Category Archives: freaks/misfits

“The Golden Horn,” Edgar Pangborn, 1961

“The Golden Horn,” Edgar Pangborn, 1961 – A boy with growing aspirations finds a beautiful object in the woods, a golden horn, and imagines how it might transform his life.  Unfortunately, the horn already has an owner. Comments:  A morality … Continue reading

Posted in 1960-1969, difference/tolerance, emotions/intimacy/empathy, favorites, freaks/misfits, greed, love/family/children, the Other | 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 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

“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

“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

“Zoo,” Edward D. Hoch, 1958

“Zoo,” Edward D. Hoch, 1958 – (short short) A traveling zoo arrives on Earth—but who is looking at whom? Comments: Read in 100 Great Science Fiction Short Short Stories.  Perhaps interesting because this story seems to have been embraced by … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, freaks/misfits, spectatorship/voyeurism, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“The Die-Hard,” Alfred Bester, 1958

“The Die-Hard,” Alfred Bester, 1958 – (short short) The last “man” on earth is visited in his rest home by the new, “adjusted” cybernetic human male.  Most of the standardized males are named Tom, although they employ subtle distinctions in … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, culture clash, cyborgs/posthumans, difference/tolerance, favorites, freaks/misfits, gender, generational conflict, identity/authenticity, invasion, masculinity, mechanization, memory, museums/artifacts, natural/artificial, physicians/medicine, progress/obsolescence, the body, the Other, time/history/causality, violence | Leave a comment

“First Man in a Satellite,” Charles W Runyon, 1958

“First Man in a Satellite,” Charles W Runyon, 1958 — The first manned satellite requires a little person as pilot; they want human data, not data from an animal or machine.  They find a potential pilot in a circus; he … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, astronauts, death/immortality, difference/tolerance, disability, freaks/misfits, gender, love/family/children, masculinity, mourning/grief, scientific ethics, the Other, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“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

“The Anything Box,” Zenna Henderson, 1956

“The Anything Box,” Zenna Henderson, 1956 – A schoolteacher observes with puzzlement a quiet young pupil in her class who appears to be staring into an invisible box cupped in her hands.  She discusses the student with another teacher who … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, artists/creativity, difference/tolerance, freaks/misfits, interior/exterior, love/family/children, psych/mind/madness, television | 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

“Nobody Bothers Gus,” Algis Budrys, 1955

“Nobody Bothers Gus,” Algis Budrys, 1955 – An alienated “superman” with an innate ability to dampen curiosity (and be forgotten) is essentially invisible and therefore unable to participate in society.  With no “culture of his own,” he retires to anonymity … Continue reading

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“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

“A Saucer of Loneliness,” Theodore Sturgeon, 1953

“A Saucer of Loneliness,” Theodore Sturgeon, 1953 – After being chided by her mother for not being married yet, Margaret, a young waitress, cries herself to sleep.  The next day she’s accosted on the street by a small flying saucer … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, communication, emotions/intimacy/empathy, favorites, freaks/misfits, gender, media/advertising, spectatorship/voyeurism, suicide | 1 Comment

“Feedback,” Katherine MacLean, 1951

“Feedback,” Katherine MacLean, 1951 – Opens with a discussion between teacher and students about why Leonardo Da Vinci wrote backwards.  The nonconformity-loving teacher is turned in by a student’s parent when the student declares that he wants to “wear his … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, agency/will/freedom, american culture, difference/tolerance, freaks/misfits, simulacra | Leave a comment

“The Mindworm,” Cyril M. Kornbluth, 1950

“The Mindworm,” Cyril M. Kornbluth, 1950 – A telepathic vampire is created by atomic radiation.  The orphaned child of a lieutenant and a nurse stationed on a ship performing nuclear tests, he wanders from city to city.  He discovers his … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, american culture, atomic bomb/Hiroshima, class/labor/"work", communication, emotions/intimacy/empathy, exiles/"home"/displacement, favorites, freaks/misfits, genrecraft, horror, hubris/pride, interior/exterior, language/libraries, primitive/civilized, psych/mind/madness, spectatorship/voyeurism, superhumans, violence | Leave a comment

“Giant Killer,” Raymond Chandler, 1945

“Giant Killer,” Raymond Chandler, 1945 – A mysterious protagonist must fight for supremacy in a cramped tunnel world.  Once he becomes leader, his thoughts turn to the giants outside. Comments: This story is remarkable for how long the protagonist’s body is … Continue reading

Posted in 1940-1945, freaks/misfits, knowledge/truth/epistemology, the body, violence | Leave a comment