Category Archives: consumerism

“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

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“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

“The Drowned Giant,” J. G. Ballard, 1964

“The Drowned Giant,” J. G. Ballard, 1964 — A giant human(oid) male washes ashore.  The protagonist, a librarian, is assigned by his peers to investigate and make sense of what’s happened.  He notes that, after initial period of wonder and … Continue reading

Posted in 1960-1969, consumerism, fantasy/fable/fairy tale, function/utility/skeumorphs, knowledge/truth/epistemology, the body, time/history/causality, tourists | 5 Comments

“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

“Things,” Zenna Henderson, 1960

“Things,” Zenna Henderson, 1960 – An alien race describes the arrival of The Strangers bearing gifts.  A young member of the village is tempted to trade the location of his tribe in exchange for “things.” Comments: Read in 12 Great … Continue reading

Posted in 1960-1969, consumerism, culture clash, favorites, greed, love/family/children, Native Americans, primitive/civilized | 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

“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

“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

“Bad Medicine,” Robert Sheckley, 1956

“Bad Medicine,” Robert Sheckley, 1956 – Elwood Caswell, homicidal maniac, seeks a Rex Regenerator–a type of robot psychologist built by General Motors–to help rid him of his impulse to kill his nemesis, Magnessen.  Unfortunately, the model he buys is a … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, automata/robots, bureaucracy/corporations, consumerism, humor, language/libraries, psych/mind/madness, violence | 1 Comment

“Pilgrimage to Earth” (original title, “Love, Inc.”), Robert Sheckley, 1956

“Pilgrimage to Earth” (original title, “Love, Inc.”), Robert Sheckley, 1956 – A country boy visits the city of our future.  He  finds that everything can be sold, he can shoot people for fun, and women can be programmed with false … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, cities/architecture/habitats, consumerism, emotions/intimacy/empathy, gender, love/family/children, masculinity, media/advertising, memory, sex/reproduction/sterility, spectatorship/voyeurism, violence | 1 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

“The Tunnel Under the World,” Frederik Pohl, 1955

“The Tunnel Under the World,” Frederik Pohl, 1955 – Jingles intrude everywhere, saturating a community’s homes and dreams.  The denizens of a town assisted by robots eventually realize they are living advertisements, built in miniature by a media executive after … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, automata/robots, consumerism, dreams/hypnosis, media/advertising, simulacra | 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

“Autofac,” Philip K. Dick, 1955

“Autofac,” Philip K. Dick, 1955 – Humans attempt to turn off a network of machines that endlessly produces a set of items that a long-gone bureaucracy has determined are essential to their lives. The survivors wish to begin post-war Reconstruction, … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, american culture, automata/robots, consumerism, ecology/the environment, economics, war/soldiers | Leave a comment

“Two-Handed Engine,” Kuttner and Moore, 1955

“Two-Handed Engine,” Kuttner and Moore, 1955 – War has destroyed human communities, such that the concepts of connection and family are undermined.  For a time, humanity wallows in hedonism and selfishness, having constructed robots capable of providing any material good.  … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, agency/will/freedom, automata/robots, consumerism, emotions/intimacy/empathy, favorites, law, love/family/children, myth, photo/film/image, psych/mind/madness, religion/soul/spirituality, surveillance, violence, war/soldiers | Leave a comment

“The Midas Plague,” Frederik Pohl, 1954

“The Midas Plague,” Frederik Pohl, 1954 — Morey and Cherry Fry have just been married in an extravagant ceremony designed to comply as much as possible with their consumption quota.  Cherry’s parents, as part of the elite, are “poor” and … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, automata/robots, class/labor/"work", consumerism, economics, love/family/children, male anxiety, satire | Leave a comment

“Friend of the Family,” Richard Wilson, 1953

“Friend of the Family,” Richard Wilson, 1953 – Overpopulation and lack of conservation have led to a resource crisis.  The state outlaws births, but a young couple defies the law and is threatened with blackmail.  A mysterious stranger arrives and … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, consumerism, ecology/the environment, love/family/children, overpopulation, sex/reproduction/sterility | Leave a comment