Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,

A St Patrick's Day story by classic SF writer Murray Leinster

Murray Leinster, whose real name was William Fitzgerald Jenkins, was one of the major figures of mid-twentieth century science fiction. His story "Exploration Team" (1956) won the second ever Hugo for Best Novella; his "First Contact" (1945) established a humorous twist on humans-meeting-aliens; his "A Logic Named Joe" (1946) foresaw computers in every household, communicating with each other; his story "Sidewise in Time" (1934) gave its name to the awards for alternate history.

Justly forgotten (until now) is his 1960 story "Attention Saint Patrick", in which a planet which has been settled by the Irish government (both planet and government confusingly referred to as "Eire") has a reptile problem which is solved by a smart girl visiting from earth. You can download it in various formats from Project Gutenberg here. The opening paragraph, just in case you had not yet decided if you wanted to read it:

President O'Hanrahan of the planetary government of Eire listened unhappily to his official guest. He had to, because Sean O'Donohue was chairman of the Dail—of Eire on Earth—Committee on the Condition of the Planet Eire. He could cut off all support from the still-struggling colony if he chose. He was short and opinionated, he had sharp, gimlet eyes, he had bristling white hair that once had been red, and he was the grandfather of Moira O'Donohue, who'd traveled to Eire with him on a very uncomfortable spaceship. That last was a mark in his favor, but now he stood four-square upon the sagging porch of the presidential mansion of Eire, and laid down the law.
And the last paragraph:
"Ah," said the chief justice. "Some way will turn up to handle the matter. Like Sean O'Donohue was sayin' to me yesterday, at the very bottom of a bottle, we Erse can always depend on St. Patrick to take care of things!"
Erse, indeed. Or something like that.

Tags: world: ireland

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