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.Then, for one reason or another, they left their positions and vanished out of my ken.I haven't seen Horace Gold for many years, for instance-and I haven't seen James L.Quinn, who bought DOES A BEE CARE? and a few other stories of mine.He had a southern accent, I remember, and was a delightful person-and now I don't know where he is or even if he is still alive.The next story, SILLY ASSES, is one that I had better say very little about or the commentary will be longer than the story.I wrote it on July 29, 1957, and it was rejected by two different magazines before Bob Lowndes kindly made a home for it.It appeared in the February 1958 issue of Future.SILLY ASSESNaron of the long-lived Rigellian race was the fourth of his line to keep the galactic records.He had the large book which contained the list of the numerous races throughout the galaxies that had developed intelligence, and the much smaller book that listed those races that had reached maturity and had qualified for the Galactic Federation.In the first book, a number of those listed were crossed out; those that, for one reason or another, had failed.Misfortune, biochemical or biophysical shortcomings, social maladjustment took their toll.In the smaller book, however, no member listed had yet blanked out.And now Naron, large and incredibly ancient, looked up as a messenger approached.“Naron,” said the messenger.“Great One!”“Well, well, what is it? Less ceremony.”“ Another group of organisms has attained maturity.”“Excellent.Excellent.They are coming up quickly now.Scarcely a year passes without a new one.And who are these?”The messenger gave the code number of the galaxy and the coordinates of the world within it.“Ah, yes,” said Naron.“I know the world.” And in flowing script he noted it in the first book and transferred its name into the second, using, as was customary, the name by which the planet was known to the largest fraction of its populace.He wrote: Earth.He said, “These new creatures have set a record.No other group has passed from intelligence to maturity so quickly.No mistake, I hope.”“None, sir,” said the messenger.“They have attained to thermonuclear power, have they?”“Yes.sir.”“Well, that's the criterion.” Naron chuckled.“And soon their ships will probe out and contact the Federation.”“Actually, Great One,” said the messenger, reluctantly, “the Observers tell us they have not yet penetrated space.”Naron was astonished.“Not at all? Not even a space station?”“Not yet, sir.”“But if they have thermonuclear power, where then do they conduct their tests and detonations?”“On their own planet, sir.”Naron rose to his full twenty feet of height and thundered, “On their own planet?”“Yes, sir.”Slowly Naron drew out his stylus and passed a line through the latest addition in the smaller book.It was an unprecedented act, but, then, Naron was very wise and could see the inevitable as well as anyone in the galaxy.“Silly asses,” he muttered.=====This is another story with a moral, I'm afraid.But, you see, the nuclear danger had escalated when both the United States and the Soviet Union developed the fusion H-bomb, and I was bitter again.As 1957 ended another turning point was upon me.It came about in this wise:When Walker, Boyd, and I wrote our textbook we all spent school time freely on it (though naturally much of the work overflowed into evenings and weekends).It was a scholarly endeavor and part of our job.When I wrote THE CHEMICALS OF LIFE I felt that that, too, was a scholarly endeavor, and worked on it during school hours without any qualms.I worked on other books of the sort during school hours, too.* [* I must stress.again.that I never worked on science fiction during school hours.] By the end of 1957 I had in this fashion written seven nonfiction books for the general public.Meanwhile, though, James Faulkner, the sympathetic dean, and Burnham S.Walker, the sympathetic department head, had resigned their positions and there had come replacements-who viewed me without sympathy.Dean Faulkner’s replacement did not approve of my activities, and he had a point, I suppose.In my eagerness to write nonfiction I had completely abandoned research, and he thought it was research on which the school's reputation depended.To an extent that is true, but it is not always true, and in my case it wasn't.We had a conference and I presented my view in a frank and straightforward manner, as my unworldly father had always taught me to do.“Sir,” I said, ''as a writer I am outstanding and my work will reflect luster on the school.As a researcher, however, I am merely competent, and if there is one thing Boston University School of Medicine does not need, it is another merely competent researcher.”I supose [sic] I might have been more diplomatic, for that seemed to end the discussion.I was taken off the payroll and the spring semester of 1958 was the last in which I taught regular classes, after nine years at that game.It didn't bother me very much.Concerning the school salary I cared nothing.Even after two pay raises it only came to sixty-five hundred dollars a year, and my writing earned me considerably more than that already.Nor did I worry about losing the chance to do research; I had abandoned that already.As for teaching, my nonfiction books (and even my science fiction) were forms of teaching that satisfied me with their great variety far more than teaching a limited subject matter could.I didn't even fear missing the personal interaction of lecturing, since from 1950 onward I had been establishing myself as a professional lecturer and was beginning to earn respectable fees in that manner.However, it was the new dean's intention to deprive me of my title, too, and kick me out of the school altogether.That I would not allow.I maintained that I had earned tenure, for I had become an associate professor in 1955, and could not be deprived of the title without cause [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]

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