Sethos was a great artist, a talented man, quite possibly the most famous man of his time and world. But, alas!—there were other worlds. And is not the grass always greener...?
e getting a little further each time, and each time the mechanoids would patiently bring him back. On and on ... until he requested therapy....
"You are now one mile from zone," said his clocker. "The time is eleven-twenty-eight p.m."
The lights burned on into the distance. His legs were beginning to ache, but still the urge to cross the city was intense.
Maybe I'll go till I come to the ocean, he thought, sucking his breath. He had seen pictures of the ocean, that featureless blue with its concrete wall stretching away for thousands of miles.
A mechanoid stood on a corner, pointing back. So that was the next trick! Helpful, hinting.... He saw another, showing the way home.
He grew angry. It'll be a battle of nerves. They'll get nicer and nicer to me, until I can't stand it any more.
He concentrated on the lights, watching them pass one by one. That helped.
"Please note your return route."
He wondered if they had missed him at the party
A brilliant and acclaimed musician and painter, Sethos gave up those things and now worked his artistry designing plants. But he was bored. The robot lands surrounding the human enclave were seldom visited by humans they served, but Sethos was the finest existing human mind, and he was bored.
A good twist at the end.
(1954) Sci-fi (Sequestered Earth)
From \'IF Worlds of Science Fiction\' May 1954.
Sethos is a man who is smarter, more artistic, more inquisitive than anyone in his little community - a community maintained by mechanized robots. There are boundaries but no bars other than what the human inhabitants have placed themselves. However, when Sethos decides to test those boundaries he finds an unexpected and unwelcome surprise.
Something of a tragic Man-in-a-zoo tale.