Published more than 60 years ago, this dark and prescient story of a future devolved to idiocy remains one of the most frightening visions to have emerged from the science fiction of that decade. Envisioning a future United States overwhelmed by a citizenry of low IQ (a consequence of the overbreeding of the stupid) Kornbluth was in fact writing of an observed present. The steady, inexorable descent of human intelligence obsessed Kornbluth, was one of his major themes and reached its truest statement in this novelette. The secret masters of Kornbluth’s future are a small population of the intelligent who in subterranean fashion run the country but the “marching morons” overwhelm them and they summon a cynical entrepreneur from the past to help them deal with the dilemma. Weak on technology (a time machine is employed scoop the entrepreneur into their present) the novelette is deadly accurate in its portrait of a society sunk in stupid television, ornate, worthless automobiles and catchphrases which substitute for thought. The denouement is absolutely uncompromising and its utter bleakness is refractory not of a speculative future (which it may well be) but a present which Kornbluth found omnipresent and unbearable. In terms of social statement and extrapolation THE MARCHING MORONS stands with Orwell’s 1984 or Forster’s THE MACHINE STOPS as shattering anatomization of an inevitable future.

Published: RosettaBooks on
ISBN: 9780795321535
List price: $3.99
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