Wednesday, April 1, 2020

"A Spatter of Blood Began To Fall Like Rain"

"The Spa of the Stars."
By Jack Vance (1916-2013).
Magnus Ridolph No. 7.

Illustration by Virgil Finlay (1914-71; HERE)
First appearance: Startling Stories, July 1950.

Reprints page (HERE).
Short story (13 pages).
Online at (HERE).

     "Ten million munits sunk into the place and three paying guests!"

The flora on the resort planet of Kolama is lush, giving the place an undeniable charm; 
the fauna, on the other hand, are an entirely different proposition, as Magnus Ridolph unpleasantly discovers when he becomes the unwilling subject of an ill-considered experiment: "The dragon opened its maw, darted its head forward, snapped . . ."

Principal characters:
~ Joe Blaine:

  "We don't need a trouble-shooter. We need a dragon-shooter and a water-beetle shooter 
and a flying-snake shooter. Lots of 'em."
~ Mayla:
  "She was a creature of instinct, rather than intellect, and this suited Joe Blaine very well."
~ Lucky Woolrich:
  "I've got the man to help us out if anyone can. He's highly recommended. Magnus Ridolph. 
A well-known genius. Invented the musical kaleidoscope."
~ Magnus Ridolph:
  "Of course, if you wish to retain me as a consultant, I can outline a simple chemical 

process . . ."

- "the white sun Eta Pisces": To the Babylonians it was basically a fish bucket. "Eta Piscium (η Piscium, abbreviated Eta Psc, η Psc) is a binary star and the brightest point of light in the constellation of Pisces with an apparent visual magnitude of +3.6. Based upon a measured annual parallax shift of 9.33 mas as seen from Earth, it is located roughly 350 light-years distant from the Sun in the thin disk population of the Milky Way." (Wikipedia HERE).

- Our previous Magnus Ridolph adventure was "The King of Thieves" (HERE).

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