Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Stanley Mullen's "Fool Killer" (short story, justice, free): Do you _really_ want impartial & logical justice?

Illustration by van Dongen accompanying the publication in Astounding, British edition, August 1958, of short story Fool Killer by Stanley MullenWhile it has a mundane start, it changes gears in a completely unexpected way part way through. Much of the story is about the implications of this twist, but almost anything I say about it will spoil the most interesting moment in the story.


Author clarifies the title near end: "The Fool Killer never has to kill; it is enough if the fools know he is present, ready to strike, to keep them on their toes, make good citizens of bad, or at least careful citizens of those inclined to heedless cruelty or stupidity."

Fact sheet.

First published: Astounding, May 1958.
Download full text as part of the scans of Astounding (British ed), August 1958.
Rating: A.
Among the stories from Astounding/Analog issues edited by John Campbell.