“Melancholy Elephants” is a 1983 short story by Spider Robinson. It deals with a legal issue, which is what first attracted me to it. The issue is copyright, and the theme is the mental health of the species. In it a U.S. Senate lobbyist argues against a law which will protect artist’s intellectual property in perpetuity. The hook is (at least the first hook) is that she represents the artists!
Robinson usually takes a broad, back-seat view of things. He also likes to inform his characters with Buddhist influenced perspectives, and in this story he does both. I had a few problems with the story, but in my opinion it is one of the very few great legal SF stories that are out there.
Here is a link to the text of the story itself:
Here is a link to a write up of this story on my own Law and Science Fiction blog:
And finally here is a link to a review of Isaac Asimov’s anthology, The New Hugo Winners, where the story appears:
Special thanks to Omphalos for providing today’s guest post! He runs a couple of science fiction web sites, and my first contact with him was the excellent Omphalos’ Book Reviews, where he reviews great science fiction books. And since he is a lawyer, he also runs a blog (or “blawg”!) which talks about the relationships between science fiction and the law – be sure to visit it at The Law and Science Fiction.