Category Archives: narrative

“Good Night, Sophie,” Lino Aldani, 1963

“Good Night, Sophie,” Lino Aldani, 1963 – (trans. from Italian)– In a future in which the superstar, Sophie, is a VR porn star, Sophie must decide if the Anti-Dream League’s claims that “nature and the soul” are being lost due … Continue reading

Posted in 1960-1969, aesthetics/beauty, agency/will/freedom, american culture, capitalism/Marxism, class/labor/"work", dreams/hypnosis, emotions/intimacy/empathy, gender, identity/authenticity, intelligence, interior/exterior, international, love/family/children, media/advertising, memory, narrative, natural/artificial, photo/film/image, progress/obsolescence, psych/mind/madness, reality/VR/surreal, religion/soul/spirituality, senses/space, sex/reproduction/sterility, simulacra, spectatorship/voyeurism, surveillance, the body, the gaze, the Other, theatre/performance | 1 Comment

“The Question,” Donald E. Westlake and Laurence M. Janifer, 1963

“The Question,” Donald E. Westlake and Laurence M. Janifer, 1963 – (short short) A professor grading English I papers is interrupted by a tedious phone call.  He begins to suspect that the story of his life is being written by … Continue reading

Posted in 1960-1969, education, narrative, paranoia/schitzophrenia, reality/VR/surreal, surveillance | 1 Comment

“Worlds of the Imperium,” Keith Laumer, 1961

“Worlds of the Imperium,” Keith Laumer, 1961 — (excerpt) A man stands in a field as his body morphs and rides the time tide. Comments: Excerpt read read in A Century of Science Fiction, ed. Damon Knight. First published in … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, alternate history, identity/authenticity, narrative, the body, time/history/causality | Leave a comment

“The Lost Years,” Oscar Lewis, 1951

“The Lost Years,” Oscar Lewis, 1951 – An alternate history in which the assassination of Abraham Lincoln is prevented, as a surgeon saves his life after the attempt. Comments: Told through diary excerpts, recollections, memoirs, and newspaper excerpts. Some will … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, alternate history, narrative, time/history/causality | Leave a comment

“Forever and the Earth,” Ray Bradbury, 1950

“Forever and the Earth,” Ray Bradbury, 1950 – A washed up sf writer in the 23 century brings Thomas Wolfe to the future so that he might write a space-age novel for the time, since none of his contemporaries seem … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, artists/creativity, genrecraft, narrative, space exploration | 11 Comments

“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

“Dreams are Sacred,” Peter Phillips, 1948

“Dreams are Sacred,” Peter Philips, 1948 – A reporter is asked by a psychiatrist to enter a fantasy writer’s dreams to save him from losing himself in his imagination.  A “rapport” is created between two dreaming people through a machine, … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, dreams/hypnosis, emotions/intimacy/empathy, genrecraft, international, masculinity, narrative, paranoia/schitzophrenia, psych/mind/madness, reality/VR/surreal | Leave a comment

“Kindness,” Lester del Rey, 1944

“Kindness,” Lester del Rey, 1944 – A “normal” man finds himself pitied by homo superior.  He lives the life of a living museum exhibit, treated kindly by those who tolerate him.  He certainly will never find a mate, and he’s … Continue reading

Posted in 1940-1945, emotions/intimacy/empathy, favorites, freaks/misfits, genrecraft, museums/artifacts, narrative, progress/obsolescence, superhumans, the body, the Other | Leave a comment

“The Thousand-and-Second Tale of Scheherazade,” Edgar Allan Poe, 1850

“The Thousand-and-Second Tale of Scheherazade,” Edgar Allan Poe, 1850 — Opens with the epigraph: “Truth is stranger than fiction.”  In this at times humorous depiction of the telling of the 1002nd tale, Scheherazade relates scientific marvels which the king finds so … Continue reading

Posted in 1926 and earlier, artists/creativity, favorites, gender, humor, knowledge/truth/epistemology, narrative | Leave a comment

“The Old Folks’ Party,” Edward Bellamy, 1876

“The Old Folks’ Party,” Edward Bellamy, 1876 — “[A] group of young men and women in 1875 decide to assume the roles they think they will be playing fifty years hence…At their next weekly meeting they will become what they … Continue reading

Posted in 1926 and earlier, generational conflict, genrecraft, identity/authenticity, narrative, time/history/causality | Leave a comment

“Malvu the Helmsman: A Story of Vesta,” Paul Scheerbart, 1912

“Malvu the Helmsman: A Story of Vesta,” Paul Scheerbart, 1912 – Surreal short about Vesta, a land where no body is similar to another.  Limbs are functional and removable, and stories are told on wafer-thin manuscripts (bodies, skin). Comments: Other … Continue reading

Posted in 1926 and earlier, international, narrative, reality/VR/surreal, religion/soul/spirituality, the body | Leave a comment

“In the Year 2889,” Jules Verne, 1889

“In the Year 2889,” Jules Verne (or his son, Michel Verne), 1889 – The editor of Earth Chronicle (a master information and access) controls the world. A day in his life. Separated from his wife, a professional beauty, he sees … Continue reading

Posted in 1926 and earlier, ecology/the environment, globalization/world government, international, media/advertising, narrative, natural/artificial, photo/film/image, progress/obsolescence, war/soldiers | Leave a comment

“The Damned Thing,” Ambrose Bierce, 1893

“The Damned Thing,” Ambrose Bierce, 1893 – A journalist testifies at a coroner’s inquest as to what he saw concerning another man’s death by a “thing” in the woods.  He reads from his notes, which he posted to his paper … Continue reading

Posted in 1926 and earlier, favorites, horror, in/visible, knowledge/truth/epistemology, narrative, senses/space | Leave a comment

“Mellonta Tauta,” Edgar Allan Poe, 1848

“Mellonta Tauta,” Edgar Allan Poe, 1848 – The narrator (Pundita) is in a balloon (the “Skylark”), traveling at dizzying speed while waxing philosophically—yet incorrectly–about the past. An artifact from the now defunct “Amrrican” civilization is located. Comments: A story about … Continue reading

Posted in 1926 and earlier, favorites, knowledge/truth/epistemology, language/libraries, museums/artifacts, narrative, natural/artificial, progress/obsolescence, satire, speed/slowness, the scientist, time/history/causality | Leave a comment