Friday, September 17, 2010

“Turnover Point” – 1953 murderous short story by Alfred Coppel

Thanks to the industrious folks at Project Gutenberg and, you can read online or download for free “Turnover Point”, a short story written by American science fiction writer Alfred Coppel (Alfredo Jose de Arana-Marini Coppel) and illustrated by Emsh (Ed Emshwiller). Originally published in the April-May 1953 issue of Amazing Stories magazine and partially set in Marsport on the Red Planet, the plot revolves around a father who avenges the murder of his son, a policeman. Here are the opening lines of the story:
Every era in history has had its Pop Ganlon's. Along in years and not successful and not caring much anyway. A matter of living out their years, following an obscure path to oblivion.

It was that way in ancient Egypt, just as it will be when the Solar System shrinks to our size. And once in a while such men are given an opportunity to contribute to the society that has forgotten them…
Pop Ganlon was no hero -- he was only a spaceman. A spaceman and a father. In fact, Pop was rather no-account, even in a profession that abounded with drifters. He had made a meagre living prospecting asteroids and hauling light freight and an occasional passenger out in the Belt Region. Coffee and cakes, nothing more. Not many people knew Pop had a son in the Patrol, and even fewer knew it when the boy was blasted to a cinder in a back alley in Lower Marsport…
 Thanks to Tinkoo Valia of Variety SF for the tip. He rates the story a “B".

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