Thursday, November 25, 2010
Change the Sky and other Stories (1974) by Margaret St. Clair
This is the third and final of Margaret St. Clair's short story collections. Published over ten years after Three Worlds of Futurity and almost ten years before The Best of Margaret St. Clair. Change the Sky consists mostly of her short fiction from the 1950's. When you consider she published over a 100 stories from the late 1940's till the early 60's, this was a very productive period for her. The stories vary in quality, which is what you can expect from such a prolific author. Only three appear in the other collections.
The best of the lost has to be "The Goddess on the Street Corner". It's a sad tale which would have fitted into The Twilight Zone. The story concerns an alcoholic pensioner who finds an ancient Greek goddess on a city street. He takes her home and feeds her bourbon, hoping to restore the deity's powers. The story has a bitter sweet ending, which was not entirely expected.
Military themes abound. "The Death of Each Day" has a gunner trying to escape a war-torn city in the future. "Then Fly Our Greetings" is about a scientist trying to create a humane weapon and it's horrifying results. "Fort Iron" has an officer trying to restore a sense of purpose in an ancient fort. St. Clair takes a dim view of the military mind. One character describes it as hitching a jet plane to an oxcart.
This is a good representative sample of her work from the end of science fiction's golden age.