In reading 50 Short Science Fiction Tales, I couldn’t help but notice how tame and dated time had made those tales seem. Factor in the length, and the seemingly compulsory twist endings, and I feel almost as though I’d been reading The Science Fiction Joke Book. This is not by any means to say I haven’t enjoyed the book. Vintage science fiction is fun to read for its odd speculations that never bore fruit: book-film readers, binary-coded police reports, atomic light bulbs, tube-based teaching computers, and all sorts of other, wonderful ideas that seem half-baked by today’s standards. Of course, some ideas never seem to go out of style, such as robots that carry out their programming long after the need has passed. Thus I present to you the twentieth Robot-a-Day, the Keeper of the Volcano.
The Keeper of the Volcano had been quiet for generations, just listening to the earth move, but on the day it finally spoke, nobody understood.