"A Logic Named Joe" is a 1946 science fiction short story by Murray Leinster. It is about a network connected machine that can answer any and all questions!
Predicting The Internet But Not Behavior
The most amazing thing about this story is that it predicts a network of machines that people use to get information, news and entertainment – sound like anything we know? Being written in 1946 I find it remarkable that the author foresees a type of internet and gets several aspects of it right. The disappointing part, however, is that Mr. Leinster assumes people are generally bad and that the only reason they don’t do terrible things is because they lack the knowledge. Luckily, today’s internet hasn’t had that effect on the current population… or has it?
Non-spoiler Summary in a Nutshell
“Ducky” is a logic repairman who has a problem. What is a logic you ask? Well, it is a type of advanced machine that is connected to a giant network of relays – a network that literally holds all knowledge! That’s pretty powerful, so it’s a good thing that information is kept under tight control. But something strange has recently happened – when people log onto their logic machine they are getting messages stating that the logic can answer any question they have! Bust out the craziness! Once this is discovered people go hog wild asking juicy gossip about neighbors, how to make loads of money quickly, how to rob banks, how to kill people they don’t like and a lot of other terrible things. Needless to say, this doesn’t make for a happy society. “Ducky” has his own problems as a psycho ex-girlfriend is intent on hooking up with him, and he needs some answers fast. Hey – that gives him a really good idea… but will it be enough? Hmm… any guesses on what he will do?
Interesting Tidbits About This Story:
- Page Count: 13
- Word Count: 6,733
- Did you know that Murray Leinster is the pen name of William Fitzgerald Jenkins? Yep. You can learn more about this talented science fiction author at Wikipedia.
- Special thanks to Variety SF for pointing out this great story!
Where You Can Find A Logic Named Joe:
- This story was first published in the March 1946 issue of Astounding Science Fiction.
- You can read "A Logic Named Joe" online for free at Webscription.
- This story is included in Murray Leinster’s short story collection, also entitled A Logic Named Joe.
Craving More Science Fiction Short Stories?
If you liked "A Logic Named Joe" then you might also enjoy “Jeffty is Five” by Harlan Ellison – about a small boy who never ages and the strange pocket of time in which he lives.