Category Archives: reality/VR/surreal

“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

“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

“You Are With It!,” Will Stanton, 1961

“You Are With It!,” Will Stanton, 1961 — A man in the midst of his normal domestic routine leaves for work and is accosted by a man who declares himself “the host.”  For the next ninety minutes, while the clock … Continue reading

Posted in 1960-1969, american culture, consumerism, genrecraft, identity/authenticity, love/family/children, male anxiety, masculinity, psych/mind/madness, reality/VR/surreal, satire, spectatorship/voyeurism, speed/slowness, surveillance, television, theatre/performance, time/history/causality, violence | 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

“Big, Wide, Wonderful World,” Charles E. Fritch, 1958

“Big, Wide, Wonderful World,” Charles E. Fritch, 1958 – A group of men decide to forgo their regular Needle treatments in order to “have a nightmare.”  The nightmare they see is the black, bombed out (post-war?) reality that is intended … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, atomic bomb/Hiroshima, drugs/pharma, psych/mind/madness, reality/VR/surreal | Leave a comment

“Casey Agonistes,” Richard McKenna, 1958

“Casey Agonistes,” Richard McKenna, 1958 – Veterans left to die in hospital beds take the only recourse available—hallucinating a gorilla. Comments: Read in Best of the Best and Modern Classics of Science Fiction.  In the latter, editor Gardner Dozois said … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, emotions/intimacy/empathy, favorites, physicians/medicine, psych/mind/madness, reality/VR/surreal, Uncategorized, war/soldiers | Leave a comment

“The Hated,” Paul Flehr (Frederik Pohl), 1958

“The Hated,” Paul Flehr (Frederik Pohl), 1958 — Byron, an astronaut, has returned from his mission to Mars and is attempting to re-acclimate to civilian life.  One of the restrictions on his pension stipulates that he must stay out of … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, astronauts, dreams/hypnosis, emotions/intimacy/empathy, psych/mind/madness, reality/VR/surreal, senses/space, violence, war/soldiers | Leave a comment

“Ullward’s Retreat,” Jack Vance, 1958

“Ullward’s Retreat,” Jack Vance, 1958 – Lamaster (Landmaster) Ulward dazzles his house guests with his apartment’s elaborate wall-holograms, which provide the illusion of space, and his priceless tree, with its exotically-real dirt.  But Ulward finds he needs more.  When circumstances … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, class/labor/"work", identity/authenticity, overpopulation, reality/VR/surreal, senses/space | Leave a comment

“Call Me Joe,” Poul Anderson, 1957

“Call Me Joe,” Poul Anderson, 1957 – A psychologist watches in alarm as a disabled scientist is asked to explore the surface of Jupiter via the mind of a genetically-engineered animal. Comments: Read in A Century of Science Fiction, ed. … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, disability, distance, favorites, masculinity, psych/mind/madness, reality/VR/surreal, senses/space, space exploration, spectatorship/voyeurism, the body, the scientist | 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

“Ideas Die Hard,” Isaac Asimov, 1957

“Ideas Die Hard,” Isaac Asimov, 1957 — Two astronauts are on a mission to the moon. They discuss how ideas (e.g., age of earth or that the earth is round, a fact which this trip will truly prove with direct … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, astronauts, hubris/pride, knowledge/truth/epistemology, psych/mind/madness, reality/VR/surreal, scientific ethics, the scientist | 3 Comments

“The Man Who Lost the Sea,” Theodore Sturgeon, 1959

“The Man Who Lost the Sea,” Theodore Sturgeon, 1959 – A dying astronaut reviews his life, beginning with childhood. Comments: Inspired Clarke’s “Transit of Earth.”  Read in Great Tales of SF.   The collection by the same name contains a forward … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, astronauts, death/immortality, dreams/hypnosis, love/family/children, memory, mourning/grief, psych/mind/madness, reality/VR/surreal, senses/space | Leave a comment

“Dreaming is a Private Thing,” Isaac Asimov , 1955

“Dreaming is a Private Thing,” Isaac Asimov , 1955 – Jessie Weill, is the manager of a firm specializing in private dreamies (similar to films or DVDs) that can be viewed at home by individual users.  He encourages a ten-year … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, artists/creativity, class/labor/"work", consumerism, dreams/hypnosis, economics, emotions/intimacy/empathy, freaks/misfits, genrecraft, love/family/children, media/advertising, photo/film/image, reality/VR/surreal, spectatorship/voyeurism, television, the Internet | 1 Comment

“Starting from Scratch,” Robert Sheckley, 1970

“Starting from Scratch,” Robert Sheckley, 1953 – (short short) With a little prodding from mind-bending drugs, the universe is revealed to be a dream within a universe within a dream. Comments: A form of open-ended story, a recursive reality.  Read … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, dreams/hypnosis, drugs/pharma, humor, reality/VR/surreal | Leave a comment

“FYI,” James Blish, 1953

“FYI,” James Blish, 1953 – Men in a bar anxiously await news of the outcome of a future war.  An eccentric mathematician strongarms a reluctant man into listening to his explanation that humanity may or may not have received a … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, mathematics, reality/VR/surreal, time/history/causality | 2 Comments

“The Congruent People,” A. J. Budrys, 1953

“The Congruent People,” Algis Budrys, 1953 – A man realizes that most of his experience consists of “gestalt” assumptions.  His perception is nudged out of phase due to a newspaper and he discovers a group of people living in another … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, intelligence, reality/VR/surreal | Leave a comment

“Disappearing Act,” Alfred Bester, 1953

“Disappearing Act,” Alfred Bester, 1953 – America is caught up in the rhetoric of General Carpenter, who appears to be waging a war to save Culture:  “We must dig in against the hordes of barbarism,” he intones to potential donors.  … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, american culture, artists/creativity, bureaucracy/corporations, dreams/hypnosis, favorites, mechanization, nationalism, politics/politicians/elections, reality/VR/surreal, satire, scientific ethics, spectatorship/voyeurism, the scientist, time/history/causality, war/soldiers | Leave a comment

“A Wild Surmise,” Kuttner and Moore, 1953

“A Wild Surmise,” Kuttner and Moore, 1953 – Two psychiatrists in alternate realities battle for the mind of an solipsistic patient. Comments: Humorous short.  Read in Star Science Fiction Stories. Author: Henry Kuttner and C. L. Moore

Posted in 1946-1959, alternate history, animals/insects, favorites, humor, psych/mind/madness, reality/VR/surreal | 1 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