The Great Gray Plague

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Published: 1962
Language: English
Wordcount: 26,781 / 85 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 68
LoC Category: PS
Downloads: 1,833
Added to site: 2009.02.19 23477

There is no enemy so hard to fight as a dull gray fog. It's not solid enough to beat, too indefinite to kill, and too omnipresent to escape.

Show Excerpt

turned down for a research grant in physics?"

"It's a factor in the measurement of the overall status."

"Look," said Fenwick, "the citizens of Clearwater are so infernally busy with their own shindigs that they wouldn't know what to do if we brought a long-hair performance into town. If it isn't square-dancing in the Grange Hall, it's a pageant in the Masonic Temple. The married kids would probably like to see a Broadway play, all right, but they're so darned busy rehearsing their own in the basement of the Methodist Church that I doubt they could find time to come. Besides that, there's the community choir every Thursday, and the high school music department has a recital nearly every month. People would drop dead if they had any more to go to in Clearwater. I'd say our culture is doing pretty good."

"Folk activities are always admirable," said Baker, "but improvement of the cultural level in any community depends on the injection of outside influences, and this is one of the functions


Average Rating of 3.4 from 5 reviews: ****
JoJo Biggins

It's an OK story. Nowhere near as bad as the 1-star reviewer says, but then again in no way does it deserve more than 3 stars. There's little action, but the premise is different enough to be interesting. I skimmed over many of the pages, but did follow the story through to the end. It's an OK read if your expectations are not too high.

Sardo Weems

The story is entertaining, and the ideas interesting. Lest you think it's just about funding for scientific research, it also has: telepathy amplifying crystals, a death/rebirth experience, and an alien. It held my interest, especially the rebirth and its explanation.


At the core of this novella is a government administrator's criteria for funding of scientific research - which sounds about as interesting as watching paint dry. Somehow the author manages to make an entertaining story out of it.


My view is that the previous reviewer has literally lost the plot. Certainly IMHO he seems to have missed the point of the story, which seeks to examine the manner in which science research is funded in the USA (and doubtless elsewhere.) It takes a little extra-terrestial assistance for the man in charge to see a new approach. Oh, and it's one of my favourtie stories. Make your own mind up, naturally enough

C. Alan Loewen

Run for your life.

This is not a story, but a humanistic sermon loosely disguised as a science fiction tale.

If The Great Gray Plague was an essay, I wouldn't complain. In fact, I would most likely praise it.

What you have here is a story that frames a long, long discourse about a man who has had a near-death insight into the nature of scientific research and the sermon goes on and on and on.

I give it five stars as an insomnia cure.

C. Alan Loewen

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