Thursday, August 30, 2007

Arthur C. Clarke's "An Ape About the House": A famous painter, to be

This is the story of Dorcas, a genetically engineered chimpanzee designed & trained for household chores & for baby sitting. She is sold by Biological Engineering Corporation; they apparantly are also the patent holders & manufacturers.

Story summary.
Unnamed woman narrator has purchased (or is it rented?) Dorcas, after some fighting at home. Dorcas quickly adjusts well, & is loved by all.

Action happens when the narrator, wife of a spaceman, gets bugged by Christine Swanson, the wife of the Commodore of the Space Service & the first citizen of Port Goddard somewhere in the Pacific.

Christine is a bad painter, but others cannot say so because of her social position. So the narrator, herself an amateur painter, sets out to wreck Christine's forthcoming exhibition.

Narrator will paint, & make Dorcas do a bit of touching, & work will be advertized as of Dorcas! You see, even Dorcas can paint better than Christine! Many paintings are made, some good, & shown privately in social circuit.

Christine ends up cancelling her exhibition, & tries for revenge. The end result is unexpected by all - Dorcas turns out to be a really good painter, & will be eventually famous. But only after relieved by Christine of a human constraint narrator had put on her - to make her fit better in human society. Good ending.

Fact sheet.
An Ape About the House, short story, review
First published: Dude, May 1962
Rating: B

This story is included in the following collection.

  1. "The Collected Stories of Arthur C Clarke"
  2. "More Than One Universe"
  3. "Tales of Ten Worlds"
  4. "Of Time and Stars"
See also.
  1. Michael Crichton's "Next": One of the stories in this collection (advertised as novel) is of an engineered baby with chimpanzee mother & human father. Eventually adopted by his human father. And his difficulties living in human society.