The New Adam – Stanley G. Weinbaum

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Edmond Hall, born a mutant with too many joints in his fingers and a double mind, tries to find a purpose in a society of humans. While pondering whether he’s a superman or the devil, he explores pleasure, power, and passion.

This is not a warm and fuzzy story, but it is a good example of science fiction with a purpose. Stanley Weinbaum envisions a superior human, and does his best to imagine what such a man would do in human society. The process is methodically thought through, and Weinbaum sticks to his script most of the way through. The result is a reasonably credible and interesting speculation on what an unheralded superman might do with his time.

Weinbaum lets his strictures slip slightly at the end in order to introduce some drama and to illustrate the dangers of hubris, but he does so smoothly enough that it works. Even in this slippage, his narrator is fairly consistent. The chapter titles as well demonstrate a keen, dry sense of humor at work.

All in all, a good example of thought-experiment SF, and worth reading.

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