If There Were No Benny Cemoli

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First published in Galaxy Dec 1963

“If There Were No Benny Cemoli” is a twisting story about the legend and myth of revolutionaries. Using fake news reports from the past about an agitator named Benny Cemoli, those on Earth who orchestrated a disastrous nuclear war keep a newly arrived intergalactic reconstruction crew (the Centaurus Urban Renewal Bureau aka CURB) occupied chasing this phantom and off their trail.

Cast of characters

  • John LeConte – a ‘politico’ on Earth
  • Mr. Fall – LeConte’s secretary
  • Peter Hood – CURBman from Centaurus
  • Joan Hood – Peter Hood’s wife
  • Rudolph Fletcher – Hood’s assistant
  • Otto Dietrich – the supreme police investigator from Centaurus who vows to make an example of the war criminals responsible for Earth’s nuclear war
  • Benny Cemoli – a supposed revolutionary who seized power of North America in a coup
  • Stavros – a Greek grocery store owner and supposed follower of Benny Cemoli