Bad Medicine

Another story I was going to read over Christmas was Robert Sheckley’s Bad Medicine, from which I quoted the beginning:

On May 2, 2103, Elwood Caswell walked rapidly down Broadway with a loaded revolver hidden in his coat pocket. He didn’t want to use the weapon, but feared he might anyhow. This was a justifiable assumption, for Caswell was a homicidal maniac.

Sheckley writes lovely mild satire. It just happens to take place in the future. I don’t quite get the comparison with Douglas Adams, except that they are both science fiction authors who use humour. I’d compare Sheckley (just on the basis of this one story, mind!) with other satiricists, such as Ephraïm Kishon.

The story is about a homicidal jet-bus driver who represses his tendencies by robot-therapy sessions. Accidentally, he receives a robot that is pre-set to treat Martian conditions…

Definitely got me interested in his other works, several of which he published at Scifiction Magazine, a magazine closed down by its corporate owners, the infamous SciFi Channel. At the time of writing, their archives are still open though.

Bad Medicine by Robert Sheckley, 7/10. Reviewed by Branko Collin on February 22, 2006.

(There is also a human-read (by Sheckley?) audio book version of the story.)

Edit 4 June 2006: adapted this review to the hReview microformat.

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