By Iris Murdoch
Martin believes he can own either a gorgeous spouse and a pleasant lover. but if his spouse, Antonia, unexpectedly leaves him for her psychoanalyst, Martin is plunged into a radical emotional re-education. He makes an attempt to act superbly and sensibly. Then he meets a lady whose demonic splendour first and foremost repels him and later arouses a eating and colossal ardour. How will he continue to exist it?
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Additional resources for A Severed Head
This second mission leads to the discovery of a repository left behind by an ancient, highly-advanced race that once lived on Mars. T h e virtual-reality archive left in this repository reveals that Mars had been rendered unlivable by a sudden catastrophe, apparently a strike by a large asteroid. T h e inhabitants of the planet were thus forced to evacuate to the stars, though they also sent a ship to Earth, seeding it with D N A and leading to the evolution of life on Earth. H u m a n s are thus in a very real sense the cousins of the ancient inhabitants of Mars.
SERIOUS SCIENCE FICTION: THE LEGACY OF THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL The Day the Earth Stood Still is an effective counterweight to any n u m b e r of paranoid alien invasion films of the 1950s. It also influenced several other films that represented aliens in a positive light. O n e of the most effective of 40 • Alternate Americas these is Jack Arnold's It Came From Outer Space (1953), m which an alien craft crashes on Earth due to mechanical difficulties, but in which the aliens otherwise have no interest in Earth or Earthlings (who, of course, greet them with suspicion and violence).
Their curiosity piqued, they land anyway, and are immediately greeted by the remarkable R o b b y the R o b o t , w h o turns out to have the principal responsibility for carrying out the bidding of Morbius, his creator—-just as Ariel does Prospero's bidding in The Tempest. T h e robot takes Adams, Lt. " D o c " O s t r o w (the ship's doctor, played by Warren Stevens), and Lt. Jerry Farman (the ship's first officer, played by Jack Kelly) aboard his high-speed vehicle to Morbius's residence. Morbius then introduces the visitors to the considerable capabilities of R o b b y (a creation he nevertheless dismisses as "child's play") and the other accoutrements of his high-tech h o m e .