Category Archives: surveillance

“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

“The Oldest Soldier,” Fritz Leiber, 1960

“The Oldest Soldier,” Fritz Leiber, 1960 –Friends discuss the history of weapons while having drinks at their favorite hang out, Sol’s Liquor Shop in Chicago.  After, the narrator reflects on his hatred of war, complicated as it is by his … Continue reading

Posted in 1960-1969, favorites, genrecraft, masculinity, media/advertising, nationalism, psych/mind/madness, surveillance, the uncanny, time/history/causality, totalitarianism/fascism, tourists, war/soldiers | Leave a comment

“The Prize of Peril,” Robert Sheckley, 1958

“The Prize of Peril,” Robert Sheckley, 1958 — Raeder is a contestant on The Prize of Peril, a reality tv show who is being hunted by killers for a live television audience.  Although the audience participates by calling in Good … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, american culture, emotions/intimacy/empathy, media/advertising, photo/film/image, spectatorship/voyeurism, surveillance, television, violence | 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

“The Other Celia,” Theodore Sturgeon, 1957

“The Other Celia,”  Theodore Sturgeon, 1957 – A recluse spies on his neighbor and discovers that she takes off her human “skin” at night. Comments: Another story by Sturgeon about the invasion of a woman’s privacy, though “weirder” than “A … Continue reading

Posted in favorites, gender, interior/exterior, natural/artificial, simulacra, spectatorship/voyeurism, surveillance, the gaze, the Other, the uncanny, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“The [Widget], the [Wadget], and Boff,” Theodore Sturgeon, 1955

“The [Widget], the [Wadget], and Boff,” Theodore Sturgeon, 1955 – (Novella) Two alien anthropologists observe the lonely inhabitants of a boarding house and study Synapse Beta Sub Sixteen, a trait which allows all sentient beings to step outside of their … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, aesthetics/beauty, american culture, class/labor/"work", communication, consumerism, difference/tolerance, emotions/intimacy/empathy, exiles/"home"/displacement, favorites, freaks/misfits, gender, language/libraries, love/family/children, male anxiety, masculinity, media/advertising, natural/artificial, photo/film/image, progress/obsolescence, spectatorship/voyeurism, surveillance, the body, the gaze, the Other, theatre/performance, tourists | Leave a comment

“Two-Handed Engine,” Kuttner and Moore, 1955

“Two-Handed Engine,” Kuttner and Moore, 1955 – War has destroyed human communities, such that the concepts of connection and family are undermined.  For a time, humanity wallows in hedonism and selfishness, having constructed robots capable of providing any material good.  … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, agency/will/freedom, automata/robots, consumerism, emotions/intimacy/empathy, favorites, law, love/family/children, myth, photo/film/image, psych/mind/madness, religion/soul/spirituality, surveillance, violence, war/soldiers | 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

“Private Eye,” Lewis Padgett, 1948

“Private Eye,” Lewis Padgett, 1948 – “‘Private Eye’ by Henry Kuttner (1949), writing as Lewis Padgett, dramatized for BBC Television as “The Eye”, envisions a murder in a society where time-viewing makes it virtually impossible to commit one and escape … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, paranoia/schitzophrenia, psych/mind/madness, surveillance, time/history/causality | Leave a comment

“The Dead Past,” Isaac Asimov, 1956

“The Dead Past,” Isaac Asimov, 1956 – Arnold Potterley, PhD, a historian of Carthage, begs to be allowed to use the government’s chronoscope in order to clear the name of Carthage; specifically, he wishes to prove to his wife that … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, bureaucracy/corporations, identity/authenticity, love/family/children, memory, mourning/grief, photo/film/image, scientific ethics, spectatorship/voyeurism, surveillance, the scientist, time/history/causality, utopia/dystopia | Leave a comment

“E for Effort,” T. L. Sherred, 1947

“E for Effort,” T. L. Sherred, 1947 – An investor (Ed Lefko) and an inventor (Miguel “Mike” Laviada) utilize a device able to film events from the past (Cortes’s conquest of Mexico, Alexander the Great, and the French Revolution), though … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, atomic bomb/Hiroshima, identity/authenticity, knowledge/truth/epistemology, myth, photo/film/image, politics/politicians/elections, spectatorship/voyeurism, surveillance, time/history/causality, totalitarianism/fascism, war/soldiers | Leave a comment

“Past, Present, and Future,” Nat Schachner, 1937

“Past, Present, and Future,” Nat Schachner, 1937 – Kleon, a Roman soldier in service of Alexander, is stranded in a Mayan village.  The Mayans mistake him for Quetzal and allow him to entomb himself.  In the tomb, a devices offers … Continue reading

Posted in 1926-1939, cities/architecture/habitats, mechanization, nationalism, primitive/civilized, progress/obsolescence, surveillance, time/history/causality, war/soldiers | 1 Comment

“A Problem in Communication,” Miles J. Breuer, 1930

“A Problem in Communication,” Miles J. Breuer, 1930 – Two friends who grew up playing “communication” games together (ciphers, puzzles, telephone, etc.) must communicate secretly while under the watchful eye of the leader of the Science Community cult.  The cult … Continue reading

Posted in 1926-1939, communication, language/libraries, religion/soul/spirituality, surveillance | Leave a comment

“The Atoms of Chladni,” J. D. Whelpley, 1860

“The Atoms of Chladni,” J. D. Whelpley, 1860 — The narrator has befriended Mrs. Bertaldy, soon revealed to be the widow of the deceased inventor and mathematician, Gustav Mohler.  Now that she has passed, he wishes to tell the story … Continue reading

Posted in 1926 and earlier, favorites, gender, interior/exterior, knowledge/truth/epistemology, love/family/children, mathematics, mechanization, psych/mind/madness, surveillance, the scientist | Leave a comment

“From ‘The London Times’ of 1904,” Mark Twain, 1898

“From ‘The London Times’ of 1904,” Mark Twain, 1898 — The narrator attends a function in Vienna in March, 1898, during which Lieutenant Clayton is involved in an argument with Dr. Szczepanik over whether or not the doctor’s invention, the … Continue reading

Posted in 1926 and earlier, distance, favorites, identity/authenticity, in/visible, law, ny/paris, photo/film/image, satire, spectatorship/voyeurism, surveillance, television, the gaze, the scientist | Leave a comment