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Watchbird

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Author: Robert Sheckley
Published: 1953
Language: English
Wordcount: 8,019 / 32 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 73
LoC Category: PN
Downloads: 2,500
Added to site: 2009.08.03
mnybks.net#: 24875
Genre: Short Story

Strange how often the Millennium has been at hand. The idea is peace on Earth, see, and the way to do it is by figuring out angles.

Show Excerpt

e in on the first week of watchbird operation," his secretary told him.

"How do they look?"

"Wonderful, sir."

"Send them in in fifteen minutes." Gelsen switched the intercom off and turned back to Macintyre, who was cleaning his fingernails with a wooden match. "Don't you think that this represents a trend in human thinking? The mechanical god? The electronic father?"

"Chief," Macintyre said, "I think you should study watchbird more closely. Do you know what's built into the circuits?"

"Only generally."

"First, there is a purpose. Which is to stop living organisms from committing murder. Two, murder may be defined as an act of violence, consisting of breaking, mangling, maltreating or otherwise stopping the functions of a living organism by a living organism. Three, most murderers are detectable by certain chemical and electrical changes."

Macintyre paused to light another cigarette. "Those conditions take care of the routine functions. Then, for the learning c

Reader Reviews

Average Rating of 5 from 2 reviews: *****
2014.07.22
Lisa Carr
*****

Great story about a solution to the U.S.'s murder problem: mechanical birds which can detect murderous brainwaves and pheromones, and dive down to prevent the murder. Of course, there's alway one stick-in-the-mud who has a vague intuition the project might not be a good idea.

First-rate extrapolation into the future by a good writer.

Great satirical science fiction.
Has all the necessary ingredients to satisfy the science fiction reader; good hard scientific background and a healthy dose of speculation.
It also has the qualities to please the mainstream reader; suspense, satire etc.
Most importantly it has the magical touch and personal flavor of a great writer. Highly reccomended.


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