Buy F&SF • Read F&SF • Contact F&SF • Advertise In F&SF • Blog • Forum

June/July 2009
 
Current Issue • Departments • Bibliography

Curiosities

The Mclandress Dimension, by John Kenneth Galbraith (1963)

THE FAMOUS economist John Kenneth Galbraith (1908-2006) wrote some entertaining fiction as well as non-fiction classics like The Affluent Society and The Age of Uncertainty. The McLandress Dimension is made up of several idea-as-hero short stories published in Esquire and Harper's Magazine under the pseudonym Mark Epernay. His wicked Canadian sense of humor was never shown to better advantage.

Dr. Herschel McLandress, a Bostonian psychometrist, is America's leading researcher on quantitative human behavior. The McLandress Dimension measures the time span in which a person's attention can be diverted from himself. Richard M. Nixon hit the lowest score, at a mere three seconds. But there's more—a whole lot more:

The American Sociometrics System, a.k.a. Maximum Prestige Horizon (MPH), the Confidence Machine based on the dynamics of Sustaining Pressure, the Fully Automated Foreign Policy ("Even a large group of men can reach agreement provided it is on positions previously taken"), and—inevitably—The Takeover ("All property gifted to government. Treasury as custodian. Expropriation thus accomplished. Revolution bloodless, complete").

Economics will never seem like the "dismal science" again. "The reader who ignores The McLandress Dimension may well be turning his back on the future" (The New Republic). In case you're wondering, "Mark Epernay" was derived from Mark Twain and the French town of Epernay, from where Napoleon directed the battle of Sedan.

—Graham Andrews

To contact us, send an email to Fantasy & Science Fiction.
If you find any errors, typos or anything else worth mentioning, please send it to sitemaster@fandsf.com.

Copyright © 1998–2014 Fantasy & Science Fiction All Rights Reserved Worldwide

Hosted by:
SF Site spot art