Category Archives: american culture

“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 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Jakes): “John William Jakes (born March 31, 1932)[1] is … Continue reading

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

“Not Counting Bridges,” Robert L. Fish, 1963

“Not Counting Bridges,” Robert L. Fish, 1963 – (short short) A man learns of America’s frightening future as a concrete wasteland devoted to providing space for cars. Comments: Read in 100 Great Science Fiction Short Short Stories. Author: Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_L._Fish): … Continue reading

Posted in 1960-1969, american culture, capitalism/Marxism, cars/pedestrians, ecology/the environment | 2 Comments

“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

“The Subliminal Man,” J. G. Ballard, 1963

“The Subliminal Man,” J. G. Ballard, 1963 – A man’s futile efforts to stop giant billboards and consumerism from taking over society. Comments: Themes: Consumerism, subliminal advertising, media.  See the intro by H. Bruce Franklin in The Mirror of Infinity: … Continue reading

Posted in 1960-1969, american culture, capitalism/Marxism, consumerism, media/advertising | 2 Comments

“X Marks the Pedwalk,” Fritz Leiber, 1963

“X Marks the Pedwalk,” Fritz Leiber, 1963 — Pedestrians and drivers locked in conflict. Comments: Read in Nightmare Age.  The band “X Marks the Pedwalk” is named after this story.The story is referenced “glancingly” in Danse Macabre by Stephen King … Continue reading

Posted in 1960-1969, american culture, cars/pedestrians, ecology/the environment, progress/obsolescence, speed/slowness | 1 Comment

“Day of the Truce,” Clifford D. Simak, 1963

“Day of the Truce,” Clifford D. Simak, 1963 — The Punks versus the suburbanites in a fortified, futuristic community. Comments: Theme of generational conflict.  Read in Nightmare Age.  Wikipedia: “The local ‘Punks’ take advantage of the once-a-year truce to ransack … Continue reading

Posted in 1960-1969, american culture, cities/architecture/habitats, culture clash, generational conflict, invasion, love/family/children, primitive/civilized, the Other, violence | 1 Comment

“You Are With It!,” Will Stanton, 1961

“You Are With It!,” Will Stanton, 1961 — A man in the midst of his normal domestic routine leaves for work and is accosted by a man who declares himself “the host.”  For the next ninety minutes, while the clock … Continue reading

Posted in 1960-1969, american culture, consumerism, genrecraft, identity/authenticity, love/family/children, male anxiety, masculinity, psych/mind/madness, reality/VR/surreal, satire, spectatorship/voyeurism, speed/slowness, surveillance, television, theatre/performance, time/history/causality, violence | 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

“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 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

“Two Dooms,” Cyril M. Kornbluth, 1958

“Two Dooms,” Cyril M. Kornbluth, 1958 – Los Alamos, May 1945: Edward Royland is a theoretical physicist pondering the ethics of creating the atom bomb.  He’s transported by a Native American fable/ritual (and peyote) to a world where the Nazis … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, alternate history, american culture, atomic bomb/Hiroshima, communication, drugs/pharma, eugenics/heredity, fantasy/fable/fairy tale, favorites, gender, genocide/Holocaust, intelligence, knowledge/truth/epistemology, nationalism, Native Americans, satire, scientific ethics, the body, the Other, the scientist, time/history/causality, totalitarianism/fascism, violence, war/soldiers | Leave a comment

“The Prize of Peril,” Robert Sheckley, 1958

“The Prize of Peril,” Robert Sheckley, 1958 — Raeder is a contestant on The Prize of Peril, a reality tv show who is being hunted by killers for a live television audience.  Although the audience participates by calling in Good … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, american culture, emotions/intimacy/empathy, media/advertising, photo/film/image, spectatorship/voyeurism, surveillance, television, violence | Leave a comment

“The Gentlest Unpeople,” Frederik Pohl, 1958

“The Gentlest Unpeople,” Frederik Pohl, 1958 — (alternate title: “The Gentlest Venusian”) Popagator and The Slide are playing whirlarang, a popular game and one that is integral to their culture.  Since their society has done away with war, they’ve relegated … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, american culture, communication, culture clash, emotions/intimacy/empathy, gaming, greed, law, tourists, Uncategorized, violence, war/soldiers | Leave a comment

“The Education of Tigress Macardle,” C. M. Kornbluth, 1957

“The Education of Tigress Macardle,” C. M. Kornbluth, 1957 — Purvis (Elvis?) is elected president, and four years later establishes himself as King Purvis I.  / At the same time, Dr. Fu Manchu, “that veritable personification of the Yellow Peril, … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, american culture, automata/robots, generational conflict, genrecraft, humor, invasion, love/family/children, media/advertising, music, nationalism, overpopulation, politics/politicians/elections, race/civil rights, satire, sex/reproduction/sterility, time/history/causality, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“Every Day is Christmas,” James Gunn, 1957

“Every Day is Christmas,” James Gunn, 1957 — A man trades three years of his life in exchange for $150,000 to go into space, where he’s kept alone, in silence.  For him, the experience is unbearable, but he toughs it … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, american culture, astronauts, bureaucracy/corporations, capitalism/Marxism, economics, emotions/intimacy/empathy, gender, globalization/world government, love/family/children, media/advertising, television | Leave a comment

“Prima Belladonna,” J. G. Ballard, 1956

“Prima Belladonna,” J. G. Ballard, 1956 – A mysterious singer, Jane Ciracylides, arrives in Vermillion Sands, a resort town on Mars(?).  Men fawn over her singular beauty, accented by exotic insect eyes and golden skin.  Her parentage is sketchy–a father somewhere, … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, american culture, animals/insects, artists/creativity, communication, gender, masculinity, media/advertising, music, the body, the gaze, the Other | Leave a comment

“And Now the News,” Theodore Sturgeon, 1956

“And Now the News,” Theodore Sturgeon, 1956 – In a media-saturated world, MacLyle retreats to a “wordless matrix,” an oasis of non-communication in which he can be absorbed in his own “practices and procedures.”  His desire conflicts with the psychiatrist’s … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, agency/will/freedom, american culture, communication, consumerism, death/immortality, difference/tolerance, emotions/intimacy/empathy, exiles/"home"/displacement, language/libraries, media/advertising, paranoia/schitzophrenia, photo/film/image, psych/mind/madness, scientific ethics | Leave a comment

“Fair,” John Brunner, 1956

“Fair,” John Brunner, 1956 — A man rides an escalator to the top of the “fair.” Along the way, he muses on media saturation, speed, loss of intimacy, generational conflict, youth, the dumbing down of culture, guilt for the wars … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, american culture, atomic bomb/Hiroshima, communication, consumerism, difference/tolerance, emotions/intimacy/empathy, favorites, generational conflict, international, love/family/children, media/advertising, nationalism, race/civil rights, senses/space, speed/slowness, the body, the Other, war/soldiers | Leave a 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