What is a "phony"? Someone who believes he can do X, when he can't, however sincerely he believes it? Or someone who can do X, believes he can't, and believes he is pretending he can?
hysics where a fact becomes not a fact any longer. The astronomers talk about the expanding universe--it's a piker compared to man's expanding concepts about that universe."
He waited for more. His face seemed to indicate that I was beating around the bush.
"That all has a bearing on what happened," I assured him. "You have to understand what was behind the facts before you can understand the facts themselves. First, we weren't trying to make an antigrav unit at all. Dr. Auerbach was playing around with a chemical approach to cybernetics. He made up some goop which he thought would store memory impulses, the way the brain stores them. He brought a plastic cylinder of it over to me, so I could discuss it with you. I laid it on my desk while I went on with my personnel management business at hand."
Old Stone Face opened a humidor and took out a cigar. He lit it slowly and deliberately and looked at me sharply as he blew out the first puff of smoke.
* * * * *
"The nursery over
An amusing story about a company that has a government contract for anti-gravity machines that is stuck. Their anti-grav power source is a goop that stores psychic energy--specifically telekinetic emanations. But they have to find real psychics.
The main character is the personnel manager for the company, who has to cull the real psychics from the phonies, sometimes even when they think they're phonies.
Good plotting and characterizations.
Interesting and funny SF novella speculating on how to use the fact that most alleged psi forces appear in situations fraught with emotion.