Thursday, January 01, 2009

The Thinking Machine

Jacques Futrelle's "The Thinking Machine": The Enigmatic Problems of Prof. Augustus S.F.X. Van Dusen, Ph.D., LL.D., F.R.S., M.D., M.D.S.; Jacques Futrelle, edited by Harlan Ellison (The Modern Library; 2003; ISBN 0-8129-7014-4; cover by Rymn Massand).

Hearken back to this posting for some background. I first came across these tales in a short book published by Scholastic Book Services, containing, among others, the absolute classic short story The Problem of Cell 13.

This collection brings together all the Thinking Machine tales. The introduction by Ellison is amusing (and even more amusing as it comes in the book after the actual start of the book, go figure). The best story is The Problem of Cell 13, the others are fun, but nothing beats the fun of that "locked room" mystery. What might have been if Futrelle had not taken the Titanic on that fateful cross-Atlantic trip? Would he have become the "American Conan Doyle"?

Made up of: Enter: "The Thinking Machine"; My First Experience with the Great Logician; Introduction (Harlan Ellison); The Thinking Machine's First Problem: Dressing Room "A" ; The Problem of Cell 13; The Phantom Motor; The Mystery of the Grip of Death; The Problem of the Hidden Million; The Ralston Bank Burglary; The Problem of the Auto Cab; The Silver Box; The Jackdaw Girl; The Brown Coat; The Problem of the Stolen Rubens; The Fatal Cipher; The Superfluous Finger; The Motor Boat; The Problem of the Broken Braclet; The Problem of the Cross Mark; The Roswell Tiara; The Problem of the Red Rose; The Man Who Was Lost; A Piece of String; The Problem of the Deserted House.

Counts as 24 entries in the 2009 Year in Shorts.

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