“I Like You, Too” by Joe Gibson appeared in the October 1948 issue of Thrilling Wonder Stories.
After a couple of duds which followed Brackett’s masterpiece, this issue of Thrilling rights itself with the fun and somewhat bizarre “I Like You, Too” by Joe Gibson.
Given the recent arguments here over Hard SF and Pulp, this story should add some fuel to the fire, some grist to mill, or at least a data point for reference. Over the course of its scant pages, I Like You, Too goes from rock-hard SF to full-on weird.
An expedition to Mars has nearly reached the Red Planet when something goes dreadfully wrong. A meteor is heading toward the ship, and any course that will avoid it will throw off the ship’s atmospheric entry trajectory, killing them all! They’re faced with a choice of bouncing off into the outer solar system or trying to survive a hot reentry and crash landing.
“Our nucleonic field simply cannot take a ‘head-on’ with that meteor without drastically, fatally, shoving the ship off course! We’re plunging into Mars—we’ll have to! Jennings has a reckoning on our trajectory, now. We’ll skim Mars! Smack through the atmosphere and on out into space! Looks like our only chance—velocity ten times too high for landing, and Jennings believes our nucleonic field can take that atmospheric pressure while it can’t take the meteor! But it’s going to be close and it’s going to be hot outside! Jennings says to hang onto your hats!”