Story Time Reviews: A Japanese Fairy Tale

Story Time Reviews a Japanese Fairy Tale told on the Myths and Legends podcast, episode 161 titled Japanese Folk Lore: Karma.  The orginal story, “The Old Woman Who Lost her Dumpling,” may come from Hearn, Lafcadio, translator. Japanese Fairy Tales: The Boy Who Drew Cats. Tokyo: T. Hasegawa, 1898. This podcast includes two stories. “The Old Woman who lost her dumpling” is the first story told on the podcast. Duration 16 minutes and 14 seconds.  The Story Making Dumplings Making Dumplings. The old women liked to make dumplings and laugh. One day she drops a dumpling to the floor. It rolls through a small hole in her home’s floor. She reaches into the hole and the dirt beneath her cracks open. She drops. She survives a long drop and though the land is weird, she sees her dumpling rolling away and she runs after it. She stops and catches her breath leaning against a Jizo-san statue. (Weiser gives us an aside at this point explaining the relevance and meaning of a Jizo-san statue in Japanese culture.) The statue warns her not to follow her dumpling because a wicked Oni lives down there, who eats people. But the old woman doesn’t heed […]

Story Time Reviews “Operation Haystack”

Story Time Reviews “Operation Haystack” by Frank Herbert. If you enjoy science fiction spy mysteries, you’ll enjoy this short story. It first appeared in Astounding in May 1959.  This review is of the public domain LibriVox recording. It is a little more than. 48 minutes in duration. All governments suffer a recurring problem: Power attracts pathological personalities. It is not that power corrupts that it is magnetic to the corruptible. Such people have a tendency to become drunk on violence, a condition to which they are quickly addicted. — Frank Herbert, Chapterhouse: Dune The Story The story is about Field Agent Lewis Orne, injured during an assignment on a planet ruled by women. The doctors have no hope of saving him. A “womblike creche pod” had taken over most of his badly mangled body’s vital functions. Umbo Stetson, Orne’s section chief, writes Orne’s mother about her son’s condition. She is too ill to travel. In her stead, a friend and local, Mrs. Ipscott Bullone of Marak, wife of the High Commissioner, takes over for the family.  Miraculously Orne survives. Mrs. Bullone invites Orne to recuperate at her home after his discharge from the hospital.  This is an opportunity Stetson can’t pass up. He suspects Ipscott […]

Story Time Reviews “The Last Question”

If you like stories with a twist ending, you’ll like Isaac Asimov’s “The Last Question.” Asimov’s short story first appeared in the November 1956 issue of Science Fiction Quarterly. The recording is 36:34 minutes in duration and the story is narrated by Leonard Nimoy The Story The story begins with, “The last question was asked for the first time, half in jest, on May 21, 2061, at a time when humanity first stepped into the light.” Two of Multivac’s attendants make a five-dollar bet over highballs. Multivac was a giant, self-adjusting and self-correcting computer. The men “fed it data, adjusted questions to its needs and translated the answers that were issued.” The computer had, for decades, designed the ships and plotted the trajectories that allowed Man to reach Mars and Venus. But Earth didn’t have enough resources to create the power needed for such trips. Multivac devised a way to use the sun and “all Earth ran by invisible beams of sunpower.” After seven days of public functions, Multivac’s attendants take a moment of peace with the bottle and the computer. One man expresses his delight that the Earth has free power forever. The second man argues that it’s won’t be […]