Category Archives: logic/reason

“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

“Something Strange,” Kingsley Amis, 1960

“Something Strange,” Kingsley Amis, 1960 — Bruno, Clovis, Myri, and Lia are amnesiacs on a “spaceship” which is being besieged by surreal threats (e.g., a near-miss with a comet).  The conclusion reveals that the terrifying events are part of a … Continue reading

Posted in 1960-1969, agency/will/freedom, artists/creativity, astronauts, emotions/intimacy/empathy, logic/reason, memory, psych/mind/madness, reality/VR/surreal, scientific ethics, senses/space, surveillance | Leave a comment

“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

“What Do You Mean…Human?” John W. Campbell, Jr., 1959

“What Do You Mean…Human?” John W. Campbell, Jr., 1959 – (Essay) Campbell’s essay expressing his philosophy of sf. Comments: Includes a graph of human/non-human characteristics (of animals, robots, a man with prosthetics) that reminded me a bit of Haraway’s later … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, animals/insects, difference/tolerance, emotions/intimacy/empathy, genrecraft, logic/reason, psych/mind/madness, the body, the Other | Leave a comment

“Who Can Replace a Man?” Brian Aldiss, 1958

“Who Can Replace a Man?” Brian Aldiss, 1958 – Humanity has destroyed itself and machines form a social order based on a hierarchy of intelligence. Comments: Read in A Century of Science Fiction.  Editor Damon Knight comments that the story … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, automata/robots, class/labor/"work", function/utility/skeumorphs, hubris/pride, intelligence, logic/reason, mechanization, museums/artifacts | Leave a comment

“Space-Time for Springers,” Fritz Leiber, 1958

“Space-Time for Springers,” Fritz Leiber, 1958 – Gummitch the super-kitten struggles to understand his human “parents” and their malevolent daughter, doomed by her cruelty (as only Gummitch can reason) to one day become a cat. Comments: Themes/images of intelligence, animals, … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, animals/insects, emotions/intimacy/empathy, favorites, intelligence, logic/reason, religion/soul/spirituality | 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

“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 Cold Equations,” Tom Godwin, 1954

“The Cold Equations,” Tom Godwin, 1954 – A pilot on a critical medical mission discovers a stowaway on his ship, a young girl who merely wants to visit her brother, but he only has enough fuel for a safe trip … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, emotions/intimacy/empathy, logic/reason, scientific ethics | Leave a comment

“Chronoclasm,” John Wyndham, 1953

“Chronoclasm,” John Wyndham, 1953 – A man given knowledge of the future also faces the prospect that he is without free will. Comments: A brisk time travel/paradox adventure that takes a few good shots at mores, fashion, and non-“probative” assumptions. … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, agency/will/freedom, logic/reason, time/history/causality | Leave a comment

“Fool’s Mate,” Robert Sheckley, 1953

“Fool’s Mate,” Robert Sheckley, 1953 – Two equally balanced forces are in stalemate unless a random factor intervenes: a human broken by stress. Comments: Read in Metal Smile. “Fool’s mate” is the quickest possible checkmate in chess. (Wikipedia) Author: Wikipedia: … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, logic/reason, psych/mind/madness, 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

“God and the Machine,” Nigel Balchin, 1951

“God and the Machine,” Nigel Balchin, 1951 — Uncle Charles relates to his nephew the story of Professor Plumreach and his draughts-playing automaton.  Arrogant, misanthropic, abusive to his family, Plumreach appears to be a rigid man of absolutes.  Charles notes … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, atomic bomb/Hiroshima, emotions/intimacy/empathy, hubris/pride, international, logic/reason, mathematics, scientific ethics, the scientist | Leave a comment

“Superiority,” Arthur C. Clarke, 1951

“Superiority,” Arthur C. Clarke, 1951 — A mighty fleet is defeated by inferior science at the Battle of the Five Suns.  Too many resources were invested in the latest military technology, the Sphere of Annihilation, and all other research was … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, atomic bomb/Hiroshima, international, logic/reason, mathematics, primitive/civilized, progress/obsolescence, war/soldiers | Leave a comment

“The Quest for St. Aquin,” Anthony Boucher, 1951

“The Quest for St. Aquin,” Anthony Boucher, 1951 – Thomas, a monk, is charged by the pope with finding the body of St. Aquin, to confirm that the body is incapable of corruption (decay).  His theologically literate “robass” mount tries … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, automata/robots, favorites, logic/reason, religion/soul/spirituality | Leave a comment

“Inflexible Logic,” Russell Maloney, 1941

“Inflexible Logic,” Russell Maloney, 1941 — Mr. Bainbridge, a sober bachelor from Connecticut, visits New York. While there, he attends a cocktail party at which he hears the “old cliche of mathematicians” regarding the “six chimpanzees.”  According to the law … Continue reading

Posted in 1940-1945, language/libraries, logic/reason, mathematics | Leave a comment

“The World of Null-A,” A. E. van Vogt, 1948

“The World of Null-A,” A. E. Van Vogt, 1948 -Wikipedia: “Gilbert Gosseyn, a man living in an apparent utopia where those with superior understanding and mental control rule the rest of humanity, wants to be tested by the giant Machine … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, death/immortality, international, language/libraries, logic/reason, memory, superhumans, the body, totalitarianism/fascism | 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

“First Contact,” Murray Leinster, 1945

“First Contact,” Murray Leinster, 1945 – Two ships meet in space, one “alien,” one human.  Both seek to obtain the other’s technology, and neither can afford to let the other to follow it home—can they find a non-violent solution to … Continue reading

Posted in 1940-1945, gender, logic/reason | Leave a comment