Tuesday, March 17, 2020

"Many, Many Men and Women They've Killed"

"The Howling Bounders."
By Jack Vance (1916-2013).

Illustration by Virgil Finlay (1914-71; HERE).
Magnus Ridolph No. 5.
First appearance: Startling Stories, March 1949.

Reprints page (HERE).
Short story (10 pages).
Online at Archive.org (HERE).

     "How did you kill them? They're like iron."

The prospect of realizing a handsome profit on his investment leads Magnus Ridolph, always hard up for money, to purchase a ticholama plantation on Naos VI; at first it looks like a good business move, but then comes the growing realization that he has been the victim of a swindle, not to mention the very real threat of the murderous Howling Bounders. However, anyone hoping to get away with scamming him is foredoomed to underestimate the formid-able intellect of Magnus Ridolph . . .

Major characters:
~ Gerald Blantham:

  "When he saw Magnus Ridolph, he shaped his features into a frame of grave solicitude."
~ Chook:
  "Them the Howling Bounders. Very bad. Kill you, kill me. Kill everything."
~ Captain Solinksy of the T.C.I.:
  "Hope you succeed. No one ever has before."
~ Magnus Ridolph:
  "Is it my end, then, to be fired like a piece of crockery in a kiln? No. I shall undoubtedly suffocate first."

- Our four previous postings about Magnus Ridolph are (HERE), (HERE), (HERE), and (HERE).

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