At the request of many families* I’m uploading here my favorite short story ever. I first came to know it through Donna Haraway’s work. The Persistence of Vision. This is Varley’s first story collection — a multiple award winner. It won the Locus Award and the Prix Apollo for Best Single Author. John Varley. The Persistence of Vision. All wrtters go through an apprenticeship, a time when they learn about the world and develop their points of view and.

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Physical handicaps have to be among the least commonly used aspects of reality in science fiction.

John Varley The Persistence of Vision – The Persistence of Vision

Occasional side characters may be blind to spice a narrative, others may be mute varkey deaf to give an added degree of interest, but rarely does handicap itself directly inform the storyline.

The Persistence of Vision is the story of an unnamed, middle-age man disenchanted with the state of the U.


The economy and ecology persisetnce a slow spiral downward, employment is dismal, society continues to fragment, and the health of the land deteriorates more each day. Abandoning his urban life and hitting the road, the man sets himself the goal of tramping to San Francisco to catch a steamer to Japan, leaving the S behind.

The Persistence of Vision (collection) – Wikipedia

But while crossing New Mexico, he encounters a commune unlike any that has ever existed, and it will change his life. The result of an outbreak of German measles, a generation was born in New Mexico with a highly irregular number of deaf and blind babies. As a result, multiple languages have sprung up, including handtalk, bodytalk, and touching without touching.

The group knows each other intimately despite never having laid eyes or ears on one another. Personal throughout, extraneous details are never allowed to creep in. Jogn even more intriguing are the ideas which flow in the wake, particularly the subconscious manner in which sight and hearing skew our everyday, every-moment thoughts and assumptions, and the resulting walls of territoriality created around us.

The Persistence of Vision

The story can be real food for thought. But for as fascinating as it may be, the concept presented is utopianism, and any story which purports to varoey achieved a perfect scenario is, of course, suspect. The Persistence of Visionas readable and unique it may be, is exactly so.


Either glossed over or never brought to the surface, the vices of humanity—as inescapable as they are to the handicapped and non-handicapped alike—play no role in the story.

Nevertheless, The Persistence of Vision is a highly unique piece of New Wave science fiction written in controlled, engaging fashion.

The Persistence of Vision (short story)

Whether or not the premise is developed realistically may be a drawback, however. Regardless, some of the least thought-over and vsion assumed aspects of being human are questioned, which is the real achievement of the novella. Posted by Jesse at 9: Newer Post Older Post Home.

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