Well, this is certainly a weird story. Weird might be an understatement, but, remember, we still have Ellison’s “‘Repent, Harlequin!’ Said the Ticktockman” (1965) for next Wednesday (9/04); also, don’t forget The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (1979) in November. I just saw a rerun of Family Guy, which made me think of this story. Most half-hour shows (e.g. sitcoms) have to quickly get to a resolution, so the writers employ far fetched solutions in order to resolve whatever is imbalanced in the show. Laffarty’s story is based on the fact that humans in this projected world make decisions very quickly. This causes the pace of life to speed up to the point where fashion, popularity, and careers are watched with the same immediacy as the stock market–moment by moment. The situation Lafferty creates is an exaggeration, but it’s an exaggeration based on a value he picks up from his time period–instant gratification. Although our time period doesn’t have quite the capriciousness of Lafferty’s, we value things instantly. The Anthology editors suggest that the story asks readers whether or not “any aspect of human life is truly consequential or enduring” (p. 360). Reflecting upon that might unnerve us…
Below are some important topics that may help us identify key attributes of this short story that make it an important work of science fiction:
- Marriage, or, the 35-minute date (btw, it takes an entire year to get divorced in NC)
- Reproduction of typical narratives: rise and fall of fortunes
- Business Cycles, Recessions, and Market Bubbles
- Writing Philosophy (p. 362)
- Celebrity status
What are some fads or fashions that seem to go in and out of style so quickly that if you blink, you might miss them?
Keep up with the syllabus. There’s no class on Monday, 9/02 because of the Labor Day Holiday, so we’ll be back together on Wednesday, 9/04. You won’t meet with Ms. Rogers on Friday (9/06); instead, you’ll take Test 1 on Canvas. I’ll open it at 8am, and you’ll have until 11pm to finish it. However, once you start the test, you’ll only have 60 minutes to do it.