Saturday, August 1, 2015

"Your Drug Is the Greatest Single Crime-Preventive Aid of the Century"

"There Is a Crooked Man."
By Jack Wodhams (born 1931).
Novelette.
First appearance: Analog, February 1967.
Online HERE (where the author's name is misspelled and typos abound).
Getting from here to there has always been something of a problem, but Instravel is supposed to do away with that difficulty. However . . . .

A few passages:
Police methods have advanced enormously in the last thirty years. They will, inevitably, advance still more. Sure . . . but you can also bet the equally inevitable crooked man will also advance. Here, the Crooked Man advances most hilariously . . .
~ ~ ~
. . . Mr. Frederic Traff looked down at himself and choked back a cry of dismay. He had been incorrectly reassembled. His legs were on backwards and his toes pointed to the rear.  . . .
~ ~ ~
. . . "Their concern is not with ethics but results."  . . .
~ ~ ~
. . . "If Instravel fails, you can be sure that the failure is due to deliberately contrived outside interference."  . . .
~ ~ ~
. . . "The continuing expansion of our technology greatly increases the variety of criminal ways and means. . ."  . . .
~ ~ ~
. . . "They call it togetherness."  . . .
~ ~ ~
. . . "After all, how much genius can we use?"  . . .
~ ~ ~
. . . Professor Muldible stepped from the receiver cabinet smiling broadly at his success as Professor Muldible stepped from the dispatch cabinet slowly shaking his head in perplexity . . .
~ ~ ~
. . . "Warfare today is as it should be, a nonviolent mental conflict that will give a bloodless victory to those most fitted to rule, the wisely intelligent people." ...
~ ~ ~
. . . "Your self-realization is illusory. You are a carbon copy without carbon . . ."
Artwork by Kelly Freas
~ ~ ~
. . . Sir Edgar switched off his secret viewer. "If that doesn't give me an uncontested divorce, I don't know what will."  . . .
~ ~ ~
. . . "I can only jump to the obvious conclusion: Somehow, by some disintegration or disorientation process, a vertical hole was made inside the building. Dorphelmyer stepped into it and fell to his death."  . . .
~ ~ ~
. . . Much more than cosmetic surgery, a most promising and rewarding field for development. Instravel Re-Creative Physical Perfectionizing.  . . .
~ ~ ~
. . . "Why do people commit crimes? And why, when organized crime is practically nonexistent, when crime is now the province of the rare amateur, why should crime prevention cost more?"  . . .
~ ~ ~ 
. . . "Right under my nose all the time. The most obvious suspect and I discarded him. Why? Because he didn't have the know-how, the scientific background, the technical knowledge."  . . .
~ ~ ~
. . . "Taken all round, I must say that your drug is the greatest single crime-preventive aid of the century . . ."
~ ~ ~
. . . "Between us we have overcome practically every obstacle. We can create a chronomorphous state, and our main difficulty now is period selectivity."  . . .
~ ~ ~
. . . He rubbed his chin. It might work. He could envision her whereabouts and influence something to fall on her. Or perhaps give her a push. Or maybe put a glidocar out of control and . . .
~ ~ ~ 
. . . "Your memory will be gone for about a week."  . . .
~ ~ ~ 
. . . "I saw no reason why such a fortuitous discovery should become public property."
Resources:
- Jack Wodhams, a British-born Australian SF writer, has a short Wikipedia article about him HERE and a more substantial one in the SFE HERE, with bibliographical data HERE.
- Note: The story link above is to the only online copy of "There Is a Crooked Man" that we could find; we would apologize for its defects but we didn't cause them.

Category: Science fiction about the abuses of protean technology

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