Saturday, November 5, 2011

Free Fiction: The Point of View

click image to download story (2.05 MB pdf file)

Now it's time to put on our subjuctivisor and explore alternative time, like Dixon Wells in "The Worlds of If."  And it's doubly appropriate to do so, because the history we're visiting is the one in which we're able to read a preview of Thrilling Wonder Stories, Volume 4—or whatever volume in which I would finally have published "The Point of View," the third and final story of Stanley G. Weinbaum's van Manderpootz series, which began with "The Worlds of If."

This story's Attitudinizor reminds me a little of the Point of View Gun, my favorite new bit in the movie of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.  You use it to short-circuit arguments by forcing the other person to see where you're coming from.  If van Manderpootz lived in our actual early 21st century, he would most certainly find a way to make his Attitudinizor work over the Internet.  And it would be the greatest thing that ever happened to that medium.  Sometimes I think the force that runs the World Wide Web is transference.  At least three-quarters of Internet comments wouldn't exist, or would at least be far less bitter and hostile, if the writer weren't subconsciously projecting everything he hates onto the person he's responding to, irrespective of what that person actually posted.

Speaking of the early 21st century, Weinbaum makes a little continuity error in this story.  He sets it in 2015, and says it's the year after the two previous stories.  Evidently, he remembered he'd mentioned 2014 in "The Worlds of If," but forgot that it was in reference to Dixon's college days... which Weinbaum said in that story were eight years past.  I suppose I could just correct it in the text to 2023, but while I'll correct punctuation, like adding the second comma setting off a clause, I draw the line at correcting factual errors in old stories.  (I made a similar decision in proofing the book of In Caverns Below, when Stanton Coblentz's timescale didn't add up.)

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