Category Archives: knowledge/truth/epistemology

“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

“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

“Build-up,” J.G. Ballard, 1957

“Build-up,” J.G. Ballard, 1957 – (Alternate title: “Concentration City“) Overpopulation in the future has led to such building density that an aspiring aircraft designer and physics student, Franz, can’t find enough “free space” to “re-discover” the concept of flight.  He … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, agency/will/freedom, capitalism/Marxism, cities/architecture/habitats, knowledge/truth/epistemology, logic/reason, memory, myth, overpopulation, physicians/medicine, psych/mind/madness, religion/soul/spirituality, senses/space, speed/slowness, time/history/causality, utopia/dystopia | Leave a comment

“Aristotle and the Gun,” L. Sprague de Camp, 1958

“Aristotle and the Gun,” L. Sprague de Camp, 1958 – A scientist travels back in time to try to teach Aristotle the scientific method and, thus, change his present.  He pretends to be a traveler from India–replete with marvelous, new … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, alternate history, knowledge/truth/epistemology, the scientist, time/history/causality | 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

“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

“Ideas Die Hard,” Isaac Asimov, 1957

“Ideas Die Hard,” Isaac Asimov, 1957 — Two astronauts are on a mission to the moon. They discuss how ideas (e.g., age of earth or that the earth is round, a fact which this trip will truly prove with direct … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, astronauts, hubris/pride, knowledge/truth/epistemology, psych/mind/madness, reality/VR/surreal, scientific ethics, the scientist | 3 Comments

“The First Canticle,” Walter M. Miller, Jr, 1955

“The First Canticle,” Walter M. Miller, Jr, 1955 — Wikipedia: “Set in a Catholic monastery in the desert of the southwestern United States after a devastating nuclear war, the story spans thousands of years as civilization rebuilds itself. The monks … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, atomic bomb/Hiroshima, catastrophe, favorites, knowledge/truth/epistemology, language/libraries, memory, museums/artifacts, primitive/civilized, religion/soul/spirituality, scientific ethics, the scientist, war/soldiers | Leave a comment

“Critical Factor,” Hal Clement, 1953

“Critical Factor,”  Hal Clement, 1953 – Sentient creatures live beneath the soil. To them, our air is outer space. Comments: Geology sf and classic of hard sf.  Read in Star Science Fiction Stories No. 2. Author: Wikipedia: “Harry Clement Stubbs … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, geology, knowledge/truth/epistemology, logic/reason, the scientist | Leave a comment

“Sail on! Sail on!,” Philip José Farmer, 1952

“Sail on! Sail on!,” Philip José Farmer, 1952 – Monks following a religion based on science sail off the edge of a flat world. Wikipedia: ” In an alternative 1492, the Earth is flat, though scientists and philosophers have doubts … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, alternate history, favorites, knowledge/truth/epistemology, logic/reason, religion/soul/spirituality, time/history/causality | Leave a comment

“The Only Thing We Learn,” Cyril M. Kornbluth, 1949

“The Only Thing We Learn,” Cyril M. Kornbluth, 1949 – Young gentlemen studying epic poetry in “Archeo-Literature 203” try to reconstruct a turning point in their empire’s past.  Their professor suggests that the past can only be known through direct … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, education, favorites, knowledge/truth/epistemology, narrative, spectatorship/voyeurism, the Other, time/history/causality, war/soldiers | Leave a comment

“The Brooklyn Project,” William Tenn, 1948

“The Brooklyn Project,” William Tenn (Philip Klass), 1948 – Scientists demonstrate the power of their “oscillating time machine” to a group of reporters.  They claim that their experiments in no way affect the present, yet the reader has reason to … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, favorites, humor, international, knowledge/truth/epistemology, satire, the scientist, time/history/causality | Leave a comment

“E for Effort,” T. L. Sherred, 1947

“E for Effort,” T. L. Sherred, 1947 – An investor (Ed Lefko) and an inventor (Miguel “Mike” Laviada) utilize a device able to film events from the past (Cortes’s conquest of Mexico, Alexander the Great, and the French Revolution), though … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, atomic bomb/Hiroshima, identity/authenticity, knowledge/truth/epistemology, myth, photo/film/image, politics/politicians/elections, spectatorship/voyeurism, surveillance, time/history/causality, totalitarianism/fascism, war/soldiers | Leave a comment

“A Logic Named Joe,” Murray Leinster, 1946

“A Logic Named Joe,” Murray Leinster, 1946 – Logics are androids with screens that can access the “tank,” an enormous warehouse with every fact known to man.  As advertised, simply use the keys to type in your request or question, … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, function/utility/skeumorphs, knowledge/truth/epistemology, logic/reason, media/advertising, television, the Internet | Leave a comment

“Vintage Season,” C. L. Moore, 1946

“Vintage Season,” Moore and Kuttner, 1946 – Time travelers who consume “catastrophe” as an aesthetic experience visit a city about to be destroyed by an asteroid.  With them is a composer who will memorialize the event through a 3D “operatic” … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, aesthetics/beauty, artists/creativity, atomic bomb/Hiroshima, catastrophe, distance, emotions/intimacy/empathy, favorites, knowledge/truth/epistemology, music, photo/film/image, spectatorship/voyeurism, the body, the gaze, the Other, time/history/causality, tourists | 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

“Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius,” Jorges Luis Borges, 1940

“Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius,” Jorges Luis Borges, 1940; English ver. 1961  – A story that begins with a mirror and a fictitious encyclopedia article and sprawls out from there.  “In the story, an encyclopedia article about a mysterious country called … Continue reading

Posted in 1940-1945, alternate history, favorites, international, knowledge/truth/epistemology, language/libraries, reality/VR/surreal, time/history/causality | Leave a comment

“Nightfall,” Isaac Asimov, 1941

“Nightfall,” Isaac Asimov, 1941 – A culture that has never seen the night due to the presence of six suns experiences nightfall for the first time. Comments: “According to Asimov’s autobiography, Campbell asked Asimov to write the story after discussing … Continue reading

Posted in 1940-1945, favorites, knowledge/truth/epistemology, logic/reason, senses/space, the scientist | 2 Comments

“The Gnarly Man,” L. Sprague de Camp, 1939

“The Gnarly Man,” L. Sprague de Camp, 1939 – An anthropologist discovers an immortal Neanderthal working as a circus freak.  He plunges him into a world of (academic) exploitation and nearly gets him killed by a scientist who believes his … Continue reading

Posted in 1926-1939, evolution, freaks/misfits, knowledge/truth/epistemology, the Other, the scientist | Leave a comment

“Trends,” Isaac Asimov, 1939

“Trends,” Isaac Asimov, 1939 – A private entrepreneur/inventor feels stifled by the anti-technology bias of the religious moral majority.  He plans to send society a message by building a rocket. Comments: Engages key issues for Asimov and the time (freedom … Continue reading

Posted in 1926-1939, capitalism/Marxism, knowledge/truth/epistemology, progress/obsolescence, religion/soul/spirituality | 1 Comment