“Bad Medicine,” Robert Sheckley, 1956

“Bad Medicine,” Robert Sheckley, 1956 – Elwood Caswell, homicidal maniac, seeks a Rex Regenerator–a type of robot psychologist built by General Motors–to help rid him of his impulse to kill his nemesis, Magnessen.  Unfortunately, the model he buys is a floor model that’s been tuned for a Martian.  Since homicide is unknown on Mars, the Rex Regenerator attempts to cure him of a Martian psychosis.  Meanwhile, having realized their mistake, the employees of the corporation responsible for the sale desperately try to locate Caswell, fearing bad publicity and the “General Motors Reformatory.”  At the conclusion, he’s determined to “dwark Magnessen in a vlendish manner.”

Comments: Read in SF Author’s Choice 4.  Themes include psychotherapy, madness, humor, language, consumers addicted to self-help.  Sheckley’s intro mentions that he wrote the story a few years before he entered psychotherapy himself, which was a dismal failure.  When he left, his neurosis disappeared.  He criticizes psychotherapy as a “closed and comprehensive universal psychic system that deal exclusively in its own referents. Argument is resistance.”

Author: Wikipedia: “Robert Sheckley (July 16, 1928 – December 9, 2005) was a Hugo- and Nebula-nominated American author. First published in the science fiction magazines of the 1950s, his numerous quick-witted stories and novels were famously unpredictable, absurdist and broadly comical.”


About jennre

Lifelong sf fan, first-time blogger
This entry was posted in 1946-1959, automata/robots, bureaucracy/corporations, consumerism, humor, language/libraries, psych/mind/madness, violence. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to “Bad Medicine,” Robert Sheckley, 1956

  1. emartinolson says:

    Thanks. Hilarious Sheckley story!

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