C.M. Kornbluth. The Cosmic Expense Account. (Fantasy and Science Fiction, January 1956)

Read in The Year’s Greatest Science Fiction and Fantasy Second Annual Volume ed Judith Merril 1957.

Cited as being from ‘The Best from Fantasy and Science Fiction, Sixth Series’, but originally published in Fantasy and Science Fiction, January 1956, with the title ‘The Cosmic Charge Account’.

Kornbluth started writing and getting published in his teens, and had twenty prolific years before he died in his mid 30s, and this was one of his latter stories.

It’s a story that would sit nicely in today’s F&SF with only a few changes. Blackly comic and satirical, it features two men setting out into zombie-infested territory. They are a German academic of dubious authenticity, and his publisher, brought together because the author’s best-selling book of psychobabble, on Functional Epistemology, has actually been properly read and enthusiastically embraced by one lady reader, and somewhat improbably her mind is affecting increasing numbers of those around her.

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