Category Archives: class/labor/”work”

“No Light in the Window,” Kate Wilhelm, 1963

“No Light in the Window,” Kate Wilhelm, 1963 — Hank and Connie are two candidates for a space mission.  The couple lives under constant scrutiny while specialized observers analyze their behavior in order to determine their fitness for the mission.  … Continue reading

Posted in 1960-1969, astronauts, class/labor/"work", emotions/intimacy/empathy, gender, love/family/children, masculinity, psych/mind/madness, space exploration | 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 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

“The Moon Moth,” Jack Vance, 1961

“The Moon Moth,” Jack Vance, 1961 – A new ambassador arrives to a highly organized culture with two peculiarities: hierarchical “character” masks used in lieu of personal identity and a language spoken through musical instruments. Comments:  Fantastic story of mores/customs, … Continue reading

Posted in 1960-1969, class/labor/"work", communication, culture clash, favorites, identity/authenticity, interior/exterior, language/libraries, masculinity, music, primitive/civilized, theatre/performance | Leave a comment

“The Ship Who Sang,” Anne McCaffrey, 1961

“The Ship Who Sang,” Anne McCaffrey, 1961 – A woman with severe disabilities is offered the chance to become a “shell person”—a human brain encased in a machine–after which she will work off her debt as a ship with a … Continue reading

Posted in 1960-1969, class/labor/"work", cyborgs/posthumans, death/immortality, disability, emotions/intimacy/empathy, favorites, freaks/misfits, function/utility/skeumorphs, gender, identity/authenticity, love/family/children, senses/space, the body | 1 Comment

“Alpha Ralpha Boulevard,” Cordwainer Smith, 1961

“Alpha Ralpha Boulevard,” Cordwainer Smith, 1961 — In the “first years of the Rediscovery of Man, when the Instrumentality dug deep in the treasury, reconstructing the old cultures, the old languages, and even the old troubles,” Paul and Virginia tour … Continue reading

Posted in 1960-1969, agency/will/freedom, animals/insects, cities/architecture/habitats, class/labor/"work", cyborgs/posthumans, death/immortality, difference/tolerance, disease/plague, emotions/intimacy/empathy, favorites, hubris/pride, identity/authenticity, love/family/children, museums/artifacts, myth, natural/artificial, primitive/civilized, spectatorship/voyeurism, the Other, time/history/causality, tourists | Leave a comment

“The Lady Who Sailed the Soul,” Cordwainer Smith, 1960

“The Lady Who Sailed the Soul,” Cordwainer Smith, 1960 – A young girl of the future asks her mother if there were ever any “girl sailors” (in space) and is told the story of Helen America.  The daughter of a … Continue reading

Posted in 1960-1969, astronauts, class/labor/"work", cyborgs/posthumans, death/immortality, emotions/intimacy/empathy, favorites, freaks/misfits, gender, genrecraft, identity/authenticity, love/family/children, media/advertising, myth, religion/soul/spirituality, the body, time/history/causality | Leave a comment

“Immortality…For Some,” J. T. McIntosh, 1960

“Immortality…For Some,” J. T. McIntosh, 1960 – An aging, disabled musician named Susan Sonnenburg gives one last performance before opting for her mind to be erased and her body to be Reborn.  Before the procedure, she asks that a kind … Continue reading

Posted in 1960-1969, artists/creativity, class/labor/"work", death/immortality, difference/tolerance, disability, emotions/intimacy/empathy, favorites, function/utility/skeumorphs, intelligence, music, suicide | 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

“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

“–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

“Who Can Replace a Man?” Brian Aldiss, 1958

“Who Can Replace a Man?” Brian Aldiss, 1958 – Humanity has destroyed itself and machines form a social order based on a hierarchy of intelligence. Comments: Read in A Century of Science Fiction.  Editor Damon Knight comments that the story … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, automata/robots, class/labor/"work", function/utility/skeumorphs, hubris/pride, intelligence, logic/reason, mechanization, museums/artifacts | Leave a comment

“Ullward’s Retreat,” Jack Vance, 1958

“Ullward’s Retreat,” Jack Vance, 1958 – Lamaster (Landmaster) Ulward dazzles his house guests with his apartment’s elaborate wall-holograms, which provide the illusion of space, and his priceless tree, with its exotically-real dirt.  But Ulward finds he needs more.  When circumstances … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, class/labor/"work", identity/authenticity, overpopulation, reality/VR/surreal, senses/space | Leave a comment

“The Lineman,” Walter M. Miller, Jr. 1957

“The Lineman,” Walter M. Miller, Jr. 1957 –  Off-world laborers are dehumanized (like prostitutes?) until real prostitutes arrive and turn their thoughts elsewhere. Comments: Includes portrayals of inter-racial friendships, exploited labor, and desperate attempts at intimacy.  A problematic somewhat uneven … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, capitalism/Marxism, class/labor/"work", gender, masculinity | Leave a comment

The Stars My Destination, Alfred Bester, 1956 (Novel)

The Stars My Destination, Alfred Bester, 1956 (Novel)  — Gulley Foyle, the last survivor of The Nomad, has been ‘shipwrecked’ in space.  The possibility of rescue appears, but the ship deliberately continues on, leaving him to die.  His quest for … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, agency/will/freedom, bureaucracy/corporations, class/labor/"work", distance, emotions/intimacy/empathy, favorites, senses/space, speed/slowness, violence | Leave a comment

“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

“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

“Dreaming is a Private Thing,” Isaac Asimov , 1955

“Dreaming is a Private Thing,” Isaac Asimov , 1955 – Jessie Weill, is the manager of a firm specializing in private dreamies (similar to films or DVDs) that can be viewed at home by individual users.  He encourages a ten-year … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, artists/creativity, class/labor/"work", consumerism, dreams/hypnosis, economics, emotions/intimacy/empathy, freaks/misfits, genrecraft, love/family/children, media/advertising, photo/film/image, reality/VR/surreal, spectatorship/voyeurism, television, the Internet | 1 Comment

“Memento Homo,” Walter M. Miller, Jr., 1954

“Memento Homo,” Walter M. Miller, Jr., 1954 – A spacer is attended by his wife on his death bed while his children avoid him and his wealthy neighbor has a party. Comments:  Themes of death, class, memory, and the victims … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, astronauts, class/labor/"work", death/immortality, emotions/intimacy/empathy, love/family/children, male anxiety, masculinity, memory, mourning/grief | Leave a comment

“Crucifixus Etiam,” Walter M. Miller, Jr., 1953

“Crucifixus Etiam,” Walter M. Miller, Jr., 1953– (Alternate title: “The Sower Does Not Reap”)  A Peruvian named Manue (Emmanuel?) Nanti decides to work on Mars for an extended period of time in order to secure his future on Earth.  In … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, class/labor/"work", cyborgs/posthumans, post/colonialism, religion/soul/spirituality, the body | Leave a comment