I read this story (English language) in a science fiction anthology paperback book from the 1960s or earlier.

I remember only one scene from this story. In this story spaceships travel by jumping from one point to another.

In probably the opening scene the story the protagonist is outside on Earth or some colony planet when he sees a starliner materialize. He thinks that the people on the starliner are very lucky because the starliner almost materialized inside the surface of the planet. To prevent the disaster that would cause, all star ships have an automatic mechanism to destroy the matter within them if they were about to materialize in solid matter. And of course there wouldn't be any problems materializing in air since the breathable atmosphere of a habitable planet doesn't have any mass.

And as a kid I thought the proposed cure would be worse than the disease. Destroying all the mass of a giant space liner would mean converting it into energy. All tens of thousands of tons of it. So the protagonist should have thought that he also had a narrow escape from death from a tremendous explosion.

And that is all I remember about that story.

It is possible that another story in the anthology might have been about a hard boiled future detective or secret agent who investigates a conspiracy and travels to one of the tiny outer moons of Jupiter or one of the Trojan Asteroids. This may have had first person narration.

And it is possible but not certain that the anthology might have been Way Out edited by Ivan Howard. The stories in that are listed as:

  • Ennui, Milton Lesser;
  • Knowledge is Power, H.B. Fyfe;
  • Snail's Pace, Algis Budrys;
  • X for Expendable, William C. Bailey;
  • Blood Lands, Alfred Coppel;
  • Blunder Enlightening, Dave Dryfoos;
  • Honorable Enemies, Poul Anderson

The only one I remember is "Honorable Enemies", and I probably read it in Way Out, but I don't remember if I read in in the same anthology as the other 2 stories I mentioned.

If the story I remember is in Way Out it is not "Knowledge is Power", and not "Blunder Enlightening".

User14111 says the story I remember is not Way Out. Thus it would be in another one of all the dozens of science fiction anthologies I read in the 1960s.

  • 1
    I dug out my copy of Way Out and quickly leafed through it. "'X' for 'Expendable'"" by William C. Bailey is your 1st-person hard-boiled investigator who takes a trip out to Europa. But the one you want doesn't seem to be there. You can look for yourself: all the stories except "Snail's Pace" and "Honorable Enemies" are from Dynamic Science Fiction, Dec '52; "Snail's Pace" is from Dynamic Science Fiction, Oct '53 (links to archive.org). – user14111 May 12 '17 at 5:16
  • Is the story about the danger of starships materializing inside a planet? Or is that just a background detail and the story is about something else entirely? – user14111 May 12 '17 at 8:06
  • user14111 - I doubt that it was about the danger of starships materializing inside a planet. I think that was probably just a detail and the main story probably had the protagonist interact with people who arrived on the starliner. – M. A. Golding May 12 '17 at 15:55

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