Category Archives: 1946-1959

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

“The Sellers of the Dream,” John Jakes, 1963

“The Sellers of the Dream,” John Jakes, 1963 — The “New Woman” is a perennial advertising event, modeling consumption for the next year. Comments: Read in The Far-Out People. Author: Wikipedia ( “John William Jakes (born March 31, 1932)[1] is … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, american culture, consumerism, gender, media/advertising | Leave a comment

“The Red Queen’s Race,” Isaac Asimov, 1949

“The Red Queen’s Race,” Isaac Asimov, 1949 — Sf/detective cross-over. Comments: Read in The Future I.  Wikipedia summary: “The Red Queen’s Race is a science fiction short story by Isaac Asimov that uses the Red Queen’s race from Lewis Carroll’s … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, genrecraft, time/history/causality | Leave a comment

“The Pi Man,” Alfred Bester, 1959

“The Pi Man,” Alfred Bester, 1959 — Bester’s pyrotechnic prose describes the agonized existence of the Pi Man, a man who must always find balance in numbers and patterns–and elude those who wish to use his abilities for their own … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, love/family/children, mathematics, psych/mind/madness, senses/space, violence | 1 Comment

“The Lottery in Babylon,” Jorge Luís Borges, 1959

“The Lottery in Babylon,” Jorge Luís Borges, 1959 — (or “The Babylon Lottery”; original Spanish “La lotería en Babilonia” (1941))  (fantasy) Backed by a secret Company (God?), a lottery in mythic Babylon transitions from voluntary to compulsory, with the result … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, bureaucracy/corporations, class/labor/"work", fantasy/fable/fairy tale, favorites, international, knowledge/truth/epistemology, logic/reason, myth, religion/soul/spirituality, time/history/causality | 8 Comments

“Thought Control,” Herbert W. Franke, 1958

“Thought Control,” Herbert W. Franke, 1958 (?) – (short short) (Original title: “Gedankenkontrolle“) A human is imprisoned in a cage by an alien machine which can’t distinguish between him and his gear.  He escapes by suppressing his “soul” and acting … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, international, religion/soul/spirituality, senses/space, the body, the Other | Leave a comment

“The Advent on Channel Twelve,” C. M. Kornbluth, 1958

“The Advent on Channel Twelve,” C. M. Kornbluth, 1958 – (short short) A biblical-style recounting of how the children’s tv icon, Poopy Panda, did come to build his media empire and rule over all the land. Comments: Themes: Satire, children’s … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, american culture, consumerism, favorites, humor, love/family/children, media/advertising, religion/soul/spirituality, satire, television | Leave a comment

“Build-up,” J.G. Ballard, 1957

“Build-up,” J.G. Ballard, 1957 – (Alternate title: “Concentration City“) Overpopulation in the future has led to such building density that an aspiring aircraft designer and physics student, Franz, can’t find enough “free space” to “re-discover” the concept of flight.  He … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, agency/will/freedom, capitalism/Marxism, cities/architecture/habitats, knowledge/truth/epistemology, logic/reason, memory, myth, overpopulation, physicians/medicine, psych/mind/madness, religion/soul/spirituality, senses/space, speed/slowness, time/history/causality, utopia/dystopia | Leave a comment

“Dio,” Damon Knight, 1957

“Dio,” Damon Knight, 1957 — (Alternate title: “The Dying Man”)  The world is composed of two immortal classes–the pampered Players and the responsible Planners and their students.  Their lives of hedonism and leisurely scholarship, respectively, are progressing as planned until … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, aesthetics/beauty, american culture, artists/creativity, cities/architecture/habitats, class/labor/"work", consumerism, cyborgs/posthumans, death/immortality, difference/tolerance, disease/plague, emotions/intimacy/empathy, favorites, freaks/misfits, love/family/children, masculinity, mourning/grief, museums/artifacts, sex/reproduction/sterility, spectatorship/voyeurism, speed/slowness, suicide, superhumans, the body, the Other, time/history/causality | Leave a comment

“The Sound-Sweep,” J. G. Ballard, 1960

“The Sound-Sweep,” J. G. Ballard, 1960 — Ultrasonic music is the new fashion and phonographs and live performances are a thing of the past.  It is a world where the echoes of music remain in their concert halls, where conversations … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, aesthetics/beauty, artists/creativity, cities/architecture/habitats, communication, disability, emotions/intimacy/empathy, favorites, freaks/misfits, hubris/pride, love/family/children, memory, music, progress/obsolescence, senses/space | Leave a comment

“Day at the Beach,” Carol Emshwiller, 1959

“Day at the Beach,” Carol Emshwiller, 1959 — In a post-apocalyptic world, a couple with a very hirsute, very violent son, Littleboy, struggles to reenact a normal “day at the beach.”  When they’re attacked by thieves after their gasoline, Littleboy’s … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, atomic bomb/Hiroshima, evolution, love/family/children, primitive/civilized, progress/obsolescence, violence | Leave a comment

“The Castaway,” Arthur C. Clarke, 1947

“The Castaway,” Arthur C. Clarke, 1947 — An energy-based lifeform from the photosphere of the sun is accidentally expelled from its home and sent on a collision course with Earth.  A group of humans watch with sympathy as the alien … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, emotions/intimacy/empathy | Leave a comment

“Plenitude,” Will Worthington (Will Mohler), 1959

“Plenitude,” Will Worthington (Will Mohler), 1959 —  A family ekes out a hard life on the mountainside.  Opens with a young boy, Mike, asking his father “why, why,” as the father works on his garden. The child’s curiosity is deceptively … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, agency/will/freedom, catastrophe, class/labor/"work", consumerism, gender, identity/authenticity, love/family/children, male anxiety, masculinity, museums/artifacts, natural/artificial, progress/obsolescence, reality/VR/surreal, senses/space, television, Uncategorized, violence | Leave a comment

“The Blind Pilot,” Nathalie-Charles Henneberg, 1959

“The Blind Pilot,” Nathalie-Charles Henneberg, 1959 – (Originally Au pilote aveugle (1959))  A blind, now “useless” pilot returns home to take care of his mentally-disabled (?) brother.  All is well between them until a package containing a siren arrives. Comments: … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, astronauts, disability, gender, international, love/family/children, masculinity, mourning/grief, music, myth, sex/reproduction/sterility, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“–All You Zombies–,” Robert Heinlein, 1959

“–All You Zombies–,” Robert Heinlein, 1959 – A time traveler paradox in which an orphaned “intersexed” man (hermaphrodite) switches genders, travels back in time to impregnate a younger version of himself, and gives birth to himself.  He is thus his … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, agency/will/freedom, class/labor/"work", death/immortality, favorites, gender, identity/authenticity, love/family/children, masculinity, multiplicity, sex/reproduction/sterility, the body, the Other, time/history/causality | 1 Comment

“The Cold Green Eye,” Jack Williamson, 1953

“The Cold Green Eye,” Jack Williamson, 1953 — A boy is left with monks by his parents so that he might live a simple life in harmony with life and nature, sequestered from consumerism and Western conventions.  His aunt in … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, american culture, animals/insects, consumerism, culture clash, death/immortality, difference/tolerance, emotions/intimacy/empathy, favorites, love/family/children, primitive/civilized, religion/soul/spirituality, the Other | Leave a comment

“Mantage,” Richard Matheson, 1959

“Mantage,” Richard Matheson, 1959 — A writer wishes that life could be experienced in the same way as in a movie–all tedium glossed over, highlights only.  The rest of his life takes 85 minutes. Comments: Read in Science Fiction Showcase. … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, artists/creativity, favorites, genrecraft, memory, photo/film/image, speed/slowness, time/history/causality | 1 Comment

“What Do You Mean…Human?” John W. Campbell, Jr., 1959

“What Do You Mean…Human?” John W. Campbell, Jr., 1959 – (Essay) Campbell’s essay expressing his philosophy of sf. Comments: Includes a graph of human/non-human characteristics (of animals, robots, a man with prosthetics) that reminded me a bit of Haraway’s later … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, animals/insects, difference/tolerance, emotions/intimacy/empathy, genrecraft, logic/reason, psych/mind/madness, the body, the Other | Leave a comment

“Broken Tool,” Theodore L. Thomas, 1959

“Broken Tool,” Theodore L. Thomas, 1959 — Carter and Cecil Hardy await the return of Carter’s prodigy in the deep space program, the young Lightner.  If Lightner returns from space and seeks out his home on Earth, he’ll have passed … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, astronauts, exiles/"home"/displacement, gender, love/family/children, masculinity | Leave a comment

“Cease Fire,” Frank Herbert, 1958

“Cease Fire,” Frank Herbert, 1958 — An operator at an outpost near enemy territory is nearly killed by enemy fire.  Both sides possess a device that can detect the other. The operator has scientific training and has come up with … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, scientific ethics, the scientist, violence, war/soldiers | Leave a comment