“The Little Black Bag,” Cyril M. Kornbluth, 1950

The Little Black Bag,” Cyril M. Kornbluth, 1950 – A black bag full of user-friendly medical devices from a future in which humanity is divided into a small number of geniuses and a large number of “marching morons,” is discovered by an alcoholic quack.  After several miraculous successes, he’s quickly investigated by a local reporter.  However, the ability to truly heal others inspires him to clean up his act.  Meanwhile, his greedy assistant, Angie, discovers the true origin and abilities of the instruments and blackmails him into performing cosmetic surgeries.  When he indicates that he plans to turn the devices over to the medical community, she kills him.  Angie plans to perform the lucrative cosmetic surgeries herself, but during her first demonstration for a client, demonstrates the safety of the cutting device by running it along her throat.  Unfortunately, it is at that moment that the devices are turned off by their rightful owners from the future.

Comments: A satire of medical ethics, vanity (cosmetic surgery), and greed.  Read in The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume One.

Author: Wikipedia: “Cyril M. Kornbluth (July 2, 1923[1] – March 21, 1958) was an American science fiction author and a notable member of the Futurians.”  Interested readers: “Re-reading Kornbluth” by Robert Silverberg.


About jennre

Lifelong sf fan, first-time blogger
This entry was posted in 1946-1959, drugs/pharma, hubris/pride, intelligence, physicians/medicine, progress/obsolescence, satire, scientific ethics, the body. Bookmark the permalink.

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