“Feedback” by Katherine MacLean

December 26, 2011

The Book: “Feedback” by Katherine MacLeanOriginally published by Astounding Science Fiction in July 1951. Read in The Diploids and Other Flights of Fancy published by Avon (G-1143) in 1962.

The Setting: Earth, in the future. Everytown, USA.

The Story: In the future, everyone is free to be exactly like everyone else – it’s democratic.  Conformity bounces against conformity creating a feedback loop, with unfortunate consequences for individuals.

The Science: A social science problem. It’s not hard to imagine a world where anything outside the norm is met with swift reprisal. Or is that called middle school?  It’s a nice story that takes you to the end of a slippery slope and points and how nasty it is down there.

The Reaction: A good story, which is probably why it’s been retold many times in many ways.

The Cover: Same as the first time.

Next Up: “Pictures Don’t Lie” by Katherine MacLean



  1. Have you read her great novel, Missing Man (1975)? I highly recommend it!

    • I have not! I’ll keep an eye out for it, but I’m a long way from the 1970s at this point.

  2. It’s late for me too — I prefer stuff before ’75… But it’s always nice to “discover” a seldom read gem by a female author.

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