Fiction Friday – Robert Sheckley, Tell me something funny.

Robert Sheckley

Robert Sheckley was one of the few science fiction writers to have a true sense of humor that translated into his work. A multiple Hugo and Nebula nominee, he was best known for his absurdist outlook and his stories were uniformly wry with a futuristic bent. His fan peers included Douglas Adams, Neil Gaiman, and Harlan Ellison.

This story, “Bad Medicine”, is a fan favorite. It’s the story of a man being treated by a psychotherapy machine intended for…

On May 2, 2103, Elwood Caswell walked rapidly down Broadway with a loaded revolver hidden in his coat pocket. He didn’t want to use the weapon, but feared he might anyhow. This was a justifiable assumption, for Caswell was a homicidal maniac.

It was a gentle, misty spring day and the air held the smell of rain and blossoming-dogwood. Caswell gripped the revolver in his sweaty right hand and tried to think of a single valid reason why he should not kill a man named Magnessen, who, the other day, had commented on how well Caswell looked.

What business was it of Magnessen’s how he looked? Damned busybodies, always spoiling things for everybody….

Caswell was a choleric little man with fierce red eyes, bulldog jowls and ginger-red hair. He was the sort you would expect to find perched on a detergent box, orating to a crowd of lunching businessmen and amused students, shouting, “Mars for the Martians, Venus for the Venusians!”

But in truth, Caswell was uninterested in the deplorable social conditions of extraterrestrials. He was a jetbus conductor for the New York Rapid Transit Corporation. He minded his own business. And he was quite mad.

Fortunately, he knew this at least part of the time, with at least half of his mind.

The entire text can be found here.

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