The Big Bounce

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Author: Walter S. Tevis
Published: 1958
Language: English
Wordcount: 4,745 / 21 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 86.3
LoC Category: PS
Downloads: 2,311
Added to site: 2007.10.24 18674

Seeing it in action, anybody would quaver in alarm: What hath Farnsworth overwrought?

Show Excerpt

eeks can stand by a fireplace of the sort that seems to demand a big man with tweeds, pipe and, perhaps, a saber wound.

Anyway, he held the box dramatically and he said, "Last week, I was playing around in the chem lab, trying to make a new kind of rubber eraser. Did quite well with the other drafting equipment, you know, especially the dimensional curve and the photosensitive ink. Well, I approached the job by trying for a material that would absorb graphite without abrading paper."

I was a little disappointed with this; it sounded pretty tame. But I said, "How did it come out?"

* * * * *

He screwed his pudgy face up thoughtfully. "Synthesized the material, all right, and it seems to work, but the interesting thing is that it has a certain--ah--secondar


Average Rating of 3.7 from 6 reviews: ****
Sardo Weems

I thought the story clever. The inventor makes a substance that converts heat into kinetic energy (without having to go through a steam engine.) I didn't see the consequences or the ending coming. The author did a good job. The story is tight and well-plotted.

Mauro Motta

At first, I just couldn't see how could anyone dislike this story.

The story is just the purest form of SF story, a story nicely depicting the Extra-ordinary intruding on the ordinary, and doing ir in a very natural way. There are people, however, that plainly dislike pure SF, they like military, or spy stories spiced with SF props and scenery, hospital stories with SF spice, but not pure SF at all.

It their close-mindedness, and their loss....

A. A. Arraes

Actually, The story is fine, well-paced and well developed.

In fact, Isaac Asimov chose it to figure in one of his best anthologies.



I knew this sounded familiar. It is the basis for the movie "The Absent Minded Professor" with Fred McMurray. Out in 1961.

The professor invented "flubber" a rubber that had it's own energy and bounced without force. Used it to fly around, and put it in his in his Ford get it airborne. The story itself is still pretty lame though.


"What are you up to Farnsworth?" (Farnsworth?).
Farnsworth has created a rubber ball he hoped would be an eraser, but he messed up and the new rubber compound takes heat energy out of it's surroundings and uses it to bounce higher and higher. It becomes a danger, bouncing ever higher out of control. They chase it, finally to find it kills itself by hitting the ground so hard it makes a crater and breaks into pieces. They then bury the pieces to prevent a repeat. Who are these guys anyway? They live in San Francisco; I don't know, does that explain any of it?

Well, I disagree with the last reviewer. I think this story is ridiculous, and not worth a read. At least it's mercifully short. Do you hear me Farnsworth! I am going to write a story about a chicken liver that can play scrabble!

K. Vincent

Excellent story, much enjoyed. Reminiscent of Asimov's short stories. Good concept development, excellent blending in of humor, and written in good style.

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