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the genre's premiere review magazine for short SF & Fantasy since 1993

Lights Out -- Big Mr. Little

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Lights Out (1934-47) aired "Big Mr. Little" on January 26, 1943. Written by Arch Oboler, one of radio's pre-eminent geniuses and acclaimed for his overall body of work, the story concerns a man who finds himself with a unique ability--that of causing a person's death by thinking the thought or uttering the words--and how he chooses to use this powerful gift.  Would he use it as a weapon, to eliminate an enemy army? Would he decide to profit by it, blackmailing a rich person for money against the threat of their life? Whether used for good or evil, how would society react to such a man, a man with such incredible power? These are the questions Oboler asks in this "what if" story, and the answer he supplies is definitely food for thought as we weigh moral choices as individuals and as a society.

In 1943--70 years ago--the United States saw itself in the middle of World War II. During this trying time some marvelous fantastic fiction was being written. Examples include Leigh Brackett's novelette "The Halfling" (Astounding, February) and novels such as Fritz leiber's Gather, Darkness!, C. L. Moore's Judgment Night, and C. S. Lewis's Perelandra. Donald A. Wollheim (later founder of DAW Books), would make SF publishing history by editing The Pocket Book of Science Fiction, the first paperback SF anthology, Stephen Vincent Benet and A. Merritt died, and Joe Haldeman, Christopher Priest, James Baen, Cecilia Holland and Ian Watson were born.

Play Time: 28:42