Dan Goodman's prediction and politics journal.

Friday, July 09, 2004

Used Once, Not Well

Sometimes a story has an unusual idea, but doesn't develop it properly.

First example: A man wakes up to discover that color no longer exists. He's the only one who remembers it; and all the written references to color have vanished. (Gerda Rhoads, "My Past is Mine," Fantastic Universe, October 1954.)

Years later, the protagonist finds someone he thinks he used to know. (This man was a redhead, which makes identification without color difficult.) He tells the story. (My memory says that he hoped his old friend would also remember color.)

The other man doesn't remember color. But he does remember another sense, and remembers that the protagonist was an expert artist in that medium. That's the surprise ending.

What the story doesn't have is a story. What happens next? Do they search out other people who remember senses and sensory nuances which have vanished?

In Richard Hoyt's novel Trotsky's Run, a Soviet agent is likely to become President of the United States. Unfortunately for them, he thinks he's Leon Trotsky.

I was prepared to like this book, because of that idea. But it was dull enough that I didn't finish it.

In Julian F. Thompson's The Grounding of Group 6, several teenagers are sent to a boarding school which specializes in killing off children whose parents find them inconvenient. It's a readable novel; but I think much more could have been done with the idea.
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