New List added to Sources: Robert Nedelkoff

A new list of neglected books added to Sources: Robert Nedelkoff.

Archivist Robert Nedelkoff, who’s written on neglected books for McSweeney’s and other magazines offered an even dozen recommendations to the Editor not long after this site opened.

Among these is Operators And Things by Barbara O’Brien, of which he writes,

When I came across an Ace paperback edition of this book, published in the early 1960s, I at first thought I was reading one of Philip K. Dick’s greatest achievements. It opens with a solemn introduction by a psychiatrist explaining that this is the story of a young woman who not only has managed to cure herself of schizophrenia, but has written well of the experience. The next chapter reads like a breezy magazine article about mental illness. Then we’re plunged into the story: a woman, apparently in her late 20s, wakes up to find three people standing by her bed: an old man, a boy, and a weird-looking, long-haired man. She is a “Thing,” an automaton, like most everyone else on earth. The old man has been her “Operator” – one of the handful of people who “own” and control everyone else on earth. He is handing her over to the control of the long-haired man, who has decided a) to make her aware of her status as a Thing and b) to have her walk away from her job and get on a Greyhound bus – the only way to go for a smart Operator, because the drivers are all Operators themselves and are contractually obligated not to interfere with the chattelship of Things. Then the book gets really unpredictable….

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