Cover image for


Author: Albert Teichner
Published: 1963
Language: English
Wordcount: 7,791 / 30 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 78.4
LoC Category: PZ
Downloads: 2,500
Added to site: 2008.10.04
mnybks.net#: 22212
Origin: gutenberg.org

For thousands of years the big brain served as amaster switchboard for the thoughtsand emotions of humanity.Now the central mind was showing signs of decay... and men went mad.

Show Excerpt

ed a mystery to his easily-tired mind. It was not completely satisfactory but it would be enough to get him a better-than-average menial job when he had finally accepted his new condition.

At long last a letter came from Ted on Mars. It said:

Guilty by association, that's what I am! When it first happened I was furious with the two of you but resignation has its own consolations and I've given up the ranting. Of course, I've lost my job and my new one will keep me from Earth a longer time but the real loss is not being able to think on Earth Central once a day. As you know, it's a funny civilization here anyway. As yet, there's no local telepathic Central but all Active Communicators are permitted to think in on Earth Central once a day--except for the big shots who can even telepath social engagements to each other by way of Earth! Privileged but a pretty dull crowd anyway.

Oh yes, another exception to the general ration, Suspendeds like me. Funny thing about that, seems to me there are


Average Rating of 4.8 from 4 reviews: *****
Paulo Respighi

An unusual story, in that there are a couple of women characters who do more than answer the phone and type.

In future times, telepathy is developed, and people find themselves overwhelmed with the constant barrage of other people's thoughts. So they create an organic computer to act as a telepathy switchboard. It works fine for a long time, then it starts getting cranky.

The ending is okay, but a different result could have been a book-length story. The characterizations were good.


Excellent short story with the theme of humanity's over-reliance on technology. If you read and enjoyed "The Machine Stops" then don't miss this one.


Excellent read... loved it!


the author was a brilliant man and dear friend who died in the late '80's. many of his stories, like this one, are already 50 years old, but filled with fun and thought-provoking ideas!

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