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Sunday, January 5, 2014

THE DANGEROUS DIMENSION (Stories from the Golden Age Series) (kindle e-book) (short story) by L. Ron Hubbard

Originally published in the magazine Astounding Science Fiction in 1938.
Re-published in e-book format by Galaxy Press in 2010.

On the internet you can find rumors that this was L. Ron Hubbard's first science fiction story. Purportedly, the editor was looking for something that was breezy, funny and easy-to-read. I have no idea if this really true, but this short story is certainly all of those things.

Sadly, it's just not a very good short story.

Dr. Henry Mudge has worked out the mathematics of how to transport oneself instantly from one place to another just by imagining that place. He calls this formula Equation C.

But, controlling your mind enough to use this technique is difficult. Try not to think of a place when you hear someone talk about it. So, when someone says a place to Dr. Mudge he goes there, including the moon and Mars. Meanwhile, he is supposed to be giving a major presentation at his university to a group of professors if he can just get there and stay there without bouncing off somewhere else...

While a cute concept, the story just does not work all that well if you think it through. The internal consistency is just not there. Also, despite the fact that the cover has an exploding space ship on it, there are no space ships in this short story. 

The story is accompanied by an uncritical, enthusiastic biography of Hubbard that mostly skips over the Scientology stuff.

I rate this short story 2 stars out of 5. 
Reviewed on January 5, 2014.

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