Sjambak: A Classic Science Fiction Adventure
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Wilbur Murphy sought romance, excitement, and an impossible Horseman of Space. With polite smiles, the planet frustrated him at every turn - until he found them all the hard way! A classic science fiction story originally published in the "If Worlds of Science Fiction" in July, 1953. Includes a detailed "About the Author" and a selected bibliography.
with skin like rich cream bringing me towels in the shower. . . . Well, well, well, it’s not so bad working for Know Your Universe! after all! I suppose I ought to unlimber my camera. . . . Prince Ali-Tomás watched him with interest. “And what is the audience of Know Your Universe!?” “We call ’em ‘participants’.” “Expressive. And how many participants do you serve?” “Oh, the Bowdler Index rises and falls. We’ve got about two hundred million screens, with five hundred million participants.”
as much protocol here as practicable.” The Sultan had a dry clipped voice and the air of a rather harassed corporation executive. “I understand you represent Earth-Central Home Screen Network?” “I’m a staff photographer for the Know Your Universe! show.” “We export a great deal to Earth,” mused the Sultan, “but not as much as we’d like. We’re very pleased with your interest in us, and naturally we want to help you in every way possible. Tomorrow the Keeper of the Archives will present a series of
“I don’t think he gives me credit for that much subtlety. . . . What are you doing the rest of the day?” “Taking footage. Do you know where I can find some picturesque rites? Mystical dances, human sacrifice? I’ve got to work up some glamor and exotic lore.” “There’s this sjambak in the cage. That’s about as close to the medieval as you’ll find anywhere in Earth Commonwealth.” “Speaking of sjambaks . . .” “No time,” said Trimmer. “Got to get back. Drop in at my office— right down the square from
inches of chilled rosy-pale liquor. The Sultan slapped his boots with the twig. “Undoubtedly he confided all my private business to you, or at least as much as I have allowed him to learn.” “Well—he spoke of your hope to increase the compass of Singhalût.” “That, my friend, is no hope; it’s absolute necessity. Our population density is fifteen hundred to the square mile. We must expand or smother. There’ll be too little food to eat, too little oxygen to breathe.” Murphy suddenly came to life. “I
Sirgamesk. Lots of color. Secret rite stuff. . . .” “Not much room on Cirgamesç for secret rites.” “It’s a big planet, isn’t it?” “Not quite as big as Mars. There’s no atmosphere. The settlers live in mountain valleys, with air-tight lids over ’em.” Catlin flipped the pages of Thumbnail Sketches of the Inhabited Worlds. “Says here there’s ancient ruins millions of years old. When the atmosphere went, the population went with it.” Frayberg became animated. “There’s lots of material out there! Go