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Smith is known for her humorous and satirical science fiction and fantasy stories, and this collection showcases some of her best work in this genre.
The stories in “Helpfully Yours” are all connected by a common theme: the idea that technology and progress do not necessarily lead to a better world. Smith’s stories often take a critical view of modern society and technology, and they explore the ways in which our reliance on machines and computers can have unintended consequences.
One of the standout stories in the collection is “The Vilbar Party,” which tells the story of a group of people who are attending a party on a spaceship. The party is being thrown by the Vilbar Corporation, which has developed a new technology that allows people to communicate telepathically. However, things quickly spiral out of control as the guests begin to use their newfound powers to manipulate and control each other, leading to a chaotic and ultimately tragic ending.
Another notable story in the collection is “The Business, As Usual,” which imagines a future in which the entire world is run by computers. In this world, humans have become largely obsolete, and their primary function is to serve the machines that control their lives. The story follows the struggles of a group of humans who are fighting to maintain their autonomy and dignity in a world that has become completely dominated by technology.
One of the strengths of Smith’s writing is her ability to use humor and satire to address serious issues. Many of the stories in “Helpfully Yours” are funny and entertaining, but they also contain a deeper message about the dangers of blind faith in technology and progress. Smith’s stories often challenge our assumptions about what progress means, and they encourage us to think critically about the ways in which technology is shaping our lives and our world.
Overall, “Helpfully Yours” is a thought-provoking and entertaining collection of stories that showcases the wit and wisdom of Evelyn E. Smith. Her stories are a reminder that even in a world that is increasingly dominated by machines and computers, there is still room for human creativity, ingenuity, and humor. By challenging our assumptions about technology and progress, Smith’s stories invite us to imagine new possibilities for the future and to strive for a world that is both advanced and humane.