Although C. M. Kornbluth died an untimely death at age 34, in his short career he managed to write dozens of short stories and a number of novels, often collaborating with other writers. The five stories in this collection are all his own, and show a writer at the height of his powers. In “The Little Black Bag” (1950), a disgraced physician finds salvation in a high-tech doctor’s bag that has inadvertently been transported from the future. “The Altar at Midnight” (1952) explores an unintended consequence of space flight, in which astronauts become physically deformed by their work in space, thus making them outcasts back on Earth. “MS Found in a Chinese Fortune Cookie” (1957) presents a humorous tale of a writer who finds enlightenment but ends up in an insane asylum. “The Adventurer” (1953) is a tale of political intrigue, in a future where our republic has become a dynasty for one ruling family. In “The Marching Morons” (1951), a follow-up to “The Little Black Bag”, a 20th-century man awakes in a distant future, where intelligence has been mostly bred out of humanity.
"A writer who had no peer in science fiction for examining the human condition in a multitude of moods." (Booklist)
"A boundless talent." (Frederik Pohl)
"Witty, pointed, telling, honest, gutsy." (Timothy P. Szczesuil, editor of His Share of Glory: The Complete Short Science Fiction of C. M. Kornbluth)
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