Picking up where we left off last time, at the halfway mark.
"MS. Found in a Bus" by Russell Baker, is a bit of alleged political humor from the New York Times. Baker was a Times columnist from 1962 to 1998. This very short piece is (I think) a satire of espionage thrillers and science fiction in general. (I say "I think" because it might be making fun of some long-forgotten incident of 1962, but if so the satire is so recondite I can't figure it out.) I have to say that including a piece so blatantly contemptuous of science fiction in a collection of the year's best science fiction is a startling bit of desperate status-seeking by the editors. One star.
"The Insane Ones" by J.G. Ballard is an interesting meditation on sanity and freedom. It's set in a near(ish) future where all forms of psychological manipulation, from psychotherapy to advertising, have been banned. This means there is a "right to insanity" and psychiatrists have to practice in secret. Somehow the society is also tyrannical, though it's hard to square that with the premise. Ballard spends a fair amount of effort trying to warn the reader about the dangers of this highly improbable future, which I think weakens the story quite a bit. It would have been better to play it absolutely straight and see what kind of a world results. Two stars.
The next story is "Leprechaun" by William Sambrot, who was a fairly prolific writer in the 1950s and early 1960s. As the title suggests, this is an Irish story, but not a fantasy. The titular leprechaun is (spoiler alert!) a little green man from space. And that's pretty much the whole story right there. Two stars.
"Change of Heart" by George Whitley inadvertently illustrates a huge change in attitudes between 1962 and 2017 — or even 1972. It's a sea story about mutant superintelligent underwater creatures hostile to man. Sounds pretty scary, right? Except the creatures in question are dolphins and whales. Just a few years after this story saw print, they became the mascots of the nascent environmental movement, and one of that movement's first great victories was the ban on commercial whaling. So an "evil whales" tale is jarring to modern sensibilities. It's not a bad story, though; I'm pretty sure Mr. Whitley must have spent some time at sea. Three stars.
"Angela's Satyr," by Brian Cleeve, is a comic fantasy about a Sicilian girl who falls in love with a satyr (and he with her). But when they try to get a local witch to transform him into a human, it goes awry. For a story about a satyr it's surprisingly non-bawdy — though Mr. Cleeve has a shrewd and unsentimental attitude about men and women. Three stars.
"Puppet Show" by Fredric Brown is about a weird-looking extraterrestrial envoy who comes to Earth in a tiny Western border town, on a mission to test humans for xenophobia before establishing formal contact. It's short and entertaining, though not particularly deep. Playboy was running a lot of SF in 1962, apparently. Three stars.
"Hang Head, Vandal!" is by Mark Clifton, and appeared in Amazing Stories. It's set on Mars, which makes it exactly the second story in this anthology which doesn't take place on more-or-less contemporary Earth. (So far.) It's about a project to conduct some very risky nuclear-power research on Mars, which accidentally sets off a slow-motion chain reaction, destroying the planet. Which turns out to be inhabited. (Anybody out there NOT GETTING THE MESSAGE?) Everybody is sad. One star.
Next up is an odd tryptich of essays about Mars. The first is "Earthlings, Go Home!" by Mack Reynolds. It's a comic take on Mars and Martians which originally appeared in Rogue magazine (a kind of Playboy-lite). Two stars, and that's being generous.
The second is "The Martian Star-Gazers" by Frederick Pohl, a whimsical look at what Martian astronomy would be like. (Not very different from Terrestrial, it turns out, but with funny names.) Two stars.
And finally we have "Planetary Effulgence" by no less than Bertrand Russell. It's a rather leaden satire about (hold your breaths, everybody!) the dangers of war, and how we should all just get along. Thanks for clearing that up for us. One star.
The last one I'm going to look at this time is "Deadly Game" by Edward Wellen. It's an odd and creepy little story about a game warden who devises a unique way to protect the animals in his assigned territory, by selective breeding for intelligence so they can take care of themselves. Three stars.