When I was in 4th grade, I had a miserable, mean teacher named Mrs. I remember many incidents that caused her to rank in the lower tiers of my instructors, but the one that sticks out the most went as follows:. I had done or said something that displayed my somewhat above-average intelligence, and Mrs. Middleton took umbrage. How would you like it if everyone was as smart as you? I recently saw a reprint of this masterpiece at the local bookseller, so now is a good time to take a second look.
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He is one of the masters at integrating social commentary often on the impact of future technology into the framework of the early Cold War influenced SF story without unduly weighing it down. However, as Earth moves from the field the average IQ of both humans and animals increases dramatically with a vast variety of results. Anderson speculates that the institutions and social structures of society will collapse as new cults, homegrown pseudo-Communists, and the newly intelligent who seek a way out of their drab existence begin to assert themselves.
Often the vignettes are incredibly abrupt despite their intriguing subject matter — for example, tribesmen in Africa who, with their increased intelligence, are finally able to effectively escape from their colonial oppressors with the assistance of newly sentient chimpanzees and apes queue dubious 50s views on race.
I can imagine that an editor would find portions of them easy to cut out of the published version. Corinth, with his increased intelligence, seeks to understand the field and prevent the collapse of society. Sheila, on the other hand, hates what increased intelligence offers and desires above all else to return to her previous state of being tending children, cooking, waiting for her husband to get home, etc.
One could argue that Anderson is perpetrating 50s views of the housewife who does not participate in anyway with the intellectual life of the husband. Brock works for Mr. Roseman on his farms tending animals, chopping wood, etc. While everyone around him leaves the rural landscape in search of ways to apply their new knowledge, Archie — with his increased intelligence — is content to remain on the farm tending the animals. The animals too become more intelligent. Pigs become violent while an elephant, chimpanzee, and dog soon join up with Archie and become his friends despite their limited ability to vocalize or understand humans.
One of the most emotionally devastating moments of the entire novel occurs when Archie is forced to kill one of the more intelligent sheep whom he has named and can identify based on their character in order to feed his friends during the winter…. There are multiple issues with the novel. Also, the first half of the work operates on a somewhat fallacious premise — that the majority of humankind will leave their jobs if they were slightly more intelligent.
The idea that intelligence always indicates the type of job ones hold is simply not the case. Many highly intelligent people — due to extenuating circumstances, the need to support families, or a genuine love of what they do — hold jobs that might not test them intellectually. Despite the flaws, Brain Wave is recommended for fans of Poul Anderson and 50s science fiction. Nice to find someone who appreciates Brain Wave, in spite of its many flaws.
I reread it every few years, and have even thought about taking the basic idea of a sudden increase in IQ across the board, and doing something more believable with it. I found this book a little unusual for Anderson — he was much more interesting in social commentary than he often is such commentary always comes up in his stories but not so centrally. But, as a result, he tackled issues such as gender and race in a frustrating way — when he might have simply avoided it altogether in another work.
Our attitude toward gender and racial stereotypes has changed quite a lot in the last 60 years or so. However, those points were not the only issues with the novel. Yeah, there are plenty of stereotypes about intelligence, too.
And fantasies about what marvelous realms the mind will eventually attain. It reminds me of a cruder attempt — that movie where John Travolta becomes a genius from brain cancer. Then, that he suddenly starts pulling esoteric knowledge right out of the air. I have that first one with the Powers cover, though my ponderous backlog of to-be-read books keeps interfering with that. I would suggest that you read this one anyway…..
Despite my review. Perhaps I harped a bit too much on his 50s attitudes. It did seem edited or even cut to me too. As though it had to fit into a certain page length.
I read it a few years ago but remember feeling as though some plot threads were cut short. A number of reviewers have speculated that Brain Wave was heavily edited. I thought Enemy Stars was pretty good; it is nice to see Anderson himself thought it among his best work. I agree. Another great cover from Powers, although I have to admit to quite liking the Fred Troller design too…. Is there really such a variety of motifs in the novel?
Well, it is a scene from the book but they are not in that environment — they are somewhere in the US… On a farm…. So yeah, clearly some artistic laxity OR some old canvas the editor applied to a random book. Also Robert Foster. The new stable of artists — Sweet, Herring, Whelan, et al.
Even pulpish at times which of course can be fun. So, I want to address a few of those issues here. He was, in fact, intrigued. I assured him that when I found my copy, I would lend it to him—and then shipp it off to my sister in Pennsylvania for a read.
Flipping through the books I found six older Anderson titles for a buck apiece, and lo and behold, one of them was a like-new copy of the Ballantine edition of Brain Wave! And my response to my rereading the book? I guess I am in the minority here: while agreeing with the general opinion that the book is a good read, I disagree with most of the criticisms that you and everyone else wrote above.
You state there are no male counterparts for her: absolutely not so! And why no accusations of sexism here: the woman who is afraid internalizes the fear andf the changes and the challenges while the men externalize and attempt to impose their minority will on the apparently jubilant majority?
I dunno, but it seems like most of you are inferring a helluva lot: you read racism into the Africans bonding with the apes. Afterward some resistance was built up, aided by Caucasian blood, and it was time for copra planters, religion, Mother Hubbards, and international conferences to determine whether this atoll, among others, belonged to London, Paris, Berlin, or Washington.
Pretty heady stuff for a supposed conservative in the s. An observation like this would not have been out of place in the musings of First Lieutenant John J.
Okay, I am being a little harsh. My apologies: yes, despite the flaws you perceive in the story and the writing, many of you like Brain Wave. I, like Mr. Anderson, have a MUCH higher opinion of the book: I buy every used copy that I find and hand them out to non-science fiction readers and have yet to be disappointed with the response. PS: I am posting my reply above on my blog with a link to this page and the suggestion that my readers click on over here and read the review and the comments that precede my dithering!
Why did the formatting mostly italicization in my comment above disappear when I posted this comment from a word processor to this site? JB I forgot to mention that I like your choice of themes and how you are using it. You have a good looking site. As my blog is my first ever and since I am computerically challenged , I opted for the WordPress default theme, with which I am fairly pleased. I will be setting up other sites and intend to explore the three-column theme; perhaps I will ape yours.
Thanks for the flashback. I preferred Heinlein,which might or might not be saying something,but he had a more powerful storytelling style. You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Google account. You are commenting using your Twitter account. You are commenting using your Facebook account. Notify me of new comments via email.
Notify me of new posts via email. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed. One of the most emotionally devastating moments of the entire novel occurs when Archie is forced to kill one of the more intelligent sheep whom he has named and can identify based on their character in order to feed his friends during the winter… Final Thoughts There are multiple issues with the novel.
Like this: Like Loading Thanks for visiting! And your comment! So, I have to applaud him for what he tried to do despite not agreeing with how he did it…. Or something like that…. I actually found The Enemy Stars substantially more intriguing…. As with so many novels, I thought the ending of Enemy Stars weakened the effort.
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What if we were all designed to be smarter than we actually are? Unbeknown to its inhabitants, the solar system has for millions of years been caught in a force field that has had the effect of supressing intelligence. When in the course of normal galactic movement the solar system breaks free of the force field that has held it in its sway for so long, gone are the inhibiting effects and a remarkable change begins to sweep across the earth. In another scene, a young boy on a summer break works out the basic fundamental foundations of calculus before breakfast. Human life is dramatically transformed, as people with IQs of find themselves living within social structures and institutions designed for people of considerably lower intelligence.
He is one of the masters at integrating social commentary often on the impact of future technology into the framework of the early Cold War influenced SF story without unduly weighing it down. However, as Earth moves from the field the average IQ of both humans and animals increases dramatically with a vast variety of results. Anderson speculates that the institutions and social structures of society will collapse as new cults, homegrown pseudo-Communists, and the newly intelligent who seek a way out of their drab existence begin to assert themselves. Often the vignettes are incredibly abrupt despite their intriguing subject matter — for example, tribesmen in Africa who, with their increased intelligence, are finally able to effectively escape from their colonial oppressors with the assistance of newly sentient chimpanzees and apes queue dubious 50s views on race. I can imagine that an editor would find portions of them easy to cut out of the published version.
Brain Wave is a science fiction novel by American writer Poul Anderson , first published in serial form in Space Science Fiction in , and then as a novel in Anderson had said that he could consider it one of his top five books. At the end of the Cretaceous period , Earth moved into an energy-damping field in space. As long as Earth was in this field, all conductors became more insulating. As a result, almost all of the life on Earth with neurons died off, causing the Cretaceous—Paleogene extinction event.
What if we're all designed to be smarter than we actually are? That is, in short, the premise of master science fiction novelist Poul Anderson's debut work, Brainwave. Unbeknownst to its inhabitants, the solar system has, for millions of years, been caught in a force field that has had the effect of suppressing intelligence. When, in the course of normal galactic movement the solar system finally breaks free of the force field and its inhibiting effects, a remarkable change begins to sweep across the earth. In fact, the entire world is turned upside-down, and Anderson's novel is devoted to detailing the sometimes-surprising, sometimes-chilling aftereffects of this watershed event.