Upgrade to a better browser, please.

Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Books

Sucker Bait

Added By: justifiedsinner
Last Updated: justifiedsinner

Sucker Bait

Purchase this book through Purchase this book from Purchase this book from
Author: Isaac Asimov
Publisher: Astounding Science Fiction (Analog), 1954

This book does not appear to be part of a series. If this is incorrect, and you know the name of the series to which it belongs, please let us know.

Submit Series Details

Book Type: Novella
Genre: Science-Fiction
Sub-Genre Tags:
Avg Member Rating:
(2 reads / 0 ratings)


The story concerns the starship George G. Grundy, or Triple G., which has been chartered by the "Confederacy of Worlds" to investigate "Junior". The only nonscientist among the passengers of the Triple G. is 20-year-old Mark Annuncio of the "Mnemonic Service", who has been trained from the age of five to memorize and correlate vast amounts of information.

Over a century earlier, an attempt to colonize Junior had failed. After nearly two years on the planet, all 1,337 colonists had died for reasons unknown. The scientists of the Triple G. and Annuncio have the mission to find out what killed them. For the first two weeks after landing, everyone remains aboard while the scientists take readings. After Rodriguez, the expedition's microbiologist, declares that the local life forms are non-infectious, a handful of scientists, plus Annuncio, travel to the original site of the colony.

Relations between the scientists and Annuncio deteriorate rapidly. The Mnemonics are loners by nature, and their training makes them even more so. The scientists, on the other hand, as specialists, tend to be contemptuous of a professional generalist like Annuncio. When Annuncio asks Rodriguez to explain how he came to a conclusion, the microbiologist regards the request as an affront to his professional reputation, and refuses to answer. The other scientists manage to offend Annuncio in various ways.

When Annuncio finally realizes that the abnormally high concentration of beryllium in the soil and plants of Junior was what killed the colonists, and that they all have to leave immediately, he does not trust the scientists to deal with it. He returns to the ship and persuades the crew to mutiny and take the ship off from the planet. The captain is barely able to convince the crew to stop at the colony site to pick up the scientists. When Annuncio is put on trial for fomenting the mutiny, he explains his actions, is acquitted, and the ship returns to the Earth to seek medical treatment for its crew for beryllium poisoning.

Collected in: The Martian Way and Other Stories


Sheffield said, "Somewhere inside the human brain is a record of every datum that has impinged upon it. Very little of it is consciously remembered, but all of it is there, and a small association can bring an individual datum back without a person's knowing where it comes from. So you get a 'hunch' or a 'feeling.' Some people are better at it than others. And some can be trained. Some are almost perfect, like Mark Annuncio and a hundred like him. Some day, I hope, there'll be a billion like him, and we'll really have a Mnemonic Service.

"All their lives," Sheffield went on, "they do nothing but read, look, and listen. And train to do that better and more efficiently. It doesn't matter what data they collect. It doesn't have to have obvious sense or obvious significance. It doesn't matter if any man in the Service wants to spend a week going over the records of the space-polo teams of the Canopus Sector for the last century. Any datum may be useful some day. That's the fundamental axiom.

"Every once in a while, one of the Service may correlate across a gap no machine could possibly manage. The machine would fail because no one machine is likely to possess those two pieces of thoroughly unconnected information; or else, if the machine does have it, no man would be insane enough to ask the right question. One good correlation out of the Service can pay for all the money appropriated for it in ten years or more."

Copyright © 1954 by Isaac Asimov


There are currently no reviews for this novel. Be the first to submit one! You must be logged in to submit a review in the BookTrackr section above.


No alternate cover images currently exist for this novel.