Wollheim, Donald [as by David Grinnell] – “Extending the Holdings” (1951)
John Clute coined the term “Edisonade” in 1993 to refer to stories prevalent around the turn of the 20th Century about do-it-yourself inventors who save the day and make it big by means of their bootstrapping ingenuity. In this wonderful satire, a boorish, self-involved man takes advantage of the help offered by his long-suffering wife, brother, and sister-in-law, and builds a spaceship in his barn in order to “astound the world and confound the papers by personally presenting a bit of genuine moon lava to President Cleveland.” Shaking his brother’s hand and “forgetting to bid good-bye to the two women,” he blasts off. The brother, however, has followed the advance of science a bit more closely, and is aware that the erstwhile astronaut will not long survive the cold void of space in his unheated ship. The three look forward to a happier life without him.