The Big Jump by Leigh Brackett

Published: 1955

Genre: science fiction

Length: 119 pages

Setting: future Earth, Moon, and Barnard’s Star

Interest: This was a Phoenix Pick free book of the month I downloaded onto my Kindle. (Sign up for their newsletter and every month, they’ll send a code for one of their science fiction books for free and a couple others on sale.) I picked it off my Kindle because I was looking for something in the novella length.

Summary: Rumor has it that someone has managed to take a spaceship beyond our solar system and returned. Arch Comyn had a good friend on that trip, so he tricks his was into the hospital room of the sole survivor of the trip in the hopes of hearing of his friend. Comyn manages to convince the Cochrane Company (who owned the ship that made the trip) to include him on the second mission to Barnard’s Star. They are going to look for transuranic elements for industrial uses, and possibly the rest of the first crew. They find those things, as well as an alien race that can transform living matter into transuranic elements that create their own energy. Comyn runs from the aliens and makes it back to Earth without being transformed.

Final thoughts: One of the problems with picking books off my Kindle is I’m choosing based solely on title and length, and possibly author, so I never have any idea of what I’m getting before I start reading, and once I start I don’t want to stop a book. This was another example of early science fiction that is interesting to read to get an idea of what they thought the future would look like and what was going on in society at the time. I can see the fascination with the creation of elements that occurring in real life when the story was written. That being said, I’m really not a fan of most of the older sci fi. Occasionally I’ll find something I like, but usually I finish and am slightly annoyed with the story. Coming so soon after reading Gateway, the dissatisfaction was even more pronounced than usual. I need to stick to more recent stuff for a while now, at least for my science fiction.

Title comes from: The trip from the moon to Barnard’s Star was called the Big Jump.

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