Everything Is Nice

Beating the nice nice nice thing to death (with fluffy pillows)

Archive for November 19th, 2010

‘No, No, Not Rogov!’ by Cordwainer Smith

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I’m not a fan of Smith – I never managed to finish The Rediscovery Of Man – and this story hasn’t changed my mind.

Unusually for Smith it is set on Earth. A couple of brilliant Russian scientists – Rogov and his wife – are trying to make some sort of psionics dealy for Stalin. I guess such things were all the rage back in 1959 when the story was published. Anyway, because they are so brilliant they accidently invent a time machine instead. Thanks to this we know that in the 136th Century Earth will be the galatic interpretive dance chapmion. Go us.

There is meant to be some emotional stuff as well but the characters are so lightly sketched, so stereotypically Russian that it is hard to care. So when the act of seeing the future causes Rogov to snuff it, we just shrug, despite his wife’s anguished but bizarrely belated cry of “no, no, not Rogov!”. A weak line to make the title but then the story is composed of nothing but weak lines.

Hardness: **
Quality: *

Written by Martin

19 November 2010 at 14:18