Friday, May 2, 2008

* Kate Wilhelm's "The Planners" (short story, science fiction)

I didn't quite get the point of this story. Human experimenters have been raising colonies of monkeys & apes in an effort to make them smarter. They've figured out a way to extract some substance from a smart animal's body & inject into the dumb one - so dumb one will become smarter! There is a separate thread of curing a mentally deficient human child. And tangents about protagonist's family problems.

Collected in.

  1. David Hartwell & Kathryn Cramer (Ed)'s "The Ascent of Wonder: The Evolution of Hard SF".

Fact sheet.

First published: Damon Knight (Ed)'s "Orbit 3" (1968).
Rating: C

Note: Why is this post so short?


Matteo Campanelli said...

Just finished the story and looking for some comments on it online.
This blog post is the first I found. But sorry, I disagree with pretty much all of it.

Personally, I believe this story has a very strong point and this point can be found in Darin, the protagonist.
He is a character who faces a troubled life. From two angles :
1) his conscience (his experiments, especially the ones on Sonny and the convicts);
2) his failed marriage.
How are these two threads related to each other?
By Darin's fantasies, that are his way to deal with these issues.
However, these fantasies have a different scheme:
he has an invented scolding character, Rae, for its conscience-related troubles, whereas he likes to account humorously about his wife and colleagues (man, how formidable is the part where he describes the Barbie Doll factory for the first time?).

By the character of Darin, a man that is perfectly aware of his complex daydreams, we get a thick, engrossing SF story (which by the way, for the writing side, is one hell of a great piece of craft)