Thursday, January 8, 2009

SF authors born 1844-53: 1852

1. E.P. Mitchell


E.P. Mitchell (1852-1927)

* "The Man Without A Body"

* "The Ablest Man in the World" (New York Sun, May 4, 1879). Fisher, a wealthy American traveler, is mistaken for a doctor and taken to the bedside of Baron Savitch, a Russian who is in great pain. In agony, the Baron begs Fisher to unscrew the silver plate in the top of his head, which Fisher begins to do — but just then, the Baron's private doctor, Dr. Rapperschwyll, rushes in and expels Fisher rudely. Upon investigation, Fisher discovers that the Baron is a remarkable genius, the secret mastermind who has been running the Russian empire, where he has produced startling reforms. Fisher then forces Rapperschwyll to confess that he designed a small logical engine far superior to Babbage's calculating machine, and inserted it into the head of Baron Savitch, until that point a congenital idiot. Worried that Savitch (whom we'd now call a cyborg) will become a new Napoleon, Fisher gets him drunk, unscrews his head, and disposes of the logic machine.

* "The Story of the Deluge" -- influenced Serviss

* TK

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