THE OTHER WIFE
by Jack Finney - THE INVASION OF BODY SNATCHERS AUTHOR
DRINK COCO-COOLA - I KNEW IS NOT A PAINTER'S MISTAKE
PICAYNE CIGARRETES I SPUN FOR THE EMPIRE STATE
BUT IT WAS THERE
AND HOW COME FORD BUICK CHEVROLET SURVIVED
WHILE MOON HIPMOBILE AND KINSEL DIDN'T SWEET CAPORALS AND PIEDMONTS INSTEAD OF LUCKYSTRIKES UM MUNDO ALTERNATIVO
from The Saturday Evening Post
In a recent volume of considerable arrogance, ill-considered opinion, and unconsidering
slovenliness of research, a British humorist with pretensions to critical judgment of science
fantasy, one Kingsley Amis, refers to the (unnamed) writer of a story entitled "Of Missing
Persons" as "an author who has yet to make his name."
" 'Of Missing Persons,' " says Mr. Amis, "is one of those things that offer themselves for analysis
with an almost suspicious readiness." I was not able to determine, in the three pages of quotes
and comments that followed, just what analysis was being made, or whose readiness for what was
under suspicion-but I may have been prejudiced by having read the story, several times, with
great enjoyment, when it was included in the first annual volume of SF.
For the benefit of any readers who, like Mr. Amis, are unfamiliar with the author's work-the name
is Finney. Jack Finney. And it has been a familiar one in science-fantasy since Robert Heinlein's
1951 anthology, "Tomorrow the Stars," first offered it to the specialty field.
Mr. Finney's most recent books include The Third level (Rinehart and Dell Book) and The Body
Snatchers (Dell First Editions).
"... Will let me know the number of the pattern," my wife was saying, following me down the hall toward
our bedroom, "and I can knit it myself if I get the blocking done." I think she said blocking,
anyway-whatever that means. And I nodded, unbuttoning my shirt as I walked; it had been hot out
today, and I was eager to get out of my office clothes. I began thinking about a dark-green
eight-thousand-dollar sports car I'd seen during noon hour in that big showroom on Park Avenue.
"... kind of a ribbed pattern with a matching freggel-heggis," my wife seemed to be saying as I stopped at
my dresser. I tossed my shirt on the bed and turned to the mirror, arching my chest.
"... middy collar, batten-barton sleeves with sixteen rows of smeddlycup balderdashes...." Pretty good
chest and shoulders, I thought, staring in the mirror; I'm twenty-six years old, kind of thin faced, not
bad-looking, not good-looking.
"... dropped hem, doppelganger waist, maroon-green, and a sort of frimble-framble daisystitch...."
Probably want two or three thousand bucks down on a car like that, I thought; the payments'd be more
than the rent on this whole apartment. I began emptying the change out of my pants pockets, glancing at
each of the coins. When I was a kid there used to be an ad in a boys' magazine; "Coin collecting can be
PROFITABLE," it read, "and FUN too! Why don't you start TODAY!" It explained that a 1913
Liberty-head nickel-"and many others!"-was worth thousands, and I guess I'm still looking for one.