By Edward Wellen (1919-2011).
First appearance: Galaxy Magazine, April 1953.
Reprinted in All About the Future (1955).
"Non-Fact Article" (9 pages).
Online at Archive.org HERE.
"When you go on an interstellar journey, be sure to take along this handy little legal guide."Galactic case law being what it is, knowing something about the precedents might be a good idea—just in case you run afoul of the law as you're traveling around in the Great Up and Out.
~ People v. Kilgore, 3380, 84 Un. 793:
"When the time came for the judge to pronounce sentence, Kilgore asked to be allowed to impose his own punishment."
~ People v. Nica, 3286, 70 Un. 1245:
"Smiling, he pleaded guilty to both murders and listened eagerly for the verdict."
~ People v. Gund, 3286, 70 Un. 1245:
"He struck the Vegan down when the cumulative effect of witnessing nearly two hours of the master's cruelty and the pet's pain had proved unbearable."
~ U. of Venus v. Vac. Inc. et al., 2937, 63 Un. 8451:
"At this point the judge wearily recessed court, declaring that he intended to damp his brain waves with tonic chord therapy."
~ Smith v. General Teletote, 3016, 24 Un. 612:
"General Teletote admitted that its tri-dimensional scanner had reassembled Smith improperly."
~ Based on a quashed indictment, 3426 U.E.:
"This fetish of theirs, they explained, stemmed from the darkest age of their history . . ."
- "Origins of Galactic Law" was the second in an eight-part series of "non-fact articles" by Edward Wellen in Galaxy that would ultimately be spread over a decade:
(1) "Origins of Galactic Slang" (1952)
(2) "Origins of Galactic Law" (1953, above)
(3) "Origins of Galactic Etiquette" (1953)
(4) "Origins of Galactic Medicine" (1953)
(5) "Origins of Galactic Advice to the Lovelorn" (1955)
(6) "Origins of the Galactic Short-Snorter" (1960)
(7) "Origins of Galactic Fruit Salad" (1962)
(8) "Origins of Galactic Philosophy" (1962)
- The Science Fiction Encyclopedia (HERE) tells us that Edward Wellen was a "US writer, almost exclusively of short stories, mostly in the mystery genre" (see the dismissive Kirkus review HERE); but when he essayed SF it "was concise, literate, cynical and frequently anthologized over his forty-year career, and is overdue for collection." See also the ISFDb (HERE), Atomic Rockets (HERE), and Mystery*File (HERE).
- Like Isaac Asimov, sometimes Wellen crossed the genres, as in his Wendell Urth Asimov tribute story, "Murder in the Urth Degree" (1989, for the moment online HERE):
"It's as obvious," Dr. Urth said sharply, "as the nose on my face." Maybe that’s why I don’t see it, Davenport muttered mentally.
The bottom line: "I learned law so well, the day I graduated I sued the college, won the case, and got my tuition back."
— John Florence Sullivan