Category Archives: scientific ethics

“Uncalculated Risk,” Christopher Anvil, 1962

“Uncalculated Risk,” Christopher Anvil (Harry Crosby), 1962 — General Berenger is skeptical about the roles of science and technology will be able to play in maintaining America’s military advantage.  In fact, he’s of the opinion that the world might be … Continue reading

Posted in 1960-1969, ecology/the environment, economics, hubris/pride, scientific ethics, the scientist, war/soldiers | Leave a 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

“The First Men,” Howard Fast, 1960

“The First Men,” Howard Fast, 1960 – (Alternate title: “The Trap”) A scientific experiment in a controlled environment produces telepathic, hyper-intelligent superchildren from different races, proving that environment is “total.”  The children’s abilities progress to the point where they are … Continue reading

Posted in 1960-1969, biological determinism, communication, difference/tolerance, education, eugenics/heredity, evolution, generational conflict, intelligence, love/family/children, psych/mind/madness, race/civil rights, scientific ethics, superhumans, the scientist | 1 Comment

“Earthmen Bearing Gifts,” Fredric Brown, 1960

“Earthmen Bearing Gifts,” Fredric Brown, 1960 – (short short) (Alternate title: “Contact”)  Peaceful Martians wait expectantly to offer telepathy and empathy to the younger, more technologically advanced race of humans.  But when the humans, oblivious to the Martian civilization, finally … Continue reading

Posted in 1960-1969, atomic bomb/Hiroshima, emotions/intimacy/empathy, progress/obsolescence, scientific ethics | 2 Comments

“Cease Fire,” Frank Herbert, 1958

“Cease Fire,” Frank Herbert, 1958 — An operator at an outpost near enemy territory is nearly killed by enemy fire.  Both sides possess a device that can detect the other. The operator has scientific training and has come up with … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, scientific ethics, the scientist, violence, war/soldiers | 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

“First Man in a Satellite,” Charles W Runyon, 1958

“First Man in a Satellite,” Charles W Runyon, 1958 — The first manned satellite requires a little person as pilot; they want human data, not data from an animal or machine.  They find a potential pilot in a circus; he … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, astronauts, death/immortality, difference/tolerance, disability, freaks/misfits, gender, love/family/children, masculinity, mourning/grief, scientific ethics, the Other, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“No, no, not Rogov!” Cordwainer Smith, 1959

“No, no, not Rogov!” Cordwainer Smith, 1950 – Cherpas and Rogov are good Soviets who doggedly carry out Stalin’s orders for a machine that can read all EM radiation, including thoughts, for the purpose of spying and suppressing thought.  With … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, agency/will/freedom, capitalism/Marxism, communication, emotions/intimacy/empathy, favorites, gender, hubris/pride, intelligence, love/family/children, music, nationalism, psych/mind/madness, scientific ethics, superhumans, surveillance, the scientist, totalitarianism/fascism, war/soldiers | 1 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

“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

“And Now the News,” Theodore Sturgeon, 1956

“And Now the News,” Theodore Sturgeon, 1956 – In a media-saturated world, MacLyle retreats to a “wordless matrix,” an oasis of non-communication in which he can be absorbed in his own “practices and procedures.”  His desire conflicts with the psychiatrist’s … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, agency/will/freedom, american culture, communication, consumerism, death/immortality, difference/tolerance, emotions/intimacy/empathy, exiles/"home"/displacement, language/libraries, media/advertising, paranoia/schitzophrenia, photo/film/image, psych/mind/madness, scientific ethics | Leave a comment

“The Rocket of 1955,” C. M. Kornbluth, 1954

“The Rocket of 1955,” C. M. Kornbluth, 1954 – (short short) Two hustlers engage in a scheme with a German scientist to defraud investors using a rocket launch.  As expected, the rocket explodes and they attempt to flee with the … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, genrecraft, scientific ethics | 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

“The Cold Equations,” Tom Godwin, 1954

“The Cold Equations,” Tom Godwin, 1954 – A pilot on a critical medical mission discovers a stowaway on his ship, a young girl who merely wants to visit her brother, but he only has enough fuel for a safe trip … Continue reading

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“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

“God and the Machine,” Nigel Balchin, 1951

“God and the Machine,” Nigel Balchin, 1951 — Uncle Charles relates to his nephew the story of Professor Plumreach and his draughts-playing automaton.  Arrogant, misanthropic, abusive to his family, Plumreach appears to be a rigid man of absolutes.  Charles notes … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, atomic bomb/Hiroshima, emotions/intimacy/empathy, hubris/pride, international, logic/reason, mathematics, scientific ethics, the scientist | 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

“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

“The Pyramid in the Desert,” Katherine MacLean, 1950

“The Pyramid in the Desert,” Katherine MacLean, 1950 – (Alternate title: “And Be Merry”) A female scientist conducts “immortality” experiments on herself and develops a paralyzing fear of accidental death.  She gradually loses touch with reality and sequesters herself.  Her … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, death/immortality, favorites, gender, love/family/children, psych/mind/madness, scientific ethics, the scientist | Leave a comment

“The Isolationist,” Mack Reynolds, 1950

“The Isolationist,” Mack Reynolds, 1950 – A bitter old man condemns progress–neon and the clamor of jukeboxes, cars, airplanes, even electric lights–choosing instead to live on a farm.  He is a former schoolteacher who left the city in disgust at … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, atomic bomb/Hiroshima, cars/pedestrians, consumerism, progress/obsolescence, scientific ethics, war/soldiers | Leave a comment