“Incommunicado” by Katherine McLean

March 29, 2011

The Book: “Incommunicado” by Katherine McLean. Originally published in Astounding Science Fiction, June 1950. Read in The Diploids and Other Flights of Fancy published by Avon (G-1143) in 1962.

The Setting: Space stations near Pluto. The future, obviously.

The Story: During a time of chaos, a guy discovered that a space station population has unconsciously developed a musical rapport with their computer. 

The Science: Musical tones, etc, in the story facilitate knowledge and learning. And it seems true enough that music works in a unique way with the human brain (ear worms anyone?), but I’m not sure about the science of this story. Although I don’t recall it very well. Apparently, according to the story on the author’s Wikipedia page, electronic engineers loved it though, so that’s a good sign.

The Reaction: I loved how pulpy this story felt but, for one reason or another, I had trouble following it around.  I’m not sure if it was me or the story that was the trouble.

The Cover: Same as before

Next Up: “The Pyramid in the Desert” by Katherine MacLean.

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