“The Midas Plague,” Frederik Pohl, 1954

“The Midas Plague,” Frederik Pohl, 1954 — Morey and Cherry Fry have just been married in an extravagant ceremony designed to comply as much as possible with their consumption quota.  Cherry’s parents, as part of the elite, are “poor” and relatively unburdened by such worries.  Cherry has difficulty adjusting to the “wealthy life,” and when she begins to shirk her consumption duties, Morey is besieged by anxiety.  How will they keep up? How will he every get ahead?  In a fit of complaining to his relentlessly helpful robot servants, Morey relieves some of his and his wife’s burden by accidentally commanding his robots to consume for him.  The robots set up shop in his basement, wearing out his clothing and using his sporting equipment.  Morey is suddenly flushed with success and becomes a minor celebrity; a magazine interviews him to find out his “secret” to maximum consumption.  Eventually, Morey’s deception is discovered, but the Ration Board is impressed by the novelty of his solution.  At the conclusion, Cherry reveals that she’s pregnant.

Comments: Read in Nightmare AgeMentions Hegel and Marx.  Themes include the post-scarcity economy (see link for a discussion of sf dystopias employing this theme.)  See also the more detailed review at Variety SF.

Author: Wikipedia: “Frederik George Pohl, Jr. (born November 26, 1919) is an American science fiction writer, editor and fan, with a career spanning over seventy years — from his first published work, “Elegy to a Dead Planet: Luna” (1937), to his most recent novel, All the Lives He Led (2011).”

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About jennre

Lifelong sf fan, first-time blogger
This entry was posted in 1946-1959, automata/robots, class/labor/"work", consumerism, economics, love/family/children, male anxiety, satire. Bookmark the permalink.

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