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I remember a story.....

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Simon Warren
Posted on Monday, April 05, 2004 - 09:21 am:   

During my time at secondary school, which was 1960 to 1966, I read a large number of short science fiction stories which were published in paperback books. I bought the books, very likely second hand so I don't know when they were published, but they were a numbered series, and I'm sure the title was just the letters SF and a number, eg. SF48.

I remember stories about "unconventional engineers" on a planet where sizes didn't add up in the usual way, so construction kits made elsewhere couldn't be put together, and another series with characters from several other worlds including a loveable chap shaped like a ball who had to continuously roll about to circulate his blood - he didn't have a heart to pump it...

Anyway, one particular story I vividly remember small parts of (after a career in telecoms) concerns a future (in 1960) earth where the inhabitants had learned to find out everything they needed to know by dialling an automatic telephone enquiry system. (Note - written before push-button phones!) At school the didn't learn facts, they learned only the numbers needed for every purpose. Apparently life was rosy until the phone system started to fail - they were getting more and more wrong numbers. The maintenance people dialled numbers to find out how to fix the system - they got wrong numbers too. I think civilisation collapsed.

Was the author clairvoyant? Could something very similar happen with the internet?

Anyway, I'd like to re-read it, if someone could tell me how to find it?

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