Title: The Truth Gas
Author: Edmond Hamilton
Type: short story
“Honesty is the best policy.”
That is a sentence which everyone is familiar with. Little children are taught it by their parents and it is strongly advocated in every school and college. Among other things, it means that we should never tell a falsehood.
Then there are such words as “tact” and “discretion.” They signify what is fit, proper, and prudently wise. The question is, can you always tell the truth and be tactful and discreet at the same time?
This little tale draws a parallel to the author’s “The Man With X-Ray Eyes,” which we printed over a year ago, and will prove just as intriguing and original, though the development of the present story will amuse you.
Edmond Hamilton is one of the old stand-bys of science-fiction and is well up to standard here.
- Wonder Stories, Vol. 6, no. 9, February 1935, (Feb 1935, ed. Hugo Gernsback, $0.25, 128pp, magazine) Cover: Frank R. Paul; Illust: Paul
- Review by Everett F. Bleiler (1998) in Science-Fiction: The Gernsback Years
- Drugs and death ; resarch issues, no. 9, Nov. 1974, p. 15.
Descriptor: Drugs as mind-controllers
Annotation: A scientist who believes that all sin and crime stem from deceptiveness perfects and releases into the atmosphere a drug that “causes a short-circuit between the brain’s thought-centers and its motor-centers of speech” so that lying becomes impossible. The resulting compulsive honesty leads to impossible social situations as the whole veneer of tact and diplomacy vanishes; it becomes necessary to devise and release an antidote.