As Frederik Pohl noted in an essay decades after this story was published, much of GALAXY's contents contained stories which were not really about their nominal subject. As editor of GALAXY magazine, Horace Gold's editorial interest was always tilted toward satire and social commentary, which in the main interested him far more than technological extrapolation. These interests put his magazine at the outset in a different place than John W. Campbell's at least ostensibly rigorous ASTOUNDING. In regard to the commentary, Pohl wrote, "There were only a few places in the 1950's in which the real condition of the Republic could be examined. One of them was the science fiction magazines," and GALAXY was the most oriented in that direction. FOUR IN ONE (February 1953) reads as if it were a study of alien menace and its interface with the human organism as Knight's shipwrecked colonists, seeking physical preservation, amalgamate with an alien being which can absorb their brains intact and respond to signals. It is an horrific speculation and Knight works it through with a fair amount of rigor. Damon Knight was an established contributor when this novelette was published, and Robert Silverberg's long introductory essay accompanying the work testifies to its influence upon him and his great admiration.