Category Archives: primitive/civilized

“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

“The Streets of Ashkelon,” Harry Harrison, 1962

“The Streets of Ashkelon,” Harry Harrison, 1962 – (Alternate title: “An Alien Agony”)  John Garth, a trader, lives peacefully with a “primitive” but promising alien culture called Weskers.  All is well until a Christian missionary (Father Mark of the Missionary … Continue reading

Posted in 1960-1969, culture clash, primitive/civilized, religion/soul/spirituality, the scientist | Leave a comment

“Day of the Truce,” Clifford D. Simak, 1963

“Day of the Truce,” Clifford D. Simak, 1963 — The Punks versus the suburbanites in a fortified, futuristic community. Comments: Theme of generational conflict.  Read in Nightmare Age.  Wikipedia: “The local ‘Punks’ take advantage of the once-a-year truce to ransack … Continue reading

Posted in 1960-1969, american culture, cities/architecture/habitats, culture clash, generational conflict, invasion, love/family/children, primitive/civilized, the Other, violence | 1 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

“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

“Things,” Zenna Henderson, 1960

“Things,” Zenna Henderson, 1960 – An alien race describes the arrival of The Strangers bearing gifts.  A young member of the village is tempted to trade the location of his tribe in exchange for “things.” Comments: Read in 12 Great … Continue reading

Posted in 1960-1969, consumerism, culture clash, favorites, greed, love/family/children, Native Americans, primitive/civilized | Leave a comment

“Day at the Beach,” Carol Emshwiller, 1959

“Day at the Beach,” Carol Emshwiller, 1959 — In a post-apocalyptic world, a couple with a very hirsute, very violent son, Littleboy, struggles to reenact a normal “day at the beach.”  When they’re attacked by thieves after their gasoline, Littleboy’s … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, atomic bomb/Hiroshima, evolution, love/family/children, primitive/civilized, progress/obsolescence, violence | Leave a comment

“The Cold Green Eye,” Jack Williamson, 1953

“The Cold Green Eye,” Jack Williamson, 1953 — A boy is left with monks by his parents so that he might live a simple life in harmony with life and nature, sequestered from consumerism and Western conventions.  His aunt in … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, american culture, animals/insects, consumerism, culture clash, death/immortality, difference/tolerance, emotions/intimacy/empathy, favorites, love/family/children, primitive/civilized, religion/soul/spirituality, the Other | 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 | Leave a comment

“Seat of Judgment,” Lester del Rey, 1957

“Seat of Judgment,” Lester del Rey, 1957 — Eli Judson, an official from Earth, visits Sáyon, a planet of “marsupial” aliens ruled by a religious matriarchy.  Judson is answering the distress call of the temple priestess, who is struggling to … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, gender, love/family/children, masculinity, matriarchy, primitive/civilized, religion/soul/spirituality, sex/reproduction/sterility, the body, the Other, tourists, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

“All the Colors of the Rainbow,” Leigh Brackett, 1957

“All the Colors of the Rainbow,” Leigh Brackett, 1957 — Opens with the description of a valley being washed away by rain. Flashes back to two green-skinned aliens arriving on Earth. Their host suggests they take a drive through the … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, difference/tolerance, favorites, gender, love/family/children, masculinity, primitive/civilized, race/civil rights, the Other, violence | Leave a comment

“Now Let Us Sleep,” Avram Davidson, 1957

“Now Let Us Sleep,” Avram Davidson, 1957 – Explorers survey a planet populated by “primitives,” whom they eventually murder, rape, and use for experiments.  When a group of the natives are taken aboard the ship for transport back to Earth, … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, emotions/intimacy/empathy, favorites, genocide/Holocaust, primitive/civilized, scientific ethics, suicide, violence | Leave a comment

“Time in the Round,” Fritz Leiber, 1957

“Time in the Round,” Fritz Leiber, 1957 — A group of children loiter outside, trying to decide what to do. The youngest boy (nicknamed “The Butcher”) has a sadistic, “pre-civilization” streak.   The Butcher tries to poke his dog in the … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, agency/will/freedom, gender, love/family/children, masculinity, photo/film/image, primitive/civilized, reality/VR/surreal, spectatorship/voyeurism, time/history/causality, totalitarianism/fascism, violence | Leave a comment

“The Piper,” Ray Bradbury, 1943

“The Piper,” Ray Bradbury, 1943 — Kerac, a Martian musician, returns from an enforced exile on Jupiter to find that the conquering Jovians have defiled Mars with their cacophonous music, ugly, sprawling cities, pollution, liquor, and general violence and buffoonery. … Continue reading

Posted in 1940-1945, animals/insects, artists/creativity, communication, ecology/the environment, exiles/"home"/displacement, genocide/Holocaust, music, post/colonialism, primitive/civilized, the Other | 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

“Gomez,” C. M. Kornbluth, 1954

“Gomez,” C. M. Kornbluth, 1954 – An otherwise unremarkable Mexican kitchen worker is discovered to be a mathematical genius, and the U.S. military quickly appropriates him as “human resources,” necessary for its defense against the Soviets in the Cold War.  … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, bureaucracy/corporations, intelligence, love/family/children, mathematics, primitive/civilized, satire, sex/reproduction/sterility, the Other, war/soldiers | 2 Comments

“Black Charlie,” Gordon R. Dickson, 1954

“Black Charlie,” Gordon R. Dickson, 1954 – An art dealer of the future tries to promote the art of a non-human, “primitive” culture. Comments: Wikipedia: “[John] Clute points out that Dickson, like Poul Anderson, with whom he collaborated in the … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, aesthetics/beauty, artists/creativity, difference/tolerance, primitive/civilized, race/civil rights, the Other | Leave a comment

“The Waveries,” Fredric Brown, 1945

“The Waveries,” Fredric Brown, 1945 — George Bailey, a radio ad writer, listens to the fulsome ads of his rival while drinking and playing gin rummy with Maisie, a friend. A tapping similar to Morse code interrupts one of the … Continue reading

Posted in 1940-1945, communication, invasion, music, photo/film/image, primitive/civilized, progress/obsolescence, waverlies | Leave a comment

“The Liberation of Earth,” William Tenn, 1953

“The Liberation of Earth,” William Tenn (Philip Klass) 1953 – Warring alien cultures arrive on Earth to “liberate” it—and establish military bases.  Humanity is nearly destroyed, and the aliens abandon Earth, as it’s too primitive to be worth occupying. Comments: … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, nationalism, politics/politicians/elections, post/colonialism, primitive/civilized, war/soldiers | Leave a comment