Mimsy Were The Borogroves

I saw a movie trailer for The Last Mimzy and immediately recognized it as a science fiction short story I’d read thirty-five years ago. In ninth grade, I read The Year’s Best S-F (edited by Judith Merril) for every year that the school library had. Since that was in 1971, I probably read all eleven volumes from 1956 through 1966. It was wonderful, a new world every twelve pages.

I remain convinced that Mimsy Were The Borogroves was in one of those anthologies, even though I now know that it was first published in 1943. Henry Kuttner and Catherine Moore, writing as Lewis Padgett, put together a tale of a device from the future that educates two children in mathematics far beyond the current understanding. They construct a tessarect, and disappear. Exciting and sad technology at the same time, probably an interesting read for scientists at the Manhattan Project.

I read the anthologies in chronological order, and saw an interesting shift from rockets to inner space. By the end, I was reading Flowers for Algernon and an odd story about a women who can communicate with the roaches in her New York apartment. If you haven’t read Flowers for Algernon, find a copy of the short story (technically a “novelette”). It is really more powerful in a single sitting and weaker when stretched to a novel.

A few years later, at North Central High School in Indianapolis, I was stage manager for a play based on that story. As I remember, I had to manage changes for fifty-six scenes in Charly.

Forty years ago, a school librarian at Baton Rouge High School decided to buy that set of books. It wasn’t a big library (I can clearly see it today in my mind), so I’m sure it was a tricky decision. Whoever you are, thank you.

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