One Step from Earth

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First edition (publ. Macmillan)

One Step from Earth is a collection of science fiction stories written by Harry Harrison and published in 1970. The stories in the collection are tied together by the central theme of teleportation, or matter transmission as the author phrases it.

A particularly novel variety of teleportation can be seen in this short-story collection. Rather than using the Star Trek metaphor of disassembling and reassembling something, MT works by taking two screens and aligning them to share the same part of another dimension (called "B-space"). "What goes in one comes out the other", as one character puts it. The stories explore the technical difficulties of the system—the screens can be separated by theoretically infinite space, but the quality of that space (such as the presence of gravitational fields) can affect transmission—as well as the social implications of having such a device. In one story, "Waiting Place", a one-way MT screen is used to dump criminals on an isolated planet where they will only be a danger to each other; in another, "Wife to the Lord", a man achieves godhood in the eyes of his people by using the planet's sole MT screen to work miracles.

The collection includes the short stories,

  • One Step from Earth
  • Pressure
  • No War, or Battle's Sound
  • Wife to the Lord
  • Waiting Place
  • The Life Preservers
  • From Fanaticism, or for Reward
  • Heavy Duty
  • A Tale of the Ending