Tuesday, November 03, 2009

More Science Fiction Short Stories I Wish More People Were Familiar With

1. "Babel II" (1953) -- Damon Knight.

Imagine a world where nobody talks and everyone has to write in order to communicate. No, it is not the Internet. It is the world remade after a visit from an eccentric alien.

2. "Beachcomber" (1972) -- Damon Knight.

The ultimate end of the world story, if not the ultimate argument against putting all your eggs in one basket.

3. "Big, Wide, Wonderful World" (1958) -- Charles E. Fritch.

Reality... What a concept! The ultimate “this is your w -- er -- mind on drugs” story.

4. "Or Else" (1953) -- Henry Kuttner.

A visiting alien comes to Earth and interferes with a couple of feuding Mexicans, asking them to break up their fight over a waterhole while doing nothing to resolve the actual issue they’re fighting over. I must admit that I see absolutely no relationship between this story and current U.S. foreign policy. None whatsoever.

5. "Renaissance Man" (1974) -- T.E.D. Klein.

Klein has fun with the old cliché about a man from the future coming back to the past to “enlighten” us.

6. "Sanity" (1944) -- Fritz Leiber.

A classic sci-fi story that poses the age-old question: what is normal?

7. "S.F." (1975) -- T.E.D. Klein.

In a future world, technology allows people to experience something for the first time over and over again. Then the government gets involved and well -- surprise, surprise, there’s a catch.

8. "The Children of Night" (1964) -- Frederik Pohl.

An ad man does P.R. work for an would-be alien invader, only to face an attack of conscience. A story you won't see on Mad Men any time soon.

9. "The Tunnel Under the World (1955) -- Frederik Pohl.

The ultimate triumph of Madison Avenue in yet another story which makes the wildest episode of Mad Men look tame.

10. "You’re Another" (1955) -- Damon Knight.

The ultimate comment on reality shows -- which is odd because the story was written long before the concept of reality shows was created. I always thought it made an interesting thought on the human condition as well, but what do I know?

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