Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Hugos: They'd Rather Be Right

Back in the year Dr. Emmett L. Brown met Marty McFly, Mark Clifton and Frank Riley won the Hugo award for best sci-fi novel. Wikipedia is aware of its existence, and as of today, not much else. If I could remember it better I would expand their article stub. Then I'd be important! Or something. Anyway, there's a review I read that linked off it, and the guy wasn't exactly cheering. I think he goes so far as to call it the most controversial Hugo win. But I don't see any other nominees listed for 1955, so what was the controversy?
It tells a succinct (173 pages) and conceptually intriguing tale of two guys who build a computer that makes pretty girls... Gary and Wyatt then go on to have Lisa the Genie grant their skeevy wishes and hilarity ensues... oh, wait, that's WEIRD SCIENCE.
THIS story, also known as 'The Forever Machine' has a device that can literally make you as young as you feel. As long as you are willing to toss out your prejudices, preconceptions and mental baggage, you'll be much healthier, goes the gist. And while everyone wants to be young and pretty, almost no one wants to rethink the deeply cherished belief bullpucky that keeps them old and weighed down with falsehoods.
I'll go out on a limb and give it three stars out of four, because I remember it fondly. It's short, it's a cool idea, and if the characters were thinly drawn and lecture-y, so what? It's over before you can get bored. Now, if you don't mind, I'm trying to erase all the multiplication tables I memorized back in school. I'm hoping some of my grey hairs will turn brown again. Wish me luck!

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