Category Archives: theatre/performance

“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

“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 Moon Moth,” Jack Vance, 1961

“The Moon Moth,” Jack Vance, 1961 – A new ambassador arrives to a highly organized culture with two peculiarities: hierarchical “character” masks used in lieu of personal identity and a language spoken through musical instruments. Comments:  Fantastic story of mores/customs, … Continue reading

Posted in 1960-1969, class/labor/"work", communication, culture clash, favorites, identity/authenticity, interior/exterior, language/libraries, masculinity, music, primitive/civilized, theatre/performance | Leave a comment

“All of Us Are Dying,” George Clayton Johnson, 1961

“All of Us Are Dying,” George Clayton Johnson, 1961 – A drifter who is able to assume the appearance of people from other people’s pasts makes his way through life by playing upon their desire for closure.  Some want to … Continue reading

Posted in 1960-1969, death/immortality, emotions/intimacy/empathy, greed, identity/authenticity, interior/exterior, memory, multiplicity, simulacra, theatre/performance | 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

“Judas Danced,” Brian Aldiss, 1958

“Judas Danced,” Brian Aldiss, 1958 – Alex Abel Crowe, a madman living in a future without text, where the image and history are confused by society’s ability to send humans back in time one week, has watched the crucifixion on … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, artists/creativity, favorites, identity/authenticity, interior/exterior, love/family/children, myth, photo/film/image, psych/mind/madness, religion/soul/spirituality, simulacra, spectatorship/voyeurism, theatre/performance, time/history/causality, Uncategorized, violence | 7 Comments

“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

“Second Variety,” Philip K. Dick, 1953

“Second Variety,” Philip K. Dick, 1953 – A soldier discovers that his self-replicating, mechanical enemies have discovered a new, thoroughly disorienting form of camouflage—the imitation of human beings. Comments:  Online text at Project Gutenberg; Librivox recording also available. Themes include … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, cyborgs/posthumans, emotions/intimacy/empathy, favorites, identity/authenticity, interior/exterior, natural/artificial, paranoia/schitzophrenia, religion/soul/spirituality, simulacra, the body, the uncanny, theatre/performance, war/soldiers | 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

“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

“Made in U.S.A,” J. T. McIntosh, 1953

“Made in U.S.A,” J. T. McIntosh, 1953 – Roderick and Allison Liffcom are the perfect couple—until Roderick learns that Allison’s an android. He sues for divorce and she contests, arguing that now that androids have full equality, she was under … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, agency/will/freedom, automata/robots, class/labor/"work", difference/tolerance, emotions/intimacy/empathy, gender, interior/exterior, international, law, love/family/children, natural/artificial, race/civil rights, sex/reproduction/sterility, simulacra, the body, the Other, theatre/performance | 2 Comments

“The Woman from Altair,” Leigh Brackett, 1951

“The Woman from Altair,” Leigh Brackett, 1951 – A mysterious, alien woman (Arhian) arrives on the arm of the darling son of a space-faring family, and the family is none too pleased.  At first, she’s introduced as his bride, but … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, difference/tolerance, exiles/"home"/displacement, gender, love/family/children, post/colonialism, race/civil rights, the Other, theatre/performance | 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

“No Woman Born,” C. L. Moore, 1944

“No Woman Born,” C. L. Moore, 1944 – The famous dancer Deirdre is horribly burned in a theater fire and her mind is transplanted into a golden, robotic body.  After much time spent recovering under the care of the physician … Continue reading

Posted in 1940-1945, aesthetics/beauty, american culture, artists/creativity, cyborgs/posthumans, difference/tolerance, favorites, freaks/misfits, gender, male anxiety, masculinity, media/advertising, music, natural/artificial, photo/film/image, psych/mind/madness, senses/space, sex/reproduction/sterility, spectatorship/voyeurism, television, the body, the gaze, the Other, theatre/performance | 1 Comment

“Evening Primrose,” John Collier, 1941

“Evening Primrose,” John Collier, 1941 – Mannequins in a department store are refugees from society. Comments:  A bit surreal, fantastical.  Theme of alienation.  Read in The Worlds of Science Fiction. Author:  Collier was a favorite of Henry Kuttner and, when … Continue reading

Posted in 1940-1945, difference/tolerance, exiles/"home"/displacement, freaks/misfits, identity/authenticity, international, simulacra, spectatorship/voyeurism, the Other, theatre/performance | Leave a comment

“Ether Breather,” Theodore Sturgeon, 1939

“Ether Breather,” Theodore Sturgeon, 1939 – Beings living in EM waves are able to manipulate what the audience “sees,” causing two different perceptions of the same performance.  The discrepancy creates havoc for the scriptwriter and a company that advertises through … Continue reading

Posted in 1926-1939, identity/authenticity, in/visible, media/advertising, photo/film/image, senses/space, television, theatre/performance | Leave a comment

“Pithecanthropus Rejectus,” Manly W. Wellman, 1938

“Pithecanthropus Rejectus,” Manly W. Wellman, 1938 – An ape is surgically altered to increase his intelligence and allow him to speak.  Eventually, he’s recruited into show biz and offered the part of Caliban in The Tempest.  He grows ill and … Continue reading

Posted in 1926-1939, animals/insects, intelligence, physicians/medicine, post/colonialism, race/civil rights, the Other, theatre/performance | Leave a comment

“Bright Illusion,” C. L. Moore, 1934

“Bright Illusion,” C L Moore, 1934 – Dixon, a man on the verge of death in the desert, encounters what he thinks is a mirage, only to find that the golden “egg-like” dome is really an alien consciousness.  The alien … Continue reading

Posted in 1926-1939, cities/architecture/habitats, communication, favorites, gender, identity/authenticity, in/visible, knowledge/truth/epistemology, language/libraries, love/family/children, male anxiety, masculinity, natural/artificial, photo/film/image, reality/VR/surreal, senses/space, suicide, the body, the gaze, the Other, theatre/performance | Leave a comment

“Moxon’s Master,” Ambrose Bierce, 1909

“Moxon’s Master,” Ambrose Bierce, 1909 – An inventor and his friend debate the definitions of life and intelligence. The scientist speculates as to whether a man—or plants, or atoms—can be thought to “think,” by virtue of some aspect of their … Continue reading

Posted in 1926 and earlier, automata/robots, evolution, gender, knowledge/truth/epistemology, the scientist, the uncanny, theatre/performance | Leave a comment

“The Crystal Bell,” Fitz James O’Brien, 1856

“The Crystal Bell,” Fitz-James O’Brien, 1856 – A man is kind to a stranger in a tavern. The stranger rewards him with a crystal bell capable of revealing lies. Although he had never doubted his fiancé before, he is compelled … Continue reading

Posted in 1926 and earlier, emotions/intimacy/empathy, interior/exterior, knowledge/truth/epistemology, love/family/children, male anxiety, theatre/performance | Leave a comment