Monday, September 30, 2013

The Wizard of West Orange, by Steve Millhauser

The Wizard of West Orange is the last story in The Secret History of Science Fiction.  The link is to a paysite, there are no legit free ones that I can find.  It's a good closing--nice plotting, a good speculative base in an unusual science space.  The Wizard is Thomas Edison, and we get a very interesting view of his New York labs.  Lots of idealism, competition and secrecy.  The key is the haptograph--a device meant to simulate any bodily sensation.  It's kind of a skunk work, monitored by Edison but not closely.  It is told as a series of diary entries by the librarian, who gets involved with the experiments. 

Very interesting life lessons here on what does and does not get pursued in a working science lab.  What would the world be like if a haptograph existed?  We may find out soon.  3 stars, go read it.

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