Category Archives: 1940-1945

women in early sf

Women have always been here* Brian Aldiss once argued in Billion Year Spree: The History of Science Fiction (1973) that the genre begins with Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein; or, the Modern Prometheus (1818). Even if we don’t accept Shelley as the … Continue reading

Posted in 1926 and earlier, 1926-1939, 1940-1945, 1946-1959, gender | Tagged , , | 12 Comments

“Yesterday Was Monday,” Theodore Sturgeon, 1941

“Yesterday Was Monday,” Theodore Sturgeon, 1941 — Harry Wright awakes to find Time being constructed in a series of linked boxcars. Comments: Read in Science Fiction Adventures in Dimension.  The basis for the Twilight Zone episode A Matter of Minutes. … Continue reading

Posted in 1940-1945, time/history/causality | 4 Comments

“Nightmare Number Four,” Robert Bloch, 1945

“Nightmare Number Four,” Robert Bloch, 1945 — (poem) Due to a failed advertising experiment, permanent advertisements saturate the air. Comments: Read in Science Fiction Showcase. Themes: advertising, media saturation. C.M. Kornbluth: The Life and Works of a Science Fiction Visionary … Continue reading

Posted in 1940-1945, humor, media/advertising, satire | 1 Comment

“The Piper,” Ray Bradbury, 1943

“The Piper,” Ray Bradbury, 1943 — Kerac, a Martian musician, returns from an enforced exile on Jupiter to find that the conquering Jovians have defiled Mars with their cacophonous music, ugly, sprawling cities, pollution, liquor, and general violence and buffoonery. … Continue reading

Posted in 1940-1945, animals/insects, artists/creativity, communication, ecology/the environment, exiles/"home"/displacement, genocide/Holocaust, music, post/colonialism, primitive/civilized, the Other | Leave a comment

“The Library of Babel,” Jorge Luis Borges, 1941

“The Library of Babel,” Jorge Luis Borges, 1941 – The universe is conceived as an infinite series of hexagonal rooms containing a limitless number of books. Comments: Read in The Road to SF:4 and The Mirror of Infinity: A Critics’ … Continue reading

Posted in 1940-1945, language/libraries | 1 Comment

“The Waveries,” Fredric Brown, 1945

“The Waveries,” Fredric Brown, 1945 — George Bailey, a radio ad writer, listens to the fulsome ads of his rival while drinking and playing gin rummy with Maisie, a friend. A tapping similar to Morse code interrupts one of the … Continue reading

Posted in 1940-1945, communication, invasion, music, photo/film/image, primitive/civilized, progress/obsolescence, waverlies | Leave a comment

“Asylum,” A. E. van Vogt, 1942

“Asylum,” A. E. van Vogt, 1942 – Two energy vampires arrive on Earth and outwit the relatively IQ-challenged man sent to stop them.  A female alien with an even higher IQ arrives to save him. Comments: Themes include femininity, IQ, … Continue reading

Posted in 1940-1945, dreams/hypnosis, gender, intelligence, progress/obsolescence | Leave a comment

“Inflexible Logic,” Russell Maloney, 1941

“Inflexible Logic,” Russell Maloney, 1941 — Mr. Bainbridge, a sober bachelor from Connecticut, visits New York. While there, he attends a cocktail party at which he hears the “old cliche of mathematicians” regarding the “six chimpanzees.”  According to the law … Continue reading

Posted in 1940-1945, language/libraries, logic/reason, mathematics | Leave a comment

“First Contact,” Murray Leinster, 1945

“First Contact,” Murray Leinster, 1945 – Two ships meet in space, one “alien,” one human.  Both seek to obtain the other’s technology, and neither can afford to let the other to follow it home—can they find a non-violent solution to … Continue reading

Posted in 1940-1945, gender, logic/reason | Leave a comment

“City,” Clifford D. Simak, 1944

“City,” Clifford D. Simak, 1944 – New forms of transportation lead to urban flight, literally.  The only way to save “the city” for Grandpa is to turn it into a memorial/museum/park for the people of the future. Comments: A discussion … Continue reading

Posted in 1940-1945, cities/architecture/habitats, function/utility/skeumorphs, globalization/world government, museums/artifacts, progress/obsolescence | Leave a comment

“Giant Killer,” Raymond Chandler, 1945

“Giant Killer,” Raymond Chandler, 1945 – A mysterious protagonist must fight for supremacy in a cramped tunnel world.  Once he becomes leader, his thoughts turn to the giants outside. Comments: This story is remarkable for how long the protagonist’s body is … Continue reading

Posted in 1940-1945, freaks/misfits, knowledge/truth/epistemology, the body, violence | Leave a comment

“Correspondence Course,” Raymond F. Jones, 1945

“Correspondence Course,” Raymond F. Jones, 1945 – A war veteran is offered an opportunity to make himself useful by learning how to operate a mysterious “power co-ordinator” through correspondence courses. Comments: An intriguing story concerning a veteran’s re-acclimation to society, … Continue reading

Posted in 1940-1945, distance, education, function/utility/skeumorphs, gender, war/soldiers | Leave a comment

“The Great Fog,” H. F. Heard, 1944

“The Great Fog,” H. F. Heard, 1944 – Biologists and metereologists learn that a slight change in humidity has a given a mold a growth spurt.  This mold is capable of producing its own humid climate. It eventually covers the … Continue reading

Posted in 1940-1945, aesthetics/beauty, artists/creativity, cities/architecture/habitats, communication, ecology/the environment, favorites, language/libraries, memory, music, photo/film/image, speed/slowness, time/history/causality | Leave a comment

“Sanity,” Fritz Leiber, 1944

“Sanity,” Fritz Leiber, 1944 – “Modern life” has driven everyone insane, but the World Manager has a secret ten-year plan. Comments: Themes include the relativity of sanity, conventions/norms, pretending, media, simulation, the pace of modern life, and neuroses. Read in … Continue reading

Posted in 1940-1945, identity/authenticity, interior/exterior, media/advertising, paranoia/schitzophrenia, psych/mind/madness, speed/slowness | Leave a comment

“Huddling Place,” Clifford D. Simak, 1944

“Huddling Place,” Clifford D. Simak, 1944 – In the far future, an agoraphobic scientist is asked to travel off-world to save a friend’s life.  The friend is a brilliant, alien philosopher, and his death would be a tragedy for both … Continue reading

Posted in 1940-1945, cities/architecture/habitats, distance, psych/mind/madness, the scientist | Leave a comment

“Pythagoras and the Psychoanalyst,” Arthur Koestler, 1943

“Pythagoras and the Psychoanalyst,” Arthur Koestler, 1943 — (humorous short) The theory is never found, because a psychoanalyst convinces Pythagoras that his obsession with triangles is the result of suppressed love triangle. Comments: Read in Fantasia Mathematica. Author: Wikipedia: “Arthur … Continue reading

Posted in 1940-1945, humor, international, mathematics, psych/mind/madness | Leave a comment

“No Woman Born,” C. L. Moore, 1944

“No Woman Born,” C. L. Moore, 1944 – The famous dancer Deirdre is horribly burned in a theater fire and her mind is transplanted into a golden, robotic body.  After much time spent recovering under the care of the physician … Continue reading

Posted in 1940-1945, aesthetics/beauty, american culture, artists/creativity, cyborgs/posthumans, difference/tolerance, favorites, freaks/misfits, gender, male anxiety, masculinity, media/advertising, music, natural/artificial, photo/film/image, psych/mind/madness, senses/space, sex/reproduction/sterility, spectatorship/voyeurism, television, the body, the gaze, the Other, theatre/performance | 1 Comment

“Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius,” Jorges Luis Borges, 1940

“Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius,” Jorges Luis Borges, 1940; English ver. 1961  – A story that begins with a mirror and a fictitious encyclopedia article and sprawls out from there.  “In the story, an encyclopedia article about a mysterious country called … Continue reading

Posted in 1940-1945, alternate history, favorites, international, knowledge/truth/epistemology, language/libraries, reality/VR/surreal, time/history/causality | Leave a comment

“Farewell to the Master,” Harry Bates, 1940

“Farewell to the Master,” Harry Bates, 1940 – An alien ship lands and a “picture reporter” is determined to get the story.  Two beings emerge from the ship, a humanoid and a gigantic, green robot. The human barely introduces himself … Continue reading

Posted in 1940-1945, automata/robots, communication, photo/film/image, the body, the Other | Leave a comment

“The Exile,” Edmond Hamilton, 1943

“The Exile,” Edmond Hamilton, 1943 – A man is stranded in an alternate universe, where stories of his real experience are regarded as fantastic and consumed as entertainment. The twist: He’s in this universe, posing as a science fiction writer. … Continue reading

Posted in 1940-1945, alternate history, genrecraft | Leave a comment