“Super-Toys Last All Summer Long”
23 October, 2011
Time waited on her shoulder with the manic sloth it reserves for children, the insane, and wives whose husbands are away improving the world. Almost by reflex, she reached out and changed the wavelength of her windows. The garden faded; in its place, the city center rose by her left hand, full of crowding people, blowboats, and buildings (but she kept the sound down). She remained alone. An over-crowded world is the ideal place in which to be lonely (Aldiss 445). The above passage encapsulates both the setting and the main point of Brian Aldiss’ short story “Super-Toys Last All Summer Long.” The story is set in the future, in a society characterized by the debilitation of the nuclear family, human intimacy, the prevalence of loneliness, and a sense of timelessness and futility. This paper will explore the development of these themes throughout the story, and analyze the way they are reflected in the selected passage. The story opens with the words “In [Monica] Swinton’s garden, it was always summer” (Aldiss 444). These words illustrate perfectly how meaningless time has become. Summer is usually the season that is associated with warmth, play and carefreeness, and most importantly happiness. Alas, Monica has neither of these. The world is cold and crowded; she stands aloof from her son (who we later discover to be just a toy), and her husband is not there either. Even when Monica seems to be preoccupied with thoughts, the thoughts too eventually leave: “she began sitting and thinking; soon she was just sitting” (Aldiss 445). In fact, the first sentence of the quoted passage embodies all the characteristics that Monica displays throughout the story, which, at least in part, stem form the social conditions that will be mentioned elsewhere. Monica is arguably all of the above: a child, insane, and a wife of a husband who is away improving the world. In the world where human interaction...
Bibliography: Aldiss, Brian W. "Super-Toys Last All Summer Long." The Wesleyan Anthology of Science Fiction. Ed. Arthur B. Evans, et al. Middletown: Wesleyan University Press, 2010. 443-451. Print.
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