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The Midas Plague (The Galaxy Project) [Kindle Edition]

Frederik Pohl
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $2.99
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Book Description

Although the three part serial beginning in the June 1952 issue in collaboration with Cyril Kornbluth had established Frederik Pohl as a formidable contributor, this novelette in the April 1954 issue was his first solo contribution and marked him as an important addition to the growing roster of social satirists enlisted by Horace Gold, the editor of GALAXY magazine. The audacious and patchwork concept underlying this story (the richer you are the less you are forced to consume; the greatest poverty is involved with the aggregation of goods) was Horace Gold’s and according to Pohl he had offered it to almost all of his regular contributors, asking for a story centered on the idea. The idea lacks all credibility, everyone (including Pohl) told him and everyone refused to write something so patently unbelievable until, according to Pohl, Horace browbeat him into an attempt and Pohl decided that it was less trouble to deliver something than continue to resist. To his utter shock, the story was received by Gold and his readership with great glee, was among the most popular GALAXY ever published (or Pohl) and one of the most anthologized. Whether this demonstrated the audacity and scope of Gold’s unreason or whether it confirmed Gold’s genius (or both) Pohl was utterly unable to decide. The sculpted consumer-obsessed society was used again by Pohl a few years later in the novelette THE MAN WHO ATE THE WORLD which was far more credible (consumption-obsession as a kind of personal tyranny) and, perhaps for that very reason, much less successful, barely remembered.


Frederik Pohl (b. 1919) has been at the center of science fiction for three-quarters of a century. As an editor at GALAXY, Gold’s successor for a decade, as the editor a decade earlier of ASTONISHING and other competitors of ASTOUNDING, as the science fiction editor at Bantam Books and as an editor of the first original anthology series, STAR SCIENCE FICTION, Pohl has been perhaps more influential than any editor other than John W. Campbell. His novels and short stories alone or in collaboration since THE SPACE MERCHANTS have been at the cutting edge of the field; GATEWAY and MAN PLUS each won both Nebula and Hugo in successive years. Writers he first published or made prominent as an editor include R.A. Lafferty, Cordwainer Smith and Joanna Russ. His mainstream novel, THE YEARS OF THE CITY is probably his finest. He is a Grandmaster of the Science Fiction Writers of America. His most recent novel, published in 2011 is ALL THE LIVES HE LED.


Horace Gold led GALAXY magazine from its first issue dated October 1950 to science fiction’s most admired, widely circulated and influential magazine throughout its initial decade. Its legendary importance came from publication of full length novels, novellas and novelettes. GALAXY published nearly every giant in the science fiction field.

The Galaxy Project is a selection of the best of GALAXY with new forewords by some of today’s best science fiction writers. The initial selections in alphabetical order include work by Ray Bradbury, Frederic Brown, Lester del Rey, Robert A. Heinlein, Damon Knight, C. M. Kornbluth, Walter M. Miller, Jr., Frederik Pohl, Robert Scheckley, Robert Silverberg, William Tenn (Phillip Klass) and Kurt Vonnegut with new Forewords by Paul di Filippo, David Drake, John Lutz, Barry Malzberg and Robert Silverberg. The Galaxy Project is committed to publishing new work in the spirit GALAXY magazine and its founding editor Horace Gold.

Product Details

  • File Size: 203 KB
  • Print Length: 69 pages
  • Publisher: RosettaBooks (October 1, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #360,179 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Social and science and economics August 29, 2012
By C.K.
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I read this first decades ago, and loved it for the plot itself.
Reading it again, I understand that I was not just enjoying the plot, but getting a deep but subtle commentary on science, economics, interpersonal relationships, and politics hidden away inside a fun story. I know well-crafted stores influenced me subtly in many ways in later life, and I thank Pohl for being the master writer and laying the groundwork for critical thinking in me.
You will have a good deal of fun with this, and face questions that we still haven't answered.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An old friend April 7, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I remembered reading this long ago and went looking for it. The chance to put it on my Kindle and have it to read anytime thrilled me. I'll be gathering in more of this Author as well - a golden-ager and one I always appreciated.

It tells a good story, the roll reversal between wealthy and poor was why I remembered it in the first place; it is more than mere entertainment.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Winner November 4, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Incredibly clever and very well written as I would expect from this outstanding scifi author. This is the sort of concept that turns the world upside down and you can't get it out of your head once you have devoured this story.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great 50`s Science Fiction October 27, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Even more revelent in light of todays out of control consumerism. A great short read for 50`s SF fans like me. Must also add that the recent death of the author influenced my decision to purchase along with a good price.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Midas Plague October 5, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Frederik Pohl has been a writer for a long time and I have read many of is books. this was a short story and very cute. Read it = you won't be sorry.
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