Saturday, 7 December 2013

"The Stolen Mind" by M.L. Staley

I was trying to explain to my husband the plot of this one, and I think I might have broken his brain in the process. I'm not sure that I didn't break my own. If you want to tell a story about mind control, this is an overly complicated way to do it.

So, we have a mad scientist. (Of course we do. That's two mad scientists out of four stories. Both are intent on destroying the world! Well, this one is bent on making a lot of money by selling the Commies a doomsday weapon, which is pretty much the same thing, right?) But his brother doesn't want to sell the doomsday weapon to the Commies, silly sap.

So how do you deal with this? Well, if you're this mad scientist, you hire a man, submerge him in some kind of liquids (I didn't want to inquire too closely) and use the vibrations to attune his mind to your own.

After all, "it is well known that the vibrations of an individual's will are as distinctive as the sworls of his finger-prints."

But when he's in your brain, you become the Master Will, and so you control him utterly. Then you physically walk this mind that's sharing your brain, powerless, over to your brother and touch him, and transfer, somehow, this meandering mind into your brother's mind, where he will be able to control it, but you still control him, remember, because you're the Master Will, even though he's now in someone else's body, and off we go to demonstrate our doomsday device on a wholesome American lake before handing it over to the Russians!

Yeah, that's about as clear as I can make it. So the first mind to bring another mind into itself can continue to control that second mind, even when it transfers that second mind into a third mind. Does this not seem overly convoluted to you? If the first brain is using the second brain to control the third brain, while staying in its own skull, why not just control the third brain directly? Why do we have to bring a second brain in at all? (Particularly since that second brain is working for the Feds.)

This story is overly complicated, despite its delightful reliance, yet again, on "vibrations" to explain everything.

But let's see: Gender? No women, which, again, is in and of itself a statement. Race? Ditto. Do I even need to ask about sexuality? Despite all this penetration of brains, there is no hint of sexuality in the air.

And the place of science in the world? Well, this story is very much like the "Beetle Horde" one I reviewed first of all in this series. You can't trust those scientists. They make things that people can't understand (and in this case, apparently excelled in both mind control and doomsday device at Mad Scientist School) and threaten to destroy the world, unless fine upstanding young men like Quest can stop him. Unlike the other stories, there really aren't any good scientists in this one. Well, maybe the brother who is reluctant to sell the device in the first place, but we don't really get to know him at all. The inter-brain stuff doesn't have any namby-pamby time for feelings or emotions or thoughts on having your brain invaded.

So, the entire world is sexless white men, and the scientists among them are trying to blow up the world and steal your brain.

2 comments:

  1. you cant criticise an author for not including your type of characters based on gender, sexuality or race. this is the reason why artists are afraid of political correctdness.

    ReplyDelete
  2. you cant criticise an author for not including your type of characters based on gender, sexuality or race. this is the reason why artists are afraid of political correctdness.

    ReplyDelete