As Bad As It Gets

Someone mentioned the author Jerome Bixby today, and it brought to mind his short story It’s A Good Life — which I think is the most horrifying piece of fiction I have ever read. I looked to see if anyone had posted it online, and indeed someone has. If you haven’t read it, it’s here. But I warn you: it will stay with you.

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  1. Kevin Kim says

    I read the story last night. Thanks for the link. The story felt very Stephen King-ish; he’s dealt with godlike beings in novels like It, apocalyptic situations in stories like The Stand, and super-telekinetic kids in books like Firestarter.

    I may be the product of my field of study in this case because I read the story as a parody of theism: trembling obedience and relentless thankfulness/positivity in the face of divine capriciousness.


    Posted June 25, 2008 at 11:58 pm | Permalink
  2. JK says

    I liked this particular title, “As Bad As It Gets”, seems appropriate Malcolm.

    Tomorrow June 30 except back a hundred years:

    Posted June 29, 2008 at 8:01 am | Permalink
  3. JK says

    Posted June 29, 2008 at 8:30 am | Permalink
  4. JK says

    Some assembly required.

    Posted June 29, 2008 at 8:38 am | Permalink
  5. Malcolm says

    Hi JK,

    Wow – a hundred years already since the Tunguska Event! How time flies.

    I had known that some scientists considered water vapor to be the primary “greenhouse” agent but hadn’t heard about any hypothetical link between water-vapor levels and the Tungus meteorite. That’s very interesting, and will get a post of its own. Thanks.

    Posted June 29, 2008 at 12:44 pm | Permalink
  6. JK says


    Not doing any “ego stroking” here but just wanted to let you know how much I really do appreciate your sense of humor, your comedic “take” on things. Of course I realize that a similar event occurring above my head would not be precisely how I’d wish my end to arrive but hell, it is an anniversary.

    I have a tendency to forget anniversaries (may be one reason you have Nina and I have a couple of ex’es). Now I do realize that any post might not be comedic in whole, given the sort of event, but “should you accept this mission, yada yada yada…”

    It is ironic that an Irishman gave the first clue don’t you think?

    Posted June 29, 2008 at 2:30 pm | Permalink
  7. Malcolm says

    Why thanks, JK!

    I must say, though, that I am puzzling over which Irishman, and what clue, you’re talking about…

    Posted June 29, 2008 at 3:08 pm | Permalink
  8. JK says


    “The role of water vapour in controlling our planet’s temperature was hinted at almost 150 years ago by Irish scientist John Tyndall. Tyndall, who also provided an explanation as to why the sky is blue, explained the problem: “The strongest radiant heat absorber, is the most important gas controlling Earth’s temperature. Without water vapour, he wrote, the Earth’s surface would be ‘held fast in the iron grip of frost’.”

    I know this is something our friend Jeff might correct me on but I find it “ryely ironic.”

    Posted June 29, 2008 at 5:01 pm | Permalink
  9. Malcolm says

    Ah. Thanks.

    Posted June 29, 2008 at 5:31 pm | Permalink
  10. JK says

    1820 Aug 2, John Tyndall (d.1893), British physicist, was born. He was the first scientist to show why the sky is blue. “It is as fatal as it is cowardly to blink (at) facts because they are not to our taste.”
    (AP, 9/25/99)(HN, 8/2/00)

    Well now Malcolm, I’ll leave it from here on, was Rye Whiskey to Tyndalls’ taste? After all he was Irish, and tomorrow is the anniversary. I can advise that it works better if the deadline is met, whether the gift is as one might’ve hoped is another matter.

    Posted June 29, 2008 at 5:51 pm | Permalink
  11. JK says


    I apologize, my “editor” tells me I’ve placed too many references to a clue. There is no clue.

    However, she and I agree you would likely have the most original “take” on Tunguska. My thought was that most people agree that the sky is blue. Only an Irishman would seek to find a definitive and scientific answer as to why the sky is: as most people agree. blue.

    However she agrees that waka takes on subjects that neither of us wish to call attention to things that neither of us have the (I say b’s-she say’s something else) and that neither of us anyway, do the “blog thing.” Each of us sees that you have fun.

    Posted June 29, 2008 at 6:45 pm | Permalink
  12. Malcolm says

    What a fascinating “stream of consciousness”, JK.

    I always thought the blue sky was due to Rayleigh scattering, but it was interesting to read up on Tyndall.

    Yes, I do have fun, mostly. Thanks again for your kind words.

    Posted June 29, 2008 at 7:23 pm | Permalink
  13. JK says

    Well I didn’t realize you were even in to “Rayleigh Scattering”: you continue to impress. I thought you just “sound engineered” but I suppose one would need an understanding of the principles. By the way, I don’t recall the title but you mentioned a meal, a book, and learning. And unlearning-or perhaps maybe “not being so eager to show what we’ve learned?”

    Posted June 29, 2008 at 10:43 pm | Permalink
  14. JK says


    You’ve likely noted this but I’m very aware that you have a penchant for providing timely “public service/safety” issues.

    Posted July 10, 2008 at 11:11 am | Permalink
  15. Malcolm says

    I guess that’s Murphy’s Law.

    Posted July 10, 2008 at 11:20 am | Permalink
  16. JK says

    Posted July 15, 2008 at 3:28 pm | Permalink
  17. Malcolm says

    Thanks, JK. Sounds like a job for a private dick.

    Posted July 15, 2008 at 9:53 pm | Permalink