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the genre's premiere review magazine for short SF & Fantasy since 1993

Appointment in Tomorrow (aka Poor Superman) -- Fritz Leiber

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Fritz Leiber (1910-1992) is justly renowned as one of the greatest talents ever to emerge in the science fiction and fantasy field. Some of the best work ever to come out of the genre was produced by Fritz Leiber. Our first Leiber Old Time Radio episode, "A Pail of Air," is one of his more famous stories, and the introduction to that episode includes more background information on the legendary SFWA Grand Master here.

We revisit Leiber now with "Appointment in Tomorrow," better known as "Poor Superman." It saw print in the July 1951 issue of Galaxy, a scarce five months before "A Pail of Air" was published in Galaxy's December 1951 issue. As with his novel Gather, Darkness, "Poor Superman" deals with the theme of science vs. magic. Set following a future World War III (which Leiber gave as occurring at the end of the 20th century), he deals with several subsidiary themes as well, and cleverly, though the primary thrust of this tale deals with charlatans, or magic, or even aliens, and a desperate people's willingness to believe in anything when times are tough--and their unwillingness to accept harsh truths.

Laced with clever, smart dialogue delivered in high spirit by the accomplished radio actors, the fate of mankind lies in the hands of a few men who control a super computer, and when one of them questions the motives of the few the philosophical chess match is on. Referencing Poe, Nietzsche, and Shakespeare to sweeten the complex arguments from both sides, Leiber challenges the reader as well.

Listen now to the X Minus One adaptation of Fritz Leiber's "Appointment in Tomorrow" (aka "Poor Superman"), which aired on November 7, 1956.

Play Time: 27:31