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Thursday, January 22, 2015

"Slow Tuesday Night" by R. A. Lafferty

First appeared in Frederik Pohl’s Galaxy. Nominated for a Nebula award and reprinted in several Year’s Best and genre retrospectives by Judith Merril, Frederik Pohl, Robert Silverberg, Willis E. McNelly, Leon E. Stover, Martin H. Greenberg, Edward L. Ferman, John W. Milstead, Joseph D. Olander, Patricia S. Warrick, Gardner R. Dozois, Pamela Sargent, Terry Carr, James E. Gunn, Ellen Datlow, Rob Latham, Veronica Hollinger, Joan Gordon, Istvan Csicsery-Ronay, Jr., Arthur B. Evans, Carol McGuirk. Online.
Economics, inventions and trends come hourly. Someone's fame can wax and wane within minutes. Fortunes can be won and lost four times in a day. Marriages dissolve as men and women follow trends of what's popular.

In what is considered another of Lafferty’s classics, this expands Moore's Law--computer transistor power doubling every two years--to include people and society. However, this story appeared in Galaxy before Moore announced his theory. Perhaps it was in the air: steam-engine time.

This satirizes popularity, economics, and trend-watching to make societal decisions. By rendering the timeline for trends down to hours or minutes, all such decisions based on trends appear absurd. The title punctuates the satire by calling all the events as occurring on a "Slow Tuesday Night."

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