Category Archives: aesthetics/beauty

“Good Night, Sophie,” Lino Aldani, 1963

“Good Night, Sophie,” Lino Aldani, 1963 – (trans. from Italian)– In a future in which the superstar, Sophie, is a VR porn star, Sophie must decide if the Anti-Dream League’s claims that “nature and the soul” are being lost due … Continue reading

Posted in 1960-1969, aesthetics/beauty, agency/will/freedom, american culture, capitalism/Marxism, class/labor/"work", dreams/hypnosis, emotions/intimacy/empathy, gender, identity/authenticity, intelligence, interior/exterior, international, love/family/children, media/advertising, memory, narrative, natural/artificial, photo/film/image, progress/obsolescence, psych/mind/madness, reality/VR/surreal, religion/soul/spirituality, senses/space, sex/reproduction/sterility, simulacra, spectatorship/voyeurism, surveillance, the body, the gaze, the Other, theatre/performance | 1 Comment

“A Rose for Ecclesiastes,” Roger Zelazny, 1963

“A Rose for Ecclesiastes,” Roger Zelazny, 1963 – A poet, Gallinger, is given the privilege of viewing and translating the sacred texts of an alien culture.  He discovers that their religion is deeply fatalistic.  After impregnating a temple priestess, he earns … Continue reading

Posted in 1960-1969, aesthetics/beauty, artists/creativity, culture clash, death/immortality, emotions/intimacy/empathy, gender, language/libraries, love/family/children, mourning/grief, myth, primitive/civilized, religion/soul/spirituality, suicide, the Other, tourists | 1 Comment

“The Handler,” Damon Knight, 1960

“The Handler,” Damon Knight, 1960 —  Pete is the dashing man of the hour–a television star able to charm a room merely by walking through the door.  True to form, after a show he arrives at a post-party, amiable and … Continue reading

Posted in 1960-1969, aesthetics/beauty, american culture, difference/tolerance, favorites, freaks/misfits, identity/authenticity, male anxiety, masculinity, mechanization, media/advertising, satire, the body, the Other, theatre/performance | 1 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

“The Burning of the Brain,” Cordwainer Smith, 1958

“The Burning of the Brain,” Cordwainer Smith, 1958 – Magno Taliano, the greatest Go-Captain ever, and his vain and jealous wife, the former beauty Dolores Oh, are joined by his niece, Dita–a promising captain-in-training–on his ship.  The ship is lost, … Continue reading

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“The Dark Night of the Soul,” James Blish, 1956

“The Dark Night of the Soul,” James Blish, 1956 – A sociologist funds an experiment to funnel off the top artists of each generation to see if society can live without its “deviants.” Comments: Read in New Dreams This Morning. … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, aesthetics/beauty, artists/creativity, class/labor/"work", difference/tolerance, freaks/misfits | Leave a comment

“A Work of Art,” James Blish, 1956

“A Work of Art,” James Blish, 1956 – (Alternate title: “Art-Work”)  Richard Strauss is resurrected in the far future by “mind sculptors” and tasked with composing opera for a modern audience, but he finds he has nothing left to say … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, aesthetics/beauty, artists/creativity, death/immortality, emotions/intimacy/empathy, favorites, music, time/history/causality | 1 Comment

“The [Widget], the [Wadget], and Boff,” Theodore Sturgeon, 1955

“The [Widget], the [Wadget], and Boff,” Theodore Sturgeon, 1955 – (Novella) Two alien anthropologists observe the lonely inhabitants of a boarding house and study Synapse Beta Sub Sixteen, a trait which allows all sentient beings to step outside of their … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, aesthetics/beauty, american culture, class/labor/"work", communication, consumerism, difference/tolerance, emotions/intimacy/empathy, exiles/"home"/displacement, favorites, freaks/misfits, gender, language/libraries, love/family/children, male anxiety, masculinity, media/advertising, natural/artificial, photo/film/image, progress/obsolescence, spectatorship/voyeurism, surveillance, the body, the gaze, the Other, theatre/performance, tourists | Leave a comment

“Black Charlie,” Gordon R. Dickson, 1954

“Black Charlie,” Gordon R. Dickson, 1954 – An art dealer of the future tries to promote the art of a non-human, “primitive” culture. Comments: Wikipedia: “[John] Clute points out that Dickson, like Poul Anderson, with whom he collaborated in the … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, aesthetics/beauty, artists/creativity, difference/tolerance, primitive/civilized, race/civil rights, the Other | Leave a comment

“The Custodian,” William Tenn, 1953

“The Custodian,” William Tenn, 1953 – The sun will go nova in a year and earth’s populace has divided into Affirmers (of utility, continued life) and Custodians (of art and beauty).  The Affirmers win out politically and organize a mass … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, aesthetics/beauty, function/utility/skeumorphs, love/family/children, museums/artifacts, suicide, time/history/causality | Leave a comment

“The Smile,” Ray Bradbury, 1952

“The Smile,” Ray Bradbury, 1952 – Villagers living in an anti-art, anti-tech world destroy the Mona Lisa. Comments: Read in Ackermanthology. Author:  Wikipedia: “Ray Douglas Bradbury (born August 22, 1920) is an American fantasy, horror, science fiction, and mystery writer. … Continue reading

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“With These Hands,” Cyril Kornbluth, 1951

“With These Hands,” Cyril Kornbluth, 1951 – Europe has been destroyed by radiation or bombs.  Roald Halvorsen, a sculptor and painter, finds he is out of work due to new tech (the esthetikon) and the literally “mass-produced” tastes of the … Continue reading

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“Vintage Season,” C. L. Moore, 1946

“Vintage Season,” Moore and Kuttner, 1946 – Time travelers who consume “catastrophe” as an aesthetic experience visit a city about to be destroyed by an asteroid.  With them is a composer who will memorialize the event through a 3D “operatic” … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, aesthetics/beauty, artists/creativity, atomic bomb/Hiroshima, catastrophe, distance, emotions/intimacy/empathy, favorites, knowledge/truth/epistemology, music, photo/film/image, spectatorship/voyeurism, the body, the gaze, the Other, time/history/causality, tourists | 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

“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

“Doorway into Time,” C. L. Moore, 1943

“Doorway into Time,” C. L. Moore, 1943 – An alien captures a man and a woman in order to add them to his museum of beautiful things. Comments: Perhaps interesting for its presentation of the collector and his gaze, as … Continue reading

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“Beauty,” Hannes Bok, 1942

“Beauty,” Hannes Bok, 1942 – (short short) A young woman who believes herself plain is transported by a medium (?) to another dimension, where she encounters insubstantial  beings who also crave beauty.  She offers her own beauty (substance) to them … Continue reading

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“The Weapon Too Dreadful to Use,” Isaac Asimov, 1939

“The Weapon Too Dreadful to Use,” Isaac Asimov, 1939 — Karl Frantor is an archeologist visiting the colonized city of Aphrodopolis, the largest city on Venus, to explore the ruins of the ancient Venusian city Ash-taz-zor.  Frantor will be the … Continue reading

Posted in 1926-1939, aesthetics/beauty, difference/tolerance, exiles/"home"/displacement, language/libraries, museums/artifacts, nationalism, post/colonialism, race/civil rights, slavery/human trafficking, the Other, violence, war/soldiers | Leave a comment

“The Four-Sided Triangle,” William F. Temple, 1939

“The Four-Sided Triangle,” William F. Temple, 1939 – Three friends engaged in an art-replicating business realize that they can also replicate human bodies.  One creates a duplicate of the female member of the trio, who is in love with the … Continue reading

Posted in 1926-1939, aesthetics/beauty, gender, identity/authenticity, interior/exterior, international, love/family/children, natural/artificial, photo/film/image, simulacra, suicide | Leave a comment