Posted 26 November:
Posted 14 November:
Posted 12 November:
Anyone who hasn't heard from me lately or has given me deadlines and details of work I'm supposed to do for them should know that my entire email and all related files were fried when a tree fell on a powerline during a recent storm in Washington State. The multiverse Q&A site has been saved and should be back up again soon, but all mail has been lost and anything crucial should be resent to the old address which will now be forwarded.
Dear Locus Readers,
I wonder if you might be able to chase down a story for me. My memory
*seems* to tell me it is from the 1950s, and it has that Philip K.
Dick flavor to it. The reason I am interested in finding is the
relationship between this story and THE MATRIX series.
The story is a series of vignettes where the protagonist is a "hero"
archetype, and is clearly wish fulfillment. The protagonist is bored
with it, and refuses to "play along." In one vignette, a dragon is
bearing down on him, and he throws his weapons aside. In another, a
starched white uniformed nurse comes on to him.
In the latter case, he tells the nurse that he wishes she would become
a footstool, or something similar.
In each case, the "threat" or "reward" asks "What is it with you," and
then his name.
Eventually, he wakes up. It is the far future, very overpopulated, and
everyone "sleeps" in computer dreamed wish fulfillment. The
protagonist insists of reality, so the harried technician sets him to
sorting electronic components.
And smiles, knowing what it was with (name).
In other words, that wasn't reality either!
Can the readership help me identify this story?
Mark O. Martin, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Biology
1600 Campus Road
Los Angeles, California 90041-3314
Office telephone: 323-259-2899
Departmental FAX: 323-341-4974
Electronic mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Locus Online,
I believe the story Stephen Phelps is looking for is "The Handler" by Damon Knight. I don't know where it was originally published, but I read it in The Best of Damon Knight, and I think it appeared more recently in The Norton Book of Science Fiction.
[ And also, most recently, in The SFWA Grand Masters, Volume 3, edited by Frederik Pohl (Tor 2001). We heard from several others with this information.
-- ed. }
Dear Locus ,
I feel intensely nostalgic as I write this message, recalling all the hours I spent reading Locus during its original "fanzine" years. I hope this reaches someone who can give me a helping hand.
I am trying to locate a book, handicapped by the fact that I cannot recall the title or the name of the author! It is, in fact, nostalgia that drives the effort. This is a juvenile science fiction novel that I read (and read again and again...) in elementary school, when I was a bit of a precocious reader with a strong preference for science fiction.
The author almost definitely is not someone obvious, like an Asimov or a Sturgeon or a Niven. I would have been reading this in the mid-1960s. The essence of the story is young protagonists who are engaged in teleportation. I seem to recall there was some kind of competitive aspect to it, maybe a sporting event in which the contestants teleported repeatedly from place to place? And I also seem to recall that they used teleportation "booths" which my memory wants to picture as being sort of like phone booths floating in space. Of course, there was a bad guy somewhere and the kids had to save the day - I think!
Could this be more vague and generalized? I doubt it. Anyone at Locus pushing 50 as I am myself will understand how these bubbles of memory from childhood push up from the subconscious and and refuse to be ignored. Itching, I attempt to scratch.
Nowhere could one find people more knowledgeable about science fiction than the people at Locus and the readers of Locus.
I'd greatly value your advice. Thank you.
Dear Locus Online,
To help with a staff-development program, I'm trying to identify (and find) a short story from the 60s or 70s in which a handsome, gregarious and popular man at a party literally "opens up" and is revealed to be a small and unpopular man wearing a "popular-guy" android-like suit. No one is comfortable with him until he gets back into his meat suit, at which time he is immediately accepted again. I'm fairly certain sure I read it in F&SF or Galaxy. Can anyone help? Thanks.
Stephen E. Phelps, Jr.
Jamaica, New York