Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Noel Miller Loomis' "You Too Can Be A Millionaire" (short story, insurance dystopia, free): Another kind of "Midas Plague"

Illustration accompanying the original publication in If magazine, November 1952 issue, of short story You Too Can Be A Millionaire by Noel Miller Loomis
This story appeared two years before Frederik Pohl's far better known "Midas Plague". Pohl's version is closer to today's "download dystopia", if such a thing exists - far too much content than anyone can consume.

Story summary.

A funny evolution of frivolous insurance claims has led to a society where nobody works - automated machinery produces plenty. But you need "points" to buy stuff. You get a certain number of fixed points from the "Machine" - a sort of central agency coordinating everything, & where you need to get your points "balanced". You can earn more points by duping others into signing theirs over to you! And machine expects that you not be in too much debt - you should expect bad but unspecified things in such cases.

This is the story of Mark Renner & Penelope, two individuals bored by lack of work who've turned their talents to become perfect crooks! They amass so many "points" that they've been noticed by the Machine...

Fact sheet.

First published: If, November 1952.
Download full text from Project Gutenberg or Manybooks.
Rating: A.