The Success Machine

Cover of book The Success Machine
Categories: Fiction » Classic

Mechanical brains are all the rage these days, so General Products just had to have one. But the blamed thing almost put them out of business. Why? It had no tact. It insisted upon telling the truth!


*** a selection from the story's opening: THE PERSONNELOVAC winked, chittered, chortled, chuckled, and burped a card into the slot. Colihan picked it up and closed his eyes in prayer. "Oh, Lord. Let this one be all right!" He read the card. It was pink. "Subject #34580. Apt. Rat. 34577. Psych. Clas. 45. Last Per. Vac. "An. 3/5/98. Rat. 19. Cur. Rat. 14. "Analysis: Subject demonstrates decreased mechanical coordination. Decrease in work-energy per man-hour. Marked increase in waste-motion due to subject's interest in non-essential activities such as horseracing. Indication of hostility towards superiors. "Recommendation: Fire him." Colihan's legs went weak. He sat down and placed the card in front of him. Then, making sure he was unobserved, he broke a company rule and began to Think. Something's wrong, he thought. Something is terribly wrong. Twenty-four pink cards in the last month. Twenty-four out of forty. That's a batting average of-He tried to figure it out with a pencil, but gave it up as a bad job. Maybe I'll run it through the Averagovac, he thought. But why bother? It's obvious that it's high. There's obviously SOMETHING WRONG. The inter-com beeped. "Ten o'clock department head meeting, Mr. Colihan." The steel brain was having more fun than people. "All right, Miss Blanche." He rose from his chair and took the pink card with him. He stood before the Action Chute for a moment, tapping the card against his teeth. Then, his back stiffened with a sense of duty, and he slipped the card inside.

The Success Machine
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