tale is about may be confusing until Fein tells the professor, trapped inside the rocket: "Anna Pareloff of Cracow, Herr Professor." One should  recall when the tale was published, either in 1939 or in 1941.

Kornbluth was of Polish Jewish descent, so when the country was first invaded on September 1, 1939, that must have hit home for Kornbluth. The Polish Jews were segregated into ghettos. The story was printed three times before the US had entered the war.

The story anticipates the Nuremberg trials. 

One wonders whether the name "Anna Pareloff" belonged to an actual person. Also of note is the stated reluctance to carry the plan through and the expectation of capital punishment, perhaps because this was pre-death camps. It seems to have been hatched by a legal entity with no trial, so there's that, too.

No comments:

Post a Comment