“Defense Mechanism” by Katherine McLeanJanuary 30, 2011
The Book: “Defense Mechanism” by Katherine MacLean. Originally published by Astounding Science Fiction in October 1949. Read in The Diploids and Other Flights of Fancy published by Avon (G-1143) in 1962.
The Setting: Earth.
The Story: A man and his infant son share a psychic link and love bunny rabbits.
The Science: In this story, a man and his infant son share the ability to communicate telepathically and sense other minds around them. Despite its best efforts, science has not yet been able to make a good case for the existence of psychic communication between two human people.
The Reaction:The idea is interesting, but I felt the execution was a little messy. I had to read the end two or three times to really follow along. An attempt to give something of a feminist reading to this makes me glad to point out that the father is taking on a strong care-taker role in his infant son’s life. Perhaps progressive for 1949.
The Cover: Clearly not related to this story, the cover intrigues me with its wandering people, pointy bubbles and chaotic sky. Not my favorite, perhaps, but quite nice nonetheless.
Etc: The first female author I’ve encountered in this project. I look forward to reading more of her stories.
Next Up: “History Lesson” by Arthur C. Clarke