James V. McConnell was a multifaceted individual with a diverse range of interests and expertise. He was an accomplished American biologist and animal psychologist, known for his ground-breaking research on learning and memory transfer in planarians in the 1950s and 1960s. But what many might not know is that McConnell was also an avid science fiction writer, with several short stories published in the mid-1950s.
Learning Theory by James V. McConnell
A Tale of Scientific Experimentation Gone Awry
One of McConnell’s notable works is the 10th story in the first volume of “Incredible Science Fiction: Amazing Tales from the ’50s and Beyond”. Titled “Learning Theory”, the story delves into the consequences of scientific experimentation, specifically when the tables are turned and the scientist becomes the subject of experimentation. Through McConnell’s writing, the reader is taken on a thought-provoking journey where the lines between observer and observed blur, and the scientific method is called into question. This short story provides a simple yet effective commentary on the limits of science and the dangers of blindly following procedure.
In “Learning Theory”, McConnell seamlessly blends his scientific expertise with his passion for science fiction, creating a captivating tale that is both entertaining and thought-provoking. His work serves as a testament to the fact that sometimes, the most compelling stories can come from the unlikeliest of sources.
Here’s a 5-minute sample of my narration of Learning Theory from Incredible Science Fiction: Amazing Tales from the ’50s and Beyond Volume One:
The full unabridge audio of this story is 28 minutes and 43 seconds long.