Friday, February 27, 2009

Friday Radio: The C-Chute (X Minus One)

Based on the story by Isaac Asimov, originally published in Galaxy Science Fiction, October 1951.

Originally broadcast on NBC, February 8, 1956.

(Another story by Isaac Asimov, "The Portable Star," is in Thrilling Wonder Stories, Volume 1—its first-ever appearance in an anthology.)

This is another one that doesn't work in the player, so you can just download it by clicking here.

In the first volume of his autobiography, In Memory Yet Green, Asimov writes that Galaxy editor H.L. Gold "demanded some changes" to the draft Asimov turned in. "I argued about them," he continues, "and gave in on some but held out stubbornly on others." After Asimov turned in the revision, Gold accepted the story, but rejected Asimov's title, "Greater Love." (The title is presumably from John 15:13—"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.")

Asimov had a lot of arguments with Gold, and especially hated the editor's "personal and vilifying" style. He relates this anecdote about getting back in his own way:
Horace once said to me, concerning one of my submissions, "This story is meretricious." "It's what?" said I. "Meretricious," he said, proud of the word (the meaning of which I knew perfectly well). "And a Happy New Year to you," I said. Would you believe he got annoyed?
Asimov got even more out of the argument over "The C-Chute": he made a humorous story out of the incident, called "The Monkey's Fingers."

Incidentally, Windham seems to say "Dash it!" an awful damn lot in this episode. I looked over the story again, and there, he says "dash it" twice, and "burn it" once. Windham's amusing dismissal of the C-Chute plan as "a video sort of idea" (meaning silly or crazy) is from Asimov.

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