Wednesday, April 7, 2010

“The Secret Sense,” 1941 short story written by Isaac Asimov

Thanks to the folks at the Internet Archive, you can read or download "The Secret Sense,” a short story written by SF Grandmaster Isaac Asimov that was published in the Vol. 1, No. 1, March 1941 issue of Cosmic Stories magazine. The plot revolves Lincoln Fields, a wealthy and refined Earthling from New York living on the Red Planet, who is fortunate enough to experience a secret sixth sense enjoyed by the indigenous Martian population. Here are the opening lines:

       THE LILTING strains of a Strauss waltz filled the room. The music waxed and waned beneath the sensitive fingers of Lincoln Fields, and through half-closed eyes he could almost see whirling figures pirouetting about the waxed floor of some luxurious salon.

Music always affected him that way. It filled his mind with dreams of sheer beauty and transformed his room into a paradise of sound. His hands flickered over the piano in the last delicious combinations of tones and then slowed reluctantly to a halt...

According to Wikipedia, Asimov wrote “The Secret Sense” in 1939 and submitted it Astounding magazine editor John W. Campbell, who rejected it.

In a brief review, fan John H. Jenkins called "The Secret Sense" a "little overblown and not terribly interesting." After reading the story in 2008, SF mega-fan Blue Tyson gave it 2 stars out of 5.

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