Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Ray C Noll's "A Fine Fix" (short story, debugging, free): Reproducing a complex engineering bug

One of the illustrations by van Dongen accompanying the original publication in Astounding Science Fiction of short story A Fine Fix by Ray C Noll. Picture shows the focus point of light which along with engine hum induces sleep in the bored pilot.
US Air Force has got a new kind of plane for patrolling the mesosphere - "single-manned fusion-propulsed rocketplane". Only, during the first few weeks of manned trials, 3 of these planes have simply vanished while up in the sky; occasionally, a few parts are recovered on the ground later. No one has a clue to reproduce the problem repeatably.

A woman officer, sent by Washington & resented by the boss of male-centric Air Force facility, will eventually debug the problem.

Fact sheet.

First published: Astounding, March 1955.
Download full text from Project Gutenberg, Manybooks.
Rating: A.
Among the stories edited by John Campbell for Astounding/Analog.