Friday, February 9, 2018

"He'll Have Quite a Surprise in Store for Him"

"The Incomplete Theft."
By Ralph Burke (Robert Silverberg, born 1935).
(FictionMags says this story was "ghost written by Randall Garrett").
First appearance: Imagination, February 1957.
Short short story (5 pages).
Online at Archive.org (HERE).

"He walked directly across the well-lighted safety area, and the guards paid not the slightest attention."
It's highly unlikely that a thief ever stops to think that whatever he has set his mind on stealing just might steal him . . .

Characters:
~ Peter Blane:
  "She's a real beauty. When will she be finished?"

~ John Mitchell:
  "This afternoon. The boys are tightening the last bolts and putting in the final wiring now. The job's just about over, Pete."

~ Dr. Harris:
  "An Earthman stepped out, an engineer named Harris who had apparently been making some last-minute adjustments on the ship."


Comment: The self-teleporting starship—a real time-saver:

   "It was simple to operate; all the pilot had to do was set up the coordinates of his target, turn on the hyperkinetic generator, and press the activator button. The generator itself did the rest. The field enclosed the ship, and instantaneously the ship was a hundred or a thousand light-years away."

Resources:
- Robert Silverberg has used the "Ralph Burke" alias at least thirteen times ("three times in collaboration with Randall Garrett," according to the SFE); it was just last month that we

paid a visit to Silverberg (HERE).
- Detailed discussions of teleportation reside on Wikipedia (HERE) and Atomic Rockets (HERE); the U.S. Air Force Research Lab's report (HERE) (PDF, 88 pages) actually consid-ered such a highly unlikely technical development.
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