Thursday, March 22, 2012

James H Schmitz's "Sour Note on Palayata" (novelette, mystery, free): An unusual evolution of brain

Quote from short story Sour Note on Palayata by James H Schmitz
I'm not sure of the factual accuracy of the thesis of this story - I know little about psychology. Central idea here is: of the two minds we have - conscious & unconscious - conscious is the smarter one; unconscious is relatively dumb.

Aliens in this story have the opposite: conscious is intelligent but relatively dumb; real smart alien lives in the unconscious - leading to curious behavior. And author gives us a good reason why evolution chose to structure these aliens like this.

Plot itself is structured as a mystery: there seems to be more to Palayatans than meets the eye, something far smarter, an unknown factor - call it X. Investigators need to figure out if X indeed exits, & whether it is a threat to humanity.

Fact sheet.

First published: Astounding, November 1956.
Download full text from Baen CD.
Rating: B.
Among the stories edited by John Campbell for Astounding/Analog.
Related: Stories of James H Schmitz.