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Krepps, Robert W. – “Five Years in the Marmalade” (1949)


A far-future story of two interstellar traders from Earth who encounter a Martian returning to Old Terra Spaceport IV via “single-trav,” the exclusively Martian method of teleportation. Smith, so-called because of his unpronounceable Martian name, has 24 fingers, 4 eyes, a 2000-year lifespan, and a “speech orifice” in the center of his “inexpressive face” – an actual alien presented without the reader being beaten over the head that his is an unimaginable intelligence, go figure. In discussing the single-trav with his new friends, Smith reveals that as “all times and dimensions exist coeternally,” authors can will their creations into existence through the “power of mind.” Smith himself, for example, has visted More’s Utopia, Lilliput, and so on. One of the men, Moleath, convinced that this “four-orbed rubber-boned bag o’ nerves” is tricking them (Martians being famous jokers), decides to reciprocate and cooks up a fake literary country known as Marmalade, and Smith sets off in his single-trav to investigate. The joke’s on Moleath, though, because now the Martian, shrunk to microscopic size (a nice feature of the single-trav) has ended up residing in his brain and sets up camp there, intentionally causing as much irritation as he can.


From → Solar System

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