Category Archives: satire

“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

“The Advent on Channel Twelve,” C. M. Kornbluth, 1958

“The Advent on Channel Twelve,” C. M. Kornbluth, 1958 – (short short) A biblical-style recounting of how the children’s tv icon, Poopy Panda, did come to build his media empire and rule over all the land. Comments: Themes: Satire, children’s … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, american culture, consumerism, favorites, humor, love/family/children, media/advertising, religion/soul/spirituality, satire, television | Leave a comment

“The Handler,” Damon Knight, 1960

“The Handler,” Damon Knight, 1960 —  Pete is the dashing man of the hour–a television star able to charm a room merely by walking through the door.  True to form, after a show he arrives at a post-party, amiable and … Continue reading

Posted in 1960-1969, aesthetics/beauty, american culture, difference/tolerance, favorites, freaks/misfits, identity/authenticity, male anxiety, masculinity, mechanization, media/advertising, satire, the body, the Other, theatre/performance | 1 Comment

“Nightmare Number Four,” Robert Bloch, 1945

“Nightmare Number Four,” Robert Bloch, 1945 — (poem) Due to a failed advertising experiment, permanent advertisements saturate the air. Comments: Read in Science Fiction Showcase. Themes: advertising, media saturation. C.M. Kornbluth: The Life and Works of a Science Fiction Visionary … Continue reading

Posted in 1940-1945, humor, media/advertising, satire | 1 Comment

“Theory of Rocketry,” Cyril M. Kornbluth, 1958

“Theory of Rocketry,” Cyril M. Kornbluth, 1958 – An English teacher of the future must submit to psych exams, televised teaching, and lackluster pupils.  His life is desultory until he meets Foster, the one pupil that might make something of … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, astronauts, education, language/libraries, psych/mind/madness, satire, space exploration, television | Leave a comment

“Two Dooms,” Cyril M. Kornbluth, 1958

“Two Dooms,” Cyril M. Kornbluth, 1958 – Los Alamos, May 1945: Edward Royland is a theoretical physicist pondering the ethics of creating the atom bomb.  He’s transported by a Native American fable/ritual (and peyote) to a world where the Nazis … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, alternate history, american culture, atomic bomb/Hiroshima, communication, drugs/pharma, eugenics/heredity, fantasy/fable/fairy tale, favorites, gender, genocide/Holocaust, intelligence, knowledge/truth/epistemology, nationalism, Native Americans, satire, scientific ethics, the body, the Other, the scientist, time/history/causality, totalitarianism/fascism, violence, war/soldiers | Leave a comment

“The Education of Tigress Macardle,” C. M. Kornbluth, 1957

“The Education of Tigress Macardle,” C. M. Kornbluth, 1957 — Purvis (Elvis?) is elected president, and four years later establishes himself as King Purvis I.  / At the same time, Dr. Fu Manchu, “that veritable personification of the Yellow Peril, … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, american culture, automata/robots, generational conflict, genrecraft, humor, invasion, love/family/children, media/advertising, music, nationalism, overpopulation, politics/politicians/elections, race/civil rights, satire, sex/reproduction/sterility, time/history/causality, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“Human Man’s Burden,” Robert Sheckley, 1956

“Human Man’s Burden,” Robert Sheckley, 1956 – A frontiersman orders a Frontier Bride and gets a Luxury Model instead.  All the while, the “soulless,” carefree, childlike robot slaves—who sing “spirituals” and whose language was programmed by a “Human Supremicist”–do everything … Continue reading

Posted in automata/robots, gender, love/family/children, race/civil rights, satire | 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

“The Midas Plague,” Frederik Pohl, 1954

“The Midas Plague,” Frederik Pohl, 1954 — Morey and Cherry Fry have just been married in an extravagant ceremony designed to comply as much as possible with their consumption quota.  Cherry’s parents, as part of the elite, are “poor” and … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, automata/robots, class/labor/"work", consumerism, economics, love/family/children, male anxiety, satire | Leave a comment

“Mr Costello, Hero,” Theodore Sturgeon, 1953

“Mr Costello, Hero,” Theodore Sturgeon, 1953 –Costello is able to inspire suspicion and paranoia wherever he goes by creating enemies from thin air and playing upon the vanity of fools.  Once neighbor has turned on neighbor, Costello swiftly steps in … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, difference/tolerance, favorites, paranoia/schitzophrenia, politics/politicians/elections, psych/mind/madness, satire, surveillance, the Other, totalitarianism/fascism | Leave a comment

“The Night He Cried,” Fritz Leiber, 1953

“The Night He Cried,” Fritz Leiber, 1953 — A tentacled “woman” from Galaxy Center teaches a hard-boiled detective a thing or two about the purpose of sex. Comments: A satire of Mickey Spillane.  Utilizes stereotypical film persona/scenes, perhaps in keeping … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, american culture, gender, genrecraft, humor, masculinity, photo/film/image, satire, sex/reproduction/sterility, theatre/performance, violence | 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

“Sandra,” George P. Elliott, 1953

“Sandra,” George P. Elliott, 1953 – A disturbing portrayal of marriage as a (literal) master-slave relationship; also, a discussion of class, hierarchy, and despair. Comments:  Themes of power, master/slave, marriage, sex.  Read in A Treasury of Science Fiction.  Reminds me … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, class/labor/"work", emotions/intimacy/empathy, gender, love/family/children, masculinity, satire, sex/reproduction/sterility, slavery/human trafficking, the Other | Leave a comment

“A Bad Day for Sales,” Fritz Leiber, 1953

“A Bad Day for Sales,” Fritz Leiber, 1953 – Robie the robot, the first robotic vending machine, mindlessly tries to peddle his wares to the dead and dying in a city destroyed by a nuclear explosion. Comments: Read in Great … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, atomic bomb/Hiroshima, automata/robots, catastrophe, consumerism, favorites, media/advertising, satire | Leave a comment

“The Luckiest Man in Denv,” Cyril Kornbluth, 1952

“The Luckiest Man in Denv,” Cyril Kornbluth, 1952 – (short) In a world of perpetual war, an ambitious young man vies for the favor of his superiors.  If he plays his cards right with the General, he might move up … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, bureaucracy/corporations, drugs/pharma, favorites, masculinity, paranoia/schitzophrenia, psych/mind/madness, reality/VR/surreal, satire, violence, war/soldiers | Leave a comment

“Cost of Living,” Robert Sheckley, 1952

“Cost of Living,” Robert Sheckley, 1952 – A man sells his son’s future in exchange for modern conveniences he can enjoy during his own lifetime. Comments: Themes include debt, consumerism, generational conflict, advertising, family.  Read in Galaxy: Thirty Years of Innovative … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, american culture, consumerism, economics, generational conflict, love/family/children, media/advertising, satire, television | Leave a comment

“Poor Superman,” Fritz Leiber, 1951

“Poor Superman,” Fritz Leiber, 1951 — (alternate title: “Appointment in Tomorrow”)  Politicians without respect for science are kept in power by a populace desperate to believe in anything.  They’re opposed by a group of scientists in a last-ditch effort to … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, american culture, atomic bomb/Hiroshima, favorites, genrecraft, politics/politicians/elections, religion/soul/spirituality, satire, scientific ethics, superhumans | Leave a comment

“Coming Attraction,” Fritz Leiber, 1950

“Coming Attraction,” Fritz Leiber, 1950 – The protagonist is a British citizen named Wysten Turner who is in a post-nuclear New York to procure grain in exchange for electronic equipment that will probably be used to build an American military … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, american culture, atomic bomb/Hiroshima, consumerism, favorites, gender, genrecraft, identity/authenticity, interior/exterior, masculinity, photo/film/image, satire, sex/reproduction/sterility, spectatorship/voyeurism, television, theatre/performance, utopia/dystopia, violence, war/soldiers | 1 Comment

“The Little Black Bag,” Cyril M. Kornbluth, 1950

“The Little Black Bag,” Cyril M. Kornbluth, 1950 – A black bag full of user-friendly medical devices from a future in which humanity is divided into a small number of geniuses and a large number of “marching morons,” is discovered … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, drugs/pharma, hubris/pride, intelligence, physicians/medicine, progress/obsolescence, satire, scientific ethics, the body | Leave a comment