X Minus One -- Jaywalker by Ross Rocklynne

Saturday, 30 June 2012 07:41 Dave Truesdale

X Minus One aired "Jaywalker" on April 17, 1956 as its 47th episode. Veteran pulp magazine mainstay Ross Rocklynne (1913-1988) saw his story first published in the December 1950 issue of Galaxy, only the magazine's third issue, the October 1950 Galaxy heralding the magazine's debut.

A rather sentimental story, "Jaywalker" examines a familiar human drama, one undoubtedly played out time and again throughout recorded history; a tale of love, jealousy, another woman coming between a man and his wife, and in this case how the added SF element may or may not reveal much about our very natures. The astute SF aficionado might also glim a possible riff on this 1950 story with Tom Godwin's classic tale "The Cold Equations," which ran almost four years later in the August 1954 issue of Astounding SF. One could reasonably posit that "The Cold Equations" is science fiction in dialogue with itself and argue that the story is a direct response to "Jaywalker." See what you think.

Ross Rocklynne was a Guest at the first World Science Fiction convention in 1939. While he more or less retired from writing in the late 1950s, he was urged by Harlan Ellison to contribute a story for Ellison's landmark Again, Dangerous Visions volume in 1972. Rocklynne's story "Ching Witch!" was subsequently nominated for a Nebula Award.

Also in the December 1950 issue of editor Horace Gold's Galaxy were the following stories: "The Second Night of Summer." a novelette by James H. Schmitz, "Judas Ram," a short story by Sam Merwin, Jr., "A Stone and a Spear," a novelette by Raymond F. Jones, "The Waker Dreams," a short story by Richard Matheson, and the third and concluding part of Clifford D. Simak's novel Time Quarry (published in 1951 as Time and Again). Cliff Simak was born in 1904 and Ross Rocklynne was born in 1913. Both died in 1988.

Play Time: 27:23

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