Category Archives: communication

“Stanley Toothbrush,” Terry Carr, 1962

“Stanley Toothbrush,” Terry Carr, 1962 – A man contemplates the absurdity of the sounds of language.  In doing so, he “disbelieves” his shelves out of existence.  His girlfriend later tells him of her fantasy man, Stanley Toothbrush–and Toothbrush suddenly arrives … Continue reading

Posted in 1960-1969, communication, humor, language/libraries, psych/mind/madness | 2 Comments

“Welcome Home,” Herbert W. Franke, 1960

“Welcome Home,” Herbert W. Franke, 1960 (or 1961?) – (short short) (Original title: Willkommen daheim)  An astronaut returns to Earth.  Now telepathic, he becomes estranged from humanity, including his unfaithful wife. Comments:  Read in The Black Mirror and Other Stories: … Continue reading

Posted in 1960-1969, astronauts, communication, emotions/intimacy/empathy | Leave a comment

“Mother Hitton’s Littul Kittons,” Cordwainer Smith, 1961

“Mother Hitton’s Littul Kittons,” Cordwainer Smith, 1961 – Benjacomin Bozart, a criminal from a once wealthy but now marginalized world, attempts to become a hero to his people by stealing from the wealthy world, Norstrilia (Old North Australia).  Nostrilia has … Continue reading

Posted in 1960-1969, communication, culture clash, death/immortality, fantasy/fable/fairy tale, favorites, freaks/misfits, identity/authenticity, language/libraries, margins/center, nationalism, the Other | Leave a comment

“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 First Men,” Howard Fast, 1960

“The First Men,” Howard Fast, 1960 – (Alternate title: “The Trap”) A scientific experiment in a controlled environment produces telepathic, hyper-intelligent superchildren from different races, proving that environment is “total.”  The children’s abilities progress to the point where they are … Continue reading

Posted in 1960-1969, biological determinism, communication, difference/tolerance, education, eugenics/heredity, evolution, generational conflict, intelligence, love/family/children, psych/mind/madness, race/civil rights, scientific ethics, superhumans, the scientist | 1 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

“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

“No, no, not Rogov!” Cordwainer Smith, 1959

“No, no, not Rogov!” Cordwainer Smith, 1950 – Cherpas and Rogov are good Soviets who doggedly carry out Stalin’s orders for a machine that can read all EM radiation, including thoughts, for the purpose of spying and suppressing thought.  With … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, agency/will/freedom, capitalism/Marxism, communication, emotions/intimacy/empathy, favorites, gender, hubris/pride, intelligence, love/family/children, music, nationalism, psych/mind/madness, scientific ethics, superhumans, surveillance, the scientist, totalitarianism/fascism, war/soldiers | 1 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

“Unhuman Sacrifice,” Katherine MacLean, 1958

“Unhuman Sacrifice,” Katherine MacLean, 1958 — A missionary and two crewman arrive on an as-of-yet uncolonized planet.  The missionary–who thinks he’s been given a great honor–is obnoxious, nearly oafish in his over-eager attempts to open a dialogue with his future … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, communication, death/immortality, emotions/intimacy/empathy, favorites, language/libraries, love/family/children, mourning/grief, primitive/civilized, religion/soul/spirituality | 1 Comment

“Origin of Worlds,” Jack Vance, 1957

“Worlds of Origin,” Jack Vance, 1957 — Inspector Magnus Ridolph is on holiday in The Hub, a space station.  When a murder occurs, he’s asked by the hotel management to help solve the crime.  Ridolph uses “cultural analysis,” a study … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, communication, genrecraft, knowledge/truth/epistemology, language/libraries, logic/reason, the Other | 2 Comments

“Unit,” J. T. McIntosh, 1957

“Unit,” J. T. McIntosh, 1957 — Edgar agrees to become a Unit Father for a group of social misfits who wish to have their identities erased, such that they might be retrained as a new entity with no memory of … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, agency/will/freedom, communication, difference/tolerance, emotions/intimacy/empathy, exiles/"home"/displacement, favorites, freaks/misfits, identity/authenticity, intelligence, love/family/children, margins/center, memory, multiplicity, nationalism, physicians/medicine, post/colonialism, the body, the Other | Leave a comment

“Death Between the Stars,” Marion Zimmer Bradley, 1956

“Death Between the Stars,” Marion Zimmer Bradley, 1956 – A (privileged) human woman is forced to share a cabin with a telepathic alien on a long space voyage.  She is wary, at first, then protective of the alien, who is … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, communication, difference/tolerance, emotions/intimacy/empathy, favorites, race/civil rights, the body, the Other | 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

“The Hour of Battle,” Robert Sheckley, 1953

“The Hour of Battle,” Robert Sheckley, 1953 — A spaceship from Earth lands on a planet inhabited by vicious, telepathic aliens, which immediately possess the pilot of the scout ship.  The pilot of the main ship escapes and is able … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, communication, distance, invasion, war/soldiers | 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

“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

“Stranger Station,” Damon Knight, 1956

“Stranger Station,” Damon Knight, 1956 – Paul Wesson is stationed on Stranger Station, which will be visited by an overwhelmingly alien consciousness. His only companion is the robot (female) Aunt Jane. His purpose is to establish contact with the alien, … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, agency/will/freedom, automata/robots, communication, death/immortality, difference/tolerance, economics, emotions/intimacy/empathy, evolution, language/libraries, post/colonialism, religion/soul/spirituality, the Other | 2 Comments

“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