“Feedback,” Katherine MacLean, 1951 – Opens with a discussion between teacher and students about why Leonardo Da Vinci wrote backwards. The nonconformity-loving teacher is turned in by a student’s parent when the student declares that he wants to “wear his hat backwards.” A mob nearly martyrs the teacher. He’s eventually tortured with tacks, tied to a tree, then is rescued by a hi-tech underground that replaces his body with a duplicate.
Comments: Read in The Diploids. A condemnation of 1950’s American conformity, which is depicted as villifying any action that is different, non-useful, or incomprehensible. Headed for Alien Territory points out that the title refers to Conformity bounces against conformity creating a feedback loop, with unfortunate consequences for individuals.
Author: Wikipedia: “Katherine Anne MacLean (born January 22, 1925) is an American science fiction author best known for her short fiction of the 1950s which examined the impact of technological advances on individuals and society.” MacLean recieved a B.A. in economics from Barnard College, studied psychology at the post-graduate level, and taught literature at the University of Maine and creative writing at the Free University of Portland. “It was while she worked as a laboratory technician in 1947 that she began writing science fiction. Strongly influenced by Ludwig von Bertalanffy‘s General Systems Theory, her fiction has often demonstrated a remarkable foresight in scientific advancements.”