The Altar at Midnight

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Author: C.M. Kornbluth
Published: 1952
Language: English
Wordcount: 3,707 / 17 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 54
LoC Category: PS
Downloads: 5,387
Added to site: 2009.08.06
mnybks.net#: 24913
Origin: gutenberg.org

Doing something for humanity may be fine--for humanity--but rough on the individual!

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ch or something, I saw it wasn't that. Not just the nose. Broken veins on his cheeks, too, and the funny eyes. He must have seen me look, because he slid back away from the light.

The bartender shook my bottle of ale in front of me like a Swiss bell-ringer so it foamed inside the green glass.

"You ready for another, sir?" he asked.

I shook my head. Down the bar, he tried it on the kid--he was drinking scotch and water or something like that--and found out he could push him around. He sold him three scotch and waters in ten minutes.

When he tried for number four, the kid had his courage up and said, "I'll tell you when I'm ready for another, Jack." But there wasn't any trouble.

It was almost nine and the place began to fill up. The manager, a real hood type, stationed himself by the door to screen out the high-school kids and give the big hello to conventioneers. The girls came hurrying in, too, with their little makeup cases and their fancy hair piled up and their frozen faces with the perfect mouths drawn on them. One of them stopped to say something to the

Reviews

Average Rating of 4 from 3 reviews: ****
2015.04.06
Leah A. Zeldes
****.

One of the cynical Kornbluth's more cynical stories.

2013.01.07
Sardo Weems
****.

Good story of a broken-down alcoholic showing a half-ruined spaceship pilot the sights of skid row. The story is character-driven, and the guilt of one plays off well against the hopelessness of the other. It's a story of two people chewed up and spit out by technology.

2010.09.06
Dick Thornton
****.

Perhaps not his best, but a good short story.


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