mordicai caeli (mordicai) wrote,
mordicai caeli

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I can varish, I can skren, I can grok. (112)

Robots Have No Tails by Henry Kuttner.

Your "liquor organ"
is an instrument, not a
gland, like what I want.

The premise lies thus: Galloway Gallegher is a drunk. & a genius. But only at the same time. Sober Gallegher is a perpetually harrassed trouble maker, but if you get the epic quantities of alcohol into him that he requiers to take the edge off, he will invent your socks off. Not in any reasonable fashion-- no, drunken Gallegher (eventually dubbed "Gallegher Plus") won't make any sort of assembly that makes sense to sober people. He'll weld shoehorns to wastebaskets, put in an order (on credit) for thousands of credits worth of bioplasm, toss in a handful of gadgets...& then sober up. Then poor hungover Gallegher has to figure out what he invented. Of course, this all comes in the middle of a tempest-- people trying to collect on his outstanding debts, shady lawyers (they don't call 'em shysters for nothing) trying to bully him for a court case, police claiming he's murdered someone, crooks wanting him to murder someone-- all kinds of worry. & in the middle of it, he's got the MacGuffin he invented last night. Which is the mystery-- why did he invent a see-through robot sidekick (Joe, or Narcissus) who only likes to stare at himself & proclaim his beauty? Why did he invent it to solve an attempt to break a television network monopoly? Gallegher tries to trace his drunken footsteps & inebriated thought process, to fun effect. Joe, Grandpa, & the occasional space invader bunny ("the world is ours!") keep him company along the way. These are short stories, but they sure are a fun couple of pulps.
Tags: books, haiku

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