One of the pleasures in going back to read SF from the 1950s is finding out about the *really* interesting lives of some of the authors. According to his wikipedia entry, Robinson was the son of a check forger, was drafted into the navy in WWII, graduated as a physics major, went back into the navy and served in Korea, wrote prolifically whilst working, ended up writing the Playboy’s Advisor column, and *then* became (he was himself gay) a speech-writer for Harvey Milk, for whom he was co-executor of his will after his assassination.
I may be late to the party, but a Best SF Huzzah! for the late Robinson.
Anyhoo, Robinson was a prolific writer, and in fact he had two stories in the issue of Imaginative Tales from which this story came, the other being pseudonymous. And in terms of that magazine, can you imagine the odds of that fishing float being in just that perfect spot to cover the mermaid’s nipple. Really, what are the odds.
The story shows no signs of being one of many churned out by an author pressed for time. It features a teenage orphan who runs away from the orphanage, dreaming of getting to Roswell (of all places!) where the nearest spaceport is, and heading out to the stars as a stowaway with a view to earning a job on the ship once found. There are many obstacles in his path, but the young boy surmounts them, and we find in the end that there weren’t quite as many obstacles in his path.
The only issue for me in this hardback copy of the book is the typesetter’s refusal to put in blank lines or otherwise mark a break in the narrative.