Friday, September 26, 2008

Mack Reynolds' "Summit" (short story, Cold War, free)

Quote from short story titled Summit by Mack ReynoldsWhile it's neither as enlightening nor humorous as promised by great opening, it made a light reading & is rather short.

Story summary.

Meat of the story is the conversation between two military bosses - of US & USSR. Neither side is explicitly named, but the sides involved are obvious. The two meet during a summit get together of the two sides.

It's mostly about how the vested interests on both sides guarantee an environment of war, & won't let peace happen.

Science fictional element is provided by an unnecessary extension at end that says Mars & venus are each occupied by US/USSR, & that earth was destroyed in bombings sometime past. Story could very well have stood without this extension & science fictionalization.


Story offers some interesting quotes:
  1. "Almost anything, if it goes on long enough, can be reduced to, first a Routine, and then, to a Tradition. And at the point it is, obviously, Necessary."
  2. "I was raised in a family that believed in God. Just as, I suppose, you were raised in one that didn't. Neither of us seems to be particularly brilliant in establishing a position of our own."
  3. "Have you ever noticed how it is that the nonconformists in any society are usually crackpots?"
  4. "Defense materials. I wonder if ever in the history of the human race anyone ever admitted to producing offense materials."

Fact sheet.

First published: Astounding Science Fiction, February 1960.
Author's real name: Dallas McCord Reynolds.
Rating: B
Download full text from Project Gutenberg.
Listed among the stories from Campbell's Astounding/Analog.
Related: All stories about US/USSR Cold War.