By in Sci Fi & Paranormal

Review: Science Fiction Short Story: "Lease to Doomsday" by Lee Archer

This is another in the series of “It Came from the Pulps!” where I review science fiction short stories that were originally published in the pulp magazines of mid-20th century. Many of these have become available in electronic form as free downloads, particularly from Project Gutenberg, or for a small price.

The ad read: WANTED: Live wire Real Estate broker—No selling—30-40. Room 657 Silvers Building—9-12 Monday morning.

It made no sense to Kevin Muldoon. It had to be a come-on of some sorts. You didn’t advertise for a live wire broker when there were four pages of them in the phone book. How could a broker make a living without selling? But the Silvers Building wasn’t far away.

And the twins behind the ad were an odd sort. When Muldoon asked them why they wanted to build a printing plant on a garbage dump, their answer was logical: they lived there. When he told them that their ad made no sense to him, they smiled at each other and hired him.

Money was no objects. Muldoon wondered why. Even his girlfriend told him he was a fool to think about turning down the money they were offering him. Then he came to their offices unannounced and looked in the backroom at the soft glow in the shed…

This is an amusing little story that hearkens back to the old adage of, “If it sounds too good to be true…” The end is not quite predictable, but it is something has been done before. Yet, the beginning is so silly that it is simply a fun read.


Title: “Lease to Doomsday” first published in Amazing Stories Sept. 1956

Author: Lee Archer (although this is a pseudonym used by Harlan Ellison, the Internet Speculative Fiction Database lists the author of this work as “unknown.”)

Source: ISFDB



©2015 Denise Longrie

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