Tiger by the Tail and other Science Fiction stories

by Alan E. Nourse
Reviewed date: 2018 Jun 25
144 pages
cover art

Tiger by the Tail
A lady with a bottomless pocketbook is picked up for shoplifting. Scientists study the pocketbook and realize that it swallows up aluminum but returns other objects. They determine that it's a four-dimensional shape wrapped around a chunk of another universe. So they jam a rod into the purse, then start pulling it back out, to pull the other universe into ours. But the other universe starts pulling back--hard.

Nightmare Brother
At the Hoffman Medical Center, David Cox undergoes a series of nightmares, learns to survive them and to control them. His success means he will be able to go into space, a place where frightful realities will destroy all but the most disciplined and well-trained minds.

The Grdznth are popping into Earth from a parallel dimension. They promise to only stay for a time, while they wait for their new home to be ready. The public isn't sure the Grdznth are harmless or that they will leave. Pete Greenwood helps run a public relations campaign to placate the public, but as time goes by, he begins to suspect that the Grdznth intend to make Earth their permanent home.

The Coffin Cure
A vaccine against the common cold brings a thousand-fold increase in the human sense of smell. It's intolerable, so the race is on to find a cure for the cure for the common cold.

Brightside Crossing
Back when Mercury was thought to be tidally locked with the Sun, making a land crossing of the bright side of Mercury would be about the most difficult journey in the solar system.

The Native Soil
Piper Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is trying to mine a miraculous new antibiotic that occurs naturally on Venus. The problem? Venus is a giant pit of squishy mud. The solution? Make the local intelligent life, the Mud-pups, mine it for them. But the Mud-pups are just too incredibly stupid, and keep making costly blunders. Robert Keilland is sent to salvage the project. He realizes that the Mud-pups are faking it: they're sabotaging the project to make the Earthmen go away. He further realizes that the Mud-pups are growing that miracle antibiotic as their own food source. So he makes a deal: he'll give them expired antibiotics from Earth (worthless to humans but a great food source for Mud-pups) in exchange for the local stuff.

Love Thy Vimp
Vimps from another dimension invade the Earth, feeding on people's anger and hatred and negative emotions. They're nasty little beasts. The way to drive them off is to love them--that's the one thing they can't stand.

Letter of the Law
Zeckler tries to run a scam on the planet Altair I, but runs afoul of their laws. The Altarians give him a trial, but it's just for show. They're going to find him guilty no matter what. But Zeckler impresses them so much with a clever paradox that they let him go--and he's immediately arrested by the Earth authorities. Nice try.

Family Resemblance
A practical joke (dressing up a little piglet and putting it in the nursery wing of the hospital) causes one doctor to take a close look at the evidence of human evolution. He's shocked to find there's a strong case that humans are more closely related to pigs than to apes.

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