Monday, January 23, 2017

"A Kiss Had Created a Trap—and the Trap Was Ready to Spring"

"Coffin of Life and Death."
By Robert Wade (Robert Allison Wade, 1920-2012).
First appearance: Fantastic Adventures, April 1948.
Short story (15 pages).
Online at (HERE) and SFFAudio (HERE) (PDF).
(Note: The illustration, while eye-catching, doesn't fit with the story.)
"Living on Mars was easy, but dying was a different matter because the dead often came back from the grave alive — due to a peculiar type of coffin."
Space pilot Blake Wallace has this thing for Gloria Williams, Peter Shad's granddaughter, but he has to put his feelings on the back burner when he answers an add placed in the Martian Space News by Shad, who's in failing health, for a charter run to Earth, the cargo ostensibly being a sarcophagus containing a robot far in advance of the ones in current use. Blake will soon find out, however, that what's really in the sarcophagus represents something far more valuable than a machine—hope.

Comment: An unusually upbeat story with a bittersweet finish.
Typos: "the astroid belt"; "Spleen Johnson"; "the lense"
Very deceptive
- Robert Wade is usually better well-known to crime fiction fans under his other aliases, Whit Masterson and Wade Miller (the latter two being used with collaborator Bill Miller; see HERE); if you're curious, there are plenty of data at Wikipedia (HERE), Mystery*File (HERE), the IMDb (HERE), and the ISFDb (HERE).
- In SFF, a coffin doesn't necessarily signify the end; one example is (HERE).

The bottom line: "A cynic is a man who, when he smells flowers, looks around for a coffin."
The Sage of Baltimore

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