I Found a Cool Story the Other Day, #12

Actually, I found it a long time ago.

Today’s cool story is from C.M.Kornbluth, one of my favorite authors from the Golden Age of science fiction. Kornbluth was a friend and collaborator with spec-fic luminaries Isaac Asimov and Frederik Pohl. He began writing when he was 15 years old, but his brilliant career was cut tragically short by a heart attack at age 35. He’s probably best known as co-author of The Space Merchants, a novel he wrote in collaboration with Frederik Pohl. The best currently-available source for Mr. Kornbluth’s short fiction is His Share of Glory: The Complete Short Fiction of C.M. Kornbluth, published in 1997.

Primarily a short story writer, he penned a host of classic tales, including “The Marching Morons,” “The Little Black Bag,” “The Mindworm,” and the story I’m featuring today, “The Advent on Channel Twelve.”

Corporate greed, tangled marketing schemes, hijacking of intellectual property, and the power of popular culture are all skewered in this satirical little story revolving around one “Poopy Panda,” an animated character most of us will find uncomfortably familiar. Written in the style of a Biblical epistle, for reasons that become crystal clear toward the end of the story, “The Advent on Channel Twelve” is as relevant today as it was back in 1958. It’s hilarious, and just a little bit frightening after you’ve ruminated on it for a while. I guarantee you’ll watch those Saturday morning cartoons in a whole new light.

And the animators and directors and cameramen and writers were sore amazed and they said one to the other, This is the bleeding end, and the bankers which sit in New York have flipped their wigs. And one which was an old animator said to Ben Graffis, trembling, O chief, never would I have stolen for thee Poopy Panda from the Winnie the Pooh illustrations back in twenty-nine had I known this was in the cards, and Ben Graffis fired him.

Note: The link to this story leads to a site that has posted a variety of sci-fi short stories, including many by Mr. Kornbluth. There is no indication whether or not permission was asked or given to post these stories, and the only reason I’m linking here is that many of Mr. Kornbluth’s works have gone out of print, or are about to, and I’m trying to spark interest in a very worthy and important writer in the genesis and early growth of the science-fiction genre. What I’d really like to see is an official site with a selection of Mr. Kornbluth’s work freely available for reading.

UPDATE: The links to this story died. Apologies. Should I find another source online, I’ll post it here.

If you like this story, I urge you to go to the Amazon links above for His Share of Glory, or The Space Merchants, and buy a print copy. You’ll be glad you did.

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