Monday, January 09, 2006

Alternating Currents

Finished this 1956 collection of Frederick Pohl short stories. It's interesting how Pohl was preoccupied by a few particular topics:

  • Manipulative marketing and obnoxious forms of advertising. Did Pohl perhaps work in advertising at some point? It's here in the stories The Children of Night and The Tunnel Under the World (which I believe became a Twilight Zone episode) as well as in his well-known novels The Space Merchants and The Merchants' War.
  • Stories where protagonists try to change history to prevent the creation or use of atomic weapons, but only end up making things worse. In this collection, there are the stories Let the Ants Try and Target One. Pohl's collaborator C.M. Kornbluth had the same theme in his story Two Dooms.
  • Overpopulation, which shows up here in the stories Target One and Grandy Devil. This also showed up in C.M. Kornbluth stories, e.g., The Marching Morons.