Category Archives: superhumans

“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

“Dio,” Damon Knight, 1957

“Dio,” Damon Knight, 1957 — (Alternate title: “The Dying Man”)  The world is composed of two immortal classes–the pampered Players and the responsible Planners and their students.  Their lives of hedonism and leisurely scholarship, respectively, are progressing as planned until … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, aesthetics/beauty, american culture, artists/creativity, cities/architecture/habitats, class/labor/"work", consumerism, cyborgs/posthumans, death/immortality, difference/tolerance, disease/plague, emotions/intimacy/empathy, favorites, freaks/misfits, love/family/children, masculinity, mourning/grief, museums/artifacts, sex/reproduction/sterility, spectatorship/voyeurism, speed/slowness, suicide, superhumans, the body, the Other, time/history/causality | 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

“Nobody Bothers Gus,” Algis Budrys, 1955

“Nobody Bothers Gus,” Algis Budrys, 1955 – An alienated “superman” with an innate ability to dampen curiosity (and be forgotten) is essentially invisible and therefore unable to participate in society.  With no “culture of his own,” he retires to anonymity … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, freaks/misfits, superhumans | 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 Mindworm,” Cyril M. Kornbluth, 1950

“The Mindworm,” Cyril M. Kornbluth, 1950 – A telepathic vampire is created by atomic radiation.  The orphaned child of a lieutenant and a nurse stationed on a ship performing nuclear tests, he wanders from city to city.  He discovers his … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, american culture, atomic bomb/Hiroshima, class/labor/"work", communication, emotions/intimacy/empathy, exiles/"home"/displacement, favorites, freaks/misfits, genrecraft, horror, hubris/pride, interior/exterior, language/libraries, primitive/civilized, psych/mind/madness, spectatorship/voyeurism, superhumans, violence | Leave a comment

“The World of Null-A,” A. E. van Vogt, 1948

“The World of Null-A,” A. E. Van Vogt, 1948 -Wikipedia: “Gilbert Gosseyn, a man living in an apparent utopia where those with superior understanding and mental control rule the rest of humanity, wants to be tested by the giant Machine … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, death/immortality, international, language/libraries, logic/reason, memory, superhumans, the body, totalitarianism/fascism | Leave a comment

“Kindness,” Lester del Rey, 1944

“Kindness,” Lester del Rey, 1944 – A “normal” man finds himself pitied by homo superior.  He lives the life of a living museum exhibit, treated kindly by those who tolerate him.  He certainly will never find a mate, and he’s … Continue reading

Posted in 1940-1945, emotions/intimacy/empathy, favorites, freaks/misfits, genrecraft, museums/artifacts, narrative, progress/obsolescence, superhumans, the body, the Other | Leave a comment

“When the Bough Breaks,” Lewis Padgett, 1944

“When the Bough Breaks,” Lewis Padgett (Kuttner and Moore), 1944 – Strange beings arrive to declare a young couple’s baby their future genius-king, the next stage in human development.  They report that the king has tasked them with traveling in … Continue reading

Posted in 1940-1945, evolution, favorites, generational conflict, horror, intelligence, love/family/children, superhumans, time/history/causality, violence | 1 Comment

“The Other,” Howard D. Graham, PhD (Howard Wandrei), 1934

“The Other,” Howard D. Graham, PhD, 1934 – Basil Sash, reporter, pressures Captain Ingvaldssen, aka the “Norski Cow” into explaining why he brought back a female corpse from his recent trip to the Arctic.  Sash realizes that “Ing”–whom he describes … Continue reading

Posted in 1926 and earlier, gender, genrecraft, superhumans, the gaze, the Other | Leave a comment

Odd John, Olaf Stapledon, 1936 (novel)

Odd John, Olaf Stapledon, 1936 — (novel excerpt)  Read in A Century of Science Fiction, with an introduction by Damon Knight.  Knight notes that Rosny first wrote of the “superman as a bewildered misfit” and that, in contrast, “Stapledon’s Odd … Continue reading

Posted in 1926-1939, communication, evolution, freaks/misfits, interior/exterior, international, music, psych/mind/madness, senses/space, superhumans | Leave a comment

“Brain,” S. Fowler Wright, 1932

“Brain,” S. Fowler Wright, 1932 (U.S. 1947) – Scientists take over the country and begin performing unscrupulous experiments.  One scientist enhances the intelligence of a pig in the hopes of increasing his own intelligence. Comments: From Wright’s Biography by Brian … Continue reading

Posted in 1926-1939, animals/insects, intelligence, international, politics/politicians/elections, scientific ethics, superhumans, the scientist | Leave a comment

“Rappaccini’s Daughter,” Nathaniel Hawthorne, 1844

“Rappaccini’s Daughter,” Nathaniel Hawthorne, 1844 — A young man of letters falls in love with Beatrice, the daughter of a reclusive scientist who has confined his daughter to the garden attached to their home.  Despite his mentor’s warnings, the young man … Continue reading

Posted in 1926 and earlier, eugenics/heredity, favorites, gender, love/family/children, natural/artificial, reality/VR/surreal, religion/soul/spirituality, scientific ethics, senses/space, spectatorship/voyeurism, superhumans, the body, the gaze, the Other, the scientist | Leave a comment