You can do a great deal if you have enough data, and enough time to compute on it, by logical methods. But given the situation that neither data nor time is adequate, and an answer must be produced... what do you do?
"And it's my guess that we're never going to get the answer by diving for it--not in time, anyhow. Remember when the Navy lost a barge-load of shells in the harbor, back in '52? They scrabbled for them for a year and never pulled up a one; they finally had to warn the public that if it found anything funny-looking along the shore it shouldn't bang said object, or shake it either. We're better equipped than the Navy was then--but we're working against a deadline."
"If you'd admitted that earlier," Anderton said hoarsely, "we'd have half a million people out of the city by now. Maybe even a million."
"We haven't given up yet, colonel. The point is this, Joan: what we need is an inspired guess. Get anything from the prob series, Clark? I thought not. On a one-shot gamble of this kind, the 'laws' of chance are no good at all. For that matter, the so-called ESP experiments showed us long ago that even the way we construct random tables is full of holes--and that a man with a feel
A Polish freighter drops something in the Hudson River. The search for the object isn\'t going well. The commander of the search has an hour to decide to evacuate the city or not. He needs someone with a history of successful hunches. . . .
A pulp story, not badly done, but nothing special.
I agree that this is not one of Blish's best works, but it isn't a bad story. Probably average for the time and media.
Not one of Blish's better works.