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The Artificial Man and Other Stories by Clare Winger Harris

Two stories of ambitious men attempting to become more than human and three stories regarding the nature of time.

Book Details

Book Details

The Artificial Man and Other Stories – two stories of ambitious men attempting to become more than human and three stories regarding the nature of time. A Baby on Neptune was co-written with Miles J. Breuer, M.D.

The Artificial Man (1929) – “…as much of my body as can be removed and substituted by artificial parts, I wish to have done.”

  1. A Transformation
  2. The Parting
  3. A Man Obsessed
  4. The Artificial Man
  5. The Thread Snaps

The Diabolical Drug (1929) – “It will make Ponce de Leon’s fountain of eternal youth look like poison hooch!”

The Fifth Dimension (1928) – “…in the vast cycles of time and space, we repeat our existence upon this earth.” A four chapter novelette.

The Evolutionary Monstrosity (1929) – “Without the modifying and mollifying influence of a changing environment, evolution is a tool in the hands of the devil.” A six chapter novelette.

A Baby On Neptune (1929) – “Now, suppose that the messages from Neptune are so slow that they fail to register with us. Because of their slowness, we cannot synthesize them into sounds!”

  1. A Dying Wish
  2. Recording on the Steel Tape
  3. A Trip Into Space
  4. Elzar Explains
  5. What Life on Neptune?
  6. A Visit to Neptune
  7. The Baby on Neptune

Clare Winger Harris (1891-1968) was an early science fiction writer whose short stories were published during the 1920s. Her stories often dealt with characters on the “borders of humanity” such as cyborgs.

Harris began publishing magazine stories in 1926, and soon became well liked by readers. She was the first American woman to publish science fiction stories under her own name. Her writing career lasted until 1933.

The Artificial Man and Other Stories contains 10 illustrations.

Available for epub The Artificial Man and Other Stories by Clare Winger Harris and mobi The Artificial Man and Other Stories by Clare Winger Harris

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Excerpt: The Artificial Man

IN the annals of surgery no case has ever left quite as horrible an impression upon the public as did that of George Gregory, a student of Austin College. Young Gregory was equally proficient in scholastic and athletic work, having been for two years captain of the football team, and for one year a marked success in intercollegiate debates. No student of the senior class of Austin or Decker will ever forget his masterful arguments as he upheld the affirmative in the question:— “Resolved that bodily perfection is a result of right thinking.” Gregory gave every promise of being one of the masterful minds of the age; and if masterful in this instance means dominating, he was that—and more.

Alas that his brilliant mentality was destined to degradation through the physical body—but that is my story.

It was the Thanksgiving game that proved the beginning of George’s downfall. Warned by friends that he would be wise to Resist from the more dangerous physical sports, he laughingly – though with unquestionable sincerity — referred to the context of his famous debate, declaring that a correct mental attitude toward life — he had this point down to a mathematical correctness — rendered physical disasters impossible.

His sincerity in believing this was laudable, and so far his credence had stood him in good stead. No one who saw his well-proportioned six-foot figure making its way through the opponents’ lines, could doubt that the science of thinking rightly was favorably exemplified in young Gregory.

But can thinking be an exact science? Before the close of that Thanksgiving game George was carried unconscious from the field, and in two days his right leg was amputated just below the hip.

During the days of his convalescence two bedside visitors brightened the weary hours spent upon the hospital cot. They were David Bell, a medical student, and Rosalind Nelson, the girl whom George had loved since his freshman year.

“I say, Rosalind,” he ventured one day as she sat by his bedside. “It’s too bad to think of you ever being tied up to a cripple. I’m willing to step aside—can’t do it gracefully of course with only one leg—but I mean it, my dear girl. You don’t want only part of a husband!”

Rosalind smiled affectionately. “George, don’t think for a minute that it matters to me. You’re still you, and I love you dear. Can’t you believe that? The loss of a bodily member doesn’t alter your identity.”

“That’s just what gets me,” responded her lover with a puzzled frown. “I have always believed, and do now, that the mental and physical are so closely related as to be inseparable. I think it is Browning who says, ‘We know not whether soul helps body more than body helps soul.’ They develop together, and if either is injured the other is harmed. Losing part of my body has made me lose part of my soul. I’m not what I was. My mental attitude has changed as a result of this abominable catastrophe. I’m no longer so confident. I feel myself slipping and I—oh it is unbearable!”

Rosalind endeavored to the best of her ability to reassure the unfortunate man, but he sank into a despondent mood, and seeing that her efforts at cheering him were unavailing, she arose and left him.

In the outer hall she met Bell on his way to visit the sick man. He noticed her trembled mien and asked if George were not so well today.

“Yes, David,” she replied, a quiver in her voice, “the wound is healing nicely, but he is so morose. He has a notion —oh how can I tell it— a sort of feeling that some of his mental poise and confidence have gone with his lost limb. You will soon be a graduate physician, won’t you assure him that his fears are groundless?”

“I don’t know but that his case is one for the minister or psychologist rather than the medical man,” answered Bell. “His physical wound is healing, but it seems his mental wound is not. However, I will do my best, not only for your sake, Rosalind, but because I am interested in the happiness of my old college chum.”

Rosalind smiled her gratitude and turned abruptly away to hide the tears that she had held back as long as possible.

Five months passed, and with the aid of a crutch George made excellent headway in overcoming the difficulties of locomotion. If David and Rosalind noticed a subtle change in the disposition and character of their mutual friend, they made no further reference to it.

Excerpt From: Clare Winger Harris. “The Artificial Man and Other Stories.”

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