“Gomez,” C. M. Kornbluth, 1954

“Gomez,” C. M. Kornbluth, 1954 – An otherwise unremarkable Mexican kitchen worker is discovered to be a mathematical genius, and the U.S. military quickly appropriates him as “human resources,” necessary for its defense against the Soviets in the Cold War.  Gomez invents a unified field theory but, shortly afterward, has sex with his lover and appears to lose his intelligence. At conclusion the narrator (a newspaperman and friend of Gomez) visits the couple and discovers that Gomez’s genius-level intelligence is intact.

Comments: Themes: mathematics as a universal language, the “use” of people, intelligence.  Modeled on Srinivasa Ramanujan; MathFiction notes that the story uses an equation that was “one of the results that Ramanjuan cited in his initial letters to Hardy…” Read in A Treasury of Great Science Fiction. See also Andy Duncan’s review of the story in “Just Say No to Genius: C. M. Kornbluth’s ‘Gomez,'” in the August 1997 issue of The New York Review of Science Fiction.

Author: Wikipedia: “Cyril M. Kornbluth (July 2, 1923 – March 21, 1958) was an American science fiction author and a notable member of the Futurians.”  Interested readers: “Re-reading Kornbluth” by Robert Silverberg.  See also James Sallis’s review of C. M. Kornbluth: The Life and Works of a Science Fiction Visionary (2010) in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction.

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About jennre

Lifelong sf fan, first-time blogger
This entry was posted in 1946-1959, bureaucracy/corporations, intelligence, love/family/children, mathematics, primitive/civilized, satire, sex/reproduction/sterility, the Other, war/soldiers. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to “Gomez,” C. M. Kornbluth, 1954

  1. Don Lee says:

    Just read the story again for the first time since high school (too long ago) and it occurs to me (I can’t be the first … ) that flinty, patriotic but pragmatic Admiral MacDonald might not have been an expy of Robert A. Heinlein, who was flinty, patriotic and, when he needed to be, pragmatic, whose dream of a naval career was cut short … and wrote sometimes under the pen name Anson MacDonald.

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