Wednesday, April 17, 2019

"Ours Was the Most Security Conscious Project in the Whole Country; and This Was Where He Had Picked to Get Himself Killed"

TODAY WE RETURN to the golden days of yesteryear when a tape-fed electronic computer could—and often did—occupy the entire floor of a building . . .

By George H. Smith (1922-96).
Illustration by [Frank] Kelly Freas (1922-2005; HERE).
First appearance: Worlds of IF, May 1955.

Reprints page (HERE).
Short short story (7 pages).
Online at Project Gutenberg (HERE) and (HERE).

     "Now he couldn't mistreat Edith anymore."

It's abundantly clear that if our killer ever read this precautionary observation from the Bard of Avon, s/he dismissed it: "To be wise and love, Exceeds man's might" . . .

~ Dr. Dudley Ballard:

  ". . . had been as inconsiderate in his dying as he had been in his living."
~ Art MacKinney:
  "God! There'll really be a stink about this."
~ Bill Green:
  "I hated Ballard's guts and everyone knew it, so there was no point in being hypocritical now."
~ Edith:
  ". . . was only a computing machine, a mechanical brain, the final result of years of work by the best cybernetics experts in the world."
~ Mr. Thompson:
  "He looked nervous and I couldn't help wondering what he was thinking. There had been stories circulating about Ballard and Thompson's wife and the dome-headed little man must have heard them too."
~ A gray haired, gray suited security agent:
  "Are you nuts?"
~ The coroner:
  "'—and since it could not have been the work of an outsider, it must have been a crime of a private nature.' He looked closely at Thompson, MacKinney and me. 'A crime of a private nature with the motive either revenge, jealousy or ambition.'"

- There's more about George Henry Smith at Wikipedia (HERE), the SFE (HERE), and the ISFDb (HERE).

The bottom line:
   "Whether we are based on carbon or silicon makes no fundamental difference. We should each be treated with appropriate respect. . . . HAL was told to lie—by people who find it easy to lie. HAL doesn't know how."
   - Dr. Chandra


No comments:

Post a Comment