Mark Clifton

Easton Press Mark Clifton books

They'd Rather Be Right - Masterpieces of Science Fiction - 1990 (co-written with Frank Riley)


Author Mark Clifton

Mark Clifton, born on July 27, 1906, in Alexandria, Louisiana, was an American science fiction writer and the recipient of the prestigious Hugo Award. He was known not only for his contributions to the genre but also for his involvement in various professional capacities within the science fiction community. Clifton's early life was marked by adversity. Raised in poverty, he left school at a young age to support his family. Despite these challenges, he developed a passion for reading and writing, and his interest in science fiction blossomed. Clifton's first published story, "What Have I Done?" appeared in "Astounding Science Fiction" in 1952, and he quickly gained recognition for his unique storytelling style.

One of Clifton's most notable works is the novel They'd Rather Be Right, co-written with Frank Riley. Published in 1957, the novel explores themes of immortality and the consequences of a technology that can make people "right" by eliminating their mistakes. This work earned Clifton and Riley the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 1955. In addition to his creative writing, Mark Clifton served as the editor of the science fiction magazine "If" from 1958 to 1959. He also became involved in science fiction fandom and played a role in organizing conventions and supporting aspiring writers. Clifton's writing often delved into social issues and human psychology, and his stories were known for their exploration of complex characters and thought-provoking themes. Despite his relatively short active career in science fiction, Clifton left a lasting impact on the genre.

Mark Clifton passed away on October 10, 1963, at the age of 57. While his bibliography may not be extensive, his contributions to science fiction, both through his writing and his involvement in the community, continue to be remembered and appreciated by fans and scholars of the genre.


They'd Rather Be Right

Bossy was right. Always. Invariably. She was limited only in that she had to have facts not assumptions with which to work. Given those facts, her conclusions and predictions were inevitably correct.

And that made Bossy a 'ticking bomb.'

Bossy had been designed as a servomechanism for guiding airplanes. But she became something much greater: a hyper-computer. Soon the men who worked with Bossy found themselves able to solve their problems, to erase their prejudices, in short, to think.

Did the world welcome Bossy with open arms and glad cries? No, because for four decades the world had been in the grip of opinion control, and Bossy represented a serious threat to that dominance. So Bossy had to go underground, and work in hiding. Which was why Joe Carter, the worlds only true telepath, and two brilliant Professors had to assume the role of Skid Row bums.

All this is only the beginning of one of the most thoughtfully written, and thought provoking, science fiction novels ever written. It shows convincingly and compellingly, what would happen if everyone in the world were given a single blunt command: Think or die.

Only a small handful of people are mature enough to realize that they don’t know all the answers. And it was only to this handful that Bossy offered the greatest gift of all: immortality.

But all people wanted immortality, wanted it with a fixed and burning desire. And gradually the tension increased, the mobs grew restless, the military became more demanding and the 'bomb' ticked swiftly on.

And it was up to Joe Carter to stave off catastrophe.

The Forever Machine is full of excitement, both physical and mental. It is full, too, of rich rewards for the reader who appreciates genuinely mature philosophy tinged with gentle irony. And among other things, it is that rare event: a science fiction novel based on a brand-new idea.


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