Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Henry Kuttner & C L Moore's "Open Secret" (as by Lewis Padgett) (short story, free): Men have created a monster

Illustration accompanying the original appearance in Astounding Science-Fiction, April 1943, of short story Open Secret by Henry Kuttner and C L Moore
Not among the better stories of authors, & with many familiar plot elements.

Story summary.

Mike Jerrold has accidentally discovered the existence of intelligent robots - something that is not supposed to exist. As he gets deeper into the discovery, he finds that they're actually the masters of humanity - driving the world towards a destiny of their own choosing, & there is nothing anyone can do about it.

We're given a hypothesis about how they came to be: "Suppose you make a perfect solvent. What would happen? It would dissolve anything you put it in. You could make it, but you couldn't keep it. Intelligent robots are like that." The first successfully created robot "processed the scientist [its creator], so Dr Jones thought he had failed; it left another, useless robot in its place, & it went out & hid. It didn't like this world. It wanted something different. So it simply set out to change the world".

Fact sheet.

First published: Astounding, April 1943.
Download full text as part of the scans of Astounding issue where it originally appeared.
Rating: B.
Among the stories from John Campbell's Astounding/Analog.
Related: Stories of Henry Kuttner, C L Moore (as by Lewis Padgett).