“Kill Me With Kindness,” Richard Wilson, 1958

“Kill Me With Kindness,” Richard Wilson, 1958 — A man is trapped in what he assumes is an alien experiment or zoo.  All his needs are met, but he’s given no contact with the moving, living world outside.  His television is fed to him through kinescope, and all books were published before his capture.

He begins the narrative by rattling off films he’s seen and other memories of pop culture.  Eventually he reveals that he’s a 35 year old copy editor and that it might be his birthday.  The “Ear” he speaks to ocassionally announces that he will receive a present of a 23 year old woman.  He nervously greets the girl, Peggy, and begins a courtship, then reminds himself how “annoying” women can be.  True to the stereotype, she begins nagging him about a wedding, a “legal” one where she can show off to her friends.

For unknown reasons, the Ear releases them back into society and he and Peggy soon split up.  After Peggy, he meets Betty, a wonderfully complaisant woman who has ultimate faith in him.  Even his story about the Ear and his captivity fails to scare her off.  He decides to sign up with the Ear for another term in “Paradise,” to live in domesticity with Betty.  But then Betty starts to nag; she complains that they have nowhere to go for fun, no one to whom they might show off. He gives her the automatic response that he’s going fishing.

Comments:  Themes of marriage, chauvanism, women as vain and materialistic.  Seems to start off as one story and end as another. Read in The Fourth Galaxy Reader.

Author: Wikipedia: “Richard Wilson (1920–1987) was a Nebula Award winning American science fiction writer and fan.”

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About jennre

Lifelong sf fan, first-time blogger
This entry was posted in 1946-1959, gender, love/family/children, male anxiety, masculinity. Bookmark the permalink.

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