Friday, September 25, 2009

“The Hated,” a 1950s psychological short story by Frederik Pohl

Originally published in the January 1958 issue of Galaxy Science Fiction magazine, "The Hated” is a short story written by Paul Flehr, a pseudonym of science fiction Grand Master Frederik Pohl. While the story revolves around the psychological problems an astronaut suffers after returning from a voyage to Mars, it also explores the far side of human hatred. The opening lines are a bit disjointed, but here they are:

The bar didn't have a name. No name of any kind. Not even an indication that it had ever had one. All it said on the outside was:

which doesn't make a lot of sense. But it was a bar. It had a big TV set going ya-ta-ta ya-ta-ta in three glorious colors, and a jukebox that tried to drown out the TV with that lousy music they play. Anyway, it wasn't a kid hangout. I kind of like it. But I wasn't supposed to be there at all; it's in the contract. I was supposed to stay in New York and the New England states. …

You can read "The Hated” online or download it for free from either or Project Gutenberg.

Pictured: Illustration from the story, by Dick Francis.

[via Tinkoo of Variety SF]

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