"A house without books is like a room without windows." -Horace Mann

Thursday, April 14, 2011


by Tony Morphett

Science Fiction is a tough genre for me.  Some of it I really like, such as Ender's Game, I Robot, most everything by Ray Bradbury.  But there's a lot that too bizarre, too disturbing, or just too badly written to get into.  As many Sci-Fi readers might know, many of the really good works in this genre are in short-story form.  Not sure why, but that's what I've found.

One such short story is a family favorite called "Litterbug" by Tony Morphett.  Its about a guy named Rafferty who invents a garbage disposal that apparently vaporizes whatever you put in it.  However, he soon learns that things aren't getting vaporized, so much as transported elsewhere.  When his garbage starts coming back through the machine, he discovers that it is actually being sent to another planet.  From there, it becomes a decision of what kind of relationship to have with his new "friend" on the other side. 

It sounds odd, but this story is actually quite funny.  I can't even think of one other sci-fi story or book that could be considered funny, but this one is.  That's why it is so memorable to me.  I love that "Litterbug" is also a hopefully story, unlike many other sci-fi narratives which often involve being taken over by machines, aliens, each other, or just our own stupidity. 

The trouble with my post, however, is you may have difficulty locating this story.  Our family came across it many years ago in a collection simply titled "Science Fiction" (edited by Sylvia Z. Brodkin) and I believe it is acutally an old, out-of-print textbook.  It is worth trying to find however if you do like sci-fi, as it includes many other wonderful stories including more famous ones like "A Sound of Thunder" by Ray Bradbury.  Other family favorites include "And He Built a Crooked House" by Robert Heinlein, and "The Winner" by Donald E. Westlake.  I did find some copies of this collection on Amazon, but only as used copies from various sellers, and a good copy will cost a fair amount.  I assume you may be able to find the story within other sci-fi collections, and it will certainly be worth the search.

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