A Logic Named Joe

“A Logic Named Joe” was published in 1946 in Astounding Science Fiction and in one short story predicts the Internet and some of the dilemmas that it poses society. Murray Leinster (the nom-de plume of William Fitzgerald Jenkins) wrote more than 1500 short stories, but this is probably the best known.

This story is available in a number of ways, the craziest is to listen to the over-the-top1950 dramatisation from NBC’s DimensionX

The dramatisation was broadcast again in a 1955 X-Minus One episode which has been cut into 3 YouTube non-videos (included here mainly for decorative purposes).

Alternately, and probably better, you can read the original story in the Baen Free Library.

When you’ve finished, ask Alexa who the first president of the United State was. Then look up how to make ‘Dart Poison’ on your favourite search engine.

It could be argued that this story predicts the ubiquity of the Internet, Alexa, Skype, Google the jeopardy to personal privacy and the ensuing concerns about the propagation of harmful information about weapons and explosives. I was going to write more about the story but then found that there is a very good write-up in The Register from 2016 accompanied by a lively debate about the prescience of science fiction in the comments.

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