Sjambak: A Classic Science Fiction Adventure
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Wilbur Murphy sought romance, excitement, and an impossible Horseman of Space. With polite smiles, the planet frustrated him at every turn - until he found them all the hard way! A classic science fiction story originally published in the "If Worlds of Science Fiction" in July, 1953. Includes a detailed "About the Author" and a selected bibliography.
Dragon Masters and in 1967 for The Last Castle; a Nebula Award in 1966, also for The Last Castle; the Jupiter Award in 1975; the World Fantasy Award in 1984 for life achievement and in 1990 for Lyonesse: Madouc; an Edgar (the mystery equivalent of the Nebula) for the best first mystery novel in 1961 for The Man in the Cage. In 1992, he was Guest of Honor at the WorldCon in Orlando, Florida; and in 1997 he was named a SFWA Grand Master. A 2009 profile in the New York Times Magazine described Vance
this office. We think we know what kind of show we want. We send out our staff to get it. We’re signing the checks, so back it comes the way we asked for it. We look at it, hear it, smell it—and pretty soon we believe it: our version of the universe, fullblown from our brains like Minerva stepping out of Zeus. You see what I mean?” “I understand the words.” “We’ve got our own picture of what’s going on. We ask for it, we get it. It builds up and up—and finally we’re like mice in a trap built of
either steward, sjambak—or Sultan.” Murphy said impatiently. “In any event, it’s not who—but how. How does the man breathe? Vacuum sucks a man’s lungs up out of his mouth, bursts his stomach, his ears. . . .” “We have excellent doctors,” said Soek Panjoebang shuddering, “but alas! I am not one of them.” MURPHY LOOKED at her sharply. Her voice held the plangent sweetness of her instrument, with additional overtones of mockery. “There must be some kind of invisible dome around him, holding in air,”
the palace.” MURPHY RETURNED to his suite. The shadowy figure of his room servant said, “His Highness the Sultan desires the Tuan’s attendance in the Cascade Garden.” “Thank you,” said Murphy. “As soon as I load my camera.” The Cascade Room was an open patio in front of an artificial waterfall. The Sultan was pacing back and forth, wearing dusty khaki puttees, brown plastic boots, a yellow polo shirt. He carried a twig which he used as a riding crop, slapping his boots as he walked. He turned his
water-jewels, held his. Her face was utterly expressionless. She turned, tossed away the flower with a jaunty gesture, and continued, her shoulders swinging. Murphy breathed deeply. She might have made picturama at that. . . . One hour later he met his escort at the valley gate. They were dressed in space-suits for the plains, twenty men with sullen faces. The trip to Ghatamipol clearly was not to their liking. Murphy climbed into his own suit, checked the oxygen pressure gauge, the seal at his