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Suite Mentale   By: (1927-1987)

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Just about a year ago, two enthusiastic young men came to see me, and during the course of the visit announced that they were starting a campaign to make their living in science fiction and also to become "names" in the best science fiction magazines. They planned to collaborate on some material, and write on their own as well, intending to make the grade both ways.

One of the pair was a well known science fiction fan, who had appeared once or twice in the "pro mags," as fans designate journals like this one. The other was Randall Garrett, who had previously sold a respectable number of stories to various magazines in the science fiction and fantasy field.

I shall not try to insult your intelligence by stating that I told them I knew they could do it; on the contrary, I larded doubt with sympathy. However, this story, and Robert A. Madle's "Inside Science Fiction" will show how wrong I was!


by Randall Garrett

Illustrated by EMSH


The neurosurgeon peeled the thin surgical gloves from his hands as the nurse blotted the perspiration from his forehead for the last time after the long, grueling hours.

"They're waiting outside for you, Doctor," she said quietly.

The neurosurgeon nodded wordlessly. Behind him, three assistants were still finishing up the operation, attending to the little finishing touches that did not require the brilliant hand of the specialist. Such things as suturing up a scalp, and applying bandages.

The nurse took the sterile mask no longer sterile now while the doctor washed and dried his hands.

"Where are they?" he asked finally. "Out in the hall, I suppose?"


She nodded. "You'll probably have to push them out of the way to get out of Surgery."

Her prediction was almost perfect. The group of men in conservative business suits, wearing conservative ties, and holding conservative, soft, felt hats in their hands were standing just outside the door. Dr. Mallon glanced at the five of them, letting his eyes stop on the face of the tallest. "He may live," the doctor said briefly.

"You don't sound very optimistic, Dr. Mallon," said the FBI man.

Mallon shook his head. "Frankly, I'm not. He was shot laterally, just above the right temple, with what looks to me like a .357 magnum pistol slug. It's in there " He gestured back toward the room he had just left. " you can have it, if you want. It passed completely through the brain, lodging on the other side of the head, just inside the skull. What kept him alive, I'll never know, but I can guarantee that he might as well be dead; it was a rather nasty way to lobotomize a man, but it was effective, I can assure you."

The Federal agent frowned puzzledly. "Lobotomized? Like those operations they do on psychotics?"

"Similar," said Mallon. "But no psychotic was ever butchered up like this; and what I had to do to him to save his life didn't help anything."

The men looked at each other, then the big one said: "I'm sure you did the best you could, Dr. Mallon."

The neurosurgeon rubbed the back of his hand across his forehead and looked steadily into the eyes of the big man.

"You wanted him alive," he said slowly, "and I have a duty to save life. But frankly, I think we'll all eventually wish we had the common human decency to let Paul Wendell die. Excuse me, gentlemen; I don't feel well." He turned abruptly and strode off down the hall.

One of the men in the conservative suits said: "Louis Pasteur lived through most of his life with only half a brain and he never even knew it, Frank; maybe "

"Yeah. Maybe," said the big man. "But I don't know whether to hope he does or hope he doesn't." He used his right thumbnail to pick a bit of microscopic dust from beneath his left index finger, studying the operation without actually seeing it... Continue reading book >>

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