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Marilee J. Layman

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08:51 pm: The Mile-Long Spaceship by Kate Wilhelm
I bought this from a fan-emergency auction and it turned out to be a nice, rather old, collection. Six of the eleven had been published before; the other five were first published in this collection.

I liked all the stories, but a few were better than others:

"The Mile-Long Spaceship" where a man wakes up from a car accident and the doctor and nurse tell him he's been talking about being in space. Turns out that while he's in coma or close, he's telepathic enough to reach the giant spaceship and affect it.

"A is for Automation" has a factory that is completed run by an old-style blinking-light computer. The owner shows the feds how it works and how it will make what they want without any problems. An old man watches the screens and finds the computer, Sarah, making some changes of her own.

"Andover and the Android" are joined when the company boss thinks there's something wrong with bachelors and he finally has an android made specifically for him in secret. No problem until she starts doing things she shouldn't.

"No Light in the Window" has a couple trying out for the first spaceship from Earth. As the numbers of people get cut lower and lower, the wife is sure she won't make it and the husband is sure they both will. He's very sure of everything and she's more flexible which is why in the end, she goes and he doesn't.

This last one reminded me of something that happened when I was in high school. I'd been sent from local choir to regional with six other kids from our area and our director. After the auditions and choir singing and solos and so forth, they started reading names of who would go to state. I was sure that the other alto from my school was better than I was, so I knew if she got the last spot (of four, in random order) or not at all, I wouldn't win.

They started reading names and when they read the third name, I knew I wasn't going. Then the fourth name was read and it was mine. My friend Kenny was shaking my shoulder to get me up on the stage. When I looked back, the other alto had been telling me for a long time that she was better than I was, but I'd performed professionally when she hadn't. I'd let her push me into something that wasn't true.

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