This year, I wrote some self evidently stupid posts for an April Fool’s day website ‘campaigning’ to rename the town of Reading to ‘Redding.’ Here they are in their full, unexpurgated versions.
The Eyes Have It (1953)
Philip K Dick (1928-1982)
The narrator recounts reading a magazine article wherein he interpreted the standard idiomatic English in a perverse manner, inferring the article is a coded attempt at describing the invasion of Earth by an alien race.
Beyond Lies the Wub (1952)
Philip K Dick (1928-1982)
The crew of a space ship argue whether they should eat the “wub” they recently bought. To the crew’s surprise, this pig-like animal joins the conversation and makes it clear that it finds the tenor of the discussion in very poor taste, and that all it wanted to do was to discuss philosophy and take a look at the atomic engines.
The Sky is Falling (1954).
Lester del Rey (1915-1993).
Computer technician Dave Hanson gets squashed by a Chicago bulldozer and is resurrected in a baffling world where the laws of physics are replaced by those of astrology. The magician rulers of Thera (an anagram of “Earth” – geddit?) demand that Hanson fix their sky, which is cracking like an eggshell and falling in lumps onto the cities below, bringing down stars and planets and messing up their astrology charts. To add to the confusion, Hanson discovers he wasn’t the intended man for the job and is captured by a group of rebels who want Thera to ‘hatch’ into whatever it will become.
No Pets Allowed (1957)
M A Cummings (1914-1999)
A security guard who is considered too dim for any other work decides to get a pet, against regulations, to while away fruitless hours protecting municipal treasure in a crime free society. Who would employ a twit to protect valuables? And what on Earth is the pet?
The Day Time Stopped Moving (1940)
Bradner Buckner (pseudonym of Edward Earl Repp) (1901-1979)
Dave Miller commits suicide and finds himself wandering alone in a world seemingly frozen in time. He discovers he is not alone and needs to work out where – or when – he is.
Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875-1950)
An adventurer finds a telegraph machine in the middle of the desert and listens to the story signalled in Morse code from a man trapped in a world, Pellucidar, on the inside of the Earth’s crust. This savage jungle and ocean world has its own sun and moon, and is ruled by brutal bat-like monsters who keep disunited tribes of humans in a state of barbarism. The trapped man describes his adventures in trying to rescue his woman, and in rebuilding the tribal federation of which he was emperor in order to resist the bat creatures.
James Blish (1921-1975)
When a communist ship drops something that might be a nuclear bomb in New York harbour, the authorities have to decide quickly whether they should evacuate the city, or if such an evacuation is just what the enemy wants. They can’t find the device on the sea floor and are running out of time so they hire a reformed gambler to make the decision for them.