“Poor Superman,” Fritz Leiber, 1951 — (alternate title: “Appointment in Tomorrow”) Politicians without respect for science are kept in power by a populace desperate to believe in anything. They’re opposed by a group of scientists in a last-ditch effort to save the country from charlatans.
Comments: Leiber’s merciless satire of John Campbell (an iconic sf magazine editor), the “Campbellian hero,” and Scientology. A critique of American politics and scientific ethics. Also themes involving McCarthy, nuclear war, and one of Leiber’s favorite themes: magic v. science.
Author: Wikipedia: “Fritz Reuter Leiber, Jr. (December 24, 1910 – September 5, 1992) was an American writer (of German extraction) of fantasy, horror and science fiction. He was also a poet, actor in theatre and films, playwright, expert chess player and a champion fencer…With writers such as Robert E. Howard and Michael Moorcock, Leiber can be regarded as one of the fathers of Sword and Sorcery fantasy. But he excelled in all fields of speculative fiction, writing award-winning work in horror, fantasy and science fiction…Leiber…was born December 24, 1910, in Chicago, Illinois, to the actors Fritz Leiber, Sr. and Virginia Leiber, and, for a time, he seemed inclined to follow in his parents’ footsteps (Theater and actors were prominently featured in his fiction). He spent 1928 touring with his parents’ Shakespeare company before studying philosophy at the University of Chicago, where he graduated with honors (1928–32).”