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Astounding Science Fiction, February 1943

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Contents: The Silver Lining / essay by The Editor (i.e. John W. Campbell Jr.) The Weapon Makers, Part 1 of 3 (Weapon Shops of Isher #) / A.E. van Vogt; interior artwork by Frank Kramer In Times to Come / essay by unknown Flight into Darkness / Webb Marlowe (i.e. J. Francis McComas); interior artwork by Frank Kramer Mimsy Were the Borogoves / Lewis Padgett (i.e. Henry Kuttner a Contents: The Silver Lining / essay by The Editor (i.e. John W. Campbell Jr.) The Weapon Makers, Part 1 of 3 (Weapon Shops of Isher #) / A.E. van Vogt; interior artwork by Frank Kramer In Times to Come / essay by unknown Flight into Darkness / Webb Marlowe (i.e. J. Francis McComas); interior artwork by Frank Kramer Mimsy Were the Borogoves / Lewis Padgett (i.e. Henry Kuttner and C.L. Moore); interior artwork by Kolliker The Man in the Moon / Henry A. Norton; interior artwork by Kolliker God's Footstool / essay by Malcolm Jameson The Analytical Laboratory: December 1942 / essay by The Editor (i.e. John W. Campbell Jr.) Blue Ice (Probability Zero series) / Henry Kuttner Probability Zero! / essay by L. Sprague de Camp and Fox B. Holden and Colin Keith and Henry Kuttner Efficiency (Probability Zero series) / Colin Keith (i.e. Malcolm Jameson) Noise is Beautiful! (Probability Zero series) / Fox B. Holden The Anecdote of the Movable Ears (Probability Zero series) / L. Sprague de Camp Brass Tacks / essay by The Editor (i.e. John W. Campbell Jr.) Opposites—React!, Part 2 of 2 (Seetee serial) / Willi Stewart (i.e. Jack Williamson); interior artwork by Kolliker


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Contents: The Silver Lining / essay by The Editor (i.e. John W. Campbell Jr.) The Weapon Makers, Part 1 of 3 (Weapon Shops of Isher #) / A.E. van Vogt; interior artwork by Frank Kramer In Times to Come / essay by unknown Flight into Darkness / Webb Marlowe (i.e. J. Francis McComas); interior artwork by Frank Kramer Mimsy Were the Borogoves / Lewis Padgett (i.e. Henry Kuttner a Contents: The Silver Lining / essay by The Editor (i.e. John W. Campbell Jr.) The Weapon Makers, Part 1 of 3 (Weapon Shops of Isher #) / A.E. van Vogt; interior artwork by Frank Kramer In Times to Come / essay by unknown Flight into Darkness / Webb Marlowe (i.e. J. Francis McComas); interior artwork by Frank Kramer Mimsy Were the Borogoves / Lewis Padgett (i.e. Henry Kuttner and C.L. Moore); interior artwork by Kolliker The Man in the Moon / Henry A. Norton; interior artwork by Kolliker God's Footstool / essay by Malcolm Jameson The Analytical Laboratory: December 1942 / essay by The Editor (i.e. John W. Campbell Jr.) Blue Ice (Probability Zero series) / Henry Kuttner Probability Zero! / essay by L. Sprague de Camp and Fox B. Holden and Colin Keith and Henry Kuttner Efficiency (Probability Zero series) / Colin Keith (i.e. Malcolm Jameson) Noise is Beautiful! (Probability Zero series) / Fox B. Holden The Anecdote of the Movable Ears (Probability Zero series) / L. Sprague de Camp Brass Tacks / essay by The Editor (i.e. John W. Campbell Jr.) Opposites—React!, Part 2 of 2 (Seetee serial) / Willi Stewart (i.e. Jack Williamson); interior artwork by Kolliker

30 review for Astounding Science Fiction, February 1943

  1. 4 out of 5

    Dennis

    ***Winner of the 2019 Retro Hugo (1944) for Best Novelette*** Mimsy Were the Borogoves by Lewis Padgett Interesting how views and opinions change over time. When I first read this in 2017 I thought it was a bit boring. Maybe because I was expecting a time travel story, which it kinda is, but it isn't the main point. It is more about how upbringing and education, and experience as well, shape the way we think and act. How we rely on patterns instead of instinct. But what would a child do? Interesting. ***Winner of the 2019 Retro Hugo (1944) for Best Novelette*** Mimsy Were the Borogoves by Lewis Padgett Interesting how views and opinions change over time. When I first read this in 2017 I thought it was a bit boring. Maybe because I was expecting a time travel story, which it kinda is, but it isn't the main point. It is more about how upbringing and education, and experience as well, shape the way we think and act. How we rely on patterns instead of instinct. But what would a child do? Interesting. Basis for the movie "The Last Mimzy". Can be read here.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Tim

    In case it's not obvious, the link up there in the description takes you to page where you can read the entire story for free. It's not very long and well worth your time. Like all the best science fiction, this story is about ideas. Despite being nearly 70 years old, the story could easily be set in present day without changing it at all. The ideas feel fresh and develop wonderfully as the story goes along. Recommended! In case it's not obvious, the link up there in the description takes you to page where you can read the entire story for free. It's not very long and well worth your time. Like all the best science fiction, this story is about ideas. Despite being nearly 70 years old, the story could easily be set in present day without changing it at all. The ideas feel fresh and develop wonderfully as the story goes along. Recommended!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Oleksandr Zholud

    This is a novelette, first published in 1943, so it is eligible for Retro-Hogo this year. In a far, far future, a sentient being experiments with time machine and sends their offspring toys to somewhere around XX century. Twice. Without response. They declare it a failure and move on. In the mid-20th century a boy finds the stuff and starts to play with it, giving it also to his younger sister. And as all good toys, those are educational. One of popular at that time ideas, based presumably on beha This is a novelette, first published in 1943, so it is eligible for Retro-Hogo this year. In a far, far future, a sentient being experiments with time machine and sends their offspring toys to somewhere around XX century. Twice. Without response. They declare it a failure and move on. In the mid-20th century a boy finds the stuff and starts to play with it, giving it also to his younger sister. And as all good toys, those are educational. One of popular at that time ideas, based presumably on behaviorist paradigm in psychology, that kids are tabula rasa and can be taught anything and become anyone. Here it even leads to quite surprising statements like: ”Babies, of course, are not human—they are animals, and have a very ancient and ramified culture, as cats have, and fishes, and even snakes; the same in kind as these, but much more complicated and vivid, since babies are, after all, one of the most developed species of the lower vertebrates. In short, babies have minds which work in terms and categories of their own, which cannot be translated into the terms and categories of the human mind.” An interesting read of old school SF

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ron

    “But no boy has ever left a box unopened, unless forcibly dragged away. It was a toy; Scott sensed, with the unerring instinct of a child.” Excellent novelette with a literary hook. Despite an unpromising start, the story ends well. The section on the adults’ reactions is too long and clumsy. “A child knows nothing of Euclid. A different geometry from ours wouldn’t impress him as being illogical. Like many smart people, Moore and Kuttner got geometry, and learning in general, backward. We don’t se “But no boy has ever left a box unopened, unless forcibly dragged away. It was a toy; Scott sensed, with the unerring instinct of a child.” Excellent novelette with a literary hook. Despite an unpromising start, the story ends well. The section on the adults’ reactions is too long and clumsy. “A child knows nothing of Euclid. A different geometry from ours wouldn’t impress him as being illogical. Like many smart people, Moore and Kuttner got geometry, and learning in general, backward. We don’t see things as we do because we learned Euclid’s axioms; Euclid derived his axioms from how we view reality. A child learns to throw and catch a ball knowing nothing about physics. “But I don’t think I’ll change your little song.” “You mustn’t. If you did, it wouldn’t mean anything.” “I won’t change that stanza, anyway,” he promised. “Just what does it mean?” “It’s the way out, I think,” the girl said doubtfully. “I’m not sure yet. My magic toys told me.” 2019 Best Novelette 1944 Retrospective Hugo Award finalist. Published in Astounding Science-Fiction, February 1943. “A symbol, to us, means more than what we see on paper.”

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    My boyfriend's mom recommended the movie, and while I was doing research on the title, I came across this story and decided to read it first to see if I would enjoy it. The story is certainly sci-fi and ahead of its time. The story is heavily psyhonalitical (a psychological and psychotherapeutic theory first laid out by Sigmund Freud in the 19th Century) and poses questions regarding children's development, in particular how they learn. I liked the symbology of the story and how "Through The Loo My boyfriend's mom recommended the movie, and while I was doing research on the title, I came across this story and decided to read it first to see if I would enjoy it. The story is certainly sci-fi and ahead of its time. The story is heavily psyhonalitical (a psychological and psychotherapeutic theory first laid out by Sigmund Freud in the 19th Century) and poses questions regarding children's development, in particular how they learn. I liked the symbology of the story and how "Through The Looking Glass" gave insight into this new learning style X, that is very different from the Euclid theory that all the adults in the story have been conditioned to. I am very interested in watching the movie to see how it's different from the original story, which I will report on later. So, I finally got around to watching the movie and I wasn't really surprised that they changed the story line quite a bit from the original story, but it was a pretty good movie none the less. Basically, they "happied-up" the ending in true Hollywood fashion, added some environmental aspects, and changed the psychological aspects to mental/psychic abilities. However, I would recommend reading the original story and then watch the movie, as they both are great and interesting in their own unique ways.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Dana Reynolds

    I am amused by some reviews that find this hard to fathom because of the 1940's point of view -- having grown up on classic sci-fi, it made me warmly nostalgic and it was not at all difficult to understand or get into. (Although I'm surprised I hadn't run across this one before.) If I mention how ahead of its time this was, am I also at fault for thinking less about the imagination of the past? Either way, this is a top-notch short story and I'd put it up against anything written today. It holds I am amused by some reviews that find this hard to fathom because of the 1940's point of view -- having grown up on classic sci-fi, it made me warmly nostalgic and it was not at all difficult to understand or get into. (Although I'm surprised I hadn't run across this one before.) If I mention how ahead of its time this was, am I also at fault for thinking less about the imagination of the past? Either way, this is a top-notch short story and I'd put it up against anything written today. It holds its own, with the slight exception of the 'know it all' psychologist/authority, a formula that feels a bit dated. It is deliciously creepy. I'll be talking and thinking about this one for a long time.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Mdutch

    My favorite SF short story of all time.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Snickerdoodle

    After watching the movie 'The Last Mimzy,' I'd wanted to see if there was a book and if so, how it compared. The book came out in 1943 vs 2007 for the movie. Both begin in the far future with the purpose of explaining the toys. In the book, a scientist is experimenting with time travel, seeming to give it up after several failed attempts. In the movie, there is also more than one attempt -one sent to Alice (as in Alice in the looking glass) - but the attempts aren't mere curiosity. There is some After watching the movie 'The Last Mimzy,' I'd wanted to see if there was a book and if so, how it compared. The book came out in 1943 vs 2007 for the movie. Both begin in the far future with the purpose of explaining the toys. In the book, a scientist is experimenting with time travel, seeming to give it up after several failed attempts. In the movie, there is also more than one attempt -one sent to Alice (as in Alice in the looking glass) - but the attempts aren't mere curiosity. There is something genetically wrong with humans in the future that can only be fixed with DNA from the past. The problem is how to get it. Humans can't time travel. Things can but they need help getting back - so the toys somehow teach the children how to do that - and a child's tear accidentally falls on Mimsy and carries her DNA back to the future. How were they planning on collecting the DNA they needed? The book spends a lot of time discussing how babies think differently than us till we train them otherwise. The younger the children, the easier it was to communicate with them, training them to an alternate way of thinking. In this case though, the children learned and then disappeared, presumably time traveling to when the toys were originally sent. Period, end of story, no explanation. In the original story, there's no indication that the toys have been sent with a mission or that they've been altered in any way. They're just his sons old toys, something disposable that won't be missed if they're ruined or don't come back. In the movie, they're specifically designed with the purpose of collecting DNA from the past in order to save the future. Past attempts have failed. This is the LAST Mimzy and it's communicating to Emma that the world is dying and this is their last chance to save it. In both book and film, the futuristic toys were interesting to the untrained minds of young children. They were able to see and understand things the adults couldn't. This is where the original story went off into the concept that babies think in ways incomprehensible to mature humans. The concept is presented that what if a child's mind had not been trained in Euclidian thinking - what would the differences in our adult thinking be? In the movie, the toys gave way to a wonderful range of visual fun. They could speak telepahically, the boy could hear things others couldn't and could speak to spiders, the girl could transport sugar just by thinking it, they saw a geometric tube of a bridge between planets. They could've and should've used this much better. It was visually exciting but it seemed unrelated to sending Mimzy forward to the future with the old DNA to save the world. The movie also brought in fractals - ancient fractals, that the boy had been doodling - Tibet - palmistry. I wouldn't be surprised to find that there's a lot I'm missing in the author's original intention. The movie didn't clarify it.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ambrosia

    What? Just what?! Amazing. Be prepared it's like nothing you could ever imagine. What? Just what?! Amazing. Be prepared it's like nothing you could ever imagine.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Love of Hopeless Causes

    Scott's actions are forced: DNF. Scott's actions are forced: DNF.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Laur-Marian Mertea

    Great read. The story is really fascinating and I would've loved to read a sequel or a collection of other related short stories). Even though the story was originally published in the February 1943 issue of Astounding Science Fiction Magazine [You can read more about the story here!], I would still recommend this (even to a non science-fiction reader) because of: 1. the intriguing story; 2. the fact that the story was judged by the SFWA [Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America] to be among t Great read. The story is really fascinating and I would've loved to read a sequel or a collection of other related short stories). Even though the story was originally published in the February 1943 issue of Astounding Science Fiction Magazine [You can read more about the story here!], I would still recommend this (even to a non science-fiction reader) because of: 1. the intriguing story; 2. the fact that the story was judged by the SFWA [Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America] to be among the best science fiction stories written prior to 1965 and included in the anthology "The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume One, 1929–1964" The Science Fiction Hall of Fame 1, 1929-1964; 3. it's still enjoyable and relatable even though it was published more than 70 years ago. 4.5/5 (view spoiler)[ The link between this universe and "Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There" was a neat Easter egg. (hide spoiler)]

  12. 5 out of 5

    Mollie

    What a weird little short story! I decided to read this as it is the basis of the movie "The Last Mimzy" which I thoroughly enjoyed! I found it in a collection of science fiction short stories and read it fairly quickly. Its only about 30 pages long so a quick read. I would say the film is very Loosely based on this story. Still it was interesting look at child psychology and brain development in 1943. What a weird little short story! I decided to read this as it is the basis of the movie "The Last Mimzy" which I thoroughly enjoyed! I found it in a collection of science fiction short stories and read it fairly quickly. Its only about 30 pages long so a quick read. I would say the film is very Loosely based on this story. Still it was interesting look at child psychology and brain development in 1943.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Christine Eaton

    So I spontaneously watched the movie The Last Mimzy with my friend. "Bizzare, but a decent movie," is the only way to describe it. But when we heard it was based on a short story written in 1942, I had to run off and read it. It's very different from the movie and I actually enjoyed reading the story. But what makes it so strange is because it turns into a Through the Looking Glass fanfiction of sorts at the end. It's a good piece of science fiction. So I spontaneously watched the movie The Last Mimzy with my friend. "Bizzare, but a decent movie," is the only way to describe it. But when we heard it was based on a short story written in 1942, I had to run off and read it. It's very different from the movie and I actually enjoyed reading the story. But what makes it so strange is because it turns into a Through the Looking Glass fanfiction of sorts at the end. It's a good piece of science fiction.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    I really enjoyed this story. From the title I knew that Alice in Wonderland had to be tied in somewhere so when quotes from the book came into this short story, I was very happy. I thought that this was a very interesting read and I highly recommend it.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Cambria

    sad ending, but very thought provoking and a great read!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Reviews by Siobhan

    I enjoyed the book immensely.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Mize Reviews

    This is a fast moving novel that draws you in very early on.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Petra

    This is not the type of book I usually read but I really enjoyed it.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Marriott Reviews

    I encourage everyone to read it, you'll be surprised. I encourage everyone to read it, you'll be surprised.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Audrey

    Coherent and exciting. Highly recommended.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Maegan

    Can't say enough about character development. Can't say enough about character development.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This review is specifically about the short story “Mimsy Were the Borogoves” by Henry Kuttner, which has been included in innumerable anthologies since its original publication. The author(s) imagine that the poem "Jabberwocky" was actually made up by Alice Liddell and merely transcribed by Lewis Carroll. The poem is Alice's interpretation of a mathematical formula that, once mastered, makes time travel and interdimensional travel possible. Alice worked this out after discovering a box of educat This review is specifically about the short story “Mimsy Were the Borogoves” by Henry Kuttner, which has been included in innumerable anthologies since its original publication. The author(s) imagine that the poem "Jabberwocky" was actually made up by Alice Liddell and merely transcribed by Lewis Carroll. The poem is Alice's interpretation of a mathematical formula that, once mastered, makes time travel and interdimensional travel possible. Alice worked this out after discovering a box of educational "toys" that had been sent from the far future by a scientist who had built a time travel machine and used his child's toys as test objects. Although Alice herself intended (in the story) to use the knowledge she acquired to make the trip to where and when the knowledge came from, she never did, because she was already too old. (The story suggests that you can’t be older than about seven to assimilate the information properly.) Although the story is brilliantly inspired, it is now stylistically and culturally extremely dated, so much so that it's actually irritating to read despite the fascinating premise. Hard-core SF fans owe it to themselves to read it at least once. The movie supposedly based on the story, "The Last Mimzy," in fact bears almost no resemblance at all to the original short story. Certainly it lacks the creepy, nightmare-in-broad-daylight atmosphere of the original.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Bambino

    A rare beautiful gem. Very little of this tale is fantasy. Mostly, it is an unbelievably lucid journey to a different way of thinking and feeling. The possibilities suggested by this tale are a wonderful description of the sometimes elusive ways of the imagination – and how imagination can shape the world or create other worlds (as real as our own). Society puts up a great wall of logic and reason before us (Heliocentrism was once inconceivable and worthy of mockery). But why should we limit our i A rare beautiful gem. Very little of this tale is fantasy. Mostly, it is an unbelievably lucid journey to a different way of thinking and feeling. The possibilities suggested by this tale are a wonderful description of the sometimes elusive ways of the imagination – and how imagination can shape the world or create other worlds (as real as our own). Society puts up a great wall of logic and reason before us (Heliocentrism was once inconceivable and worthy of mockery). But why should we limit our imagination, standing in front of the boring wall of normality? Anyone capable of peeping beyond the wall will see this tale as a wonderful portal to something much greater than words – which in turn, like the title hints, is connected to another world filled with more portals, and so on and so on, in the infinite and sublime realm of imagination/life.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kaleigh

    A lovely, near perfect piece of speculative fiction. Just the right amount of creativity and eeriness in exploring the way human beings interpret the world. Just how much of our behavior is learned, and what possibilities do we have to learn to become something no longer perceptively human? This would be a 5-star review except the story is essentially Alice in Wonderland fan-fiction and I just can't get over the horrible 1940s sexism: "I'm trying to understand," Jane said slowly, "All I can thin A lovely, near perfect piece of speculative fiction. Just the right amount of creativity and eeriness in exploring the way human beings interpret the world. Just how much of our behavior is learned, and what possibilities do we have to learn to become something no longer perceptively human? This would be a 5-star review except the story is essentially Alice in Wonderland fan-fiction and I just can't get over the horrible 1940s sexism: "I'm trying to understand," Jane said slowly, "All I can think of is my Mixmaster." Eek.

  25. 4 out of 5

    svm

    not long ago, i took the kids to see the last mimzy and afterwards, inspired by the oddness of the film, decided to track down the original story. i thought the movie was bizarre (though enjoyable) but the story was serious sci-fi... very out there and very 1940s, so doubly confusing. if i hadn't had the movie (modernized and v. loosely based on the tale) as grounding, i'm not sure i'd've been able to make any sense of the story. all in all, an interesting "experiment" with classic sci-fi. not long ago, i took the kids to see the last mimzy and afterwards, inspired by the oddness of the film, decided to track down the original story. i thought the movie was bizarre (though enjoyable) but the story was serious sci-fi... very out there and very 1940s, so doubly confusing. if i hadn't had the movie (modernized and v. loosely based on the tale) as grounding, i'm not sure i'd've been able to make any sense of the story. all in all, an interesting "experiment" with classic sci-fi.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Antonis Lamnatos

    It all boils down to the fact that 'One can no more think like a baby than one can think like a bee.' An imaginative and inventive investigation into what makes children's minds seems so strange and alien to adults. What if that strangeness was preserved and not smoothed into "adulthood", "reason" and "common sense"? All it takes is a small fictional device and the story's two children are never shoehorned into our plain common reality with its common restrains and rules. It all boils down to the fact that 'One can no more think like a baby than one can think like a bee.' An imaginative and inventive investigation into what makes children's minds seems so strange and alien to adults. What if that strangeness was preserved and not smoothed into "adulthood", "reason" and "common sense"? All it takes is a small fictional device and the story's two children are never shoehorned into our plain common reality with its common restrains and rules.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ana Lelis

    I watched the movie yesterday and read the book today. And for the first time I'm dissapointed with the book. I expected more, I know it's a short book it couldn't have many details but I wanted more action, most part of the book is just psychology. I watched the movie yesterday and read the book today. And for the first time I'm dissapointed with the book. I expected more, I know it's a short book it couldn't have many details but I wanted more action, most part of the book is just psychology.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Renee

    I really liked this story. It kind of throws you back and for emotionally because you feel like the parents are trying to make their children so normal. However, kids brains will grow and change in ways that no one ever expects. Overall a great quick sci-fi read

  29. 4 out of 5

    Julirose

    I loved the movie and tracked down the original novel. It was very agead of its time.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Francisco

    A classic and concise sci-fi tale. Well worth the short amount it takes to read. I particularly enjoyed the semiotic emphasis.

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