Sometimes getting a job is harder than the job after you get it--and sometimes getting out of a job is harder than either! This etext was produced from Astounding Science Fiction, December 1958. Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.
hey start dumping their surplus into interstellar trade, they'll cause all kinds of dislocations on other agricultural planets. At least, that's what our computers all say."
And that, of course, was gospel. He nodded.
"Why don't they turn their surplus into whisky? Age it five or six years and it'd be on the luxury goods schedule and they could sell it anywhere."
Count Duklass' eyes widened. "I never thought of that, Your Majesty. Just a microsec; I want to make a note of that. Pass it down to somebody who could deal with it. That's a wonderful idea, Your Majesty!"
* * * * *
He finally got the conversation to an end, and went back to the reports. Security, as usual, had a few items above the dead level of bureaucratic procedure. The planetary king of Excalibur had been assassinated by his brother and two nephews, all three of whom were now fighting among themselves. As nobody had anything to fight with except small arms and a few light cannon, there would be no intervention.
This is a great SF novella. Written at the dawn of the space age, authors like Piper, Asimov, and others gave us fascinating forward looks into possible future interstellar civilizations. Unfortunately the harsh realities of economics, politics, and the laws of physics have - so far - proven difficult obstacles to overcome. Anyway, enjoy this look back to what was, at one time, considered possible.
The galactic empire (of a few thousand planets) has been stable for 600 years. Emperor succeeds emperor, and planetary production is regulated to keep markets and economies stable. Then why is there a plot to overthrow the emperor? And who is behind it?
A clever construction of a future with only one problem. Good characters and a nicely knotty plot. It gives a reader hope that all those drunken college plans might someday play out.
A classic SF story, part of the "future history" that HBP spent his entire career at fleshing out, one piece at a time.
2013 SFR GALAXY AWARD WINNER
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