Tuesday, July 15, 2014

What Story Is This?

So, at the start of one chapter in her SMOKE ON THE MOUNTAIN, Joy Davidman provides the following synopsis of a science fiction story to make a point. She does not, however, give the title or identify the author.* Does the following seem familiar to anybody?

In a finite world, continually increasing conumption is just not possible. Some modern fabulist once put this very neatly; he wrote of a wonderful atomic converter which took common earth and stone and turned out whatever goods you wanted. Men rejoiced at the end of all poverty and laughed at the few reactionaries who feared that the world might get used up. Five thousand years later, astronomers were disproving with mathematics the popular legend that the earth had once been much bigger than the moon. Ten thousand years later the story ended-with one starving ancient, perched on his converter, adrift in empty space.


*assuming, of course, that such a story actually existed and she didn't just make it up to make a point.

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