a story in which the primary focus is on inventions or the process of inventing
The gadget stories were more interesting. They frequently made honest attempts at forecasting scientific developments. Atomic power, stratosphere exploration, the rocket flight that so absorbs Chantrelle, all the features that may revolutionize the second half of this century as thoroughly as radio and the airplane have transformed this half—all these became familiar, workable things. But the writers stopped there. Interest lay in the gadget itself. And science fiction was headed for a blind alley until the realization came that even science fiction must remain fiction, and fiction is basically about people, not subatomic blasters nor time warps.
May I leave you with a plea for more fantasy, more space-and-interplanetary tales, more humor and less ‘gadget’ and ‘surprise twist’ stories.
Ted Sturgeon’s well-done but minor Memory, very much a gadget story of a sort I did not know T. S. ever wrote; Sam Merwin’s Exiled from Earth, dug from his earliest literary strata; Leigh Brackett’s Retreat to the Stars, one of those Adam and Eve re-creations that I find unconvincing whenever they turn up; and Henry Kutner’s funny but drastically unimportant and non-science fiction Voice of the Lobster.
Several people have undertaken to classify imaginative stories. Heinlein did so on the basis of the story’s interest into gadget-stories and human-interest stories, and then further subdivided the latter into three plot-types: Boy-meets-Girl, the Little Tailor, and the Man Who Learned Better.
This indispensable three-fold awareness does not limit the science fiction author to stories about science—he need not write a gadget story; indeed a gadget story would not be science fiction under this definition if the author failed in this three-fold awareness.
Specifically, in regard to the stories: THE WORLD-THINKER is my first published story. DREAM CASTLES, SABOTAGE ON SULFUR PLANET, POTTERS OF FIRSK (with its smarmy ending) came while I was trying to produce gadget stories.
'H.H. Holmes', 'Rocket to the Morgue'
In addition to antedatings, we would like cites from after 1982.
Last modified 2020-12-16 04:08:47
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.