Category Archives: language/libraries

“A Rose for Ecclesiastes,” Roger Zelazny, 1963

“A Rose for Ecclesiastes,” Roger Zelazny, 1963 – A poet, Gallinger, is given the privilege of viewing and translating the sacred texts of an alien culture.  He discovers that their religion is deeply fatalistic.  After impregnating a temple priestess, he earns … Continue reading

Posted in 1960-1969, aesthetics/beauty, artists/creativity, culture clash, death/immortality, emotions/intimacy/empathy, gender, language/libraries, love/family/children, mourning/grief, myth, primitive/civilized, religion/soul/spirituality, suicide, the Other, tourists | 1 Comment

“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

“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

“Theory of Rocketry,” Cyril M. Kornbluth, 1958

“Theory of Rocketry,” Cyril M. Kornbluth, 1958 – An English teacher of the future must submit to psych exams, televised teaching, and lackluster pupils.  His life is desultory until he meets Foster, the one pupil that might make something of … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, astronauts, education, language/libraries, psych/mind/madness, satire, space exploration, television | 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

“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

“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

“The Library of Babel,” Jorge Luis Borges, 1941

“The Library of Babel,” Jorge Luis Borges, 1941 – The universe is conceived as an infinite series of hexagonal rooms containing a limitless number of books. Comments: Read in The Road to SF:4 and The Mirror of Infinity: A Critics’ … Continue reading

Posted in 1940-1945, language/libraries | 1 Comment

“Someday,” Isaac Asimov, 1956

“Someday,” Isaac Asimov, 1956 – A young boy kicks and generally mistreats his Bard, an old-fashioned story-telling machine.  His friend, destined to become a computer programmer, arrives to tell him his plan to start a secret club based on “squiggles” … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, automata/robots, fantasy/fable/fairy tale, genrecraft, language/libraries, museums/artifacts | 1 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

“I Do Not Love Thee, Dr. Fell,” Robert Bloch, 1955

“I Do Not Love Thee, Dr. Fell,” Robert Bloch, 1955 – A frustrated jingle writer’s therapy goes awry when he over-identifies with his therapist. Comments: Read in The World Treasury of Science Fiction. References the poem concerning John Fell, an … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, artists/creativity, language/libraries, media/advertising, music, psych/mind/madness | Leave a comment

“Course of Empire,” Richard Wilson, 1956

“Course of Empire,” Richard Wilson, 1956 – (short short) Two friends discuss Earth’s bungled attempts to colonize the planets of the solar system, as well as the origin of a mysterious phrase in a pidgin language. Comments: Read in 100 … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, language/libraries, post/colonialism | Leave a comment

“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

“Diabologic,” Eric Frank Russell, 1955

“Diabologic,” Eric Frank Russell, 1955 – Wayne Hillder, a Terran, arrives on the planet of the Vards, a naïve but space faring race and a humanoid species covered in fine grey fur. He confounds them with riddles and fallacies until … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, communication, humor, intelligence, international, language/libraries, logic/reason, primitive/civilized | Leave a comment

“The Clinic,” Theodore Sturgeon, 1953

“The Clinic,” Theodore Sturgeon, 1953 – The narrator, Nemo, appears to be an amnesiac who has lost his memory of language.  Dr. De la Torre and a lonely patient, Elena, attempt to reach him, while the Sergeant keeps a close … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, communication, difference/tolerance, disability, emotions/intimacy/empathy, exiles/"home"/displacement, language/libraries, memory, violence | Leave a comment

“The Fire and the Sword,” Frank M. Robinson, 1951

“The Fire and the Sword,” Frank M. Robinson, 1951 – Templin is sent to investigate the suicide of Don Pendleton, who had been sent to live with the primitives of Tunpesh.  He gradually comes to understand that the world of … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, communication, difference/tolerance, emotions/intimacy/empathy, exiles/"home"/displacement, favorites, language/libraries, primitive/civilized, suicide, the Other, tourists | Leave a comment

“The Fun They Had,” Asimov, 1951

“The Fun They Had,” Asimov, 1951 –  Margie, who has never read anything except moving text on a screen interface, learns that Tommy has found a book in his attic.  The book concerns the schools of the past, where humans, … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, education, language/libraries, love/family/children, television, the Internet, time/history/causality | 1 Comment