Category Archives: natural/artificial

“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 Masked World,” Jack Williamson, 1963

“The Masked World,” Jack Williamson, 1963 — An astronaut searches for his wife, Lilith.  Lilith was part of a survey tasked with “reading” the genetic code of the life there with advanced genetic probes.  Upon reconstructing Lilith’s work, the protagonist … Continue reading

Posted in 1960-1969, astronauts, identity/authenticity, interior/exterior, love/family/children, natural/artificial, simulacra, space exploration, the body, the Other, the scientist | Leave a comment

“Alpha Ralpha Boulevard,” Cordwainer Smith, 1961

“Alpha Ralpha Boulevard,” Cordwainer Smith, 1961 — In the “first years of the Rediscovery of Man, when the Instrumentality dug deep in the treasury, reconstructing the old cultures, the old languages, and even the old troubles,” Paul and Virginia tour … Continue reading

Posted in 1960-1969, agency/will/freedom, animals/insects, cities/architecture/habitats, class/labor/"work", cyborgs/posthumans, death/immortality, difference/tolerance, disease/plague, emotions/intimacy/empathy, favorites, hubris/pride, identity/authenticity, love/family/children, museums/artifacts, myth, natural/artificial, primitive/civilized, spectatorship/voyeurism, the Other, time/history/causality, tourists | Leave a comment

“Plenitude,” Will Worthington (Will Mohler), 1959

“Plenitude,” Will Worthington (Will Mohler), 1959 —  A family ekes out a hard life on the mountainside.  Opens with a young boy, Mike, asking his father “why, why,” as the father works on his garden. The child’s curiosity is deceptively … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, agency/will/freedom, catastrophe, class/labor/"work", consumerism, gender, identity/authenticity, love/family/children, male anxiety, masculinity, museums/artifacts, natural/artificial, progress/obsolescence, reality/VR/surreal, senses/space, television, Uncategorized, violence | 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

“The Other Celia,” Theodore Sturgeon, 1957

“The Other Celia,”  Theodore Sturgeon, 1957 – A recluse spies on his neighbor and discovers that she takes off her human “skin” at night. Comments: Another story by Sturgeon about the invasion of a woman’s privacy, though “weirder” than “A … Continue reading

Posted in favorites, gender, interior/exterior, natural/artificial, simulacra, spectatorship/voyeurism, surveillance, the gaze, the Other, the uncanny, Uncategorized | 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

“The Father-Thing,” Philip K. Dick, 1954

“The Father-Thing,” Philip K. Dick, 1954 – A boy’s father is replicated and replaced by a “thing.” Comments: Read in A Treasury of Great Science Fiction, Volume One.  See also Bradbury’s “Zero Hour.” Author: Wikipedia: “Philip Kindred Dick (December 16, … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, identity/authenticity, love/family/children, natural/artificial, paranoia/schitzophrenia, simulacra | 1 Comment

“Imposter,” Philip K. Dick, 1953

“Imposter,” Philip K. Dick, 1953 – Spence Olham is informed that he’s been killed and replaced by an android as part of a plot by the Outspacers to detonate a U-bomb inside enemy lines.  He flees and leads his pursuers … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, automata/robots, cyborgs/posthumans, identity/authenticity, interior/exterior, memory, natural/artificial, paranoia/schitzophrenia, psych/mind/madness, war/soldiers | Leave a comment

“Second Variety,” Philip K. Dick, 1953

“Second Variety,” Philip K. Dick, 1953 – A soldier discovers that his self-replicating, mechanical enemies have discovered a new, thoroughly disorienting form of camouflage—the imitation of human beings. Comments:  Online text at Project Gutenberg; Librivox recording also available. Themes include … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, cyborgs/posthumans, emotions/intimacy/empathy, favorites, identity/authenticity, interior/exterior, natural/artificial, paranoia/schitzophrenia, religion/soul/spirituality, simulacra, the body, the uncanny, theatre/performance, war/soldiers | Leave a comment

“Warm,” Robert Sheckley, 1953

“Warm,” Robert Sheckley, 1953 – Anders is about to meet his fiancé, Judy, whom he describes as a “reactive machine,” when he hears a disembodied voice calling for help. Comments: Read in Great Tales of SF.  A story of “performing” … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, automata/robots, emotions/intimacy/empathy, gender, identity/authenticity, interior/exterior, love/family/children, male anxiety, masculinity, mechanization, natural/artificial, psych/mind/madness, reality/VR/surreal, simulacra, the body, the gaze, the Other, theatre/performance | Leave a comment

“Made in U.S.A,” J. T. McIntosh, 1953

“Made in U.S.A,” J. T. McIntosh, 1953 – Roderick and Allison Liffcom are the perfect couple—until Roderick learns that Allison’s an android. He sues for divorce and she contests, arguing that now that androids have full equality, she was under … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, agency/will/freedom, automata/robots, class/labor/"work", difference/tolerance, emotions/intimacy/empathy, gender, interior/exterior, international, law, love/family/children, natural/artificial, race/civil rights, sex/reproduction/sterility, simulacra, the body, the Other, theatre/performance | 2 Comments

“No Woman Born,” C. L. Moore, 1944

“No Woman Born,” C. L. Moore, 1944 – The famous dancer Deirdre is horribly burned in a theater fire and her mind is transplanted into a golden, robotic body.  After much time spent recovering under the care of the physician … Continue reading

Posted in 1940-1945, aesthetics/beauty, american culture, artists/creativity, cyborgs/posthumans, difference/tolerance, favorites, freaks/misfits, gender, male anxiety, masculinity, media/advertising, music, natural/artificial, photo/film/image, psych/mind/madness, senses/space, sex/reproduction/sterility, spectatorship/voyeurism, television, the body, the gaze, the Other, theatre/performance | 1 Comment

“The Four-Sided Triangle,” William F. Temple, 1939

“The Four-Sided Triangle,” William F. Temple, 1939 – Three friends engaged in an art-replicating business realize that they can also replicate human bodies.  One creates a duplicate of the female member of the trio, who is in love with the … Continue reading

Posted in 1926-1939, aesthetics/beauty, gender, identity/authenticity, interior/exterior, international, love/family/children, natural/artificial, photo/film/image, simulacra, suicide | Leave a comment

“I, Robot,” Eando Binder, 1938

“I, Robot,” Eando Binder, 1938 – The confession of the robot, Adam Link.  He tells of his creation by Dr. Charles Link a few weeks prior.  Dr. Link had educated Adam quickly, and Adam has learned how to talk, walk, … Continue reading

Posted in 1926-1939, automata/robots, favorites, genrecraft, interior/exterior, natural/artificial, suicide, the body, the gaze, the Other | Leave a comment

“Bright Illusion,” C. L. Moore, 1934

“Bright Illusion,” C L Moore, 1934 – Dixon, a man on the verge of death in the desert, encounters what he thinks is a mirage, only to find that the golden “egg-like” dome is really an alien consciousness.  The alien … Continue reading

Posted in 1926-1939, cities/architecture/habitats, communication, favorites, gender, identity/authenticity, in/visible, knowledge/truth/epistemology, language/libraries, love/family/children, male anxiety, masculinity, natural/artificial, photo/film/image, reality/VR/surreal, senses/space, suicide, the body, the gaze, the Other, theatre/performance | Leave a comment

“The Miracle of the Lily, Clare Winger Harris, 1928

“The Miracle of the Lily,” Clare Winger Harris, 1928 – Told through diary excerpts of a string of direct descendants: Humanity is about to become extinct due to insect encroachment, develops synthetic food and oxygen plants, and kills all vegetable … Continue reading

Posted in 1926 and earlier, aesthetics/beauty, animals/insects, cars/pedestrians, natural/artificial, progress/obsolescence, religion/soul/spirituality | Leave a comment

“Metropolitan Nightmare,” Stephen Vincent Benét, 1927 (poem)

“Metropolitan Nightmare,” Stephen Vincent Benét, 1927 – (poem) Plants slowly insert themselves in the spaces of the city, and termites learn to eat concrete. Comments: Available in Wondermakers and Hot and Cold Running Cities. Text online at Poets.org. Author: Wikipedia: … Continue reading

Posted in 1926-1939, animals/insects, cities/architecture/habitats, fantasy/fable/fairy tale, natural/artificial | Leave a comment

“The Man with the Strange Head,” Miles J. Breuer, 1927

“The Man with the Strange Head,” Miles J. Breuer, 1927 – A doctor spies on a potential patient, who has been reported by his neighbors as pacing in his apartment and making strange noises.  He tries to determine the man’s … Continue reading

Posted in 1926-1939, automata/robots, cyborgs/posthumans, favorites, freaks/misfits, gender, horror, interior/exterior, male anxiety, masculinity, mechanization, natural/artificial, psych/mind/madness, the body | Leave a comment

“The Land Ironclads,” H. G. Wells, 1903

“The Land Ironclads,” H.G. Wells, 1903 – A war correspondent is there when the first “land ironclads” of a technologically-superior force defeat old-fashioned “country” warriors. Comments: Seen through eyes of reporter. Anticipates the invention of tanks. Themes include inevitability and … Continue reading

Posted in 1926 and earlier, favorites, international, masculinity, mechanization, natural/artificial, progress/obsolescence, the body, violence, war/soldiers | 1 Comment