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The Gift of Gab

Author: Jack Vance
Year written: 1954
Author’s age at the time: 38
Year published: September 1955
Year revised: 1964
Publication: Astounding Science Fiction
Dutch title: De Gave van de Woorden
French title: Le don du bagout
Genre: short story, novella, SF

Comment:

A mystery story, set on a planet with marine life.

Quotes:

Fletcher tried to recall the line-up of barges along the dock. If Mahlberg, the barge-tender, had been busy with repairs, Raight might well have gone out himself. Fletcher drew himself a cup of coffee. “That’s where he must be.” He sat down. “It’s not like Raight to put in free overtime.”

Ahead shone the Bio-Minerals mast-head light, climbing into the sky as the barge approached. Fletcher saw the black shapes of men outlined against the glow. The entire crew was waiting for him: the two operators, Agostino and Murphy, Mahlberg the barge-tender, Damon the biochemist, Dave Jones the steward, Manners the technician, Hans Heinz the engineer.

Republished in Chateau d’If and Other Stories, Spatterlight 2012.