Saturday, March 15, 2014

Poul Anderson's "Genius" (novelette, superman): Who is observing whom, in this lab experiment?

Quote from short story Genius by Poul Anderson
This is said to be the "first stand alone piece of short fiction" by Anderson.

I personally found it a somewhat boring read. Content of the story is mostly in the form of infodump - a character lecturing another one, plus description of author's idea of a utopia.

Story summary.

In far future, human empire extends to tens of thousands of planets in galaxy, has some interactions with alien empires, & it is a fairly static society with thought conditioning of populace to ensure they don't think inconvenient thoughts.

And the "psychotechnological" ruling elite conduct laboratory experiments on humans, as one would on rats: dump a couple of thousand men, matching some profile, with their memories wiped out, into some experimental environment, & observe their behavior!

One such experiment has been going on for 1500 years on "Station Seventeen": a virgin earth-like world, complete with a moon, seeded with a few thousand geniuses. And the experiment didn't turn out the way the experimenters expected...

Collected in.

  1. Everett F Bleiler & T E Dikty (eds)' "The Best Science Fiction Stories: 1949".

Fact sheet.

First published: Astounding, December 1948.
Download MP3 of an old time radio drama based on this story titled "Planet of Geniuses". [via SFFaudio]
Rating: B.
Related: Stories of Poul Anderson.