Sunday, December 4, 2011

Short Story Sunday - A Rare Miss for the Good Doctor

"Button, Button" by Isaac Asimov

First Publication:  Startling Stories, January 1953

It is rare for me to find an Asimov story that misses the mark for me.  This is one of those incidents.

The plot is solid enough.  A lawyer is approached by his uncle who has invented a flute that can be played by the power of the mind.  When he tried to get a company to start producing them, his invention is turned into a weapon.  Now he wants to raise the money to make his own plant that will put his musical instrument on the market.  The lawyer comes up with a plan but fails to take one thing into account.

The thing that ruined the story for me was the dialect Asimov chose for the uncle.  He is an immigrant who speaks broken English.  I have no problem with his background but the way he writes the dialog took me out of the story.  

As you can see from the cover, Asimov was not the featured author on this cover.  A quick look at the table of contents shows many other name authors of that time:  Damon Knight, Murray Leinster, James Gunn, and Jack Vance.  There is even an essay written by Marion Zimmer Bradley.

Skip this one and read the many other short works by Asimov.  He has written many classics that should be read by fans today.

1 comment:

Carl V. said...

Wow, that is some author list!

It must have been a thing of that time period to have the odd dialogue. I think of stories like The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, for example, which I have a really hard time with because of the dialogue. I was thankful that Bester only did that for a handful of pages in The Stars My Destination.