Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Brian W Aldiss' "Let's Be Frank" (short story, free): How humanity became a hive intelligence

Once upon a time, a man called Frank Gladwebb lived in England. He carried a weird chromosome that manifested in some of his progeny of both sexes. When it did, the individual became essentially Frank in a different body - Frank 2, Frank 3, etc! Over the centuries, it spread across the world - so humanity became a single hive entity.

OK - not one but two hive entities; a mutation happened early during the spread. No prizes for guessing the people included in the two hives - Americans vs everybody else.


  1. Story is narrated by a Venusian, whose presence in the story is completely unnecessary.
  2. Story references history of English royalty at many places; so should hopefully be more interesting read to English readers, assuming they know more of their country's history than I do of mine.
  3. Going by references at a couple of places to war, I guess the motivation might be to present a method of avoiding war - something shared by many stories. A hive cannot fight itself. Two hives in the story also don't seem to be fight each other; may be hive is supposed to make the entity wiser.

Collected in.

  1. Isaac Asimov & Martin H Greenberg (Eds)' "Issac Asimov Presents Great SF Stories 19 (1957)".

Fact sheet.

First published: Science-Fantasy, #23 (June 1957).
Rating: B.
Download full text from Internet Archive.
Included in Ellen Datlow's SciFiction's Classics.
Related: Stories of Brian Aldiss.