Monday, September 27, 2010

Michael Shaara's "Wainer" (short story, evolution, free): What's it like to be an evolutionary link!

Illustration accompanying the original publication in Galaxy magazine of short story Wainer by Michael Shaara
This is one of the "first man in the next evolution of humanity" stories.

Caution: A small part of the story deals with a man falling in love with his own mother (mother has received rejuvenation treatment, child hasn't).

Story summary.

In 25th century, electronic "brain" implants are common: a medical procedure attaches the implant to your mind, & you have access to all the memory of mankind. You are also suddenly more rational, hence the recipients called "Rashes" or "lumpheads" (lump formed by implant on the head).

But one in a thousand humans brains rejects the implant, & nothing further can be done. These are Rejects, condemned to lead the life away from trades in demand. But they've a compensation - they can see the world in ways logical Rashes cannot.

And a few among the Rejects have changes not only in brain but elsewhere in the body - a change that makes them a link to next step in the evolution of humanity. This is the sorry story of such a man, William Wainer, who will learn of his great role in progress of humanity only near his last days.

Fact sheet.

First published: Galaxy, April 1954.
Download full text from Project Gutenberg, Manybooks, Feedbooks.
Rating: B.
Related: Stories of Michael Shaara.