The Fourth “R”

The Fourth “R” by George O. SmithThe Fourth R
Ballantine Books, 1959
Price I paid: none

Jimmy Holden was an experiment…

He was normally bright, normal-sized, and enormously curious—just like most small boys. The only thing different in Jimmy’s life was a machine—a machine which could teach him better, faster, more completely and more thoroughly than any human method yet devised.

It was really nothing more than a glorified memorizing contraption, but it filled the mind permanently with whole books of fact and figure—readin’, ‘ritin’, and ‘rithmetic—plus all the diverse information that an insatiably curious young mind could seek, including how to build the machine that taught him.

So Jimmy quickly became a very valuable experiment indeed. Certain people figured that, properly handled, young James could be a goldmine, and they weren’t above murdering in order to get control of him. But even a five-year-old mind will defend itself when attacked.

And nobody had figured on what the machine did not teach—the fourth “R”—REASON…

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The Bird of Time

The Bird of Time by Wallace WestThe Bird of Time
Ace Books, 1959
Price I paid: none

When the first expedition from Earth arrived on Mars they were not greeted with open arms. Not only had the Martians long ago learned all they wanted about Earth—they wanted nothing to do with us. to quote their welcoming committee:

“You Earth people don’t know your own history. You have always been incorrigible. When Mars was younger, we drove you back to your own planet, whereupon you tumbled into savagery for a gratifyingly long time. The really intelligent Martians then emigrated to the ends of the universe to avoid a second encounter.

“In fact we are not interested in playing cowboys and Indians with your people.”

But Earthmen are incorrigible, and Martians are obstinate, and the result is an adventure-packed novel that spans two planets and several stars and is great science-fiction all the way.

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